book · journal · movie · review

Double-O Swango and The Teacup Murderer

some times ago, a good friend of mine said that he would put some of his books on a personal auction. i wondered why, knowing how much he treasured them. he said he needed the money for his medication. something i wished really hard he didn’t have to get through – both the auction and the long-and-winding therapy. then he showed the list, and somehow James B. Stewart’s Blind Eye interested me. in the end, the auction never happened (gladly!) and he gave me the book for free. God bless him.

Blind Eye tells the detailed story of a serial of murder by Michael Swango, an American doctor, by poisoning his victims. he’s proven to be psychopathic and said to be a pathological liar. despite of his bright academical records in his medical school, he was clearly mentally and behaviorally disturbed for his lack of attention and compassion to his patients and colleagues. he’s been obsessed with car accidents and their horrible aftermaths since he was a teenager. raised in a cold and broken family, Michael grew up to be a heartless, apathetic and antisocial person. however he managed to get himself in some romantic relationships and showed the women his loving side. other than car accidents, he was also obsessed with Holocaust, poison and -clearly- death. unlike a smooth criminal, he went out front with his anomaly that everybody who knew him could see how strange and messed-up-in-the-head he was. so it was nothing surprising when he turned out to be the wacko who poisoned his friends at the ambulance corp just to see how they got sick and threw up like hell. he got arrested in June 1997.

somehow the name Swango makes me think of  sway and tango. all through the book.

and he reminds me very, very much of Graham Young; the poisoner from London. i met him through The Young Poisoner’s Handbook, a film based on Young’s true crime story, produced in 1995 – starring Hugh O’Conor. it was on TV one night (i still keep the clipping of its review from a local newspaper) and the only time i watched it. but it sticks in my mind so well and the truth that Young charms me good.

Graham Young was an English poisoner known as The Teacup Murderer since he laced food and, most of the time, tea to poison his victims. he was so young, only 14, when got arrested for the first time after poisoning his stepmother lethally. he also poisoned a schoolmate just so he could date the boy’s girlfriend. thoroughly, he was a poisoner, a murderer, a genius, and an amoral man altogether. Young’s poison could not be detected in the blood (unlike Swango’s), but he gave himself away when he mixed up the laced tea in his workplace after the company decided to use uniform cups instead of the personalized ones. he died of a heart attack in prison in 1990 at the age of 57. and just like Swango, Young was also obsessed with car accidents.

reading Blind Eye disturbs me. not because of what depicted in it, but more because of the things Swango was into. if i’m into gore movies and horror, could i be potentially psychopathic?


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