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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Sat., Dec. 15, 2012, midnight

From our archives, 100 years ago

John L. Wiley, Spokane County’s prosecuting attorney, said new evidence indicated that the three women who died after drinking whiskey probably died from ptomaine poisoning. In fact, he said, it was probably something they ate, not something they drank.

“From the manner in which the women lived and kept their food and utensils, and the carelessness about what they ate and drank, it seems probable that they were poisoned by something they ate,” Wiley said.

As for the fourth woman who died – not involved in the same “whiskey party” as the other three – she probably died of a regular alcohol overdose. She drank three pints of whiskey that day and then had a “hysterical fit of anger” during a quarrel with her husband. She was apparently a longtime alcoholic, already in poor health. A fifth victim was recovering.

However, just when authorities thought they had a handle on the mystery, another possible victim surfaced. A 30-year-old man was in the hospital, writhing like “a raving maniac,” from a “whiskey fit.” His life was in jeopardy. A doctor said he thought the man’s condition was due to “cheap whiskey which may have contained poisonous substances.”

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1791: The Bill of Rights went into effect following ratification by Virginia.

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