The Angel Of Death Went on A Poisoning Spree -Jolly Jane

The people we trust to save our life might take it horrors of pain.

Jane Toppan was an American serial killer who took her nursing career into a horror poisoning spree. She was worse than political profligates of the medieval type because they used it against enemies while she used it against friends. Nobody no matter how close to her wasn’t safe from her.

Source: Wikipedia


Jane was born as Honora Kelley in Boston in 1857 in an Irish-immigrant family. Her childhood began with the death of her mother who died from tuberculous when she was only one year old. Her father tried his best to raise her and her sister but had but due to his alcoholism and mental state, he ended up giving them away to an orphanage. In 1862 a widow named Ann Toppan fostered Honora out as an indentured servant. She wasn’t legally adopted by the Toppan family but she took the name of them because Anna didn’t like her Irish name. Jane was raised alongside Anna’s daughter Elizebeth. They both get along quite well because of the similarities of age but Elizbeth never allows her to forget her place. She went to school with Elizbeth, she wasn’t popular but her wild fanciful tales about her family were. Many people trusted Jane every easily and her neighbours usually trust her to babysit their children. She made up character in front of everyone, she was a pathological liar. She told people her father was a sailor and her sister married a wealthy price whereas her father was a tailor and her sister died in the search of a job.


In the late eighties, from 1885 till 1887 Jane began her nursing training at Cambridge Hospital in Boston. In her school life, she was gossipy and disruptive but she had no friends. The nursing school gave her a chance to reinvent herself, the co-workers the patients just loved her that is also the reason she got the name “Jolly Jane”.

By Jane’s count, she killed at least a dozen people during her time as a student nurse. She often misuses morphine on her patients, sometimes she used to mix different medicines to see how the patient’s body reacts to it. She injects her patients with morphine and atropine. The fact that morphine contracts the pupils of the eyes while atropine expands them meant that neither symptom would be visible. Sometimes she used to give them little dose so they are not able to move their body and she loved to see them like this. She spent a lot of time making fake charts of patients. When her patients were dying she crawls into the bed with and whisper in their ears, holds them tight, creases them. And she even took advantage of her activities to enhance her reputation; by bringing patients to the brink of death and then nursing them back to health in a “miraculous recovery”. There was an unreasonable amount of patients who died on her watch and the hospital became aware of the experiment. Interestingly enough, even though her bosses at Cambridge were suspicious of her behaviour, they still recommended her to General Hospital.

Jane Toppan went on to continue killing patients and climbing into bed with them at General Hospital. She was a suspect in several petty crimes, such as stealing petty cash and the theft of a patient’s diamond ring so she got fired from the hospital.


Jane worked as a private nurse for a while, before returning to Cambridge Hospital to try to obtain her license there. She got a lot of patients this way and as always people loved her.

In 1895 Jane killed an elderly couple called Israel and Lovey Dunham. They were also her landlord. She decided that Israel was getting too old — in her words, “feeble and fussy”. So she killed him and told people it was a heart attack. Then she moved in with grieving widow Lovey, she lived with almost 2 years then poisoned her.

Then she got a job at an elder lady’s house whose husband just died, she was her main caretaker. The widow’s granddaughter loved Jane and her cheery personality. Sadly Jane poisoned the widow and told her granddaughter it was due to natural causes. The death wasn’t questioned because the widow was an aged woman.


Jane then went on holiday in a rented cottage on Cape Cod, it was something she was doing for years, but this time she invited her foster sister Elizabeth Toppan who was married at that time with Oramel Brigham. Because of their close bond, Elizabeth didn’t think twice about the invitation unknowing the fact how much Jane despite her. Elizabeth didn’t even make it through the week. Jane would later say that out of all her victims Elizabeth was the only one she killed out of malice. She made the death long, painful, and slow until she finally killed her. In Elizabeth’s last moment Jane climbed on the bed with her and held her tight, crease her, and watched Elizabeth die in her arms.


Shortly after her sister’s funeral, Jane moved in with a Davis family, they also loved and adored Jane. During living with them she collected the debt of 500$ it was the money she borrowed for supplies or medications. The matriarch of the family, Mattie went over Jane’s who is living in the back house.

Source: Wicked Yankee

She asked Jane “Jane, can you gave us some of the money, like a payment, anything?”

Jane ended up talking her way out of the situation and invented her inside, offered her glass of mineral water. The mineral water was laced with heavy doses of painkillers. Once Mattie was knocked out Jane took her to the spare room and injected her with more morphine. She kept her going in and out of consciousness for an entire week and informed the family that Mattie is ill and sadly she died one week later.

Jane started living with the patriarch of the family, Alden to take care of him and his children. Then, Jane decides to kill the family because she still owes them a debt and in her mind, it is the only way she can resolve this. She started with the youngest daughter, Genievene by poisoning her drinks with morphine and spread the rumours around town saying Genievene was suicidal and she had seen holding arsenic. After two weeks after Genievene death, Jane killed Alden and then four days later she killed the last member of the Davis family by killing the eldest daughter Minnie. Doctors were confused because no signs were leading up to death and no explanation of the natural cause. No one had no clue what killed them but only one person.


The night Jane killed Minnie, somebody was watching. Minnie’s father in law dropped by the home the day Jane injected Minnie. He was looking around for the family when he saw Jane is over Minnie’s bed so peaked through the door and saw Jane injecting Minnie and later he found Minnie had died. He starts putting the pieces together but he didn’t have any proof. He went to the doctors and start pushing about Jane. Because of his Suspicion and because it was a wealthy family the investigators decided to Exhume the Davis family bodies.


While the police were investigating Jane went to Ormal Brigham her dead foster sister’s husband. He was working as a church Pastor. She moved in with Ormal, his sister, and his housekeeper. She decided to be their live-in nurse but she wanted the housekeeper job so she decided to kill the housekeeper. She killed the housekeeper and had the job but Ormal sister didn’t like Jane much and Jane knew that she is going to be a problem and she start drugging her drink making her more and more ill until she dies. Jane started to show interest in Ormal while he didn’t show any. When Jane realized that he is not ever going to like her he decided to kill before he found about why everyone around him dying. She started with lightly poisoning and threatening him that she will tell the town that she is having his baby If he ever decided to question her or come after her. After this Ormal fired her and Jane decided to kill herself but not really. She just wanted the attention she gave her morphine enough to get her unconscious but not enough to kill her. But Ormal knew and he went to the police and told them that she tried to kill him and poison him but he didn’t have proof.


On October 12, 1901 Jane got arrested. Police initially began to suspect that Jane used arsenic to kill her patients but the police couldn’t prove that she purchased arsenic. She got arrested because suspicion was enough. When Jane went to the court she wore her nurse uniform to persuade the public and it was working a lot of people were on Jane’s side. While She was in prison waiting for her trail she start writing romance novels and suddenly she wanted to be a writer, she had a new goal. Police finally found morphine and atropine in Davis’s daughters’ bodies. At this time she was going to be charged for three murders but standing for trail Jane needed to be interviewed by a psychiatrist, in the beginning, she stated “she couldn’t kill anymore because she is afraid of corpses” but the act didn’t last long and she ended up confessing 12 murders but the doctors believed she killed more. Jane told her defence lawyer a completely different story that she has killed 31 people. It is said to be that she killed more than 31 people but only remember 31. The investigators believed she killed more than 100 people.


The trial lasted eight hours and Jane was found not guilty by the reason of insanity. She was sentenced to life in Taunton insane hospital. When her verdict was said out loud, it was said that Jane just laughed.


The superintendent of the asylum said that she had no remorse for the murders, she was proud of the murders she has committed. As time went on inside the hospital was said that Jane’s mental health is being declined. She was seeing people who weren’t there, she had a conversation with people who weren’t there, and she had no idea why she was there in the first place


Jane would stay at Taunton Isane hospital until the age of 81, she died of pneumonia.

Lover of writing and addicted to Crime and Netflix. I read like words are my drug. Currently, 16 but I have big dreams.

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