Robert Johnson & VD

Ricky Stevens
Wed Jan 26 09:58:40 EST 2000

Steve Harnar wrote:

>One question that came to me about the Honey Boy account is:  what sort of
>poison would have been available at that time in that area that could have
>been placed in a shot of whiskey that would have the type of death as
>described in Edwards account?

I have not read the complete Honeyboy account, so I cannot answer specifics.
However, it would not necessarily have to have been a poison.  "White
whiskey", especially after distillation through a car radiator, or after
being cooked in a soldered pot, or even an 55 gallon oil or chemical drum,
is prone to have heavy metals and  volatile organic compounds as
adulterants.  Various ketones, longer chain alcohols, glycols, etc. can all
cause death, usually from liver or kidney failure.

This leads to rule number one- never drink from a new bottle-either pour a
little off the top, or pass it to someone you detest.

As far as poisons are concerned, arsenic, strychnine,  belladonna, and other
poisons were all readily available in the drugstores at that time as many
had either household (rat poison, veterinary anti-helminthics) or medicinal

Ricky Stevens
Arkabutla, Mississippi

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