The Little Blue Pills That Sent Abraham Lincoln Into A Rage, Heidi Blake, The Telegraph (UK), March 23, 2010
The Blue Mass pills taken as antidepressants by Abraham Lincoln contained dangerously high levels of mercury likely to have caused his notoriously wild temper, scientists have found.
The 16th United States President Abraham Lincoln The 16th President of the United States took the pills in the 1850s to alleviate what one contemporary described as the “cave of gloom” in which he lived. But researchers who analysed a recently unearthed sample of the medicine discovered it contained up to 120 times the acceptable daily intake of mercury.
Anti-obesity pill 'could cut weight by a quarter'Scientists at the Royal Society of Chemistry, where the tests were carried out, believe the high mercury content in the pills is what caused Lincoln’s famous verbal and physical rages.
On one occasion the President became so incensed that he grabbed a former aide and shook him “until his teeth chattered”. One contemporary describe his face in anger as “lurid with majestic and terrifying wrath”.
Blue Mass pills were used widely and often ineffectually in the 19th Century as a cure for ailments including toothache, constipation, childbirth pains and depression. Mercury is highly poisonous, and symptoms of toxicity include nausea, vomiting, dehydration and diarrhoea – a well as a violent temper. Lincoln decided to abandon the pills at the outset of the American Civil War in 1861 because they “made him cross”. He became renowned during the conflict for his calmness under pressure
CWL: Did the South feel unsafe and leave the Union because of Lincoln's temper?
How many Fire Eaters were taking the same medication?
And vampires weren't safe around Lincoln either.
See Abe dispatch a vampire.
Text Source: Telegraph (UK)