In the fall of 1982, I was in Chicago for an American Medical Association sponsored meeting on jail health care. At the time, I was staff person to a project in Pennsylvania to improve health care rendered in county jails.
The contents of that meeting were quite sufficient to occupy me. But as I turned on the television in my hotel room, I had the sudden overwhelming need to call home. True, I minded being away from home--at the time, our daughter was just a year old. While Dad could cope quite well, I always checked in. This time, however, the need to call was prompted by the news.
There had been a series of unexplained deaths in the immediate Chicago area, all of them linked to people who had recently bought and taken Tylenol. And the national news was reporting hourly of another death. The only link--Tylenol, that turned out to have been tampered with. My message home--I am fine, and--no--I have not bought any Tylenol.
Fast forward 27 years, and once again the Tylenol poisonings are in the news today. The New York Times reports that the FBI has searched a building where a man connected with the Tylenol poisonings now lives.
Whether or not today's news indicates a near term solving of this long time mystery remains to be seen. I certainly hope so--it is incomprehensible to me why someone would do such a thing--take capsules, open them and insert cyanide, and then reseal the capsules. Not only did the person who committed this crime cause the death of 7 people, but he (or she) has forever altered the way we all live. Next time you struggle to open a tamper-proof container, that is now shrink-wrapped, plastic sealed, and foil-covered--thank (or curse) the Tylenol poisonings perpetrator.
Immediately after the cessation of deaths, the makers of Tylenol--and every other vulnerable company--went to work to make it obvious whether a container has been opened. The lack of such packaging is what made it possible for the Tylenol poisonings to take place. But, frankly, who would have thought that some nut would do all that was involved with that scare?
Mostly, I have a mind that likes to "penetrate the dark veil." I now know who Deep Throat was; I don't really care about D.B. Cooper, and Judge Crater disappeared long before I was born. Maybe next we'll know who the Tylenol murderer is. It will be another mystery solved.
Any dark veil mysteries you are puzzling over?