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222

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 ...


160

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’...


97

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 ...


81

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 ...


72

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.


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). ...


54

As noted, I feel like my answer to a previous question will also apply here. What you're looking for is an emetic: a substance that induces vomiting. Your X threshold remains the point at which a dose becomes lethal, but the Y threshold becomes the point at which the emetic properties kick in and you throw all the poison back up before it can enter your ...


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 you ...


47

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? ...


47

If they're actually drowned there will be mercury in the lungs, because drowning, in general, is the inhalation of a liquid (though the term is occasionally used, loosely, for inhalation of heavier-than-air gasses). Even if the mercury golem is able to reclaim the mercury that was forced into the victim's lungs, the "losses" will be detectable as traces in ...


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 ...


44

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 ...


44

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

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 ...


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 ...


34

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.


33

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 ...


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.


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 ...


26

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 ...


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,...


25

Ergot Variants: This sounds like some version of ergot poisoning, or possibly a related toxicity from another similar fungus. Ergot caused a wide variety of neurological conditions, and is often cited as the cause for the Salem witch trials. In ancient societies, this was a common toxicity. There are potentiators that interact with ergot at lower doses to ...


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 ...


24

One possibility would be a mixture of a poison that binds to a cell receptor and a lower concentration of a non-poison that binds more strongly to the same receptor (i.e. an antagonist with higher affinity). With a small dose, the non-poison only binds to a fraction of the receptors; the poison binds to the remaining ones and the target dies. With a large ...


23

Invent it. By inventing it you can make it perfect for the story. Presumably this is not a story for biochemists or forensic pathologists, but of interest because of the doings surrounding this boy's slow demise. Benefits of invention: 1: You can make it do what you want it to do. 2: You can give the poisoner a backstory to explain how he/she came by ...


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 capable ...


20

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 ...


18

How do the victims look like once they are found? You can't drown in mercury, because mercury is really dense (13593 kilograms per cubic meter, about 13.6 denser than water) and you would float above it as soon the quantity is significant. Mercury is also reluctant to wet most surfaces, meaning that it wont get in the lungs because of capillarity like ...


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