By: Scott Bartz, former J&J executive for 8 years.
On September 29, 1982, seven people in the Chicago area died after swallowing Extra Strength Tylenol capsules full of cyanide.
In news photos, cyanide is a whitish powder that probably looked like white Tylenol powder to the average, bleary-eyed line worker during a long shift.
No one expected to find powered cyanide lying around.
"Look! Someone spilled Tylenol powder. Toss it back in the hopper. Keep the capsule line moving."
NO MADMAN DROVE STORE TO STORE PLANTING CYANIDE-LACED TYLENOL CAPSULES ON STORE SHELVES.
WHO SAW ANY MADMAN TAMPERING WITH TYLENOL IN RETAIL DRUG STORES?
THE FUMBLERS DID!...IN THEIR OWN IMAGINATIONS, WITH NO PHOTOGRAPHS AND NO EVIDENCE.
THAT WEIRD, BOGUS MADMAN FANTASY NEVER HAPPENED IN REAL LIFE!
SMALL KIDS INVENT IMAGINARY FRIENDS. FUMBLING TYLENOL INVESTIGATORS INVENTED THEIR OWN IMAGINARY MADMAN.
THAT MADMAN FANTASY DIVERTED OFFICIAL INQUIRIES DOWN SHADOWY, SPOOKY, DEAD END ALLEYS, WHERE FUMBLERS' SPECULATIONS RAN AMOK.
"LET'S INVENT A BOGEYMAN!" ONE FUMBLER SAID. "A REAL FREAK!"
HERDS OF FUMBLING AND EXHAUSTED, SLEEP-DEPRIVED AND CAFFEINE-STOKED, HYPER-AGITATED INVESTIGATORS BOUNCED FROM ONE PRIME SUSPECT TO ANOTHER, LIKE DRUNKS SWATTING AT PINK ELEPHANTS AND BUTTERFLIES.
AS THEY MUNCHED DONUTS AND GUZZLED COFFEE, EACH FUMBLER HURLED FRESH MAD WHOPPERS INTO THE MASTER WHOPPER HOPPER. AFTER SEVERAL TENSE HOURS, A SICK GALLOWS HUMOR CREEPED IN LIKE A GREEN FOG OFF LAKE MICHIGAN. THEY STARTED BEHAVING LIKE A GAGGLE OF MOONSHINE SOUSED MARK TWAINS PUFFING UP FROG TALES AND MIXING METAPHORS. EACH NEW WHOPPER IN THE HOPPER WAS LOONIER THAN ALL THE PREVIOUS.
THE TYLENOL MADMAN GREW A GLOWING SPIKED TAIL, PERFORMED INVERTED MAGIC TRICKS, WAS A CHEMIST, PICKED OTHERS' NOSES, COULD BITE THROUGH A LOOP TRAIN RAIL, HATED HIS MOTHER, ATE HIS OWN SPAWN, DROVE A 7-CYLINDER CHEVY, HAD A 700 IQ, WAS RETARDED, SMELLED EVIL, COULD FLY BACKWARDS FASTER THAN SANTA CLAUS ON CHRISTMAS EVE, WAS INVISIBLE...AND DIDN'T EXIST.
THIS NEW WINDY CITY URBAN MYTH WAS BORN. THE "MADMAN GOING STORE TO STORE," FABLE WENT VIRAL. FIRST AROUND CHICAGO. THEN NATIONALLY. THEN GLOBALLY.
LIKE CHICAGO'S FAMOUS POST CIVIL WAR, FLESH-EATING "CANDYMAN", THIS HOMESPUN MONSTER WAS SCARY AND EVIL!
ADULTS AND CHILDREN EVERYWHERE TREMBLED AND CRINGED. DEAD PEOPLE REFUSED TO SLEEP ALONE IN THE GROUND.
IMAGINARY, CREEPY STUFF BECAME FACT IN FUMBLERS' MINDS. FORMING A LYNCH MOB WAS SERIOUSLY BANDIED ABOUT, JUST LIKE THE ONE WHICH HUNG "THE CANDYMAN".
IN HINDSIGHT, THE FUMBLER'S CONCOCTED TYLENOL CYANIDE MADMAN STORIES SOUND AS CHURLISH AND SILLY AS SAYING A MADMAN WENT STORE TO STORE PUMPING SAMONELLA INTO MILK AND COTTAGE CHEEZE.
SCIENCE LONG AGO PROVED DAIRY SAMONELLA FLOWS THROUGH MILK REFINERIES IMPROPERLY PASTURIZING RAW MILK THAT ALREADY CONTAINS WILD SAMONELLA, AND NOT FROM MADMEN PROWLING RETAIL STORES.
Samonella outbreaks pop up from time to time in eggs, canned meats, vegetables, milk products and uncooked food without any madman's help.
Sloppy workers in dairy refineries are the avenues for dairy samonella Into breakfast cereal and coffee creamer.
The same thing happened with Tylenol.
Officials have long cited the scarcity of physical evidence and apparent lack of motive to explain why they never solved the Tylenol murders.
Duh! Wonder why?
In October 1982, Johnson and Johnson recalled and burned millions of Tylenol capsules, and the public flushed millions more Tylenol capsules down their crappers, at the frantic request of Illinois Attorney General Tyrone Fahner.
Why? That burning and flushing destroyed 99.99% of the Tylenol murder physical evidence, including fingerprints and cyanide, all gone forever.
That nuclear option was no accident.
Sloppy J&J workers? Fatigue? Coffee? An industrial accident? Was this inside job, perhaps in the Fort Washington, PA factory, where the 1982 Tylenol had been packed in bulk barrels before being repackaged in the Chicago area, a common practice among drug companies back in 1982.
NOT AN IMAGINARY MAD-MAN!
NOT A FANTASY BOOGEYMAN!
NOT A PLAUSIBLE SCAPEGOAT!
JUST SLOPPY, EXHAUSTED J&J LINE WORKERS, FATIQUE AND COFFEE.
INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENTS HAPPEN AND PEOPLE SOMETIMES DIE.
After 3 decades, and tons of urban myth, history has come full circle.
The FDA closed that same Fort Washington Tylenol plant in April 2010 for being nasty and contaminated. This cleanup required a bit more than Windex and Spic & Span. Google it yourself.
Today, after 3 years, Fort Washington remains closed. After 3 years? Must have been ugly contaminated! Find any lethal toxins there?
Oh, you are not talking! I see.
FINALLY, THE SMOKING GUN WHICH KILLED LYNN REINER WAS FOUND.
HER GRIEVING DAUGHTER, MICHELLE ROSEN, POSES THE QUESTION BEST.
Michelle asks, "HOW DID A MADMAN GET INSIDE THE LOCKED CENTRAL DuPAGE HOSPITAL PHARMACY IN WINFIELD WITH ALL THAT EXTRA STRENGTH TYLENOL FULL OF CYANIDE WHICH KILLED MY MOM, MARY 'LYNN' REINER, ON THE FLOOR IN FRONT OF ME, AS I WATCHED HER DIE, WHEN I WAS ONLY 7 YEARS OLD?"
"MY MOM HAD JUST HAD A BABY IN THAT HOSPITAL," SHE CONTINUED.
"AS WAS CUSTOMARY, THE HOSPITAL GAVE MY MOM EXTRA STRENGTH TYLENOL AS A GOING AWAY PRESENT," MICHELLE SOBBED. "I HAD TO GROW UP WITHOUT A MOTHER."
AT THAT POINT, AUTHORITIES' MADMAN THEORY FELL FLAT ON ITS FACE. OFFICIALS WERE CAUGHT LYING.
NO MADMAD COULD HAVE RESTOCKED THE HOSPITAL'S SUPPLY OF TYLENOL. BUT J&J COULD HAVE, AS PART OF ITS MARKETING,"FREE TYLENOL FOR NEW MOTHERS." INTO THAT HOSPITAL CAME THE CYANIDE INSIDE J&J'S OWN FRESHLY MINTED TYLENOL SINGLE-DOSE PACKETS, AND MARY REINER DIED.
IN 1982, MOTHERS DELIVERED LOTS OF BABIES IN LOTS OF HOSPITALS. MANY OF THEM STILL REMEMBER GETTING FREE TYLENOL SAMPLES WHEN THEY WENT HOME.
Scott Bartz's exposé, The Tylenol Mafia, is fascinating and it is chilling.
New revelations and information not previously disclosed reveal a very different view of the 1982 Tylenol cyanide mass murders which should have been solved in October 1982.
Dramatic in its warnings, The Tylenol Mafia rips away the revulsive façade that J&J CEO James Burke labeled “A demonstration without parallel of government and business working with the news media to help protect the public.”
Order it and read it.
--By: James Wm. Lewis