This month has been one big hazmat spill. An Elvis impersonator from Mississippi was arrested and later released after
1 In August 1982, a 30-year-old Navy lieutenant named George Prior embarked on a healthy activity, playing 36 holes of golf at
2 Chocolate is poisonous to dogs because it contains caffeine and a related chemical called theobromine, which your pet can't metabolize fast enough. While a human might get a slight buzz for just a few minutes, a dog that eats too much chocolate (the darker the worse) will be affected for hours, possibly leading to
3 Mr. Yuk, the cartoon character with his tongue sticking out who appears on poisonous products to signal their danger, was developed at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. A more traditional warning symbol, the skull and crossbones, wasn't considered effective in Pittsburgh because of worries that it would remind children of the Pirates baseball team.
4 Arsenic has long been known as a killer — and a cure.
5 America's war in Vietnam might never have happened if the Hanoi poison plot of 1908 had succeeded. Vietnamese rebels sought to kill the French garrison in Hanoi by spiking their dinners, but they used the wrong poison or the wrong amount, leaving 200 soldiers ill but still able to defend themselves. The revolt fell apart, 13 plotters were executed, and the French stayed in control, later replaced by the Americans.
6 When the Tribune reported on Feb. 11, 1916, the shocking attempt by an anarchist to kill many of Chicago's most prominent figures, including Archbishop George Mundelein and Illinois Gov. Edward Dunne, by poisoning them with chicken soup, it wasn't the only toxic story on the front page. Also that day, readers learned of the tragic death in Lake Forest of a high school senior named Marion Lambert. The girl, whose boyfriend would be acquitted of trying to kill her with cyanide, would live on in local ghost stories about motorists driving Sheridan Road seeing "a girl in the snow."
7 In the
8 A meteorite landed in Peru near Lake Titicaca in 2007, and fumes from the crater sickened dozens of villagers. Some speculated that the problem might be akin to the fictional Andromeda Strain, a toxic microbe from space. But ultimately, scientists concluded that heat from the meteorite activated arsenic in an underground water supply, creating a sickening steam.
9 Tillie Klimek was a serial husband poisoner not known for her subtlety. In 1922, when her fourth husband was hospitalized with a mysterious illness just a year after her third husband had died, Chicago officials got suspicious. During her trial for killing her third husband, neighbors testified that while he was sick she joked about the coffin she was going to get for him and what she would wear to his funeral. Though she was convicted of just the one murder, officials linked her to the arsenic deaths of husbands No. 1 and No. 2, a boyfriend and at least two cousins. She had taken life insurance policies out on all her husbands, including the fourth, who survived.
10 Amazon tribes made their arrows more deadly by bathing the tips in toxic secretions from frogs. Some tribes would pin down the poisonous frogs and rub arrows on the animals' skin. But the Choco people of Colombia instead roasted the frogs and caught the drippings in a bottle, allowing for easy dipping of their arrows.
Mark Jacob is a deputy metro editor at the Tribune; Stephan Benzkofer is the Tribune's weekend editor.