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SilentDeath
Revised&Expanded2ndEdition
byUncleFester

LoompanicsUnlimited,PortTownsend,Washington
Thisbookissoldforinformationalpurposesonly.Neithertheauthornorthepublisherwillbeheldaccountablefor
theuseormisuseoftheinformationcontainedinthisbook.

SilentDeath,Revised&Expanded2ndEdition
1997byLoompanicsUnlimited
Allrightsreserved.Nopartofthisbookmaybereproducedorstoredinanyformwhatsoever
withoutthepriorwrittenconsentofthepublisher.Reviewsmayquotebriefpassageswithoutthe
writtenconsentofthepublisheraslongaspropercreditisgiven.

Publishedby:
LoompanicsUnlimited
POBox1197
PortTownsend.WA98368
LoompanicsUnlimitedisadivisionofLoompanicsEnterprises,Inc.
IllustrationsbyDonaldB.ParkerandRaymondBosworth
ISBN1559501596
LibraryofCongressCardCatalog9771320

Dedication
Thisbookisdedicatedtomyenemies,withoutwhosecooperationitwouldnothavebeenpossible.

PREFACE
Inearlier,simplertimes,whenmenlivedinsmallbandsclosetonature,thereexistedineachbandaveryrespected
andspecialindividualtowhomwasentrustedtheancientknowledgeofthehealingandotherspecialpropertiesof
theplantswhichgrewinthearea.Thispersonwastheshamanormedicinemanofthetribe,anditisonepartofhis
craftwhichwewillcelebrateinthisbook.Thisbookisacelebrationofthatancientandfineart,theartofpoisoning.
Theadvanceofmedicalandchemicaltechnologyinrecenttimeshasmadesuccessfulpoisoningmoredifficultthan
itwasinthedaysoftheshaman.Thesimpleandeasilyavailablepoisonssuchasratpoisonorarseniccanallbe
easilydetectedinthebodyofthevictimifathoroughautopsyisdone.Inthecaseofinorganicpoisonssuchas
arsenic,mercury,cadmium,etc.,thetelltaletracesofthesesubstancescanbefoundinthebodyofthedeceasedfor
aslongastheremainsarearoundtobeanalyzed.Itmakesnodifferenceifthebodyisembalmedorcremated,for
thesesubstancesarechemicalelementsandcantbedestroyedbyanythingshortofnuclearhellfire.Forthisreason,
thesuccessfulpoisonermustavoidsuchquickfixesandreturntohisculturalroots,theknowledgeoftheshaman,if
heistoavoiddetection.
Itisasadcommentaryonthebrutishtimesweliveinthattheuseofdeadlysubstancesasameansofhomicideis
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virtuallyunheardof.Insteadofthequietdignityofaneffectivepoison,thosewithhomicidalintentseemto
impulsivelyreachforatgun,knifeorclub.Allthesecrudeinstrumentsleavenodoubtastothecauseofdeath.Asan
oldassociateofmineoncesaid,"Whatarewe,swampanimalsortechnologicalwarriors?"Iamafraidthat,inalltoo
manycases,theansweristheformer.
Thisbookwillattempttocover,insimplelanguage,themanyaspectsofsuccessfulpoisoning.Fromthecrude
inorganic(i.e.mineralbased)poisonswhichgetsomanypeopleaonewaytickettotheBigHouse,tothemuch
moresubtleanddifficulttodetectorganicpoisons,wewillexplorethemethodsusedbyartistsskilledinthecraftto
avoiddetection.Wewillalsocovertheproceduresusedinforensictoxicologylabstodetectthepresenceoftoxic
substancesinthebodyofthevictim.Forthosereallybigjobs,wewillcoverindetailtheproductionanduseofsome
ofthemoredeadlywargases.ThesegasesweresohorriblewhentheywereusedinWorldWarIthattheyhavenot
beenusedinamajorwarsincethen.Forthosewhohavewholearmiestoconquersinglehandedly.Imsurethe
sectionontheproductionanduseofnervegaseswillinterestyou.Thesenervegaseshavebeencalled"thepoor
mansatombomb,"withgoodreasonTheymaketheWorldWarIwargaseslooklikekidsstill?.Imsureyoullbe
surprisedhoweasytomakeandusetheselittlegemsare.Readonandenjoy...

ChapterOne
WHATMAKESAGOODPOISON?
Whenconsideringthelargenumberofsubstanceswhichcanexertadeadlyeffectonthehumanbody,thequestion
naturallycomesup,"Whatmakesonesubstanceagoodpoison,andanotheronenotsogoodoractuallybad?"The
answertothatquestion,ofcourse,dependsuponthecircumstancesinwhichthepoisonistobeused.Whatmaybe
anexcellentwargasmaynotbeverysuitabletotheassassinationofonepersonandviceversa.Choosingtheright
poisonforthejobislikecallingtherightplayinfootball.Itrequiresknowledgeofthesubjectanduseofpsychology
tomaketherightchoice.Thereare,however,somegeneralrulesofthumbtofollowwhichmakethesubject
considerablysimpler.
Thefirsttwogeneralrulesarethegoldenrulesofratpoisoning,whichisonlyright,sincemosttargetsarerats
anyway.Rulenumberoneisthatthelittlegoodietobedeliveredtothesubjectmustnotbeoverlyunpalatable.This
rule,ofcourse,isjustcommonsense,butitisalsothemostviolatedruleofgoodpoisoning.Itisunbelievablehow
oftenpeopledostupidthingslikeputlyeorcleaningfluidinanintendedtargetscoffee,justtohaveitspatrightout.
Youcanimaginethekindofscenesthisblundercanleadto,especiallywhenthewouldbepoisonerisservingthe
drink.Agreatdealofembarrassmentcanbeavoidedbypayingsomeattentiontohowtheintendedtargetislikelyto
reacttothedeadlysubstancebeingoffered.Ifthepoisonisgoingtobeadministeredbymouth,itmaybewiseto
chooseoneofthetasteless,odorlesspoisonsdescribedinthisbook.Alternatively,someofthebrewmaybemixed
upbeforehandandasmalldropofthemixturetasted.Thismayatfirstglanceseemfoolhardy,butsolongasitis
immediatelyspatoutandthemouththoroughlyrinsed,itposeslittledanger.Agoodmixforreallyfoultasting
poisonsisashotofwhiskey.Moreonthislater.
Thesecondgoldenruleofrateliminationsaysthatthematerialshouldnotcausebaitshynessbeforealethaldoseis
consumedSeveralfactorscomeintoplayhere.Mostimportantisthelengthoftimebetweenconsumingthelittle
goodieandtheonsetofthesymptomsofpoisoning.Forexample,let'ssaythemarkisasloweater,andisbeing
givenoneofthematerialswhichshowssomeearlyeffectsuchasnumbnessorburningofthemouthsoonafterany
isconsumed.Thiscouldleadtofailureofthemission,andthemostdireconsequencesforthewouldbepoisoner.
Thisproblembecomesverytrickywhenalargegroupistobeattackedatonce,sincepeoplenaturallybecomevery
warywhentheystarttoseetheirassociateskeelingover.
Iseeseveralwaysaroundthisproblem.Firstofall,oneoftheslowactingpoisonssuchasthejequiritybeanor
botulinmaybeserved.Asanalternative,oneofthemanyfinegasesdescribedinthisbookmaybeused.Iwould
especiallyrecommendphosgene,arsineandphosphineinthisrespect,becausetheydon'thavemuchodoratlethal
concentrations,andtheireffectsaredelayedsothatanentiregroupcanbetakenoutifsodesired.
Thethirdgeneralruleofgoodpoisoningisthathowquicklyapoisonactsiscrucialtoitsvalueinanymission.To
mywayofthinkingonthissubject,apoisonshouldeithercausedeathveryquicklybeforehelpcanbereached,orits
actionshouldbeverymuchdelayedtocausethevictimtobeunabletopinpointthecauseofhisdistressing
condition.Inthisrespect,Ifeelsomeofthecancercausingagentscoveredinthisbookareveryappealing.Theiruse
requirespatience,buttheknowledgethatatimebombhasbeenplantedinthemarkandistickingawaycanbevery
satisfying.
Thefourthgeneralruleofgoodpoisoningisthatthematerialshouldbeavailablewithoutleavingatrailof
suspiciouspurchasestoleadthefingerofguiltpointingbacktotheperpetrator.Forthisreason,poisonswhichcan
beobtainedfromplantsareemphasizedinthisbook.Manyverybeautifulplantshaveverydeadlyeffects.Growinga
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fewofthemwouldraiseabsolutelynosuspicion.Inaddition,therearemanywildplantswhicharealsodeadly
poisonous.Agoodfieldguidebook,availableatanylibraryorbookstore,wouldrevealtothereaderawholenew
worldofwhichhewaspreviouslyunaware.
Itisalsoimportantthatthematerialbelocallyavailable.Icanseelittlevalueinasubstancewhichonemusttravel
halfwayaroundtheworldtoobtain.Inthissamevein,therearemanyfinedeadlysubstanceswhichcaneasilybe
stolenor"borrowed"ifapersonknowswheretolookforthem.Seethelistattheendofthisbookofthechemicals
mentionedinthisbookalongwiththeirmajorindustrialandcommercialusesforhintsonwheretolookforthese
deadlysubstances.
Thefifthandfinalgeneralruleofgoodpoisoningdictatesthatthesubstanceusedshouldbeverydifficulttodetectin
thebody,bothbeforedeath,tofrustratetreatment,andafterdeath,tofrustratetheensuinginvestigation.Tomake
thiseasier,thesymptomsandappearanceofthebodyshouldmimiconeormorenaturaldiseases,sothatdeathmay
beattributedtothisdiseaseatautopsy(seeChapterThirteen).Itisalsoimportantthatthesubstancebeingusedis
effectiveinverysmallamounts,sothatitspresencedoesnotjumpoutatthepersondoingthelabtestsatautopsy.
Muchmoreonthislater,butsufficeittosaynowthatifthesubstanceisexotic,itisnotlikelytobelookedforinthe
corpseatautopsy,andiftheydonotlookforit,itwillnotbefound.Alongthisline,Ionceagainhavetosingthe
praisesofthetimedelaypoisons.Thesewonderfullittlegems,likethecancercausingagentswhichcanbeextracted
fromplants,orobtainedfromindustrialsources,orcookeduponyourown,guaranteealmostcompletesafetyofthe
poisoner.Solongashedoesnotboastofhiscunningorgetcaughtintheact,Iseenowayforhisdeedstolandhim
behindbars.Afterall,ifthecauseofamindividualcaseofcancercouldbeproven,thetobaccocompanieswould
havebeensuedintobankruptcyyearsago.
Onequickwordherebeforewemoveon.Itisanaturalhumantendencytobelievethatifalittleisgood,moremust
bebetter.Thiscouldnotbefartherfromthetruthinthefieldofgoodpoisoning.Thehumanstomachisasensitive
organandmayverywellrebelagainstbeinggivenatmegadoseofanysubstance.Anuntimelyattackofvomiting
couldverywellleadtofailureofthemission,withthemostdireconsequencesforthoseinvolved.Agoodgeneral
ruleistoneverusemorethantwicetherecommendeddose,unlessthevictimisveryfat.Thereisanaddedbenefitin
this,assmallerdosagesaremoredifficulttodetectlater.

ChapterTwo
INORGANICPOISONS
Inorganicpoisons,aswasmentionedearlier,aremineralbasedsubstancescapableofcausingdeath.Mostofthese
arewhatpopularlycometomindwhensomeonementionspoisons.Examplesarearsenic,mercury,cadmium,and
fluorides.These,asarule,arereallybadpoisons,withacoupleexceptionswhichwillbeexaminedindetailinthis
chapter.Thebestthingwhichcanbesaidabouttheseinorganicpoisonsisthattheydothejobwell,meaningthatthe
victimdies,andtheyareprettyeasilyavailableifyouknowwheretolook.Onthehadside,theyaretooeasyto
detect,andthevictimknowsprettyquicklythathehasbeenpoisoned.Itusuallytakesagoodwhileforthevictimto
die,sohehasplentyoftimetosaywherehewasservedhisfatalrepast.Whyevencovertheseinferiorsubstances?
Becauseatquickcoverageofthesebadpoisonswillhelpthereadertoappreciatethequalitiesthatagoodpoison
has.

Fluorides
Thefluoridesarecommon,easilyavailablechemicalswithalotofusesinindustryandpublichealth.Twoofthe
mostcommonfluoridesaresodiumfluoride,NaF,andsodiumfluorosilicate,NaSiF.Theylookalotliketablesalt,
sotheirappearancedoesnotcausealarminthevictim.Afterbeingservedafataldoseoffluoride,thevictimbegins
tothrowupandgetscramps.Thesecrampsworsenuntilthevictimhasconvulsionsandturnsabluegreycolor.
Finallyhedies,becausefluoridestopstheenzymesinthebodyfromfunctioning.Thinkaboutthatwhendrinking
fluoridatedwater.Thebodygetsridoffluorideveryslowly,sowhenthebodyisexaminedatautopsy,mostofthe
originaldoseisstilltheretobefound.Aquicktestforfluorineisastandardpartofmosteveryautopsywhere
poisoningissuspected.Thefataldoseofsodiumfluorideisabout5grams,forsodiumfluorosilicatethefataldoseis
about1gram.Theywillhavenoproblemdetectingthesequantities.Youcanreadmoreaboutfluoridepoisoningin
TheAmericanJournalofMedicalScience,Volume197,page625(1939).TheauthorisGettler.

HeavyMetals
Thesematerialshavenothingtodowithrockmusic.Insteaditisatermusedtorefertomercury,lead,cadmiumand
thecompoundsthattheyform.Sincenoneoftheheavymetalsarenormallyfoundinthebodyinanylargeamount,
findingthematautopsywillbeevidenceenoughtoprovepoisoning.Atestforthepresenceofheavymetalsisa
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standardpartofeveryautopsywherepoisoningissuspected.Mercuryisprettyrepresentativeofthewholegroup,so
Iwilljustdescribeitseffectswithoutgettingintoleadandcadmium.
Mostofusareprobablyfamiliarwithmercurymetal,thesilveryliquidthatfillssomethermometers.Itiscalled
quicksilver,andisnotparticularlydangerous,exceptforitsvapors.Thatisbecauseitdoesnotdissolveintothe
waterinthebody,soitcantgetaroundtodoitswork.Thesaltsofmercuryaremuchmorepoisonous,andofthese,
corrosivesublimateHgClisprobablytheworst.Apersonwhoswallowssomeimmediatelynoticesaharshmetal
tasteinhismouth,followedbyaburningfeelinginthestomach.Soonafterthat,bloodyvomitstartscoming,and
later,bloodydiarrhea.Thekidneysstopworking,sotheflowofurinecomestoahalt.Deathcanoccurwithinone
hourfromabigdose,butitismorelikelytooccurdayslaterfromexhaustion.Thefataldosedependsonhowsoon
aftereatingthepoisonthevictimbeginstovomit.Ifvomitingdoesnotoccur,.2gramwillbeenoughtocausedeath.
Formoreinformation,seeTheAmericanJournalofMedicalScience,Volume185,page149(1933).Theauthoris
Peters.

Oxalates
Oxalatesarecompoundscontainingoxalicacid.Thesepoisonsarealotbetterthantheonesmentionedsofar
becauseoxalicacidismadefromcarbonandoxygen,twoverycommonelementsinthebody.Forthisreason,they
arenotsobadasmostoftherestoftheinorganicpoisons.Acrematedbodywillcarrynotraceofpoisoninthe
ashes.Inspiteofthis,itisstillabadpoisonbecausesuchalargedoseisneeded(about10grams)tocausedeath.It
alsoleavesthekidneyspluggedupwithcalciumdeposits,andthesewillstickoutlikeasorethumbatautopsy.
Oxalatesarewhatmakerhubarbleavespoisonous,sotheyarereallyeasytogetholdof.Servingthemisanother
matter.Formoreinformation,seeJournalofPhysiology,Volume16,page476,(1894),byHowell.

Arsenic
Thisoldstandbyhaslongpassedthetimewhenitwasofanyuse.Itusedtohavegoingforitthefactthatthevictim
couldbeslowlypoisoned,makingitseemthathewasinthegripsofsomeprolongedillness.Now,however,itisall
tooeasytodetectarsenicinthebody.Themostdeadlyarseniccompoundisarsenictrioxide.AsO.Ithasafaint
sweettaste,andafataldoseof.2gram.

Cyanides
Thesepackalotofpunch,andleavenodoubtastotheoutcomeofthematter,buteversincetheTylenolmurders,
coronershavecyanideonthebrain.Apersonwhohasbeenfedsodiumorpotassiumcyanidewillhavethe
characteristicsmellofcyanideontheirbreath,nottomentionmoreofitstillintheirstomach.Thegas,hydrogen
cyanide,ismuchlessobviousordetectable,butitsnotexactlysubtleeither.IfyouhavereadThePoorMans
JamesBondandfeellikefoolingaroundwithhydrogencyanide(HCN),Imustwarnyouthattheapparatusshown
formakinghydrogencyanideisnotuptothetaskofliquefyingthegasandkeepingitaliquiduntilusedHCNboils
at26C,whichisnormalroomtemperature.Evenwellbelowthattemperatureitevaporatesofffumeslikecrazy.If
youhaveeverfooledaroundwithether,youknowwhatImean.Thesefumesareverydeadly,onepartper2000air
isadeadlyconcentration.Ifyoumustfoolaroundwiththestuff,OrganicSynthesesreportsthatifyousmokea
cigarettewhilearoundHCN,thetasteofthesmokewillbecomeunpleasantifyouarebreathinginanyHCN.The
fataldoseofsodiumorpotassiumcyanideisabout.1gramForHCNitisabout.05gram(50milligrams).Thisisa
littleover/ofaquartofgas,ifinhaleddirectly.

CarbonMonoxide
Afterthatbriefcoverageofsomeofthebadpoisons,letsmoveontothegoodones.CarbonmonoxideisapoisonI
canreallygetexcitedabout,toparaphrasemyfavoriteTVsalesman.Itsnotthatcarbonmonoxideissohardto
detectthatmakesitsogood.Onthecontrary,itsprettyobvious.Thebeautyofcarbonmonoxideisthatanattack
withcarbonmonoxidecansoeasilybemadetolooklikeanaccident.Iliveinthenorthernpartofthecountry,and
duringthecoldweatherseasonitisaverycommoneventforpeopletobeovercomebycarbonmonoxideintheir
homes.Thisisusuallybecausetheirfurnacewasnotburningitsfuelproperly,orbecauseasquirrelorsomeother
creaturedecidedtobuildanestintheexhaustflue.Thesefactscanbetakenadvantageofbytheresourcefulpoisoner
tomakeanattackappeartobeanunfortunateaccident.
Carbonmonoxideisacolorless,odorless,tastelessgaswiththechemicalformulaCO.Itisformedbyburning
materialswhentheydonotgetenoughairtoburncompletelytocarbondioxide.Itisalsoflammable,socaremust
betakenwhenhandlinglargeamountsofthegas.
Carbonmonoxideispoisonousbecauseitgetsintothebloodstreamwhereitcombineswiththehemoglobininthe
blood.Thiscombinationisnotabletocarryoxygenanymore,sothevictimsuffocates.Thefirstsymptomofcarbon
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monoxidepoisoningisaheadache,whichisfollowedbyweakness,nauseaanddizziness,leadingfinallytoacoma
anddeath.Theskinofthevictimischerryred,asuresignofcarbonmonoxidepoisoning.
Thereisaformulatouseincalculatingthefataldoseofcarbonmonoxide.Itisprettysimple,butIwillexplainhow
touseit,foreveryonewhosleptthroughmathclass.Theformulais:
(hoursexposure)x(partsCOper10,000)>15
Thismeansthatifthehoursthatthevictimisexposedtocarbonmonoxide,timespartsCOper10,000airisgreater
than15,afataldosehasbeenabsorbedbythetarget.Forexample,let'ssaythatthemarkisinatrailerhome(they
havenotoriouslybadheaters)measuring50feetlong,15feetwideand8feethigh.Thismeansthatthetrailerhasa
volumeof6000cubicfeet,becausetheformulaforfindingthevolumeofaboxlikeobjectislengthtimeswidth
timesheight.Pluggingthisfigureintotheoriginalformulaforaonehourexposure,weget6000dividedby10,000
times15equals9.Anyamountofcarbonmonoxideover9cubicfeetisalethaldoseinonehourstime.Withatwo
hourexposure,thelethaldoseisanythingover4andonehalfcubicfeet.
Itisveryimportantherethattheattackerresistthenormalhumanimpulsetoputtoomuchofthegasintothetarget.
Atautopsy,theamountofcarbonmonoxideinthebloodwillbemeasured,andanythingfarabovethelethalrange
willbecauseforsuspicion.Ithinkthat,takingintoaccountcirculationoffreshairintothetarget,notmorethan
doublethelethaldoseofcarbonmonoxideshouldbeused.Ifthetargetbuildingissealedupforcoldweather,that
amountshoulddothejobwell.
Asyoucansee,carbonmonoxideisaverysneakyandversatilepoison.Thequestionwhichnaturallyfollowsis:
"Howdoestheattackerdeliverthecarbonmonoxidetothetarget?"Theanswertothatisthathehasseveraloptions.
Thesimplest,andinmanywaysthebestcourseisfortheattackertosimplypluguptheexhaustflueforthetargets
heatingsystem.Thisworksbestfornaturalgasheatedbuildings,lesswellwithfueloilheatedtargets,andofcourse,
notatallforelectricallyheatedbuildings.Ifthetargetiselectricallyheated,thecarattackschemethatfollowsmay
beresortedto.Inplugginguptheexhaustflueofthetarget,theattackertakescaretousethingslikedryleaves,plant
stems,andsmallplasticobjects.Thesearetypicalmaterialsusedbywildcreaturestomakenestsforthemselvesina
warmplacelikeanexhaustflue.Thisplanofactionhastheadvantagethatwhatevertragiceventsensuearealleasily
explainedoninvestigationassimplyanunfortunateaccident.
Ifthissubtleformofattackfails,thedeterminedpoisonerthenmustresorttoamoredirectattackThisisdoneby
actuallypumpingsomecarbonmonoxideintothetargetbuilding.Hereishowitisdone:
Theattackerrigsuptheapparatus(shownonthenextpage)inagarageorsimilarbuilding.Hetakescaretomake
surethatafanissetupinawindow,blowingoutward,tokeepcarbonmonoxidefrombuildingupinthebuilding.
Youseeinthediagramonthenextpage,asystemwhichcanbeusedtomakepurecarbonmonoxide,andthenpump
itintoanautomobiletireforstorageandtransportation.Iwillstartbyexplainingthesetofglasswareseeninthe
upperlefthandportionofthesystem,sincethisparticularrigwillbeseenafewmoretimesinthisbook.

Thesetwopiecesofchemicalglasswareareveryusefulformakinggases.Theyhavegroundglassjointswhichfit
togethertightly,preventingdangerousgasleaks.Thevalveontheseparatoryfunnelallowschemicalstoberunfrom
thefunnelintotheflaskwithouttakingaparttherig,causinggastospewoutintotheair.Thesetwopiecesof
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glasswarerunabout$50each,andarewellworthit.Tomywayofthinking,nohomeiscompletewithoutsome
laboratoryequipmentlayingaround.Thesetwopiecesareeasilyavailablefromscientificsupplyhouses(myfavorite
isSargentWelchinSkokie,IL60077).Nosuspicionwillfallonapersonwhoordersthesetwopiecesofequipment,
especiallynotsuspicionofpoisongasmanufacture.Averypoorsubstituteforthesetwopieceswouldbealarge
champagnebottlewiththeplastictubingconnectedtothetopofthebottle.Thisis,however,averypoorsubstitute
whichmakesamockeryofthedeadlyseriousbusinesswhichpoisoningis.Italsoaddsalargedangerthatthe
poisonermaybecomethepoisonee.

Nowforhowthissystemworks.Youseetheseparatoryfunnelinthediagramhasbeenstuckintothemiddleneckof
the3neckedflask.Forthisconnectiontobeairtight,thegroundglassjointsmustbeofthesamesize.Myfavorite
sizeis24/40,butanysizewilldo.Youwillalsonoticethatoneofthenecksofthe3neckedflaskhasbeen
stoppered(acorkwilldoforthis,somebubblegumwillhelpsealitup),andfinally,intothethirdneckoftheflask,
asectionofclearplastictubinghasbeeninserted.Thediameterofthistubingshouldbebigenoughtofittightlyinto
theneckoftheflaskandformatightseal.Somebubblegumcanalsohelptosealthisup.
Nownoticetheplasticbagthatthistubingleadsto.Thisbagsurroundsabicycletirepump(orafoottypepumpwill
workaswell)whichisconnectedtoanautomobiletire.Itisveryimportantthatthisbagnotleak,andthatthepump
maybeworkedwithoutwreckingthebag.Thisisallcheckedoutbeforethedeterminedpoisonerstartstomake
carbonmonoxide.
Finally,theautomobiletiremusthaveaninnertubeinit.Thisissothatitdoesnotleakwhileiillingit,andalsoso
thattheattackermaystartwithadeflatedinnertube.Thismakescalculatingtheamountofcarbonmonoxideinthe
tiremuchsimplerthanstartingwithatirethatalreadyhasairinit.
Nowthatallthesethingshavebeencheckedout,thepoisonerisreadytostartmakingcarbonmonoxide.Intothe
1000ml3neckedflaskisplaced500mlofformicacid.Theusualgradeofformicacidis88%pure,andworksquite
well.Intotheseparatoryfunnelisplaced100mlofconcentratedsulfuricacid.Goodeyeprotection,likeapairof
goggles,isalwayswornbythepersonusingthesechemicals,becausestrongchemicalslikethesecaneasilycause
blindnessifsplashedaccidentallyintheeyes.Withhiseyeprotectioninplace,thegasseropensupthevalveonthe
separatoryfunnelandletsabouthalfofthe100mlofconcentratedsulfuricacidflowintotheformicacid,andswirls
itaroundtomixitintotheformicacid.Alittlebubblingmaystartnow,butasarule,themixturemustbeheatedto
getproductionofcarbonmonoxide.
Todothis,the3neckedflaskisputinapanthatisjustalittlebiggeraroundthantheflaskis,thepanisthenfilleda
littleoverhalffullofwater,andthepanandflaskareputonasingleburnerhotplatebuffetrangewithinfinite
temperaturecontrolknob.Oneofthesecostsabout$20atthelocalhardwarestore.Theheatisturnedontothepan,
andthewaterisbroughttoasimmer.Astheacidmixtureheatsupintheflask,bubblingoutofcarbonmonoxide
getsgoingwell.Thereactiongoingonhereis:
HCOOH
formic
acid

sulfuricacid

CO
carbon
monoxide

HO
water

Formicacid,whenitgetsheated,breaksdownintowaterandcarbonmonoxide.Sulfuricacidactsasacatalystfor
thisreactionbysoakingupthewaterformedinthereaction.
Soasthecarbonmonoxidebeginsfillinguptheplasticbag,itispumpedintotheautomobiletire.Thiscouldrequire
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somefastpumpingatfirsttokeepup,butsoonthesulfuricacidwillhavesoakedupaboutasmuchwaterasitcan,
andthebubblingoutofcarbonmonoxidegaswillslowdown.Thenitistimeforthepoisonertoaddtherestofthe
sulfuricacidfromtheseparatoryfunnelintotheflask,andclosethevalve.
Thepressureinthetiremustbefollowedcloselyafteritbeginstogettofullpressure.From500mlofformicacid,
upto10cubicfeetofcarbonmonoxidecanbeformed.Nowthevolumeoftheaverageautotire(15inchrim,8inch
diameterinnertube)Icalculateatabout2.1cubicfeet.Ifitisinflatedto45lbs.pressure,whichIthinkisaboutthe
upperlimitofsafety,thatmeansitisholdingtriplenormalatmosphericpressure,andsomeansthatitisholding
triplethe2.1cubicfeetofcarbonmonoxide,or6.3cubicfeetofcarbonmonoxide.Thismeansthatthetirewillbe
pumpeduptomaximumpressureabouthalfwaythroughthereaction,andafreshonemustbereadytogotoholdthe
remainingcarbonmonoxide.Theexactamountofcarbonmonoxideineachtirecanbecalculatedbyfindingthe
volumeoftheinnertube,measuringthepressureofthegasinthetirewithatiregauge,andpluggingthesenumbers
intothisformula:
pressureintire
x

volumeoftire

volumeofgasintire

15lbspersq.Inch
Sothepressureofthecarbonmonoxideinthetire,dividedbythenormalatmosphericpressureof15lbs.persquare
inch,timesthevolumeofthetireisthevolumeofthecarbonmonoxidegasinthetire.
Rightaroundthetirechangetime,therateofbubblingmayslowupagain.Thismeansitistimetoaddanotherdose
ofsulfuricacidtothemixture.Putanother100mlofconcentratedsulfuricacidintotheseparatoryfunnel,andletit
flowintothe3neckedflask.Thiswillgetthingsgoingagain,especiallyafteritgetsswirledtomixitin.
Sonowthatourdeterminedpoisonerhasthissupplyofconvenientlybottledcarbonmonoxide,whatdoeshedowith
it?Hemovestotheattack,anddeliversittothemark.Theeasiestwayforhimtodothisistodriveuptothetarget
withthecarbonmonoxidefilledtiresinthetrunk,rollthemuptothedwellingtobegassed,andletthecarbon
monoxideoutofthemthroughasectionoftubingintothedwelling.Asmallnicktakenoutofthecornerofa
windowworkslineforintroducingthegasintothetargetSincecarbonmonoxideisveryclosetothesameweightas
air,itwillmixevenlywithalltheairinthetargeteventually.Anicetouchtohelpcovertracksafterthejobisto
obstructthefurnaceexhaustbeforeleavingthescene.
Ausefulvariationonthisschemeisforthevictimscartobeattackedinsteadofhishome.Thishastheadvantage
thatthecarisofteneasiertogettothanamanshome.Lockeddoorsareeasilyopenedwithathinstripofmetaland
thegaspipedinbeforeclosingthecarbackup.Thisworksbestwhenthetargetisgoingtobetakingafairlylong
tripwiththecar,sothatsuchalargeamountofcarbonmonoxideneednotbeusedthatitcausessuspicion.The
resultingtrafficcrashislikelytobefatal,evenifthegasisnt.Thequestionwhichmustbeansweredbefore
embarkingonthisplaniswhethertheeliminationofthevictimissoimportantthatitisworthexposinginnocent
peopletoriskwhenthetargetbecomesdrowsyontheroad.

CarbonDioxide
Carbondioxide(CO)isnotusuallythoughtofasadeadlypoisonbythegeneralpublic,butitis,inmyopinion,one
ofthebestofallpoisons.Theautopsyonapersonwhohadbeenpoisonedwithcarbondioxidewouldshownothing,
justthatthevictimhadstoppedbreathingandhadsuffocated.Nottheforciblesuffocationwithapilloworwhatever
thatisseensoofteninoldmovies.No,thatissoobviousbecauseapersonwhoisbeingstrangledorsuffocatedwill
vomitupintohislungsinavainattempttoclearhisairways.Hewillalsoinhalefibersofwhateverisbeingusedto
suffocatehim.Allthiscanhefoundquiteeasilyatautopsy.Instead,thepersonwhobreathesintoomuchCO
actuallydrownsinthegas.Uponexaminationofthebody,itwillappearthatthevictimstoppedbreathinginhis
sleep.Thisisnotthatrareanoccurrence.Peoplewhosufferfromaconditioncalledapneawilloftendieintheir
sleepbecausetheyforgottokeepbreathing,orthelackofaircancauseaheartattack.Peoplewhohaveapnea
usuallydonotknowthattheystopbreathingintheirsleep,unlesstheirbedpartnertellsthemofthecondition.Itisa
commoncauseofearlyandmysteriousdeath.Anattackwithcarbondioxidecaneasilylooklikedeathfromapnea.
COhastwomaindrawbackstoitsuseasapoison.Firstofall,alargeamountofitmustbeusedtocauselethal
effects.Thegenerallyacceptedlethaldoseofcarbondioxideis4%,overafairlylongperiodoftime.Tobesureof
thejob,theattackerwouldwanttodoublethislevelto8%CO.Thisisalargeamountofgas,especiallyifalarge
areaistobegassed.Thelargeamountwhichmustbeusedalsomakesitdifficultforallofthegastodissipateoutof
theattackareabeforethebodyisdiscovered.Afindingof"diedinhissleepofnaturalcauses"isnottobeexpected
whenthepeoplewhodiscoverthebodykeelovershortlyafterenteringtheroom.
Secondly,onlyasleepingpersoncanbeeasilyattackedwithCO.Apersonwhoisawakewouldnoticethe
headache,dizziness,andrapidbreathingcausedbycarbondioxide.Asaconsequenceofthesetwodrawbacks,it
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maybedifficultorimpossibletomountanattackwithCOonatargetwhosleepsholedupinaheavilyfortified
Fuehrerbunker.
COisprobablythemosteasilyavailabledeadlysubstance.Itstwomostcommonformsareasdryiceandasa
pressurizedgasincylinders.Thecylindersaremostcommonlyseeninweldingshops,andhookeduptobeerkegsto
keeptherrifromgoingflatoricetheyhavebeentapped.Manyliquorstorescarrythesecylindersfortheirkegbeer
customers.
OnepoundofCO,ineithertheformofdryiceorinsideacylinder,will,whenexpandedintotheair,takeupa
volumeofalittleover8cubicfeet.SotocalculatetheamountofCOneededtoproduceadeadlyconcentrationof
COinaroom,wejustfindthevolumeoftheroom,anddivideitby10togethowmuchCOisneededtoproduce
a10%concentrationofCOinthetarget.
Forexample,ifaroomis15by15by8feet,thevolumeoftheroomis1800cubicfeet.Onetenthofthatis180
cubicfeet.SinceonepoundofCOisabout8cubicfeet,wedivide180by8andgettheanswerof22.5poundsof
COneededtoproducea10%concentrationofCOintheroom.Indealingwithcylinders,itisvitallyimportant
thatpoundsofpressureshowingonagaugenotbemistakenforhowmanypoundsofCOareinthecylinder.

ChapterThree
WARGASES
ThesceneisFrance.1915,andthearmiesofEuropearelockedinbloody,stalematedtrenchwarfare.Inaneffortto
breakthisdeadlock,theGermanArmycalleduponthemostpowerfulsegmentofitseconomy,thechemicalindustry
andthebrilliantchemistsbehindit,togivethemaweaponforvictory.Thuswasbornthemoderneraofchemical
warfare.
Thefirstchemicalusedwaschlorine.TheresultsontheunprotectedAlliedsoldierswerespectacular.Thousandsof
soldierswereeitherkilledorseriouslyinjuredinoneattack.Chlorine,however,hasaseriousdrawback.Itisvery
unpleasanttobreathe,andsogivesawarningtothepeoplebeinggassed.Itis,infact,prettynastyatconcentrations
muchtolowtocauseinjuryoverashortperiodoftime.Theonlywaypeoplecouldbegassedwithchlorineisifthey
couldnotescapefromthecloudofgas.Youcanprovethistoyourselfifyouwant,bymixingasmallamountof
bleachandSaniFlushinatoiletbowl,justbeforeflushingitdownandescapingthearea.Thepowerfulbiteof
chlorineisimpossibletoignore.
Preface
WhatMakesAGoodPoison?
InorganicPoisons
WarGases
NerveGas:ThePoorMan's
AtomBomb
TimeDelayFire
PoisonsFromNature
CIAShellfishToxin
Trembles
Botulism
Ricin:Kitchenimprovised
Devastation
DeliveryToTheTarget
TimeDelayPoisons
Autopsy!
Chemicals

Phosgene
Toovercomethisproblem,anewandmuchmorepowerfulgaswasintroduced,phosgene.Phosgeneendedup
causingmoredeathandinjurythananyothergasusedinWorldWarI.Itwasverysneaky,inthatpeopleoftendid
notrealizetheywerebeinggassedwithphosgene,anditseffectswereoftendelayedforadayortwo.Afewstories
fromWorldWarIwillhelptoillustratethesepoints.
Onedayduringthewar,aBritishsergeantwasworkingonsomeemptiedcylindersofphosgene,disconnectingsome
pipesfromthemafteranattackontheGermanlines.Upontakingapartoneofthepipes,hegotitsmallwhiffof
phosgene.Hedidntthinkanythingofit,andjustcarriedonwithhiswork.Hegotagoodnightssleep,hadafine
breakfast,butsoonafter,hebecameverysickanddied24hoursafterhisfatalwhiff.Moralofthestory:people
generallydontrealizethattheyarebeinggassedwithphosgene.Itissubtle,butdevastating.
OnemorestoryOneday,afteraBritishphosgeneattackontheGermanlines,acapturedGermansoldiermsbrought
inforquestioning.Ingreatspirits,hescornedtheBritishgasasuseless.Thenextdayhewasdead.Moralofthe
story:peopleliketobegassedwithphosgene.TheeuphoriathattheGermansoldierfeltisaatypicalsymptomof
phosgene.
Asyoucanseefromtheabovestories,phosgenewasagreatadvancefortheartofpoisoning.Itisequallyusefulin
theassassinationofoneindividual,orforassaultingheavilyfortifiedinstallations.Forexample,aningenioussoldier
offortunecouldtoppleabananarepublicsinglehandedlybyintroducingitlittleofthisgasintotheventilation
systemofwhateverbuildingtherulingjuntahappenstobemeetingin.Theywouldnotevenrealizetheyareunder
attack,untiltheykeeloverthenextday.Manyotherstrongholdsofthepowersystem(yes,thoseplaces!)areequally
vulnerabletothekindofinsidiousattackwhichispossiblewithphosgene,oroneoftheotherwargasesdescribedin
thisbook.Whythisideahasnotbeenputintopracticebefore,Icannotimagine.Itspeakspoorlyforthequalityof
mercenaryfightinggoingonthesedays,toomuchconventionalthinking.
Nowthatyouseehowpotentiallyusefulphosgeneis,let'sgetdowntothenittygrittyofwhatitisandhowtoget

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holdofsome.Phosgeneisalsocalledcarbonylchloride,orcarbonoxychloride.IthasthechemicalformulaCOCl.
Itisagasatnormalroomtemperaturebecauseitboilsatabout8C,butwithalittleextrapressure,itbecomesa
liquidatroomtemperature.Forthisreason,itisoftenstoredandshippedasaliquidincylinders,orinrailroadtank
cars.Itisnothardtoimaginethehavocwhichwouldbewreakedifoneofthesetankcarsblewupwhilepassing
throughapopulatedarea.Phosgenehasafaintsmellwhichhasbeendescribedaslikemustyhayorgreencorn
Phosgeneisverypoisonous,butjusthowpoisonousitishasnotbeenagreedupon.Dependingonwhichsourceyou
believe,thefataldoseofPhosgenefora30minuteexposureisanywherefromonepartinamillionairtoonepartin
50,000air.ThefigureIputthemostfaithinsaysonepartin100,000airfora30minuteexposure.
Phosgenehassomequirkswhichmustbetakenintoaccounttoeffectivelyuseit.Firstofall,itisquiteabitheavier
thanair,soitwillsink.Itwouldnotbeveryeffectivetojustpipesomeofitintoaroom,andexpectittomakeit
aroundthetargetareafromthere.Introducingitintotheventilationsystemwouldbemuchmoreeffective.The
necessityofintroducingitintotheventilationsystemcouldbeavoidediffansorotheractivemethodsofkeepingthe
airmovinginthetargetbuildingareinuse.
Phosgenealsohasastrangeeffectonthetasteoftobaccosmoke.Itmakeswhatwouldnormallybeafinesmoke
tastelikerolleduphay.Whetherthiswouldalertthemark(s),orjustmakethemcursetheirbrandofsmokesis
difficulttosay,butthispropertyofphosgeneshouldbekeptinmind.Theattackerscouldusethistotheiradvantage
towarnthemwhentheyarebeingexposedtophosgene.Thechangeintobaccotasteisespeciallypronouncedin
pipes.
Phosgenehasanotherstrangepropertyinthatitwillrustmetalobjectswhenitgetsoutintheair.Thisisbecause
Phosgenereactswiththewaterintheairtomakehydrochloricacid,whichthenrustsmetal.Thisrusttakesalittle
whiletodevelop,soitwillnotalertthevictim,butitcouldbeofhelptoinvestigatorslater,todeterminethesiteof
theattack.Thisreactionofphosgenewithwatermakesphosgeneuselessinrainyweather.
Themedicaleffectsofphosgeneareveryinteresting.Attherecommendedconcentrationaboutonepartin100,000
air,thevictimdoesnotnoticeanything.Perhapsaslighttingleinthethroatorsmartingintheeyes,butthisvery
quicklypassesandallseemswelltothemark.Phosgenegashasnocolor,sothereisnothinghewouldseewhich
wouldtiphimoff.Followingtheexposuretothegas,thevictimfeelsfine.Hemay,infact,feeleuphoric.Littledoes
thevictimknowthathislungshavebeenseared,andarefillingupwithfluid,whileheisfeelingsogood.Then,
unfortunatelyforthetarget,hebeginstofeelsick.Justhowlongittakestobeginfeelingsickdependsonhowlarge
adoseofthegasthevictimreceived.Withsmallerdoses,itcouldtakeaslongas2days.
Thevictimfindsthatthemostinsignificanteffortwillsendhispulsethroughtheroof,andhistorturedlungsbattling
forbreath.Thepersonliterallybeginstodrowninfluidseepingfromhislungtissues.Itcomesuptothemouthasa
wateryfluidwithsomebloodinit.Thevictimmaygurgleupahalfagallonofthisstuffperhour,untilhefinally
losesthestrengthtocoughitup.Thiscouldtakeaslongastwodaystodo.
Naturally,apersondyingthiswayisprobablynotgoingtohelistedasanaturaldeath.Thequestionis,whatwillit
belistedas?Peoplewithfailingheartsoftendiewiththeirlungsfilledwithfluid,asdoheroinjunkiessufferingfrom
overdose,buttheirlungsarenotsearedlikethephosgenevictim.Unlessthevictimlikedtosniffglueandother
strangethings,itisagoodbetthataninvestigationwouldbelaunchedafterdeathtodeterminewhetherthevictim
accidentallycameintocontactwithsomethingwhichsearedthesurfaceofhislungs,orwasmurdered.Becausethis
issuchanexoticwaytodie,oddsaregoingtofavorthefindingofaccidentaldeath,unlesssomestrongbitof
evidenceshowsup(i.e.,witnesses,insuranceorothermotive,orfindingthephosgenerustedgassite)toshowthat
thevictimwasmurdered.Ofcourse,purchasesofphosgenebyasuspectwouldbedamningevidence.
Howthendocsapersongetsomephosgene?Forsome,itmayhesimplesttostealsomeortohaveitgiventothem
fromaconnectioninthechemicalindustrywhocanheistitforthem.Phosgeneisusedalotinthedyeindustry,and
toalesserextentthroughoutthechemicalmanufacturingindustry.Itisusuallyfoundingascylindersunderpressure,
althoughitissometimesfoundasasolutionintoluene.
Forthoseofuswhodonthavetheconnectionstogetphosgeneforus,itiswisetomakesomeupfromscratch.Itis
notparticularlyhard,nordangerous,ifsomebasicprecautionsaretaken.Asalways,takecare,workwhilesober,
andsafetyfirst!
Phosgenewasfirstmadein1812byJohnDavybymixingtogethercarbonmonoxideandchlorine,andlettingthe
mixturesitinthesunlight.Thisishowphosgenegotitsname,"phos"meaninglightand"gene"meaningmadefrom.
Thisisaninterestingreaction,butitisjustnotpracticalforcookingsomeupbecausetheamountofproductmadeis
solow.Youmostlygetbackthecarbonmonoxideandchlorineyoustartedwithonlyasmallamountofphosgeneis
made.
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Thegiantchemicalmanufacturersmakephosgenebypassingamixtureofchlorineandcarbonmonoxideovera
speciallymadecatalystofcharcoal.Thisisagood,cheapmethod,butitisnotsuitableforthehomeexperimenter.
ThePoorMansJamesBondclaimthatphosgenecanbemadebysettingapanfilledwithcarbontetrachloride(dry
cleaningfluid)onaradiatorandlettingitsit.Sorryaboutthis,Kurt,butitjustaintso.Thecarbontetrachloridewill
justheatupuntilitsboilingpointof76Cisreached,thenitwilljustboilaway.Nomeasurableamountsofphosgene
canbemadebythismethod.Perhapsthismisunderstandinggotstartedbecauseifcarbontetrachlorideissplashed
ontoredhotmetal,afairamountofphosgeneismade.Thisisoneofthedangersofusingafireextinguishercharged
withcarbontetrachloride,andcouldperhapsheusedinanemergencytomakesomephosgene.Youcanbetthatyou
willneverseethatoneonMacGyver!
Thebestwayforphosgenetobemadeonafairlysmallscaleisbyreactingfumingsulfuricacidwithcarbon
tetrachloride.Carbontetrachlorideisfairlyeasilyavailableatthehardwarestoreataverycheapprice.Itisbecoming
scarcerlatelybecauseithasbeenfoundthatprolongedexposuretocarbontetrachloridecancauseliverproblems,
butitcanstillbefoundattheseeasysources.Fumingsulfuricacidisafairlycommonlaboratorychemical,costing
about$35perpintwhenpurchasedinsmallamounts.Itisamixtureofsulfurtrioxideinsulfuricacid,withtheusual
concentrationofsulfurtrioxide(SO,alsocalledoleum)inthesulfuricacidbeingintherangeof20%.
Thereactionthatactuallytakesplaceisbetweenthesulfurtrioxideinthefumingsulfuricacid,andthecarbon
tetrachloride.
SO
sulfur
trioxide

CCl
carbon
tetrachloride

COCl
phosgene

2SOHCl
chlorosulfonic
acid

Phosgeneisproduced,andbubblesoutofthemixture.Thechlorosulfonicacidproducedasabyproductstaysasa
liquiddissolvedintheunreactedsulfuricacid.Noheatingisneededtomakethisreactiongo,soproductionof
phosgeneisveryquickandsimple.Grenadesproducingphosgenecanalsobedevised.
Tomakephosgene,thesamecombinationofseparatoryfunneland3neckedflaskisusedaswasshowninthe
sectiononcarbonmonoxide.Insteadofthetirestoragesystemusedforcarbonmonoxide,however,wehaveinstead
usedalengthofvinyltubingleadingtothetarget.Thisisbecausephosgenedoesunbelievablethingstorubber,like
turningitintoanoilygoo.Forthisreason,thephosgenemustbedirectlypumpedintotheventilationsystemof
whateverbuildingistobeattacked.Theairintakeofanairconditionerisaveryconvenientplacetointroducegases
intoabuilding.Thedraftthattheconditionermakeswillhelptnkeepthephosgenestirredupintheair,ratherthan
lettingitsettleintothelowpointsofthebuilding.

Aconvenientsizedbatchofphosgenetoshowhowthissystemworksisaboutofacubicfootofphosgene.Thisis
enoughphosgenetomakeaonepartin50,000concentrationofphosgeneinabuilding33,000cubicfeetlarge.In
calculatingtheamountofgasactuallydeliveredtothetarget,itmustherenumberedthatthegasfirsthastofillup
theflaskandthelengthoftubing.Sothevolumeoftheairspaceleftabovethechemicalsintheflask,andthe
volumeoftheinsideofthelengthoftubingmustbesubtractedfromthetotalamountofgasproduced.
Nowtobegin.Tomakecubicfootofphosgene,100mlofcarbontetrachlorideisputintothe3neckedflaskThe
sectionoftubing,stopper,andseparatoryfunnelareallputsecurelyinplace.Then230mloffumingsulfuricacidis
putintheseparatoryfunnel(Careful!Fumingsulfuricacidisevenworsethanregularsulfuricacid.Alwayswear
glovesandeyeprotection.)Thevalveoftheseparatoryfunnelisopenedalittle,andaslowstreamoffumingsulfuric
acidisallowedtoflowintothe3neckedflask.Itisswirledaroundtohelpmixitin,andalmostimmediately
phosgenebeginstobubbleoutofthemixture.Therateofadditionoffumingsulfuricacidshouldbecontrolledto
keeptheamountofphosgenebubblingoutatanytimeundercontrol.Thereactionisprettywelldoneabout5
minutesafterthelastofthefumingsulfuricacidhasbeenaddedtothecarbontetrachloride,solongasthemixing
wasOK.Theliquidleftintheflaskcanthenberinsedoutwithwater(watchoutformorefumes!)andthewhole
systempackedupandmovedoutofthearea.
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Nowforafewnotesonthisprocess.Theamountofhintingsulfuricacidusedwascalculatedonhavingthe20%
sulfurtrioxidetypeoffumingsulfuricacid.Ifthefumingsulfuricacidwasinstead40%sulfurtrioxide,thenonly
halfasmuchwouldhavetobeused.Thereisalsononeedtosticktothecubicfootsizedbatch.Abatchofany
sizecanbemade.Tomakehalfasmuch,usehalfasmuchofbothchemicals.Finally,itisvitalthatonlyfuming
sulfuricacidbeusedinthisreaction.Ifordinaryconcentratedsulfuricacidisused,thereactiontakesanothercourse.
Hydrogenchloridegas(HCl)isproducedalongwiththephosgene,andthisisveryunsatisfactorybecausethe
intensebiteofHClwhenbreathedinwouldalertthevictims.Thereactiondonethiswayalsorequireheating,and
theadditionofinfusorialearthasacatalyst.(SeeChemicalAbstracts,Vol.17,page1395.andVol.13,page2492.)
Agrenadeforphosgenewouldbeaveryhandything,Theattacker(s)couldthenjustthrowitatthetargetandtake
off,insteadofhavingtostickaroundtosupervisethedeliveryofphosgenetothetarget.Thecommotioncausedby
throwingagrenadewillprobablyruintheelementofsurpriseandstealthfortheattacker,buttherearesituations
wherethisisjustified.Forexample,agrenadedroppeddownalargeventilationshaftwouldprobablyneverbe
noticeduntilitwastoolate.
Indesigningagrenadeforphosgene,wecometoseveraldifficulties.Firstofall,bothingredientsusedinthemelting
ofphosgeneareliquids.Thismakesthedesignofagrenademorecomplicatedthanifoneoftheingredientswasa
solid.Secondly,fumingsulfuricacidisareallynastysubstance.Itgivesofffumesthatdeveloppressureifitis
warm.Itisalsoreallycorrosivetoawidevarietyofsubstances.Tocomplicatethingsfurther,thetwoingredients
mustbeheldtogetherinoneplacelongenoughforthemtomixandstarttoreact.
Thedesignyouseeonthenextpagesolvesthesedifficulties,andworksreasonablywell.

Theideahereisforthefragileceramicvasestobeshatteredwhenthegrenadehitspaydirt,allowingthechemicalsto
mix,spewingphosgeneouttheholedrilledinthetopofthepip:.Forthistoworkeverytime,thecontainersinside
thepipemusthavesomeroomtoflyaroundinsidethepipesothattheyaresuretobeshatteredonimpact.Thecork
inthecontaineroffumingsulfuricacidmustbecoatedwithwaxtokeeptheacidfromdissolvingtheworkwhilethe
grenadeisinstorage.Asanalternative,theCClcouldjustbepouredintothepipeinsteadofkeptinacontainerin
thevase.Thiswouldhelpshrinkthesizeofthegrenadeforeasierthrowing.Thedisadvantagesofdoingthisare:(1)
thegrenadewouldhavetobekeptuprighttokeepfromspillingtheCCl,and(2)thepoolofliquidcouldactasa
cushionforthevasecontainingthefumingsulfuricacid,preventingitfrombreakingonimpact.Thisdesigncouldbe
scaledupforuseasabombtobedroppedfromairplanes.Thegrenadeshouldcontainatleasttwiceasmuchfuming
sulfuricacidascarbontetrachloride,justaswiththegasgenerator.

Arsine
Arsine(AsHalsocalledarseniurettedhydrogen)isaverygoodgeneralpurposepoison.That'snottosaythatitisa
perfectpoison.No,itleavestraceswhichcouldconceivablyhedetected.Thesetracesareveryslight,however,so
theymaynotbeconnectedtothesorryconditionofthemark.Thetracethatarsineleavesisasmalltraceofarsenic
intheurine.Whetherthiswouldbeenoughtuallowthecoronertopiecetogetherthecluesanddiagnosearsine
woulddependupontheskillofboththecoronerandthepoisoner.Afterall,weallhavesomearsenicinourbodies,
alongwithtracesofeveryotherelementknown.Itbecomesamatterofjudgmenttosayatwhatpointthelevelofa
substanceinthebodybecomesabnormal.
Nowthatyou'veheardthebadstuffaboutarsine,let'smoveontoitsgoodpoints.Itisaverydeadlygas.A
concentrationofonepartin100,000overafewhoursisdeadly.Overshorterperiodsoftime,theexactlethaldoseis
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amanorofdebateThefiguresgivenherearefromTheToxicologyofIndustrialInorganicPoisons,whichstatesthat
onepartin2000airoverafewminutesisdeadly.Overaperiodofabouthalfanhour,onepartin4000isdeadly.
Overaperiodofanhour,onepartin60,000cancausedeath.
Arsineisalsoveryexotic.Thisisanimportantpointinitsfavor,becauseitmeansthatthecorrectsolutionismuch
lesslikelytocometothemindsofthepeopledoinganypostmorteminvestigation.Poisoningbyarsineis
occasionallyseeninindustrialaccidents,butnotoftenenoughtokeepitattheforefrontofthemindsofcoroners.I
haveneverheardofacaseofhomicidalpoisoningwitharsine.Thataloneisenoughtorecommendit.
Thesymptomsofarsinepoisoningdonothelpmuchindiagnosingit.Tostartwith,itisnotirritatingtothesubject
whileheisbeingdosedwiththegas.Atthehighconcentrationsneededforlethaleffectoveratfewminutestime,
thereisanawfulsmelllikegarlic,butatthelowerconcentrationsitisnothingthatwouldcausealarmorstickoutin
hismemory.Afterbeingdosed,thereisalatentperiodofuptoadayorsobeforeanysymptomsshowup.
Whenthefirstsymptomsappear,theydon'tmeanverymuch.Thesubjectfeelslousy,hastroublebreathing,vomitsa
lot,andhasbloodintheurinebecausehisredbloodcellsarebeingdissolved.Eventually,hiskidneysshutdown
becausetheygetpluggedupwithdebrisfromthosebrokenupredbloodcells.Thisbreakdownoftheredbloodcells
iscalledhemolysis,andisasymptomofawidevarietyofconditions.
Finally,arsineisaveryeasypoisontomakeanduse.Theingredientsarecheapandplentiful(exceptforarsenic
trioxide,AsO,whichwouldbemostwiselyheisted)andsafetohandleuntiltheyaremixedtogethertomake
arsine.Agrenadeforursineismuchsimplerandmoreproductivethanthephosgenegrenade.
Therearetworeallygoodmethodsformakingarsine.Oneisaboutasgoodastheother,andthemethodchosen
dependsonwhichrawmaterialstheattackercanmosteasilygethishandson.Methodnumberoneisbaseduponthe
reactionthattakesplacebetweenzincpowderandhydrochloricacid.Manyschoolboyshavefoundoutthatwhen
youmixthesetwotogether,thezincfizzeslikecrazy,producinghydrogengas.Whilezincisundergoingthis
reaction,itbecomeswhatistermedapowerfulreducer.Ifsomearsenictrioxideismixedintothebrew,itwillget
reduced,whichinthiscasemeansitsoxygenstormgetreplacedwithhydrogenatoms,andarsineisproducedalong
withwhateverhydrogendoesn'tgetusedup.
3Zn
zinc

6HCl
hydro
chloricacid

AsO
arsenic
trioxide

2AsH
arsine

3ZnCl

Thisisnowherenearsocomplicatedasitmayseem.Infact,actuallydoingitissosimplethatImsureamonkey
couldbetrainedtodoit.Togetgoingmakingsomearsine,thesametypegeneratorusedtomakecarbonmonoxide
andphosgeneisused.(Andyoudidn'tbelievemewhenIsaidnohomeiscompletewithoutone?)Intotheflaskpart
ofthesetupisplaced30gramsofarsenictrioxideand200gramsofzincpowder.Thesetwoingredientsshouldbe
mixedtogetherasthoroughlyaspossiblebeforeputtingthemintheflask.Thenanother70gramsofarsenictrioxide
isweighedoutanditisdissolvedinhydrochloricacid.ThehydrochloricacidIwouldrecommendforthispurpose
canbeobtainedfromthelocalhardwarestoreandis28%hydrochloricacid.Itmaybesoldunderthenamemuriatic
acid.Sevenhundred(700)mlofitwillbeneeded,sotheattackerwillmeasureoutthatmuchandputthe70grams
ofAsOinit.Theacidarsenicmixtureisthenpouredintotheseparatoryfunnel,andwhentheattackerisreadyto
makearsine,thevalveontheseparatoryfunnelisopened,andthemixtureisallowedtorundownontothezinc
powderintheflask.
Whentheacidhitsthezinc,gasisproducedlikecrazy.Someofitishydrogen,andsomeofitisarsine.Itcanbe
pipedintothetargetwithasectionoftubing,oritcanbestoredinanautomobiletire.Becauseoftheextremely
poisonousnatureofarsine,thismayonlybeattemptedunderthebestconditionsofventilation.Thepoisonercould
alltooeasilybecomethepoisoneetryingtofillatirewitharsinewithoutexcellentventilation.Theamountofarsine
producedaccordingtothesedirectionsisaboutcubicfoot.
Agrenadeforarsineusingthesechemicalsisprettyeasytoputtogether,andcouldbealotoffun.Seethediagram
onthenextpage.Whenthebottlebreaks,thechemicalsmixtogether,andacloudofarsineisproduced.Theresults
canbedevastatinginanenclosedarea.Onedrawbackthatarsinehasasanassaultpoisonisthatitdoesnothave
goodknockdownpower.Itseffectsaredelayedforadayorso.Awisetacticianwillkeepthisinmindwhen
planninganassault.

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Theothergoodmethodformakingarsineisbyreactingdilutedsulfuricacidwithzincarsenide(ZnAs).Zinc
arsenidemayhedifficulttofind,butithastheadvantagethatarsineissimplertomakewithit.Tomake1cubic
feetofarsine,350gramsofZnAsisplacedintheflask,andthemaboutaquartofbatteryacid(availableat
hardwarestoresandgarages)isrundownontoitfromaseparatoryfunnelwithswirlingoftheflasktomixthem
together.Agrenadeusingthesechemicalswouldhavethebottlefilledwiththebatteryacid,thebottlewouldthenbe
wrappedwithfoil,andthespacebetweenthebottleandthefoilwouldbefilledwith350gramsofZnAs.
Nowforalastfewwordsonarsine.Arsineisaflammablegas,soitwouldcatchonfireifastreamofitwasspewed
intoanignitionsource.Itisalsoquiteabitheavierthanair,soitwillsettleintowhateverlowareasitcanfind,
unlesstheairinthetargetareaiskeptmovingwithafanorsomethingsimilar.Formoreinformationonarsineand
phosgene,seeTheMedicalAspectsofChemicalWarfarebyEdwardVedder.Thisfinebookgetsintorealdetailon
justwhatthesechemicalwarfareagentswilldotothehumanbody,andalsogoesintosomedetailonthe(futilein
thecaseofarsine)medicaltreatmentsusedforthevictimsofthesegases.

Phosphine
Inalittleknowngasnamedphosphine,weencounterwhatis,withoutadoubt,theverybestgasforproducing"death
bycausesunknown."Thisabilitythatphosphinehasforevadingthecoroner'sattemptstofindthecauseofthe
mark'sdemiseisastrangelyunderreported,yetexcitingability.Those"intheknow"seemtothinkthatitwouldbe
recklessandirresponsibletoletthepublicknowjustwhatarethelimitsoftheirabilities.Forthemitismuchbetter
toletthepublicbelieveintheirinfallibilityandomniscience.Thisistypicalofthewaythatthepowerstructurein
thissupposedlyfreecountrymanipulatestheflowofinformationtothepublic.Totheircredit,youhavetoadmitthat
theydoareallymasterfuljobofmanipulatingthemediaandtheresultingfloworinformation,sincethevast
majorityofthepopulation,andeventhemediaswinethemselvesdonotnoticetheblinderstheywear.Afterall,
propagandaiswhattheygetinRussia.Herewegetthe"news."
Phosphine'sabilitytodisappearinthebodycanheexplainedprettysimply.Thechemicalformulaforphosphineis
PH,meaningitiscomposedofoneatomofphosphorous,andthreeatomsofhydrogen.AsI'msureallofyou
know,yourbodyhasalotofphosphorousfloatingaroundinit,forbuildingteethandbones,andtoperformawide
varietyofotherfunctionsinthecells.Mostofthisphosphorousisintheformofphosphate(PO)andpyrophosphate
(PO).Whenphosphineisabsorbedintothebody,itfirstdoesitsdirtywork,producingsymptomssimilartoarsine,
thenitgetsoxidizedtotheformsnormallyseeninthebody.ForthisreasonwhenQuincyandhisghoulishbrothers
atthemorguestartexaminingthebodilyfluidsofavictimofphosphine,thereisnothingforthemtosee.Phosphine
certainlycomesclosetoperfectionasapoison!
Perfection,ofcourse,hasitsprice.Thatisthewayoftheworld.Inthecaseofphosphine,thepriceisthatitis
difficulttomake,deliver,orstoresafely.Thatisnottosaythatthetaskisimpossible.Quitethecontrary,itiswell
withintheabilityofalmosteveryonetousephosphineeffectively.Itjustmustbeunderstoodupfrontthatphosphine
requiresmorecareinitsusethananyothersubstanceIdiscussedinthisbook,withtheexceptionofthenervegases.
Thecauseofthisdifficultyisthefactthatphosphine,asnormallyprepared,willburstintoflameswhenitcomesin
contactwithair.Thisdestroysthephosphine,makingtheattackfutile.
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Theresultingflamescouldalsoinjurethewouldbeattacker,andspoilanyelementofsurprisetheattackermayhave
hadgoingforhim.
Phosphineitselfdoesnotspontaneouslyburstintoflamesinair,butanunavoidablebyproductofmakingit,
diphosphine(PH)does,andisthesparkthatsetsoffthewholemixture.Themethodgivenhereforproducing
phosphineovercomesthisdifficulty,allowingthediphosphinetodoitsunavoidablethingwithoutsettingoffthe
wholemixture.Ifaresourcefulpoisonercouldobtainacylinderofpurephosphinefromalaboratorysomewhere,all
thishasslecouldbeavoidedandthegascouldbeuseddirectlyfromthecylinder.Thesecylindersarehardtocome
by,however,becausephosphineislackinginpracticalusesinthelaboratory.Itissomeprettyexoticstuff,soexotic
thatthemajorityofchemistshavenoideathestuffexists.Italsoranksprettyclosetothelastthoughtthatwould
enterthemindofthetypicalcoroner.
Phosphineisaverydeadlygas,aboutasdeadlyasarsine.Itiscolorlessandhasafoulsmellthathasbeencompared
torottenfish.Thisfoulsmellmeansthatitmustbeusedatthelowerconcentrationlevelstokeepthetargetfrom
beingdrivenfromthepoisonzonebytheodor.Itmayalsobeusefultomaskthesmellwithheavydosesofroom
freshenerorwhateverelsemaybeusefulforcoveringthesmellofrottenfish.
Thedeadlydosageofphosphineisaboutthesameasforarsine.Asusualforgases,thedeadlyconcentrationdepends
onhowlongthevictimwillbebreathingthemixture.Inthecaseofphosphine,itisquiteacceptabletogowellover
thelethallimittobesurethatanexceptionallytoughmarkdoesnotescapehisfate.Thisisbecausephosphineis
destroyedinthebody,sothereisnoneedtokeepdosestoaminimumtomakeitsdetectionmoredifficult.Inmy
opinion,thebestdosageofphosphineisaconcentrationofonepartin4000foraperiodofatleastanhour.Lower
concentrationsofitcanbeusediftheexposureislonger.
Thesymptomsofphosphinepoisoningtakeawhiletocomeon,especiallyatthelowerdosesandconcentrations.Up
toadayortwocanpassbeforethesymptomsbegin,soitisaverysneakypoison.Thesymptomsstartwitha
difficultyinbreathingalongwithapaininthechest.Thisleadsintotherestofthesymptomsofarsinepoisoning,
leadingfinallytodeathifafataldosehasbeenabsorbed,becausethereisnoantidoteforphosphinepoisoning.
Therearetwoprettygoodmethodsformakingphosphine.Bothofthemaregasgeneratortypeprocesses.Thereis
nogrenadeforphosphinebecauseofitstendencytoburstintoflamesoncontactwithairunlessprecautionsare
taken.
Themethodofmakingphosphinethatusesthesimplestandmosteasilyavailablechemicalsisbyreactingwhite(or
itmaybecalledyellow)phosphorouswithsodiumhydroxide(potassiumhydroxidewillworkaswell)inasolution
ofwater.Thereactiongoesthisway:
P
Phos
phorus

3NaOH
sodium
hydroxide

3HO
water

PH
phosphine

3NaHPO
sodium
hypo
phosphine

Soyellow(orwhite,butnotred!)phosphorous,whichisintheformofP,reactswithsodiumhydroxideinwaterto
makephosphineandsodiumhypophosphite,whichisasolidthatstaysdissolvedinthewater.Thebyproduct
diphosphine,whichisthecauseofitsflammabilityinair,isnotshownintheabovereaction,butitismade
nonetheless.
Nowforawordaboutphosphorous.Therearetwocommonformsofphosphorous:redandyellow,whichisoften
celledwhite.Theredformisnotverydangerousandisusedalotinmatchmanufacture.Itisofnouseinmaking
phosphine.Theyellowformisprettydangerousforseveralreasons.Firstofall,itmustbekeptunderwater,orat
leastcoveredwithafilmofwater,becauseitburstsintoflamesoncontactwithair.Thatexplainsitsusein
incendiaryshellsandbombsandfireworks.Secondly,itmustnotbetouchedwithbarefingers,ornastyburnswill
result.Finally,itisaprettygood,butquitedetectablepoisonwhenswallowed.About50milligramswilldoaman
in.
Nowwithallthepreliminariestakencareof,hereishowanattackercanmakephosphineanddeliverittothetarget.
Onthenextpage,weseeacylinderofnitrogenorCOgas,whichcanbepickedupveryeasilyataweldingsupply
shop,attachedtooneneckofthenowveryfamiliar3neckedflask.Asusual,thecenterneckholdstheseparatory
funnel,andthelastneckisattachedtoasectionofplastic(clearvinyl)tubingwhichleadstothetargetareatobe
gassed.The3neckedflaskissittingonthecoilsofanelectrichotplate.
Whenitistimetomakephosphine,theattackersecuresthe3neckedflaskinanuprightpositionandfillsitnearly
halffullofdistilledwater.Thenthesticksofyellowphosphorousarequicklyputintotheflaskandsubmergedunder
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thewater.Thismustbedonequicklysothatthesticksofphosphorousdon'tdryoffandignitediningthetransfer.To
makeofacubicfootofphosphine,125gramsofphosphorousisrequired.Then200gramsofagoodqualitylye
suchasRedDevilorHighTestisdissolvedinapintofdistilledwater.Afteritisdissolved,aflowofgasfromthe
cylinderisbegunandcontinueduntiltheairissweptoutofthetubingandflask.Thiswilltakeafewminutes.After
thatthehotplateisturnedontotheflask,andthewaterbroughtuptoasimmer.Thentheflowofgasisstartedup
again,andthesolutionoflyeinwaterisputintotheseparatoryfunnel,anditisrunin100mlatatimeat5minute
intervals.Duringthistime,about30cubictestofgasshouldhaveflowedoutofthecylinder,orarateof1cubicfoot
perminute,ifaflowmeterisattachedtothecylinder.

Thisinputofinertgaswilldilutethephosphinedowntoabout2or3percentofthetotalmixture.Whenitisthis
dilute,itisnolongerabletobedetonatedwhenthediphosphineinitignitesoncontactwithair.Inthisway,
phosphinecanbemadeandusedsafely,withverysatisfyingresults.
Thissameapparatuscanbeusedtomakephosphinefromotherchemicals.Exterminatorsmayhaveachemical
calledzincphosphide.ZnP,fordealingwithrats.Itisagraypowder.If260gramsofitisplacedinthe3necked
flask(nowaterintheflask!)andapintofhardwarestorehydrochloricacidisrundownontoitfromtheseparatory
funnel,about1cubicfeetofphosphinewillbemade.Naturally,theflowofinertgasisrequiredwiththismethod
also.
Formoreinformationontheeffectsofphosphine,seeTheAmericanJournalofMedicalScience,Volume208,page
223(1944).

ChapterFour
NERVEGAS:THEPOORMAN'SATOMBOMB
Eversincethedetonationofthefirstatomicweaponin1945,thetoppriorityofeachnationthatcametopossess
theseweaponshasbeentokeepother"lessresponsible"nationsfromgainingaccesstotheseweapons,andaboveall
topreventtheirfallingintothehandsofprivate"terrorists".Theveryideaofsomegroupputtingtogethera
"basementnuke"anddanglingthisweaponofdecisionovertheirheadsistheultimatenightmareforthese
"responsible"nuclearcriminals.
Allthisconcernisquiteunderstandable,sincenuclearweaponsareextraordinarilyspectacularandverymacho.
However,thereisanotherweaponofmassdestructionthatisjustasdevastatingtohumanlife.Awellplacednerve
gasbombofsufficientsizecouldinflictadeathtollonacitycomparabletothatofamediumsizednuke.
Withallthescramblingthathastakenplaceovertheyearsbyvariousgroupsandnationsforthenuclearweaponsof
massdestruction.Whyhasthechemicalweaponofdecisionbeensoroundlyignored?Ibelievethatacombination
offactorsareresponsibleforthissituation.Firstofall,nervegasisnotloudandspectacularlikeanuclearbombis,
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soitdoesnotinspireinthepopularconsciousnesstheperceptionofpowerandfeelingsofterrorthatanukedoes.
Sincetheperceptionofpowerisjustasimportanttothepsychologyofpoliticalstrugglesasactuallypossessingit,
thisisacontributingfactortowardstheorphaningofthesechemicalweapons.
Secondly,nervegasandotherchemicalweaponshavenotbeenpopularizedandromanticizedbyourculturetheway
thatnukeshavebeen.Toillustratemypoint,justconsidertheplethoraofmoviesandbooksdealingwithsome
aspectofnucleardevastationoritsaftermath.Thislistisnearlyendless.Addtothisthemanypressuregroupswhose
solepurposeistoagitateforthedismantlingofnuclearweaponsandpowerplants.Thereisjustnocounterpartto
thisforchemicalweapons,inspiteoftheiramazingdestructiveabilities.ThesoleexceptiontothisthatIamaware
ofisamoviecalledAndMillionsWillDiestarringRichardBasehart,madein1973.Thismoviedealtwithanerve
gasbombplantedinHongKong,andtheeffortsofauthoritiestodefuseit.
Finally,thereisthealmostuniversalbeliefthattheonlywayanypersonorgroupcouldobtainanervegasbombis
tostealonefromanArmystockpile.Theoriginofthisstrangebeliefisprettyhardformetofathom,butithas
probablybeenplantedinthepopularconsciousnessbythegovernmentthroughtheirlackeysinthemedia.Theftmay
betheonlywayanygroupshortofmajorgovernmentalstatuscouldobtainanuke,butthisisdefinitelynotthecase
fornervegas.Afterall,nervegasisjustachemical,andnotaverycomplicatedordifficultsubstancetomake.The
experienceinmoderntimeswithclandestinedruglaboratoriesshouldbeenoughtomakeclearmypointthatjust
becauseachemicalisnotavailablethroughregularchannelsdoesn'tmakeitdisappear,oreventhathardtoget.
Whatexactlyisnervegas?Well,tobebriefaboutit,it'sbugsprayforpeople!Itiscloselyrelatedtothose
organophosphoruscompoundsusedsowidelyasinsecticides.Itisalsonotagas,butratheraliquidwithaveryhigh
boilingpoint.Tobeusedtogasanareaitmustbedispersedintotheairasanaerosollikeoutofaspraycan.Itcan
alsobedispersedasamistintheairbydetonatinganexplosivechargeinit.Whendonecorrectly,bothmethods
workwell,althoughtheaerosolspraycanhastheobviousadvantageofstealth.Thisisnottosaythattheexplosive
methodofdispersingitiswithoutitsmerits.Anexplosionisalwaysgreatforbringingoutcrowdsofcurious
onlookersintotheopen,wheretheycaneasilyfallvictimtotheeffectsofthegas.
Nervegasisagenerictermwhichcoversseveralrelatedsubstances.Allofthemhaveanatomofphosphorousat
theirheart,withavarietyofotherchemicalgroupingsattachedtothephosphorousatom,dependinguponthe
particularnerveagent.Themolecularstructuresofthethreemaintypesofnervegasareshownbelow:

Thesecompoundsareshowninorderofincreasingdeadlypotency.Sarinisabout10timesmorepotentthanTabun,
andSomanisaboutthreetimesmorepowerfulthanSarin.Allofthemaremindbogglinglydeadly.Aninteresting
featureofnervegasesisthattheydonothavetobebreathedintobedeadly.Thetiniestdropletontheskinwill
quicklyworkitswayintothebodyandcausedeath.Thistinyamountcaneasilybepickedupbybrushingagainsta
contaminatedobject,soanareathathasbeennervegassedwillbeadeathtrapuntilthenervegashasbeenbroken
downbywaterandthesun.Breakdowncouldtakeacoupleweeks,dependingonweatherconditions.Forthis
reason,militarystrategiststhinkthatnervegasistheperfectweapontoguardtheflanksofadvancingarmiesagainst
counterattack.
Howdothesenervegasescausedeath?Toexplainthis,onemustfirstknowalittlebitabouthownervescause
musclestocontract.Wherethenerveconnectstothemuscle,thereisalittlejunctionarea.Whenthesignalcomes
downthenervetothemuscletellingittocontract,theendofthenervereleasesalittlebitofasubstancecalled
acetylcholineintothatjunctionarea,andthissignalsthemuscletocontract.Assoonasthemuscleobeys,anenzyme
calledcholinesterasedestroystheacetylcholinesothatthemusclecanrelaxagainandbereadyforitsnext
command.Iftheacetylcholinewasnotdestroyed,everymuscleinthebodywouldsoonbestuckinthe"onposition
andnomovementwouldbepossible,justwrithingandtwitchingasmusclestruggledagainstmuscle,untildeath
quicklyarrivedbecausethevictimcouldnotbreathe.
Whennervegasentersthebody,eachandeverymoleculeofitgoesonasearchanddestroymission,lookingfor
cholinesterase.Whentheyfindeachother,thenervegastiesupthecholinesterase,makingitpermanentlyuselessfor
servicingthemuscles.Soonthereisnocholinesteraseleftinthebody,andamostdisgustingdeathsceneresults.

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AgoodwaytogetanideaofwhatdeathfromnervegasislikeistospraysomeflieswithRaid.Itworksthesame
wayonfliesthatnervegasdoesonhumans.Firstthetwitching,thennousefulmotionatallispossible.Ifpeoplehad
wings,theywoulddieontheirbacks,buzzingaroundinlittlecircles.
Actually,thefirstsignofnervegaspoisoningisthatthepupilsoftheeyescontracttotinypoints,andeverything
becomesblacktothevictim.Thisearlywarningsignisveryimportanttopeopleworkingwithnervegasbecauseit
maybeallthewarningtheyget.Fromtherethevictimsoonbeginstotwitchandcollapsefollows.Thevictimloses
controlofhisorherbowelsandisunabletobreathe.Deathfollowsinminutes.
Notallpeopleareequallysensitivetonervegas.ItwasdiscoveredintheGermannervegasplantsinWWIIthatfat
peoplearebetterabletowithstandtheeffectsoflowdosagesofnervegas.Theyalsofoundthatbathingin
bicarbonateofsoda(ArmandHammer)solutionsorammoniaisagoodfirstaidprocedureforminorspillsonthe
skin.Injectionsofatropineisanantidoteformildpoisoningwithnervegas.

UseofNerveGas
Howbesttousenervegasdependsupontheexactjobitiscalledupontodo.Nervegasissurprisinglyversatilestuff,
andcandoanyjobfromindividualassassinationtodevastatinglargecites.Itcanalsoformanalmostimpenetrable
barrierormakelargeareasuninhabitableforextendedperiods.
Theuseofnervegasinassassinationisitssimplestuse.Thisisbecauseitdoesnotpresentbigobstaclesinthe
logisticsoftheoperation.Largeamountsarenotneeded,andtheareathatmustbecontaminatedcanberidiculously
small.Forexample,someobjectthatthemarkisgoingtotouchoverthenextfewdaysislacedwithadropletofthe
nervegas.Whenthemarktouchesit,thenervegassoaksthroughhisskin,anddeathquicklyfollows.Examplesof
suchanobjectwouldincludewatchbands,autosteeringwheels,anddoorknobs.
Wouldsuchadeathremainamystery?Thatisdifficulttosay.Thereisatestwhichmeasuresthecholinesterase
activityinthebodyofthedeceased,andthistestwouldquicklyspotthatsomethingwaswrongwithavictimof
nervegas.Thistestisroutinelydoneinsomeareas,andnotatallinothers.Asarule,areaswherethereisalotof
accidentalpoisoningwithinsecticideswilldothistest.Willtheythenbeabletogoandidentifynervegasasthe
causeofthepoisoning?Probablynot,solongasanexcessiveamountofitwasnotused,becauseitwillallbetiedup
inthemark'sbody,boundtothecholinesterase.Nervegasisnotthateasilyanalyzedwithstandardtechniqueseven
initspureformbecauseitbreaksdownunderheat.So,theverdictislikelytobepoisoningbysubstanceunknown.
Anervegasattackdesignedtolaywastetoametropolitanareaortomakesomeotherstrategicareauninhabitable
wouldbothbedonebasicallythesameway,sotheywillbothbecoveredtogether.
Thesimplest,andinseveralwaysthebestmethodfordispersingnerveagentsoverapopulationcenterisbya
techniqueIcall"blastdispersion"forlackofabettername.Itisthesameprinciplethatworksinthenervegas
artilleryshell.Achargeofexplosiveisusedtoheavethepoisonintotheairanddisperseitintoacloudoffine
dropletswhichcanthendriftdownwindoverthetarget.Therearesomefinepointstothistechniquewhichmustbe
paidattentiontoforbestresults.
Firstofall,weatherconditionsareveryimportanttotheresultsobtainedwithachemicalattack,Thebestconditions
areanicesummerday,withasteadywindof1020mph.Thenicesummerlikeconditionsareimportantbecause
undertheseconditionspeoplewillbeoutintheopen,andthewindowstotheirhouseswillbeopen,leavingthem
unprotectedfromthefulleffectsofthenervegas.Thenicesteadywindisimportantbecauseitwillhelptomovethe
cloudofnervegasalongsothatitcanspreaditsdestructionoverawidearea,ratherthansittinginoneplaceasit
wouldonacalmday.Rainwouldheabsolutelydisastroustothechemicalattackbecauseitwouldwashoutthe
nervegasdropletsprematurely,andalsobecausenervegasreactswithwater,renderingitharmless.Theamountof
timerequiredforthistohappendependsonhowacidtherainisthemoreacid,thefasteritgoes.About8hoursis
requiredforrainoftypicalacidity.Thisreactionwithwateristhereasonwhynervegasisnotveryusefulfor
contaminatingwatersupplies.Otheraspectsofthechemistryofnervegaseswillbecoveredinthesynthesissection
ofthischapter,butthepropertyofreactionwithwaterissobasictoanunderstandingofnervegasesthatitbelongs
ineveryone'sgeneralbodyOfknowledge.
Thesecondimportantfinepointtothe"blastdispersion"ofnervegasesisthatthecloudgetsheavedupintotheair,
notspatteredontoabunchofwallsintheneighborhood.Herethematterbecomesalittlemorecomplicated,and
thereareseveraloptionsopentotheattackertogetthejobdoneproperly.
OneoptionistoloadthenervegasintothewarheadsofaseriesofRomancandles,andlettheblastofeachonein
theairdispersethenervegasoverthetarget.Thissuffersfromthedrawbackthateachrocketcanonlycarryasmall
amountofnervegas.Addtothattheerraticperformanceofromancandlesandtheirlimitedrange,andthefactthat
someonewouldhavetomakeaneasilytracedsittingduckoutofthemselvestolaunchthem,andyouendupwithan
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unsatisfactorysolution.Thelastproblemofhavingtoattendthelaunchcouldbesolvedbytyingthefusesforthe
rocketstoasectionofnichromewire(toasterheatingelement}attachedtoatimerandpluggedintotheelectric
supply.Theotherproblemswithrocketsarenotsoeasilysolved.
Anotheroptionistoplacethenervegasontoarooftop,andsetachargeunderneathittoblastthegasskyward.This
methodisquiteworkable,butisfilledwithmanypotentialpitfalls.Forstarters,therooftopschosenshouldbeat
least5or6storieshigh,andshouldbethetallestbuildingsintheneighborhood.Inthiswaythecloudofnerveagent
willgetliftedhighenoughintotheairforamaximumspread,andwillnotgetplasteredontothewallsofanearby
building.Itisessentialthatthechargeofexplosivebeunderthenervegas,sothattheblastliftsitupward,rather
thandrivingitintoacementwallorfloor.Eachnervegasbombshouldhaveatleastacouplegallonsofactive
ingredientandsufficientexplosiveforthispurposeisonethatdoesnotcreatealotofheatinitsexplosion.Thetype
ofdynamiteoftenusedforminingpurposes,calledammoniadynamite(monobel)isspeciallymadetohaveacool
explosion.Blastingpowdermayalsowork.
Theseriousdrawbackstothismethodincludethenecessityofgettingseveralhighrooftops(onlyonewouldnot
resultinagoodcoveragepatternofthetarget),installingagoodsizedchargeontoeachone,andthenmaintaining
securityofeachdevicefromsnoopingbusybodies,etc.,untilitistimefortheirdetonation.
Thethirdoptionisquiteobviouslymyfavorite.Itistoattackwithnervegasthewayitwasmeanttobeused,via
aerialassault.Thiscouldbemostsafelydoneusingoneormoreultralightaircraftasabomber.
Ireallymustdigressherebecausethisisaconceptwhichhasexcitedmeforsometime,andIfeelitstimeislong
overdue.Theultralightisanearlyperfectaircraftforguerrillaorinsurgentoperations.Itcanbeconstructedcheaply
andeasilyfromcommonmaterials.Plansandkitsfortheirconstructionarewidelyadvertisedinsuchmagazinesas
PopularMechanicsandPopularScience.Aplanesoconstructedisvirtuallyuntraceablesincethereisnopapertrail
oftitlesandserialnumberstoidentifyit,shoulditbecaptured.
Anultralightneedsnospecialairfieldtotakeoffandlandin.Asmoothstretchofdirtisallthatisrequiredtogeta
smallairforcegoing.Avoidingregularairfieldsmeanssuchpapershufflingnonsenseasflightplansandradar
beaconsandregistrationnumbersandpilot'slicensescanbedispensedwith.Desertedbackroadsalsowork
admirablyfortakeoffsandlandingsaslongaspowerlinesarenotstrungintheway.
Nogreatamountofskillisrequiredtolearnhowtoflyanultralight.Lessonsareavailablefromlocalultralights
clubsandother,moreconventionaloutlets.Maintenanceofanultralightisalsoprettysimple,sincethetypical
enginecomesoutofaVWbeetle.
Theperformanceofawellbuiltultralightisverysatisfactoryforitsuseasabomber.Itstypicalcruisingspeedof60
mphisslowenoughforpinpointaccuracyonbombingruns,yetfastenoughtooutrunanygroundpursuers.Thisis
becausetheplaneisnotboundtofollowroads,andcantakeanescapecoursewhichautoscannotfollow.Upon
completionofthemission,theplanecouldflylowandfasttolosecontactwithanypursuit,thenlandonaroadina
wildareawheretheplanecouldeitherbeabandoned(badchoice)orloadedupintothebackofatruck.
Thepayloadofagoodultralightcanbeheavyenoughtodosomerealdamageifthetargetandtheweaponsarewell
chosen.Upto100poundscanbecarriedontheplane,ifthepilotisnottooheavy.Thisamountcarriedinnervegas
bombswouldbeenoughtodosomedamageofhistoricproportions.Carryinganyexplosivemorepowerfulthan
commercialdynamite(homemadenitropacksoneamazingpunch),atargetresidentialbuildingcanhevaporizedby
evenanearmiss.
Ithaslongamazedmewhilereadingandwatchingexcerptsofganglandandotherunderworldbattles,howmuchof
thefightingisdonebymenonfootwithpeashootersizedweapons.Itisnowondernothingevergetssettledinsuch
away.Onecanonlywonderattheintelligenceandimaginationofthesepeoplewhenaweaponofdecisioncanbe
constructedinagaragetoobliteratetheenemyrightinhisrathole.
Theparticularproblemofdeliveringnervegasbombsviaultralightwillnowbediscussedindetail.Therearefar
fewerproblemswiththismethodthantheothers,soitgetsmyapprovalasbestmethod.Itisalsothemethodmost
likelytobringaresponseofterrorfromtheunaffectedpopulationsinotherlocalities.Thefirsttwomethodswould
undoubtedlyremindthemofShiiteMoslemtactics,andjustrousethemtoangeragainsttheirsanddwelling
enemies.
Thedesignofthebombsisthefirstconsiderationofanyattack.Sincethebombsshouldexplodeinmidairforbest
results,caremustbetakenintheconstructionofthedetonationsystem.Itisnotjustamatterofthrowingthem
overboardandwatchingthemsplatteronthegroundbelow.Toensurethatthebombsexplodeintheair,several
strictguidelinesmistbefollowed.Firstofall,thepilotmustknowatwhataltitudeheisflying,andstickcarefullyto
theplannedaltitudefortheattack.Averysatisfactoryaltitudeforanervegasattackis1000feet.Thisaltitudeis
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highenoughforthesafetyofthepilot,yetlowenoughthaterrorsintheheightofbombdetonationwillbekepttoa
minimum.
Theactualdesignofanervegasbombdesignedtoexplodeinmidairshouldhavetheexplosivechargeinthecenter
ofthemassofnerveagent.Naturally,itwouldnotdotohaveastickofdynamitefloatingaroundinajugofSarin,
andtheactiveingredientsplashingallovertheattackers.Instead,three40ouncebeerbottlescouldbetapedtogether
inatriangularpattern,andastickofdynamiteplacedinthecenterspacebetweenthethreebottles.Theresultisa
bombcontainingjustshortofonegallonofnerveagent.
Controllingtheheightatwhichthebombgoesoffrequiresthatthefuseattachedtotheexplosivechargebeofgood
quality,burningatasteadyandpredictablerate.Thetimerequiredforanobjecttofallagivendistancecanbe
calculatedusingthefollowingformula:
Timetofall(inseconds)=

2xtheheighttofall
32feetpersecond

Sothetimeittakesanobjecttofallagivennumberoffeetisthesquarerootoftwicetheheightofthefalldividedby
32.Forexample,ifthebomberiscruisingalongat1000feet,anddetonationisdesiredat150feet.thebombhas850
feettofall.Twice850feetis1700feet.Seventeenhundred(1700)feetdividedby32is53.Thesquarerootof53is
alittleover7.25seconds.Togetdetonationattheheightof150feet,asectionoffusetakingabout7andaquarter
secondstoburnisrequired.
Thebestheightfordetonationofthebombdependsonthesizeofthebomb,andhowhardthewindisblowing.With
abombcontainingabout1gallonofnervegas,andwindsbetween1020mph,thebestheightisfrom100to200
feet.Withalargerbomb,ormorecalmconditions,ahigherheightiscalledfor.
Thebestspacingforthebombsalsodependsupontheirsizeandweatherconditions,butforthestandardconditions
mentioned,aspacingofmiletomilewillgiveasolidcoveragedownwind.

SynthesisofNerveGas
Thesynthesisofnervegasisnotaprojecttobeundertakenlightly.Itisoneofthemostdangerousprojectswhich
canbedoneinthelaboratory.Thedangercomesfromthefactthatalittlebitontheskintranslatesintoamiserable
deathminuteslater.Beginnersatorganicsynthesisarenotoriousforspillingthethingstheyarecookingonto
themselves,sothisisajobforaseasonedveteran.Forthisreason,acertainamountofchemicalexpertisewillbe
assumedinthefollowingsection.Itismeanttobefullyunderstoodbyanyonewhohasmadeitthroughacouple
semestersofcollegelevelorganicchemistry.
ThecarerequiredinthemanufactureofnervegasescanbestbeillustratedwithafewstoriesfromtheWorldWarll
nervegasfactoriesofNaziGermany.ThesefactorieswerebusilychurningoutTabunformostofthedurationofthe
war.AstowhytheydidnotconcentratetheireffortonthemuchmorepotentSarin,Icanonlyventuretwoguesses.
EithertheyfoundfactoryscaleproductionofTabunmucheasier,ortheywerehunguponTabunbecausecyanideis
usedinitsproduction.EverybodyknowshowbigtheNaziswereoncyanide.Itwascertainlynotamatterofnot
beingfamiliarwithSarin,sincetheirbigman.GerhardSchrader,ledtheteamthatinventedthemboth.
Thestandarddressfortheworkersinthenervegasfactorieswasarubbersuitmadeoftwolayersofrubberwitha
layerofclothinbetween,andarespirator.Evenwiththeprotectiveclothing,mostoftheworkerssufferedfrom
varyingdegreesofpoisoning.
Accidents,ofcourse,happenedwiththemostdeadlyconsequences.Ononeoccasion,somepipefitterswereworking
onasectionofpipewhenthepipedrainedoutTabunonthem.Theyalldiedwithinminutes.Anothertime,seven
workerswerezappedinthefacewithagushingstreamofTabun.Inspiteofimmediateandintensivemedicaleffort,
fiveofthemdied.
Inalaboratory,accidentscanheavoidedmuchmoreeasilythaninafactorysetting.Evenso,protectiveclothingis
definitelycalledfor.Ascubawetsuitwithgoodrubbergloves(notsurgicalglovesbecausethey'retoothin)andface
shieldwouldbeideal.Abathnearbyfilledwithaconcentratedsolutionofbicarbonateofsodaisanothernecessity.
Thisisforwashingoffanyspillsthatmayhittheskin.Agoodhoodforexhaustingfumestotheoutsidehastorank
highonthelistofprioritiesalso.Addtothissomeatropinesulfateforemergencyfirstaid.Theantidotaldoseis4
milligramsbyinjectionevery10minutesuntilsignsofatropinepoisoningappear.2PAMisalsohelpful.
Formerly,therewerenolawsprohibitinganyoneintheUnitedStatesfrommanufacturingnervegas.Shortlyafter
publicationofthefirsteditionofthisbook,however,HerbKohl,oneofmystate'ssenators,introducedabilltothe
Senatewhichmadeillegalproductionofnervegasandothersubstances,suchasricin,whichcouldbeusedas
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weaponsofmassdestructionThepenaltyfordoingsoisnowlifeinprison.Apparentlythesenarrowmindedpeople
considerthemanufactureofnervegastobeanantisocialact.Asaresult,itisbesttonotadvertisethenatureofthe
producttoowidely.
Theequipmentneededforproductionofnervegasisbasicallythesameasthatneededtoproducemethamphetamine
(seeSecretsofMethamphetamineManufacturebyUncleFester)oranyotherofawiderangeoforganicchemicals.
Thestandarddistillingkitwithavarietyofsizesofroundbottomflasksisamust,asisamagneticstirrerhotplate
andagoodsourceofvacuumsuchasaproperlyworkingaspirator.
ThissectionwillconcentrateonthemanufactureofSarin,withonlypassingreferencemadetothemanufactureof
theothernervegases.Thereareseveralpracticalreasonsforthis.SarinisconsiderablymorepotentthanTabun,yet
notappreciablymoredifficulttomake.Tabunusesinitsmanufacturethechemicalwhistleblower'sdelight,cyanide,
soitisbesttostayawayfromit.SomanisalittlemorepotentthanSarin,butgood,reliabledirectionsforits
preparationjusthavenotbeenpublished,tothebestofmyknowledge.Iwilllatermakesomespeculationsonits
manufacturethatIfeelsosureofthatIwouldbetmybottomdollartheyarecorrect.Evenso,itisbesttosticktothe
surething.I'msureyouwillagreewithmylogic.
VerygooddirectionsforthesynthesisofTabuncanbefoundinanarticlebyHolmstedtinActaPhysiol.
Scandinavia,page25ofSupplement90.Alsoofinterestinthesamearticleisacompoundthatisafewtimesmore
potentthatTabuncalleddimethylamidoisopropoxyphosphorylcyanide.Directionsforitsmanufacturearefoundon
page27ofsamearticle.
Thesynthesisofanotheralsorannervegas,calledDPF,isdescribedindetailbyitsinventorinaveryfinebook
titledSomeAspectsoftheChemistryandToxicActionofCompoundsofPhosphorousandFluorinebyB.C.
Saunders.MoredetailsofitspreparationarecoveredinanarticleintheJournaloftheChemicalSocietyofLondon,
page695to699(1948)bySaundersandStacey.DPFisconsiderablyweakerthanTabun,butthebookisgood
readingasitcovershowindustrialscaleproductionproblemswereovercome.
SarinwasmadeinGermanyduringWorldWarIIbythefollowingprocess:

Thismethodwasworkable,althoughtheyieldswerelowandtheproductwasalwayscontaminatedwithbyproducts.
PurityisnexttoGodlinesseveninnervegas!Thisprocesscouldstillbemadetoworktoday,sincethestarting
material,methylphosphonicdichloride,iscommerciallyavailableatthemoment.Ithastobeaverysuspicion
arousingmaterialifanybodyinthechemicalindustryhassomethingontheirmindsotherthandope.Thepriceofa
kiloisabout$60.DirectionsformakingitcanbefoundintheJournaloftheChemistrySocietyofLondonpage3437
(1952).
ThisprocessisdescribedindetailbySchraderhimselfinBritishIntelligenceObjectivesSubCommittee,Volume
714,page41(1947).
Amuchbetter,althoughmoretedious,processwasreportedin1960byacoupleofBritishersnamedFordMoore
andBryant.Themethodtheydevisedwasnotasimple"onepot"processliketheonethatSchradercameupwith.It
ismultistep,withpurificationofeachintermediaterequired.Theirmethodisoutlinedbelow:

Tothebestofmyknowledge,neitherdiisopropylmethylphosphonatenorisopropylmethylphosphonochloridateare
availablecommercially.Thismeansthattheprocessmuststartwithcookingupagoodsupplyofdiisopropyl
methylphosphonate.Luckily,excellentdirectionsforcookingitupcanbefoundinOrganicSyntheses,Volume31,
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pages33to35.TheauthorsareFordMooreandPerry.ItwillnotbereprisedherebecauseOrganicSynthesescanbe
foundinanygoodlibrary,andthecookingdirectionsinitarealwayssoclearandreliablethatonecanplacehis
utmosttrustinthem.
Nowfortheproductionofnervegas.Theglasswareissetupasshowninthedrawingonthenextpage.

A3necked1000mlroundbottomflaskissetupinthehoodonamagneticstirrer.Intotheflaskisplaced300grams
(304ml)ofdiisopropylmethylphosphonate.Theflaskshouldbebakedinanovenforafewhoursbeforeuseto
driveouttracesofmoisturefromtheglass.Thisisveryimportantforallglasswareusedinallphasesofnervegas
productionbecausewaterreactsmoreeasilywiththesechemicalsthanthedesiredreaction.
Adryingtubeisattachedtooneofthethreenecks.ltisfilledwithdrierite.NaOHshouldnotbeusedbecause
phosgenereactswithit.Amagneticstirringbarisputintotheflask,andathermometerisputdownthecentralneck
intothechemicalintheflasktomonitoritstemperature.Itisbestheldinplacewithanallglassthermometerholder,
butacorkmaybeusedinapinch.Theuseofrubberinanypartnfthisassemblyistobeavoidedbecausephosgene
attacksit,andwillcauseitsremainstoflowintotheproduct.Throughthethirdneckisputasectionofglasstubing
connectedtoacylinderofphosgene.Theendofthetubingshouldextendwellbelowthesurfaceoftheliquidinthe
flask.Itmaybeheldinplacewithacork.
Tobeginthereaction,themagneticstirringisbegun,andaslowstreamofphosgeneisbubbledthroughtheliquid.
Thethermometeriswatchedtomakesuretheterrtpemtirrestaysintherangeof20to30degreesCentigrade.Ifthe
temperaturecreepstoohigh.itmaybecontrolledbyslowingdownthebubblingandsettingtheflaskinabitofcool
water.Itiswisetochecktheefficiencyofthehoodwhilethereactionisgoingbypuffingacigaretteoutsidethe
hood.Itshouldsuckthesmokeinquickly.Smokeinthehoodshouldneverescape.Phosgeneisaviciouspoisonsee
thesectiononphosgeneearlierinthisbook.
Thefollowingreactiontakesplace:

Thebubblingofphosgeneintotheliquidiscontinuedfor10hourswithstirring,thenitislefttositforsomemore
hours,preferablyovernight,orwheneverthechemististakinghissleepbreak.
Whenbreaktimeisover,avacuumadapterisattachedtooneofthethreenecks,andtheothertwoarestoppered.A
vacuumisattachedtothevacuumadapter,andavacuumisslowlybuiltupintheflask.Anaspiratorisbestfor
producingthevacuumbecauseitwillflushthefumesdownthedrain.Stirringshouldbecontinuedduringthe
vacuumtreatment.Thevacuumwillremoveunreactedphosgeneandtheisopropylchlorideproducedasabyproduct.
Mostofthisunwantedmaterialwillbegoneinabout10minutes.

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Thevacuumlineisthenremoved,andthereactionmixtureisputina500mlroundbottomflask,andtheglassware
setupforvacuumfractionaldistillation.A10inchlongVigreuxcolumnworksverywellforvacuumdistillations.
Anexcellentsubstituteistofillaclaisenadapteraboutfullwithdimesizedpiecesofbrokenglass.Ihaveoften
usedthisforvacuumfractionaldistillationswithfineresults.
Distillationoftheproductisthencommenced.Irecommendaproperlyworkingaspiratorasthesourceofvacuum.
Withagood,coldsourceofwatertopowerit,avacuumoffrom10to20mmHgshouldbeattained.Thesmall
amountofforerunmaybecollectedwitha50mlroundbottomflask,thentheproductcollectedina250mlround
bottomflask.Theboilingpointoftheproductat2mmHgis38to40C.Andfrom10to20mmHg,itsboilingpoint
shouldbeintheneighborhoodof55to60C.Theyieldofclearliquidisnearly250ml.
Arelevantcookingtipandcommentaryarecalledforatthispoint.Intheaftermathofthe1994and1995Japanese
nervegasattacks,IspentinexcessoftwelvehoursbeinginterviewedbyJapaneseTVnetworks.Duringthistime,I
wasabletopumpthemforinformationnotavailableinthiscountry.Analysisofthenervegasresidueshowedthata
largefractionoftheirproductwasdiisopropylmethylphosphonate.Thisdemonstrates,firstofall,thattheamountof
phosgenetheyusedinthisreactionwasshamefullyinadequate.Itfurtherindicatesthatthisfruitloopcult,madeup
ofthe"creamofJapanesesociety,"didn'tbothertodistilltheproductoftheabovereaction.Iftheyhad,theywould
havenoticedthattheirreactionwasincompleteatthisstep.
Withthestartingmaterialmade,Sarincannowbeproduced.Heavydutyprotectivemeasuresmustnowbetakenby
everyoneinvolvedinthesynthesisofthefinalproduct.Thestartingmaterialjustproduced,isopropyl
methylphosphonochloridate,isnotallthatpoisonous.Itisonlyaboutaspoisonousasstrychnine.Theproductofthe
nextreaction,Sarinisnotsoharmless.Allworkmustbedoneinthehood.Rubberprotectiveclothingmustbeworn.
A5gallonplasticpailfilledwithwatertowhichafewcansoflyehavebeenaddedmustbehandy.Thispailisfor
puttingglasswareintoaftertheyhavebeenused.ThestronglyesolutionwilldestroytheSarinonceithasbeenin
contactwithitforafewhours.A6hoursoakingwillmaketheglasswaresafeforfurthercleaning.
NowforhowtheSarinisproduced.Theglasswareissetupasshownbelow:

Theglasswaremustbeverydrytogetthebestresults.Bakingitinanovenforafewhoursdriesoutglassware
nicely.Intothe1000mlroundbottomflaskisput250gramsoftheisopropylmethylphosphonochloridatemade
accordingtothedirectionsabove,and250mlofmethylenechlorideand110gramsofsodiumfluoride(NaF).All
ingredientsshouldbeofahighgradeandfreeofmoisture.Thestirringisbegun,andheatappliedtotheflaskuntil
themixtureboils.Sincemethylenechlorideboilsatabout40C,thewaterflowingthroughthecondenserwillhave
tobeverycoldtocondenseit.Theboilismaintainedatreflexfor4hours.
Thefollowingreactionoccurs:

Afterrefluxingfor4hours.themixtureisallowedtocool,andthestirringstopped.ABchnerfunnelisthen
assembledtoafilteringflask,andtheflaskisconnectedtothevacuumline.Thefilterpaperissecurelyplacedinto
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thefunnel,andwettedwithsomemethylenechloridetoholditinplace.Thevacuumisturnedon,andthereaction
mixtureisfiltered.Thesaltwhichwasmadeinthereactionwillfilterout.Itshouldberinsedwithsomemethylene
chloridetogetthelastoftheproduct,Sarin,offofit.
Imustwarnherethatthisfilteringstep,andthetransfertothedistillingflaskcomingup,arethetwomostlikely
timesforaspillaccidenttooccur.Vigilanceisthepriceoflife!
Thefilteredproductistransferredtoa1000mlroundbottomflask,andtheglasswaresetupforvacuumdistillation.
Afewboilingchips(somepiecesofpumicefootstonemakeagoodsubstitute)shouldbeintheflaskAVigreux
columnorsimilarfractionatingdeviceshouldbeattached.
Avacuumisapplied,andthemethylenechlorideisremovedunderavacuum.Whenmostofitisgone,heatmaybe
appliedtotheflaskandtheproductcollectedina250mlflask.Sarinboilsat56Cat16mmHgand46Cat8
mmHg.Theyieldisalittleover200mlofSarin.
Allglasswaregoesintothelyesoakafteruse,andtherubberclothingintoasomewhatweakerlyebath.Work
surfacesshouldalsobedrenchedwiththelyesolution.Theendofthevacuumlinemustalsobesoaked.The
containerthattheSarinisultimatelyputintoshouldbeverysecurelystoppedwhenfull,andthensprayeddownon
theoutsidewithalyesolution.Aplasticplantmisterworkswellforthis.Afterrinsingoffthesolutionafterafew
hours,thecontainershouldbecoatedwithalayerofwax.Itmaynowbeconsideredsafe,solongasitisnot
dropped.
NowformyspeculationsontheproductionofSoman.SeetheJournaloftheChemistrySocietyofLondon(1960),
pages1553to1555byFordMooreandBryant.InadditiontotheabovemethodofSarinproduction,theylist
anotheronewhichwouldbetailormadefortheproductionofSoman.Theirmethodis:
If,inthisprocess,pinacolylalcoholwassubstitutedforisopropylalcohol,theproductwouldbeSoman.Pinacolyl
alcoholhasthestructure:
IthastheIUPACname3,3,dimethyl2butanol,andsellsfor$40per100grams.Itmayalsobeobtaincdby
reductionofpinacolone.Mostofusarefamiliarwiththissubstancefromdoingthepinacolrearrangementinorganic
lab.
AnotherpossibleroutetoSomanwouldbetosubstitutepinacolylalcoholforisopropylalcoholinSchrader'soriginal
methodformakingSarin.Ofcourse,itgoeswithoutsayingthatsincepinacolylalcoholhasamolecularweightof
102.2versusisopropylalcohol'sMWof60.1,itwouldbenecessarytouseatleast1.7timesasmuchpinacolyl
alcoholaswouldbeneededwithisopropylalcohol.Evenmoremaybeneeded,if,asIsuspect,pinacolylalcoholis
muchlessreactivethanisopropylalcohol.

TheVGases
SarinandSomanwerenottheendofthelinefornervegasdevelopment.Betterkillingthroughchemistrybrought
forthanewseriesofimprovednervegasesinthelate'50sandearly'60s.Thisseriesofimprovednervegaseshave
chemicalstructuresverysimilartoSarin(andaremadealmostthesameway),butpossesssomerelativelyminor
modificationsthatincreasetheirpotencyconsiderably.TheparticularVgaswhichwillbeconcentrateduponhereis
themostpotentofalltheVgases.Itschemicalnameismethylethoxyphosphorylthiocholineandhasthefollowing
structure:
Thiscompoundis10timesmorepotentthanSarin,andyetisnotappreciablymoredifficulttomakethanSarin.The
advantagesofthemorepotentproductareobviousforthelargescaleattack.Theonegallonsizeblastdispersal
bombdescribedearlierinthischapter,iffilledwiththisVgas,wouldthenbecometheequivalentofa10gallon
bomb.ThelethalzonedownwindofthedropsiteswouldbeconsiderablygreaterwiththeVgas.Thesamesize
payloadonthebomberplanewouldpeckasmuchgreaterpunch.
Thetwochemicalstructuresshownabovearebothcorrect.Theoneontheleftisthethiocholinenervegasasitis
producedinthemainsynthesisreaction.Theoneontherightisthequaternaryammoniumcompoundderivative
producedfromitbyreactingitwithmethyliodide.Thequaternaryammoniumcompoundhastheadvantagesof
beingmorepotent(itisbelievedthatthepositivechangeonthenitrogenatomnukesthepoisonmoreefficientat
linkingupwithanddeactivatingthecholinesteraseenzyme),andalsomoresuitableforuseasanassassination
poison.
Thequaternaryderivativeismoresuitedforassassinationbecausethequaternaryammoniumcompoundsare
notoriouslyhardtodetectinthebodyofthevictimatautopsy.AVgasassassinationislikelytoremainamystery,
solongasitisdonestealthily.Ofcourse,ifananticholinesterasetestisdoneonthebloodofthemark,itwillshow
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thatsomethinghasknockedoutthisenzymesystem,butfindingoutwhatwillbeataskforamagician.Thistest
wouldhavetobedonewhilethebodyisstillfresh,ortheenzymesystemwillgokaputanywayasanaturalresultof
beingdeadandrotting.
Theunquaternizedproductasitcomesoutofthereactionhastheadvantageofbeingaliquid(thequaternized
materialisasolid)soitismoreeasilydispersedintoafinemistofdropletsfromablastdispersalbomb,oran
aerosoldispenser.AlargerexplosivechargewouldbenecessarytodothejobofshatteringasolidmassofVgas
intoamist.
Theunquaternizedproducthasthedisadvantageofnotkeepingaswellasthequaternizedproduct.Ittendsto
rearrangeintolesstoxicsubstanceswhenleftstandingThisprocesscanbesloweddownbyfreezing,butnotstopped
completely.Inanycase,itisveryslowandnotamatterforconcern.
TheVgas,inbothitsunquaternized,andespeciallyitsquaternizedform,hasonegreatdisadvantageincomparison
toSarinorSoman.ItisnotpossibletovaporizetheVgasbyheatingit.Thismeansthatonepossiblemeansof
attackbynerveagentsisnotgoingtoworkwiththeVgas.
TheattackplantowhichIamreferringherewouldbeanoptionwhenalargegroupoftheenemyismeetinginan
auditorium,arena,coliseumorsimilarlargestructurethatisundercover.Inthisexample,theenemycouldbe
attackedherewithSarinsimplybyheatingareasonableamount(acoupleofpounds)ofSarinaboveitsboilingpoint
(nearly200C)inalocationwheretheventilationsystemwouldrapidlyspreadthegasthroughoutthebuilding.A
pandemoniousscenereminiscentofsprayingaroomfilledwithflieswouldbethemostimmediateresult.Abouthalf
theSarinwouldbelosttocharringfromheatingitinthismannerwithouttheprotectionofavacuum,butthatisa
tradeofflikelytobeacceptedbytheattackersbecauseofthesimplicityofthismeansofattack.
AvariationofthisattackplanwasusedbythatwhackedoutJapanesecultintheirfirstnervegasattackinthecityof
MatsumotoaboutsixmonthspriortotheirsubwayescapadeinTokyo.ThecontrolledUSmediablackedoutnewsof
thisattackforfearofinspiringcopycats,soletmefillyouinonthedetails.Inthistrialrunforthebigshow,some
unseenoperativespulledintoaparkinglotalittleupwindfromanapartmentcomplex.Theretheyrapidlyheated
maybeapintoftheirSarinproduct,andletthefumesdriftdownwindintotheapartments,wheretheykilledabouta
dozenpeopleandwounded200.AninterestingsidelightherewasthebehaviorofSarinwhenrapidlyheatedto
boilingwithoutbenefitofavacuumtoprotectit.Whitecloudswereseendriftingonthewindsintotheapartments,
thesecloudsnodoubtbeingoxidesofphosphorusformedfromthebreakdownoftheSarinduetoheat.Also,
vegetationinthevicinitywasscorched,duetoactionofthephosphorusoxides,alongwithHClandHF.
Thisreasonablyeffective,althoughhardlyinconspicuousdeliverymethodwasabandonedinfavorofacrackpot
schemefortheirsubwayattack.Forthisevent,theaforementioned"creamofJapanesesociety"decidedtodilute
theirSarinwithacetonitrile,putitinplasticbagshiddeninluggage,andjustpokethebagtopunctureitandspillthe
solutionontothefloorofthesubway.TogettheSarinupintotheair,theyjustrelieduponpassiveevaporation,a
veryslowandineffectiveprocesswithahighboilingpointsubstancesuchasSarin.Evenwiththeaddedsurface
areaimpartedbythedilutionwithacetonitrile,Sarin'svaporpressureisjusttoolowatroomtemperaturetocause
muchtoevaporateintotheair.
Toattackatargetsuchasthesubway,these"geniusesoftheTokyotunnels"wouldhavebeenbetteradvisedtouse
anaerosoldispenser.Suchadevicecouldhavesimplyenoughbeenconstructedandusedbytheseaforementioned
"genuises".Tobegintoconsiderthisalternative,onemustfirstlookatandunderstandthecommonaerosolcan
foundinallourhomes.
Picturedaboveisatypicalaerosolspraycan.Thecanisfilledwithasolutionofpropellantand
product.Thepurposeofthepropellantistocreateagoodlevelofpressureinsidethecanto
forcethemixtureupthestemandoutthespraynozzle.Therethepropellantrapidlyevaporates
away,leavingafinemistoftheproductdriftingintheair.Fornervegas,onecanuseavery
similardesign.Therearenoreallimitsuponthepossiblesizeoftheaerosolcontainer.The
preferredmaterialforconstructionofthisdeviceisstainlesssteel,asfairlythinlayersofsteel
canbeeatenawaybynervegas,whichcouldleadtotheruptureofthevessel.Thepreferred
propellantfornervegasisFreon12.
Toconstructsuchadevice,oneshouldstartwiththestem.Itshouldreachnearlytothebottom
ofthecontainer,andbeweldedflawlesslyintoalidorfillingportalforthecontainer.Wherethestemleavesthe
container,thereshouldbetwohighqualityvalves,suchasfromSwageLock,inseriestoholdbacktheproductin
thecanonceitisfilled.Thestemshouldendinaspraynozzlesuchasthosefoundatthehardwarestoreforgarden
sprayers.
Next,weshouldconsiderfillingthecontainer.Whenfilled,onewouldwantaboutofitsvolumetakenupwith
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propellantproductsolution,andonewouldalsowantthesolutiontobeabout10%nervegasand90%propellant
Freon12.So,foraonegalloncontainer,add250mlofnervegas.Cooldownthecontainerbottomwithdryice
acetone,andsimilarlychillacontainerofFreon12.TheboilingpointofFreon12is30C,soitmustbewellbelow
thattemperature.Then,whenitissufficientlycold,draintheliquidFreonfrontitstanksintotheaerosolcontainer
untilitisaboutfull.Thenweldthetoporfillingportalwiththespraystemontothecontainer.Thiscompletes
constructionofanervegasaerosolcan.Itcanbecheckedforleakageonceitwarmsbacktoroomtemperatureby
usingcagedbirds,etc.Finally,anautomaticsystemwhichopensthevalvesonthestemiseasilyconstructed.It
wouldbemostconvenienttorigthisautomaticopeningsystemwithatimer,althoughradiocontrolisalsopossible.
ThesynthesisofVgasisverysimilartothesynthesisofSarin.Nospecialequipmentisneededtoproduceit,just
standardchemicalglasswarewithgroundglassjoints.OnechangefromthesynthesisofSarinisthatagoodquality
vacuumpumpisrequiredtoproduceavacuumforthedistillationofthefinalproduct.Ithassuchahighboiling
pointthatavacuumlessthan5mmHgwillhavetobeappliedtodistillitwithoutburningtheproduct.
ThestartingmaterialfortheproductionofVgasistriethylphosphite(forSarinitwastriisopropylphosphite).This
substancecostsabout$15perpound.Anattackermaybewisetoconsidermakingthisstartingmaterial,becausethe
federalgovernmenttriestokeepaneyeonsalesofmaterialswhichcanbeusedfornervegasmanufacture.How
welltheydothis,withalltheattentiontheylavishondope,isamatterforspeculation.Whethertriethylphosphiteis
aremoteenoughprecursortoevadetheirwatchfuleye,onecanonlyguess.Inanycase,themainmanufacturers
wouldbebadplacesforanattackertopurchasethismaterialbecausetheyareallnotoriousgovernmentsnitchesto
protecttheirfederalcontracts.ThesmallerlocaldistributorsmaybelessenamoredofFillingoutformsforUncle
Sam.VerygooddirectionsformakingtriethylphosphitecanbefoundinOrganicSyntheses,Volume31,or
CollectiveVolume4,page955.
AsyoucanseebycomparingthisprocesstotheSarinproductionprocess,theyarealmostidentical.Insteadof
triisopropylphosphiteasthestartingmaterial,wehavetriethylphosphite.Fromtheretheprocessisthesameuntil
thefinalstepwheresodiumfluorideisreplacedwith2dimethylaminoethanethiol.
Startingwithtriethylphosphite:

DirectionsforthefirstreactioncanbefoundinOrganicSyntheses,Volume31orCollectiveVolume4,page325.
ThetitleofthesynthesisisDiisopropylmethylphosphonate,whichwasthematerialusedfortheSarinsynthesis.At
theendofthearticle,atthebottomofNote2,isthemodifieddirectionformakingdiethylmethylphosphonate:

Equalmolaramountsofmethyliodideandtriethylphosphitearereacted.Foraconvenientandproductive2mole
sizebatch,thatmeansthat332gramsoftriethylphosphite(348ml)isaddedto284grams(126ml)ofmethyliodide.
Theyarerefluxedtogetherforthreehours,thenthepurificationproceduregiveninthemaintextofthearticleis
followed.Theauthorsnotethatasmallamountofabyproduct,diethylethylphosphonateismade,andthatitisvery
hardtoseparateitoutbydistillation.Itismyopinionthatthissmallamountofbyproductcanbelivedwith,and
neednotconcernanattackerworriedaboutthesuccessofthenextreactions.
Thenextreactionis:

ThisreactionisdoneexactlythesamewayasintheSarinsynthesis.Thephosgene(a.k.a.carbonylchloride)is
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bubbledthroughthematerialfor10hours,andtheproductisrecoveredbydistilling.Withthepreliminariesoutof
theway,thenervegascrazedattackersarereadyforthemainproductionreaction:

Naturally,thesamesafetyprecautionsfortheSarinsynthesisareneededforthisreaction.Sinceanaspiratorcannot
producethevacuumneededforthedistillationoftheproduct,itisdoublyimportantthatthefumehoodusedforthis
reactionhaveagoodsteadydraftofairmovingthroughit.Thevacuumpumpmustbeinit,sothatitsexhausted
vaporsdonotfilltheroom.
Theinterestingsubstanceusedinsteadofsodiumfluoride,2dimethylaminoethanethiol,isanotherchemicalthata
carefulattackgroupmayconsidermakingthemselvesratherthanpurchasingreadymade.Ifeelthatthisdecisionis
wrongbecausethesubstancehaslegitimateuseasametalcomplexingagent,andsowithsubterfugewouldprobably
beobtainedwithoutarousingsuspicion.
Weighingontheothersideoftheargumentistheveryhighcostofthismaterial.Aldrichissellingitforover$50per
hundredgrams,asthehydrochloride,withapurityof90%.Sotouseit,itwouldhavetobefreebasedandpurified.
Thesubstanceitismadefrom,N,Ndimethylethanoamine,issoldbythesamefolksat99%purity,forabout$15per
kilo.Thissubstancefindsuseinbiologyandmedicineasaninhibitorofethanolaminephosphokinase.Thisalcohol
canbeturnedintothethiolbyfirstreactingitwithSOCl(seeJournaloftheAmericanChemicalSociety,Volume
66,page1921(1944)byBreslow),andthenreactingthatwithalkalinehydrosulfitesolutionunderinertatmosphere
(seeJournaloftheAmericanChemicalSociety,Volume67,page1845(1945)byGilman).
Inanycase,themainproductionreactionforVgasissurprisinglyeasy.Itisdoneasfollows:
Intoaclean,dry2000mlroundbottomflask,thefollowingingredientsareadded,quickly,oneaftertheotherwith
swirlingtomixthem:afewboilingchips,800mlanhydrousethylether,284gramsofthemethylethoxyphosphoryl
chloride,212gramsofdimethylaminoethanethiol,and212grams(292ml,costabout$15perkilo)oftriethylamine.
Itiscrucialherethattheglasswarebeverydry,andthattheingredients,especiallythechloride,beprotectedfrom
moisture,becausethepresenceofwaterreallylowerstheyieldinthisreaction.Irecommendbakingtheglasswarein
anoven,andallowingittodryinadessicator.
Whentheingredientshavebeenaddedandmixed,agood,efficientcondensertoppedwithadryingtubeisattached
totheflask,andaflowofgood,coldwaterisputthroughthecondenser.Thecontentsoftheflaskareheatedto
boilingwithahotwaterbath,andarefluxismaintainedforonehour.
Thebyproductofthisreaction,hydrogenchloride,isabsorbedbythetriethylamineasitisproduced,forming
triethylaminehydrochloridecrystals.Thisacidabsorptionisthereasonforhavingthetriethylamineinthereaction
mixture.Withoutit,thehydrogenchlorideevolvedwouldinterferewiththereaction.
Attheendoftheonehourheatingperiod,themixtureiscooled,andthecrystalsoftriethylaminehydrochlorideare
filteredoutinaBuchnerfunnel.Thecrystalsmayberinsedwithethertogetthelastoftheproductoffthem.
Thefilteredreactionmixtureisthenreturnedtoa2000mlroundbottomflask,afewboilingchipsadded,the
glasswaresetupforsimpledistillation,andtheetherremovedbydistillingitoffunderagentlevacuum.Anaspirator
isperfecttorthisjob,sinceitwillflushtheetherfumesdownthedrain.
Whenmostoftheetherisgone,themixtureispouredintoa1000mlroundbottomflaskwithafewboilingchips.
Theremnantsinthe2000mlflaskcanberinsedoutwithsomeetherandpouredintothe1000mlflask.Onceagain
thisflaskissetupforsimpledistillation,andfullaspiratorvacuumisappliedtoit.Thelastoftheetherand
triethylamine(bp88C)willbegoneshortly.
Nowthevacuumfromthegoodqualityvacuumpumpisappliedtothedistillation.Avacuumoflessthan1mmHg
istobepreferredheretokeepthedistillationtemperaturesreasonableandtoavoidburningtheproduct.AMcLeod
gaugeshouldbeusedtokeeptrackofwhatkindofvacuumthepumpispulling(costabout$200).
Afterasmallforeruniscollectedina250mlflask,a500mlflaskisattached,andthemainbulkoftheproductis
collectedataboilingpointof80Catavacuumof.06mmHg.Thisboilingpointrapidlyincreaseswithincreasing
pressure.Theyieldis260to275mlofproduct.Afairamountoftarremainsinthedistillingflask.
Thisproductmaybepouredintoalargeglassbottleforstorage,aswithSarin.The40oz.beerbottleissafefor
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bombdesign,andonceitiscoatedwithwax,itisfairlysafe,ifnotdropped.
Iftheaimoftheattackerisasingleassassination,quaternizationiscalledfor.Todothis,acoupledropsofVgasare
putintoatesttubefilledwithether.TwicethenumberofdropsofmethyliodideasVgasisthenadded,along
withaboilingchip.Themixtureisheatedtoboilingforafewhours,thanallowedtoslowlycooldown.Theether
andunreactedmethyliodideareremovedunderavacuum,thecrystalswashedwithalittlemoreether,andthe
resultingproductisreadyforuse.

ChapterFive
TIMEDELAYFIRE
Firehasbeenoneofman'sfavoriteweaponsofdestructionforthethousandsofyearsithasbeenathisdisposal.
Neitherthepassageoftime,northeadvanceoftechnologyhasdoneanythingtotaketheglimmeroffthisancient
bringerofdeath.Itisstillthesilentfriendoftheangelofdeath.
Thosewhowouldusetireasaninstrumentofdestruction,orameansofassassination,havetwolargestumbling
blocksintheirway.Toachievesuccessbothmustbesurmounted.
Thefirstobstacletobeovercomeisthatitmayprovehelpfultotheattackerifbecanprovehewas"somewhere
else"atthetimethefirebrokeout.Evenoccupyingforcesbattlingguerrillafighterscanoftenbeswayedbythe
powerfullogicofagood"alibi."Itseffectinmorenormalsituationscanbeoverwhelming.
Thesecondobstacleisnotsoeasilypassed.Thatistomakethetragiceventappeartobeofnaturaloriginoran
accident.Herethematterbecomestouchybecausethe"torch"runsupagainsttheaccumulatedwisdomoffire
marshalsandinspectors.Backingthemupistheireverpresentally,thecrimelabwithitsgaschromatograph.
Awelltrainedfiremarshalhastheuncannyabilitytotellwhereinabuildingafirestarted,justby"reading"the
patternofthecharmarkingsonthewreckage.Ifthefireistracedtoanareaofthebuildingwherethereshouldbeno
sourceoffiretostarttheblaze,alarmbellsgooff.
Anevenmoreamazingfactisthatthecharredremainsfromafirecanretaintracesofany"accelerant"usedtostart
it.Labequipmenthasprogressedtothepointthatifgasolinewasusedastheaccelerant,itiseasytotellwhetherit
wasregularorunleaded.Itmayevenbepossibletotellthebrand.
Enteringthissceneisaverywidelyknownchemicalwithaverylittleknownproperty.Hydrogenperoxide(H0)is
aneverydayitem,oftenseeninmedicinecabinetsoratthedrugstore.Itisusuallysoldforhomeuseasa3%
solutionofhydrogenperoxideinwater.Otherconcentrationsofhydrogenperoxide,rangingfrom20to50%
hydrogenperoxidearestandarditemsofcommerce.Theyfinduseinindustryasbleachingagents,andinthe
laboratoryasoxidantsandasmeanstomakechemicals.
Thesestrongersolutionsofhydrogenperoxidehavetheinterestingpropertyofsettingfiretothings.Theydon'tdoit
rightaway,andtheywon'tseteverythingonfire.
Flammableitemslikewood,cloth,furniture,carpeting,paper,etc.,arealleasypickingsforhydrogenperoxide.
Anythingthatwillnominallyburn,andthathydrogenperoxidecansoakinto,itwillsetonfire.
Theamountoftimedelaybetweenapplyinghydrogenperoxideandtheresultingfiredependsonalotoffactors.
Thisisbecausethewaterinthehydrogenperoxidesolutionmustevaporateaway,allowingthehydrogenperoxide
contentofthesolutiontogethigherandhigheruntilacriticalpointisreachedandtheitemburstsintoflame.Sothe
warmeranddrieritis,thefasterthewaterwillevaporateandthefasteritwillburstintoflame.Atypicaltimedelay
foratfewouncesof30%hydrogenperoxidesolutiondousedontoclothisaboutanhouratatemperatureof70F
andahumidityof40%.
Themoreconcentratedsolutionsofhydrogenperoxidelookprettymuchlikethe3%brandseeninthedrugstore,
whichistosaytheylooklikewater.Theyalsohavenosmell,untiltheybegintosmoulderjustbeforeignition.
Howthistiesintostumblingblocknumberoneisprettyobvious.Whataboutnumbertwo?Hydrogenperoxideisa
prettyunstablesubstanceathightemperatures.Duringafire,itwillbreakdowntowaterandoxygen.Mostdetectors
ongaschromatographswillnotevenknowitisthere,ifitshouldsurvivethefire.Finally,ifitshouldbedetected,
wouldthepeopleinthelabknowwhatitmeans?

ChapterSix
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POISONSFROMNATURE
Digitalis
Mostofusarefamiliarwithdigitalis,thelifesavingheartdrugtakenbymillionsofpeoplearoundtheworld.Many
ofushavealsoseenitsuseinmoviesandTVasameansof"untraceableassassination"usedbyhitmen,etc.,to
causemysteriousheartattacks.
Likemostofwhatonereceivesfromthepopularmedia,thisispurebunk.Whileitistruethatanoverdoseof
digitaliswillcausewhatatfirstglanceappearstobeaheartattack,itisbynomeansuntraceable.Intruth,digitalisis
rathereasilydetectedinthehumanbody.Itisfarfrommysterious,orevenclever.Awidevarietyofmethodshave
beendevisedtodetectdigitalisandallofthesocalled"cardiacglycosides."
Thereis,however,oneexceptiontothisgeneralrulewhichgroupsdigitaliswiththe"badpoisons."Thatisifthe
markisalreadytakingdigitalisbyprescription.Itcertainlyisironicthattakingdigitalismakesonevulnerableto
poisoning,bothaccidentalandotherwisefromit.Agooddoctorwillcloselymonitorthebloodlevelofdigitalisin
thebodiesofhispatients,preciselybecausesuddenshiftsinbodychemistrycancausebloodlevelsofdigitalistorise
tothelethalpointwithoutchangingthedoseinvolved.
Thelethallevelofdigitalisisabout3or4timeshigherthantheamountusedtoimproveheartfunctionsothereis
notalargesafetyzoneinwhichthebloodlevelsofdigitaliscanmove.
Forthisreason,itisnexttoimpossibleforacoronertosay,justonthebasisofbloodlevels,whetherthedear
departedwasthevictimofmaliceorunfortunateswingsinmetabolism(SeeAdvancesinForensicandClinical
Toxicology,byA.S.Curry,page158.)
Thisisnottosaythatotherfactorsmightnottiphimoff.Forexample,iftheremainsofacoupleFoxgloveplants
(thesourceofdigitalis)arefoundinthestomachofthemark,doubtmayarisewhetherornotheknowinglyor
willinglyatethem.
Foxglove,atfairlycommonornamentalplant,isthenaturalsourceofdigtalis.Itisfoundintheleaves,seeds,and
flowersoftheplant.Thedigitaliscanheextractedfromtheplantbyblenderizingtheplantpartscontainingthe
digitalisuntiltheyarepowdered,andthensoakingthepowderinvodka(100proofwilldo,but190proofisbetter),
filteringtheresultingbrew,andallowingthealcoholtoevaporate.Theresiduecontainsdigitalis.Amuchbetterjob
canbedoneusinganIsoIIhashoilextractor.IalwaysusedtoseethemadvertisedinHighTimes,butIhaven'tseen
anadlately.Perhapsonecouldhefoundatagaragesale.Likethegasgenerator,theIsoIIisanotherpieceof
equipmentthatnohomeiscompletewithout.
Theextractsoobtainedwillcontainamixtureofdigitalisglycosides,mainlydigitoxin,gitoxin,anddigoxin.Modern
medicinesdonotusuallycontainamixtureofingredients.Forthisreason,prescriptionmedicinematchingthatofthe
markisemployedbysuccessfulpoisoners.
Formoreinformationsee:"FluorometricDeterminationofMyocardialDigoxinatAutopsywithDeterminationof
DigitalisLeaf,Digitoxin,andGitoxtin"byR.W.JelliffeintheAmericanJournalofClinicalPathology,Volume51,
page347(1969).

RapeseedOilPoisoning
In1981,amysterydiseasesweptthroughSpain.Theunfortunatevictimsofthisbewilderingmaladyseemedtoage
decadesinamatterofdays.Theirimmunesystemsturnedagainsttheirownbodyandchewedwhatwasleftofthem
tobits.Theybecamesteadilyshrinkinghumanskeletons,exceptfortheirrapidlygrowingtumors.Thenervous
systemwasalsoatarget,resultinginlossofcontrolofmusclesforthelucky.Thosenotsofortunatewerecastinto
thedepthsofinsanity.Inamatterofmonths,12,000peoplewerestricken.Mostarenowdead.
Asonewouldexpect,thebestmindsandequipmentweremarshaledtofindthecauseofthismysteriousillness,but
tryastheymay,nothingcouldbefound.Bloodwasanalyzedandurinewasscrutinized,andeveryavailableorifice
wasprobed,tonoavail.Everytestcameupnegative.Thebestmindswerestumped.
Luckilyforthosenotyetstricken,anothergroupwasonthecase.Theywerelikemedicaldetectives,questioning
eachvictimwhocouldstilltalk,andtheirrelatives.Theyinquiredintoeverysmalldetailoftheirlives,lookingfor
thecommonthreadwhichboundthemtogetherinmisery.
Afterseveralmonths,theyhitthejackpot.Itturnedoutthatallofthevictimshadbeenusinga"bargainbrand"of
"oliveoil"soldbysomeshadydealers.Littledidthevictimsknowthatthis"bargainbrand"wasnotoliveoilatall,
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butinsteadwasindustrialgraderapeseedoil.
Theindustrialgraderapeseedoilwasdefinitelynotmeantforconsumptionbyanylivingthing,Itwasmeantforuse
asadryingoilinpaintsinstead,soithadbeenprocessedinamannersimilartoboiledlinseedoiltoincreaseits
polyunsaturatedfatcontent.Thesepolyunsaturatesarenotoriousfortheirabilitytogeneratefreeradicals.Inapaint,
thesefreeradicalsallowthepainttopolymerizeand"dry."Insidealivingbody,thesefreeradicalsreactrandomly
withlivingtissue,agingit.Afterenoughdamageisdone,theimmunesystemnolongerrecognizesthedamaged
tissueasbelongingtothebody,soitattacksit.Innotimeatall,thewholeorganismfallsapartinamostmysterious
manner.Keepthatinmindnexttimesomeproductboastsofitspolyunsaturatedfatcontent.
Onewouldthinkthatthisindustrialgraderapeseedoilwouldbeprettyunpalatable.Apparently,thatwasnotthe
case,asallthosethousandsoferstwhilebargainhunterseagerlycheweddowntheoil,andcamebackformore.From
this,onecanconcludethatitssmell,taste,andappearancewerepleasingtotheunfortunatevictimsofthe"mystery
disease."Logicwouldthendictatethatitcouldbeincorporatedintothedietofalmostanyone,solongasitwere
mixedwithsomeofthegenuineoilitisreplacing.Forinstance,I'msurethatWessoncouldhecutwiththisrapeseed
oil5050,withoutarousingsuspicionfromthosepartakinginthisunhealthyrepast.
Rapeseedoilisafairlycommoniteminthepaintindustry.Itisoneofalargenumberofplantoilswhichhavebeen
usedas"dryingoils"inpaint.Othermembersofthisgroupincludelinseedoilandtungoil.Agoodpaintsupply
centershouldbeabletogetsomeiftheydon'thaveanyonhand.
Tothebestofmyknowledge,thelethaldoseofindustrialgraderapeseedoilhasnotbeendetermined.Itisapretty
goodguessthatthelethalamountwouldbenearhalfacup.Loweramountscanbecountedontodoheavydamage
aswell.Chemicalswhichformfreeradicalsworkinmuchthesamewayasradioactivematerials.Thereisnosafe
levelofexposure,merelyalevelatwhichtheriskbecomesacceptable.

TheJequirityBean
Thejequiritybean,alsocalledtherosarypeaorcrab'seye,isavinewhichgrowsintropicalareas,includingFlorida.
Thisplantproducesbeautifulseedswhicharepopularwiththelocalcraftsmenforfashioningnecklaces,rosaries,
andsimilarobjects.Behindthisinnocuousfacade,thejequiritybeanhidesasinistersecret.Itcontainsaverydeadly
anddifficulttodetectpoison.
Thebeautiful,yetdeadlyseedsofthejequiritybeanareaboutthesizeofapea,andareredandblackincolor.Their
hardcoatsmakethemperfectformakingjewelry,andinpeashooters,Isuppose.Theirbeautyalsomakesitvery
unlikelythatanyonewouldquestionthedesireofapersontoownafewpoundsworthoftheselittlegems.
Beneaththehardcoatoftheseeds,inthepulpoftheseed,isamostfascinatingpoisoncalledabrin.Abrinisan
unusualplantpoison,becauseitisaprotein(technicalterm:phytalbumin),incontrasttothegreatmajorityofplant
poisons,whicharealkaloids.Thisisaveryimportantpointbecauseallthealkaloidscannowbeeasilydetectedand
identifiedbyuseofagaschromatographmassspectrometer.Formerlyexcellentpoisonssuchasnicotineor
aconitinearenowvirtuallyuselessbecauseoftheeaseofdetectionoftinyquantitiesofpoisonpossiblewiththeGC
massspec.Proteins,ontheotherhandcanbeverydifficulttodetectinabody.Thisisbecauseoftheneedleinthe
haystackeffect.Withallthethousandsofdifferentproteinsinabody,topickoutonethatdoesn'tbelongthereis
verydifficult,especiallyifitisnotthereinlargequantities.Anotherclassofcompoundsthatsharethisqualityof
difficultdetectionarequaternaryammoniumcompounds.
Thejequiritybeanhasmoretorecommenditthanjustdifficultyofdetection.Thetimingofthesymptomsarealso
veryconvenientforsuccessfulpoisoning.Thesymptomscomeonatleastadayaftereatingthejequiritybean,and
maytakeaslongas3daystobegin.
Thisishelpfulbecauseitmakesitprettydifficultforthemarktoassociatehisdistresswithitscauseafewdays
earlier.Therearetwo"good"extremesfortimeofactionofapoison.Eitherquickknockdownwithimmediate
death,ortimedelayeffect,thelongerthebetter.
Thesymptomsofpoisoningbythejequiritybeanarenotveryhelpfulindiagnosingtheillness.Thevictimsuffers
fromvomiting,diarrhea,andfinallycollapseanddeath.Symptomsliketheseareseeninsomanyillnessesand
poisoningsthattheyarenohelp.
Thefataldoseofjequiritybeanisabout10ofthemforanadult.Thewisepoisonerwilladdafewtobesureofthe
result.Inpreparingthebeansforserving,thereareseveralpointswhichmustheobservedforbestresults.Point
numberoneisthatthebeansmustbecompletelyhulled.Therearetworeasonsforthis.Thefirstreasonisthatthe
poisonislockedbeneaththehardshellofthepea,sotheshellmustbecrackedforittogetout.Thesecondreason
forhuskingthepeasisthatintestinalcontents,stomachcontentsandvomitandfecesareusuallycloselyexamined
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forcluestotheillnessordeathoftheunfortunatevictim.Findingthehullsofjequiritybeansinanyoftheabove
mentionedmaterialswouldbeadeadgiveawaytothecauseofthemalady.
Servingthejequiritybeanissuretobeanartformalltoitself,butIknowofnobooksheretorecommendonthe
topic.Icanoffertwoguidelines.Mostimportantly,caremustbetakeninheatingtheseedcontents.Proteinsare
sensitivetocooking,andtheirpropertiesareradicallychangedintheprocess.Thisprocessiscalleddenaturation,
andisirreversible.Aprimeexampleiswhathappenstotheeggwhite(protein!)uponfrying.Itisagoodbetthat
cookingdestroysthepoisoninthejequiritybean.Pointnumbertwoisatservingsuggestion:mushedupandmixed
withmashedpotatoes.

ChapterSeven
CIASHELLFISHTOXIN
We'veallseenspymovieswhereonespydoesinanotherwithasmallpokefromapin,oradropletinadrink.The
victimalwaysfallsoverdeadinaflash,nevermakingasoundotherthanagrunt.TheCIAshellfishtoxinisthereal
lifecounterpartofthespymovie'spoison.
TheCIAshellfishtoxin,knownalsoassaxitoxinorgonyaultoxin,isoneofthemostdiabolicallyeffectivepoisons
forassassinationknown.Itiseffectivewithinsecondswheninjected.Wheneatenthesymptomstakelongerto
begin,butitslethalfurywillnotbedenied,regardlessofwhatevermedicalassistancemaybeavailable.
Thistoxinisalsoexceedinglydifficulttodetectandanalyzeinthebodyofthevictim.Thereareseveralreasonsfor
this.Firstofall,saxitoxinisaverymysteriousandelusivesubstance.Itdoesnothavemanyeasilydefinable
chemicalcharacteristics.Scientistshavebeenstudyingthisstuffforyears,andtheystillcan'tagreeonjustwhatits
chemicalstructureis.Recentstudiesseemtohavenarrowedthescopeoftheargumenttoafewpossibilities,but
peoplekeeponpublishingnewpapersdisputingtheclaimsmadejustafewyearsbefore.
SaxitoxindoesnotseemtobesuitableforanalysisbytheGCmassspec(seeChapterThirteenformoredetails),so
itexudesdetectionbythemostpowerfulandcommonlyusedanalysismachineinforensictoxicology.Allthe
publishedarticlesthatIhavereadusedliquidchromatographytoisolateanddetectsaxitoxin.Thismoretroublesome
methodisoftennotused,anditmustbecoupledwithachemicaltestforidentification.Saxitoxin'slackof
characteristicchemicalreactionsmakesdetectionbythismethodunlikelyunlessthereissomeothercluetohelp
themalong,suchasundigestedshellfishinthestomach.
Saxitoxinissuchapowerfulpoisonthattinyamountsarequitedeadly.Withsuchatinyamountinthebodyofthe
victim,itgetsdilutedtothepointwhereitisalmostlost.Thismakesthetaskoffindingitthatmuchmoredifficult.
Exactlyhowpoisonousthisshellfish(ormussel)poisonisdependsuponhowitisadministeredtothemark.Fora
175lb.man,5.3milligramsisrequiredbymouth,.068milligrams(68micrograms)byintravenousinjection,and.2
milligramswheninjectedintraperitoneally(intothestomachmusclesliketheoldrabiesvaccine).Thislarge
differenceiscausedbythefactthatitisratherslowlyabsorbedintothebodyfromtheintestines,andrapidly
excretedbythekidneys,soamuchlargeramountofpoisonisrequiredwhengivenbymouththanbyothermeans.
Thesymptomsofsaxitoxinpoisoningwhenitisgivenorallyareinterestingtosaytheleast.Within30minutesof
eatingit,anumbnessorburningisfeltinthemouth.Thisspreadsovertherestofthehead,andthentothefingertips
andtoes.Thevictimthenbecomesuncoordinatedandappearstobedrunk.Wordsareformedonlywiththegreatest
difficulty,andtheyareusuallytooslurredtobeunderstood.Difficultyinbreathingcomesnext,andifafataldose
hasbeentaken,deathensueswithinafewhours.Ifgivenbyinjection,thecourseofeventsismuchfaster,(withinas
fewminutes)butthecauseofdeathisstillrespiratoryfailure.
Thesourceofshellfishtoxinisclamsandmusselsgrowingincoastalareas.AlongtheshoreoftheGulfofMexico,a
slightlydifferenttoxinisinvolved,butitisjustasdeadly.Theseclamsandmusselsbecomepoisonousduringthe
summermonthsbecausetheyfilteroutandfeeduponpoisonousplanktonbelongingtothegenusGonaulaxand
Gymnodinium.Theseplanktoncontainthesaxitoxin,andtheclamsandmusselsconcentrateitintheirbodiesafter
feedinguponit.Itdoestheclamsnoharm,butcanbringdeathtoanywarmbloodedanimaleatingtheclamwhileit
isstillcontaminated.
Theexactamountofsaxitoxininagivenclamormusselisveryhardtopredict.Itdependsonhowmanyofthe
poisonousplanktonhavebeengrowingnearby.Bloomsofthesedeadlyplanktonoftencolorthewaterredorbrown,
andareresponsiblefortheinfamous"redtides."Astudywasdonetofollowthetoxicityoftheclamsandmussels
duringthecourseofthesummer,andtheyfoundthatthepoisoncontentcanincreaseanddecreasebyafactoroften
overatwoweekperiod.ThepeakofdeadlinessisusuallyreachedduringJuly.ClamssuchastheAlaskanButter
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Clamremainpoisonousforaperiodofalmostayearafterfeedinguponthepoisonousplankton,whilemusselslike
Myrtiluscaliforianusflushthepoisonoutoftheirbodiesrapidlyandmayhesafeafterafewweeksawayfromthe
deadlyplankton.
Ascouldbeguessedfromtheabove,itisprettyhardtosayjusthowmanymusselsorclamswillprovidealethal
dosetothetarget.Afewgeneralitiesherecanmakelifemuchsimpler.Firstofall,musselsareusuallymuchmore
toxicthanclams.Myrtiluscaliforianus,whichgrowsallovertheCaliforniacoast,isanespeciallygoodconcentrator
ofthepoison.Anaveragesummerwillresultin4or5musselsbeingtheamountrequiredtobeeatentocause
symptoms,andover12beingthelethaldose.AfterputtingawaythatmanyshellfishevenJethroBodinewouldbe
full.Thatiswhymostcasesofshellfishpoisoningaren'tfatal.Aquirkoffate,however,simplifiesthingsagain.
Overtwothirdsofthepoisoninclamsisconcentratedinthesiphon.Inmussels,over90%ofthepoisonisfoundin
thedigestiveorgans(thedarkmeat).Thisgreatlycutsdownontheamountofshellfishwhichmustbeconsumedfor
fataleffect.Alltheattackerneedstodoissomedissectionwithasharpknifetobesurethatonlythemostpoisonous
partsareused.
Inmanyways,feedingtheshellfishdirectlytothemarkisthebestwayofdeliveringthispoison.Itisverysimple
andrequiresnokindofskill.Cookingdoesnoteffectthepoison,soitcanbeservedinavarietyofdishes.The
poisondissolveswellinthebroth,soclamchowdereaterswhopickouttheclammeatwillstillbepoisoned.
Accidentalpoisoningfromshellfishisafairlycommonoccurrence,especiallytonewcomerstocoastalareasandthe
ignorant.Thefactthatthepoisoningvictim,ifstillaliveforthemoment,willnotbeabletospeakassuresthatthe
accidentalpoisoningstoryistheonlyoneheard.
Forothersituations,feedingtheshellfishjustisnotpractical.Incaseslikethis,itisveryusefultoextractthepoison
fromtheshellfishsothatitmaybeinjectedoraddedtothemark'sdiet.Theprocessofextractingthesaxitoxinfrom
shellfishisprettyeasyandresultsinaverypotentproduct.Nospecialequipmentisusedintheextraction,andallthe
chemicalsusedcanhepickedupatthelocalhardwarestorewithnosuspicioninvolved.
TheextractionmethodgivenhereisfromanarticlebyHelmutMullerintheJournalofPharmacologyand
ExperimentalTherapeutics,volume53,pages67to89.Thisarticleissimplywritten,andwouldmakegoodreading
foranyoneinterestedinshellfishtoxin.
Thefirststepinextractingthepoisonistodissecttheshellfish.Forclams,thesiphonsmustbecutoutandsaved.
Formussels,thedarkmeatiscutoutandsaved.Freezingisagoodmethodtopreservetheshellfishifprocessingto
purifiedpoisonisnotbegunimmediatelyafterdissection.Ifprocessingisbegun,theshellfishpartsshouldbeput
intoablender,andanequalvolumeofacidifiedalcoholadded.Thisacidifiedalcoholismadebymixing1mlof
28%hydrochloricacid(alsocalledmuriaticacidatthehardwarestore,andsoldforsuchmundanepurposesas
cleaningswimmingpoolsandcement)with200mlof95%ethanol(ethylalcohol,soldas190proofgrainalcoholat
theliquorstore,oras95%denaturedalcoholatthehardwarestore).
Itiswisetoholdbackasmallsampleoftheshellfishfromprocessingsothatitmaybetestedforpotency.Thisis
donebyfeedingsomeofittoaparticularlyobnoxiousdogorcat.Poundforpound,theyaretwiceashardtokill
withshellfishtoxin,sosomepreliminarycalculationscanbemadeastohowpotenttheshellfishcollectedare.
Theshellfishalcoholmixintheblenderisblenderizedforacoupleofminutes,thenitismixedwithvermiculiteina
largebowluntilamealyconsistencyisachieved.Thenextstepistofilterthismess.Alargecoffeefilter,abouta
footindiameterisperfectforthejob.Thecoffeefilterisputintoatomatojuicerorsomeothersuitableholder,and
theshellfishalcoholvermiculiteblendisputinthefilter.Somemoresolvent(mixedupbyadding150mlof95%
ethanolto750mlwaterand5mlhydrochloricacid)isworkedintotheshellfishmix,andthebrewwhichfilters
throughisthecrudepoison.Somemoreofthealcoholwateracidmixmaybeworkedthroughtheshellfishmushto
besurethatallthepoisonisoutofit.
Thecrudepoisonbrewthathasfilteredoutofthemusselmixisputintoaglasscakepanandmovedtoatwarm
placeoutofthesunwithgoodventilationsothatthealcoholcanevaporateoff.Whenthebrewnolongersmellslike
alcohol,thegreenishmudthatremainsispurifiedbypouringmineralspiritsintothecakepan,mixingthemudwell
withthespirits,andlettingitsitforacouplehours.Themineralspiritswilldissolvethegreaseoutoftheclammud,
andleavethepurifiedpoisonsittingonthebottomofthepan.Themineralspiritsarepouredoff,andthepoison
sittingonthebottomofthepanisallowedtodry.Aftertestingtodeterminehowpotentitis,itisreadyforuse.
Ifthismethodsoundstoohard,thereisanotherone.Ithasitsadvantages,anditismyfavoriteofthetwo.Inthis
method,theclamsiphonsormusseldarkmeatisBlenderized,andthenspreadfairlythinlyonTefloncoatedcookie
panstodry.Somemildheatisgoodtospeedthisalong,butitshouldnotbebaked.Whenitisdry,thenputina
tomatojuicerorsomesimilarholderandmineralspiritsarepouredslowlythroughthemeattosoakoutthegrease
andotherunwantedcrud.Onecantesttoseeiftheprocessiscompletebycatchingafewdropsonapieceofglass
andlettingthemineralspiritsevaporate.Ifthereisgreaseleftontheglass,theprocessisnotfinished.
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Whenallthegreaseisremoved,thesamealcoholacidwatermixusedinthefirstmethodisslowlypouredthrough
themeat.Thealcoholdrippingthroughiscaughtinacleanglasspan.Someeffortshouldbemadetobesurethatall
thealcoholissqueezedoutoftheclamormusselmeatbeforethrowingawaythemeat.
Thealcoholbrewcontainingthepoisonwillkeepvirtuallyforever,solongasitisreasonablyacid.Someindicating
pHpapercomesinhandyhere.Itiseasilyavailablefromavarietyofsourceswithnosuspicionattached.ThepHof
thebrewshouldbe2to3.Itspotencymaybetestedinthesamewayastheclamsormusselswerebeforeprocessing.
Whenreadyforuse,thebrewmaybeevaporateddowntoareasonablevolumeandadministeredtothemark.The
muchgreatertoxicityofshellfishpoisonwheninjected,anditsfairlylowmolecularweight(about600)suggestthat
thispoisonmaybesuitableforabsorptionthroughtheskinbymixingitwithDMSO.Isuggestthisasafertilefield
forresearchbyseriousexperimenters.
Thepurifiedpoisondescribedaboveisfarfrompure.Itstillcontainsalotofforeignmaterialfromtheshellfishinit.
Thisunwantedmaterialmayberemoved,resultinginpureshellfishtoxin,buttheprocessisalittlemoredifficult
thangettingthiscrudematerial,andmoredifficulttoobtainchemicalsandequipmentareinvolved.Onecanreadall
aboutitintheJournaloftheAmericanChemicalSociety,volume79,pages5230to5235.TheauthorisSchantz.
Aquickandeasysteptofurtherpurifythematerialistomixabouthalfateaspoonfullofpowderedactivated
charcoal(availableatanygoodpharmacy)intothealcoholsolutionofthetoxin.Afterstirringitaroundforafew
minutes,thecharcoalcanbefilteredoutthroughafewcoffeefilters.Theresultisamuchlightercoloredmixture,
onceallthecharcoalhasbeenfilteredout.
Caremustbetakennottousetoomuchcharcoal,asitwillabsorbthepoisonalso.Infact,absorptionofthetoxin
ontoacidwashedNoritbrandactivatedcharcoal,andthensoakingitoutofthecharcoal,formsthebasisofthe
purificationschemeinthearticlebySchantz.

ChapterEight
TREMBLES
Severalcommonweedsarethesourceofapoisonthatresultsinamystifyinganddeadlydisease.Thelittleknown
andpoorlyunderstooddiseasecalledtremblesormilksicknessiscausedbyeatingmeatordrinkingmilkfrom
animalswhichhavefedonRichweedorRaylessGoldenrod(EupatoriumurticafoliumandAplopappus
heterophylus).Itcanalsobecausedbyeatingtheweedsthemselvesorapurifiedoilfromtheweedscalledtremetol.
TheseweedsareverycommoninwildareaseastoftheRockies,andgobyavarietyofcommonnames,for
example:whitesaniclesquawweed,snakeweed,poolwart,whitesnakerootanddeerwart.Mynotablelackof
artisticabilitypreventsmefromdrawingwhattheylooklikehere,butanygoodfieldguidewillshowthemandthe
areaswheretheywillmostlikelybefound.Virtuallyeverylibraryhasfieldguides,andtheyareamongthemost
popularbooksinanylibrary.Nosuspicionisattachedtocheckingoutfieldguidestoweeds.
Theillnesscausedintheunfortunatesoulwhoconsumestheseweedsisapuzzlingthingthatinmanyways
resemblesasevereattackofdiabetes.Afewhourstoadayafterconsumingthedeadlyrepast,symptomsbeginasa
feelingoftirednesswithpainandstiffnessinthelegs.Theappetiteislostandvomitingfollows.Innotimeatall,the
victimisdownforthecount.Thebreathsmellslikeacetone,andbloodsugarisverylow,justasinthesevereattack
ofdiabetes.Thebloodalsobecomesacidic,whichisoftenseenwithdiabetes,infectionsandkidneyfailure.Death
generallycomeswithinthefirstcoupledaysoftheillness,orduringarelapse,whichiscommon.Anautopsywill
showtheliverandkidneysinbadshape,butnotmuchelseexceptforpancreasdamagewhichwillfitinwiththe
diabetestheoryquitewell.
Whathappenstotheactiveingredient,tremetol,onceitisinthebodyisnotknown.Aboutallthatisknownisthatit
comesoutinthemilk,hencepoisoningfromdrinkingmilkfromcowsthateattheweeds.OldAbe'smom,Nancy
HanksLincoln,issaidtohavediedfromtrembles.
Itisalsoknownthattremetolisacumulativepoison,meaningthatlittlebitstakenoveralongperiodoftimearejust
asdeadlyasalottakenatonce.Infact,thisisthewaythatmostpeoplearestrickenbytrembles.Theydrinkalittle
biteverydayofthemilkfromacowthathasbeeneatingthosesinisterweedswithrootsinhell.
Itisaneasymattertoextractthetremetoloutofthedeathdealingweeds,andconsideringthepuzzlingdiseasethatit
causes,aseriousstudentofassassinationwouldbewelladvisedtodoso.Theplantoilismuchlessbulkyandmuch
moreappetizingthantheleavesandstemsandseedsofthewholeplant.
Toextractthetremetoloutoftheweeds,somefreshweedsmustbecollected.Itwillnotdoforthemtobedried,
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becausetheirdeadlinessdisappearsastheplantwilts.Theplantsshouldbechoppedupintopieceslessthananinch
long,andputintoablenderalongwithacouplecupsof95%denaturedalcoholor190proofgrainalcohol.Afterthe
blenderreducesthemixturetoanevenpulp,themushcanbeputintothefilterbasketofanIsoII(bestwaytogo)
andsomemorealcoholputinthebottomoftheIsoandextractionbegun.Alternatively,themushcanbefiltered
throughalargecoffeetilter.Theplantmaterialthatremainsshouldbemixedwithsomemorealcoholandallowedto
sitforatleastatfewhourswithsomeoccasionalshakingorstirring.Thenthisbrewisfilteredthroughacoffeefilter
again,thealcoholthatfiltersthroughbeingmixedwiththefirstbatchofplantjuice.Finally,somemorealcoholis
splashedontotheplantremains,andthelastbitofjuicesqueezedoutofit.
Thegreenishcoloredplantjuicecanbeturnedintoagoldencoloredbrewbyaddingabouthalfateaspoonof
powderedactivatedcharcoaltothealcoholsolution,andstirringitinwellforafewminutes.Itshouldthenbe
filteredthroughcoffeefiltersuntilalltheactivatedcharcolhasbeenremoved.
Thealcoholisthenallowedtoevaporateoff.Pouringitintoaglasscakedishandsettingitinawarmspotwillspeed
uptheevaporationgreatly.Oncemostofthealcoholisgone,andthemixbeginstogetthicker,itshouldbepoured
intoatallglassofwaterwithgoodstirring,thenallowedtositforadayorso.Thetremetolwillseparateoutand
floatonthewaterasamilkyorgoldencoloredoil.Thiscanbecollectedwithaneyedropperforuse.
Tremetolsmellsliketurpentine,andisaboutasthickasturpentine.ItstasteIcan'tvouchfor,butIwouldbetitisnot
veryappealing.Tremetolisprobablybestservedasanadditiontothemark'sliquorcabinet.Thisisonlygoingtobe
successfulifthemarkdrinkshisliquorstraight,becausemixingthemixerinwiththeliquorwillcausethetremetol
tocomeoutofsolutionandfloatonthedrink.Ascenelikethatwoulddoubtlesslyarousethesuspicionsofthemark,
andcouldleadtoexplosivesituations.Verygreasyfoodslikechilicouldalsomakeagoodmeansofservingthe
tremetol.
Thefataldoseoftremetolisnotknown.Thisjustfurthershowshowlittleisknownaboutthispoisonandhowfaroff
thebeatenpathitis.Myguessisthatthefataldoseisinthe1to4ouncerange.Advantagecanbetakenoftremetol's
cumulativeeffectbygivingsmalleramountsuntilsymptomsbegintoappear,thenfollowingwithalargeronetoput
awaythemark.

ChapterNine
BOTULISM
Therehasbeenalotofnonsensewrittenaboutbotulisminboththepopularandundergroundpressovertheyears.
EntertainingstoriesaboutPanchoVillaaside,Iwillattempttodescribeexactlyhowbotulismgermscanbegrown,
andtheirexceedinglypoisonousproductusedforbothassassinationpurposesandasaweaponofmassdestruction.
Everyonceinawhileastorycomestothepublic'sattentionaboutsomepoorunfortunate(s)fallingvictimto
botulismasaresultofeatingimproperlypreservedfood.Ifacommercialproductisatfault,amadscrambleensues
astheauthoritiestrytogetarecallinmotionbeforemorevictimssuccumbtothetaintedtasties.Inthese
investigations,thereisalwaysamoodoftragicaccidentandmisfortune,whichiswhybotulismissohighly
recommendedasatoolforassassination.Itisalwaysassumedthatcasesofbotulismareaccidentalresultsofeating
badfood,notthehandiworkofacraftyexecutioner.
BotulismisadiseasegenerallycausedbyeatingfoodinwhichthebacteriaClostridiabotulinumhasgrown.The
bacteriaproducesamostexceedinglypoisonousprotein,botulin,asanormalpartofitsgrowth.Thepoison
productionisthebacteria'swayofclaimingtheparticularchunkoffooditisgrowingonasitsownDeathisthe
penaltyforanyanimalrecklessenoughtosnatchitfromitsgrasp.
Botulinisthesecondmostpowerfulpoisonknown,takingtherunneruppositiontoapoisonmadebyanexotic
strainofSouthPacificcoralbacteria.Thefataldoseofpurebotulinisintheneighborhoodof1microgram,sothere
are1millionfataldosesinagramofpurebotulin.
Thebacteriathatmakesbotulin,Clostridiabotulinumisfoundallovertheworld.Arandomlychosensoilsampleis
likelytocontainquiteafewsporesofthisbacteria.Sporesarelikeseedsforbacteria,andcanwithstandveryharsh
treatment.Thispropertywillcomeinveryhandyinanyattempttogrowbotulismgerms,becauseothergermscanbe
wipedoutbyheatinginhotwater,leavingthesporestogerminateandtakeoveroncetheycooldown.Muchmore
onthislater.
Anotherveryimportantpropertyofbotulismgermsisthattheycan'tsurviveexposuretoair.Theoxygeninitkills
them,butdoesnotkilltheirspores.Whatevertoxinthegermsmadebeforetheirdemisealsosurvives.Thisneedto
excludeairfromtheenvironmentwherethegermsaregrowingisthemostdifficultengineeringchallengetothe
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aspiringcultivatorofClostridiabotulinum.
Finally,allbotulismgermsarenotcreatedequal.Therearesubgroupswithinthespeciesthatmaketoxinsthatvary
immenselyintheirpotency.Theyarccalledtypes:A,B,C,D,E,Fand84.TypeAisbyfarthemostdeadly,
followedbytypeBand84.Theotheroneswewon'tevenbothertodiscuss.Alsowithinasingletype,thereare
individualdifferencesinhowmuchtoxinagivenstrainwillproduce.Breedingandgenemanipulationhavealotto
dowiththis,andourgovernment(andtheRusskiesaswell)haveputitlotofeffortintopickingoutstrainthatmake
aninordinateamountoftoxin.Thechampionasofabout30yearsagowastheHallstrain,butI'msurethatthey've
comeupwithsomethingbettersincethen.TheHallstrainoftypeAwasabletomake300humanfataldosesof
botulinpermlofbrothitgrewin.
Herewewillexplorethetwomajorlevelsofuseforbotulinasanattackweapon:theindividualorsmallgroup
assassination,andthelargescaleassaultwiththepoisoninamannersimilartonervegas.

SmallScaleAttack
Onthislevelofattack,theneedfortraininginbacteriologyalmostdisappears.Allthatisneededisanabilitytowork
carefully,andabasicknowledgeofsteriletechnique.Thewidespreadcultivationofmagicmushroomsisevidence
enoughthattheseskillscanbefoundoutsideofthetraditional4yearcollegesetting.
Forthisattackplan,thebestapproachistheoneIcall"theaccidentalclumsycanner."Thislineischosenbecauseit
issosimple,andisalsothewaythatmostcasesofaccidentalbotulismpoisoningoccur.
Theprocessofcanningisideallysuitedforgettingahordeofbotulismgermsgrowing.Thisisbecausetheprocess
ofcanning(ifnotdoneinapressurecooker)isonewherethecanofgoodiesisheatedinawaterbathwithasealant
coveronthecan.Thecontentsofthecangetheatedenoughtokilllivinggerms,butnotspores.Theairinthecan
getsdrivenout,andreplacedwithsteam.Asthecancoolsdown,thesealantcapkeepsairfromreturningtothecan
andavacuumdevelops.Theresultisanoxygenfreebotulismparadise.
Theonlyreasonwhysuchhomecannedgoodiesarenotrampantwithbotulismisthatthereisanotherfactorvery
importanttothegrowthandhappinessofbotulismgems.Theyarefussyaboutwhattheyliketogrowin,itspH,and
thetemperature.Allofthesefactorsareeasilycontrolledbyanattackertogivethebotulismgermsahappyand
healthful(forthem)home.
Theconditionsmostfavorableforgrowingavigorouscultureofbotulismgermsincludeafoodsourcethatisrichin
protein,apHthatisnearlyneutral(theidealstartingpHis7.2,whichissoclosetoneutralthatindicatingpHpaper
willshownodifferencebetween7.2andtheneutral7.0),andanicewarmplacetogrowinundisturbedforafew
days.Theirfavoritetemperatureis35C(90F).Theycanhandlecoolertemperatures,butwarmertempsmaydo
greatdamagetothecultureofgerms.
Nowthatthebasicshavebeencovered,howexactlywouldthe"accidentalclumsycanner"attackplanbecarried
out?Thefirststepistoobtainsomesporesofthebotulismgerm.Thesearenotthesortofthingsonepicksupatthe
cornerdrugstore,soafieldtripisinordertoobtainsoilsampleslikelytocontainthesporesofClostridiabotulinum,
preferablytypeAformaximumeffectiveness.Alotofresearchhasbeendoneonthetypesofsoilmostlikelyto
containlargeamountsofspores.IcansummarizethefindingsbysayingthatCl.botulinumprefersdark,rich,fairly
wetsoilthatisrichinorganicmatter.SandysoilisnotsowellsuitedforCl.botulinum.Itisalsomoreheavily
populatedinwarmregionsthancoldones.Finally,typeAisthepredominanttypeofbotulismgermintheUS,with
virginsoilholdingthegreatestpreponderanceoftypeAgerms.
Thefollowingarticleswillproveinvaluableinfleshingoutthesegeneralitieswithmoreconcretespecifics:
"IncidenceandDistributionofCl.botulinuminSoilsofIllinois"byM.T.Jones,Fd.Res.,Vol.10,page238
(1945)
"SurveyofSoilsforSporesofCl.Botulinum"byC.G.Knock,J.SciFdAgric.,Vol.3,page86(1952)
"TheDistributionofSporesofCl.BotulinuminCalifornia"byK.F.Meyer,J.Infect.Diseases,Vol.31,page
541(1922)
SametitleforUSibid.,page559
SametitleforAlaskaandCanadaibid.,page595
"SporesofCl.botulinuminGeorgiaSoil"byR.E.Morse,FdRes.,Vol.15,page454(1950)
"PrevalenceofCl.botulinuminSoilsofCentralNewYorkState"byE.W.Pansy,FdRes.,Vol.11,page203
(1946).
Thisisallveryeasy.Itismoredifficulttofindsoilsamplesthatdonothavebotulismgermsinthemthantofind
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thosethatdo.Thesampleshouldbetakenafewinchesbelowthesurface.
Withseverallikelysamplesinhand,itistimetobegincanning.Agoodhomemediumforgrowingbotulismgerms
isgreasybeef.Somecheap,fattycutsaredeboned,andrunthroughablender.Anequalamountoftapwateris
addedtothemush,anditisputinnarrowmouthquartsizedcanningjars.Theyshouldbefillednearlyfull,sothat
thereisnotmuchairspaceleftinthem.Thenabouthallatablespoonofsoilsampleisaddedtoeachjar.Twojarsfor
eachsoilsampleshouldprovesufficient.Thelidsareputonforcanning,andthesampleisshakentomixitthrough
eachjar.
Thejarsarethenplacedinalargekettlecontainingboilingwater,andheatedfor45minutestoonehour,justlike
canningtomatojuice.Microbiologistscallthisstep"heatshocking."Itwipesoutthelivinggerms,leavingonlythe
sporestosurvive.Thepurposeofthefatinthebeefistomelt,risetothetopandsealoffthebeeffromanypossible
aironcooling.Theairlessconditionofthejarsafterthelidssealuponcoolingmeansthatonlyanaerobic(means
theygrowintheabsenceofair)sporeformingbacteriawillbeabletogrowinthejars.Thisstillleavesseveral
speciesofgermsbesidesbotulismgermstocontaminatethebrew,butmanyofthem,liketetanus,makepoisonsof
theirown,andsowillnotcausegreatharm.
Aftertheheatshocking,thejarsaretakenouttocool.Thejarsareputinawarmplacetogrow.Theyshouldnotbe
shaken,orinanyotherwaydisturbed,asthismightcauseairtogetintothebroth.Thecanningringsmaybe
loosenedassoonastheycooldown,becausegrowingbotulismgermsmakehydrogensulfidegas(rotteneggodor)
andthisgasmaybuilduppressureandcausethejarstoexplodeiftheycan'tventitoff.
Afterafewdaystoaweekat90F,thejarsshouldbejustaboutready.Thejarscontainingbotulismcultureswillbe
easytorecognize.Themeatwillhaveturnedblack,andbeatleastpartlydigestedbythelittledevils.Afoul
smellinggaswillhavebuiltupinthejars,andruinedthesealsonthelidsofthejars.
Thenextstepistotestthepoisonlevelinpromisingjars.Mice,hamstersandguineapigscomeinhandyforthis.
Wearingrubbergloves,thelidiscarefullycrackedopenalittlebit,andafewdropsofthebrewareremovedwithan
eyedropper.Thebrewthengoesdownthemouthoftheunfortunatetestvictim.Withinafewdays,theanimal
shouldbedead,ifitisagoodbatch.Thedelayofafewdaysisduetothenatureofthepoison,andisnotan
indicationofhowgoodthebatchis.
Withthefirsttestpassed,thenextstepistotestitonalargeranimaltoseehowpotentthebrewis.Thesignsof
poisoningaresleepiness,vomiting,loosebowels,paralysisanddeath
Withthepreliminariestakencareof,thebotulinisreadyforitstarget.Agoodbatchshouldhaveseverallethaldoses
ofbotulinpermlofbrothinajar.Thissmallamountoffoulsmellingslopcaneasilybedisguisedinastrongtasting
mixer,suchaschili,orcoffee.Caremustbetakenwiththebotulinthatitnotbesubjectedtoboilingwaterorsimilar
hightemperature.Botulinisaprotein,andwillbedenaturedandmadeharmlessbytheheat.
Oncethesymptomsofbotulismappear,theantitoxinsthatmedicalsciencehasdevelopedarecompletelyuseless.
Whetherthevictimlivesordiesasaresultofbotulismdependssolelyonhowlargeadosethevictimhasreceived,
andhowtoughthevictimis.Treatmentbeforethestartofsymptomsofferssomehope,solongastoomassiveadose
wasnotingested.
Initsearlierstages,botulisminhumansisoftenmisdiagnosedassuchthingsasstomachflu,polio,hearttrouble,or
heavydutyboozehounding.However,bythetimethelaterstagesoftheillnessarereached,thedoctorsusuallyhave
itfiguredout.Forthisreason,theassassindoesnotrelyontheunexplainedmysterydiseaseashislineofdefense.
Instead,thelinetakenistheoneofaccidentalcontaminationofthefoodsupply.

LargeScaleMassDestructiveAttack
Thelargescaleproductionofbotulintoxinisanalternativetotheuseofnervegasesforassaultonenemypopulation
centers.Thismayatfirstsurpriseyou,butthecrudeproductiontechniquesofthesmallscaleattackand"the
accidentalclumsycanner"canheradicallyimprovedupontoyieldmassquantitiesofterrifyinglypotentbotulin
toxin.
TheuseofbotulinhasseveraladvantagesoverSarinortheVgasesasanagentfordevastatingenemycities.First
andforemost,botulinisseveralhundredtimesmorepotentthaneventhemostpotentVgas.Thishugejumpin
toxicitymeansthatonereasonablylargebomberplane(likeaCessnaCub)couldcarryapayloadthatwouldwreak
havocwithanentiremetropolitanarea.Thisisbecausebotulinisquitedeadlywheninhaled(evenmoresothan
wheneaten)soabombdesignsimilartotheoneforSarinandtheVgasesresultsinapunchrivalingthatofa
tacticalnuke.

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Thesecondadvantageofbotulinmanufactureovernervegasproductionisthatitdoesnotusethelargeamountsof
chemicalsthatarenecessaryforamassivescaleassaultwiththenervegases.Thisallowstheattackgrouptoevade
anyscrutinythatmaybecoveringthechemicalsusedfornervegasmanufacture.Thisscrutinyisnotlikelytobe
coveringthebasicprecursorsemphasizedinthiswork,butoneneverknowshowpervasiveBigBrother'ssnooping
is.Therecentexplosionofbiotechnologycompaniesandmicrobreweriescreatesanexcellentforestforthebotulin
producertohidein.
Athirdfactortobekeptinmindwithbotulinproductionisthatapersoncanbevaccinatedagainstpoisoningby
botulin.ThisisstandardprocedurefortheworkersintheArmy'schemicalresearchfacility.Threeinjectionsofthe
"toxoid"providereasonableprotectionagainstsmallexposurestobotulin.Attemptstogetvaccinatedthrough
normalmedicalchannelscouldarousesuspicion,somakinghomemadetoxoidmaybecalledfor.SeeJournalof
Immunology,volume55,pages245to254,fordirections.TheauthorisC.Nigg.Thiscomparesfavorablytonerve
gasproduction,wheretheonlyprotectionistoavoidallexposuretothechemical.
Finally,thepoisonisallnatural,andismadewithoutresortingtopreservatives,artificialcoloringsorflavors.Just
thedownhomegoodnessofMotherNature.
Thebasiccourseofactioncanbeoutlinedasfollows:Firstofall,apurecultureofonlyonestrain(chosenforits
potency]ofCl.botulinumtypeAisisolated,andthengrownonalargescalefollowingthedirectionsthattheArmy
chemicalcorpshassoprofuselypublishedinthescientificjournals.Fromtheselargescalecultures,thepurified
toxinisisolatedbymeansofreallysimplechemicalmeans,suchasacidprecipitation.Withalargestockpileof
purifiedbotulinthuslyobtained,weaponproductionproceedsinamannerverysimilartothenervegases.
Ihaveadegreeinbiology,aswellaschemistry,andsohavetakenacouplemicrobiologycourses,aswellasseveral
othercourseswhereculturetechniquewasanimportantpartoftheclass.SoIbelievethatIaminapositiontobe
abletogivemyopiniononthedifficultyofthisprocess.Forme,themostdifficultpartwouldbetoisolateand
positivelyidentifyacolonyofbacteriaasCl.botulinumtypeA.Fromthatpointon,everythingwouldbeveryeasy,
simplyamatterofmaintaininganaerobicconditionsinthecultures,andkeepingthemfromgettingcontaminated
withfreeloadinggermsblowingbyintheair.Inanycase,thisattackplanrequirestheparticipationofsomeonewith
abackgroundinmicrobiology(beyondgrowingfunnymushrooms!).
Thefirststepintheindustrialscaleproductionofbotulinisthesameasforthe"accidentalclumsycanner"attack
plan.SomesporesofCl.botulinumareobtainedbycollectingaseriesoflikelysoilsamples.Eachoneofthesesoil
sampleswillbeteemingwithawidevarietyofmicroscopiclife,sothefirstthingwhichmustbedoneistowipeout
asmuchoftheunwantedstuffaspossible.
Todothis,thesamplesmustbeheatshockedtokilleverythinginitexceptthespores.Sinceonlyafewclassesof
bacteriamakespores(includingCl.botulinum,thisnarrowsdownthefieldnicely.Steriletechniquemustbeused
fromthispointonwardtopreventcontaminationofthecultures.
Aboutonehalfteaspoonofdirtistakenfromeachsoi]sample,andputintoaseparatecleantesttube.Waterisadded
untilthetubeisabouthalffull,andeachoneisshakenwelltosuspendthespores.Aballofcleancottonisputinthe
endsofthetubes,thentheyareplacedinapanofboilingwater.Oncetheyareinthewater,theheatisturnedoff,
andthetemperatureofthewaterisallowedtofallto80C,whereitisheldforabout45minutes.
Fromnowon,anaerobicconditionsmustbemaintained.Somegoodbookscoveringthistechniqueare:
DiagnosticMicrobiologybyBaileyandScott(Highestrecommendationitalsocontainsformulasforallthe
medianeededtoisolateCl.botulinum.)
MicrobiologicalMethodsbyC.H.Collins
IsolationofAnaerobesbyDA.Shapton.
Testtubeslantscontainingthioglycollatemediaareinoculatedbythestabtechniquewiththewaterinthetubesthat
havebeenheatshocked,andaftersealingwithsomefreshlyautoclavedVaseline,incubatedfor72hoursat36C.
Fromeachslant,asampleisstreakedontofreshlymadeeggyolkagar,andincubatedfortwotothreedaysat30C.
ColoniesofCl.botulinumhaveadistinctiveappearance,andauniquepatternofdigestionoftheeggyolkagar.
Somegood,albeitblackandwhite,picturesofthesecoloniesoneggyolkagarcanhefoundintheJournalof
Bacteriology,volume53,pages139to146.TheauthorisL.S.McClung.
Whensomepromisingcoloniesareidentified,smallportionsofthecoloniesareremovedwithalooporneedleand
smeareduntoamicroscopeslide.Amicroscopicexaminationofthegramstainedgermsismadetoseeiftheymatch
theappearanceofCl.botulinum.AgoodpictureofthesegermscanbefoundintheBaileyandScottbook(fourth
edition)page186.Theyshouldalsobegramstainedtomakesuretheyaregrampositive.
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WhenseveralgoodcoloniesofCl.botulinumhavebeenpositivelyidentified,thenextstepistopickoutthemost
potentstrainforuseinmasscultivation.Todothis,aseriesoflesttubesisfilledwithchoppedmeatmedium(see
BaileyandScottfortheformula),andeachoneinoculatedwithadifferentbotulismculture.Thesetubesare
incubatedfor5daysat30C,theneachoneistestedtoseewhichtubecontainsthemostpotentpoison.Todothis,
somewhitemice(orsimilarsacrificialvictims)areobtained,andcarefullymeasuredamountsofeachtubeare
removed.Eachoftheseportionsshouldbedilutedaboutonetoahundred,andforstarters,onetenthofanmlofeach
dilutedcultureinjectedintoaseparatemouse.Thosecultureswhichyieldfatalresultsinafewdaysshouldbetried
againatgreaterdilution,untilthemostpotentofthemallisfound.ThiswilldoubtlesslybeagoodproducingtypeA
strain.
Withthis"masterrace"strainchosen,itistimetogearuptheproduction.Severallargerjarsarefilledwithchopped
meatmedium,andinoculatedwiththisstrain.Thesewillbestockculturestobeusedasstartersforeachofthelarge
scalebatchestofollow.Theyareincubatedat30Cfor5days,thenputinthefreezer.
Jugsforbrewingthelargescalebatchesmustnowbechosen.Onegallonsizeglassjugsareconvenientbecausethey
fitintoastandardpressurecookerforsterilization,butwithalargerautoclave,largerjugsgreatlyincreasetherateof
production,andreducetheamountofrepetitiousworkwhichmustbedone.
AnexcellentandcheapmediumforgettinghighyieldsoftoxinwasworkedoutbytheguysintheArmychemical
corps.TheypublishedtheirworkintheJournalofBacteriology,volume53,pages213to229.Theauthorsare
LewisandHill,andthetitleis"PracticalMediaandControlMeasuresforProducingHighlyToxicCulturesofCl.
BotulinumTypeA."Itismustreadingforanyoneinterestedinbotulism.Theirformulacallsforuseofclarifiedcorn
steepliquorbecausetheregularstuffsettlesoutabunchofsolidswhensterilizedinthepressurecooker.Theymade
thisclarifiedcornsteepliquorasfollows:
Thecornsteepliquorwasdilutedwithenoughwatertomakeitthinandfreeflowing.ItspHwasthenadjustedto
between8.4and9.0with50%sodiumhydroxide.Next,itwasheatedtoboiling,andthenfilteredorcentrifugedto
removethesludge.
Withthattakencareof,theformulaforthemediumis:
SolutionA:Add20gramspowderedmilkto180mlofwater.Alittlebitof1MNaOH,afewdropsatatimewith
stirring,untilthemilkmixesinnicely.
SolutionB:Mix6gramscommercialgradeglucosewithaportionofthetreatedcornsteepthatcontainsthe
equivalentof4gramsofsolids(asprepared,that'sabout12grams).Dilutethisto800mlwithwater.
Whenheadytogo,mixtogetherAandBwell,andadjustthepHtoabout7.5.Pouritintotheculturejugs,and
sterilizeinapressurecookerat15lbsfor15to20minutes.Aftersterilization,thepHshouldbeverycloseto7.0.A
pHmeterwithglasselectrodesisveryhandyforthisprocess.Costwhennew:$200foracheapie.Thisformula
makesoneliterofmedium,buttheformulacanbescaleduptofillwhateversizejugisbeingused.
whenthejugscooldowntheyareinoculatedwithabout2%byvolumeofanactivelygrowingcultureofCl.
botulinuminchoppedmeatmedium(startedfromthestockinthefreezer),andincubatedatabout34C.Ifthejugs
taperatthetoptowardsasmallopening,andarefilledprettyfullsothatthereisnotmuchofanareaofliquid
surfaceexposedtotheair,pouringabitoffreshlyautoclavedVaselineontopwillsealtheculture.Agitationofthe
culturesmustbeavoided.
In72hours,thebrewisreadyforharvesting.ThepHofthemixisnowacid,whichisgoodbecausethepoisonisnot
stableatalkalinepH.TheArmy'sHallstrainregularlymade1millionmouselethaldosespermlofthisculture.It
wouldseemreasonabletomethatagoodwildbotulismstrainshoulddoabouthalfasgood.
Thepoisonmaynowbeextractedfromtheculturemedium.Onceagain,theArmyhaspublishedtheirresearchon
thebestwaytodothis.Itisnotatallhard,butcanbedangerous.Protectiveclothing,respirators,andfumehoodsare
allcalledfor.
ThefulldetailsoftheisolationofbotulintoxincanbefoundintheJournalofBacteriology,volume73,pages42to
47.TheauthorisJamesDuff.Tostartwith,3MHCl(about10%)isaddedslowlytothecultureswithstirringuntil
thepHisbetween3.5and4.0.Thiscausesthepoisontoprecipitateoutandsettletothebottomofthejugs.Thejug
isallowedtosetovernightatroomtemperaturetocompletetheprocess,thenthesupernatantsareremovedand
thrownaway,andthetoxicprecipitrantpouredintoasmallerjugtosettlesomemoreat4C(40F).This
precipitantis25timesmorepotentthantheoriginalculture,andtakesup1/40thevolume.Thepercentagerecovery
fromthecultureis96%.
Thetoxicprecipitantisnextwashedwithsomewater.Todothis,theprecipitateisdilutedto4timesitsvolumewith
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water,itspHadjustedto5.0withdilutedHClorNaOH,themixturestirredwell,andthenitisallowedtostand
overnightinthefridgeat4C.
Thesupernatantisthrownawayasbefore,andtheprecipitateiscentrifugedat4Cforhalfanhourat3500rpm.
Onceagain,thesupernatantisthrownaway,andtheprecipitateisresuspendedindistilledwatertoavolumeof1/40
oftheoriginalculturevolume.The%recoveryinthisstepis80%fromtheoriginalculture,andpurifiesthematerial
2timesfromthepreviousstep.
Nowinthefinalpurificationstep,themajorityofthecontaminantscanbeturnedintoasludgebyaddingcalcium
chloridetothemixture.Thissludgecanthenbefilteredout.Todoit,thecentrifugedtoxinisdilutedto4timesits
volumewithwaterand1MCaCluntiltheCaClconcentrationis.075MCaCl,andthepHisadjustedto6.5.This
mixisfilteredthroughfilterpaperatroomtemperature,andwhatfiltersthroughisthepurifiedpoison.Itcontains
66%oftheoriginaltoxin.Thishighloss,andtheincreaseinvolumeatthisstepmeansthatamorepowerfulweapon
canbeconstructedbyomittingthisstop,andsimplyusingthecentrifugedprecipitatetoloadintobottlesforspray
dispersionontothetarget.Useofexplosivestodispersewillleadtoalargelossduetodenaturingoftheprotein.
Costofacentrifugewhennewisabout$600.
Asanalternative,nearlypurebotulincanbeobtainedbygoingontothenextstepinthepurification.Todothis,the
pHofthefiltratefromtheprecedingstepisadjustedto3.7,themixturecooledto5C,and50%ethanol(10Oproof
vodka)isaddeduntilaconcentrationof15%alcoholisreachedinthemixture.Thebotulinprecipitatesout,andafter
sittingovernight,iscentrifugedfor30minutesat3500rpmtogetthelastoftheproduct.Bynow,onlyhalfofthe
originalbotulinfromthecultureremains,therestbeinglostinthepurificationprocess.Forthisreason,Ifeelthatno
purificationbeyondtheoriginalacidprecipitationfromtheculture,washingitwithwater,andcentrifugingit,is
calledfor.Itmaynotbeverypureatthatlevel,butatleastthevastmajorityofthebotulinproducedwillbe
collected.Atthatlevelofpurification,itisalreadymuchmorepotentthantheVgases.
Atarateofproductionof10gallonsofculturesperweek,onepersonwouldbeabletomakeonehalfgramof
botulinperweek.Thismaynotseemlikemuch,butitshouldbekeptinmindthatthisishalfamillionhumanlethal
doses.Greaterratesofproductioncanbeobtainedbyprocessingmorecultures,butthatwouldrequiretheassistance
ofalaboratoryIgor.
Botulinkeepswellsolongasitiskeptcoldandoutofthelight.Whenitmakesitswayoutintotheworld,more
dangersawaitit.Aswasmentionedearlier,botulinisaproteinandsoisdenaturedbyheat.Italsocan'tstandbasic
conditions,butdoesnotmindexposuretodiluteacids.Thecombinationofhotandbasicwaterquicklydoesitin.
Coldwaterthatisneutralorslightlyacidwillnotharmthebotulin,sopoisoningofwatersuppliesisanalternative
forabotulinattack.Whileconsideringthis,onemustkeepinmindtheverysmallpercentageofacity'swatersupply
thatgoesintohumandrinkingpurposes.Muchlargeramountsgointoindustrialprocesses,andflushingtoilets.
Botulintaintedwaterthatisusedtoflushatoilet,isjustbotulindownthedrain.Itisalsowelltokeepinmindthe
hugesizeofthetypicalreservoir.Whenfull,theyusuallyhaveenoughwaterinthemtolastforayear.Poisoningthe
wholereservoirwouldrequirehugeamountsoftoxin,andwouldbewasteful.Beyondthatthereisthewater
purificationsystemforthebotulintomakeitpast.
Amoredirectedwatersupplyattackmaymakemoresense,suchascontaminatingawellorpipelinewhichservesan
enemycomplex.Detailsofthisattackplanarebestlefttothefertileimaginationsoftheattackgroup.
Foraerialdispersal,thesameprocedurecanbeusedasthatgivenforricininthefollowingchapter,withthe
differencebeingthatthepHofthewatersolutionshouldbe6.5.

ChapterTen
RICIN:KITCHENIMPROVISEDDEVASTATION
Forthoseunableorunwillingtotacklethemoretechnicallydemandingtasksofnervegasmanufactureorbotulin
culture,MotherNature'sbountyhasprovidedaconsiderablymorelowtechalternative:Ricin.Ricinisan
exceedinglytoxicproteinfoundinthecastoroilbean.Onepoundofpurericinisalethaldoseforoverthreemillion
peopleifdeliveredbyinjection.Ifinhaledintheformofafinedust,itisnearlyaspotent.Eatingricinalsoproduces
alethalresult,althoughthedosemustbeconsiderablyhigherduetopartialdestructionofthepoisoninthedigestive
tract.
Inmassattacksituations,ricinhasonegreatadvantageovernervegas.Thisadvantageisadelayintheonsetof
symptomsofpoisoningof12to24hours.Asaresult,atargetmostlikelywillnotrealizeitisunderattack.Further,
oncesymptomsdobegintoappearintheunfortunatetargets,itwillbeverydifficultforinvestigatorstobacktrack
tothesiteoftheoriginalattack.Thesetwofactorscombinetogreatlyincreasethelikelihoodofsuccessforthe
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attackmission.
Forassassination,ricinissimilarlywellendowedwithfavorablequalities.Thereisnoantidoteortreatmentforricin
poisoning.Alethaldoseproducesdeath,period.Thelongdelaybetweenadministrationofthepoisonandsymptoms
meansthatthemarkwillverylikelynotbeabletomaketheconnectiontowhereorfromwhomhemethisdemise.
Treatmentandautopsyinvestigationsarefurtherfrustratedbythefactthatricinleavesnotracesofitselfinthebody,
andthereisnotestforit.Acoupleofhoursafteradministrationofthepoison,bloodfromapoisonedanimalcanbe
transfusedintoanotheranimalwithnoharmtothereceivinganimal.Thisisbecauseallthericinhasalreadypassed
fromthebloodstreamintoindividualcells.Prettymuchtheonlywaythericinpoisoningcouldbeidentified
positivelyassuchisifmushedupwholecastorbeansarefedtothemark.Thencloseexaminationoftheresulting
Hersheysquirtswillprobablyfindfragmentsofthebeans.Arefinedextractwillnotbedetectable.
AtalefromtheheydaysoftheColdWarisinstructiveonthismatter.Ricinwasafavoredassassinationtoolofthe
KGB.OnepersonwhobecameatargetoftheirwrathwasadefectorfromtheEasternBlocwhofledtoEngland
whereheproceededtomaketroubleforhisformeroppressors.Tosilencehim,aKGBoperativewalkedupbehind
himonthecrowdedstreet,andpokedhiminthebackofhislegwiththetipofhisumbrella.Thisspeciallyrigged
umbrellatheninjectedintotheillfateddefectorasmallmetalballwithahollowcorepackedwithricin,anda
coupleofholesintheballtoallowforbloodcirculationtodissolvethericinandreleaseitintothebloodstream.
Withinaday,thedoomedmanmadehiswaytoahospital,wherehisconditioncontinuedtodeteriorate.Givenhis
position,herightlysuspectedthathewasthevictimoffoulplay,notthefluorsomebadsausage.Runwhatevertests
theymightshowever,thedoctorscouldn'tgetaclueastowhathisproblemwas.Finally,Xraysrevealedthesmall
metalballinhisleg,anditwasremoved.Tracesofricinwerefoundstillonthemetal,butnothingcouldbedoneto
savehim.Hadthismetalballnotbeenfound,thecausewouldneverhavebeendetermined.
Thespectaculartoxicityofricinisduetoitscatalytic,ratherthanstoichiometric,mechanismofpoisoning.Thericin
proteinmoleculeisconstructedoftwoseparateproteinchains,calledAandBchains.ThefunctionoftheBchainis
tobindtothesurfaceofacell,andinjectintothecelltheAchain.TheAchainthengoesfromribosometoribosome
withinthecell,inactivatingeach,makingthemincapableofproducingproteinsforthecelltouse.TheAchainisn't
consumedorotherwiseeffectedinthisprocess,soit'spossibleforonemoleculeofricintokillanentirecell.
Thesymptomsofricinpoisoningwillvarywiththemethodofingestion.Whenithasbeeneaten,vomitingandthe
runsareveryprominent,alongwithweaknessandfever.Eventually,convulsionssetin,andthepersondieswhen
theareaofthebrainthatcontrolsbreathingstopsworking.Whenthesubstancehasbeenbreathedinorinjected,then
thepukingandsquirtsaren'taspronounced.Thesymptomsofpoisoningbyricinarequitevariablefrompersonto
person,andthismakesdiagnosisoftheproblemverydifficult.
Toproducericin,onefirstneedsasupplyofthecastorbeanswhichcontainthericin.
Howtobestgetthesecastorbeansdependsuponhowmuchricinisneededforthe
desiredapplication.Thetypicalconcentrationofricinwithinthebeansisinthearea
of7/10of1%,throughextractionandaseriesofpurificationstepstheyieldisabout
halfofthat.Smalleramountsofbeanscanbepurchasedthroughseeddealers,orKurt
Saxon'scompany:AtlanFormularies.Largeramountsshouldonlybeobtainedby
growingacrop.ThecastorbeanplantwillgrowtomaturitythroughouttheSouthern
US.Itprefersfertilesoilwithreasonableamountsofmoisture.Cornorcottonfields
caneasilybeconvertedtocastorbeanproduction.Ashortlistingofseeddealerswho
carrycastorbeansfollows:
AtlanFormularies
P.O.Box95
Alpena,AR72611
5014372999
Mellinger'sInc.
2310W.SouthRangeRd.
NorthLima,OH44452
2165499861
JoeHarris
3670BuffaloRd
MoetonFarm
Rochester,NY14624
HudsonSeedsman
P.O.Box1058
RedwoodCity,CA94064
StokesSeeds,Inc.
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Box548
Buffalo,NY1424O
4166884300
Thereareanumbersofvarietiesofthecastorbeanplant(Ricinuscomments)fromwhichonemaychoose.Generally,
mostofthevarietieshaveonlysmallcosmeticdifferencesfromoneanotherthatareunimportanttotheenduse.
However,dwarfvarietiessuchasRicinuscommunisgibsoniishouldbeavoided,astheresultingsmallbeansrequire
toomuchlabortohullpriortoextraction.Thetypicalcastorbeanisaboutthesizeofone'sthumbnail.
Inadditiontobeingabletopurchasecastorbeansfromestablishedseedsources,itmaynotbetoodifficultor
suspicioustoorderareasonablylargequantitythrougha"feedandseed"retailer.It'sprobablywisernottoexpress
interestdirectlyinthecastoroilcrop,whichisrareinmostareas,buttorequestcastorbeansacovercroptobenefit
acashcropwhichiscommoninyourarea.Thiswillonlyringtrueifyouliveinawarmregionofthecountry,
however.Further,ifyouhappentoliveinortraveltoFlorida,SouthTexasorSouthernCalifornia,someretailers
stillprobablyhavecastorbeansinstockduringtheplantingseasonbecauseitisintheseregionsthatthesmallcastor
oilindustrystillexists.
Hybridvarietiesofcastorbeanaresuperiorinrespecttocropyield,diseaseresistance,androbustgrowth.Theyare,
however,apoorchoiceforthisprojectbecauseonewouldwanttousesomeorallofthebeanstohavealargercrop
inthefollowingyear.Sincetheseeds(beans)derivedfromhybridstendtohavealowgerminationrateand
unpredictablequalities,oneisbetteradvisedtosticktotruebredorinbredvarietiesinstead.Byplantingthemany
beansobtainedfromplantingasinglebeanandlettingtheplantmature,onecan,overaperiodoftime,parlayevena
smallinitialacquisitionofcastorbeansintoalargecrop.
Intropicalregions,thecastorbeanplantisarobustperennialthatcanreach15feetinheight,andtakeonthe
proportionsofalargeshrub.Inareassubjecttofrost,itcangrowasanannual.Itshouldbeplantedjustafterthe
dangeroffrosthaspassed,about23inchesdeepinfertilewelldrainedsoilwithfullsunlight.Whentheplant
matures,itbearsfruitswhicharecapsulescoveredwithlong,softspines.Thesefruitscontainthecastorbeans.

Toextractthericinfromthebeans,oneshouldfirstremovethehullsfromtheseeds.Thisisaverylaborintensive
task,andishardonthefingers.Thehullscanbemadeeasiertoremovebyfirstsoakingthebeansinasolutionmade
upofone12oz.canoflyedissolvedinagallonofwater.Thesoakshouldlastforaboutonehour,thenwashoff
thebeansandspreadthemouttodry.Thiswillhelp,butit'sstillnoteasy.Ifanyofyouknowofagoodtoolforthe
task,feelfreetowritewithsuggestions.
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Oncethehullsofthebeansareremoved,oneisleftwiththesoftwhitemeatofthebeans.Thecastoroilmustnextbe
removedfromtheproduct.Acetoneisprobablythebestsolventtouseforthispurpose,asitiseasilyavailableatthe
hardwarestoreandtheresiduequicklyevaporatesfromthebeanpulp.Hexaneisalsoagoodchoiceifitisavailable
toyou.Toremovetheoilfromthepulp,firstmushupthebeanswithahammer,andloadthebeanmeatsintoa
blenderuntilitishalffilled.Aplasticblenderpitchershouldn'tbeusedwithacetoneasitwillbedissolved.Ametal
blenderpitchershouldbeusedwiththissolvent.Nowaddacetoneorhexanetothemushedupbeansuntilthe
blenderpitcherisjustaboutfull.Thenputonthecoverandblenduntilasmooth,milkymixtureisobtained.Pour
thismixtureintoacoveredglasscontainer,andletitsitforafewhours,thenfilterthroughacoffeefilter.Squeeze
outasmuchsolventaspossiblefromthebeanpulp,eitherbypackingwithaspoon,orevenbetterbyusinga
Bchnerfunnelandfilteringflaskattachedtoalineofvacuum.Nextreturnthebeanpulptotheblender,andadda
freshloadofsolvent.Blenderizethepulpasbefore,andfilterthemixture.Oncethepulphasbeendrainedofsolvent,
repeatthesolventextraction.Thenitshouldbespreadouttodryinanareawithoutmuchwindmovement,as
breathinginthedustwouldbebad.
Whenthepulphasdriedofsolvent,itshouldhaveachalky,talcumlikeconsistency.Ifitstillseemsoily,itshould
beextractedagainwithsolvent.Ifextractionofthericinfromthedefattedbeanpulpisn'tgoingtobedoneright
away,thepowdershouldbestoredinafreezer.Alwayswearaverygooddustmaskwhenhandlingthispowder.
Everythingwhichcomesincontactwiththebeanpowdershouldbewashedverythoroughlyordestroyed.
Toextractthericinfromthepulp,Idirectthereadertoseveralreferences.Allofthemarerelevant.SeeUSpatent
3,060,165.AlsoseeEuropeanJournalofBiochemistry,Volume105,pages4535(1980)andBiochemistry,Volume
12,No.16,pages312126(1973).AnarticlefromToxicology,Volume2,pages77102(1974]isalsointeresting.
Formanyexamplesofhownottogoaboutthisprocedure,seeTheWeaponerandTheSurvivorbyKurtSaxon.His
bumblingandfumblingoftheextractionandisolationisalmostcomical,andveryinstructive.Heultimatelygaveup,
sincehewasonlyabletoproducesmallamountsofaweakproduct.Ireallyshouldn'tmakefunofhim,sincehis
formalchemistrytrainingisobviouslyrudimentary.Rather,themodelwhichwillbefollowedhereisthatofDr.
AlbertHoffmann,thediscovererofLSD,andtheexperimentaltacticsheusedtoisolateandfindthemolecular
structureofpsilocybin,theactiveingredientoffunnymushrooms.Dr.Hoffmannwasabletofaroutpacehis
competitorsintheracetoisolateandidentifypsilocybinbecauseheandthemembersofhisresearchteamwere
willingtotastetesttheirextractstoassurethattheactiveingredientwasbeingisolated.Thisideaneveroccurredto
hiscompetition,astheyweretoochickenshitandtootiedupwiththeestablishmenttocontemplatesuchacourse.
Obviously,tastetestingone'sextractswillbringthisprojecttoarapidandfatalconclusion.Forthisjob,oneshould
recruitaseriesofwhitelabrats,availableatthepetstoreasfoodforyourboaconstrictor.Thisprojectwillkeephim
quitehungry.
Theextractionofricinfromcastorbeanpulpisaprettystandardproteinextraction,verysimilartoproceduresused
toextractandisolateotherproteinsfromaplantmatrix.Thefirstandmostimportantpointtokeepinmindisthat
theextractionmustbedoneatrefrigeratortemperatures.Thispreventsotherenzymesextractedoutofthebeanfrom
degradingtheproductricininsolution.ExactcontrolofthepHduringextractiondoesn'tappeartobesocrucialto
success,astheEuropeanJournalofBiochemistryarticleusedfullstrengthvinegar(5%aceticacid)astheextractant.
ThisgivesanextractionpHofunder3.BoththeUSpatentandtheBiochemistryarticlepreferredapHof3.8to4,
withtheBiochemistryarticleusingdilutevinegartoreachthatpH,andthepatentusingdilutesulfuricacid.Iam
mildlysuspiciousofthepatent,asIfeelitmaycontainsomedeliberatemisinformation.Beyondthat,itwasfiledin
1952,andkeptsecretuntil1962,sotheirprocedurerepresentsantiquetechnology.Theprocedurefollowedhereisa
meldingofthethreeprocedures.
Thedefatted,solventfreebeanpulpobtainedfromonekiloofcastorbeanmeats(itnowweighsconsiderablyless
thanakilowiththeoilremoved)issuspendedin4000mlofdistilledwatercooledtoabout4C(refrigerator
temperature).Then,withstirring,addwhitedistilledvinegaruntilthepHreaches3.8to4.Agood,accurate,
properlycalibratedpHmeterisbestformeasuringpH.
Thebeansmustbethoroughlydefattedtogetgoodextraction,sodon'tskimponthesolventinthepreviousstep.The
oilwouldacttopreventgoodwettingofthebeanpulpandpreventextraction.Nowletthismixturesitinthefridge
overnight.Whenmorningcomes,pouritintoablender,andwhileit'sstillcold,grindithard,atmaximumspeed,for
aminuteortwo,thenreturnittothefridge,whereitshouldbemagneticallystirredfor24hours.Placealayerof
cardboardbetweenthestirrerandtheproducttopreventheattransferfromthestirrer.
Nowitistimetoseparatethevinegarextractfromthebeansludge.Filtrationwon'tworkverywell,becauseit'sjust
toogooey.Centrifugationisfarsuperior.Thearticlesrecommendacentrifugespeedof10,000gfor30minutes.The
extractmustbekeptcold.Workoutsideinthewinter,orinawalkinfreezerinordertomaintainproper
temperature.Theclearcoloredvinegarextractshouldbeseparatedfromthecentrifugecompressedbeansludge
(termedapellet),andstoredintherefrigerator.Thepelletshouldthenbeextractedwithonemoreportionofdilute
vinegaratpH3.8to4atatemperatureof04Cwithstirringovernight.Thisextractshouldthenbesimilarly
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obtainedbycentrifugation.TheUSpatentclaimsthattheextractcanbeseparatedfromthebeansludgebyfiltration,
ifafilteraidsuchasCelite503isaddedtothebeansludgevinegarmixturetotheextentthatitisabout10%by
weightofthedefattedbeanmealused.Yourcommentsonthisvariationarewelcome.
Nowthecombineddilutevinegarextracts,whilestillkeptcold,aregraduallybroughtto100%saturationwithsolid
ammoniumsulfate.Thisrequiresabout70gramsofammoniumsulfateper100mlofextract.Itshouldbeadded
slowly,withstirring.Thisprecipitatesthericinoutofsolution.Oncesaturationhasbeenreached,keepthesolution
overnightintherefrigerator.
Theprecipitatedcrudericinisnowcollectedbycentrifugation.Thearticlerecommends23,000gfortwohours.The
productisthepellet.Removethesupernatantvinegar,collectthepellet,anddryitunderavacuum.Nowouranimal
friendscomeintoplaytotesttheextractionprocess.Feedsomeofthembeansludgeresiduetotestforcompleteness
ofextraction.Feedsomeofthemsupernatantvinegartotestforcompletenessofprecipitation,andfeedsomeof
themyourcrudeproduct.Varyingdegreesofdilutionarecalledfortojudgejusthowmuchofthisverypotent
poisonhasbeenwasted,andhowmuchhasbeencaptured.
Thisvacuumdried,crudericinislikelytobegoodenoughformostpracticalpurposeshowever,allofthearticles
moveonwardtogetpurericin.Thescientificarticlesusechromatography,whilethepatentusesanotherextraction
andprecipitationstep.Let'sfollowthepatenthere.Suspendthestillwetcrudericinpelletinthreetimesitsweightof
distilledwater,orsuspendthevacuumdriedricinin30timesitsweightofdistilledwater.Thewatershouldbecold,
andkeptcold.Nowdropwise,withstrungstirring,add5%byweightsulfuricacidsolutionuntilapHof3.8is
reachedStirforaboutanhour,thenfilter.Thentothefiltrate,dropwiseadd12%sodiumcarbonatesolutionuntilthe
pHrisestoabout7.Nowthepurericincanbeprecipitatedbyslowlyaddingasolutionmadeupfromtwopoundsof
sodiumsulfatedissolvedin10poundsofwatertotheneutralricinsolutionuntiltheamountofsodiumsulfateadded
equals20%oftheoriginalweightoftheneutralricinsolution.Forinstance,let'ssayyouhaveaboutapintofthis
ricinsolution.Itweighsaboutapound.Youwillwanttoaddsodiumsulfatesolutiontoituntilyouhaveaddedabout
90gramsofsodiumsulfate.
Thisrequiresaddingabout540mlofsodiumsulfatesolution.Stirinthecoldforanhourorsotocomplete
precipitation,thenfilter.Thefiltercakeshouldberinsedwithsomemoreofthesodiumsulfatesolutiontoremove
morenontoxicproteins.Justonegoodrinseiscalledforhere,asmoredoesnogood.Finally,vacuumdrythefilter
cake.
Thisproducesaproductwhichisabouthalfpurericin,andhalfsolidsodiumsulfate.Thesodiumsulfatedoesno
harmtothericin.
However,foruseasanairborneweaponofdevastation,it'snecessarythatthesizeofthericinparticlesbereducedto
averysmallsize,ontheorderofafewmicrons,whichissimilartosmokeparticles.Thesmallsizeisneededonthat
theparticlesremainairborne,ratherthansettlingoutasdust.Also,thesmallsizeisneededtomakesurethatthe
particlesgetallthewaydownintothelungs,ratherthanbeingcaughtinthesnotfil1edslimethatcoversone'sair
passages.
Thepatentaddressesthisproblem,andsaysthatthebestresultswereobtainedwithairgrinding.Puttingthedried
ricinintoablenderandlettingthebladeswhipitupandgrinditwouldseemtometobetobeanalogous.Toprevent
detoxificationofthericin,itmustbequitefreeofwaterwhenitisground,andkeptcold.Theyalsosuggestballand
hammermillingofdriedricininaslurryofCCl.Keepingitcoldisalsoimportanthere.Spraydryinga20%solids
slurrywithCClwasalsoused.Seethepatent.Onceground,alloneneedsisafantopropelairbornedeathonits
waytothetarget.
Areallygoodmethodforgettingasmallricinparticlesizecanbeusediftheplanistospraytheenemyterritory
fromsomeheight,asfromthetopofareasonablytallbuildingorfromalowfyingplane.Thismethodistodissolve
thericinintowateradjustedtopH4withaceticacidorvinegar.Nomorethanonegramofricinshouldbedissolved
ineachliterofwater.Thenwhenthismixtureissprayedfromareasonableheight,thewaterineachdropletwill
evaporateasitfallsthroughtheair,leavingatinyparticleofricintofloatonthewind.Naturally,theuseofthisplan
requiresthatweatherconditionsbefavorableforevaporationofthewaterdroplet.
Thissimpleprocedureworkswell.Onecaveat,however:thissolutionwillbegintogrowabustlingbacteria
populationinnotimeflat.Withinadayorso,floatingstrandsofslimeygunkwillbeinsolution,readytoplugup
thesprayer.Worsestill,thebacteriamaywellbeabletodigestthericin,renderingitharmless.Forthisreason,the
solutionmustbeusedquickly.
Happyhunting!
WARNING:Possessionofrefinedricinwilllikelygetyoualifeterm!Beyondexperimentalrunstoperfectyour
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technique,theseproceduresshouldonlybedoneunderwarsituations.Ifstockpilingmustbedone,itshouldonlybe
inaverysecureplace,withfreezingtemperaturestoassurefreshnessoftheproduct.

ChapterEleven
DELIVERYTOTHETARGET
Thesuccessfuldeliveryofapoisontoitstargetisanoftenoverlooked,butvitallyimportantaspectofsuccessful
poisoning.Manywellplannedattackshavefallenapartbecausethemethodofdeliveryanditsconsequenceshave
notbeenthoughtthrough.ThemeansofdeliverychosenisofsuchimportancethatIbelievethatitisjustasvitalto
thesuccessofthemissionasthechoiceoftherightpoison.Hereweshallexplorethemethodsusedbythemasters,
andthemistakesmadebybumblers.
Asinmanyareasofendeavor,thefirstandforemostruleis:"knowthetarget."Aknowledgeofthehabitsandlikes
anddislikesofthemarkisindispensableforsuccessfuldeliverytothetarget.Forexample,considerthecasewhere
anattackerdoesa"blackbag"jobonthemark,breakingintothishouseandspikingabottleofwhiskeywithpoison.
Ifitturnsoutthatthemarkdoesnotdrinkwhiskey,andwaskeepingitaroundforguests,theattackwillhavebeena
failure,unlesstheobjectwastoframethemarkforthepoisondeathsofhisguests.
Ascouldbeinferredfromtheaboveparagraph,inmanycasesa"blackbag"jobisoftencalledfortodelivera
poisontothesubject.Theobject,naturally,istoplantthedeadlysubstanceinsomeediblethatthetargetislikelyto
consumewithinareasonableperiodoftime.Heretheethicalattackerwilltakecaretotrytomakesurethatonlythe
intendedtargetwillbeexposedtodanger.Thedeathofinnocentsisnotonlyuseless,butwillturnpublicopinion
againsttheattackers.
Analternativetotheblackbagapproachistohavetheitemmailedordeliveredtothemark.Thisroutehasthe
advantagethatiteliminatesthedangersofburglaryinherentintheblackbagtechnique.Ithasthedrawbackthatit
maynotbeverybelievabletothemark,andmayarousehissuspicions.Thetypicalmarkisnotlikelytobereceiving
giftsfromanyone.Someingenuityonthepartoftheattackercanovercomethis.Forexample,onbirthdaysor
holidays,apackagemayarrivefromoutoftownfamilyorbusinessassociates.Alternatively,apromotional
giveawaycanbeconcoctedforsomenewproduct.
Regardlessofthedeliverymethodchosen,thechoiceofedibletocontaminateiscrucial.Forthemarkwhohasa
tastefor"controlledsubstances"poisoneddopeismadetoorder.Thecoronerwilldetectthedrugsinthebodyofthe
mark,andthenewspaperswillhaveafielddaywithanother"killerdope"story.Ricinisareallygreatadulterantfor
coke.Itsproductioniswelldescribedinthisbook.Forpoisonswithastrongtaste,boozemaybethebestmixerfor
them.
Apointofgreatimportanceisforthepoisontobecompletelyconsumedbythemark.Itwouldnotdoforhalfa
dozenpoisonedcookiestobesenttothemark,andonlyhavehalfofthemeaten.Itismucheasiertodetectapoison
insuchanitemthaninabody.Attackerswishingtokeepthecauseofdeathamysterywillloadthefulldoseinto
oneserving.Thisworksbestifthepoisonhasatimedelayeffect,suchas,forexample,thejequiritybean.
Importantpointnumbertwoforthesuccessfulpoisoneristoguardagainstfingerprints.Verygoodfingerprintscan
beliftedoffpaper,soallpackagingisdonewithgreatcare.Typewritingcanalsobetracedbacktoaparticular
typewriter,sohandprintingisgenerallyemployed.
Pointnumberthreeforthesuccessfulpoisonerindeliveringtheitemistohavenocontactwithanydeliveryservice.
Theymayrememberfaces.TheU.S.Mailismuchpreferredinthisrespect,becausealloneneedstodoisapplya
bunchofstampsanddropthepackageintoamailbox.Anonymityisascarcecommoditythesedays.
Thefinal,andmostimportantpointforsuccessfulpoisoningissilence.Moreattackersmessupherethanatany
otherpoint.Forsomereason,theyfeelanoverpoweringurgetoboasttoanassociateortoconfideinaspouse.
Neithercanbetrusted.Today'sspousecanbetomorrow'sdivorceenemy,andstarwitness.Forthisreason,theold
Siciliansaying,"Silenceisafriendwhichwillneverbetrayyou,"istimetestedwisdom.

ChapterTwelve
TIMEDELAYPOISONS
ThetimedelaypoisonsarethereallysneakymembersoftheunholyfamilyIhaveputtogetherhere.Theyarelike
timebombswithverylongfusesthatthemarkcarriesaroundinsideofhim,untilfinallyhistimerunsoutandheis
destroyedinaburstofitsdeadlyfury.Thesepoisonsareforthepatientattacker.Generally,thesymptomsleadingto
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deathdonotshowupforatleastafewmonths,andoftennotforoverayear.Thedeathsufferedbythetargetis
usuallymiserableandprolonged.Canceristheirusualresult.
Thetimedelaypoisonsarealsothesafestonesfuranattackertouse.Bythetimethemarkbeginsshowing
symptomsofdisease,alltracesofthepoisonswillhavelonglefthim.Ageneraltoxscreenisnotpartofthe
standandtreatmentforcanceranyway.(Maybeitshouldbe!)
Onememberofthetimedelaypoisonfamily,industrialgraderapeseedoil,hasalreadybeencovered.Itisso
fiendishlyeffectivethatitdeservedasectionalltoitself.Thejequiritybeanisalmostatimedelaypoison,butitsone
tothreedaylatentperiodisalittletooshortforittobeincludedinthissection.
Onepoisonthatalmosteverybodywouldguesswouldbeinthissectionisnot.Thatpoisonisdioxin.Thereareafew
reasonsforthis.Firstofall,thestuffisnotcommerciallyavailable,andsoisnexttoimpossibletofind.Makingthe
stuffisnotthateasy,andisfilledwithdangersthatmakethisrouteunreasonable.Finally,recentcancerresearch
suggeststhatdioxinisnotaseffectiveincausingcanceraswaspreviouslybelieved.
Thisproblemofcommercialavailabilityisacommononewithveryeffectivecancercausingchemicals.I'mnotsure
whetherthemanufacturersareconcernedaboutthehealthofthepublic,orittheylackthecouragetomakethestuff
themselves.
Aneasilyavailableandfairlyeffectivecarcinogenisotoluidine.Thisstuffhaditsmainusesinthedyeindustry,
wheretheynoticedthatpeopleexposedtoitdevelopedcancersatanalarmingrate.Themosteffectivewaytocause
cancerswithachemicallikeotoluidineistofeedsmalleramountsoveralongperiodoftimeratherthanalotallat
once.Asaconsequenceofthis,themosteffectivewaytodeliversuchasubstancetothemarkmaybetodissolvea
fewgramsofitintotheliquorcabinetofamoderatedrinker.Arealboozehoundmaygothroughthewholesupply
inoneeveningofbingeing,sosomeotherroutewouldhavetobeconsideredfortheheavydrinkingmark.
Severalotherequallyeffectivecarcinogensareavailableonthemarket.Anyoneofthem,oracombination,would
makeafineadditiontothemark'sdiet.Theyare:propiolactone,4nitrodiphenyl,Nnitrodimethylamine,beta
napthylamine,dimethylaminoazobenzene,dichlorobenzidine,benzidine,2acetylaminofluoreneand4
aminodiphenyl.Afewgramsofanyofthesesubstancesgivenoveraperiodofafewmonthswilllikelyresultin
cancer(especiallycancerofthebladder)inthenearfuture.Giventhelackofprogressin"thewaroncancer,"aslow
anduglydeathisthemostprobableending.
Natureprovidesanalternativesourceofcarcinogenswiththeimportantadvantageofbeingfreelyavailableto
anyone.Nopapertrailsofchemicalpurchasestotripupwouldbeassassinsareinvolvedintheuseofnatural
carcinogens.
Acoarsehardyfemcalledbracken(Pteridiumaquilinum)orbrakegrowsinswampyandwildareasofNorth
AmericaandtheBritishIsles.ItisespeciallycommoninCanada,wherethemooseandotherwildanimalshave
learnedtoavoideatingit.Thisinstinctualwisdomspringsfromthefactthatthebrackenferncontainsapotent
carcinogen.Eatingbrackenoveraperiodoftimewilldoubtlessleadtoacaseofcancer.Formosttargets,itis
impracticalforanattackertoaddfernleavestothemark'sdiet.Inthesecases,itisnecessaryfortheattackerto
extracttheactiveingredientfromthefernleaves,andusetheextracttocontaminatefoodstuffsorliquorsuppliesof
themark.
Toextractthecarcinogenfromthebracken,onefollowstheexactsameprocedureusedtoextracttremetolfroththe
whitesnakerootweed.Itshouldbeborneinmindherethattheextractisnotapuresubstance,butratheramixtureof
substances.Oneofthecontaminantshasthenastypropertyofcausingblisters,sosmallamountsofbrackenextract
mustbeusedperfeedingtoavoidupsettingthemark'sdigestiontoogreatly,andtherebycausingalarmand
suspicion.Itispossibletoremovethecontaminant,buttheprocessinvolvessuchthingsaschromatography
columns,whichmebeyondthescopeofthisbook.
Alittleusedbuthighlyeffectivetimedelaypoisoningtechniqueistolacethevictim'sfoodwithradioisotopes.The
onlyexampleofthistechniquebeingusedthatIamawareofinvolvedadefectorfromtheEasternblocwhowas
doneinbytheKGB.TheKGBwenthogwildonthedosagetotheirvictim,andhediedfromradiationpoisoning.
Eventhiscrudemethodleftinvestigatorspuzzledforalongtime,anditwasonlybecauseoftheintenseeffortgiven
itduetowhothevictimwasthatradiationpoisoningwasdiagnosed.Doctorsdon'tgenerallygivetheirpatientsthe
onceoverwithGeigercounters.
Whensmalleramountsofradioisotopesareused,severeradiationpoisoningdoesnotresult.Instead,ifitisan
isotopeofanelementthatbelongsinthebodysuchasphosphorus(bestisotope:P32)orcalcium(bestisotope:
Ca45)itispickedupbythebody(afterall,theyarechemicallyidenticaltotheregularisotope)andinthecaseof
calciumorphosphorus,usedtomakebone.
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Oncethere,theirradioactivitycausesthesurroundingtissuestobecomecancerous.Themostlikelyresultis
leukemiasincewhitebloodcellsaremadeinthebonemarrow.
RadioisotopessuchasP32arenotsodifficulttoobtainasonewouldatfirstsuspect.Hospitalsgothroughlarge
amountsofthesesupremelyusefulsubstancestotreatcancersandasdiagnosticaids.Aresourcefulattackerwould
havelittletroubleremovingtheselittlegemsfromthepremises.Thekeytoasuccessfulactionalongtheselinesisto
knowtheprocedureandactlikeyouknowwhatyouaredoing.
ForthoseattackerswholackthegalltowalkintoanAmericanhospitalandwalkoutwithradioisotopes,thereisthe
optionofforeignprocurement.Othercountries,especiallyunderdevelopedones,arenotsofussyabouthowtheir
hospitalssecureanddisposeoftheirradioactivewastes.TherecentcasecomestomindoftheBrazilianhospitalthat
gavetheirusedradioisotopestothelocaljunkman.Theevercuriousandplayfulnativespromptlyproceededtorub
the"magical"glowinthedarkstuffallovertheirbodies,resultinginseveraldeathsduetoradiationpoisoning.I
havenodoubtthatadeterminedandresourcefulattackercouldgotosuchaforeigncountry,landafewdisposaljobs
withthelocalhospitals,andendupwithannicelittlestashofnukewastetobringbackhomewithhim.
Finally,forthose"doitallathome"types,thereisanothermethodforgettingone'shandsonradioisotopes.Itisa
techniquecalledneutronactivation.Thisisaprocesswherebyordinarynonradioactivematerialsarebombardedby
neutrons,whicharecapturedbytheatomswhicharethuslyconvertedintoradioactiveisotopes.Allthatisneededto
proceedwiththismethodisasourceofneutrons.
HowardMorland,inhisbookTheSecretThatExploded,describesanatombombtriggermadebyGEthatshootsa
streamofhighenergyneutronsatthebombcoretostartfission.Healsotellsofasimilardeviceavailableonthe
openmarket,usedbyoildrillers.Chemistsrequireasimilardeviceaswell,foruseinpreparingsamplesforneutron
activationanalysis.(Atleastthosewhodon'thaveareactornearbydo!)
Whicheversourceofneutronsisavailable,radioactiveisotopesofCalciumandPhosphoruscanbemadebypacking
afewhotwaterbottlesfullofcalciumphosphate,andplacingtheminthepathoftheneutronbeam.Thematerialin
thebottlesshouldbewettedwithsomewatertohelpslowdoomtheneutronsandmaketheircapturemorelikely.
Theareasurroundingthemachineshouldbeshieldedwithaseriesoflargeaquariumsfilledwithwater.Theuseof
waterhereisimportantbecauseneutronsarebeststoppedbywater,wood,cement,andothersubstancesmadeup
mostlyofthelighterelements.Metalslikeleadarenowherenearaseffective.Itisalsoofgreatimportancethatthe
operatorkeepasmuchdistancebetweenhimselfandtheoperatingmachineaspossibletopreventradiation
poisoningfromhappeningtothepoisoner.
Afterafewdaystoaweek,themachineshouldbeturnedoff,andasamplecarefullyremovedfromoneofthehot
waterbottles.Itshouldbeasmuchastheattackercandelivertothemarkwithinthenextweekorso.Itshouldbe
carefullyplacedinaglassbottleforsafekeepinguntildelivered.Theuseofrubberglovesandheavyclothingwill
protectthepersonhandlingthematerialduringthetransfer.Athoroughshowerafterwardsisamust.
Afterthetransferiscomplete,themachinemaybeturnedbackontocontinuemoreradioisotopes.Thehalflifeof
P32is14.3days,andCa45is80,000years,sothematerialmustbeusedquicklytogetthefulladvantageoftheP32.
Analternativemethodofusingtheneutronsourcewouldbetosimplybombardthemarkwithitsneutrons.This
suffersfromseverallogisticalproblems.Forstarters,theattackermustgetcloseenoughtothemark,forlongenough
periodsoftimetogivethetargetalethaldoseofneutrons.Theattackermustalsobeinapositionwheretheneutron
beamwillnotbeblockedbyabsorbentmaterialslikewood,cement,plaster,etc.Finally,theattackermustdealwith
theproblemofarousingsuspicionbycarryingaroundaneutrongeneratorafterthemark.
Forthoseinterestedincommerciallyavailablecarcinogens,(oreasilymadeones),seeIndustrialCarcinogensby
R.E.Eckardt(Grune&Stratton,1959).

ChapterThirteen
AUTOPSY!
Inmoststates,thelawcallsforanautopsywhendeathoccursunattendedbyaphysician,oroccursunderviolent,
unusual,orsuddencircumstances.Thegoaloftheautopsyistofindthecauseofdeathofthedeardeparted.Inmany
cases,suchaswhenthecorpsehashisheadblownoff,thisisasimplematter.However,whentherearenomarkson
thebody,poisonisapossibilitythecoroner(ormedicalexaminer,dependingonthestate)mustconsider.
Whenconfrontedbyabodyorpersonsufferingfromsuspectedpoisoning,thefollowingseriesofeventsisparfor
thecourseforthoseinvestigating:
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Sofirstaquickdiagnosisofthevictimismade,baseduponthesymptomsheisshowing,ortheconditionofthe
body.Thisisfollowedbyinvestigationofwhathehasbeendoingthepastfewdays,andwherehehasbeen.Atthe
sametime,aquickscreenisdoneinthelab,withtheideaofeliminatingwholeclassesofpoisonsaspossible
culprits.Withthisinformation,aneducatedguesscalledthepresumptivediagnosisismade.Thispresumptive
diagnosiscanbeawholeseriesofpossibleculpritsthatcometothemindofthecoroner.Thenextstepistosend
samplesofthedepartedonetothetoxicologylab,whereeachofthepossibilitiesischecked,oneatatime.This
potentiallyverytimeconsumingprocessshouldultimatelyleadtoadefinitediagnosiswhenoneofthetestsatthe
toxicologylabturnsuppositive.
Intheory,underidealcircumstancestheaboveoutlinedprocedureissupposedtoleadtoasurediagnosis,findingthe
causeofdeatheverytime.Intherealworld,thingsdon'tworksosmoothly.Thehumanbody,oranylivingthingfor
thatmatter,isnotsosimple.Itisnotlikeawatchorsomeothermachinewhereyoucanpointtothebrokenpartand
say."Ah,hah!"Livingthingsoftencontinuetolivelongaftertheconditionoftheirbodyshoulddictatethattheybe
dead.Theoppositeistrueaswellpeoplesometimesjustdiefornogoodreason,oratleastbeforetheirtime.
Tocopewiththis,coronerstrytofitthebodytheyaredealingwithintooneoffivegroups:
Inthefirstgroup,theautopsyshowsorgansdamagedtothepointthatlifeisimpossible,andthedeathisexplained
beyondanydoubt.Acoupleofgoodexamplesofthistypeofdamagearebrainhemorrhagesandpluggedheart
arteries:Theonlybigquestiontobeansweredinthesetypesofdeathsiswhatbroughtonthe"bigone"atthattime.
Acoronerwillhardlybotherdoingchemicalanalysesforpoisonsinacaselikethis.Believeitornot,theseeasy
casesaccountforonly5%ofallnaturaldeaths.
Inthesecondgroup,theautopsyshowsdamagedorgans,buttheyaren'tdamagedenoughtodefinitelyaccountfor
thedeath.Examplesofthistypeofdamageincludechroniclungorheartdisease.Inthesecases,thecoronerwillnot
generallybotherwithdoingachemicalsearchforpoisonsunlesshefindsremainsofpillsinthestomach,smells
suspiciousodorsinthebody,ornotesasearedstomachlining.About85%ofalldeathsfallinthiscategory.
Thethirdgrouphassomedamagetohisorgans,buttheamountofdamageisnotsuchthatdeathshouldhave
resultedfromit.Theseareguyswhogettheircallbeforetheirtime,liketheguywhofallsoverdeadgettinginto
shape.Inthesecases,thecoronershoulddigintotheguyspast,anddoasearchforpoisonsbeforecallingthedeath
natural.
Inthefourthclassofdeaths,thevictimdiesofadiseasethatleavesnophysicaltracestobefoundatautopsy,suchas
epilepsy.Achemicalsearchisdoneinthesecasestoruleoutdrugoverdosesbeforecallingthedeathnatural.
Finally,inthefifthclassofdeaths,thecausejustcan'tbefoundinspiteofallthebesteffortsofthecoronerandhis
staff.Thesemysteriousdeathsaccountforafewpercentofalldeaths.
Itgoeswithoutsayingthatthegoalofthesuccessfulpoisonerisforthedeathtofallintoonethenaturaldeath
categories,mostlikelyclasses2,3or5.Todothisthepoisonusedmustnotleaveobvioussignsonthebody,and
mustbesufficientlyexoticthatthepeopledoingtheinvestigationdonotthinkoflookingfortheculpablesubstance
involved.ToquotefromGuidelinesforAnalyticalToxicologyPrograms,page54:
Onemustrecognizethatatoxicologicalsurveycannotbeuniversal.Followingexclusionofcommonly
abuseddrugsandsubstancesavailableinthedecedent'shome,placeofemployment,andsocialmilieu,
oneisusuallyforcedtosaythatthestudiesarenegative.Unlessfurtherinvestigationsuggeststhe
responsibilityofsomechemicalagentwhichhadnotbeenpreviouslyconsidered,additional
toxicologicalproceduresusuallyprovetobeblindthrustswithscantchanceofprovidingilluminating
results.
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Afurtherpointmustbeemphasizedhere.Theintroductionandwidespreaduseofananalysismachinecalledthegas
chromatographmassspectrometerhasrevolutionisedthisprocessoflookingforpoisonoussubstancesincasesof
suspectedpoisoning.Formerlyitwasnecessarytolookforpoisonsoneatatime.Thiswasaverytimeconsuming
process.WiththeGCmassspec.,threesamples(anacidicextract,abasicextract,andaneutralextract)runthrough
themachinewilldelectthevastmajorityofpoisons.Alkaloidssuchasaconitineareeasypreytothismachine.For
thisreason,theyareall"badpoisons".AsimpleruleofthumbwiththeGCmassspecisthatifthesubstancecanbe
vaporizedwithoutbreakingitdown,itwillbedetected.
Thesearchfortheinorganicpoisonshasalsobeenmadeconsiderablyeasiersincetheintroductionofanother
machinecalledtheatomicabsorptionspectrometer.Itneverwasthatdifficulttofindthesesubstances,buttheAA
hasmadetheprocessmuchfasterandeasier.
Asyoucanappreciatefromtheabove,successfulpoisoningisamuchmoredifficulttaskthaninthedaysof
LucreziaBorgia.ThepoisonschosenmustmakeitpasttheGCmassspecandAAwithoutdetection.Oncepast
them,thepoisonerwillverylikelyhavesmoothsailingbecausethegreatpowerofthesetwomachineshasthe
naturaleffectontheanalystoflullinghimintoastateofcomplacency.Iftheydon'tshowanything,theremusthe
nothingthere,right?
Oneclassofpoisonswhichdonotshowuponthesetwomachinesaretheproteins.Thesearesomeofthebest
poisons.Examplesofthisclassincludebotulin,ricin,abrinfoundinthejequiritybean,andthepoisonfoundinthe
DestroyingAngelmushroom.Aloneinthisgroup,themushroompoisonisabadone.Uponautopsy,theman
(ghoul)doingthecuttingwillseeayellow,fattyliverinthevictimofthemushroom.Thegruesomeappearanceof
thelivershouldshoutouttotheghoulthatoneofonlyafewpoisonsisinvolvedi.e.,yellowphosphorus,carbon
tetrachlorideorDestroyingAngelmushroom.Themostsubtleofthisgroupofpoisonsarericinandabrin,because
theyworkbyinhibitingproteinsynthesisinthebody.Theydothisbyinactivatingthe60Ssubunitoftheribosomes,
andpreventingelongation.Elongationisthekeystepinproteinsynthesis,whereadditionalaminoacidsarehooked
ontothegrowingproteinchain.Withoutelongation,allproteinmakingcomestoastop,anddeathfollowsinafew
dayswhenthesuppliesonhandinthebodyrunout.Thisismuchtoosubtletobedetectedinthetypicalautopsy.
Thesecondmajorclassofcompoundswhicharegoodaterodingdetectionarequaternaryammoniumcompounds.
TheprimeexampleoftheclassofsubstancesistheCIAshellfishpoison,saxitoxin.ThesenotonlyeludetheGC
massspec,but[knowofnogoodtestwhatsoeverfordetectingthesesubstances.Evenifoneweretobeinvented,it
wouldnotlikelybeveryuseful,sincethebodyisnaturallyloadedwiththisclassofsubstancesanyway.Quaternary
ammoniumcompoundsaremadebyreactinganalkylhalide,suchasmethyliodide,withatertiaryaminelike
strychnine.Iknowofnoworkwhichhasbeendoneintheareaofalkylatingtertiaryaminealkaloidstoquaternary
ammoniumcompoundstoseeittheyretaintheirpoisonousproperties.Thiswouldseemtometobeafascinating
fieldofstudyfortheseriousexperimenter.Thereactionisdonebydissolvingsomeofthealkaloidfreebaseinether,
andthenaddingslowlyanequalvolumeofalkylhalidesuchasmethyliodidetoit.Afterlettingitsitforafew
minutes,theetherandexcessalkylhalideareremovedunderavacuum,andwhatisleftisthequaternaryammonium
compound.
Athirdmajorclassofdifficulttodetectpoisonsarethosesubstanceswhicharesopoorlystudiedthatitisjustnot
knownwhattheyare,orwhathappenstothepoisoninthebody.AfineexampleofthisclassofpoisonsistheWhite
Snakeroot.Ofcourse,pioneeringworkcouldbedoneontheWhiteSnakeroottomorrowtoanswerallthese
questions,butitwouldstilltakeafewyearsfortheinformationtofilterdowntotheaverageworkingstiffinthe
toxicologylab.
Finally,thefourthclassofdifficulttodetectpoisonsarethosewhichareeitherdestroyedinthebodyaftertheydo
theirwork,suchasphosphine,orthosewhichhavesuchalongtimedelay,likethecarcinogens,thattheyarelong
gonefromthebodybythetimethemarkgetssick.Theusefulnessofthisclassofpoisonsislimitedonlybythe
patienceandresourcefulnessoftheattackers.
Thereareseveralgoodbooksonautopsyproceduresfordetectingpoisons.Ifyouarereallyintohowautopsiesare
done,thesebooksshouldanswermostofyourquestions.(AutopsyisPugsly'sfavoritegame.)Imustforewarnyou
thatagoodknowledgeofchemistryisamustforunderstandingthesebooks.Theyalsodealalmostexclusivelywith
drugsandreallycrudepoisons.Thatisbecausealmostallcasesofpoisoningareaccidentalorsuicides.Thosefew
casesofpoisoningthatarehomicidalaregenerallysocrudelydonethattheyareobviousfromthestart.Evenso,
thesebookswillrevealalotaboutthelimitsofmodempoisondetectiontechnology.Myrecommendedreadinglist
is:
PoisonDetectioninHumanOrgansbyAlanCurry(Arealclassic,butabitdated.)
GuidelinesforAnalyticalToxicologyProgramsbyJerryThoma
HandbookofAnalyticalToxicologybyIrvingSunshine
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SilentDeath

ManualofAnalyticalToxicologybyIrvingSunshine
ClinicalToxicologybyClintonThienes

ChapterFourteen
CHEMICALS
Virtuallyallofthechemicalsmentionedinthisbookhaveawidevarietyofusesinscienceandindustry,andare
veryeasytoobtaineitherbydirectlypurchasingthemorthroughtheftfromtheindustriesthatusethem.Noneofthe
chemicalsmentionedinthisbookhaveanymajoruseinmanufacturingdrugsthatIknowof,soitwouldprobablybe
safetoorderthemfrommailorderoutfits.
Anexceptiontothisgeneralruleofeasyavailabilitywouldbethechemicalcarcinogens.Joiningthisgroupofharder
toopenlypurchasechemicalsarethecyanides,andarsenictrioxide.Theyhavesuchwidespreadindustrialuses,
however,thattheftfromindustryisaneasyoption.
Whatfollowsisalistingofthechemicalsmentionedinthisbook,intheordertheyappearinthebook,alongwith
theirmajoruses.
NaF
sodiumfluoride,usedtofluoridatewaterandpreservebloodsamples.
NaSiF
sodiumfluorosilicate,anantiseptic,insecticide,laundrysoapingredientandenamelingagent.
NaCN
sodiumcyanide,usedinelectroplating,casehardeningmetal,fumigationandtoextractmetals.For
example,itfindsuseinrecoveringsilverfromphotographicfilms,especiallyXrayfilms.
HgCl
mercuricchloride,usedtopreservewood,andmuseumspecimens,tanning,ratpoisons,embalming,
purifyinggoldandphotography.
AsO
arsenictrioxide,usedinmanufacturingglass,leatherandpigments.Itisalsoaningredientinleadshot.
KCN
potassiumcyanideusedingoldextraction,photographyandcleaningsolutions.
Phosphorus
usedinmilitaryincendiariesandfireworks
FormicAcid
areagentfornitratesinwater.Alsousedtoanalyzeessentialoilsamdintanningandleathermaking.
SulfuricAcid
almosteverymanufacturingindustryusesthischemical.Averycommonexampleistheelectroplating
industry.
Phosgene
itsmostcommonindustrialusesaretomakepolyurethaneresins,andindyemanufacture.
CarbonTetrachloride
drycleaningfluidandasafireextinguisher.
HO
hydrogenperoxide,usedasableach,anoxidantforfuelswhereairisnotavailable(likesubs),a
disinfectant,andantiseptic.
HF
hydrogenfluoride,usedtoetchglass.Ibelievetheresultisfrostedglass.
Benzidine
reagentforsulfatesandblood.
Otoluidine
makingdyes.
Bnapthylamine
makingdyes.
Calciumphosphate
adietarysupplementforcalciumandphosphorus.

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