Skip to main content

H is for Hemlock.....

The philosopher's bane--- Sometimes known as "devil's porridge", hemlock was a favorite method of execution in ancient Greece, the most famous incident involving Socrates. Sentenced for "failing to acknowledge the gods that the city acknowledges" and "introducing new deities," Socrates was condemned to death by drinking a hemlock-based liquid.

After being condemned to death, Socrates then had to act, unfortunately, as his own executioner, a "press-gang" suicide, if you will....

Unlike most poisonous plants that might offer its victims altered realities or hallucinations, which lend themselves readily to many of the witchcraft and folklore myths, hemlock attacks the central nervous system--- creating an ascending muscular paralysis, which results in respiratory arrest once it attacks the respiratory muscles--- leaving its victims completely lucid up to the moment of death. Definitely not an easy way to meet one's end....

Hemlock Brew

Oh, cup of death,
oh, bitter dregs,
thy taste doth not soothe,
nor thy flavor mend, 
I find not, the peaceful end,
nor any rest in your truth,
oh, bitter dregs,
oh, cup of death.
                                                                                --- e.a.s. demers                                                                                                                                                                            


  1. Fascinating theme for A to Z!!! :) Nice!

  2. As I recall, Socrates turned his death into a teaching exercise. While he was able, he described the sensations of the poison as it moved through his system.

    Grace under pressure, indeed.

    1. Yeah, he did... if ever there was a master of calm during stressful times, it was Socrates :-)


Post a Comment

Share your thoughts!

Popular posts from this blog

I is for...

... Iron Maiden

The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins? ---Edgar Allan Poe

---and not the English heavy metal band from East London...

Day 2 in the realm of morbid/macabre torture devices finds us back in the Middle Ages (there was definitely a fashionable trend of imaginative torture devices during this time). Though, the Middle Ages isn't really when we should be turning our attention when we discuss the Iron Maiden. In fact, there has been some debate as to the exact appearance of this monstrous creation.

It's probably easiest to relocate such a torturous thing back to a time when it seemed everyone was as skilled at exacting a confession as they were at creating the tools to exact those confessions. It's easier to blame ancestors from several hundred years ago than to accept that anyone of civilized disposition would be capable of doing such horrible things with such terrif…

Y is for Yeth Hound.....

Yeth Hound--- one of the incarnations of the "Black Dog" myth, this one located specifically, in Devon, England.

"Black Dogs" appear in myths across the world, most are associated with death and bad omens... i.e. Hell Hounds.

The Yeth Hound is said to be the spirit of an unbaptised child that takes the form of a headless black dog. The Hound wanders the woods at night making pitiful wailing sounds (though, I'm unclear as to how it makes wailing sounds without having a head).

The Black Dogs were possibly one inspiration from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's ghost dog in The Hound of the Baskervilles-- "an enormous coal-black hound, but not such a hound as mortal eyes have ever seen."

Heed Not, the Lonesome Cry
Heed not, the lonesome cry, the baleful wail echoing through the woods. Seek not, the black hound's sigh, look not where the headless creature stood.
One sound, your limbs will shake, your heart filled with the deepest dread. One glimpse, your sou…

V is for...

... Vrolik Museum

The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins? ---Edgar Allan Poe

How about a morbid museum?

Still used by the medical faculty and students at the University of Amsterdam, the Vrolik Museum is a unique collection of odd bones and skulls, pathogenic specimens, and an assortment of anomalous embryos.

The collection was amassed by Dutch anatomist, Gerardus Vrolik (1775-1859) and continued by his son, Dutch anatomist and pathologist, Willem Vrolik (1801-1863). And since Willem's death, various donations have expanded the collection even further. Most specimens are human, though a few zoological specimens have trickled into the collection. Preserved remains, plaster casts, and various models show an assortment of congenital deformities and malformations.

This is one of those places that isn't for the faint of heart---certainly not for those who are easily moved or triggered by…