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Thoughts from the Gateway Mailing List (part 1)

Note:  This page is comprised of translations posted by Euclid to the USENET newsgroup  The translator's comments are marked in [square brackets].

Some thoughts concerning suicide methods:

The greatest and most ignored problem of discussing suicide methods is this:
Everyone concentrates on the mechanical aspects such as which pills to take, where one can jump, where to aim, but hardly anyone makes it clear that the most important thing is to have a practical way of overcoming the instinct to live and the fear which is present. Most people, if they honestly consider the matter that there is, in the first place, *no* such method, simply ignore the problem. For example: When using a shotgun the critical point is that the moment one pulls the trigger is very difficult and requires unbelievable will power.

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General discussion of methods

This is important: the implements should be already on hand so that one may carry out the method if one wants to. Everyone** knows this terrible, beautiful moment when one says to oneself: "Now I would gladly kill myself". If you have the gun in the cabinet, the poison in the nightstand etc., it is much easier to do then if you plan way ahead of time to die on a particular day.
I think everyone [who is contemplating suicide] should settle on a particular method that he is reasonably sure he can follow through on. For instance, I am afraid of water, and therefore do not plan to drown. Another person likes to half-strangle himself while masturbating, and would find it easier to hang than shoot himself...

Note: **[everyone who is suicidal, that is.]

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General discussion of methods- Poisoning

There are certain plants and mushrooms that, properly applied, can lead to death. The problem is finding a supply and knowing how to properly prepare it and how much to use. One should know what one is doing, as neither lying on the floor in convulsions nor having one's stomach pumped at the hospital's emergency room is particularly pleasant.

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General discussion of methods- Poisoning

Mushroom/Plant poisoning ("homeopathic suicide"):
Much knowledge and experience [with plants] is required to accomplish an expert poisoning. One needs to join a mushroom club or read extensively in the subject matter. However, in doing so there is the serious danger of finding one's life's work. :) Incidentally, I'm acquainted with a person who is very knowledgeable about mushrooms. He can easily bake you a mushroom souffli that would kill you (or so it is said). However, if you ask him-innocently, of course- about specific poisonous mushrooms, his response is almost always a qualified one, such as: X can be deadly, but only if one uses large quantities, prepares it properly, etc. I recommend you forget about this. [The original text is unclear as to what the author is recommending one forgets about...whether he is saying one can forget about pumping an expert for info or whether one ought to forget about mushrooms altogether is open to interpretation, though in the context of what is here i would favor the former over the latter. Given what i know of this form of poisoning, the method acts by damaging the liver...this is neither slow nor painless.]

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General discussion of methods- Poisoning

Substances truly suitable for overdosing oneself are at least as difficult to get a hold of as a shotgun. Failed attempts can be brutal, and with a little (not a lot) of bad luck you will be stuck with permanent damage that has resulted from the attempt. This is not the case with a shotgun; if you follow the rules, you will die.** Whether you end up more or less decapitated and ugly to behold is beside the point. If you wish to use "sleeping pills", you'll need to go abroad to get them [keep in mind the intended readers of the original text are probably concentrated in Germany]. The more underdeveloped the country the better, as the laws will be more lax and bribery will be easier. It is also possible to forge prescriptions.***

**[Of course, if you don't follow the principles you'll wind up disfigured and still alive. Given the reported cases of botched attempts, firearms are not as sure-fire a method as some make them out to be.]
***[Forging prescriptions is not without its hazards. Pharmacists are known to phone the prescribing doctor to verify a prescription...]

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General discussion of methods- Poisoning

I would like to issue a very urgent warning concerning the use of sleeping pills: the readily obtained varieties are not suitable for assuring a certain death, and are most unsuitable when not used in conjunction with the plastic bag method. It only makes sense to use this method when one can obtain a good sedative such as a barbituate, and accomplishing that in Germany is unlikely.

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Poisoning methods: Hemlock

Has anyone ever really considered a cup of hemlock to be a common, humane, and nonviolent method? It's a sad fact for me that I've yet to even see a hemlock plant despite having searched long for it. The plant is supposedly "widely distributed in wastelands, hedgerows, fencerows, and byways", but is seldom seen in Germany. For example, it is on the list of endangered plants in Baden-Wuerttemburg. By the way, does anyone know of a region where the plant is thriving? Perhaps there is a street somewhere where the entire byway is overgrown with it and one can simply help one's self to it.

It is also difficult to correctly identify the plant as there are about two dozen or so similar, nonpoisonous plants that grow in large numbers.

Based on what I've read, the preparation is as follows:

In the book of Thucydides (not sure if spelling is correct) there is an interview with the jailor who supposedly prepared the drink for Socrates. In it, he says that he pulverizes as much of the dried plant as seems sufficient for the particular person in question who is condemned to die. When the condemned has drunk it, he should pace about the cell to make the poison work faster. When the legs feel heavy and numb, he should lay down and wait. The entire body will become numb, and when the numbness reaches the heart he shall die. If, however, death does not come, one only fidgets [convulses??] a bit, and one needs to try again using a higher dose. Should one survive an attempt, no lasting damage has been done and most will fully recover within 24 hours.

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Poisoning methods: Hemlock

It is a general rule that dried and powdered herbs can be stored for up to a year and still retain their potency. They need to be stored in a dark place.
Whether one finds the preparation tasty or not depends on one's opinion; one way to identify the plant is that is smells like mouse urine. :->

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Poisoning methods: Monk's Hood

The second plant that is found in Germany (poisonous mushrooms are being excluded from consideration because of the very painful death they cause), the blue Monk's hood, doesn't have as much appeal [as hemlock]. An old report concerning an execution with this plant says:

(two hours after the poison was ingested)
"...the eyes became hideous, the mouth and throat contorted, the condemned fell backwards off the block he had been sitting on and onto the earth as the executioner had not restrained him. Because of this the condemned's face was sprinkled with wine vinegar and his hair was plucked. He then returned to his senses and dirtied himself [in other words at this point he regained consciousness and lost control of his bowels]. So he was lain upon straw and he shuddered as if he was being beaten. Then he vomited, spewing out foul-smelling filth and liquid that was yellow and grey colored. After that he said that he felt better. Not long after that, however, he turned onto his side as though to sleep, but he was not allowed to sleep; he died quietly without further movement or incident. His face had turned grey."

[and to think i've been feeling ill of late...]

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Poisoning methods: Yew

A tea made of only ten yew needles should be enough to kill. And unlike hemlock and monkshood, yew is available at any gardenstore (i.e. nursery).

[Take this with a grain of salt :) ]

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Poisoning methods: Yew

Yew: in [a file that can no longer be accessed at the URL given] it is asserted that a dose of 75 needles is deadly for humans. The trustworthiness of this is doubtful, though, as the document also uncritically repeats the 5-minute horse legend. Yew is probably the only poison of which the lethal dose and all the other details are readily found (such things as lye are not being considered here). And in the nursery the plant will be plainly labeled "Taxus baccata" with a tag.

A few notes:

(Taxus baccata)

The needles contain the exceedingly poisonous alkaloid Taxin in high concentrations. The red flesh of the berry is not poisonous [that's not what i've heard]. The time is takes to die varies a great deal (5 min. to several days) and depends on the dosage. The poison appears to have two mechanisms of action:

High dosages quickly lead to failure of the heart-circulatory system with death occurring within minutes. Supposedly, horses have been observed to die within 5 minutes of eating the needles and twigs. Lower doses cause liver and kidney damage, death occurring after coma after at least 24 hours.

Perhaps an intermediate dose would cause the following: 1-2 hours after taking the poison one would vomit, experience body pains, dizziness, dilation of the pupils, unconsciousness, shallow breathing, quickly followed by a slow, irregular pulse, circulatory failure and death from breath cessation. In an earlier era, yew was supposedly a well known poison for suicide in Middle and Northern Europe, and was the method of choice for life-weary Druids (who didn't leave any written records, unfortunately).

Does anyone know the exact dosage? One may need to experiment, perhaps on white mice or a guinea pig or one's arch-enemy ;) [The smiley should make things clear, but for the obtuse I'll make it even clearer: homicide is very rude and is not condoned here].

One could take the needles off a twig and extract the alkaloids by using a water/ethanol solution, or by soaking them in some liquor. Without knowing more, though, I wouldn't try this, or at best I would drink it immediately before jumping...

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Poisoning methods: Yew

"As a rule (with horses being an exception) about an hour after consuming the plant there is vomiting, diarrhea, slowed heartbeat and breathing, and in severe cases respiratory paralysis."1 The time for onset of the effects is a vague approximation, as the effect depends on many unknown variables.

>Supposedly horses have been observed to die within 5 minutes of eating
>the needles and twigs.

Unfortunately, this only works for horses.

>Does anyone  know the exact dosage?

Lethal dose in grams of needles per kilogram of body weight, from the reference text, for selected animals:

Horse 2g/kg
Pig 3g/kg
Cattle 1 to 10g/kg
Sheep 10g/kg
Goat 12g/kg

(If I interpret all this properly and assume that humans have a physiology similar to pigs, an 80kg suicidal person would have to consume quite a bit [i.e., 240g needles], and my fantasy of having an "accidental" death by nibbling on the advent decorations will clearly remain unfulfilled. even a horse would have to consume a few hundred grams of needles before going belly-up, which imo contradicts the story in some books of a horse dying shortly after eating a few leaves. hmmm, pardon me if i confuse matters more than i clarify them.)

Taxin LD-50's (mg Taxin / kg bodyweight):

Rat (i.v.) 4.5mg Taxin B/kg
Mouse (oral) 19.72mg Taxin sulfate/kg
Mouse (i.p.) 21.88mg Taxin sulfate/kg
Rat (s.c.) 20.18mg Taxin sulfate/kg

Alkaloid content of the needles is 0.6%-2% Taxin in the summer and is higher in the winter.

>One may need to experiment, perhaps on white mice or a guinea pig.

That has already been extensively done with practically everything (including water), though the results in most cases are not easily applied to humans (one should note the frequently large deviation in the relative doses between related species). Besides, experimenting on animals is repugnant.

[the reference text]{1} Liebenow, H.K., "Giftpflanzen-Vademekum fuer Tieraertze, Landwirte, und Tierhalter" ISBN: 3-334-60421-7

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Poisoning methods: Yew
>Besides, experimenting on animals is repugnant.

I hold similar views, and I've not done anything like it myself. The problem is, that under normal circumstances it isn't possible to obtain the pure substance; if it was then additional animal testing would be a meaningless cruelty. With all home-made poisons, whether it be the yew extract, the hemlock cup, or good, old-fashioned exhaust fumes, we really don't know the potency of the preparation, and if one is honest with oneself, it isn't possible under normal circumstances to determine the potency by technical means. Animal trials [on the other hand] can be easily done and the results are easy to see. Naturally, it is a nasty thing to do.

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Poisoning methods: bitter almonds

For awhile now I've been studying the poisonous plants, but am stuck on the bitter almonds. What I already know (from various chemistry texts):

-The seeds contain the glycoside amygdaline, which is split by the enzyme emulsin and dilute acids into glucose, benzaldehyde, and prussic acid.

-Bitter almond oil (a colorless oil that turns yellow with age and contains up to 11% prussic acid) can be extracted from crushed bitter almonds or the pits of apricots, cherries, or plums by soaking.

-The lethal dose for humans is about 60-70 mg prussic acid or 0.7-2.3mg prussic acid per kg body weight or about 60 pieces [pieces are whole almonds in this context] (these should be considered minimum doses).

-Death results from a disruption of cellular respiration. If a poisoning doesn't result in death, the prussic acid will be cleared out of the body rather quickly (possibly preventing serious, long term damage).

-100g bitter almonds contains an average of 250 mg of bound prussic acid (at the moment I'm not sure if it's prussic acid or amygdalin); lima beans have up to 320mg.

In regards to efficacy, prussic acid is easily one of the best means [to suicide] (see also the first entry (HCN) in the a.s.h.-FAQ). Bitter almonds are not easy to find (due to their toxicity); I bought a small bag of them today (50g, around 60 pieces) in a healthfood store, and was explicitly asked whether I really wanted them. Apricot pits would work as well. My problem lies in the extraction process (I tried the bitter almond oil method) and determining proper doseage. Does anybody here have any ideas or has anyone found anything about this on the net?

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Poisoning methods: bitter almonds

The problem seems to be that the prussic acid is released from the glycosides very slowly and unreliably. Perhaps the concentration of the various enzymes in the stomach, which vary from individual to individual, plays a role and is the factor which determines life or death. It's probable that 99% of the population could eat a big bag of bitter almonds without ill effects (otherwise it would not be possible to buy them), and that only in exceptional circumstances would the majority of the chemically bound prussic acid be released.

"...Apricot pits would work as well..." Yes. Quite some time ago an industrious ASHer had posted the concentrations [of prussic acid in various sources] from out of a book:

Species common name average Hydrogen Cyanide conc.
Prunus serotina ehrh. black cherry 212 mg HCN per 100g leaves
P. persica batsch. peach 66 mg HCN per 100g leaves
" " 164 mg HCN per 100g pits
P. armeniaca l. apricot 275 mg HCN per 100g kernels

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Poisoning methods: bitter almonds

[What follows is a critique of the previous section]

The enzyme concentration in a person's stomach is irrelevant if the majority of the prussic acid is chemically released before consumption.

A book of food chemistry places the lethal dose of bitter almonds at upwards 500g, which agrees well with data in most other books which sets the dose at around 60 almonds. So the statement that it's "probable that 99% of the population could eat a big bag..." is a bad one.

"...otherwise it would not be possible to buy them."--Availability means very little. Nutmeg is quite dangerous, but you can get it nearly anywhere.

The prussic acid is chemically released by the enzyme emulsin. This is found in the cells of the almond and can be used to break down the amygdalin by mixing the two together. This is done by pulverizing the almonds, adding a bit of water, and waiting a few hours. If the almonds are ground up finely enough, then most of the prussic acid shall be released.

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Poisoning Methods: Cyanide

(Extraction from potassium ferrocyanide) I've touched on this previously and since then have been researching the chemistry. According to Roempp's chemistry dictionary, heating the salt yields KCN, [an iron compound], and other stuff. Another entry says that KCN can be transformed into HCN (this happens in the stomach which is why KCN can work albeit more slowly) by dripping equal volumes of water and sulfuric acid onto it. This forms gaseous HCN (breath deeeeeeeply :-). How one would combine the two procedures is unclear to me. [One possibility is to bake the salts at a suitable temperature and then to drip the reagents onto the salts without trying to purify them for KCN first. I couldn't say for certain that the results would be satisfactory, but if cyanide is the method of choice for someone then he might find it worthwhile to experiment with this.]

The most elegant way to obtain KCN is simply to order it. Woody has briefly written about this in a.s.h. I have similarly touched on the search for companies that sell chemicals to private individuals. I would rather leave off the names and addresses here as I don't know that anyone on the mailinglist is interested in all that; there's sure to be some people in Germany who can ferret out the appropriate specialty catalogs. In all cases the companies offer all the potentially useful chemicals in small quantities for the hobby chemist or biologist. Moreover they offer pure KCN (25g/15DM). However, such substances are sold in accordance to law only to adults who send a copy of their personal ID and who supply a so-called explanation. In the latter document a person must specify why one needs the stuff (possibly requiring a detailed outline including quantities and literature references). If the explanation is plausible and carries no hint of possible misuse, then one gets the goods. My problem is figuring out what a hobbyist would need KCN for and how to present this explanation in the most professional way. It sounds plausible to use it in a galvanic bath for silver-plating objects. However, I'm lacking exact details as to the construction and concentration of reagents for such a bath. One could also find use for it in photochemistry...If possible, I'll likely order some in a few weeks. If it doesn't work, we could create a small pro forma company and have it shipped legally to us in quantity :-). BTW- I've ordered myself some chloroform. Does anyone know if this could substitute for barbiturates in the plastic bag-over-head method? A rag moistened with it and placed next to the head in the bag should render one unconscious, right? Better dying through chemistry...

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Poisoning Methods: Cyanide

There is a legitimate use for cyanide for the hobbyist: gold mining. A highly dilute solution of KCN extracts the fine particles of gold from sand, earth, etc. The solution that oozes out of the slurry contains all the extracted gold. One can also use this method to test whether a several kg sample has any gold in it. Extensive information on this can be found at the website (which has everything for the semi-professional gold miner). At [link no longer exists]  there is a test kit for the cyanide analysis of 2.5 kg soil samples which is sold for a few dollars. But keep in mind that the cyanide in the kit could well be of a very small amount and/or highly dilute and possibly denatured. Also, it isn't clear whether they will sell to you by mail or whether you have to go to the store. [Note that chemex no longer offers test kits - they require people to send them the soil samples.]

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Poisoning Methods: Cyanide

In my search for sources of chemicals (KCN), I've come across a few possibilities:

  1. Germany: The problem with buying in Germany is that one is asked to present a trade license. It seems to me that the best possibility is to order via the internet (e.g., and to give the appearance of making a legal purchase (i.e., devise a plausible company name, sound professional, and order quantities of various, compatible stuff). My scouting expeditions through the web suggest that not many sellers require proof of ID. At the moment I can't try this, though, as I still live at home (and am broke).
  2. Countries other than Germany: German trade licenses don't mean much in other countries. For example, at one can purchase chemicals without providing special information. Unfortunately, at present they only accept American orders, "but this may change soon!" I plan to inquire later and write about it.

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Poisoning Methods: Cyanide

A few years ago, the newspaper "Wiener" conducted a test to see the extent to which it is possible to buy poisons. The intent of this action was to merely upbraid the German chemical industry, so they (supposedly) made it difficult for themselves by posing as an intermediary for a "foreign customer". Moreover, they ordered a list of chemicals that would, when used together, only be used to produce poisonous gas, and they ordered by the ton.

Excerpts from the newspaper article:

"...Potassium cyanide (KCN) NS sodium cyanide (NaCN)...all such chemicals are in the export list (Section 1, chapters C & D) of C-type chemicals that can be used for warfare...Sales to unknown domestic buyers is also forbidden. Violators can be imprisoned for up to 10 years...

" Suspicious or unknown buyers of these chemicals must be reported through an early warning system. By this means the Federal customs house, intelligence service, and investigative board are alerted.

The "Weiner" employed its shadow company, "Management Consulting". "On behalf of an anonymous, foreign buyer" they tried to purchase KCN and NaCN by the ton from German companies.

"...On the fifth floor of 133 Storkower Street in the offices of PCK Trading GmbH... " [Dialog as reported by the "Weiner":]
Product manager We could deliver 20 tons of NaCN pretty quickly. But that is pretty dangerous stuff and we will need an export license from the federal office for industry in Eschborn.
Weiner Why? We're going to pick up the stuff right at your door. Eschborn would take at least 4 weeks...That is...too long.
Product manager Then we'll only need from you an end-user declaration (i.e., a paper which states that the merchandise well not be sold to anyone else and will stay in Germany. This document is for PCK's records).

"Later PCK confirmed the deal via Telex: Our offer to you is good until Feb.15, 1991: 20 tons of NaCN, 96-98% pure, in 30x31x44mm packets packed in drums of 75kg net weight, price 2500 DM/ton" [these days that's roughly $1200/ton U.S.] "excluding labor and tax. Payment is due 30 days after the invoice date."

" Bergesius Street at the offices of UCG Chemical Traders GmbH (annual sales: 10 million Marks)"

[Dialog as reported by the "Weiner":]

UCG You can get NaCN and KCN from us. It's a very high purity.
Weiner Good. When can we pickup the stuff?
UCG In a week.
Weiner We'll pick up the merchandise here. You'll get an end-user declaration for the government, understand?

"We agreed to take 12 pallets of NaCN and KCN, which amounts to 21.6 price of 115,600 DM plus tax. UCG wants the money up front: 'We don't know you.'"

After about 2 or 3 dozen inquiries, the smart lads of "Management Consulting" had only succeeded twice, apparently with companies that accept anyone as a customer. I infer from all this that a purchase is possible, but quite difficult and dangerous.

Foreign countries: It seems to me that the import of KCN isn't as strongly controlled as export, and in every instance there is no outright prohibition. There are many possible vendors [examples deleted as one should prolly dig stuff up like this on one's own] and most are small firms (they don't have their own domain or website), so the minimum order is sure to be less than that [of larger firms that sell by the ton].

There are also catalogs for all sorts fo laboratory supplies, e.g.,,, etc.

The Aldrich catalog can bring tears to your eyes: it has everything and the website's design is perfect. Every little detail is thought of; for example one can indicate whether one wants them to ship an "export of dangerous cargo" by the cheapest land route or the faster, more expensive air route. Naturally, they only deliver to companies, and "For certain items we may ask the buyer to provide written assurance that the product will neither be purchased nor resold for an improper use".

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Poisoning Methods: Cyanide

The last time I wrote it was about how to extract cyanide from easily obtained chemicals, potassium ferrocyanide being the most promising. The trials did not go as I had hoped, and I prefer to spare you the details. On one occasion the pleasant odor of almonds was produced, but that's about as close to an extraction as was obtained. [The author repeats information in the first cyanide section]. If I knew a way of testing for KCN and could get myself together, I would try this. But as they say, don't hold your breath.

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Poisoning methods: Heroin
>>My favorite [method] is heroin (or N2O), possibly 
with a back-up
>>Bitter almond extract
>When you can get ahold of a large quantity of heroin, you don't need
>a back-up anymore :)
It doesn't take much effort to procure [heroin]. In many large cities (e.g., Hamburg), judging from various Spiegel-TV reports, there is an open drug scene. Finding a spacey-looking person who knows where to get heroin can't be a big problem.
> don't need a back-up anymore
I disagree. You can't be sure as to what you're getting (it could be 90% filler) and I would prefer a more certain method.

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Poisoning methods: Caffeine

About sleeping pills: One should treat these like any other poison when it comes to determining dose etc. Using an insufficiently high dose can result in brain damage. Aspirin (which is included in some sleeping pills) can also cause kidney damage etc. Of all the poisons, I've given caffeine a great deal of thought, namely in the form of guarana powder. In any pharmacy it is possible to get about 100g for about 30DM, and the package insert warns that 20g can cause susceptible people to have dangerous heart palpitations. A person who takes 100g can pretty much count on the result being life threatening. The problem is, dying of a "heart attack" can be torture.

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Poisoning methods: Caffeine

The package inserts usually exaggerate the danger and possible injury [of using the product] so as to avoid litigation. In the coffee-addict FAQ one finds:

#More stuff:
#Guarana "Magic Power" (quite common in Germany),
#15 ml alcohol with
#5g Guarana Seeds        250.0 mg
#Guarana capsules with
#500 mg G. seeds          25.0 mg / capsule
#(assuming 5% caffeine in seeds as stated in literature)

The entire caffeine FAQ can be found at: The most important section indicates that 250mg of caffeine can cause...

#         2. At least five of the following signs:
#              1. restlessness
#              2. nervousness
#              3. excitement
#              4. insomnia
#              5. flushed face
#              6. diuresis
#              7. gastrointestinal disturbance
#              8. muscle twitching
#              9. rambling flow of thought and speech
#             10. tachycardia or cardiac arrhythmia
#             11. periods of inexhaustibility
#             12. psychomotor agitation

The guarana powder bought at the pharmacy could be cut (i.e. diluted with filler) and not be purely made from guarana seeds (Is the caffeine content noted on the package? It's possible that various brands are of varying quality).

#       Basically, overdosing on caffeine will probably be very very
#       unpleasant but not kill or deliver permanent damage. However,
#       People do die from it.
#        Toxic dose
#                The LD_50 of caffeine (that is the lethal dosage reported
#                to kill 50% of the population) is estimated at 10 grams
#                for oral administration. As it is usually the case,
#                lethal dosage varies from individual to individual
#                according to weight. Ingestion of 150mg/kg of caffeine
#                seems to be the LD_50 for all people. That is, people
#                weighting 50 kilos have an LD_50 of approx. 7.5 grams,
#                people weighting 80 kilos have an LD_50 of about 12
#                grams.
#                In cups of coffee the LD_50 varies from 50 to 200 cups of
#                coffee or about 50 vivarins (200mg each).
#                One exceptional case documents survival after ingesting
#                24 grams. The minimum lethal dose ever reported was 3.2
#                grams intravenously, this does not represent the oral MLD
#                (minimum lethal dose).

One needs about 50fold greater dose to evoke the first signs of poisoning. That would be about 250g of pure guarana powder and the chances of death occuring would be about 50/50. It's probable, though, that after one has consumed about half that amount, one will get up and hop about until utterly exhausted.

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Poisoning methods: Ephedrine

Another possibility along these lines that occurs to me is ephedrine. It's action is similar to that of adrenalin (excites the sympathetic nervous system, raises the blood pressure) and it is found in large quantities (along with pseudo-ephedrine) in plants of the ephedracae (Ma Huang) family. One can buy a powdered form of it labeled "Herba Ephedra" rather easily at the pharmacy (250g packet for 9DM). I say relatively easily because some pharmacists, citing the dangerousness of these alkaloids (and several alleged deaths), are reluctant to sell it (at least to me ;), and pretend they are not allowed to. By law, however, a prescription is not required to buy this.

Herba Ephedra is usually consumed as a tea (3-9g per dose) and it heightens one's energy (especially in combination with guarana, the effect being not unlike that of "speed"). Thus ephedrine is useful for doping. One of the most important uses for ephedra is that of treating colds. The lethal dose as well as the percentage of ephedrine in the herb ephedra is unknown to me at this time (though I'm sure I'll find them on the net). Naturally, such a death is not pleasant. If nothing else, though, the urge to move about could be harnessed for a jump off a roof :)

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Poisoning methods: Ephedrine

I am also interested in Ephedra and the Ephedraceae-plants

Contents: ephedrine, saponin, vitamin C
portion used: branches
medical use: regulate breathing, relieve spasms

[a more] exact list of contents:
ephedrine/saponin/tannin (hence the bitter taste) and a glycoside.

Alkaloid content between 0.65-1.7%, many varieties having up to 6%.

Effect: similar to speed or XTC. It's a euphoric. It enhances physical stamina. In contrast to guarana, the mental stamina, among other things, is reduced, and it makes concentration more difficult. It makes the breathing easier and is a mild aphrodesiac. The active ingredient in ephedra, ephedrine, acts on the sympathetic nervous system like adrenalin. It is also a diuretic.

Preparation as a tea: Pour the boiling water onto the herb (about 3 teaspoons per cup) and allow to infuse at least 10 minutes. Lemon juice enhances the solubility of the alkaloids.

To prepare as a concentrate: Another possible way to extract the active substance from the herb is to put it in lemon juice. The mixture of pure lemon juice and ephedra should stand at least 12 hours, preferably longer, and then can be poured through a sieve to make the concentrate ready for use.

Availability: Herba ephedra can be bought at any pharmacy in Germany. A prescription is NOT required, though it is often out of stock and has to be ordered. I paid 9DM for a 250g packet. In various pharmacies they didn't want to sell to me because ephedrine requires a prescription though the plant it is derived from does not have this requirement.

How this is relevant to the mailing list: There is sure to be a lethal dose that is dependent on the amount of alkaloid [in the dose]. The more the better. I find the effects of a normal dose pleasant, but people have to try things out for themselves. I think it would combine well with guarana as follows:250g ephedra brewed in a tea with lemon juice and any water needed, this being used to dissolve as much guarana powder as possible. Then one could swallow additional dry guarana powder, washing it down with the tea. One would likely die from a "heart-attack" or someting similar. This would be very unpleasant. One could use the induced restlessness to jump. An advantage of this method is the wide availability of the needed ingredients.

[Of potential interest: 3 cases of ephedrine toxicity were reported after ingestion of as little as 15ml of a 1% solution. Symptoms included diaphoresis, temperture elevation, egigatric pain, nausea & vomiting. This is from "Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica"(rev.) by Bensky and Gamble (ed. and translators).]

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Poisoning methods: Ephedrine

Instead of trying guarana you could combine ephedrine with caffeine to get the greatest possible effect. Another possibility would be to combine it with aspirin, but his is probably only of interest for those who plan to jump.

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Poisoning methods: GHB

My most promising, most recent discovery in the methods-paradise is GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate). It is a narcotic, and it is used in anasthesiology. Unfortunately it doesn't repress any of the bodily responses to dying (e.g., the changes that occur due to changes in CO2 concentrations), and therefore has to be used with something else (e.g., barbituates) in order to reach the necessary level of sedation. This is quite a disadvantage, since the possession of [enough] barbituates would make this method pointless [as one could use them alone, instead]. The easy availability of the raw materials to make GHB as well as its effects can make this method tenable, however.

Details: When taken in small doses orally, the effects of GHB are similar to alcohol (it relaxes, makes one sociable, is aphrodisiacal, but without the hangover) and is supposedly an excellent antidepressive (which might interest the reader who has tried all the others even if this is off-topic). It is good for insommnia (one falls asleep faster and awakes energized). That is the dose for recreational use. In higher doses (3-8g) the above effects are heightened, and beyond a certain threshold one falls into a very deep sleep and abruptly awakens about 3-4 hours later (after most of it has been removed from the system via the TCA cycle). Upon awakening one would take another dose to get a full night's sleep. One does not build a tolerance to it. In still higher doses one supposedly becomes comatose and cannot be awakened until, as before, about 4 hours later (with no damage!). And this brings me to my point. To fall into a coma with a plastic bag over the head seems to me to be a relatively pleasant way to turn one's back on life. While the body would indeed react to the climing levels of CO2, it is my hope that I would not be aware of it and would be incapable of doing what is necessary to remove the bag (reflexive floundering around being the exception).

Unfortunately this text is riddled with guesswork and stipulations; I would be pleased to offer something more concrete, but unfortunately I can't. My personal experience is derived from a dose of about 3 heaping teaspoons of powdered, home-made NaGHB which I dissolved in water and drank. I suspect the quality was very poor as I felt ill the entire following day. I was a "quivering, nervous wreck" as someone so beautifully described the condition in alt.drugs.chemistry. That should not deter you as the fault was entirely mine. GHB per se is non-toxic and has a high lethal dose. Now, as to the actual effect: it set in after 15 minutes, my perception being obviously altered. Within the next quarter hour I had ringing in my ears and could hear by own heart beat. From the adjoining room came muddled music which struck me as being so pleasing that I couldn't resist listening to it. Getting up and moving about seemed rather difficult, and even though I've never been drunk I think the condition would be similar. I laid down on my sister's bed and started babbling nonsense. All in all a very pleasant sensation. After I became quite comfortable everything went blank. Suddenly I woke up and there were various members of the family standing around me looking quite alarmed. Somehow I managed to get rid of them, even though I had no idea what they wanted, and immediately went back to sleep. 3 hours later, at 2:30am, I woke up, and it slowly became clear to me that something had gone awry. Seven hours of terrible boredom followed without any possibility of going back to sleep. I then learned that shortly after I had fallen asleep I was found and couldn't be awakened. My sister thought I had taken some sort of sleeping pill, and that made the chaos complete. After intensive and quite rough attempts of the people present to awaken me, my mother attempted to resuscitate me and nearly pulled my head off.

Had I not awakened when I did, I would have, like so many other unfortunate ones (of whom I have read with some amusement) awakened in the hospital with little tubes coming out of my body. And while some stranger may think my experience makes a funny story, like the others I found it embarrassing and humiliating. [Moral of the story might be to try this in a place where one is not likely to be found and pounced on.]

A brief summary: 3 teaspoons of NaGHB put me (and I'm 1.88m tall, weigh 83kg) into a deep sleep which according to my mother (who is a nurse) was deeper than that caused by over the counter sleeping pills. I suppose it was between a medium and a high dose. A higher dose, one of 30g, for instance (at the time I had synthesized over a kilogram, so having a dose that size would have been no problem), which would be about 10 teaspoons, would have put me into a temporary coma. As with other drugs, alcohol multiplies the effect of small doses, making it possible to take a lethal dose more easily (this combination has already brought about some lethal accidents, death occurring so far as I know by respiratory paralysis; I don't know whether the people affected thus were conscious). The uncertainty is in whether it is possible to be roused out of this comatose state by the high CO2 concentrations. If it is possible one can forget about this method, though it seems ideal. If one takes an interest in GHB, either for recreational purposes or out of a death wish, it's a good idea to look around on the net. Among other things one will find very good instructions on how to synthesize it. Anyone who finds material on this method, either favorable or not, should present it here.

Good starting points on the net (aside from the search engine): (legal information) (FAQs) (lab equiptment/supplies)
[the other URLs in the orginal text were 404 when i checked them]

Sources: Three possibilities occur to me,

1.NaGHB, the endproduct, is in some countries illegal or it requires a prescription. However, one can buy it, for example, in South Africa (expensive!) [In the U.S.of A. it is a controlled substance. If you buy it abroad, there's also the matter of getting it past customs...] The following is from a post made June 16,1998 in alt.drugs.chemistry:

$0.45/gm-$0.30/gm [see the orginal text for the ad in English that follows this]

It's my guess that one could possibly also obtain it in Germany but I'm not certain. One could need to ask around.

2.kits: There are vendors that sell the necessary chemicals in a pre- cursor form as kits and one need only follow the simple directions to synthesize it at home. The vendors are all in foreign countries [i.e., outside Germany] and are often as much as an order of magnitude more expensive than buying the actual raw material.

3.Chemicals: The best option is to buy the chemicals yourself; I ordered mine through the pharmacy. Prices: gamma-butyl-lactone 100ml/40DM; 1liter/80DM NaOH 100g/13DM Nobody asked me what I wanted to use them for (I bought the chemcals in two seperate pharmacies). In a pinch one could say that one is buying for someone else, and that you have no idea what that person wants them for. Possible uses: gamma-butyl-lactone for organic synthesis (e.g., to attach to a carboxylproply side chain) NaOH: used in photochemstry.

I acquired the NaOH the following day (buy more than 100g-see the synthesis protocol- as it is cheaper when bought in quantity. Nobody had heard of lactone and they had to educate themselves. The next day they offered me the above said chemical. With 1 liter lactone and the appropriate amount of NaOH on can synthesize more than 1.3kg NaGHB for about 150DM [these days that's about $88 US] assuming one has the necessary equiptment (scale, pH-meter, etc.). One uncertaintly I have concerns the purity of the chemicals as I hadn't asked, but that really doesn't bother me.

Comments on the synthesis: IMO the simplest is the synthesis [protocol] using "95% grain alcohol" (I used 94% ethanol which one can get for 3DM/liter practically anywhere), as one simply pours all the chemicals together and then dries the filtered off solid material in a hood.

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The first hundred times or so that I read the methods file I basically skimmed it. I didn't have a syringe as there didn't seem to be much point; it wasn't clear what the exact dose should be or whether the method would be painful and the only thing I knew for certain was that nobody else knew, either.

However, in a computer magazine there's an ad for the refills for jet ink printers, and these come with a syringe and tubule [the name of the company is omitted].

Potassium chloride is a natural trace substance found in food and in the body alike, is quite harmless (unless taken intervenously, naturally), and is even found in fertilizers. It must be possible to obtain in its pure form. [Of course it is. Any general chemical supply house should carry it.]

The effect of injecting KCl is that it causes the heart to stop. It doesn't cause breathing to stop. It is potentially a good method to use if one plans to rent a hotel room for a day, as I imagine that if one survives the "heart attack", one could leave and go about one's business as though nothing had taken place the next morning (also, the lack of trauma in the wake of such a failure is a tremendous advantage). KCl does not damage anything, rather it neutralizes the nerve impulses for awhile. Is there a catch? Is it so painful that one cries out and flounders about? When the heart stops, it must be the case that a person loses consciousness within seconds because the blood pressure plummets. It would be a good idea to practice with the syringe abit beforehand, finding a vein and drawing a bit of blood [to verify one is actually in the vein]. As long as the content of the syringe is not injected, one can abort the attempt without there being any tell- tale clues (in contrast to cutting the arteries). It's possible to play abit with the attempt, perhaps doing it while taking a hot bath for example, and sounds like a good deal, yes?

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20ml [syringe] refills can be obtained at, and a variety of syringes and needles are offered at which IIRC doesn't list in its online catalog. [The table of merchandise, its cost, and catalog number i am omitting here for two reasons: it isn't entirely clear which company's catalog numbers are being presented and such information is likely by now outdated. Suffice it to say the items are not expensive; a syringe is quoted at 0.95DM (about $1.50 US) and hypodermic needles at 0.30DM (roughly $0.50 US).]

There's no problem in getting pure KCl from a pharmacist or from Omikron. Unfortunately, though, I can't provide information about dosage. [In the absence of hard data concerning dosage, the best bet is to use as high a dose as possible. There are no awards for using the weakest dose possible to suicide. Keep adding KCl to the water you intend to use until no more dissolves. High concentration salt solutions may cause some phlebitis, but it's not likely you'd be in a position to worry about that.]

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[not suitable for folks with touchy sensibilities]

Cyanide or a .44 Magnum are difficult to obtain, but a syringe is rather easy to obtain. I don't know whether a prescription is required (perhaps one would be required if a particular quantity was being purchased). [If he doesn't know, then how can his claim that the device is easy to acquire be based on experience?] Any pharmacist will sell you one if you don't act like some Turkish junkie. Simply explain to the nice pharmacist that you are a diabetic from Turkey, or that you plan to go on an outdoor adventure and would like to get a sterile syringe for your emergency kit. Fully stocked emergency kits are also available at any good outfitter. You can order one at: which comes with 6 syringes, 6 needles, an infusion kit, 2 vein canula, a single-use scapula, and a set of instructions. What more could you possibly want?!

If you have the Lauche & Maas catalog handy, the company offers: an ultrasharp knife with a ceramic blade (p.230), gas cartridges (p.167), kevlar rope (p.151), or a complete outfit (includes tent, sleeping bag etc.) for your new life in Canada...

The real problem is that of giving yourself an intervenous injection. This requires not only courage but experience. Medical textbooks explain the procedure, and only the first attempt would be unpleasant (you might use a topical analgesic beforehand). If you aren't careful you could end up injecting some air into the vessel. Have fun. :-(

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All relevant material is summarized in:

[The referenced text is in German. Firearms nomenclature can be explained in English in various Usenet NG pertaining to firearms. I recommend looking in the alt.*, talk.*, and rec.* hierarchies for them. An example is rec.firearms or talk.guns, which your newsreader may or may not carry. The section of the German text concerning laws relates to laws in Germany. For the laws that govern firearm usage in your locality it would be best to contact the reference librarian at your local library or, should that prove fruitless, contact a local or national firearms organization. An example of the latter here in the U.S.of A. is the National Rifle Association.]

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My own recommendations as to a "good" method are roughly as follows (first theory):

Phase 1: The decision and preparation. One acquires the equiptment and the skills necessary and stores the equiptment for the day it is needed. Ideally this will all appear natural and will not exceed one's resources in terms of time and money. [What the author has in mind is the acquisition of a boat, but this could apply to finding an appropriate body of water and keeping a bottle or two of liquor and some weights on hand, i suppose.]

Phase 2: [mental] preparation. Because it's possible to abort the attempt at virtually any point without negative consequences, I don't have to wrestle with the survival instinct.

Phase 3: The actual deed. To facilitate execution of this, it should not be instantly fatal or immediately lead to pain or intense dis- comfort.

Phase 4: There is a period of time when one sets out to drown when it is still possible to save oneself.

Phase 5: At this point death is inevitable and if I panic at this point there is nothing I can do; I can't save myself.

And now for some practical considerations as to how to bring on death through poison, drowning, or suffocation (really, there's nothing pleasant about it).

Once it's decided that drowning is to be the method, to ensure its success I need to do it out on the open seas, far away from civiliza- tion. That sounds incredibly extravagent, but perhaps it's not really such overkill.

Phase 1: How can a landlubber quickly and cheaply acquire a seaworthy boat and experience [sailing it]? First, the license: In specialty magazines such as "Boat" you can find ads for weekend crash courses. The license for navigating the open seas (as opposed to the one for inland navigation) can be acquired in two weekends for about 1000 DM [roughly $450 US]. The next problem is how to get a boat. A boat is expensive...[some verbage skipped]...and berths are both scarce and expensive. Given these considerations it seems best to charter a boat. A simple motorboat can be had for about [$450 US] per week, and will be ready and fueled whenever you want it.

Phase 2: If the boat comes equipped with flotation tanks you'll need to destroy them. Also, throw overboard anything that could serve as a flotation device.

Phase 3 through 5: Tie a weight to yourself and make holes in the boat's floor with an ice-ax [you remembered to bring the ax, right? ;)] While the boat is filling with water (and this is best done in the late evening hours, BTW), you can drink a bottle or two of liquor to take your mind off your impending demise. If the boat sinks completely, there'll be nothing for you to instinctively grab onto (and for me this is an important consideration).

How can your plan be foiled?

  • police
  • spy-satellite [even if they noticed, would they bother???]
  • coastguard
  • research satellites
  • airplanes
  • other boats
  • driftwood
  • radar? [unlikely]
  • dolphins
  • weather
  • etc.

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The whole point of all the trouble and expense is to get far enough from the coast that there aren't any police-boats nearby. A diesel is ample for the purpose, and we don't need anything for the return trip :-). About all spy-equiptment can do is verify that a boat has disappeared.

A real hazard is that the boat fails to sink. Definitely not recommended are the very light boats with hulls made of fiberglass. Best would be a boat that isn't too small, made the old way with a solid steel hull and a substantial engine.

The boat's ability to sink is really only a backup. [Consider this scenario]: I decide to weigh myself down and jump overboard, and before the jump I destroy the boat in a way that simulates an accident. Then I possibly realize (or more likely, probably realize) that I'm too cowardly to jump, but then in that situation I don't have to.

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An acquaintance who works in the coastguard once told me that many of the suicides they find have stomachs that are nearly full of sleeping pills. This may be a method, but it's one I wouldn't use, as I wouldn't want to cloud my mind in that way. The last thoughts should be clear and not muddled by sleeping pills. Besides, I think that would take too long; once I make the decision to die, I don't want to spend a lot of time swimming about [essentially waiting for the pills to take effect]. It must go quickly, but not hurried along by drugs. Nobody should take the final step hastily and without thinking it over. While I think it grand to die quickly once my mind has been made up, I can't say for certain that I wouldn't change my mind at the last minute. [In other words, the use of sleeping pills in this method makes it difficult to abort the attempt if one has a change of heart in the process, and the author believes this option should remain open.]

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[the author is discussing a passage in the webpage
which was 404 when i looked for it]

   Drowning is not a recommended method.  It's an unhappy, humiliating
   experience.  I tried, but didn't drown, because the impact burst
   the chains that were holding me, the bicycle, and the weights
   together.  I didn't count on *that* happening.  I rose up and
   plopped back on the surface of the water.  Then panic, an
   interesting, atavistic mechanism, kicked in.  And then my awareness
   split in two, and I observed myself in the midst of my panic and
   thought, "Oh, shit, I'm going to survive", while I paddled about on
   my back in the water and monotonous, perhaps even ecstatic, screams
   came out of me through the dark and endless night.  Aaaah!  Aaaah!
   Aaaah!  I'm not trying to be cynical; this is how I see the matter.

The best solution I can think of for securing the weights would be this: take disks of cast-iron (from a dumbell). The disks have a hole in the middle. The 5kg disks are too bulky, so use six of the 2.5kg disks. 15kg is about enough weight to nullify any buoyancy. Take a towing rope. It has a loop on either end and can withstand a yank of up to one ton of force [without breaking]. Pass the rope through the holes in the disks so that when you wear the rope like a belt, the loops overlap in front of your stomach when you suck it in a little (if the rope is too loose one can hurt oneself in the jump. The weights should not flap around. :-) Take a padlock [and lock the two loops together]. Now one is ready to go. One can wear this under a jacket, or, even better, in the jacket's lining. Those who wish to sink themselves in the North Sea could, in the worse case, use a backpack filled with rocks linked to the bike frame. Also, the belt of weights also makes it difficult to climb (I think it rather fussy and time consuming to climb over a parapet with a bicycle, especially when one is chained to it).

About panic: I've read and heard a number of anecdotes from people who were saved at the last moment, and most say that at that moment they were still conscious but no longer were experiencing panic. Perhaps when the oxygen deprivation reaches a certain point it has the effect of a drug, and the animalistic part of a person ceases to exist before the consciousness [ceases to exist].

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Practical advice from RTL** in yesterday evening's "extra" edition:

Two autos (one with a sunroof, the other without) were towed to the Attersee in Austria. Two planks were placed half in the water [and half on the beach] so that the cars would not be held back in their descent by any uneveness of the ground. The autos were hooked to a security cable and they held passengers (supplied with tanks of air) and were shoved into the water (the engines had been replaced with lead weights to avoid polluting the water). The results were as follows:

With windows closed [this must be the one without a sunroof]:

When the auto lost contact with the ground it floated a few seconds during which time the motor compartment sank first. One could see the way the water level climbed over the windshield that there was still air in the passenger compartment. The water pressure outside the auto prevented the doors from being opened, and the water had disabled the electric window opener.

The time from when the driver's head went underwater and the point it became possible to open the door because the water had filled the car and the pressure had been thus equalized was 50 seconds. In this amount of time the occupants became disoriented and would not be expected to save themselves.

With the windows and sunroof open:

The car sank much more quickly. Water rushed in through the front window and the car tipped until it was perpendicular to the water. After that, the sunroof went under the water and the car sank very quickly; in less than two seconds the back end was submerged. Before that happened, though, the passengers saved themselves by leaving through the rear doors, windows, and the sunroof.

In the attempt to pull the cars back up the security cable broke, so the car is still at the bottom of the Attersee beneath 100m of water. In Germany, an accident (?) similar to the conditions of this experiment supposedly happens every three days.

**[RTL=Radio Tele Luxemburg, which is a television channel. This was explained to me by ASHers Ramble and not sleepy]

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A warning to anyone who is thinking of drowning in a river: a newspaper reports that "An eleven year old in Glauchau near Chemnitz survived a 68m jump from an iron bridge into the river Mulde." Naturally, there was no mention that this was an attempted suicide! Also, there was no mention as to why he survived.

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Hardly anything has been said about jumping. According to the ASH FAQ, a height of 10 stories would have a high probability of success. High buildings are found [most] everywhere, and the only barrier (albeit a large one) is that of overcoming one's fears and making the leap. There isn't the uncertain waiting around the way there is with poison. I think it would be pretty bad to poison myself and then survive. To overcome the inhibition to jump one could take some alcohol or some other drug (or taking the drug could make one feel so bad as to prompt one to jump so as to put an end to the misery).

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Jumping is considered one of the more attractive methods. It has the advantage of requiring little preparation. Neither acquisition of contraband nor special knowledge is required; one simply has to find a high place to jump from. There are, however, three drawbacks:

  • like any method, one needs to overcome one's inhibition;
  • not being a particularly private method, it is likely (depending on location) that a number of people will necessarily see the mess you make;
  • should you actually survive, the situation will likely be an unpleasant one [think "Ethan Frome" here].

There was a report in the news awhile ago about a cool example of this method: someone went along for a balloon ride and at a high altitude climbed out.

Jumping would be good combined with other methods as a back-up [i.e., if the latter method doesn't work, jumping is a sort of fail-safe to assure success ;-) ].

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Unless I was in an extremely emotionally stressful situation, I know I wouldn't be able to jump as I have a slight fear of heights. To stand on the brink without a railing and look around is already too much for me; such a situation with a railing added is itself very oncomfortable. Perhaps we should collect ideas on how to make the method easier. A few come to mind:

  1. Alcohol: This is perhaps one of the best facilitators of jumping, freezing, and drowning.
  2. Alkaloid drugs (e.g., thornapple, belladonna etc.): According to various books on Ethnobotany these drugs (either mixed or taken seperately) ingested or applied to the mucus membranes induce strong hallucinations. One is no longer in control of one's senses and sees and does the craziest things. People, after drinking a tea made of thornapple leaves, have been known to be chased by monsters through the woods and in the process get cut up and break parts of their bodies without even being aware of the damage until they come to their senses days later in a hospital. What is more, the alkaloids are themselves often fatal in rather small doses (which would be good should one muff the jump). There are a few disadavantages, though:
    • procuring the plants (thornapple, at least, is offered by various mail-order companies. For the addressess of these companies, look at the ads in magazines like "Hemp" and "Grow").
    • instead of jumping, you may end up hopping around in the streets naked, looking for someone to screw with.
  3. LSD: I've tried this twice before in small doses, and found it rather unpleasant. Thousands of thoughts buzzed around in my head. This would make it easier for me to jump. It would be expected, though, for individuals to be affected by the drugs in different ways.

A quick and relatively painless poison like cyanide would serve to considerably lessen one's inhibition against jumping IMO [if you have cyanide, why bother with the jump??].

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Methods / Jumping

High buildings and viewing platforms terrify me. I KNOW I couldn't possibly jump.

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Methods: Hanging

Rope is a possibility, but nobody really knows how long it really takes or whether the blood vessels and windpipe are completely blocked. This is dicey and totally uncool.

[It may seem obvious that the goal of hanging is to choke or strangle, but the object of hanging is to break the neck. That is why proper execution of the method includes a dropping of the body, as the force of the body's weight at the bottom of a good drop is usually more than the neck muscles can withstand. Whether this is uncool is a matter of opinion.]

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Methods: Train

This is a possibility but only when the train is going at full speed and not creeping along at 80km/h [this is about 50 mph]. The rail- sweeper is only two finger breadths from the rail, so rather than being decapitated one is going to get his skin torn off, the result being rather grisly. The chances of someone thus mutilated being "saved" are pretty good.

[It isn't necessary to get under the wheels of a train to die from the encounter. The shock of being hit by about a ton of metal traveling around 50mph proved fatal to at least three people in northern California in the first half of 1999 alone.]

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Methods: Automobile

Automobile/motorcycle accident: The problem with this method is similar to that of jumping off a high building, but it is somewhat more certain as one can attain higher velocities. It would be unfortunate, though, if one lost one's nerve about 100 meters before impact and used the brake...

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Methods: Knife - possible problems

It seems to me that the most important thing about this method is that it be performed deliberately and not suddenly in a moment when one's mood is oscillating a great deal. By this I mean to say I'm less concerned with the pain or how long it takes then the consciousness of the consequences and finality of the deed and the necessity to take the act to it's conclusion [a half-attempt will in all probability leave one scarred if not maimed and still alive]. Therefore I think the classical choice of cutting the arteries is best. The necessarily deep, parallel cuts would be very painful, so I am afraid that my willpower may be wanting. Hence my question: Is it possible to diminish the pain of this method without weakening the consciousness [and hence the resolve], perhaps by a local anesthetization?

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Methods:Knife - problem resolution

You can make the arm completely insensitive to pain by chilling it. Give it a try by holding the hand several hours in cold water. Don't use ice water, rather water straight out of the tap (perhaps tapwater is too warm in the summer. I wouldn't know as I tried this in winter). After about 4 hours, one suddenly has the sensation that the chilled hand is no longer part of one's body but is rather a piece of dead wood. It is completely numbed. Despite that, if you do not feel any pain, you might develop a reluctance to cut deeply, and there is the risk that the procedure won't work unless you know something about anatomy and know exactly what you're doing.

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Last update: Saturday, May 19, 2001 17:37

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