MFDJ 04/05/24: Thallium Bait

Today’s Inescapable Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

For several years, starting in the late 1920s, the State of California had used grain poisoned with thallium bait to eradicate ground squirrels in its southern coastal counties. As state wildlife officials discovered, the plan worked, except that it also killed animals that ate the poisoned squirrels—civets, coyotes, weasels, foxes, red-tailed hawks, golden eagles, turkey vultures—as well as any creature unfortunate enough to find leftover bait, which included mourning doves, quail, rabbits, pheasants, five species of wild geese, meadowlarks, skunks, rats, ravens, three species of sparrow, three species of woodpecker, kangaroo rats, juncos, white-footed mice, pet cats and dogs, domestic chickens, sheep, and cows.

Vintage Thallium Ant Poison

The program was finally discontinued after a group of field workers used a sack of grain found in a grower’s barn to make dinner. It turned out to be a sack of thallium bait. Seven of the workers died, and more than a dozen others survived but suffered partial paralysis and the tell-tale, inescapable hair loss.

Culled from: The Poisoner’s Handbook

Post-Mortem Portrait Du Jour!

Ambrotype 1/6 Plate, Circa 1860

Culled from: Sleeping Beauty III

Andersonville Prisoner Diary Entry Du Jour!

This is the continuation of the 1864 diary of Andersonville prisoner Private George A. Hitchcock (see the archived version for all entries up until now).

Here’s today’s entry:

December 1st. All the prisoners were moved to one side of the creek, and then the entire camp made to move back to the other side again, being counted as they passed across the little bridge. A lot of “galvanized Yanks”–turncoats–were sent back into camp by the rebels for fear they would escape to our army.

Culled from: Andersonville: Giving Up the Ghost

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