In the 1997 film "The Jackal", the antagonist is attempting to elude some assassins who are after him. When they are pursuing his van, he quickly

pulls the van into a parking garage and washes off the color-changing paint he had earlier painted the van with, thus changing the color of the van.

He then takes a small can and sprays it onto the door handle of the van before taking off. A few minutes later, the assassins

enter the parking garage and notice the dyed water running away from the van. When one of the men goes to open the van using the tainted door handle, he pulls his hand away like it hurt, then starts foaming at the mouth. He immediately has a seizure of some kind and falls down dead.

What was the substance sprayed on the handle, and how could it do this so quickly?


1 Answer 1


So, I found a "unique" possibility...the information states that it is toxic if you touch the leaves without gloves, so I am assuming you can break this plant down into a liquid form and use it in a spray bottle of some sort. I was not aware that this plant was so toxic. From Wikipedia:

Aconitum also known as aconite, monkshood, wolf's bane, leopard's bane, mousebane, women's bane, devil's helmet, Queen of all Poisons, or blue rocket, is a genus of over 250 species of flowering plants belonging to the family Ranunculaceae. These herbaceous perennial plants are chiefly native to the mountainous parts of the northern hemisphere, growing in the moisture-retentive but well-draining soils of mountain meadows. Most species are extremely poisonous and must be dealt with carefully.

Marked symptoms may appear almost immediately, usually not later than one hour, and "with large doses death is almost instantaneous." Death usually occurs within two to six hours in fatal poisoning (20 to 40 mL of tincture may prove fatal). The initial signs are gastrointestinal including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. This is followed by a sensation of burning, tingling, and numbness in the mouth and face, and of burning in the abdomen. In severe poisonings pronounced motor weakness occurs and cutaneous sensations of tingling and numbness spread to the limbs. Cardiovascular features include hypotension, sinus bradycardia, and ventricular arrhythmias. Other features may include sweating, dizziness, difficulty in breathing, headache, and confusion. The main causes of death are ventricular arrhythmias and asystole, paralysis of the heart or of the respiratory center. The only post-mortem signs are those of asphyxia. Poisoning may also occur following picking the leaves without wearing gloves; the aconitine toxin is absorbed easily through the skin. In this event, there will be no gastrointestinal effects. Tingling will start at the point of absorption and extend up the arm to the shoulder, after which the heart will start to be affected. The tingling will be followed by unpleasant numbness. Treatment is similar to poisoning caused by oral ingestion.

  • Sounds like a definite possibility - maybe cut with other toxins, you can make something that affects the subject within seconds. If no better answers show up in the next day or two, I'll accept this one!
    – Omegacron
    Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 13:43
  • 1
    20-40ml tincture may be fatal - but you cannot take up that much poison through your skin in so short a time. DMSO is sometimes used to speed up resorption, but it won't be enough in this case - 20-40ml is 2-4cl, so about one shotglas full - no way that much fluid is going through skin quickly.
    – bukwyrm
    Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 13:03

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