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Five Drops of Poison

​     1. Cyanide 

     2. Ricin 

     3. Arsenic 

     4. Thallium

     5. Sarin



Five Drops of Poison is a musical representation of five different lethal poisons.

Cyanide stops the body’s cells from using oxygen, eventually killing them. This causes convulsions and similar effects to those of suffocation. 

Ricin is found in castor beans. Once exposed to the body, it prevents cells from making necessary proteins. If death occurs, it is usually within three to five days. Shortly after the completion of Five Drops of Poison, two letters sent to President Obama and Senator Roger Wicker tested positive for ricin.

Arsenic was a popular poison throughout history because the symptoms are close to cholera. Symptoms include headaches, confusion, drowsiness, delirium, vertigo, and later, convulsions.

Thallium is colorless, tasteless, and odorless and has been labeled a “poisoner’s poison.” It was formerly used in rat poisons until it was eventually banned by many countries. In low doses it causes hair loss and damages the peripheral nerves, causing a sensation of walking on hot coals. In higher dosages it kills before these effects can occur.

Sarin was originally developed as a pesticide in the 1930’s. It is a particularly volatile nerve agent that can quickly evaporate from liquid into gas. Like all nerve agents, it causes convulsions that cannot be stopped.

Ryan Woodhouse


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