There are two TV shows that we are following right now that have mercury-as-a-cure-for-syphilis embedded in the story line. The first is The Alienist; the second is The Frankenstein Chronicles. Both are set in the 19th century. It is a fact that, for centuries, syphilis was treated with mercury either by ingesting it, by rubbing it on sores or by inhaling it. It is, of course, toxic and many patients died from the treatment rather than from syphilis.