National Geographic : 2005 May
thecuiouscase o tI I 1 It's a game of Clue and historical whodunit allin one. The victim, Napoleon Bona parte, died on May 5, 1821, on St. Helena, in exile after his' defeat at Waterloo. An autopsy performed the next morning revealed perforationof the stomach due to an ulcer,pos sibly cancerous. The real cause of death? In dispute ever since. Some theories: . political murder Murdered by arsenic poisoning, accord ing to Ben Weider, founder of the: International Napoleonic Society and head of a huge Canada-based body-building empire. Weider has relent lessly sought the cause of Napoleon's death for more than four decades and has poured considerable resources into the quest. In his view, Napoleon was poisoned by the British and by French royalists, who wanted him out of the way once 1 and for all. Weider ." offers as the centerpiece of his hypothesis the hair analysis done by Pascal Kintz, a French toxicologist at the Legal Medicine Institute of Stras bourg. Kintz subjected sam ples of Napoleon's hair to a sophisticated technique known as nanosecondary ion mass spectrometry, which confirmed the long term presence of arsenic. Kintz steps back from saying how or why the arsenic was there, but Weider is con vinced that "the poisoning of Napoleon was planned and deliberate. Anything else is hogwash."