Posted by James Briggs on July 16, 2003
We've discussed this one before. The reason for raising it again was the the following was printed in the Q&A section of 'The Times' on 16th July.
"Micky Finn was, around 1896, the dubious proprietor of the Lone Star Saloon and Palm Garden Restaurant, the lowest and roughest of all the saloons on Whiskey Row, Chicago. The Palm Garden was so called because it featured a scrawny palm tree in a pot and in this dark, secluded area, the pickpockets trained by Finn practised their arts. Victims had their drinks laced with chloral hydrate "knock-out drops", were rendered sleepy, deprived of clothes, money or virtue and slung out into an alleyway. By 1903 the saloon had been closed down. Finn escaped prosecution and found work as a bartender, supplementing his wage by selling details of his secret "recipe".
Chloral hydrate, a near-relative of chloroform, was discovered in 1832. Its nasty taste had to be disguised by a strong-tasting drink, usually whiskey. It was widely used as a sedative in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and was occasionally used in this country as a soporific as late as 1998.
Alan Dronsfield, Swanwick, Derbyshire."