DEVIL’S BREATH – A New Global Threat!

This interesting chemical is alternately known as “the most dangerous drug in theMH900448711 world” and “the scariest drug in the world.”

Devil’s Breath is a powerful drug that is currently being dealt with on the streets of Columbia. It’s a strong hallucinogenic and an amnesiac. It’s highly addictive and can be deadly.

Usually in the form of a powder, Devil’s Breath comes from the borrachero tree, a botanical in Columbia with a name that loosely translates into “the-get-article-2143584-130FB037000005DC-752_634x514you-drunk” tree. This plant blooms with deceptively beautiful white and yellow flowers.

The drug is said to be so powerful that within minutes of administration, people turn into zombie-like creatures. The victims remain coherent, but they become child-like and have no free will.

Columbian drug gangs are using this drug, and its interesting side effects, as an innovative and lucrative new business, and stories of victims of these gangs are becoming urban legends.

People have been raped, robbed, forced to empty bank accounts, and even coerced into giving up body organs while under the drug’s influence. One man even killed while under the influence.

The substance is odorless, tasteless and is especially easy to administer either by inhalation or ingestion. In large doses, it can be deadly.

An often-used method of administration is to blow the powdered drug into the face of a42-15655456 passer-by on the street. Within minutes, the victim is under the drug’s influence and loses all capacity for rational thinking. The victim is turned into a complete mental zombie and the memory process of the brain is blocked.

While under the influence, the victim is easily controlled by suggestions and verbal commands to perform unspeakable acts. People have even been known to help robbers steal valuables from the victims’ own homes or hotel rooms.

After the drug wears off, victims have no recollection of what happened, what they did under the influence and cannot even identify the people responsible for administering the drug in the first place.

Interestingly, in ancient times the drug was administered to the mistresses of dead Columbian leaders. The women were given the substance, told to enter their master’s grave and were then simply buried alive and forgotten.

As with many botanical substances that are used for illicit purposes, this chemical also has MH900399267beneficial effects. In fact, the chemical is marketed in the United States under the name scopolamine and hyoscine. Cruise ship travelers might even use this chemical in the form of a scopolamine patch for seasickness.

So, for a very unique method of controlling a character in your novel (or possibly your spouse), blow a little Columbian Devil’s Breath into their face. They’ll never remember what was asked of them or what they did as a result.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

Posted in A New Street Drug, About James J. Murray, About Medications/Pharmacy, Almost in a Vegetative State, Blog Trends, Blog Writers, Blogging, Bloodless Death Scene Writing, Borrachero Tree Drug, Chemicals Used For Murder, Columbian Drug Business, Columbian Drug Trends, Columbian Street Drug, Deadliest Drugs in America, Deadliest Drugs in US, Designer Drug Deaths, Developing Story Plots, Developing Storyline Ideas, Devil's Breath, Difficult to Solve Murders, Drugs and Amnesia, Drugs and Zombie-Like States, Drugs That Create Memory Loss, Drugs That Mimic Death, Drugs Used For Murder, Ideas for Murder Scenes, Instruments of Death, Interesting Murder Weapons, Internet Drugs, Most Dangerous Drug in the World, Murder without Evidence of Foul Play, New Methods To Kill Characters in Your Novel, Plants That Kill, Plants Used For Murder, Psychoactive Designer Drugs, Scariest Drug in the World, Street Drug Abuse Substances, Walking Dead in Writing, Zombie Drugs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Brain-Eating Amoeba

As we wind down our summer activities, I recall seeing several cases in the news of people thacquiring serious infections from swimming in contaminated lakes and improperly treated pools. These events remind me of the lethal dangers of recreational water illnesses (RWIs).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that one in eight public swimming pools are unsafe because of improper chlorination procedures.

Serious illnesses can result and these include gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory, eye and even neurological infections. The most common symptom of such contamination is diarrhea, but any of these symptoms can turn lethal if not properly treated.

Of all the infections that one can get from summer activities, there is one in particular thatamoeba is as lethal as any I’ve come across. The disease is called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, or PAM for short. Fortunately, PAM is rare and only 128 cases have been reported in the United States between 1962 and 2012.

The bad news is that of those 128 cases, there was only one survivor. PAM is a devastating infection of the brain caused by the free-living Naegleria fowleri organism. It’s been called the “brain-eating amoeba” in the media because the organism enters the body through the nose and travels up the olfactory nerve to the brain. It then causes the often-fatal PAM.

The Naegleria fowleri amoeba is found in warm freshwater (such as lakes, streams and hot springs) and the infection occurs when people go swimming or diving in MH900430603these waters. PAM can occur also from inadequately chlorinated swimming pools. Infections could even result from contaminated tap water if an individual uses the water to flush out the nose, as in using a neti pot for sinus irrigation.

Most infections occur in southern-tier states, with more than half of the occurrences in Texas and Florida, but cases have been identified in Louisiana after the hurricane Katrina hit the area. Aside from such a natural disaster, the PAM infection disproportionately affects males and children, probably as a result of their more aggressive water sports activities.

The infection presents much like bacterial meningitis. Symptoms include severe headache, fever, vomiting, neck stiffness and seizures. The most important medical clue leading to a proper diagnosis of PAM, however, is if the patient presents with the above-mentioned symptoms AND, in the two weeks prior to symptom onset, the patient swam in a freshwater lake, river or stream.

The only certain way to prevent this amoebic infection is to refrain fromMH900442342 swimming in warm freshwater. Barring that, there are several preventive measures one can take to reduce the risk of contracting this disease. You could hold your nose shut while diving into freshwater or use nose clips when swimming in these waters. The best safety measure is to keep your head above water at all times when enjoying outdoor water sports. And never put your head under water when soaking in natural hot spring pools.

Additional advice is to resist digging into or stirring up the sediment in shallow freshwater. The sediment is a perfect breeding ground for such amoeba. And when irrigating the sinuses with tap water, be sure to boil the water first for at least one minute (or for three minutes at elevations higher than 6,500 feet). And always allow the water to cool before use.

These measures may seem drastic, but a PAM infection is nearly ALWAYS FATAL, so act cautiously to ensure your safety against this lethal organism.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

Posted in About James J. Murray, Amoeba and PAM, Biological Weapons, Blog Trends, Blog Writers, Blogging, Brain Eating Ameba, Brain Eating Amoeba, Contaminated Fresh Water, Deadly Amoeba, Developing Story Arcs, Developing Story Plots, Developing Storyline Ideas, Difficult to Solve Murders, Fatal Amoebic Infections, Fatal Brain Infections, Freshwater Lethal Infections, Freshwater Microbes, Freshwater Sports Dangers, Improperly Chlorinated Pools and Death, Infections From Fresh Water, Infections From Katrina, Instruments of Death, Interesting Murder Weapons, Killing Off Characters in Your Novel, Killing With Lethal Microbes, Microbes Used To Murder, Naegleria fowleri, New Methods To Kill Characters in Your Novel, PAM, Plot Development, Plot Ideas and Where They Come From, Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis, The Next Big Thing, Tools of Murder, Water Poisons, Weapons From the Sea | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Laughing Man

It’s been said that the best fiction is based on fact. And, no matter how large or small that books-oldtidbit of information is, it plants the seed that the writer develops as the story arc. It’s the spark that creates the basis for the storyline and it’s the anchor that keeps the story focused.

Often I’ve joked to my fiction writer friends about the stories I create. “You just can’t make this stuff up,” I say, and they smile and I get nods of agreement all around.

But where do these crumbs of fact come from that fester into plots? I either findMH900070935 an interesting newspaper article, an online piece about some new scientific research or I develop a story around something that I’ve experienced—and then embellish on those facts to create believable fiction.

And that’s simply what good fiction really is—a believable lie!

So when I was traveling back from New England recently, I experienced something quite unique that became the seed for a sinister new short story.

It happened while my wife and I were having lunch at an airport. We were seated at a table toward the back of a restaurant off the main concourse. Shortly after we were seated, another person sat at the table next to us.

This fortyish man first ordered food, then placed an ear bud into each ear and connected them to his cell phone. Next he made a call. About that time, another gentleman—this one a twentyish-looking kid—sat at the table adjacent to the fortyish man such that they were facing each other.

The young man ordered and the waiter left his table. Suddenly my wife and I heard the young traveler start to giggle. There was a perplexed look on my wife’s face as she said, “How odd. That young man is looking straight at the guy next to us and giggling.”

I looked to my side, to the fortyish man next to us. He was obviously talking on the phone, but he stopped talking and smiled along with the man giggling. Laughter is often infectious and one cannot help but smile or laugh when someone else laughs. The fortyish man, however, stopped smiling and grew perplexed when the younger man started laughing out loud.

I asked my wife, “Is that kid talking on the phone?”

4460987120_dbcc3d3a88_z“No,” she said. “I don’t see a phone on the table, and there are no ear buds or blue tooth device in either ear. He’s laughing at the man next to us. He’s staring straight at the guy and laughing.”

I gazed over at the man next to us as I heard the chuckles behind me evolve into gales of laughter. Fortyish Man seemed irritated and said as much to whomever he was talking to on his phone, but then he tried to ignore Laughing Man and simply looked down at the table.

But Laughing Man kept at it. He started giggling so hard that others in the restaurant turned to stare at him. The laughter stopped momentarily while his food was served, but then he started up again. It began with some intermittent giggles between bites and then his chuckles cascaded into gales of belly-jiggling laughter that was heard around the restaurant. At that point, the man next to us threw up his hands and asked, “Okay, what’s so funny, man?”

This only encouraged more laughter, but it also brought over the waiter who unsuccessfully tried to quiet the man. Finally, the manager came over and asked the guy to leave. The manager instructed the waiter to package up the man’s food and to prepare his bill.

As my wife and I watched with astonishment, Laughing Man continued chuckling as he paid the bill. We saw the waiter roughly wrap the guy’s food in tin foil and stuff it into a to-go box. Laughing Man took one more look at the man seated next to us and let out another gale of laughter before he turned and walked out of the restaurant.

At that point, Fortyish Man turned to us. “What was with that guy? What did I do?” We confirmed that it was one of the strangest things we’d ever seen, and then all three of us focused on our meals once again and ate in peace.

As I paid the bill and we gathered our carry-on bags, my wife turned to me and said, “You know, you always tell me that there’s a story hidden somewhere in everything. I think we just observed a short story that you should write.”

And that’s exactly what I did. We walked to the nearest airport lounge and settled intoMH900443125 some chairs for another hour to wait for our flight—an hour that I used to outline a short story, a bit more sinister one I might add than the actual event that we witnessed.

The short story is now complete and it has a name. I call it Laughing Man. One of these days I’ll publish a collections of short stories and this one will definitely be included.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

Posted in About James J. Murray, About Writing, Accuracy in Writing, Airplane Murders, All About Writing, Blog Writers, Blogging, Character Development Techniques, Characteristics of a Fictional Character, Developing a Writing Career, Developing Better Writing Skills, Developing Story Arcs, Developing Story Plots, Developing Storyline Ideas, Fiction Based on Facts, Fiction Based on Real Life, Ideas for Murder Scenes, Interesting Event and Ideas Develop into Short Stories, Mastering Your Craft, Plot Ideas and Where They Come From, Plotting Short Stories, Short Story Development, Sources of Story and Plot Ideas, Story Development, The Art of Storytelling, The Art of Writing, Tools of Fiction Writing, Writing Skills, Writing Techniques | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Inert Gases Can Lead To Murder!

Awhile back, I saw an interesting murder plot on television. The scenario involved a Vault-0003awealthy man who had his home office designed such that it was similar to an impenetrable vault—both for security and privacy purposes. The room was so secure that it had its own air supply and other essential life-sustaining amenities for extended periods of work.

However, this well-designed, perfectly secure room became a murder weapon MH900297789in itself because someone who was displeased with the man added a halon gas canister to the ventilation system. The man was murdered by asphyxiation when the gas canister was remotely activated and halon gas was pumped into the room. This action temporarily replaced the room’s normal atmosphere, thus depriving the man of life-sustaining oxygen.

As you can imagine, it took considerable time and a complicated investigation to determine the cause of death since the room was locked from the inside and there was no evidence of foul play.

Of course, I made some notes during the show and decided to research halon gas!

I found that, for a long time, halon gas was actually the gold standard of fire-suppressant systems for enclosed areas such as bank vaults, museums and other secure areas that contain high-value assets that could be damaged by traditional water-based sprinkler systems. Although, the halon in the TV plot was not part of a fire suppression system for that man’s office, it was attached to the fresh air supply used specifically for his office space.

And I also learned that halon gas production was banned in many countries between 1989 and 1994 when it was discovered that halocarbon agents depleted the ozone layer. Existing halon-based fire suppression systems are still permitted, and recycled halon gas is allowed for maintenance and to refill these systems as needed, but no new halon systems can be constructed.

So my idea of a storyline involving halon gas became less feasible, since halon is not asMH900048773 available as it used to be, and I decided that the TV show writers were possibly working from older research data.

That’s when I decided to dig deeper and search for halon replacement products. I discovered that, after halon was banned, other “clean agent” systems were developed that reportedly have no known ozone-depleting capacity. And these systems are installed now in place of, or as replacements for, halon-based systems.

These mainly include various inert gas fire suppression systems that utilize nitrogen, argon or carbon dioxide—plus a few other inert elements that appear to be more difficult to use.

MH900313889Nitrogen, argon and carbon dioxide naturally occur in the atmosphere, they do not harm the environment and are not toxic to humans (at least to the extent regarding residues on surfaces after their use).

But it’s perfectly feasible that any of these three gases could be used in a murder plot in much the same way as halon gas was used in that TV program. Flood a secure, sealed area with one of these gases and any human within that environment would die from oxygen depletion since the gases replace the regular room air to suppress fires without damaging valuables. This effect requires an airtight environment, of course, and that is termed “enclosure integrity.”

An interesting advantage of these inert gases is that the gas canisters that contain them can be located much further away from the protected enclosure than halon canisters. These inert gases flow much better inside suppression system piping and can be located up to 400 feet away from the area to be protected against fire.

This fact makes it easier for the villain in your murder plot to have access to the equipment that supplies air to the secure area to add an inert gas canister, or to activate an inert gas fire suppression system even without starting a fire. Of course, all this can be activated remotely.

So the next time you need a character killed in one of your stories you mightMH900443125 consider placing that character in a room or vault that can be sealed off rapidly before the character can escape and then remotely activate the fire suppression system or attached gas canister to flood that area with one of these inert gases.

The cause of death will be asphyxiation (suffocation/oxygen-depletion) but without an obvious source and with no external evidence of trauma or foul play.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d like to hear them!

Please Tweet/Repost: Inert Gases Can Lead To Murder:

Posted in About James J. Murray, About Murder, About Writing, All About Murder, Blog Writers, Blogging, Bloodless Death Scene Writing, Bloodless Death Scenes, Characteristics of Killing, Characteristics of Murder, Chemicals Used For Murder, Deadly Inert Gases For Fire Suppression, Developing Better Writing Skills, Difficult to Solve Murders, Fire Suppression Systems Used for Murder, Halon Gas and Murder, How To Write A BloodLess Murder Scene, Ideas for Murder Scenes, Inert Gases and Murder, Inert Gases and Murder Plots, Instruments of Death, Killing a Villain in a Novel, Killing Off Characters in Your Novel, Murder without Evidence of Foul Play, New Methods To Kill Characters in Your Novel, Plotting Murder Scenes, Secure Room as a Murder Weapon, The Science of Murder, Tools of Murder, Unique Murder Plots, Ways To Kill, Ways to Murder, Writing Death Scenes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Most Popular Drug In The World!

MH900308894In many of my blogs I’ve written about legitimate drug trends as well as fascinating new, and illegal, street drug concoctions. But there is one drug that has remained at the top of the popularity chart for centuries!

It’s been called the oldest and best-known drug in the world! It still ranks as one of the top stimulant drugs across the globe and is valued highly in many cultures.

If you’ve guessed caffeine, than you’d be absolutely correct. As I take a moment to sip from my cup, I realize that nothing quite puts me “in the zone” like a swallow of my favorite morning java.

Caffeine was first isolated from coffee in 1820, confirming that the mood andestate_kona_cat__pg_roasts behavior altering properties of coffee and tea were actually the result of the caffeine contained within those beans and leaves. And the love affair with this tantalizing chemical has not waned over the centuries. In our modern world, we’ve even found ways to create interesting cultural behaviors around the drug (from the smoke-filled coffee houses of the past to today’s gourmet coffee hangouts).

Arguably, caffeine is one of the most widely used, and one of the most accepted, addictive drugs in the world. Whether it comes in the form of coffee, tea, chocolate, various kola nut products, guarana fruit, yaupon holly leaves or yerba matte, caffeine is responsible for waking up the world’s population and giving them that periodic and predictable “jolt” throughout the day to keep people alert and productive.

There are even cottage industries which shortcut the “waking up process” by adding substantial caffeine into breakfast foods, like muffins and even brownies, so that the morning jolt of caffeine also becomes the food of choice to start the day.

The FDA states that an intake of up to about 400mg per day of caffeine is safe, or coffee-beans-1214at least not associated with any negative health effects. However, studies show that anyone who regularly consumes as little as 300mg of caffeine per day (about 3 cups of regular drip coffee) will experience withdrawal symptoms if they abruptly cut off their caffeine intake.

An interesting recent evolution, however, has begun to invade the world of coffee products. Now it’s possible to bypass the entire process of prepackaged caffeine-laced food and drink products and buy Pure Pharmaceutical Grade Caffeine Powder online in sizes ranging from a third of an ounce (10 grams) to more than two pounds (1kg).

Pharmaceutical grade caffeine is extremely potent with a suggested serving size of only 1/16th of a teaspoonful (equivalent to about 2 cups of coffee). The predominant use for such a pure product is for athletes and body builders to use the chemical for its performance enhancing qualities and stimulation of fat loss. The product even comes with a small measuring device so that one can measure out a 250mg serving. Athletes use one to two scoop measures about a half hour before weight training to increase their workout intensity or about three hours before an aerobic workout to maximize fat burning.

The problem arises when this readily available product falls into the hands of people less knowledgeable about the lethal effects of pure caffeine powder. A lethal dose of pure caffeine is said to range from 150-200mg per kg of body weight (or about 10-15gms of pure caffeine powder—a mere large spoonful).

The product looks innocent enough. It appears as a bitter-tasting white powder that lookswhite_powder similar to cornstarch. It mixes moderately in water-based liquids at room temperature and is readily soluble in boiling water.

The taste is easily disguised when mixed in flavored food or drinks. In fact, news reports state that people from early teens to advanced adulthood have died as a result of pure caffeine mixed into the products they consume.

Recently, a teenage boy died after consuming 1 teaspoonful of pure pharmaceutical grade caffeine mixed in a liquid. That amount of stimulant translates to consuming over 30 cups of coffee in a short period of time—well above the lethal limit.

Death often results from heart failure since the stimulant drug causes such a rapid heart beat that the heart muscle simply cannot keep up the pace.

So if you’re looking for an interesting—yet easily available and easy to use—murder weapon/drug for your next storyline, pure pharmaceutical grade caffeine may be the answer.

Coffee-CupBut for a quick “pick-me-up” to write that story, be sure to reach for a second cup of java rather than for a teaspoonful of caffeine powder, no matter how easy or how inexpensive it is to find on the Internet.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

Please tweet: The Lethal Qualities of Caffeine Exposed!

Posted in A New Drug Abuse Threat, About James J. Murray, About Medications/Pharmacy, About Murder, About Writing, All About Murder, Best Known Drug in The World, Blog Writers, Blogging, Bloodless Death Scene Writing, Bloodless Death Scenes, Caffeine Health Benefits and Risks, Characteristics of Killing, Characteristics of Murder, Columbian Street Drug, Deadly Caffeine, Deadly Drugs in America, Death from Pharmaceutical Grade Caffeine, Drugs For Murder Plots, Drugs Used to Murder, Ideas for Murder Scenes, Instruments of Death, Interesting Murder Weapons, Killing Off Characters in Your Novel, Lethal Caffeine, Most Addictive Drug in the World, Most Popular Drug in The World, Most Used Drug in the World, Murder With Drugs, Oldest Drug in the World, Pharmaceutical Grade Caffeine Availability, Pharmaceutical Grade Caffeine Dosing, Pharmaceutical Grade Caffeine Uses, Plotting Murder Scenes, Prescription For Murder Blog, Pure Pharmaceutical Grade Caffeine, The Science of Murder, Tools of Murder, Top Stimulant Drug in The World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Walking Corpse Syndrome

I admit that both my wife and I love to watch some of the medical thrillers and policehd_tv procedural shows on television. We record them and, when time permits, we take a break from life and immerse ourselves into the world of make-believe.

It’s interesting that I describe these shows as “the world of make-believe” because the best fiction plots these days usually are based on facts.

MH900438746An especially interesting new show this season is called Black Box. Its central theme involves the practice of neuroscience, which I’ve blogged about often in the past (Here, Here and Here).

A particular episode fascinated me because one of the patients Dr. Black treated was convinced that he was dead—he was certain that he had died and transitioned to a “walking dead” state. Since researching this subject, I’ve discovered that other TV programs have used this mental illness as a plot premise, as in one of the more popular episodes of Scrubs.

In 1880, the neurologist Jules Cotard described this mental disorder as “The Delirium of Negation” and the disease has since been alternately named Cotard’s Syndrome, Cotard Delusion and Walking Dead Syndrome.

The simple definition of Cotard’s Syndrome is that a person thinks that he or she is alreadydead_walking_by_joe_roberts-d58qa4s-1 dead but still maintains the capacity to move around. The patient walks aimlessly with no purpose and with no interest in sleep, so the person feels trapped in a zombie-like state of existence.

People afflicted with this mental disease have a strong delusion that either they have already died, do not exist or that their blood and/or internal organs have been lost. Some of the patients with this mental disease also believe that they have lost various body parts or insist that they have lost their soul.

With this disorder, people have trouble performing simple personal hygiene tasks such as bathing or brushing their teeth. They are unable to conduct day-to-day work activities or perform any kinds of actions that normal people do. They withdraw from the world, thinking that their bodies are decaying and putrefying, and their minds even delude them into seeing the process of decay when they look at their reflection in a mirror. They often do not eat, drink, speak much or interact with others.

Patients with Cotard’s Syndrome have been shown to spend considerable time in a graveyard because that is where they believe they should be.

hunk_walking_dead_by_redkojimax-d6d73duThere were over 1,000 cases documented in 2013. And, although Cotard’s Syndrome was not included in the 1994 nor the 2000 edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, it was included in the tenth edition of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems of the World Health Organization, in which “Cotard Delusion” is identified as a disease of human health.

Cases have been reported in patients with mood and psychotic disorders, and the psychiatric syndrome has varying degrees of severity. Mild cases exhibit as despair and self-loathing, and more severe cases are characterized by intense delusions of non-existence and chronic psychiatric depression.

A recent study of a Cotard’s patient showed that the PET scan of the person’s brain indicated low metabolic activity. Additionally, large parts of the patient’s frontal lobe (which controls attention, memory and motivation) and the parietal lobe (sensory perception) of this patient’s brain had almost no activity—a condition common to people in the vegetative state.

The cause of Cotard’s Syndrome is still unknown, but one famous case was the vocalist in a black metal band called Mayhem and the vocalist developed Cotard’s after he was resuscitated following a serious auto accident.

What is known is that most cases of Cotard’s are more responsive to electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) than to pharmacological therapies. Follow-up psychotherapy with antidepressants, antipsychotics and/or mood stabilizers has proven to be beneficial, however, in restoring a positive self-image for these patients as well as a more normal hopefulness about their future.

So, if you’re looking for a zombie-like plot scenario but want a morezombie_by_hokunin-d1ruvah scientifically-based rather than science fiction-based approach, than look into Cotard’s Syndrome for a reasonable explanation of your next walking corpse character.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

Posted in A Non-Murder Plot, About Medications/Pharmacy, About Murder, About Writing, Accuracy in Writing, Almost Dead, Almost in a Vegetative State, Blog Writers, Blogging, Bloodless Death Scenes, Character Development Techniques, Characteristics of Killing, Cotard Delusion, Cotard's and Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Cotard's and Distorted Body Image, Cotard's Syndrome, Developing Better Writing Skills, Fictional Character Development, Ideas for Murder Scenes, Jules Cotard, Living Dead Disease, Neuroscience, Neuroscience and Murder, People Who Live in a Graveyard, Plot Development, Plotting Murder Scenes, Science-Based Zombies, The Delirium of Negation, The Medical Zombie State, The Psychology of Murder, The Science of Murder, The Walking Dead, The Walking Dead Syndrome, The Zombie Disease, Treatments for Cotard's Syndrome, Treatments for Walking Dead Syndrome, Walking Dead in Writing, Zombie Wannabe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Narcissus Plant – Pretty But Deadly!

I’ve blogged before about some deceptively attractive plants that can be lethal when ingested, and I’ve recently discovered one more to add to the list.

Parts of the beautiful, flowering narcissus plant can be quite poisonous and Narcissusdeadly! Narcissus is a popular ornamental plant for personal gardens, community parks and as cut flowers in the spring and early summer. But it can be as toxic as it is beautiful and is on the list of the top ten most poisonous plants in the world.

The Tulipa/Narcissus plant species, with up to 60 different varieties, originally came from1024px-Narcissus_white Holland. This plant is commonly known by its three most popular varieties: the narcissus, the jonquil and the daffodil. All species of the narcissus plant family, however, contain a common deadly element: the poison lycorine.

Lycorine is a toxic crystalline alkaloid that is highly poisonous, and can be fatal if enough of the plant is ingested. Lycorine is found mostly in the bulbs of the narcissus plant family, but it is also present in the leaves.

This alkaloid inhibits protein synthesis. Depending on the amount consumed, the poison can produce intense gastrointestinal irritation, drooling, loss of appetite, headaches, low blood pressure, central nervous system depression, convulsions and cardiac abnormalities. If someone is given a large enough dose, death could result.

The Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants by Lewis S. Nelson et al describes the symptoms of narcissus poisoning well and warns that children under six are especially vulnerable.

An interesting side note is that florists who handle the plant’s leaves often thdevelop a stubborn dermatitis. The condition is called “daffodil itch” and the symptoms include dryness, skin cracking and fissures, scaling and extreme redness of the skin. There is also an accompanying thickening of the skin beneath the nails from exposure to the plant’s sap.

The daffodil variety of Tulipa/Narcissus is responsible for many accidental poisonings since the daffodil bulbs look so similar to onions and might mistakenly be substituted in cooking for onions. There is evidence in literature that consumption of one or two daffodil2836068-daffodil-bulbs bulbs could prove lethal for the average adult human.

On May 1st, 2009 school children at a primary school in Martlesham Heath, Suffolk, England became seriously ill after a single daffodil bulb was added to soup by mistake during a cooking class.

So the next time you’re searching for an interesting method to kill off a character in your story, have another character cook up a batch of onion soup using several daffodil bulbs instead. The soup will be deliciously deadly!

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

Posted in About James J. Murray, About Murder, About Writing, All About Murder, All About Writing, Blog Writers, Blogging, Bloodless Death Scene Writing, Bloodless Death Scenes, Botanical Murder Weapons, Chemicals Used For Murder, Common Varieties of Narcissus Plant Family, Contact Poisons, Daffodil Plant Dangers, Deadly Daffodil Bulbs, Deadly Poison Lycorine, Developing Writing Skills, Drug Poisoning, Drug Poisoning in Children, Drugs For Murder Plots, Drugs Used to Murder, Eating Poisonous Plants, How To Write A BloodLess Murder Scene, Ideas for Murder Scenes, Interesting Murder Weapons, Jonquil Plant Dangers, Killing a Villain in a Novel, Killing Off Characters in Your Novel, Killing With Poisonous Plants, Murder Weapons, Murder With Drugs, Murder With Poisonous Plants, Narcissus Plant Dangers, New Methods To Kill Characters in Your Novel, Plant Poisons, Plants That Kill, Plants Used For Murder, Plotting Murder Scenes, Poisonous Daffodil Bulbs, Poisonous Narcissus Plant, Poisonous Plants, Poisons Used For Murder, Prescription For Murder Blog, The Science of Murder, Top 10 Most Poisonous Plants, Ways to Murder | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments