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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Sun., Dec. 8, 2013, midnight

From our archives, 100 years ago

The “whiskey poisoning” mystery in Spokane deepened when a second Spokane woman died after drinking from the same bottle.

Mrs. Margaret Sanderson, 25, died three days after she drank some “hot whiskey” with Miss Letha Poffenroth, 20, apparently as a cold remedy. Miss Poffenroth died almost immediately, from a severely swollen throat. Yet Mrs. Sanderson reported feeling only slightly ill until three days later, when her condition took a turn for the worse and she reported the same constricted throat. She died a few hours later.

This seemed to contradict the coroner’s earlier speculation that Miss Poffenroth might have committed suicide by poisoning herself. The coroner “reserved any statement” until analysis of the whiskey was complete and the post-mortems were finished.

This was particularly alarming because it mirrored an earlier spate of poisonings, in which three women died after drinking whiskey. Those cases were finally dismissed as ptomaine poisoning, but the findings were less than conclusive.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1941: The United States entered World War II as Congress declared war against Japan, a day after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

1980: Rock star John Lennon was shot to death outside his New York City apartment building by an apparently deranged fan.

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