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Poisonous books discovered in library of University of Southern Denmark

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 10 July 2018, 15:24 IST

Now it totally sounds like the Hogwarts library where Harry and his friends found something.

However, it's not fake. It's real.

There were three books in total and each of them was coated with poison.

Academics were able to track down these books which were in the uni’s library that were coated with a “large concentrations” of arsenic.

The research librarian Jakob Povl Holck and chemistry professor Kaare Lund Rasmussen at the University of Southern Denmark found three books in the library covered with arsenic.

Should we say these books go way beyond time!

These three rare books dating from the 16th and 17th centuries have echoes of the novel and film The Name Of The Rose, which sees a string of monks in a 14th-century Italian monastery killed off by the toxic pages of a forbidden manuscript.

X-ray analysis of the books held by the University of Southern Denmark revealed a large concentration of arsenic on the covers.

Scientists studied the volumes were being analysed because it had previously been discovered that mediaeval manuscript fragments had been used by bookbinders to make their covers.

In attempting to identify the Latin texts used, researchers found they were hard to read because of a heavy layer of green paint obscuring the letters.

The study of this green pigment layer revealed it to be arsenic - one of the most toxic substances in the world.

Kaare Lund Rasmussen, an associate professor at the University of Southern Denmark, told Fox News: "The moment we put the X-ray beam on the green surface we saw the fantastic high amounts of arsenic."

It is likely that it was applied to the books to protect them against insects and vermin.

In a piece they wrote for The Conversation late last month, they referenced the book central to a deadly plot from Umberto Eco’s novel The Name of the Rose.

“Poisoned by a mad Benedictine monk, the book wreaks havoc in a 14th-century Italian monastery, killing all readers who happen to lick their fingers when turning the toxic pages,” they wrote.

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First published: 10 July 2018, 15:24 IST