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Category Archives: Interesting Places

Visine and Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy

visine-1

 

Visine is a useful medication. I use it all the time. When the Santa Ana’s blow in SoCal and the temperature rises, the humidity falls, and eyes dry out, Visine works very well. When used properly it is very safe and effective—-but, if used improperly, it can be a deadly poison.

Actually, anything can be deadly. The difference between a drug and a poison is simply a matter of dose. What can cure, can harm; what can harm, can kill. It’s really that simple.

The active, and dangerous, ingredient in Visine is tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride. If ingested in sufficient amounts, it can cause an elevation in blood pressure, a drop in heart rate, a reduction in body temperature, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, blurred vision, seizures, coma, and death, to name a few effects.

The case of Samantha Elizabeth Unger underlines this danger. Seems she poisoned her two children by adding the medication to their juice. And may have done so multiple times—-which could indicate that this is a case of Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy—a psychiatric disorder in which parents harm children in order to garner attention and sympathy. Odd, but not rare.

Recently on Crime and Science Radio, Jan Burke and I interviewed Beatrice Yorker, the Dean of the College of Health and Human Services at California State University, Los Angeles and a renowned expert in Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy. Take a listen and check out some of the links for more info on the fascinating topic.

 

 

Elmer Wayne Henley Up For Parole

You might not know the names Elmer Wayne Henley, David Brooks, or Dean Corll but this trio’s body count mimicked Gacy and Bundy. I first learned of them in 1973 when I moved to Houston to begin my Internal Medicine residency. Two months after my arrival, this story broke and consumed the local and national news media. It began when 17 year Henley shot and killed Dean Corll. But this was not just another murder. This was the end game for one of the most dangerous predators ever.

 

Elmer Wayne Henley

Henley met Corll when he was 15, introduced by another teen, David Brooks. What followed was the stuff of nightmares. Henley and Brooks became procurers for Corll. They would bring other teenage males to Corll’s home where they would be raped, tortured, and murdered. Corll had rigged up a “torture board,” to which his victims would be attached and assaulted, sometimes for several days. And I seem to remember that he had also rigged up some old bedsprings as an electrocution device. Regardless, before Henley killed him, Corll’s body count was around 30 victims, making him one of the most prolific serial killers ever.

 

Dean Corll

Now Elmer Wayne is up for parole.

Parole? I don’t think so. I mean he did end Dean Corll’s terror reign but I’m not sure all the “procurement” can be overlooked.

 

Mooresville: A Step Back in Time

Yesterday we drove over to Mooresville, along old Highway 20 between Huntsville and Decatur, AL. A step way back in time.

Mooresville was Alabama’s first incorporated town (1818) and is a year older than the state (1819). Its 50 or so residents live within its 0.1 square miles. The entire city is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. President Andrew Johnson lived here while he trained as a tailor.

Its streets are narrow and tree-lined with many of the trees well over 100 years old.

Most of its buildings and homes were constructed during the antebellum period including the post office, which opened in 1840. It is the oldest continually operating post office in the state.

The Limestone Bay Trading Company Restaurant is unique:

There are two churches:

The Old Brick Church, constructed in 1839:

The white clapboard Church of Christ where President James A. Garfield once preached:


There is even a Dance Hall (of sorts):

The homes here are of many styles:

If you make it to North Alabama stop by. It’s definitely worth a visit. And the US Space and Rocket Center Museum and Space Camp are maybe 5 miles away. Old and new virtually side by side.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2011 in Interesting Places

 
 
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