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211

What you're looking for is an emetic - a substance that induces vomiting. This is the specific reason why, as @Alberto Yagos already stated in his answer, suicide-by-pills doesn't always work - many pills are coated in a small amount of emetic so you'll throw them up if you take too many. In the case of your poison, a large enough dose would cause you to ...


161

When you are startled, it causes a physiological reaction. Make the effects of the startle reflex a necessary aspect. I know it can make your heart race, and probably dumps adrenaline or something. So the ingested toxin, after it has time to get into the blood, but before it is cleaned out, needs the victim to have an adrenaline dump event. That’s why it’...


90

Related to cmaster's solution: The "poison" is actually harmless A. The body converts A to B, also harmless. The body converts B to C, deadly. Once the A->B path has saturated you get an A->D path. D blocks the B->C reaction. B is eliminated from the body faster than D. While I am not aware of anything with this behavior there are things that exhibit ...


80

The antidote triggers — or is — the poison If you are looking for a purely mind-activated poison then you are not likely to succeed, no. However, if you can make the subject think they have been poisoned by a particular substance, and this forces them to take an action to counter that poison, then you have a pretty much open playing field. Two scenarios ...


71

This is perfectly possible, and I guess it could be readily done with modern technology. For less technical settings, you just need to say that some plant happens to produce the poison, it's believable enough. So how does it work? Your poison needs to be a drug (let's call it P) that targets two different compounds in the human body (call them A and B). ...


68

The spider secretes the poison, but contains the antidote. If you drink the drink and see the spider, you're unlikely to decide to consume it. If you don't see the spider, you would most likely just consume the spider as well, ingesting both poison and antidote.


51

Sure why not. There are plenty of toxins out there that are lethal in small amounts. We're already getting pretty good at targeted genetic engineering using techniques such as CRISPR. Given 50 years of technological advancement we should be able to figure out how to engineer wasps to have a more lethal sting. All you'd need to do is work your genetic ...


50

You are probably looking for a nocebo. The nocebo effect is when a negative expectation of a phenomenon causes it to have a more negative effect than it otherwise would. A nocebo effect causes the perception that the phenomenon will have a negative outcome to actively influence the result. Mental states such as beliefs, expectations and anticipation can ...


50

Corticosteroids. The body makes cortisol. This hormone is important for immune function, metabolic functions, blood pressure control and other things. If you take synthetic corticosteroid it will suppress the body's own corticosteroid synthesis. High doses of synthetic steroid have side effects but low doses just mimic what the body does naturally. If ...


44

Poison Dart Frog's "Lipophilic alkaloid toxins" ... is, according to some sources, the group that includes the toxins used by poison dart frogs. They may be able to kill in less than three minutes; you may not be able to achieve any faster. It's unclear when these frogs were first identified, but Europe touched base in the Americas a hundred years prior to ...


42

There is one possibility: your lethal substance is an ingested poison. With a low dose, it goes into the bloodstream and kills you. In a large dose, it is so harmful your stomach immediately throws it up, saving your life. It isn't pretty, but it is reason some suicides with pills failed. And as another example, Napoleon tried to kill himself during his ...


38

So two ways I can see. The first is simple selective breeding. Get lots of hornets and sample their venom. Take the ones with the most potent venom and cross breed their lines. In the next generation find the ones with the most potent venom, and cross breed their lines. Continue for 50 years. Having a short maturation period means that you will get a lot ...


38

Renewed poisoning Or another way of saying Mutually Assured Destruction. What the ritual does is both members of the couple personally poison a bottle of wine at the start of the ritual with a secret poison on their choosing. At the ritual, each partner drinks the other's poisoned wine. Unfortunately, there's no poison that is really long-term enough for a ...


38

Personally I see this as the wrong way around. Courtship isn't about trust. It's about proving yourself. Personally both sides should be trying to quietly kill the other because if the other isn't skilled enough to avoid assassination attempts, they aren't worthy to marry. What kind of parent would they be if they missed a simple poison in their wine? ...


36

What you're proposing is certainly possible, although I don't know of a case that demonstrates this exactly. The behavior of biologically active molecules (drugs or toxins) can be very complex (see pharmacokinetics on Wikipedia). Many poisonous substances are detoxified or made toxic by enzymes in the body (drug metabolism). For instance, ethanol, the active ...


33

The greater blue ringed octopus already has a potent neurotoxin which can be fatal to humans. The octopus has the poison in its saliva, but it is also held in the skin of the mantle, so touching it is potentially fatal.


29

Wolf's Bane Apparently used to tip poisoned arrows in China during your time period, fluid from the Aconitum plant, or Wolf's bane, could be nearly instantaneously deadly if used liberally. The symptoms are not pleasant, and the poison can be used without an arrow and put in food to create the appearance of (accidental) suffocation.


28

Science and autopsies have reached a point in the modern world where poisons are generally detectable. The best poisons are ones that break down into elements that occur naturally: succinylcholine(SUX) and potassium chloride. SUX causes asphyxiation and paralysis, however it is a very painful death. Potassium chloride causes severe heart arrhythmias and ...


27

Researchers notes Abstract: Find way to terrorize people for our dark overlord-to-be. Lest we lose our research grant. So we, and our families, will not be used as test subjects by other researchers. Our new intern had an idea with hornets. So now we are going to take an already aggressive and slightly sadistic species and improve on that. Test 1: Failure ...


25

The big problem here is wavelength. Radiowaves have relatively long wavelengths and are best received by macroscopic metal antennae. On the scale of individual molecules, you simply won't get enough energy absorbed to see any actual changes. "Oh, but what about microwaves?" I imagine someone saying. Well, microwaves work by imparting energy to polar solvents,...


24

If you happen to be on a Space Station, you could simply vent the atmosphere. They may have some internal injuries, but they should revive when you pump the air back into the room. The important thing to consider is that any "knockout" gas is a potential killer in a large enough dosage, and merely pumping it into the room is a very imprecise way of ...


22

The canonical example is Dimethylmercury Dimethylmercury is an organomercury compound. A highly volatile, reactive, flammable, and colorless liquid, dimethylmercury is one of the strongest known neurotoxins, with a quantity of less than 0.1 mL capable of inducing severe mercury poisoning, and is easily absorbed through the skin. Dimethylmercury is ...


20

One conventional approach would be to exchange hostages. If a member of family A and a member of family B wish to be married, a different member of family A goes to live with family B for the length of the engagement, and vice versa. If the couple makes it to the wedding night without poisoning or stabbing each other, the hostages go home and nothing more is ...


19

Curare was used by indigenous South American tribes to tips the darts of their blowguns. The active ingredient can take up to 25 minutes to kill a larger animal from respiratory failure, but the tribes added additional ingredients that apparently increased the effectiveness. I read once that the strength of the mixture was determined by the number of ...


17

Arsenic and lead fits your specs: they cumulate in the body and slowly kill it. See Arsenic poisoning or Lead poisoning for more info.


17

Targeted delivery of drugs has already been demonstrated by using nanoparticles and magnetic fields (source). Therefore it is plausible to think of nanoparticles which are activated or concentrated by an EM signal. I.e. one could inject the nanoparticle below the toxicity threshold, and a magnetic or electromagnetic field could be used to locally ...


16

Ricin Famously used in Breaking Bad, I think this is probably the poison you're looking for. Delivered by ingestion (in food or drink) According to the Wikipedia page, A dose of purified ricin powder the size of a few grains of table salt can kill an adult human. No strong off taste, odor, or color If you put 3 grains of table salt on a burger, ...


16

The cup contains both poison and antidote. The poison is lower density, and thus at the top of the cup. You drink this first. The antidote is much higher in density, and thus sits at the bottom of the cup. This will only be drank if you finish the cup. If you see the spider (wives tale or not), you aren't finishing that drink. You don't drink the antidote. ...


13

Homeopathy is the real world, but very, very mistaken, idea that "like cures like". An infinitesimal amount of a poison can cure the poison's symptoms. For example, mandrake root can cause hyperactivity and hallucinations, so a homeopathic "doctor" faced with a patient with such symptoms might produce a tincture of extremely diluted mandrake root. The more ...


13

Honeybee. https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2018/02/21/advocacy-groups-pressure-state-to-ban-bee-killing-pesticides/ I like this because if your victim is allergic, he can very definitely die from a bee sting. It takes seconds to get stung. This method is not applicable to the general population, so if user63214 is some disgruntled would-be murderer I am ...


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