French village went insane after CIA spiked its bread with LSD

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99 Responses to “French village went insane after CIA spiked its bread with LSD”

  1. ill lich says:

    Giving anyone LSD without their knowledge is asking for trouble. Even people who have had experience with LSD may not fully understand what is happening during the trip (though they are more likely to figure it out and accept what they are about to experience.) These kinds of horror stories unfairly demonize what could be a powerful aid in combating certain psychological problems (there is lots of evidence that used under supervision LSD can help chronic depression and alcoholism.) Any drug will produce dangerous effects when taken inappropriately– plus we are talking about large doses here, what if the CIA had spiked their bread with megadoses of anticonvulsants or steroids or even common pain killers?

  2. mkultra says:

    OK, let me just clear the air here. I’ve never even BEEN to France, and if I did go (which I didn’t), I certainly wouldn’t have experimented on the residents of a rural town like that. Not for any moral reasons, but because it’s bad methodology. There’s just no way I could have kept a close enough watch on the effects of this mass dosing without abject complicity from the French government, which we both know they would not provide.

    So, yeah. Going with the ergot thing. Sagan’s line about extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence seems appropriate here.

  3. Gursky says:

    If you’re around NYC and want to know more, I have Albarelli in to discuss the book at McNally Jackson Books on May 10th at 7pm. I’d love to pack the audience with informed happy mutants.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Its bizarre that anyone in their right mind would try to exonerate Central Intelligence by default, or claim that their involvement in the incident is exaggerated or a fabrication. Pretty much everything which the rogue agency has accomplished has had negative effects not just on the US, but also on many other nations and the rest of the world. In all its existence, the CIA has eaten a huge stack of taxpayer dollars, while being a massive liability regarding US national security, global stability and the enhancement of humanity. If there was ever an organization which had “the spreading of evil” as a mission statement, then the CIA fully qualifies handsomely, alongside Hitler’s Nazi SS, or Idi Amin’s death squads. It should be fully investigated, and then restructured with full Congressional oversight.

  5. vendorx says:

    While I agree that being dosed with a mind altering drug without your knowledge could be very scary for some, if you watch that video where it was tested on a platoon of soldiers (I think someone posted that up earlier, if not youtube search will find it.) they seemed to be having a grand old time of it! They were certainly not throwing themselves out of windows or anything. In fact, the officer in charge even remained coherent enough to diagnose that something was wrong and restrict activities.

    Although I would never advocate doing it to anyone else, if anyone wants to put LSD into my drinks without my knowledge, I give full permission!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Okay, is anyone whose first two initials are “H.P.” automatically suspect? I mean, “H.P. Lovecraft” and all?

  7. PTBartman says:

    Well at least now we know how Jerry Lewis became a genius in France.

  8. Anonymous says:

    There are several big nuclear facilities near Pont-St-Esprit . At that time, the US government probably didn’t like what was studied there …

  9. Anonymous says:

    Cory -

    Years ago, I read a book by John Fuller (had to dig around for it on my bookshelf) called “The Day of St. Anthony’s Fire”. Same town, sounds like the same incident. He attributes it to a spontaneous mutation of ergot fungus to LSD. Thought you might be interested in that reference.

    JIm

  10. Anonymous says:

    Not mentioned were the people who got into great all night 14 hour conversations.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Avram, thanks for pointing that out, otherwise I might have taken Douchesniper at his word. I mean who wouldn’t trust such a respectable sounding name? All jokes aside, a sincere good job to you sir.

  12. Nadreck says:

    What’s odd or difficult to believe about the C.I.A. murdering people or deliberately driving them insane in order to put data points on graphs for one of their crank experiments? It’s very well documented that they did so here in Canada, in one case kidnapping a guy off of the streets, for the MkUltra quack experiments.

    This is, after all, the organisation, that sells crack cocaine in American cities whenever they have budgetary problems.

    Nothing new here qualitatively, just a bigger quantity of victims.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Not even ranked in the top 10,000 evil deeds of the U.S. government over the last hundred years.

  14. grimc says:

    Obligatory British Army LSD test video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-rWnQphPdQ

  15. wylkyn says:

    I took hallucinogens more than a few times in my 20s. Most of the time it was a pleasant experience, but there were a few times where I wished I hadn’t. I also was with someone who took 5 tabs of acid once. This was a guy who was very experienced with the drug, but he was incoherent and at one point ran outside and fell down a hill. We had to keep him contained until he came down a little to keep him from injuring himself.

    A while back I awoke one night to find the room spinning. I had an inner ear infection, but I had no idea what was going on. It was terrifying, mainly because I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I even wondered if I was dying. I am of the opinion that for most people, the sudden onset of unexplained hallucinations might be a fairly terrifying experience, and with the emotional feedback caused by most hallucinogens (what is termed a “bad trip”) that could spiral into a pretty bad experience. Combine this with the fact that in the alleged CIA scenario there was no real control over how much each individual was dosed…

    This is all assuming that the CIA did was is stated in the article. I’m not convinced they did. I’m just saying that the negation of the possibility on the grounds that LSD is innocuous is not logically sound. The stories don’t say that everyone freaked out. Just that some did. That’s not only possible, I think it’s fairly likely.

  16. Anonymous says:

    clearly the cia doesn’t understand the concept of “set and setting”

  17. Tweeker says:

    The CIA routinely purchased LSD by the kilo, its not that far out to think they used some of it.

  18. Anonymous says:

    weapons grade = pharma grade + residual ergolines

  19. Hools Verne says:

    The full list of symptoms is pretty conclusive for ergot. vrybdy tlkng bt hw th d f th C dsng whl twn s crzy cnsprcy tlk r stll fckng dts.

  20. PapayaSF says:

    My vote’s with the skeptics: the symptoms and timeline fit ergot, not LSD, and it’s absurd to think the CIA would dose an entire town in an allied country with psychedelics.

  21. friendpuppy says:

    Has anybody here ever taken acid? You tend not to jump out of windows, murder people, full-on hallucinate or other hyperbolic claims. More often folks stare at the wall and wonder why it’s breathing, then think about whether they really want to pursue that career in electrical engineering.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Has anybody here ever taken acid?

      Has anybody here ever taken acid unknowingly, without even knowing that such things as psychedelic drugs exist? Fixed that for you.

      • friendpuppy says:

        “Has anybody here ever taken acid unknowingly, without even knowing that such things as psychedelic drugs exist? Fixed that for you.”

        Have you? And I don’t know what ego dysfunction would explain somebody’s need to say “fixed that for you” but I hear a lot of that crap can be dealt with by psychedelics.

      • Anonymous says:

        Good catch, Antinous. However, I have been unknowingly dosed, and had a pretty bad trip. I have also been in the presence of people who got dosed who knew literally nothing about psychoactive drugs. My theory is they didn’t really have the 1960s in Shinglehouse or Rawlette, they just did three 50s and went straight on to the 80s.

        Fear, laughing and crying jags, babbling, sure… Seen that. Had to sit up with two panicky girls for nearly 20 hours they got dosed so hard. But no gangrene, burning nether regions, convulsions, or other classic rye madness symptoms.(That’s what they called ergot poisoning in the Medieval era whenever it struck French towns, rye madness or St. Anthony’s fire.)

        Oddly enough, I’ve also taken ergotamine tartrate, on prescription. I didn’t like it.

  22. Antinous / Moderator says:

    And I don’t know what ego dysfunction would explain somebody’s need to say “fixed that for you” but I hear a lot of that crap can be dealt with by psychedelics.

    I assume that, by ego dysfunction, you’re referring to your own smirking absence of empathy in assuming that the experience of French villagers in 1951 would have anything to do with your own pampered drug experiences. Unfortunately, I don’t know of any drugs that will cure that condition.

    • WiredEarp says:

      Really, Antinous, I think you’re overreacting a bit in this particular case. You should save your poison for those who truly deserve it.
      His original post may have been not thought out fully, but was a genuine post and did raise the point of the symptoms not exactly fitting with LSD when taken in recreational dosages.

      IMHO, I think ‘Fixed that for you’ is really only one step above TLDR as a line used by forum dickheads. That is not to say it doesn’t have its place if used correctly (usually with humor).’Ego dysfunction’ is possibly overreacting a little much however.

  23. Anonymous says:

    A great way to hide intentional LSD poisoning is to use bread. Then you can say it was ergot.

    One of the major symptoms of ergot poisoning is a burning sensation and blacking of limbs caused by damage to small blood vessels. Any report of that occuring?

  24. Anonymous says:

    I find this story interesting but a) likely not true (the dose vs effect timeline) b) needlessly stirring up the old “psychedelic-drug use leads to total psychosis in all!” fear that needs to be dismantled.

  25. WiredEarp says:

    friendpuppy #19 has hit the nail on the head. I know lots of people who have taken lots of LSD, including myself in earlier years. Never seen anyone jump out of a window, try to kill people, etc. All seems rather speculative, I hope the book has more proof in it than has been quoted in this articles.

    • Hools Verne says:

      Those people have the benefit of knowing they are on acid and choosing how much they ingest before hand. I know that two tabs of LSD has been enough to put some very scary ideas in my head even with preparation.

      It could well have been ergot, but the timeline fits MKULTRA so those talking about how this is sooooooooooo implausible are talking out their ass.

      • Anonymous says:

        It could well have been ergot, but the timeline fits MKULTRA so those talking about how this is sooooooooooo implausible are talking out their ass.

        Perhaps you’re misunderstanding the depth of the current ideological crackdown. Anybody who thinks the CIA might be committing secret crimes in the present is insane, right? You’re not a crazy conspiracy theorist, are you? OK then! So you’re not one of those crazies who thinks they committed secret crimes in the past, either, right?

        Right?

    • Pantograph says:

      Those administrations have mostly been voluntary I would guess, and the participants had at least a vague idea of what to expect.

      Imagine never being exposed to psychedelic culture (and even the straightest parts of western culture these days have had some influence by psychedelics) and not knowing what is happening to you and the rest of your village…while tripping balls! It’s a nightmare scenario. Read the account of Albert Hoffman’s first LSD trip to get a feel of the demonic visions mid-20th century central Europeans can see on a high first dose, whether it be accidental or deliberately induced by sinister secret agents.

  26. Metronicity says:

    I was in Pont St Esprit last summer. Has an interesting 700 year old bridge – one of the spans (the one on the left in the Google map) was bombed by the American Air Force in 1944 to box in the German army. http://wikimapia.org/2287275/Bridge-at-Pont-Saint-Esprit

    I’m glad I avoided buying a baguette at the boulangerie.

  27. Metronicity says:

    Wiki on it here. They put it down to mercury-treated seeds (grain) that the flour was milled from. But mentions the LSD dosing theory. Also a good shot of the 700 year old span of the stone medieval bridge that was taken out by the US Airforce in ’44. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pont-Saint-Esprit

  28. RuthlessRuben says:

    Well, its a bizarre claim, to say the least.

    But, seeing how a lot of very very f-ed up stuff went down on both sides of the iron curtain during that delightful time when the entire world was only the breadth of a shadow away from being at the core of a temporal sun, it doesn’t seem entirely implausable that the CIA did indeed chuck some LSD at random people to see what happened.

    The only thing I really find odd is: Why in France?

  29. Cydonia says:

    I do agree that this is tragic and terrible, but the mental picture of a guy saying “I am a plane” and jumping out of the window is funny, like something out of a cartoon.

    • sievetronix says:

      I have a (now) funny story of tripping face at Great Adventure in NJ. I was on the Batman rollercoaster and couldn’t for the life of me buckle in my seat belt. I had this total flash of “OHMYGOD I’M GONNA BE THAT PERSON THEY TALK ABOUT FOR YEARS LIKE THE KID WHO THOUGHT HE COULD FLY OR THE KID WHO GOT OUT OF A MOVING CAR BECAUSE HE THOUGHT IT HAD STOPPED I’M GONNA BE THE KID WHO DIDN’T BUCKLE HIS SEAT BELT FUCK FUCK FUCK”
      yea my trip buddy saved the day on that one but doing acid at amusement parks… not recommended.

  30. vendorx says:

    Pipenta : its weird how people who are snarky so often begin with accusing others of it.

    Your list of questions is one that’s useful assuming they haven’t already been answered. However, we have studies of people, even large groups, dosed on LSD. We know what the range of typical effects and durations are. As stated in prior posts, you can even find videos on youtube with examples of groups of people dosed with LSD without their knowledge.

    What is reported as occuring in this town doesn’t match up with LSD in any regard. In addition, arguments about extreme effects of LSD on, say people with extreme mental disabilities are meaningless here since we’re talking about an entire town. The conditions described do, however, match ergot poisoning exactly. We have many prior reported cases of exactly this kind of social breakdown in areas where infected grain gets into the food supply. So we have a situation that matches LSD “not at all” and ergot “perfectly.”

    Now, add to this the source, a person with no history of credibility. As stated earlier, one guy trying to sell a book, whose prior contributions tend to be published in journals with a terrible reputation for verifying facts.

    Combined, these render the string of questions fairly moot. This isn’t to say that its not possible that the CIA did use LSD on the town, just that it is pretty much impossible for that behavior, on its own, to have had this effect.

  31. Anonymous says:

    The truth is stranger than fiction.

  32. Matt says:

    +1 on ergot as the real explanation in this incident. CIA LSD experiment sounds way too much like a paranoid conspiracy theory. Although there is no simple solution, ergot infested bread passes Occam’s razor more credibly.

  33. Anonymous says:

    There’s a lot of blatant disinfo going around concerning this story. First, I read both Fuller’s book and Abarelli’s book. Fuller tries to sell the tainted bread cover story but by the end of the book, he admits it doesn’t hold up. I took acid in the 60s. A large dose made me feel like I had snakes in ny stomach. A feeling of intense energy in the midsection is a common reaction. Also, no one talks about the people who were wandering around the town in a state of euphoria, saying they “loved everyone.” Sound like LSD? Sure does. The 48-hour time frame is a result of massive amounts of LSD, probably mixed with other agents like meratran, blowing around the town for two days, affecting whoever got the powder on their skin. I already posted my comments to Derek on his site, under my name, Steve Hager. Derek, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to know anything about this incident.

  34. webmonkees says:

    On the opposite end of the spectrum, Ken Kesey’s experience with voluntary testing was pretty off kilter.

    “They wanted me to tell them when I thought a minute passed. I knew my heart rate, so I counted beats and told them when a minute had passed. They were amazed by my accuracy. ”

    But an unprepared person might feel they are going mad. It’d be like someone in the 30s going to a Charlie Chaplin movie and seeing 2001 a space odyssey.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Dam – and i thought only Little ceasers had crazy bread!

  36. WiredEarp says:

    I have to admit, having the safety net of knowing ‘its just cos im high’ probably helps greatly in getting through a trip. I have heard several stories about people ending up in ER’s because they didn’t know what was happening to them. Give someone enough acid in this situation, and I dont doubt these things can happen.
    The whole crazy idea sounds like the sort of thing MKULTRA would do, but the evidence is extremely scanty, and insufficient for me to believe in any of the potential answers. I’d be interested to know just how they reached the original determination of it being ergot poisoning…

    • sievetronix says:

      Could go either way I’d imagine…MK ULTRA was very capable of doing this one one hand and on the other the paper in question could be referencing an incident in France that just screams “Hey look at this french town that tripped balls for a day by accident. Kinda proves our theory, right?”

      I guess we would have to read the book.

  37. sievetronix says:

    I can kind of see it. What most people don’t understand is that there is a kind of culture built around taking acid. Usually there are trip buddies, orange juice, (has anyone proved that this actually works) trip toys, music (Butthole Surfers-Locust Abortion Technician and Skinny Puppy-Too Dark Park personal favs) and extremely controlled doses in the form of tabs. (even a large amount of tabs- say 10, is a very small amount of actual LSD) Most of these things are designed to make the trip more enjoyable but at the same time these things are designed in a lot of ways to prevent people from doing what these people in France did – FREAK THE FUCK OUT.

    I could imagine over a broad population, without consent, context or a kind of built in culture that can help you deal with things like this… why not? I am sure plenty of people spent a lot of time chilling out watching the wallpaper shimmer, but others, yea I can see it.

    also people who say butthurt rank just behind people who say sheeple in the words people say that make me want to ignore them and punch them in the nose then kick them in the ribs 20 or 30 times contest.

  38. Alkwerte says:

    This is why our breads are so tasty hmmm taaaastyyyy…

  39. technosean says:

    +1 on the ergot theory.

    The onset of LSD is 1-2 hours. Elimination half-life of LSD is 3-5 hours.

    “In clinical practice, this means that it takes just over 4.7 times the half-life for a drug’s serum concentration to reach steady state after regular dosing is started, stopped, or the dose changed.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_half-life

    This means you’re expected to hit normal 25 hours after dosing with LSD. Six days is not believable. Anecdotal evidence and Medline LSD overdose research also support this.

  40. Nelson.C says:

    On the whole, I think I’d bet on the ergot poisoning theory, but it’s a close thing. They did some weird things with acid back then. Did you hear the one about the elephant dosed with LSD? (Despite the site name, this one’s not a hoax.)

  41. Acromegaly says:

    I still contend the hilarity of this post, it’s like a
    scene from a made for TV special on the ” Dangers Of Drugs ” .. c’mon if your legs were broken from falling two stories could anyone ” walk half a football field ” ?? unless Zombieism was the cause of these symptoms I think not. Furthermore “Asshurt ” = a genius decription…chuckle

  42. Gendun says:

    I have to say, having read pretty widely about MKULTRA and related operations I’m extremely skeptical about these claims, purely on technical grounds.

    First we have a lot of evidence from CIA documents and good reason to believe on its face that the aerosol delivery of LSD poses extreme technical problems that were never solved, specifically in terms of delivering an adequate dose in a huge volume of gas. You might think of crop dusters flying over the French village releasing LSD on the poor suckers, but that would absolutely not work.

    We have similar problems in this idea of inoculating large amounts of bread with LSD — how do you do it? And why did all these people eat the same contaminated bread at the same time?

    Nothing about this adds up.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Gendun #57
      I don’t buy the LSD story. However, in France, and especially in small cities several decades ago, everyone starts the day by going to the bakery and buying bread for the breakfast and lunch.
      If you want to contaminate french people with some virus or chemicals, that’s the best place to start.

  43. ioksotot says:

    Dosage, dosage, dosage. Along with awareness. Conspiracy seems possible, MKULTRA was a mindf*ck for sure. If the CIA (or some other source) dosed the bread of a smallish town (i.e. staff of life, eaten ubiquitously) indiscriminately, (“Yeah just dump a buncha that sh*t in there”) these effects could be plausible. Considering the lack of knowledge about LSD fifty years ago. It could’ve happened. Still would’ve needed to be a massive amount to achieve these effects. Ergot can’t be ruled out for sure.

  44. Anonymous says:

    This smells pretty fishy to me. Nothing described there sounds remotely like LSD induced hallucinations. About the only drug that’s likely to produce the symptoms described is Ketamine. Most hallucination stories are made up, because it’s very hard to describe the sensation of the part of the brain that interprets the outside world breaking down.

  45. MrJM says:

    More lo-carb propaganda, Mr. Doctorow?

  46. nutbastard says:

    I’d just like to chime in and say that LSD is very sensitive to heat, and would likely not survive the baking process intact (if introduced into the dough) even in huge quantities. AFAIK it’s only body heat that breaks it down when you take it. Could be wrong, though.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Reminds me of the creepy LSD experiment/murder at the end of The Men Who Stare at Goats (the book, not the crappy movie).

  48. Camp Freddie says:

    What a massive load of balls. If the story was based on an indian reservation or some black ghetto I might believe it (though I would still suspect ergot in any rural area).
    The idea that the CIA would risk international outrage for murdering citizens in the homeland of an allied nation is ridiculous.
    Especially not when they have plenty of ‘willing’ servicemen that they can poison.

  49. Beanolini says:

    A contemporary report in the British Medical Journal has a detailed description of the symptoms. They state that ‘delirium’ occured 10-12 days after the poisoned bread was eaten. This (along with convulsions, slow heartbeat, gangrene, ‘burning at the anus’, premature menstruation, and death) doesn’t sound a lot like LSD.

    A miller and a grain-seller were also apparently charged with involuntary homicide for selling poisoned grain.

    • dculberson says:

      That time line alone would be enough to discredit LSD as the cause. If the onset was anything other than an hour or two, then it was not LSD.

      I do understand that severe hallucinations can be terrifying, though. On at least one occasion I had reality “go away” as I like to describe it – and despite knowing on some level what was going on, it was pretty scary. Having it come out of the blue would be life changing, and that would be more likely with an uncontrolled dose.

      But I’m very wary of these claims; they reek of “chemical contrail” level crazy.

      I skimmed through the report and one thing that stood out was that the one woman that died had gangrene in her toes. That’s a symptom of ergotism. Also the onset of symptoms was 6 to 48 hours, far too long for LSD. The digestive upset lasted for far too long as well; more than 6 days in some of the severe cases. LSD is gone from your system in far less than 6 days. Additionally, several of the people died of purely physical effects, not from “jumping out windows.” I.e. muscle spasms. LSD is non-toxic and has no known fatal dosage level.

      I think it’s incredibly unlikely that this was LSD.

  50. Captdrastic says:

    Wow! Cory, thanks for posting. I did a bit of research on the context on this, and posted some more details here: http://infiniteteatime.blogspot.com/2010/03/le-pain-maudit-foreign-relations-at-its.html.

  51. Anonymous says:

    I think that Beanolini’s posted article rather shreds the secret LSD test theory.

  52. Anonymous says:

    The leading article is incorrect in saying that the CIA spiked the bread/flour. The CIA claimed that the flour was contaminated with ergot, which if ingested caused the same symptoms as LSD. However this was to COVER UP what the CIA had really done. Huge amounts of LSD, or BZ which is more potent than LSD, was sprayed into rain clouds over Pont St Esprit on the day in question, by means of a light plane with crop spraying apparatus.

    As the rain fell minute traces of the drug became absorbed into people’s mouths from the raindrops. It only needed a minute trace to cause the phycotic systems.
    Yes this is the CIA experimenting with LSD as a possible means of warfare to disable the enemy. How disgusting. France should demand some answers from the USA, and pretty dam quick.

  53. Anonymous says:

    Actually not so outrageous at all. Prominent Canadian member of parliament David Orlikow sued the CIA after it came out that his wife Velma was unwittingly spiked with LSD while a patient at a Montreal Institute where the CIA conducted its MK ULTRA brainwhashing experiments. She and 8 other patients successfully sued the CIA.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Orlikow

  54. Pipenta says:

    Well, there certainly seem to have a higher than usual number of trolls here today. Did some big snarky puberty chat close down, forcing their regulars to seek out some other place to entertain themselves? How tedious for all concerned.

    To the folks who’ve done a bit of blotter and had a mushroom or two and think they’re oh so experienced, please consider the potential variables in these situations:

    • Does the subject know he/she has been drugged?
    • If the subject knows that he/she has been drugged, was the participation voluntary, forced or coerced?
    • Has the subject had an experience with such a drug before?
    • If the subject is experienced with the drug, was that experience positive or negative?
    • Has the subject been able to prepare for the hallucinogenic trip?
    • Is the subject in a place where he/she feels safe and comfortable for the trip?
    • Does the subject have responsibilities they must accomplish while under the influence of the drug: responsibilities that might cause harm (physical/mental/social/monetary etc…) to self or others? (Driving a bus, tending small children, attending a PTA meeting, working in an ER, negotiating a business deal, breaking a horse…)
    • Is the subject in good physical health?
    • Is the subject in good mental health?
    • Is the subject with others who are aware of and supportive of their drug experience? (There are different ways to be supportive. Someone might take you on a field trip to an art museum to see the portrait of the drooling man because that is what everybody in town does when they trip, or they might escort you to a sacred place to invoke your animal spirit guide, OR they might be concerned medical personnel who want to talk you the fuck down. All of these people could be coming from a well-intentioned, thoughtful or compassionate place.)
    • If the subject is with supportive people, are those people under the influence of the drug or are they straight and have they ever experienced the drug.
    • Is the subject with others who are not supportive of the trip? Is there a danger of facing legal repercussions because of the drug? Are there perceived moral issues about the drug use? Are there freakin’ creepy-ass CIA spooks studying your terrified ass who literally do not give a shit if you live or die? Hmmmm?
    • Is the subject even aware of the possibility of hallucinogenic experiences, so that they might have a frame of reference and realize that the walls aren’t actually crawling, nor are they going insane?
    • Is the subject from, or living in a culture, which might have supernatural interpretations of hallucinations that are, how should I put this, less than comforting?
    • Is the subject surrounded by neighbors, coworkers, friends, family and other community members who have been collectively dosed with a strong hallucinogenic substance and who are all experiencing some kind of collective psychosis? In which case, not only are these people unable to help the subject, but their disorientation serves only to magnify the subject’s disorientation, the whole group amplifying and reinforcing the intensity of their experiences.

    I’m not as naïve as our new young posters here, not as determined to wrap myself in a cuddly blanket of “Oh the world is fine and people don’t do things like that and if it happened to me I could totally handle it anyway” bullshit.

    It seems clear to me how dosing a whole village of innocent people with a powerful hallucinogenic drug could go beyond freaky, beyond out of hand and turn into something flat out terrifying and tragic. And I certainly understand that are there are toxic people in positions of power who have historically done things as bad as this and worse.

    Interestingly, the one CIA person I ever met came from a family of sociopaths who considered him to be the creepy one. Guy had an affect as warm and fuzzy as Nosferatu.

    Ah government. They want to take pictures of you but you’re not allowed to take pictures of them. And they want to put drugs in your water, but if you take the drugs you want to take, they’ll put you in jail. Fun.

  55. justanotherusername says:

    This might be true. Or it might not be true. We will never know. There is not some laboratory experiment we can do to determine this. The End.

    But why do we even pretend to want to know? You already know the answer: the US government couldn’t possibly ever be involved in this. There are no secret agencies. There are no secret operations. Are you with us or against us? Are you a patriot or not?

    • holtt says:

      justanotherusername – actually it could very well be proven (or disproven). See my previous post. If odd chemicals got into the water, then they would be deposited into river beds and other areas. If they did not disintegrate over time, traces would be present in core samples taken from sedimentary deposits.

  56. zandar says:

    There is nothing funny at all about this.

    It seems on the same level, morality-wise, as mass torture.

    Maybe the Nazis really did take over the OSS when it became the CIA. This seems right out of their playbook.

  57. Anonymous says:

    WHERE DID YOU SAY YOU GET THIS BREAD?

  58. blue balaclava says:

    Wouldn’t it be more plausible that the CIA dosed the bread with LSD *and* ergot? Especially if the Company was experimenting with time-release LSD. It could happen….

    As for Why France? They eat fresh bread daily, silly — that means a bakery can distribute a dose to its town in 1-2 days, and have little bread left over for authorities to test later on.

    And, politically, France wasn’t the US’ friend during the Cold War — it pursued its own nuclear interests because it didn’t trust that the US would help Western Europe during a Soviet invasion. So if you wanted to dose a country not friendly enough to leave alone but friendly enough not to retaliate, France was a plausible choice.

    • sievetronix says:

      I believe it was Ergot but for devil’s advocacy sake I think at this point (depending on when this happened) the CIA had a pretty good handle on what LSD could do and possibllt LSD with some outside factors (disorenting would probably be the way to go)

  59. gollux says:

    Don’t let your Rye get rained on. Seeing the Ergot fungus in the seed heads means you should just burn the crop. That’s the lesson here. I haven’t heard of anyone developing gangrene from LSD which pretty well prooves it was Ergot poisoning. Cattle, sheep and goats get a necrotic ring round their hocks and their feet rot off from Ergot.

  60. vendorx says:

    A few points worth making

    1. LSD, even in extreme doses, doesn’t cause effects like this. Ergot does. Dculberson and Beanolini are correct, the odds that this was LSD are virtually NIL.

    2. This does not mean that the CIA didn’t run such tests, merely that they certainly didn’t, by themselves, cause those results.

    3. However, and not to pull an informal fallacy here, but the ‘source’ for this information is a regular contributor to the World Net Daily, which is a nightmarishly inaccurate rag.

    4. There’s always something funny about everything. Nobody needs the thought police trying to tell others what they can or can’t make a joke about.

  61. holtt says:

    I’m curious. Does LSD break down in a natural environment, or does it persist?

    I ask, because if there were chemical tracers, you could probably take core samples from local streams, rivers, septic tanks (if they hand’t ever been cleaned) or better yet garbage dumps and look for abnormal event layers that contained atypical chemicals attributable to LSD.

    Also, are there stories about animals freaking out? I am willing to bet that your average little town would have some local farms and pigs or chickens, and that they would be fed some of the scraps & slop. And if the LSD were in the food, there would be leftovers, which would be fed to the animals.

    Just analyzin’

  62. UncaScrooge says:

    There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that the CIA dosed people without the victim’s knowledge. There’s also plenty of evidence to suggest that even more hideous military experiments involving all manner of weapons-grade poisons and radioactive materials have been conducted on unwitting US citizens by various military/scientific organizations. Heaping this story on the pile simply discredits more serious accounts of these unpunished crimes.

  63. joelbenroth says:

    Scanning the comments there has been a total disregard for the horrific implication of the contamination of “local foot products.”

    Are we to understand that the French podiatry guild was in on it with the CIA?

    Dr. Scholl, please say is isn’t so!

  64. Acromegaly says:

    OMG I am laughing so hard I just spit on my screen!

    • Anonymous says:

      I understand why you laughed and I thought it was funny that you laughed and spit on your screen. Now, please clean that off. ;-)

  65. cory says:

    Jesus Christ. Was it the 11-year old who was drugged against his will and tried to kill his family member that you found so hilarious? Or perhaps the man who broke both his legs and then walked half a football field on those broken legs? I certainly can’t decide.

    How humorous our antics are.

    • godfathersoul says:

      Well, truth be told, i cn’t decide either. But something was making me laugh so hard…

      I AM A GOLDEN GOD!

      Fucking awesome.

    • mreddy1 says:

      really cory? why you gotta be so butthurt? on the one hand there isn’t anything laugh out loud funny about it, but on the other you don’t have to take so much offence.

  66. HowardsGrl says:

    Whatever the drug, the people not knowing they had ingested it could make the effects worse. I agree with the posts here that make that point. It would be very scary to have the experience of tripping and not knowing why. This type of thing actually happened where I live – small college town. A guy put acid in the coffee dispenser in the cafe of the college. Lots of people became ill, but nobody did anything ‘crazy’ like is described here. I think it made people throw up. The guy got caught, but not sure what the punishment was. He did end up doing time in prison in Texas, but for car theft sometime after the acid/coffee incident.

  67. i_prefer_yeti says:

    it was the “local foot products”

    those f*ckers got themselves a bad case of happy feet.

  68. angusm says:

    I imagine that checking the stamps in Sidney Gottlieb‘s passport might shed some light on this incident.

    • toxonix says:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_MKULTRA

      For anyone not familiar with project MK/ULTRA.
      I don’t recommend LSD for anyone with any major or minor depressive disorder, anxiety or suicidal tendencies.

      angusm • #40:
      I doubt Gottlieb would have only one passport to get around on. The CIA likes to keep the movements of its agents concealed.

  69. The Chemist says:

    I had a book about medical curiosities that credited this event to ergot fungus out of that bakery. Of course, LSD is derived from ergot so it’s the best explanation when you don’t really think to imagine an entire town got poisoned by the US government.

    • jackie31337 says:

      Yeah, ergot would have been my first suspect too. If in fact it was a conspiracy, putting the LSD in bread would probably lead most people to the same conclusion.

  70. douchesniper says:

    You forgot the “poorly infomed author sells books by alleging” prefix to your headline.

    See http://pipeline.corante.com/archives/2010/03/11/nonsense_about_lsd.php for a little context.

    • Avram / Moderator says:

      Douchesniper, the article at that link doesn’t actually refute Albarelli’s claim. Derek (the author of the article you link) isn’t even quoting Albarelli directly — his dismissal of Albarelli is based entirely on a chemistry error in the Telegraph‘s paraphrasing of Albarelli.

      The story may turn out to be false, but neither you nor Derek have done the work of refuting it.

      • joel_kelly says:

        Avram, what about the other, waaaay more plausible explanation of ergot poisoning? Unless Albarelli can actually produce the smoking gun he says he has (coincidentally, he does stand to generate a nice amount of publicity for his book through this claim), I think it’s fair to be extremely skeptical of this claim.

        Ergot fungi produces alkaloids that are chemically similar to LSD, but produce effects including hallucination and burning sensations in the extremities, which Lowe notes on his blog match up the reported symptoms better than LSD.

        In fact, the first synthesis of LSD was from ergot fungus.

        • Avram / Moderator says:

          What about it, joel_kelly?

          Skepticism’s a fine thing. Like I said, Albarelli’s claim might turn out to be false. Ergot might well turn out to be the better explanation.

          But none of that changes the fact that Douchesniper’s link dismissed Albarelli’s thesis on the grounds of a paraphrase by a third party.

    • lewis stoole says:

      douchesniper–i am in awe of your name and have decided to name my first born after you–not the christian name, mind you, but the middle; the christian name will be dedicated to a pope like honorius or lucius.

  71. greengestalt says:

    Hmmm….

    Now we know why, when some “Yippies” said more for attention and humor than anything that they were going to spike LSD into the water supply, there was a small army of “Da Fuzz” patrolling the river. The CIA probably tipped them off what it could do, cause they knew so well…

  72. chris23 says:

    There are other incidents some claim were induced by ergot-infected rye, for example…

    The Salem Witch Trials
    http://www.damninteresting.com/bad-rye-and-the-salem-witches

    And the French Revolution
    http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Ergot

    • jetfx says:

      Ergot poisoning for the Salem Witch trial is plausible although unlikely, but the French Revolution? It’s absurd to suggest that people had to have been crazy when they decided to do away with oppressive feudal and ecclesiastical privileges, on top of the fact that there are much more obvious reasons like economic hardship and political unrest.

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