The Arsenic Eaters investigates the widespread historical belief that the consumption of arsenic, generally known to be a deadly poison, is beneficial to one’s health. Accordingly, many ‘poison eaters’ were found among the Austrian rural population.
Arsenic eaters were robust persons, and usually of the lower class of society, wood cutters, stablemen, farm workers, etc. They ingested arsenic to be ‘strong and healthy’: to look rosy, to resist fatigue or to strengthen their physique.
Though being a popular custom among hard working people, arsenic eaters were very anxious to conceal the fact.
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In-depth article on the on-location research by Austrian newspaper Der Standard: “Arsen, das Kokain der steirischen Bauersleut’” (Text in German)
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The Eriskay Connection
Rob van Hoesel
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Scott Clifford Evans
Colour & Books, Sebastiaan Hanekroot
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Fine Books, Jos Morree
Wilco Art Books