Freaky Flint History with Joe Schipani - Salts/Strychnine February 1st, 1913

Flint is well known for its modern violent crimes but Flint's history is filled with little known stories that read stranger than fiction. Gruesome murders, weird accidents, and violent deaths. Join us every Thursday as Joe Schipani details some of the odd but true deaths he found in Flint's archives.

Edith Lucile Abel was a pretty, popular, and smart seventeen-year-old girl. 

She was the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Abel and the youngest of their three children. Edith attended public schools until the eighth grade, when due to her academic performance, was able to transfer to Baker Business University. In her final semester, right before graduation, an incident occurred. 

On this cold Friday night, Edith was with her parents playing cards. She was not feeling well so she left early. She had an upset stomach and decided to take some salts and go to bed. After getting herself ready for bed, she went downstairs to the medicine cabinet and poured some salts. The bottle was almost empty so she decided to finish it off. She poured nearly a dram of salt into a glass of water in the poorly lit room and drank it. 

She didn’t know that a few months earlier, while the family was on vacation, her grandfather bought some strychnine that he used to kill some of the stray cats that had been making a mess around the house. 

He put the partly used bottle in the medicine cabinet next to the salts. The two bottles looked very similar. Even in the light of day the bottles could easily be mistaken. 

After unknowingly drinking the poison Edith went to bed. 

Concerned about their daughter’s illness her parents decided to leave the card game early to check on her. When they went into her room to bid her goodnight she complained of stomach cramps, but insisted there was no need to call the doctor. 

Her parents went to bed but soon after lying down they were startled by a piercing scream coming from their daughter’s room. When they rushed into her room they found her thrashing and screaming in pain. 

The father rushed to call the doctor while the mother stayed to comfort their daughter.  Unable to reach any local doctors, he desperately asked the operator to locate any doctor that would respond to an emergency. Dr. Warren Taylor, a coroner, was the only doctor able to be reached. 

It was then that the father noticed the empty bottle of strychnine.

Dr. Taylor rushed to the home but it was too late. The poison quickly settled into her system and there was no way to reverse it. 

Edith died shortly after the doctor arrived, less than two hours after drinking the poison. 

Coroner Taylor decided that no inquest was needed for the cause of her death. Her body was taken to the morgue. 

~ Joe Schipani is the Executive Director of the Flint Public Art Project and the FFAR Project Assistant at the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.  Find him on Facebook at 

Flint Photo Credit: David C. Lucas- DS Photo

No comments:

Post a Comment