Arctic Explorer Mystery
Arsenic and Old Ice
But in 1968, a young
After delicate international negotiations, Loomis had gained permission to exhume Hall's body for scientific tests that the professor hoped would determine, once and for all, the cause of his death.
The gravesite, mounded with stones, was not difficult to find. It is marked with a brass plaque that pays homage to Hall. Loomis and his colleagues chipped at the frozen earth, just as Hall's crew had done when burying him.
Peeling back the coffin lid, the men found Hall's corpse still enshrouded in an American flag. The skin and skeleton of the body were virtually intact, having spent 97 years in a deep freeze.
There, a researcher reached a startling conclusion based upon tests of the hair and nails: "These results are fully consistent with the theory of arsenic poisoning being the immediate cause of Hall's demise almost a century ago."
Dr. Auseklis Perkons went on to declare that Hall's symptoms -- numbness of the mouth, feeble pulse, delirium and coma -- were "quite in keeping with acute arsenic poisoning."
Chauncey Loomis published the results of his investigation in 1971 in a book, Weird and
A careful academic, he did not flatly conclude that Hall had been murdered, despite the arsenic evidence.
But Loomis wrote, "If Hall was murdered, Emil Bessels is the prime suspect."