Distaste for Corona saves geologist from assassination


Buried in Wikileaks' Afghanistan documents is a largely ignored 2007 warning that Pakistani spies were planning to poison booze intended for American soldiers using sulfuric acid. It sounds a little far-fetched.

Until you hear the story of James Yeager, an American geologist who claims to have narrowly avoided being poisoned in exactly this way in, yes, 2007.

Yeager was in Afghanistan advising the government as they took bids on a massive mining contract …

he returned to his residence in Kabul to find it had been burgled. The intruder took money from a drawer and left behind a bottle of Corona beer. The Corona bottle sat on his counter for the next two weeks Yeager says, because Corona is one of his least favorite beers. He finally opened it during a going away party as the other drinks began to run low. [emphasis mine]

"I pulled it out and when I popped it there was no fizz and the cap was loose," says Yeager. "Because this one didn't have fizz you wonder if it went rancid or not, and I just kind of sniffed it and I went 'Oh, that doesn't smell like beer.' "

Yeager, a geochemist familiar with acids, realized it smelled like sulfuric acid – otherwise known as battery acid. He called a friend over who had the same reaction to the smell. Yeager poured the "beer" into the toilet and it foamed and fizzed, leaving "no question" in his mind it was sulfuric acid.

Insert your own Corona joke here.

Christian Science Monitor: Wikileaks confirmed? A plan to kill American geologist with poisoned beer

Image courtesy Flickr user Kyle May, via CC