10 insane experiments of real-life mad scientists

Gustav III Made A Criminal Drink Three Pots Coffee Every Day

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When coffee first came to Sweden, it was treated like a dangerous poison that was sure to shorten your lifespan. In the 18th century, laws and taxes were set up to curb abuse of both coffee and tea. Eventually, coffee was banned outright.

King Gustav III strongly believed that coffee was a killer, so he set up an experiment. He pardoned two convicted murderers awaiting the death sentence on two conditions. First, they would stay in prison for life. Second, one would drink three pots of coffee every day and the other would drink three pots of tea.

Gustav wanted to prove that their life spans would plummet, but he proved the opposite instead. The tea drinker died first at age 83. There is no record of when the coffee drinker died—except that he outlived both the tea drinker and Gustav III himself.

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