We all know that scene, the moment in a thriller when the bad guy sneaks up behind their victim and envelops them in clinch, pressing a piece of chloroform-soaked cloth up against their mouth. Almost instantly they fall limp and are dragged away.
That’s bullshit. According to Wikipedia, it’s scientifically impossible for Chloroform to render a person unconscious in that short amount of time, in reality the bad guy should be tossing around on the floor for at least five minutes with a very conscious person before they finally succumb.
The anesthetic qualities of this substance was first discovered by a Scottish obstetrician named James Young Simpson at a party in 1847, when he tried it out on two of his guests as a joke. Not funny.
Eventually it was implemented more and more during surgeries in Europe during the 1850’s though it took awhile to figure out the proper dosage, meaning patients didn’t always wake up.
Chloroform entered the criminal realm when Dr. H. H. Holmes, one of the U.S.A’s first documented serial killers, started using it to make his murders look like suicide by overdose. The medical community during the 19th century were so phased by this growing criminal trend, that a journal was published in the Lancet in 1865, proving that this substance wasn’t an appropriate dastardly tool.
That being said, enough can kill you and not in a pleasant way. According to the US National library of medicine the effects of chloroform include; “impaired liver function, cardiac arrhythmia, nausea and central nervous system dysfunction.”
It’s also classified as a carcinogen.
Loaded staff writer Danielle De La Bastide has lived all over the planet and written for BuzzFeed, Thought Catalog as well as print publications throughout the Caribbean.