Thursday, April 14, 2016

26+ Ways to Kill: L is for Lapidate, Lead Poisoning, or Liquate

Welcome! Since I write culinary mysteries, “Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time” deals with food topics and with mysteries. This month I am sharing ways to kill people—in your mysteries, of course—and some tips on getting away with it! To avoid the pronoun problem, I’ll use heesh (he or she), shis (his or hers), and shim (him or her) throughout the entries. Tune in for murder and mayhem.

If something is lethiferous, it is lethal. It causes death. That could be my theme word of the month! I am reveling in your reactions to the murderous methods I am sharing with you. Keep those comments coming!

Other fun crime-related words I found were lamister, a fugitive (must be related to “on the lam”); lustrate, to purify by sacrifice; lycanthropy, the mythical ability of humans to turn into wolves (werewolfism); lithophagus, eating rocks, and lour, a threatening or sullen look.

As to methods, lancinate poped up during my search, but as you can probably tell from the morpheme, we’ve kind of done laceration/piercing when we did foraminate.  We also dealt with lapatic when we talked about various purgatives.

I thought death by lammergeier, a giant vulture bird of prey, might be pretty gruesome. I can see a guy in his castle, with a few lammergeiers he keeps as pets. Does one get loose and terrorize the neighborhood or does he feed them uninvited guests?

Luxation, the dislocation of an anatomical part would be painful and life-threatening. But we did cover that with ectopia a few days ago.

I was really drawn to lyophilization, freeze drying, for a while. Our killer would have to freeze the body to minus 18 degrees (that would be the initial killing) and then submerge the body in liquid nitrogen. The body would become very brittle and could be vibrated to the point of forming an organic powder. How amazing is that? Boy, there goes the evidence. But getting a vat of liquid nitrogen does present a few acquisition and storage issues!

That brings us to the three I just had to share.

Lapidate is pelting with stones, to kill by stoning. Though different from thlipsis (the term for crushing to death), there is certainly a relationship through the rocks and through the restraints one would have to use on the victim to murder with rocks.

However, in crushing, the body needs to be flat so the stones can be placed on top to crush organs and bones. With lapidation, the body can be in any position, as long as it stays in place. In some cultures, a hole is dug and the person is buried up to the neck so people can toss the rocks at the head. Or one could tie the person to a post so the whole body can be pelted. It would take mortal wounding to kill this way, so this would be a long death. Like in the Old Testament.

Lead Poisoning, also known as plumbism, among other names, is extremely toxic and dangerous.  I researched lead poisoning when I did mercury poisoning (hydrgyrism). When lead paint is found in a building, it must be removed. It is illegal to sell paint made with lead.

The symptoms of lead poisoning include memory loss, headache, muscle and joint pain, abdominal pain, constipation, and more. You could make your victim suffer with this one. Just imagine the great bathroom scenes! The killer could introduce the lead through a number of avenues. If I were killing this way, I’d use more than one to get the job done!

The killer might obtain lead poison from several ethnic options. Hispanics use the orange powder greta (azarcon) from ground up coral to treat constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, etc. In the Dominican Republic the mineral litharge as a pink powder is used for deodorant. In Asia, you find ba-baw-san, an herbal remedy for colic in babies, ghasard (brown powder drunk as a tonic), and daw-tway used as a digestive aid. Let your killer get shis hands on one of more of these lead-laden ingredients, and death can ensue. Very high lead levels result in seizures, unconsciousness, and death.

This last one may remind you of the TV show, “Breaking Bad.” To liquate a body is to melt it or liquefy it. Only eight pounds of lye will dissolve several bodies. How economical is that for a serial killer?

If using lye, with either a sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide base, you will liquate a body in about three hours when heated to 300 degrees. You could also have your killer liquate the victim with sulfuric acid. That would take about two days.

Just so you know, bone bits and medical devices survive liquation, so that could lead to the detection of your killer by the authorities.

Oh, my! Isn’t this fun? Have you killed anyone with an L word? See you tomorrow when we kill with M.

If you take time to share this post on social media, I would be most grateful. 

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#Mystery writer need ideas to kill? L is for Lapidate, Lead Poisoning, or Liquate. Many killer tips this month #atozchallenge

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Blogging from A to Z Challenge offers a wide range of topics. If you want to kill someone (in books of course), check out killing by Lapidation, Lead Poisoning, or Liquation on “Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time” at

Check out Sharon Arthur Moore’s culinary mystery, Mission Impastable  


  1. Every day, I find myself playing a little game - of all the ways you list to die, which one would I prefer. They all sound so gruesome, It's a touch one today, but I think I'll have to go with lead poisoning.

    Cheers - Ellen |

  2. I kind of enjoy the idea of freezing and poof. Much less mess? Maybe?