Monticello legend, Dr. Palmer and his “Elixir 666”

Elixir 666 is sold by Monticello Drug Company

ABC News naming Monticello, Fl. the “south's most haunted small town,” in 2003, was hardly the beginning of the town's haunting history. Almost every street in Monticello has a mysterious or inexplicable story. Perhaps the most eyebrow raising of these stories is that of Dr. John Dabney Palmer. Dr. Palmer was the Monticello town physician, mortician and apothecary in the late 18 and early 19 hundreds. Dr. Palmer lived and worked out of what is now known as Palmer House, a one and a half story, white house that had been in his family for some years prior. While Dr. Palmer saw his living patients in a small office next door, it was his dead patients that Dr. Palmer welcomed into his home for treatment. In the upstairs room of his home, Dr. Palmer and his assistant, known only by his nickname, Poltergeist, would prepare bodies for burial. Rumor suggests, however, that the good doctor and Poltergeist did more than just embalm the corpses, but performed experiments on them as well. Additionally, Dr. Palmer held a historically well documented belief that people should be buried with their blood. Therefore, after draining the blood, Dr. Palmer would have Poltergeist dig the grave and pour the blood inside before laying the body to rest. One night, the two men got into a heated argument; what stood between them was a corpse and a container of drained blood. According to legend, in a fit of anger, Poltergeist threw the blood, coating Dr. Palmer, the body and the wall that stood behind them. For years to come, future owners of the Palmer House would seek to clean, paint or cover the lingering, red blood stain to no avail. The stain would always return, just as before, until the wall itself was completely removed. Today, a reminder of Dr. Palmer can occasionally be found on the shelves of drug stores across the nation. As the local apothecary, Dr. Palmer created “Elixir 666.” Known at the time as a popular malaria remedy, Elixir 666 is now sold as a “cold preparation.” When connecting the elixir's taboo title to the rumors that surround its inventor, one cannot help but wonder what inspired the devilish name. Some have speculated that the original composition included some unholy ingredients. Others remarked on the taste saying, “it burned like hell.” The truth? When the elixir was submitted to the patent office, it was submitted unnamed, and the patent office employee simply named it for the number on the prescription pad.