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Eben Byers suffered a ghastly fate when his jaw fell off his face – after he drank over 1,400 bottles of radioactive water.
Ebenezer McBurney Byers – known as Eben Byers – was born in 1880 and raised by his wealthy family in the US.
He went on to be a Yale University graduate and was known for his athletic ability.
In the early 1900s, the sports fan won several gold championship medals.
But when he injured his arm playing sports in 1927, he was prescribed Radithor.
The dangerous substance, Radithor, made his tissues and bones disintegrate from the inside.
And not long after losing his jaw, the organs inside his body began to crumble too, leading to his death aged 51.
So how did it go so wrong for Eben?
Medics believed Radithor would help him to heal quicker so he was prescribed a small spoon a day.
After a few doses, Eben began to feel like his old strong self.
As such, he began sinking a whole bottle of Radithor every 24 hours.
One year later, he was overdosing necking three bottles every single day.
Then, in 1931, his jaw gave up on him.
He reportedly didn’t even feel pain because his nerves were melted.
Medics attempted to surgically build a new jaw for Eben but it was too late.
After having consumed over 1,400 bottles, his imminent death was the only outcome.
He died in 1932 before his body was exhumed in 1965 to be studied.
Eben's body was still found to be radioactive all those decades later.
Radithor, or radium, means highly radioactive.
It was manufactured in New Jersey by a man called William J.A .Bailey.
Unfortunately, Bailey was a fraud and dropped out of Harvard Medical School.
He always refused to tell people he wasn’t a certified doc.
Bailey and his team experimented with radium and concluded that a very small dose, distilled with water, could be useful to humans.
And as such, it became available in America in 1918.
It was marketed as being able to “enhance the vital processes of the body” and it wasn’t long before customers came calling.
Following Eben's grisly death, Bailey’s company was shut down.
However, this didn’t stop him trying to sell the radioactive substance under a new name.
- In the News
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