The most famous poisonings in history – what caused them?

A shot with an umbrella

The murder of dissident Bulgarian writer Georgi Markov, who left his homeland in 1969 and lived in London, is one of the most famous poisonings in the history of the 20th century.

Waiting for a bus at the Waterloo Bridge stop on September 7, 1978, Markov suddenly felt a sharp pain in his right thigh. He looked around and saw a man hurrying to lift his umbrella from the ground. The stranger, speaking with a strong accent, apologized for the embarrassment and left in a taxi.

umbrella poisoning - one of the most famous poisoning in recent history

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By evening, Markov had a fever, acute stomach pains, and severe diarrhea. The patient’s condition was rapidly deteriorating. Doctors were powerless. Three days later, Markov died in a hospital.

At the autopsy, the pathologists found a tiny metal capsule with holes, which contained poison. It should have dissolved and destroyed all traces, but for some reason, it didn’t. Judging by the size of the capsule, it contained 425-450 mg of ricin. It’s enough to poison six people.

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