In late August 1905, in the small village of Commugny, Switzerland, a man wept over three coffins containing the slain bodies of his pregnant wife and two small children. Who—or what—could have been responsible for such a horrific crime? Well, according to the grieving husband and father, “the absinthe made him do it.”
Leaping on Jean Lanfray‘s story, the press would dub the gruesome act “The Absinthe Murders”; and while it wouldn’t be the first time the spirit had been blamed for inciting fits of madness, coverage of the unspeakable crime would reach global circles. Spurred by support from slighted winemakers and the Temperance Movement, public outcry against absinthe would eventually lead to a series of targeted bans against the spirit—pay no mind that Lanfray was a rampant, violent alcoholic.
Absinthe may have gotten a bad rap, but you might be surprised to learn that the spirit didn’t always have such a terrible reputation. Learn more about the world’s most misunderstood spirit with these 5 facts.