Gay bars in Seattle were targeted on Tuesday by letters threatening to poison patrons with deadly protein toxin ricin.
The Stranger newspaper also received a letter telling them to, “be prepared to announce the deaths of approximately 55 individuals all of whom were patrons of the following establishments on a Saturday in January.”
The local police and the FBI confirmed they were involved with the investigation, but the editorial director of The Stranger, Dan Savage dismissed the letters, saying that he has received threats many times before and claimed that the threats might actually end up helping business at the named bars.
The letter, sent to 11 bars, stated:
“Your establishment has been targeted. I have in my possession approximately 67 grams of ricin with which I will indiscriminately target at least five of your clients.”
Ricin is found in castor beans, and can be fatal if it is inhaled or ingested after purification.
The letter later went on to quote a poem written by gay writer Mark Doty called ‘A Display of Mackerel’ leading many people to believe that a gay or lesbian person wrote the letters.
The bars involved are continuing to trade as normal, although drinkers have been advised to keep a watchful eye on their glasses and to keep an eye out for anyone acting suspiciously.