Deadly Dates

This image was taken from an issue of The Egyptian Gazette distributed on May 13, 1905 and shows the article which my blog post was based on.

You love your family but there’s always those cousins that just annoy you so much that sometimes you just want to feed them some poisoned dates so you don’t have to deal with them anymore. Well that’s precisely what one man of Makhadoora village did to his cousins in May of 1905. This nameless man injected compressed dates with enough of a deadly poison to kill those who ate it. He then gave these deadly fruits to five of his cousins, two men and three women.

The three women ate the dates and “expired in great agony.” Now if you are not a psychopath, you might be confused as to why this man decided to off his cousins and especially in such a cruel and painful way. Did they inherit a large sum of money from grandma while the killer only received the nice china? Did they eat all of the stuffing at Thanksgiving when they knew it was his favorite?

Unfortunately, due to the lack of information provided about a motive or even a name for the killer, the world may never know. One thing that is known however, is that this event did cause “considerable excitement” throughout the neighborhood due to the simple fact that it was a murder as opposed to an accidental date poisoning. In my opinion, this fact implies that the neighborhood in Keneh where the murders took place was not used to this violence which might mean that it was a fairly well-off neighborhood.

Does this mean that the motive could involve money? It could certainly be a possibility.

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Will Hanley
Associate Professor of History

I study the legal history of the Middle East and teach at Florida State University.

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