Thursday, February 05, 2009

All is Mystery

"All is mystery; but he is a slave who will not struggle to penetrate the dark veil."

Benjamin Disraeli

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?


Ruth said...

I remember this every time I struggle to open a triple sealed bottle of OTC medicine. What happened with the anthrax mailings in 2001? Was there ever a solution to that scare?

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I would like to know what happened to Ambrose Small a weathy Canadian Theatre owner who suddenly disappeared in Toronto in 1919.
He is said to haunt a couple of theatres to this day.

When I was young I was working in a car park in downtown Toronto installing floodlighting. I spent the whole day on top of a scafford. That day without my knowing it, until I saw the story on TV, they dug up human remains below me and there was a suggestion they might be Small. That was when I first learned of him and his mysterious disappearance.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I just noticed the story of Ambrose Small is on the same web site as the account of Judge Crater.

KGMom said...

Ruth--the anthrax attacks seem to have been settled with the death (by suicie) of Dr. Bruce Ivins, who the FBI was closing in on.

Philip--Ambrose Small, that's a new one. I will have to look up.

Of course, there's also Jimmy Hoffa, about whom reports periodically surface--he's buried here, or there, or somewhere else.

NCmountainwoman said...

My husband and I stared at one another when we first heard the news. Wow! I hope we find out exactly what happened.

troutbirder said...

The interesting question you posed is causation. My inexpert opinion is that psychiatry has a long way to go to catch up to many of the other medical specialities.

Susan Gets Native said...

You know, I was 9 years old when that Tylenol thing happened.
: )

I don't have any real deep mysteries spinning around in my head...but I do wonder why we can't have the same amount of hot dogs and hot dog buns.

KGMom said...

Susan--oh, just be quiet!

KGMom said...

(Susan--you do know I am just kidding?)
Honestly, only 9? and I am writing about my second child being 1 year old.
Jeez--that makes me feel. . .ancient.

Jayne said...

JonBenet Ramsey? Wonder if and when the truth of that will ever come out?

Ginnie said...

I wonder if we will ever get back to the life that I had as a younster...when greed was not a way of life for 1/2 the population.

Susan Gets Native said...

I was just saying that I remember that Tylenol thing. My Mom used Tylenol and I recall being scared that someone would want to hurt my Mom.
Feel free to tell me to be quiet whenever you like.

KGMom said...

LOL--Susan. I find myself saying to my students--college freshmen--do you remember when? And getting these blank looks back. Then I kick myself (only mentally, of course) and think--if these guys and gals are around 18 years old now, they weren't born until 1991. YIKES! No wonder they don't have the wealth of information I possess. So, then I take it as my solemn duty to impart wisdom to them. Mostly they yawn. . .

JeanMac said...

The Jon Benet case still rattles me.Good post, Donna, I remember that well.

Anonymous said...

As a former New Yorker, I would add the mystery of the maple syrup events, which they just solved:
- k.