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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 :-)


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