Medicine: Fatal Game

"Death by drowning" was the autopsy verdict on twelve-year-old Margaret Boylan—but she had not been in the water. The internal drowning was done by 110 jiggers of water she drank while playing "saloon" nine hours before.

Explained Newark, N.J.'s famed Medical Examiner Harrison Martland: Margaret, apparently healthy, had a disturbance of the pituitary gland, one of the main regulators of water balance. While her sister and brother who also played saloon were able to excrete large quantities of water normally, Margaret's lungs became waterlogged, her blood diluted, her heart paralyzed.


Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!