“Wow, that’s pretty scary” – Scot digs up rare baby killer bottle with disturbing past


A SCOTSMAN was left shocked after finding a rare “baby killer” bottle from the 19th century – with a disturbing history. 

Alasdair Graham from Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway found the rare oddity earlier this month after researching old maps to find a suitable area to dig

The 26-year-old, who digs for historical artifacts frequently, recognized the bright green bottle and was immediately attracted to it without realising the significance of its grim history. 

Baby killer bottle | Scottish News
Alasdair found the bottle in near pristine condition.                                                                           (C) Alasdair Graham

Upon later inspection, Alasdair found out that the bottle once housed “Mrs Winslow’s Soothing Syrup”.

The syrup is believed to have killed hundreds of children due to the extraordinarily high level of morphine it contained.

It was originally created in 1845 to ease pain in infants and children and is thought to have been made up primarily of alcohol and morphine, with approximately 65mg of morphine per fluid ounce. 

The syrup, which promised to relieve parents “of all further care for their infants” was later nicknamed “the baby killer” with even small doses holding enough morphine to kill many unfortunate children. 

Baby killer bottle | Scottish News
Engraved on the bottle were the words “Mrs Winslow’s Soothing Syrup”                                               (C) Alasdair Graham

Images show Alasdair’s rare find, showcasing a small glass bottle with the words “Mrs Winslow’s Soothing Syrup” engraved on the side. 

Alasdair posted his discovery to Facebook two weeks ago, writing: “Mrs Winslow’s Soothing Syrup named ‘The Baby Killer’.

“This bottle was from 1870, a stunning wee bottle with a very dark past! 

“Dug near Dumfries.”

Baby killer bottle | Scottish News
Eerie advertisement from the 19th century shows a women nurturing a baby.

The post now holds over 300 likes, with dozens of users being left horrified by the bottles horrid history. 

Brian Chaplin wrote: “Great find, not so good history though.”

Carole Arrington said: “Horrifying!

“I had never heard of this. Disgusting.”

Nancy Ellen Whyte replied: “Wow, that’s pretty scary. 

“But who knew the difference at the time?”

Baby killer bottle | Scottish News
One American advert saw the syrup listed for just 25 cents.

Susan Peters commented: “Wow, scary time to be a baby.”

Speaking today Alasdair said: “It’s quite amazing. I was happy to find it but I was shocked when I read into it. 

“I recognised the name, but when I read it in the book that’s when I remembered that it was the baby killer. 

“It was advertised to put babies to sleep and relieve parents of their duties forever.

“It’s like a subtle way of saying we’ll kill your child.

“It’s pretty eerie, it gives you goosebumps. 

“It’s pretty cool though, I love the history.”