Died Eating Library Paste

This gravestone can be found at the Goldfield Pioneer Cemetery in Goldfield, Nevada. Apparently this “unknown man” was starving and came across a tub of library paste that had been put in the trash. While it might have seemed safe enough to eat this combination of flour and water, the paste also contained alum. Alum has commonly been used in the past in baking and pickling, and still often turns up as a deodorant. But it can have toxic effects on the human body. There probably wasn’t much alum in the library paste, but in this case, combined with the man’s already-weak health, there was enough to kill him. It is hard to know how authentic this grave marker might be. But it makes for a good story.

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