On New Year’s Day in 1920, Philadelphia police were happy to report that the previous week’s rash of sudden deaths from wood alcohol-tainted whisky had been checked. Only six men (“five in states of stupor, and one apparently mad”) were taken to hospital and all recovered. However, the owner of a feed shop found himself hospitalized in serious condition after he drank a potent concoction meant for horses containing alcohol, chloroform and cannabis (“cannibus imbiza”).
Feed Store Proprietor Rendered Unconscious by Drink of Horse Medicine (1920)
Philadelphia Inquirer, January 2, 1920
After drinking from a bottle marked “Horse Cure, Medicine for Beast or Man,” on which he had noticed a label telling of high alcoholic content, Frank Woodcock, 35 years old, of 1330 East Houston street, proprietor of a feed store at Hutchinson street and Girard avenue, was taken violently sick at four o’clock yesterday afternoon.
Police of the Eighth and Jefferson streets station took him quickly to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where he is in a serious condition. The physicians at the hospital also analyzed the “medicine” in the bottle and discovered it to contain not only alcohol, but also chloroform and “cannibus imbiza.”