http://www.abqtrib.com/albq/nw_local/article/0,2564,ALBQ_19858_3862998,00.htmlOthers might not be as dismissive of the onus of the ill-fated instrument, which was invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1761. Over the course of its history, it has been associated with witchcraft, insanity and a mysterious disappearance, and has been postulated as the cause of death of both Beethoven and Mozart.
...But by the early 1800s, playing an armonica became tantamount to having a death wish. Many of its practitioners either died or went insane. When a baby suffered a fatal epileptic seizure at an armonica concert in 1830, it marked the end of public performances.
...German-born Gerhard Finkenbeiner - researched the associations and solved the mystery. The armonica's bowls were originally made using leaded crystal; those who played it probably absorbed high levels of lead through their fingertips and into their bloodstreams. [continued]
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