Welcome to The Poison Path: A walk through the majestic realm of poisonous plants in a journey through the botanical underworld. The Poison Path is a spiritual brand of shamanism and Herbalism that centers around plants of poison. This carries with it a sense of symbolism that we face poison in all aspects of energy in our life every single waking day. Fundamentally, the key is in how we shape and transmute reality that brings us back into alignment with Self. The implications of this can lead us to healing life or accursed souls. This is the way for those who know how to walk that line. Half in the heavens, half in the void. Shaping with it the quest for knowledge and wisdom.
Currently, this site has its main focus in the realms of the Solanaceae, or Nightshade family – Datura, Deadly Nightshade, Angel’s Trumpet, Henbane, Mandrake, Solandra, Scopolia, Duboisa, etc. Those are the Tropane-containing Nightshades. This site is focusing on the history and interaction with our species.
Here below are the Posts I have written on the history of the Nightshade Family. Enjoy them as they are guaranteed to be the most fascinating group of plants you will ever learn of! The macabre of the plant kingdom. The most medicinal plants but yet the most toxic. A strange paradox…
When I came across her world It activated something inside, like a call from a spirit guide, and I awakened to it with passion and Heart. That love and passion is the drive behind creating this page.
As far as the realm of the Poison Path in relation to herbalism and spiritual insight, It will come together in time. What will end up happening is that this page will splinter into 2 separate sites. One will cover the Poison Path as a spiritual way, and the other will cover the Nightshade Family history and its interaction with man.
Unknown by most, the witch flying on her broomstick was a symbolic representation of the flying ointment, using the nightshade plants for the purpose of astral travel. The astral realm is sometimes considered the dream world. The world of spirits. The other side. We visit the astral realm every night when we enter the dreamscape. The witch would use plants such as belladonna, henbane, and mandrake turned into a paste that would be applied to the skin. These alkaloids, absorbed through the skin, would begin to take hold and break down the barriers between the physical and spirit realms. This would become an important tool and technology for accessing the astral landscape of the Underworld. So let the work begin…
Many different combinations and ingredients have been used in the recipes of flying ointment throughout history. Much of what we know of the this practice seems to be out of European shamanism and traditional witchcraft. And although we find most of the history of the ointment based in Europe, it has also surfaced in Latin American shamanism and Mexican Brujeria. I tend to think this may have been universal in shamanic practice. So much of ancient shamanism and traditional medicine recognize the immense value of these plants. They cover a vast landscape of application.
If you want a historical look through the study of rare manuscripts and historical fact on the flying ointment, The Witches’ Ointment: The Secret History of Psychedelic Magic, by Thomas Hatsis, has detailed some of the history. This is purely an academic look at what survives of manuscripts, documents, and things of that nature. You will not get a look into how it is made or used. You will not get any insight on astral travel or the philosophy of the poison path. It is rather dull in my opinion. But nonetheless it is still a piece of understanding its history, from a time when it was demonized as a tool of evil and black magic. You may not get much from it but you will get something. Many times I have read long and boringly bland books that gave me maybe one good piece of information, but knowledge still worth knowing, so you have the idea. It all adds to the bigger picture
The recipes of the flying ointment are many but for the most part we work with the tropane-based nightshade family. We find various combinations of nightshade plants like Mandrake, Henbane, Belladonna, and Datura. And sometimes, we find other psychoactive and poisonous additions like Hemlock, Opium, Ergot, and toad poisons. Other areas of my research have also shown combinations using foxglove, and the highly toxic Aconitum napellus, or Monkshood. This is the land of Veneficium, the branch we call the Poison Path.
Speaking of which, If you want something more insightful and satisfying from an occult perspective of the Poison Path, Veneficium by Daniel A. Schulke, is a worthy study of work. This is much more in tune with learning the philosophy and alchemy of the Poison Path. I could read this over and over and I go back to read it quite frequently, because sometimes the mind needs to keep telling itself the same thing over and over. Because that’s when the brain really starts to absorb, not simply by reading, but by study. Repetition. This is a theme that will continue to resonate if you want to consider stepping into any occult school of thought. This is a life work. An elevation of consciousness. A conscious effort to change. And repetition is the method to changing. Rewiring and forming a pact with your base desires to get in line and heed to the call of higher order.
to the Latin and South American shaman, The flying ointment is known by many different names but the procedure is pretty much the same. Although many of them have used it by ingesting tea along with other ingredients. Brugmansia and Datura are more the staple in these areas whereas belladonna, henbane, and mandrake are more common in the European traditions.
Two books I absolutely recommend on Mexican and Latin American traditions of brujeria and shamanism using the ointments are works by James Endredy, one called The Flying Witches of Veracruz and another called Lightning in My Blood. These books were very interesting. If you like Carlos Castaneda you will enjoy these. Apparently he had studied under a powerful curendero and curenderas (healers) that taught him to use the paste of Datura stramonium and Datura ceratocaula to achieve astral flight. Now I cannot say for certain whether this is an entirely real account. The same speculation was abound towards Castaneda. But like I said there is still a treasure trove of insight and I am sure he is telling of real traditions in that area. So at the very least, you can learn that this practice of applying the flying ointment is much more widespread among the path of shamanism. Every book has something to tell. Something to show and add to your knowledge base. And in this study you need all you can get.
As far as the experience itself and using flying ointment. What can we expect and just how far can we take this? What price would be the end result? In terms of the flying ointment used for astral travel, the point is not necessarily to bring on a hallucinogenic experience. This is more subtle. This is about removing the barriers between us and the spirit world. I still experiment with higher and higher doses of alkaloids. I have no choice but to play the role of guinea pig to acquire the lessons of how to get the dosage correct. She seems to bind well with me at this pace.
The only time I reach considerable doses where delirium starts to manifest is by consuming the seeds of Datura or the berries of belladonna. But know that this is highly not recommended and you do so at your own risk. And I have always gone up by degrees and not big leaps. The risk there is self evident.
And there are quite a few physical drawbacks when it comes to ingesting plant material. For one, it will shut down your digestive system and it will take time to return to its normal state. What I mean is you can eat or drink something and it will sit in your stomach and you will feel full. So fasting goes a long way in that respect. the other drawback is the stiffness and restlessness you get from some of the alkaloids, and I believe that is largely the effect of atropine, although I may not be correct on that. There is a feeling like you could punch through ten steel walls. Maybe a good idea before a fight, but not before bed. It severely affects your ability to sleep. This comes on even before hallucinogenic doses.
I have concluded that the best way to work with her directly on that front is transdermal. But getting the correct dosage is a process. At this time I am experimenting with a few different methods of extraction. It takes time. And repetition. You are building a relationship with her spirit. You cannot know her secrets all at once or in a short time period. She has to trust you and you have to be patient. Otherwise you will feel her wrath. And hard lessons don’t come cheap with the Nightshade Spirit.
I currently have my original Flying Ointment “Flying Oil #5” that was made with Atropa belladonna, Datura stramonium var. tatula, and Brugmansia X a hybrid that appears to be part Brugmansia suaveolens and part Brugmansia insignis. I cannot say for sure as it was sold to me as Brugmansia versicolor but clearly it is not a B. versicolor. In any event, it is a beautiful Brugmansia and an excellent addition to the traditional recipe. It can be purchased here : Flying Oil #5.
I use the flying oil in many sessions of meditation, automatic writing, and pretty much anything that has to do with tapping into the creative side or the spirit world. And the two are very much related. I find that my ability to concentrate, whether I am writing music or making visual art, is magnified and I am extremely focused. I have gotten a lot of productive work done while using it. I would however say that you should not rely on it to get into this state, but only somewhat frequently when the mind needs that extra push.
If we are to enter the void, the land of infinite ether, the Great Unknown. There is only one enemy: Your Fears. And a large part of the initiation process of higher learning in the occultism of self development requires the practitioner to battle his or her fears. This is the Atropos that cuts the cord of life. The cold hands of antithesis that fills your heart with black ice. So just remember. The only one who is preventing you from flying free is yourself…
Tropane Alkaloids in Ancient Practice & Modern Medicine:
Hidden Healing and Curative Properties of a Demonized Plant
"All things are poison and no thing is without poison; the dose makes it a poison or a remedy." - Paracelsus
While the alkaloids of a tropane-based nightshade plant can be considered some of the most devious poisons and feared hallucinogenic substances known to man, there is actually a profound flip side to this equation. The tropane alkaloids- atropine, scopolamine, and hyoscyamine, are also some of the most medicinal compounds when used in smaller amounts.
These plants have been used medicinally and as hallucinogens since the very beginning of our recorded history. It is very important to remember that a poison is only a poison in its dosage. All the medications people take everyday, they have dosages for a simple reason that if the medicinal dosage is exceeded it then becomes a poison. Everything is in some way a poison at a much higher dosage than its suggested use, as so eloquently stated by Paracelsus, an early pioneer of herbalism, alchemy, and healing.
The Way of Solanaceae: Ancient Medicine & Powerful Hallucinogen
The medicinal use of compounds from tropane-based plants in the nightshade family, or Solanaceae, literally stretch across to the entire globe. From Japan to India, Russia to all of Europe, North America to Mexico, to South America, and even to Australia, these plants have always been a staple in either medicinal or spiritual applications worldwide.
Gift of the Gods
These plants have been used by shamans and witches for centuries to open channels to the other side. The elements of reality we see are coming through at a certain vibration. My theory is that since the brain has different channels to perceive it can alternate between different dimensions as though they were channels on a T.V. The brain can attune to other dimensions of time and space by altering the rate of vibration with either powerful meditation or in this case from the ingestion of a powerful hallucinogen. This opens the doorway to communication with the underworld in a dimension far removed from our current medium of reality. This can be further explored from my post on Zombie Parties & Phantom Cigarettes: Strange Phenomena in the Realms of the Unexplained.
A shaman never takes a hallucinogen like a recreational drug or just to feel good. A Shaman takes it with an intent and in combination with meditation or spiritual guidance to see into the spirit world to get information or answers to a problem within his living community. Keep in mind that the survival of a tribe or peoples sometimes depended on the guidance of the shaman and sometimes the way a shaman accessed sensitive information was through the use of plants that brought on knowledge given from the Creator, Gods, or Mother Earth.
Whether the information was thought to be contained in the plant itself or the plant loosened the barriers to communicate with the higher intelligence is not entirely clear in every tribe or people. But the usage of hallucinogenic plants to interact with these other worlds is highly documented around the world.
A Most Ancient Medicine
At the beginning of recorded history solanaceous compounds were being used in medicine. These are truly among the most ancient forms of medicine on record. It was first uncovered that Atropa belladonna was used by the Sumerians as psychiatric medicine to treat conditions brought on by demons that caused depression, psychosis, and delusions.
Whether in India, Japan, Peru, Mexico, Europe, or North America, The indigenous people in these areas all recognize the medicinal value of tropane-based nightshade plants like belladonna, datura, mandrake, henbane, brugmansia, among others. With herbal medicine its application was even more far reaching.
Rashes & Skin Inflammation
In South America tribes have used the leaves of Brugmansia suaveolens to treat skin rashes, wounds, ulcers, and snakebites. These were helpful in the treatment of the pain involved and to help speed healing. Since tropanes promote a dryness of fluids, this would make sense.
In many areas Datura is smoked to relieve asthma. This was practiced in India for a very long time. The leaves are also smoked with other herbs like tobacco, marijuana and opium. Smoked alone it produced a high similar to marijuana.
In South America they have employed Brugmansia versicolor in birth control. Although what this did to prevent or reduce the risk of pregnancy is not entirely clear
Fever and Malaria
In Indian medicine the fruit of Datura metel was used in the treatment of colds, phlegmatic and bilious fevers such as malaria. It was parched in clay pots with cow dung and heated with fire. Afterwards the burnt material was powdered and kept for use in treatment of malaria and fevers alike.
Datura seeds were used in the treatment of patchy baldness. As Indian Dr. Navin Yoshi points out “A paste made with datura seeds, liquorice, saffron and milk cream is heated in coconut oil thoroughly till the solid mass converts to a charred powder. The oil when applied on bald patches has the power to stimulate hair growth.”
Analgesic and Soporific Sponge
Hyoscyamus niger and Mandragora officianarum have been recognized in more ancient European times in the treatment of pain and especially used a soporific sponge- something used to cause a profound sleep before specific medical operations and bone setting. This would be like an anesthesia before surgery.
a concentrated oil made with Datura leaves, swallow wort, and sesame oil was prepared in the treatment of earache. A few drops of this oil was dropped into the ear and it cured earache and other infections in or around the ear.
The condition of impotency was treated using “The seeds of 15 ripe fruits should be extracted and boiled in eight kilograms of cow’s milk on gentle fire. This milk should then be made into curd in the usual way and churned the next morning to extract butter which is stored in a broad-mouthed bottle. This butter, massaged every morning and evening on the penis and the spine, will provide the desired effect. It is also used as an oral medicine. Four grains with betel leaf can be taken. The use of this butter both externally and internally in this way will gradually promote health and vigor and restore absolute fitness in the body.”*
Indian and other traditional Chinese medicine have recognized the power of tropane alkaloids in treating anxiety disorders. Datura metel was the most commonly used Datura plant in Asia. This has been something I have always wanted to see more research on as I believe that the study of anxiolytics is extremely relevant in today’s society. It would be interesting to measure acetylcholine levels during a state of anxiety. And if this shows to have a heightened flow of acetylcholine during such sates then an anticholinergic would make a lot of sense. I tend to think it’s a worthy area of study.
In parts of Africa Atropa belladonna is used in the treatment of depression. This practice, as I stated earlier, originated at the beginning of recorded history with the Sumerians using it to treat depression caused by ‘demons’.
Aside from what you see before you, I’m sure there are even more applications out there in obscure places, but you get the idea. These are some of the best plants to have at your disposal. If you are an herbalist or even a survivalist it would be a good thing to know how to use these plants. I always go with the notion that if you don’t know your poisons and how to use them medicinally, you’re not the healer you could be.
The use of solanaceous compounds by the modern medical industry is almost as diverse and far reaching as its use in traditional herbal and ancient medicine. In our next section we find these plant compounds at work in so many different areas of medicine and as she so ominously prefers it she remains almost hidden in the backdrop…
“Acetylcholine is a parasympathetic neurotransmitter in the brain. I know. it doesn’t really explain things if you aren’t familiar with biology, medicine, toxicology, etc. I will do my best to bridge the gap and put it in such a way that anyone can understand it.
The brain has many important compounds needed to run the body. but for this lesson think of Acetylcholine as say, Windows for a computer. The glue that keeps the system in place to run smoothly. It allows programs to interact with other programs, download information from the net, etc. Much like acetylcholine does within our system. If you removed Windows or OS X from your Computer It would crash.
Parasympathetic means that its actions run “alongside” other transmitters and receptors keeping the nervous systems going. A neurotransmitter is an organic chemical within the brain that relays messages and allows certain functions to occur in the body and mind. Acetylcholine allows calculations and messages to communicate and command important functions autonomously: on its own and without us having to think about it.
Some of these functions include:
Rest and digest responses
It may not be the sole commander in all of these functions but rest assured Acetylcholine makes it all possible. Acetylcholine is a biological necessity in keeping life going.”
The regulation and balance of acetylcholine is extremely important and necessary to maintaining health. That being said, let’s take a look at the ways tropane alkaloids have been useful in bringing our health back into balance…
In the medical industry smoking has always been said to be a hazard among people suffering from asthma. But yet interestingly enough, There was a medicine made by the R. Schiffmann Company in the 1800’s called Asthmador. It was a powdered mixture that was added to herbs and smoked as a cigarette. The main ingredients were hyoscyamine and atropine. These ingredients, when smoked, helped the lungs and the bronchial region to breathe better.
Kind of a paradox in how we understand asthma and smoking today but its the smoking of these horrible commercial cigarettes that made smoking with asthma so horrible. Commercial cigarettes have all sorts of additives that are extremely toxic and unhealthy to the body and especially the lungs. So it is no wonder why smoking with asthma was seen as so destructive. But if the cigarettes were medicated and smoked with herbs known to be easy on the lungs then it can be understood why it happened to be so widespread at one point. But as always with the spirit of Nightshade, she prefers to function in a paradox realm…
Stomach & Digestive Disorder
Many stomach and digestive disorders, diseases, and infections can be alleviated by introducing tropanes into the equation. Because the regulation of the digestive tract is directly regulated by the flow of acetylcholine, administering tropane-based medications can clear this up extremely well, in most cases. These would be disorders such as:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Gastritis/Colitis (inflammation of the digestive tract)
Stomach ulcers (sores in the digestive system)
Some of these medications employ tropane alkaloids, which were generically named belladonna alkaloids, and mixed with a sedative barbiturate like phenobarbital. This combination became a most prescribed drug for such disorders under the brand name Donnatal. The belladonna alkaloids are potent in their dosage guidelines and only small amounts of it would be administered in each tablet or elixir dose. This would be a typical dosage of Donnatal:
Motion Sickness & Nausea
Scopolamine has a large place in the medicinal prevention of motion sickness, and especially so with the nausea associated with post-surgery sickness. There is a transdermal scopolamine patch under the brand name Scopoderm. This is a small, clear patch placed behind the ear and allowed to absorb and distribute 1.5 mg of scopolamine over the course of 3 days.
Atropine: The Antidote for Nerve Gas Poisoning
Atropine is an extremely effective antidote for nerve gas poisoning. In the military field many soldiers are equipped with an atropine injection shot that would be administered in the event of nerve gas poisoning.
MARK I Kit, is United States military nomenclature for the “Nerve Agent Antidote Kit”. It is a dual-chamber auto-injector: Two anti-nerve agent drugs — atropine sulfate and pralidoxime chloride — each in injectable form, constitute the kit. The kits are only effective against the nerve gents tabun (GA), sarin (GB), soman (GD) and VX.
If you read my post on acetylcholine and how tropane alkaloids tend to block the flow of acetylcholine, you will understand how this works. A nerve agent is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. This inhibits the acetylcholinesterase enzyme from properly breaking down acetylcholine, thereby flooding the brain with too much acetylcholine. As a result, You will have such effects:
Runny nose and eyes
increased salivation, drooling, foaming at the mouth
small, constricted, pinpoint pupils
So with an anticholinergic agent like atropine, this will halt that overflow of acetylcholine in the brain, thereby bringing the affected person back to health
Twilight Sleep & Child Birth
Scopolamine is also used in combination with morphine to induce a “twilight sleep” while a mother was giving birth. This would combine a shot of analgesia with amnesia. Pain relief and no memory of the event. Once a sought after method, but not without some residual downsides. Removal from the birth experience was important to many mothers. And the primary concern was the effect scopolamine had on the newborn. This would sometimes produce a drowsy, depressed baby with abnormal breathing, and some difficulty in resuscitation.
Hyoscyamine & Parkinson’s Disease
Hyoscyamine is another tropane alkaloid useful in many of the above ailments and disease. But Hyoscyamine is also recognized to help in reducing the effects of Parkinson’s Disease. These include things like drooling, muscle tremors, twitching, etc.
The Future of Tropane Alkaloids in Modern Medicine
This next section will take a look at the potentials of tropane alkaloids in the areas of medicine that are needed most in this troubled world. I believe that these compounds have a much needed place in helping some of the sick in our society. I believe that there is promising research to be done with tropane alkaloids in the treatment of:
Drug addiction & withdrawal
Drug Addiction & Withdrawal
Its no secret that society in all areas of the world has been riddled with the unfortunate problem of drug addiction. Adding to these already deadly behavior patterns are the agonizing withdrawals produced by opiate-based drugs like heroin, morphine, Oxycontin, fentanyl. Sometimes even more long and drawn out with opiate-derivative drugs like Methadone and Suboxone. There are also a wide variety other drugs that can bring on extremely unpleasant experiences similar to these.
runny nose & eyes
inability to sleep
goose bumps on the skin
nausea and vomiting
high blood pressure
Now let’s look at scopolamine as a potential treatment for this issue.
We know that scopolamine is used for intestinal disorders. This will stop:
Notice how some of these effects have some common effects of nerve gas poisoning. We know that tropanes like scopolamine and atropine dry up the system. This will take care of:
runny nose & eyes
We know that scopolamine is used to treat motion sickness. This would remove:
Nausea and vomiting.
We know that Hyoscyamine is used to treat muscle issues and general restlessness in Parkinson’s Disease. So this could also play a part in relieving:
We know that scopolamine is used to put mothers in child birth into twilight sleep. It is generally known to have sedative qualities that would reduce agitation/anxiety and enable one to sleep. This would reverse:
Inability to sleep
Now we are left with
High blood pressure
Goosebumps on the skin
These could be probably be managed with some other medications and it is possible that the general sedative quality of scopolamine could bring these things down but as far as alleviating the suffering of withdrawal is concerned, this is very promising. I’m very surprised that the medical industry has not run any clinical trials, considering how many people are affected by opiate addiction today. It has become like an epidemic here in the United States.
There is however, promising research already done by a group of doctors in China who actually ran the trials with much success and it seems that he is using that method regularly now for opiate addicts. I found this information in a published medical journal entitled:
This was run by a Dr. Yang G., Xu K., and Luo Q. at the Ningbo Drug Withdrawal Research Center in Ningbo, China.
The trial was as follows:
To evaluate the efficacy of treatment of heroin addicts (n = 100) by scopolamine detoxification (10 days program).
Methadone detoxification (10 days program) group (n = 50) and clonidine treated group (n = 50) served as controls.
The scores of abstinence syndrome in scopolamine detoxification group were lower that those in clonidine treated group in the first three days of protocol, but this difference disappeared in the late stage of treatment. While scopolamine detoxification was effective as methadone detoxification in the control of abstinence syndrome during the first five days of treatment but the difference in the scores of abstinence syndrome between scopolamine and methadone group was observed during the late five days of protocol. The side-effects produced by scopolamine in general were dry mouth, somnolence, tachycardia, blurred vision and so on, which relieved gradually or disappeared with decreasing of its doses.
Scopolamine does not result in potential dependence and has definite curative effect in the treatment of heroin addiction.
So here we have it that in fact scopolamine is very useful in the treatment of opiate withdrawal and the management of the early stages, without having to resort to keeping patients on more addictive opiate based medications like Suboxone and Methadone.
There are also a few other articles I found in published medical journals on these same principles and some by the same doctors:
The use of solanaceous compounds could be a very promising road for those who suffer from anxiety disorders if the medical industry found it a worthy road for research. I’m actually very surprised it hasn’t been studied already. I had been wondering for some time now if there’s a relationship between acetylcholine & anxiety. I would bet to say there is a definitive link.
I was talking to a Dr. Marina Picciotto, PhD from the Yale School of Medicine in recent months about tropane alkaloids in the study of anxiolytics, or anti-anxiety medication. She did some research earlier in her career with anticholinergics in the treatment of depression. I asked her if there was any research done on anticholinergics in treating anxiety. She was not aware of any research being done on humans but her response is telling because apparently there was some research done on mice and found that link between acetylcholine and anxiety:
“Acetylcholine blockers have not been tried for anxiety in humans, that I know of, but increasing acetylcholine in mouse brain increases behaviors related to anxiety. This could be an interesting direction for human anxiolytic development.“
We know from earlier in this post that some of the traditional medicine of India and surrounding areas have utilized Datura metel in the treatment of anxiety for many years. There is only one rationale explanation for their continual practice of using it to treat anxiety: it works.
the solanaceae and Major Depression
It is a fact that when the brain produces too much acetylcholine this can result in depression. So if that is true an anticholinergic must be of some use. After all, it has been used in traditional medicine for such a condition. Earlier in this post we saw how some of the earliest known people, the Sumerians, used Atropa belladonna for this condition. This could very well be the earliest known treatment for depression.
Fast forward to current time, as I stated just above that a Dr. Marina Picciotto, PhD from Yale had initially done some research in this area of anticholinergics for the treatment of depression. How far she went with this is currently unknown to me, but how she came to the conclusion that an anticholinergic could possibly be a remedy for depression is still unclear. Perhaps it was the research done on what happens in the brain when acetylcholine production is on overdrive that brought her to this conclusion. What is rather telling, given that Ms. Picciotto is unaware of the Sumerian people’s remedy for depression, Atropa belladonna as an anticholinergic, may be more revealing than meet’s the eye. Perhaps the Sumerians were not as primitive as we originally thought?
A Sacred Plant long demonized
It seems to sometimes be forgotten that the Dark Lady that is the Spirit of Nightshade is not always as mean and sinister as she is painted to be. She gets a bad rap because unsuspecting teenagers and thrill seekers don’t treat her with respect. They go tear off a few seedpods from a neighbor’s datura plant because they heard one could ‘trip’ or ‘get fucked up’ off it. The next thing you know one kid is dead and two surviving friends come back with a horror story of an intense hallucinogenic experience of what her world was like.
Then there is the criminal element of scopolamine. How dangerous her gifts can be when used for criminal intent or even murder. But this again, is misuse of the plant and it cannot be held against her because people have malice in their hearts.
I once came across someone in a forum on a psychedelics website who blamed the Manson Family murders solely on the fact that months before the Tate Murders they had used jimsonweed excessively. That this was the cause. Charlie did not brainwash them. She made them do it.
So quick to place blame on these compounds and on her in general but not many seem to recognize all the good that she has brought our species. How painful things like bone setting would have been if not for the soporific sponge of nightshade plants like henbane and mandrake. How horrible a death would have resulted on the killing fields if not for atropine to reverse the deadly effects of nerve agents? The people of indigenous tribes have always recognized the tropane-based nightshade plant as a sacred plant. This was a gift of the Gods and for a plant that can bring so many things to both shaman and his people as both entheogen and medicine, it was right to embrace it as such. Our current paradigm, far removed from the give and take of nature, loses so much in denying our connection to sacred plants. And as far as sacred plants are concerned, the Nightshade family is one of a kind. For what plant could open the doors of death as well as it opens the doors to life?
Ayushdarpan. “Medicinal Importance of Thorn Apple/Datura Metel/Angel’s Trumpet.” YouTube. YouTube, 2012. Web. 02 Aug. 2016.
Cleversley, Keith. “Datura Metel – Indian Thorn Apple – Entheology.com.” Entheology.com. N.p., 2002. Web. 03 Aug. 2016.
Jackson, Mark. ““Divine Stramonium”: The Rise and Fall of Smoking for Asthma.” Medical History. Medical History, 2010. Web. 03 Aug. 2016.
“Potential Root Cause of Depression Discovered by NARSAD Grantee.” Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (Formerly NARSAD). N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Aug. 2016. Asthma.” Medical History. Medical History, 2010. Web. 01 Aug. 2016.
“Twilight Sleep in Obstetrics.” MedicineNet. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 July 2016.
Intelligence Agencies and The Search for an All-Subversive Agent
In the 1970’s all hell broke loose when an article in The New York Times surfaced about the CIA’s Project MKULTRA human mind-control program. This was a program to study how the human mind can be subverted, manipulated, incapacitated, wiped clean, or exploited as a technique of war. The project was carried out on unwitting civilian test subjects through the use of drugs, hypnosis, sexual abuse, sensory deprivation, and torture. This began in the late 1950’s and carried on through the 60’s and early 70’s. And although they claimed it stopped there, this should mean little coming from the organization that is structured on the art of deception. Almost all of the research and documentation has probably been either hidden away or destroyed lest its crimes exposed and its names prosecuted.
Most of what the public knows about MKULTRA, if much at all, would say “it was about LSD and the search for a truth serum.” but the well-informed members of society and researchers out there understand MKULTRA was a covert mind-control program that sought about exploiting and abusing unwitting citizens to produce effects and actions against the will of that individual, against the law of the land, and in certain times even at the cost of life itself.
MKULTRA experimentation was carried out in many facilities across the United States, but some of the most inhumane experimentation happened on Canadian soil, at the Allen Memorial Institute, in Montreal. Headed by a Dr. Ewen Cameron, a prestigious Psychiatrist and at one time a president of the AmericanPsychiatric Association. Many of the unwitting participants had checked into the hospital for something treatable, only to have their whole life destroyed and forever traumatized by these horrific experiments.
From a little research utilizing the extensive literature out there on MKULTRA, with similar programs like ARTICHOKE, MKOFTEN, MKDELTA, and its many other names, it is clear that their interest in drugs mainly had to do with isolating and fine tuning substances for such uses as:
An agent that could create the highest suggestibility, having a subject without question act in a way contrary to his/her individual will, against their own safety, and preferably hidden in a state of amnesia upon awakening.
B) Incapacitating Agent
An agent that could completely incapacitate one from performing duties or daily activities from anywhere from hours to days.
C) Truth Serum
An agent that could create a state where the ability to lie is not withstanding and the known information is withdrawn accurately without much effort.
The full spectrum of the avenues covered by drugs in mind-control programs were listed as:
Substances which will promote illogical thinking and impulsiveness to the point where the recipient would be discredited in public.
Substances which increase the efficiency of mentation and perception.
Materials which will cause the victim to age faster/slower in maturity.
Materials which will promote the intoxicating effect of alcohol.
Materials which will produce the signs and symptoms of recognized diseases in a reversible way so that they may be used for malingering, etc.
Materials which will cause temporary/permanent brain damage and loss of memory.
Substances which will enhance the ability of individuals to withstand privation, torture and coercion during interrogation and so-called “brain-washing”.
Materials and physical methods which will produce amnesia for events preceding and during their use.
Physical methods of producing shock and confusion over extended periods of time and capable of surreptitious use.
Substances which produce physical disablement such as paralysis of the legs, acute anemia, etc.
Substances which will produce a chemical that can cause blisters.
Substances which alter personality structure in such a way that the tendency of the recipient to become dependent upon another person is enhanced.
A material which will cause mental confusion of such a type that the individual under its influence will find it difficult to maintain a fabrication under questioning.
Substances which will lower the ambition and general working efficiency of men when administered in undetectable amounts.
Substances which promote weakness or distortion of the eyesight or hearing faculties, preferably without permanent effects.
A knockout pill which can surreptitiously be administered in drinks, food, cigarettes, as an aerosol, etc., which will be safe to use, provide a maximum of amnesia, and be suitable for use by agent types on an ad hoc basis.
A material which can be surreptitiously administered by the above routes and which in very small amounts will make it impossible for a person to perform physical activity.
Historically, I will point out that scopolamine has been employed to carry out most if not all of these agendas in some form or another at differing times and places, long before the CIA began its infamous mind-control program at the start of the Cold War.
Part I: secrets on the outside
From the earliest of times, the tropane-based nightshade plants have been used in chemical warfare, and criminal poisoning to manipulate or greatly reduce a target’s ability to function in that setting. In the past, soldiers from other armies would be lured into drinking wine laced with henbane, mandrake, or deadly nightshade, only to be left wandering about as rambling, incoherent idiots. An example of this being Antony’s Army in the Parthian Wars. The solanaceous plants were some of the earliest known forms of chemical warfare and poisoning used in the fine art of war.
the tropane alkaloids (atropine, scopolamine, hyoscyamine) have an extremely versatile role in cultures worldwide. They can heal the body of everyday ailments, they can ease suffering, they can be used for deep sleep in painful situations like bone-setting, and they can also kill. As they were used for spiritual and divine purposes by the shaman and witch-doctor alike, they were also used to carry out dirty and deceptive deeds as well.
On the one hand, someone could argue that the tropanes are far too incapacitating with too many nasty side effects that make it difficult to work on a subject. The ‘delirium’ would make one uncooperative, irrational, and full of nonsensical communication. Nothing could get done, and would be shrugged off as useless…
On the other hand, could the delirium be reduced and controlled by dosage while also bringing through the submissive, zombie-like state that renders one capable of control? Could it be possible for someone to have you drugged, take control and coerce you into actions against that which you would ever think to do otherwise while in this state? Think about being in a blackout drunken stupor and led into doing foolish things by party-goers and you start to understand where I am going with this. With such high suggestibility the subject could be extremely malleable. Taking control of such an individual would not be so out of question.
One thing to consider among the use of tropane alkaloids in application for use in a military setting, there are over 500 variations and derivatives of the original 3 most known tropanes available from the plant material. With this in mind, fine tuning the substance has probably had an amazing run in a classified setting, with plenty of time to get it right.
In Latin American culture, the criminal use of scopolamine is a real threat to many ordinary people living there. There are reports of people unwittingly swept under its spell by drugging and will empty their bank accounts, give all their furniture away, passcodes, Bank account numbers, credit cards, anything of value.
In one case there was a woman in Bogota, Columbia who last remembers riding a city bus with her newborn baby. Three days later she awakens in a hospital after being found badly beaten and wandering around topless on the median strip of a busy highway. “When I woke up in the hospital, I asked for my baby and nobody said anything. They just looked at me.” Her baby was nowhere to be found. Police believed that she was drugged with scopolamine and her baby was taken by gang members involved in the trafficking of infants.
It might be hard to believe that a mother would actually give up her baby to strangers, some would say impossible. But under the spell of scopolamine it can happen very easily. This is because once the confusion takes control she is immediately thrown into a state similar to a blackout drunk. She is unaware of her present life, what she was just doing, where she was going, who she was with, who is a danger from who is not. They may ask her to hand over the baby, and while obliviously handing him over she is unable to connect the dots that she is actually giving away her own child. As she is not able to rationalize or account for her actions and responsibilities, she cannot see the gravity of her situation either- That her son is out of her arms and gone forever.
Scopolamine also made headlines in the 1920’s as a ‘truth serum’ when a man by the name of Dr. Robert House, an obstetrician, discovered scopolamine as a means to extract information out of people. He was very much opposed to a criminal’s constitutional rights being used to cover his tracks and thought this would be the glue to getting more convictions and letting go of those who were falsely accused but actually innocent. Scopolamine was the answer. As he stated in his some of his articles concerning scopolamine:
“Scopolamine will depress the cerebrum to such a degree as to destroy the power of reasoning. Events stored in the cerebrum as memory can be obtained by direct stimulation of the centers of hearing.
My attention was first attracted to this peculiar phenomenon September 7, 1916, while conducting a case of labor under the influence of scopolamine. We desired to weigh the baby, and inquired for the scales. The husband stated that he could not find them. The wife, apparently sound asleep, spoke up and said, ‘They are in the kitchen on a nail behind the picture.” The fact that this woman suffered no pain and did not remember when her child was delivered, yet could answer correctly a question she had overheard, appealed to me so strongly that I decided to ascertain if that in reality were another function of scopolamine. In a confinement case you find your dosage by engaging the patient in conversation, to note the memory test. Hence my investigation was a simple matter. I observed that, without exception, the patient always replied with the truth. The uniqueness of the results obtained from a large number of cases examined was sufficient to prove to me that I could make anyone tell the truth on any question.”
All this is very telling because thus far we are able to ascertain how a drug like scopolamine can:
A) Induce a state where the victim will give anything away, even her most precious baby boy, without having any misgivings about it at the time. Without rationale or thinking of consequence.
B) Act on the brain in such a way that when under the influence of scopolamine the subject is unaware of the need to deceive, and likely to respond truthfully with what they know in regards to a question asked.
Understand that these two characteristics make a perfect setting for control of the mind and it has already displayed a wide spectrum of application long before the official search for such a drug began in Project MKULTRA. Perhaps the LSD was not the main attraction within the walls of MKULTRA…
Part II: secrets on the inside
Unfortunately, because of the nature of classified information, and especially so with the Central Intelligence Agency, much of what took place in project MKULTRA, MKDELTA, MKNOAMI, MKOFTEN, MKSEARCH, ARTICHOKE, and the rest of the mind-control operations of the early days of mind control have thankfully been pieced together by whistle-blowers, Statements and letters written by personnel, documentaries, scandals, lawsuits, and victim testimonies. The truth of the matter is that hardly anything came to light from FOIA requests and what little did was almost certainly ‘damage control’, geared towards refuting any progress made as ineffective and inconclusive. On top of that, Many of the actual files and secrets of CIA mind-control operations have been destroyed as scandal came to light before the Church Committee of the U.S. Congress in 1975. The nature of what took place to procure the results was as criminal as it was inhumane.
My analysis will not give conclusive proof as to whether or not they found what they were looking for. My job here is to simply present what information I can find on a ghostly subject matter enshrouded in mystery and ‘national security’. To show you that all of this has already been done throughout history, to some degree or another, using scopolamine. Drugs like LSD, PCP, and various other psychoactive substances all played a part in forming a database and recipe book on the manipulation of the human mind as far as drugs are concerned. But what I am saying is that as far as a single substance capable of such nefarious purpose and complete subversion of the human mind is concerned, scopolamine is the elite.
The concept of creating a ‘Manchurian Candidate’ assassin has been brought up again and again throughout the last few decades. This was using torture, drugs, and hypnotic suggestion to create a killer to be used later on activated by triggers, being words or actions to activate hypnosis. I will not tread too deeply in this direction other than to say that it is certainly reasonable to assume its possibility. Given that hypnosis is truly an art of its own, and on its own gets results. The CIA would have most certainly employed the best of the best in hypnotists. When combined with the addition of drugs and torture in a person affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, it would certainly be a plausible scenario.
MKOFTEN was the joint venture of the Department of Defense and CIA’s covert operations into the Occult and employed a high number of men and women skilled as black magicians, satanists, sorcerers, clairvoyants, palm-readers, fortune-tellers, astrologists, psychics, mediums, demonologists, witches, warlocks, and other Occult-practitioners. While many of my readers also practice in these fields, its efficacy and effectiveness in everyday living hardly needs pointing out. There have been a number of African Traditional Religions religions as well as European and Indian practices that use tropane alkaloids in their systems. The Occult is not a mere superstition, but a system of using the will along with the ancient understanding and study of psychology. The human mind and how it works. Mainstream science can laugh this off, but military intelligence knows better…
The mind-control/subversion aspect of scopolamine is pretty straight forward. In Latin America, it has already been displayed on a massive scale in criminal activity and hospital staff are well aware of this fact. The induced confusion and invasive stupor caused by this compound renders one extremely docile and childlike in ability to withstand outside influence. It is not so much of not having ANY free will, but the lack of ability to withstand forceful demands while being blindsided and confused. Understanding how the CIA utilized it is not so much about reading actual declassified documents as it is ‘connecting the dots’ from other people and places using it for such nefarious means.
James S. Ketchum, M.D., Author of Chemical Warfare: Secrets Almost forgotten, gave us some invaluable information on some of the ways solanaceous compounds work because of his time working in chemical weapons for the ARMY in the 50’s and 60’s testing a synthetic atropine-derivative called 3-quiniclidinyl benzilate, or simply, BZ. Unlike MKULTRA, This was a voluntary ARMY program where soldiers could test out drugs or chemicals for the ARMY in a controlled setting with medical staff in return for certain perks and benefits like being able to spend time closer to family and such. BZ was given to soldiers who volunteered to be used as test subjects at Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland in the 1960’s. They were not told what they would be given since it was Classified at the time. When testing out BZ they would be in a deep stupor for about 72 hours. These volunteers were not traumatized by the experience like you would think. In fact, some of the volunteers said they would do the test again:
“In reality most volunteers did not consider incapacitation with BZ to be a seriously unpleasant experience, as long as good nursing and medical care was provided. It was pretty much like a lost weekend – 2-3 days of drunkenness, but quickly forgotten Surprisingly, many described a feeling of well-being following recovery. Both men were quite willing to repeat the test (another illustration of voluntary as opposed to “unwitting guinea pig” participation)”
But still it became quite controversial and synonymous with the CIA’s MKULTRA as it came to light in the public view years later. This is heavily due to the fact that the media treated it as if it was being done against their consent when in fact this was not the case. These two programs were not related. Perhaps the CIA had access to some of the results of the work done here, but the ARMY program was geared towards military use against hostile enemies, not unsuspecting citizens.
There is a chapter in this book in the beginning where he goes over some of the history of the solanaceous compounds being used to incapacitate people in early wars before technology became so prevalent. A very important look at how these compounds have been used as incapacitating agents in ancient and modern times.
As far as scopolamine as ‘truth serum‘, Dr. House paved the way for such invasive means of getting it out of a person, which then went on to be used by some law enforcement back in the day. The CIA was well aware of this fact, as it was presented in declassified documents. Here was the reason they knew to find it in this particular avenue. But of course, we are told it was a dead end street. In one declassified document detailing scopolamine as ‘truth serum‘, the conclusion states:
“Because of a number of undesirable side effects, scopolamine was shortly disqualified as a ‘truth’ drug. Among the most disabling of the side effects are hallucinations, disturbed perception, somnolence, and physiological phenomena such as headache, rapid heart, and blurred vision, which distract the subject from the central purpose of the interview. Furthermore, the physical action is long, far outlasting the psychological effects. Scopolamine continues, in some cases to make anesthesia and surgery safer by drying the mouth and throat and reducing secretions that might obstruct the air passages. But the fantastically, almost painfully, dry ‘desert’ mouth brought on by the drug is hardly conducive to free talking, even in a tractable subject.”
The conclusion here seems to take into consideration how the interrogated feel, as if the agency ever took that into account when strapping unwitting citizens to gurneys while giving them high dosages of LSD and playing repetitive phrases over and over for days. Not to mention instances of sexual assault, rape, and other methods of trauma and torture in attempts to subdue the human mind. What’s a little dry mouth or delirium? In my opinion, this is damage control and downplaying the actual result, a common theme in countering leaks and whistle-blowers.
In 2007, a lecture by Dr. Larry Forness of the American Military University surfaced on Wikileaks on Terror, Interrogation, and Intelligence. This lecture “explains the rationale behind torturing prisoners, torture methods, and a justification for ignoring international law. Forness advocates the injection of truth serums, threatening to inject Muslim prisoners with pigs’ blood, and torturing detainees’ friends and family.” The most effective substance in procuring the truth from a subject? Scopolamine. As he describes and corroborates how the declassified document above amounts to complete horse shit:
Fallacy #4. These things called “truths serums” don’t really work.
They do work to varying degrees of success.
There are three primary truth serums.
Here they are.
Scopolamine (scopolamine hydrobromide; first word pronounced: skoh-PAW-lah-mean), also known by another name — hyoscine (hyoscine hydrobromide). It is colorless, odorless and tasteless. Its clinical uses are primarily as a sedative, and applied locally (directly) as a mydriatic, which causes the pupil of the eye to dilate. When used as a sedative, the primary uses are to combat vertigo and motion sickness. When used with morphine and pentobarbital, to a woman in labor, it produces a “twilight sleep.” It is also used as a premedication preliminary to surgery anesthesia.
Since scopolamine completely blocks the formation of memories, unlike most date-rape drugs used in the United States and elsewhere, it is usually impossible for victims to ever identify their aggressors (or interrogators, if you were a prisoner).
To use scopolamine most effectively to get a prisoner to tell you what he or she knows, the key is where you inject it, and in what amounts. Normally it is introduced into the body by a transdermal patch or intravenously in the arm. However, if you inject it into the spine (amount classified), it causes absolutely incredible pain, accompanied by violent convulsions and seizures. If injected into the spine in the appropriate amount, more than 95% of all prisoners will tell the truth — not something fabricated to stop the pain — within 24 hours (Source: classified).
A far milder form of psychological abuse involves exposing prisoners (intravenously or orally) to sodium pentathol—commonly known as “truth serum.” Sodium pentathol is an ultra-short-acting barbiturate that depresses the central nervous system, slows heart rate, and lowers blood pressure. In the relaxed state produced by the drug, subjects are more susceptible to suggestion and are therefore easier to interrogate. The drug does not actually guarantee that prisoners will tell the truth, however. Often, it makes subjects “gabby” without revealing any important information.
Sodium amythal, also known as a type of “truth serum,” with its clinical application in psychoanalysis, is used primarily to help in memory recovery and dealing with “false” memories. If you can confuse the prisoner as to what is a real memory and what is a false memory, you might be able to crack their resistance to telling the truth. However, if the prisoner is smart, he or she will simply shut up and you’ll get nothing from them.
What is interesting is that a prisoner could have been subjected to a truth serum singularly, or two or three over enough time given the appropriate washout of the prisoner’s system, and flatly state that he or she did not tell his or her interrogators anything. From his or her perspective, he or she is telling the truth — because he or she has no memory of telling interrogators anything. That’s the truth in his or her own mind, but it is not the fact of the situation.
In terms of training individuals to resist the three aforementioned truth serums, it is easiest to train someone to resist the sodium amythal, followed by sodium pentathal. There is no known training that will allow anyone to resist scopolamine, when injected into the spine in the correct amount.
What you don’t want to do is “stack” scopolamine with sodium pentathal and sodium amythal. “Stacking” means adding one drug on top of another before the previous drug(s) has/have washed out of the system. You stack on somebody, you’ll kill them.
When time is not a consideration, and when used in conjunction with skilled interrogators on a prisoner who has not been trained to resist the effects, sodium pentathal and sodium amythal will get you the truth in approximately 10% to one third of the cases. When the truth absolutely positively has to be there within five days, forget them – use scopolamine injected into the spine.”
This is corroborated by both a book and an article written about a detainee at Guantanamo Bay, David Hicks. In this article, US use of Truth Drug Revealed, states:
New evidence has emerged that all Guantanamo Bay detainees, including David Hicks, were drugged involuntarily with a substance that has a long history as a truth serum.
Recently declassified US documents revealing medical procedures have shown that scopolamine was administered to all detainees taken to the Cuban detention centre.
The documents, which were standard operating procedures for nursing staff, were obtained by the independent US news outlet Truthout, and reveal that the rationale for the drug’s use on all detainees was to prevent motion sickness.
However, US military experts have said that scopolamine is not recommended for motion sickness because of its severe side effects.
Later in the article where the most telling line in corroboration to the Wikileaks lecture by Dr. Forness appears:
He said it was administered by injection, not a patch behind his ear as is described in the standard operating procedures.
It is wildly out of proportion and unprofessional for a medical team to be treating motion sickness with scopolamine injections. It would cost more and would not be as helpful as a patch that allows for continued delivery over the course of a few days.
Another Source confirms Forness’ lecture and using scopolamine for torture and interrogation:
“The amount of Scopolamine necessary is a minute amount. I am an ex U.S. Army Chemical Core officer and we handled the hazmat on this substance. With proper coercion the amount necessary is between 10 and 20 MG. This will cause a severe state of stupor and hallucinations. During this time however it is possible to interrogate the prisoner thoroughly due to the lack of there [sic] upper brain function during the time. The time the drug is most effective is between +2:30 hrs to +7:30 hrs.”
I have always gone with the assumption that the bulk of classified work and intelligence research always yields a lot more progress than we are claiming them to be, rather than to just meet our expectations of accomplishing what we thought they would. At the same time, the declassified documentations will go as far as to admit what they were working on but to refute it all as a dead end street that went nowhere, much like all of the official reports on MKULTRA and mind control.
But all you really have to do to find out what kind of results were made with scopolamine is to look at the history of scopolamine itself. This is one of the most ancient compounds in medicine. Always kept in the backdrop of society and culture but yet ever present. Such a little known compound but one of the most powerful. One of the most medicinal but one of the most toxic. One of the most telling substances on the globe, yet one of our biggest secrets. How’s that for a paradox?
Foreign Policy: Plausible Deniability – A song detailing the attitude and scope of MKUKLTRA and mind control I wrote in October 2016
Constantine, Alex. Virtual Government: CIA Mind Control Operations in America. Venice, CA: Feral House, 1997. Print.
Keith, Jim. Mind Control, World Control. Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited, 1997. Print.
Keith, Jim. Mass Control: Engineering Human Consciousness. Lilburn, GA: IllumiNet, 1999. Print.
Ketchum, James S. Chemical warfare secrets almost forgotten: a personal story of medical testing of Army volunteers with incapacitating chemical agents during the Cold War (1955-1975). Place of publication not identified: James S. Ketchum, 2006. Print.
Marks, John. The Search for the “Manchurian Candidate”: The CIA and Mind Control. New York: Times, 1979. Print.
The Hidden Ingredient Behind the Creation of the Manson Cult & the Infamous Murders of the Late 1960’s
The summer of ’69 began a wave of fear into the minds of Americans as it closed the doors on good vibes from a decade of love and peace. The Age of Aquarius ushered in with cult-like status for a debauched, violent culture soon to come. The celebrity slaughter of actress Sharon Tate and the rest of the household at 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles, California reads like the scene of a horror movie, as bodies lay strewn about the house and on the lawn. Pregnant Sharon Tate lay bound gagged and stabbed repeatedly to die in a pool of her own blood. Writing on the walls from the blood of the victims. Like a scene in Hollywood that had no set or stage and only its movies could match.
Charles Manson’s ‘Family’ was comprised of the muscle of then devil’s-rejects like Charles ‘Tex’ Watson, Paul Watkins, Bobby Beausoleil, and Steve Grogan. And Manson had among himself an heir of young high-school dropouts like Leslie Van Houten, Patricia Krenwinkle, Susan Atkins, and Linda Kasabian. Charles Manson, The self proclaimed savior and prophet, led his followers into a mind-controlled cult meaning conditioning took place through installation of fear, trauma, end times prophecy, preparation for war, and occult brainwashing.
Manson’s hold and the directing of his followers was not made over night. And it can be noted that although we see the side of a more emaciated, rambling madman, Manson had an intelligence that very few men have today. His ability to take control of a group of people, brainwash them with mind-control techniques, drugs, and trauma to carry out the slaughter of innocent people cannot be understated.
Charlie is what you would call a dominant 5% personality meaning 1 in 20 individuals even in the primate and animal world have the traits and personality to take control of a group and direct as leader. This is usually accompanied by elements of sociopathic and psychopathic nature. When you have no empathy or remorse for taking advantage of people it allows you to hone in on controlling the collective of a group at the expense and suffering of its individual parts.
Most people today who know a little about the Manson murders and his creation of a drug-crazed, Helter-Skelter cult was their use of LSD as a main component of the madness they were involved in. But what’s generally less known and perhaps more devastating than the LSD is their use of the deadly hallucinogenic deliriant Jimsonweed, which they had been mistakenly calling belladonna (although both have the same compounds and end result) . This would have greatly gone unnoticed but in the trial testimony of Paul Watkins, he describes the plant which is a sure match for jimsonweed:
“Q: When did you, Mr. Watkins, first become aware of belladonna?
A: When I was about 16 years old.
A: In a Hopi Indian reservation in northeastern Arizona.
Q: Did you ever see belladonna while at the Spahn Ranch?
A: In the spring of 1969 I went out and — I saw it along, because it grows all around there.
Q: What form does it take?
A: It takes a form of a green plant, but it has got heart-shaped leaves and big white lillies (sic)
Q: Some kind of a flower plant?
A: Big prickly balls.”
Clearly he is describing Jimsonweed in this testimony, otherwise known as Datura. The exact species is unknown. But I am going to bet that he was describing Datura discolor or Datura inoxia, Because of their pronounced heart-shaped leaves. Datura plants are fairly common plants in places like Arizona. It has also been recognized in some circles that the Hopi medicine men employed the use of this plant although it was probably much more widespread in earlier times.
Here is where the jimsonweed comes into play for the Manson Family. Charlie had a grudge against a man that had kicked him off his land. Naturally, Charlie had to get even. He then asked Paul Watkins if he knew where he could get a hold of some poison. Affirmative. Watkins finds the Jimsonweed, digs it up, brings it back and they begin making large amounts of tea.
Tex Watson leaves chewing a piece of the root and disappears for three days:
“I was hitchhiking and nearly crawling on my knees, and my mouth was foaming cotton, my body was sort of red and I fell down three or four times before I got the cycle cranked up and then I couldn’t stand. The last thing I remember was blaring down the road in the daytime…and the next thing I remember, the police were dragging me out of some car..in the valley. I was in Van Nuys Jail the next morning. Three guys in the cell jumped me and beat me up. They said I was very strong; they took me to the hospital to have my right eyebrow sewed up.”
When we look closely into Watson’s mugshot his pupils are extremely dilated which one would come to expect with an overdose of tropane alkaloids. Extreme mydriasis where the pupil is almost completely covering the iris. This is the hallmark signature of tropane intoxication.
Here we have the testimony of Paul Watkins on the story of jimsonweed (although they mistakenly call it belladonna) within the Manson Family:
Q: When did you, Mr. Watkins, first become aware of belladonna?
A: When I was about 16 years old.
A: In a Hopi Indian reservation in northeastern Arizona.
Q: Did you ever see belladonna while at the Spahn Ranch?
A: In the spring of 1969 I went out and — I saw it along, because it grows all around there.
Q: What form does it take?
A: It takes a form of a green plant, but it has got heart-shaped leaves and big white lillies (sic)
Q: Some kind of a flower plant?
A: Big prickly balls.
Q: What did you do with it?
A: Well, I used to dig it up, and it has roots that are like yams — and chop the roots up and make tea of the roots and drink the tea.
Q: You sort of brew it up, then?
Q: Was that done at Spahn Ranch, if you know?
Q: On how many occasions?
A: On one occasion.
Q: Was that when you did it?
A: That’s when I did it.
Q: What year was this, or what month?
A: Spring of ’69.
Q: And where was it done at the ranch?
A: In the semi-trailer.
Q: Now, is the only way one takes the plant by brewing the roots?
A: By brewing the roots.
Q: Can you chew the root, too?
Q: Did you ever do that?
Q: On how many occasions?
A: A dozen occasions.
Q: Was that while you were around the ranch, also?
A: No, I never took it around the ranch. I only did it because they asked me to.
Q: Who asked you to?
A: Charlie asked me to.
Q: Was there some sort of a group gathering when this was done?
A: Yes, people were watching what I was doing.
Q: Were you the one who was actually brewing it up?
Q: I think you told us you had used it, what, a dozen times before this occasion; is that right?
A: I had used it about 20 times before that occasion.
Q: But 12 times by chewing the roots?
Q: And the rest by stewing or by brewing?
A: Drinking the tea or eating the seeds.
Q: What effect did it have on you?
A: Very, very, very strong drug effect.
Q: Like what?
A: Like, first noticeable effects are very, very thick saliva forming in your mouth, and you have a hard time swallowing.
Q: Is that saliva condition something you could call cotton mouth?
A: Yes, you just get a very bad cotton mouth and a very awful odor, then you get nauseous, really nauseated, that lasts for three or four hours, and then depending on the dose, it will lay the body down.
Q: In other words, you would pass out?
A: The trip will continue.
Q: How long does the trip continue?
A: Three days to a week.
Q: In lighter quantities, what happens short of passing out?
A: In the lighter quantities you could still walk around.
A: Walk around and function.
Q: Did the drug have a tendency to dehydrate you, Mr. Watkins, if you know?
Q: That is what I am talking about? Belladone.
Q: You get very dehydrated?
Q: You know, kind of dried up?
A: Yes. You can say it emaciates you if you want to, I guess. I am not sure what that words means.
Q: Just being very dry?
A: I always carried a canteen whenever I would take that.
Q: To replenish what? The bodily fluids?
Q: With water?
Q: How often would you take it when you did take it?
A: One time I took it — it would vary. I would go on a binge and maybe take it every three or four days, in order to stay constantly on it. Spread it out over two or three weeks. Or I would take one very strong trip and then not take any for a few months, then take another one and not take any for a week. There was no pattern to how it was done.
Q: Is the effect pretty much the same, whether you drink the juice or chew the root?
A: Well, all except for the physical effect. If you chew the root, you get a root in your stomach that you are likely to throw up.
Q: Is the physical reaction to the drug the same?
THE COURT: Would this be a good time to recess, Mr. Bubrick?
MR. BUBRICK: Yes.
THE COURT: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury we will recess at this time until 1:30. Once more, please heed the usual admonition.
CROSS-EXAMINATION (Resumed) BY MR. BUBRICK:
Q: Mr. Watkins, I think this noon when we broke we were talking about belladonna and you were telling us about the batch you were brewing up in Spahn Ranch.
Do you recall that?
A: Yeah, I recall that.
Q: And you said that it was being prepared in some sort of a tea form, something to drink, I take it?
Q: Now, when that was being prepared, was Mr. Watson there, if you know?
A: Yes, he was there.
Q: And did you see him do anything about the belladonna you were using?
Q: What did he do?
A: He took a chunk of root about three-quarters of an inch long and about an inch in diameter and walked off chewing on it.
Q: Did you see him again that day?
A: No, saw him three days later.
Q: Three days later?
Q: And what, if anything, did you notice at that time?
A: I noticed that he was bruised, was cut from one end to the other and had a big blackened, red and blue eye, looked like he had been in a heck of a fight.
Q: Can you fix the time of the year that this occurred in?
A: Yeah, it would be spring of 1968 — no, ’69.
There is a question of whether or not they were on jimsonweed the night of the murders. I don’t believe they were and here’s why:
Tropane intoxication incapacitates the user. Carrying out anything in this state is next to impossible. Especially commands and instructions. Another problem they would have is keeping balance. As Tex said he was “nearly crawling on my knees”. The loss of coordination and balance is a common effect of the drug because the acetylcholine has been reduced to a state where the balance cannot be properly assimilated. This, in my opinion, would never work. I think it was used to sort of break them down and get them a little cooked up so they could be manipulated with ease.
It is important to remember that you can’t really blame drugs on the events that took place on that horrific summer of ’69. You have to understand that Charlie was using these as tools to gain a tight grip around his followers. Of course the media is going to blame the LSD. Mainly because LSD is on the list for the phony ‘War on Drugs’ so of course that will have to be brought to the surface, unjustly. They seemed to overlook the jimsonweed, and I think mostly because they have no idea what it is and what it can do
But I guess that’s how Lady Nightshade does it. She prefers to make her presence known in the most powerful ways and then after the smoke is cleared she blends into the backdrop undetected and back to the dark Underworld that is her kingdom…
Paul Watkins introduced Charlie to jimsonweed and from that point on Charlie utilized it with great efficacy to intensify the fear and trauma, cultivating an aura of unpredictability and instability, thereby making the ‘Family’ more controllable.
Then we get down to the after effects this drug. It is clear from Watkin’s testimony that they were using this stuff heavily and for long, drawn out periods. This would very likely result in some form of lingering psychosis and therefore much more suggestible by someone like Charlie Manson.
Charlie had a perfect tool to keep his followers in check…
Strange Phenomena in the Realms of the Unexplained
The psychoactive realm of the Nightshade family truly stands in a league of its own. There is nothing more powerful than tropane alkaloids when it comes to inducing vivid hallucinations. The hallucinogenic experience under the influence of these compounds are described as extremely real. Sometimes they can be dark, frightening, morbid scenes of demonic, malevolent beings in a landscape of the macabre. Other times it can take a much lighter note with the user having imaginary get-togethers with old friends and strangers, sharing many laughs, deep conversations, and phantom cigarettes. There is no telling which direction it will go. The type and range of interaction in these realms is exceptionally various.
But here’s where it gets tricky. The hallucinations can be a 360 degree change of scenery, or even just partial change of scenery blending into the scenery we are really in. People show up and look just as real as anyone who is physically there with them. You lose the ability to distinguish the real from the unreal in this realm. She can be quite cunning in this respect
There is also some very strange phenomena that seem to happen when under the spell of tropanes. Among some of the most common themes that seem to repeat themselves are:
The smoking of imaginary cigarettes that many times seem to fall out of their hands on the floor leaving the user to look frantically around for the burning cigarette only to realize later that they were never actually smoking one!
Imaginary parties and get-togethers:
Seeing old friends and people they haven’t seen in a really long time. Spending hours together laughing, drinking, smoking, socializing, only to find out later that no one was ever at the house and the people from the experience were nowhere near the vicinity at the time.
Interaction with the deceased:
Reports of dead friends, relatives, and pets interacting within the experience, sometimes bringing closure, and sometimes leaving a disturbing memory to haunt them from there on out.
Functioning in the same hallucination as other users with them and telepathic communication
reports of users functioning within the same framework of hallucination passing cigarettes to each other, seeing the same imaginary people involved in the same conversations. At times there have even been reports of users being able to hear each others’ calls between a far distance or without verbal communication.
Many users had no knowledge of the common phenomena among others’ experiences before the experience. The ways a hallucination can interact on such similar terms and on multiple users at once within the same hallucination calls many things about the framework of reality and our understanding of the hallucinatory experience into question. Most users leave Lady Nightshade’s arena with a vivid memory of something extremely powerful and “not of this world”.
First time users greatly underestimate the power and potential of these powerful compounds. Keeping themselves under wraps in a public setting or at home around family members becomes almost impossible. Most of these reports end up in hospitalization because of the user’s bizarre behavior. Family members are absolutely freaked out by the delirium of their family member, unaware that they have consumed something of this magnitude. Essentially, they are living in a dimension of their own (or perhaps a very real dimension we cannot see from this one) all the while ignorant of the dimension of real world reality. A handful of cases end up with police involvement and come out facing charges. This is greatly due to the fact that when confronted by police or medical staff users have been known to be extremely aggressive and violent.
So lets take a look at some of the reports of recreational use and government research. We will see a very strange but very common phenomena experienced in Lady Nightshade’s court:
Zombie Parties and Friends from Way Back
Reoccurring in many of these trips is the sudden appearance of company that appear into one’s trip. Friends they ‘haven’t seen in a really long time’ and strangers alike magically appear and walk into the house. The user is oftentimes happy to join in and mingle with his guests:
“I looked at the foot of my bed and my two best friends were standing there. I started laughing hysterically at the fact that they would stop by and wake me up at such a late time. I preceded to have a little party in my room with them. They came up and sat on either side of me and we had a great time passing joints and smoking cigarettes. I paused the little shindig and went to the bathroom. I used the bathroom and while washing my hands I looked into the mirror and my face contorted into an impossible shape and I shook myself off and splashed some water on my face, still none the wiser to what was happening. I walked back to my room where at my door my mother was standing. I greeted her and informed her that my friends had stopped by for a late night visit. She gave me the weirdest look I think she has ever given me. I re-entered my room and my friends were nowhere to be found.” –Late Night Parties and Everlasting Cigarettes
You can imagine the feeling of fully accepting the fact that you have just held on to a vivid hallucination as though it was fully functioning reality. This where the effect of the drug can play the trickster.
“So began a series of hallucinations. In the house’s second bathroom, I saw Jenny standing next to me, looking at me. I turned to her and resolved to muster a reassuring smile but when I turned I realized that what I had been looking at was my own reflection in the mirror. I was very alarmed and thought “this is madness,” but my reflection was wearing the placid smile I had put on for Jenny and my calm expression was somewhat reassuring.
From that point on I was very messed up and was moving around, bumping into things, hallucinating and tormented by mental confusion. I had minimal short term memory and at one point noticed that I had left the bathroom sink running full tilt for an unknown length of time. Colors and sounds were amplified. There were times when there were lots of people in the room, having a party. When I tried to talk, they’d stop and listen, realize I was incomprehensible and then ignore me and continue their conversations.” – This is Madness
” Just then there was a knock at the door, it was my girlfriend wondering where i was, she had brought three friends with her, all people I had went to school with in earlier years and had moved away, this did not seem odd to me at the time. I invited them in and we started talking about something. I can’t remember exactly what, I reached in my pocked for a lighter light a cig my girl had given me, but when I looked up they were gone. I mean VANISHED.” –Strongest Thing I’ve Ever Taken
Another says of his girlfriend who had drank tea made from belladonna foliage:
“I asked her about her ‘trip’ and she said that after we left all sorts of people she hadn’t seen in a long time showed up at our apartment, and there was a big party. She actually thought that both my friend and I had come back at some point during the night. She said she had a lot of fun.
We later contacted virtually everyone she saw (some were unreachable as she hadn’t been in contact with them for years) and none of them had come over, most of them were not within 200 miles from our apartment at the time. When she was at work that day she thought that I had come to visit her (she worked alone most of the day as a screen printer in a big shop) and that we talked all day long. She said her boss came in a few times and asked who she was talking to, and anytime he did, she explained that she couldn’t exactly remember. Only shortly after he left did I reappear and she did not at the time (both when it was happening, and again when she was explaining it to me) seem to understand how illogical this was.” – The Manson Family Killed on this Plant
Some people seem to have glowing experiences in her kingdom for reasons that are vastly unclear:
“I remember walking around my dorm thinking that I was naked, and there were at least 10 people in every room. I didn’t know any of them, but I was able to talk to quite a few of them. They seemed to ignore my nudity, and I understood this to be a sign of friendship. In my room there were four people I’ve never seen before, my little brother, and a hallucinated version of my sober [sitter] friend (who was actually trying to help the other guy [likely in another dorm] tripping on the floor). We talked for what seemed like years, discussing many things from the Roman empire to how butterscotch was made.” –Entering Insanity
One thing is certain, She sure has a sense of humor about Her when She isn’t so sinister.
In Chemical Warfare: Secrets Almost Forgotten, James S. Ketchum gives us an invaluable resource during his time as Colonel in the U.S. ARMY. at Edgewood Arsenal in the late 1960’s. These same themes were described in trial runs given to ARMY volunteers during research into the effects and uses of incapacitating agents like synthetic atropine-derivative, 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate, also known as BZ:
“…With regards to persons in his vicinity, recognition may be accurate for individuals whom he has met prior to testing, such as the doctor or nurse; other people may erroneously be greeted as old friends from his outfit, or even relatives. At times, he may react to large objects possessing a vertical shape as if they were people. One subject tried to provoke a fight with a simulated gun mount; another said “Excuse me, Sir” to the water fountain when he accidentally brushed against it. In more extreme states of confusion, he may even initiate conversations with hallucinated individuals. He conducts these one-sided conversations in such a natural, unstudied manner that acting is out of the question…”
Phantom Cigarettes:Now You See Me, Now You Don’t
The hands down most common phenomenon that users report is smoking phantom cigarettes. The user thinks they are completely real until it either vanishes into thin air or falls on the ground never to be found again. It will be some time before they realize that they had never been smoking one to begin with! It is quite comical because it usually occurs indoors in one’s home so they are tearing their room apart because they don’t want to burn the house down. She sure enjoys playing the role of trickster in scenes like this. It is also interesting to note that tobacco is also in the nightshade family
It really makes you scratch your head when trying to make sense of such things. Why this ‘phantom smoking’ would be such a commonality reoccurring and not only that but disappearing to involve the user in this wild goose chase looking for it when it disappears!
“Again, like so many before, I found myself searching for dropped cigarettes… but they were burning through and sliding under the sheets. I could feel the burnt holes and heat coming off them, feel the cigarette roll away from me under the sheets. And then it hit me that I never lit a cigarette, but i sure needed one. Forget that I was just thrashing around like a wild man for imaginary cigarettes. it was time for the real thing. I actually smoked the same amount as I normally do (30 to 45 min apart). But I always felt like I had one in my hand. Many times my index, middle fingers and thumb would meet as I spaced off and that would induce a frantic cigarette hunt. It was mostly happening in my left hand which I don’t even smoke with. this is the aspect I am most curious about of all my experiences.” – I’m Eating at McDonalds
“Before I could give a second thought I found myself sitting on the ground of what seemed like the park and I was smoking cigarettes that just kept falling out of my hand or just float away. This little scenario kept repeating itself for most of my memory… …Finally, I woke up in my bed the next morning wondering how I got there and feeling like everything I had just witnessed was nothing more than a long vivid dream. I also realized I was smoking a cigarette and and that I dropped it on my blanket, but when I went to fetch it, it was nowhere to be found, no smoke no burns, nothing.” –The Living Dream
“I lay there for sometime just thinking and soaking everything in. For some odd reason I always had a cigarette in my hand that would never go out or need to be ashed… …So my attention went from the mirror to my hand where a freshly lit cigarette sat waiting to be smoked. This made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I smoked and smoked and smoked and again the cigarette never burned down any.” –Late Night Parties and Everlasting Cigarettes
Another bunch decided to stock up before the event and roll a bunch of cigarettes for the experience. Little did they know…
“Four of us decided to do it together in an abandoned coca cola bottling factory we were squatting. We set up two mattresses on the ground, some rugs, and rolled a ton of cigarettes because we figured we would be too messed up to want to roll cigarettes… [Later during the trip]: …At some points we are all awake, talking, smoking cigarettes, and drinking beer together, passing them around to each other. Sometimes someone drops a cigarette or drink and its gone as soon as it hits the floor. We look around for it but it can’t be found… The next day when we get up around 2 pm we all feel pretty sober. We realized that no one had come over, we hadn’t drank anything, and that all the cigarettes we had rolled were still there waiting.” –Lucid Dreaming
“Next thing I know I whip out a cigarette that I distinctly remember leaving behind my ear. I begin a quest in search for a lighter. I continuously search over and over the same square feet of carpet in front of me for a lighter but I don’t find one. Magically I realize that my cigarette is already lit. ‘Duh!’ I think to myself, and begin smoking it. Moments later it falls on the floor and I start searching for it, but it’s gone. Wtf! WHAT THE FUCK? Take a wild guess what I do next? I reach behind the same ear and find another one; however this doesn’t strike me as slightest bit unusual. I just go on smoking it. Oh… of course- without a lighting it first.” –Delerium in Perdition
It can also be further noted that not all the people that experienced the ‘phantom cigarettes’ phenomenon even smoked cigarettes:
“Around about this time, Cal took a draw of and passed me an invisible cigarette, of course I had read about this in other reports, finally it had kicked in! I had not mentioned the phantom cigarette phenomenon to Cal before, nor had he read about it, this is also surprising because he doesn’t smoke. The seeds weren’t fake. I told him he passed me nothingness & he said “No way, I must have dropped it” –Not Quite What I Had Expected
This next exhibit is from a piece the news did warning of the dangers of jimsonweed. Below you can see these two being filmed at the police station. They are passing these ‘phantom cigarettes’ to each other flicking them. and it looks as real as a mime acting out his routine. However, they really are smoking in their minds. It is interesting to point out these two are functioning within the same hallucination. If the theory that hallucination is just taking place in the person’s mind, how do you explain two separate minds in the same hallucination? It makes me think about how physicists today talk about many dimensions that share the same space but at a different vibration. Have they tuned themselves to this vibration and opened up the ability to view and function within these other dimensions?
The phantom cigarettes were also confirmed again in James S. Ketchum’s Chemical Warfare: Secrets Almost Forgotten, while administering BZ to the volunteers. He stated:
“Hallucinations seem to dominate the field of awareness, and real objects and persons are generally ignored or ludicrously misinterpreted. Touch seems to become the most important sensory system. , and the hands are ceaselessly active, exploring clothing, bedding, walls, floor and crevices of the environment. Smoking and drinking of phantom cigarettes and beverages are very common.”
In one chapter he describes play-by-play each hour of one volunteer’s experience under BZ:
18:35 – Nurse asked the aid man how to spell ‘convenienced’ and subject responded “CONVENIENCESHIT!” Smoking imaginary cigarettes. Sitting cross-legged on floor.Picking at ARMY blanket. “Let us spray” (sic)
20:15 – Once again stated that his hands and feet were very red. Stated that he had eggs for breakfast, and talked of his field jacket. “It isn’t mine and don’t push me brother! Smoking an imaginary cigarette.
40:55 – Stepping very cautiously about room. Dropping pillowcase over back and round shoulders. Appears to be putting on pack. “Go ahead take it (Blood pressure) while I play with the kittens. Nice kitty. Fed ice cream. “Gordan will build them if anybody will.” “This country better hurry up or we’ll be in another depression.” “When in doubt, blow it out.” Standing at window smoking imaginary cigarette.
47:30 – Lays down with much insistence to vital signs. It is very difficult to get the subject to do anything at this point. “I’m not sorry I’m married to you I’m really not.” “Here comes Caroline.” Smokes imaginary cigarettes. Talks to imaginary people. While standing, looking at the wall, grabbed nurse’s cap while she was sitting on stool. Twisted stethoscope around her neck. “Oh, I thought you were a truck driver.” walked over to window. “I hope they don’t have this damn door locked.” “Hey a pack of cigarettes, if you can read Mexican.”
You can’t buy comedy like this in the real world. But it certainly leaves one with more questions than answers. Does the drug activate something in our mind that deals with habitual daily activities thereby creating these imaginary ‘phantom cigarettes’? And Then how do we explain the whole aspect of the cigarette’s cat-and-mouse game with the user. Is this the spirit and antics of Lady Nightshade playing pranks on these users for kicks?
Conversing with the dead: Closure and Chaos in a Strange Land
One of the less common re-occurrences but highly worthy of study is the appearance of deceased friends and relatives. There have been reports describing closure after seeing late friends, surrounded by their energy and later coming to understand that they still existed, just in a different form. Perhaps death is not the end of existence:
“I also continuously heard voices calling to me, usually calling my name, and I know that I experienced them during my first ‘trip’. However, this time around there was a much more personal connection; about the half the time that I heard my name being called it was the voice of my dear friend Jul, who died this past winter. Every time I heard it I knew it was him, and I could feel his presence all around me. This reminds me, I also heard my aunt’s voice during my first experience; she died a couple of years before, and was my closest relative outside of my nuclear family (in emotional terms). Before either of my trips I read many reports because i am highly interested in the specific effects of every plant or chemical I try, and because it is necessary to my survival. I am now convinced that when this Nightshade doesn’t kill you, it offers access to the land of the dead. I must stress this is not an experience that everyone is ready for, or even meant to have…
…I have grown from both of these experiences [belladonna]; especially the latter, as I was shown that my friend is happy where he is. I am an atheist, but I believe that our bodies are energy, and with death that energy must move somewhere. I was shown that he is living everywhere, but that he was very much living in me, especially due to the energy I put into my love for him. I had a dream in the days afterwards, in which I was chasing my friend. I got to a point where I was so close to catching him, and a man stopped me; he held me by the shoulder and only shook his head slightly. But I could tell just by looking in his eyes that I wasn’t meant to go forward. I was filled with a sense of understanding and happiness, and it was like a weight was being lifted from me.” –The Land of the Dead
Other times, however, the experience with the deceased was not so pleasant and brought more trauma than closure:
“I appear in my old house in Tampa and my friend that died like 2 years ago is there and I’m a ghost and we take for a while and he is real mad at me and said I killed him but I didn’t and he casts me to hell. THIS IS WHERE IT GETS BAD. I’m in a room where the corners of the room are flashing bright red and every time they flash it hurts a lot. And I cover my eyes but nothing I can do stops the light and I can see it in the same spot no matter what I do and my friend’s parents are there yelling at me and crying saying that I killed their son and hitting me with those glow wands from Demolition Man.” –World of Pain
“After this I found myself at my friend Jessie’s old house where she moved away from some time ago, yet there she was along with her grandfather who had passed away about a year ago. I remember that he spoke in the most horrifying, miserable voice and I couldn’t bear to hear it.” –The Living Dream
Our deceased pets even tend to show up in some reports:
“A dog ran out in front of me, it was my old dog, which had long since passed away. For some reason I thought this was real, it seemed so real. My head was full of static noise as I followed my dead dog down to the park where I had originally taken the deadly nightshade into my eye. As I walked my legs would fall out from under me causing me to go crashing into the road, but my dog would always wait for me.” –Screaming Voices
Some of the reports will involve being in a completely different landscape than the one they were physically functioning in. These are tactile hallucinations (with emphasis on touch and feeling). You could physically be in your living room but experience yourself at say, a beach:
“I swear I remember [in the trip] when I was at the beach and I really felt like I was there. No messin’ around I’m serious. What I’m sayin’ seems to be hard to believe but I was actually trippin’ that hard… ….I kept getting memory lapses and thinking I was at the beach again. I actually remember stepping on the sand and feeling the sand.” –Not Doin This Shit Again
“[user is at hospital psyche ward] …From this point onwards, things get real fucking weird. I get up off my bed and search through all my drawers on my study desk in my room at home in search for my glasses. No luck. So I turn around and rummage through through my bedside table. I can’t find them anywhere. All of a sudden I realize that I am actually standing in front of the wall in the hospital ward.” –Delerium in Perdition
Later on this same user, along with two of his buddies also admitted to the psyche ward, are separated from each other in different wards. They each experience the same hallucinations and one of the buddies hears his friend yelling from his solitary confinement, even though they are in separate wards and too distant to hear him:
“I think that I have done some seriously bad crime (eaten the bad fruit) and this was my punishment: solitary confinement for the rest of my existence, which to me at the time- meant eternity. Those thoughts made me angry, so I yelled for a while until I felt tired, and eventually settle into bed… …I lay down and stare at the clock on the other side of the room. It says 4:30… …I take a step back and look at the clock on the wall. But it’s not there anymore… …Next delusion- my hospital band strapped around my wrist becomes a Falls Festival wrist band (a yearly 3 day music festival that everyone in Tasmania goes to)… …[after released] I rendezvous with the other fools from my share house. They all look exhausted, and majorly fucked. Funny thing was, all three of us shared some same hallucinations, even though we were put in different wards, and I was confined in a solitary room. C, B, and myself, all imagined the wristband was a Falls Festival band, and also saw that same white clock on the wall that said 4:30. Quite scary actually. C also mentioned that he receives messages telekinetically, and heard me yell out to him and his friend B, even though there was no possible way of him being able to hear me from that afar. Strange. Strange.” –Delerium in Perdition
Mirror Realities: The Taste of Fear
My personal feeling on the difference of experience is found within the person. The kind of personality and character you have will more or less reflect your embracing or fearing life. Those of us who do not face our fears, work through our mental and emotional baggage, will be face to face with them in these realms. And as they manifest in similar ways within our dreams as nightmares, perhaps those same manifestations of fear and negative clutter will also be true in this landscape.
The first account user seems to have a much more accepting and embracing view on life than the second. I would say the second has a lot of hidden emotion and it is making itself known in his experience with these plants. This is not set in stone however, because even though we think we have worked through many of our fears, there is still much below the surface. But I would venture to say that it would be more likely to work in your favor than not.
Another thing to consider when we are using an entheogen is, what are we taking it for? When we use any substance for a spiritual purpose, it’s important to understand that the experience alone is not going to bring us enlightenment or answers. A substance is only a means to carry out works, meaning we have to do the work ourselves, the plant is only a channel to work through, and certainly not the only channel.
But looking at how similar these reports are and what they mean challenges many things about our understanding of the reality of other worlds. But at least now physicist have been recognizing this possibility of a multidimensional universe. I believe that we are essentially crossing frequencies. Using a plant like datura or belladonna acts as a key or gateway for inter-dimensional travel. You are open to its rate of vibration and yet you are still within the physical realm you operate from originally. When we die, it would make sense that our consciousness changes it’s rate of vibration as we are removed from the body we used. So it might be safe to assume that should we fail to work through that mental and emotional baggage from our time here, we will be face to face with them when we die. This would be a close description to the Hell of various religious mythology.
This is why I believe it is extremely important to use our time in this life wisely and work through whatever challenges and fears we face here. Stop running from your problems. They will catch up to you. Perhaps Lady Nightshade is only reflecting that side of us we hide from ourselves. Those inner fears that we spend our whole lives running from. It certainly makes you wonder…
Ketchum, James S. Chemical Warfare Secrets Almost Forgotten: A Personal Story of Medical Testing of Army Volunteers with Incapacitating Chemical Agents during the Cold War (1955-1975). Place of Publication Not Identified: James S. Ketchum, 2006. Print.
The Role of Bees and Psychoactive Honey in Shamanism
On the Ancient World of European shamanism in the areas of Britain, Ireland, and Gaul, Druids held the bee as a sacred link between the Great Mother and man. Psychoactive honey was one of the many gifts given to man by the bees. Mediating between the Great Mother and man were the many spirits of plant, fungi, animal, and insect alike. They would serve by channeling its wisdom through these many mediums and Agents of Divinity. This is why it was so important for man to keep a link and alliance to nature. Plant spirits would transfer great benefits and insight through its medicinal and hallucinogenic properties. The Bees would provide numerous teachings to man throughout our history and while producing honey we developed further spiritual and medicinal applications to learn and benefit from.
Intuition, clairvoyance, and psychic abilities were at one time part of our natural abilities. As we cut ourselves off from nature over centuries these gifts became dormant and today are almost non-existent since they longer served our need for its practice in the current lifestyle we are in.
There are still remnants of a tradition still utilized today by man in both indigenous cultures and those who have made a conscious decision to return to our nativity and re-secure our alliance with nature.
One of our most important relationships in the natural world is with bees, and most notably, the honey bee. It is known that the Druids considered the Great Mother as Queen Bee. Her resulting priestesses were known as the Melissae. Melissa, the common name today actually came from the Greek word melissa which translated to honey bee.
The bee was closely interwoven to the living arrangements of the Ancient World as they were the pollinators of flowers and crops. This is still the case today although largely unacknowledged by the current power structure. The Ancient World regarded honey (along with pollen as one of its precursors) as one of the many gifts of the Great Mother and thereby making bees and their work extremely respected and sacred.
Among some of the other sacred gifts of the Great Mother were the many entheogens and medicinal plants we acquire through the plant kingdom. In the Druidic traditions there was high reverence for the baneful herbs like henbane, belladonna, and other tropane-containing nightshades more common to that area of the world.
Keep in mind that the use of these plants back then had much wider scope of application than just as a hallucinogen. Before we had the more mechanical and technological advances of modern medicine, they had to find other means to carry out surgical procedures like bone setting and other procedures that required soporifics; what we would understand today as being ‘put under’ by powerful gases and compounds to induce a similar twilight sleep.
By the shamans of that time however, it was much probably more common to use plants like these in a way to aid and intensify their psychic abilities communicating with the spirit world along with prophecy and seeing. They had a much deeper understanding of how to measure, dose, and control its effects for spiritual matters. In other words, they took it for spiritual purposes and had a deep respect for the plant unlike irresponsible thrill-seekers do today. This is reflected by a Mexican curendera/witch in a passage from James Endredy’s The Flying Witches of Veracruz*:
“Flying with the datura spirit is quite different than normal states of consciousness. But I’ve been around it my whole life, and what I do know is that when most people take it, they remember nothing afterwards- even if its many days after. That’s mainly because they didn’t invoke the spirit with a clear purpose or have someone experienced guiding them. Mostly people foolishly try datura just to see what it feels like or because they’ve heard it is dangerous and want to experience with it as some kind of a kick or a thrill. But when witches use it, they invoke the spirit in special ways that have been handed down through countless generations, and they always invoke it in a sacred place and in the company of other experienced witches. This is what is called proper use of set and setting: why you are doing it, with whom, and where.”
So as I’ve presented some of the background behind it I have now given some of the basic tenants of:
A spiritual relationship of man and bees
the sacredness of pollen and honey
the sacredness and respect for henbane, belladonna, and others in the nightshade family
the reason hallucinogens were used by shamans
How different the effects of tropanes can act in regards to intent
We can now take a look into how it all ties together as a system and branch of shamanism:
There is a book out there by Simon Buxton called The Shamanic Way of the Bee** where he describes an initiation to a Path of Pollen and his teaching by an experienced bee shaman. I will point out that the authenticity of the account of his initiation has been seen as highly questionable and claimed by some to be concocted or ghost-written. What I will say is that while that could certainly be the case, It would be safe to conclude that at the very least the practices described within the book are based on real practices and probably more known in ancient times by the Druids. Perhaps he was only told about this over actually being initiated in such a fashion. Much like the description in Castaneda’s books can be debated as his own account but are still most likely true accounts of the practices used in working with the Devil’s Weed by generations of shamans and brujos.
In Buxton’s book there is a chapter devoted to the bees creating psychoactive honey isolated on an island known as Potato Island (the nightshade family is also sometimes called the potato family since potato is a member of the Solanaceae). This island is inhabited by luscious growth of henbane and belladonna where massive beehives have been strategically placed by these shamans for the purpose of getting these bees to create psychoactive honey as a unique form of flying ointment and as ingestable honey that held both the Spirit of nightshade and bees.
In the account there is another reiteration of its practical and spiritual use by shamans and accurately put:
“The Bee Master knows that the flying ointment of our forbears was the jewel in the crown of ancient pharmacology. It was a poison to the layperson, but the spiritual tool sine qua non [absolute necessity] to the practitioner.”
There is further description of the history and almost certainly a description of the Druids’ use and practice of ingesting the psychoactive honey:
“Our forbears intentionally produced this psychoactive honey as a visionary tool for use in certain work. It is taken as honey, and in the form of ritual metheglin[spiced or medicated variety of alcoholic honey called mead]. In fact, the bees first led our ancestors to these sacred plants. having innocently ingested the delicious honey, those ancestors stepped into the other world and experienced ecstasy and communion with our spirit kin. After that, they followed the bees to the plants from which this honey was made, and the beginning of the lineage was initiated. The bees called certain men and women who then sought out and forged a relationship with the hive, wishing to be part of that world as well as this”
Now one can wonder how dosage can be presumed safe if collected by bees. It is said in the book that the bees’ processing, collection and subsequent extraction of alkaloids into the honey brought about just enough of the psychoactive compounds to bring about the necessary experience and not been known to bring about any deaths in its use by its practicing shamans. While this certainly seems kind of like a wild notion, It would make sense to think as though the Great Mother was really directing Her knowledge and wisdom through plant and insect directly to man as shamanic thought would have it. I certainly find it worthy of consideration.
Part of my intention of creating this site was to show how far reaching the psychoactive tropane-based nightshade plants actually go. And also to put out information to reduce simply thinking of it as only a deliriant and poison. That there is a more secret side of her Spirit and not to hex and harm. There are invaluable spiritual teachings one can learn from Her apprenticeship in a spiritual context.
My personal relationship to this plant is on a spiritual level. I learn from and interact with this Plant Spirit in many ways and on many levels. many times without any kind of ingestion. I hope to eventually align with more experienced herbalists and witches that can teach me more about the methods of extractions, applications, and further my education of these magnificent plants. Perhaps this will be a topic for another day. I am certain of it.
There is a wealth of information out there concerning the Druids and both their interaction with both bees and plants like henbane and other psychoactive nightshade plants. I would bet to say that there is also information on other cultures that have had similar practices and interactions with bees and psychoactive honey similar to the Druids. I have researched a far number of accounts on the Druids and their beliefs and practice. Perhaps I will add some sites of interest at a later time.
Buxton, Simon. The Shamanic Way of the Bee: Ancient Wisdom and Healing Practices of the Bee Masters. Rochester, VT: Destiny, 2004. Print.
Endredy, James. The Flying Witches of Veracruz: A Shaman’s True Story of Indigenous Witchcraft, Devil’s Weed, and Trance Healing in Aztec Brujeria. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2011. Print.
“I’ve done many psychedelics like acid, mushrooms, and DMT, but this was too real!” This is the hallmark and signature characteristic of tropane alkaloids when used by thrill-seekers for a “trip”. These alkaloids can bring a 360 degree change of scenery, lasting anywhere from 12-72 hours and in some cases up to a week or more. The aftermath can bring residual effects like vision problems, lingering hallucinations, and a variety of other cognitive deficiencies. On the other hand, used at just a slightly higher dose can spell death. Sometimes a permanent psychosis can even plague a surviving individual from there on out. Lady Nightshade plays hard and many times for keeps!
At this point you may be asking yourself:
How can these compounds bring such vivid hallucinations?
What is it about these compounds that cause so much devastation to the body and brain?
I have spent a fair amount of time in the last year trying to pin down exactly how these compounds go to work on the brain and why they can be so dangerous. (I am not a student of science or medicine so please don’t hold it against me if any of my terminology appears out of place.)
Anyway, after countless hours piecing it all together, I am going to try and explain it in the simplest of terms so that you can understand it as much as humanly possible. I will do my best to avoid mistakes, misinterpretations, and so on. I have never really had just one article to get an all-inclusive, full spectrum explanation of the effects of the tropane alkaloids (scopolamine, atropine, and hyoscyamine) and how they go to work in the brain. Hopefully my research and subsequent explanation will do some justice here.
Before we explain this, however, I need to explain a vital neurotransmitter and part of the brain that allows us to keep our system operating to run smoothly in the mind and body:
Acetylcholine is a parasympathetic neurotransmitter in the brain. I know. it doesn’t really explain things if you aren’t familiar with biology, medicine, toxicology, etc. I will do my best to bridge the gap and put it in such a way that anyone can understand it.
The brain has many important compounds needed to run the body. but for this lesson think of Acetylcholine as say, Windows for a computer. The glue that keeps the system in place to run smoothly. It allows programs to interact with other programs, download information from the net, etc. Much like acetylcholine does within our system. If you removed Windows or OS X from your Computer It would crash.
Parasympathetic means that its actions run “alongside” other transmitters and receptors keeping the nervous systems going. A neurotransmitter is an organic chemical within the brain that relays messages and allows certain functions to occur in the body and mind. Acetylcholine allows calculations and messages to communicate and command important functions autonomously: on its own and without us having to think about it.
Some of these functions include:
Rest and digest responses
It may not be the sole commander in all of these functions but rest assured Acetylcholine makes it all possible. Acetylcholine is a biological necessity in keeping life going.
When we enter sleep, There is a preliminary stage called NREM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. In the two stages of NREM sleep, there is light NREM sleep and deep NREM sleep. In both of these stages the brain has been observed to decrease acetylcholine production. Much more in deep NREM sleep than light NREM sleep. But in REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, the acetylcholine production is high like it is in our waking hours. The acetylcholine in sleep is produced in different parts of the brain than it is in wakefulness, at least that’s what I have come to understand.
Going a step further since the state of REM is so active and transfers to work in a different section of our brain when we wake up we only remember our dreams in detail for a very short amount of time and if we do not write them down we just as easily forget what they were. This is where the memory formation comes into play. When we shut down or restrict the flow of acetylcholine when we are awake (through drugs like scopolamine) we have ‘missing time’ or black outs where memory is very faint or almost not even formed. Perhaps the acetylcholine has switched to the same part of our brain as sleep?
tropane alkaloids: effects on the brain
Tropane alkaloids like Scopolamine, atropine, and hyoscyamine are referred to as anticholinergics. An anticholinergic agent is a drug that breaks down and reduces the flow of acetylcholine in the brain and body. This can be extremely helpful in small doses. In larger doses, however, this can be catastrophic and fatal.
On the smaller scale, tropane alkaloids can be extremely helpful to stomach and digestive problems. With things like stomach ulcers, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, overactive bladder, these are highly effective compounds. Also there are things like overactive sweat glands (hyperhidrosis), or excessive drooling (hypersalivation). These functions are all controlled by the flow of acetylcholine. Reducing the flow of acetylcholine would put the brakes on these overactive processes. So these anticholinergic compounds can work wonders. Motion sickness and nausea can also be treated effectively using tropane alkaloids like scopolamine and hyoscyamine. Perhaps you have used a scopolamine patch on a vacation cruise or in trips where you endure periods of motion sickness.
Atropine has a wide variety of use not only in ophthalmology to dilate the pupils but also in the military field as an antidote to the chemical agents of nerve gas. When these agents enter the system It disrupts the acetylcholinesterase, The transmitters responsible for the regulation of acetylcholine, therefore flooding the system with excessive amounts of acetylcholine causing the victim to start drooling, constricted pupils and vision problems, involuntary urination (pissing your pants), overproduction of lung/bronchial fluids, respiratory failure resulting in convulsions and death. Atropine will remove this overdose of acetylcholine bringing the victim back from the clutches of death. A poison on its own. A lifesaver for other poisons
the poison of the underworld
the tropanes are truly devious in their poisoning effects on the body. For what other ingredients can literally bring you to the gates of Hell before you die?
“There was lightning all around me, the sky was ripped apart and clouds sweeping by quickly, they were tinged with red. All around me (its 8.00 pm) the normally deserted park is filled with people; horrible gray shadows with back holes for eyes, there are thousands of them. The trees are dripping with blood and the ground is littered with body parts. These people are laughing at me, but I can only hear them in my head, they scream at me, horrible things about the universe coming to an end. I remember grabbing my head and screaming.”**
Keep in mind this scenery seems entirely real to the person experiencing such a poisoning. Think of it along the lines of a lucid nightmare. Although there is danger in any experimentation with the tropanes, there is a serious danger in experimentation with these compounds when:
A) You are not familiar with how your body tolerates tropane alkaloids.
Your body can be extremely sensitive to these compounds, or resistant causing you to think you need a lot more than it really indicates.
B) When you are just guessing at dosage without any point of reference.
This is by far the most definitive factor in why people end up dead and/or admitted to the ER with extreme delirium and psychosis when messing with the Nightshade plants. As I said before, she enjoys a chance to take advantage of you when you give her that option. She does not play gentle. Guessing at a dosage is just plain stupid.
C) Unaware of the potency of the plant material
Just as in any plant based substance, different strains and species can be vastly different in alkaloid. For instance, Datura stramonium is not nearly as potent as something like Datura discolor or Datura ceratocaula. On top of that some of the same strains grown in different regions or at different times of the year can be quite different potencies. She is unpredictable. That’s my point!
Now I am not suggesting anyone should experiment with the tropanes but I do realize people will do as they wish, so I might as well put some relevant information out there. On the one hand, I think it is extremely irresponsible to play with high doses of these agents without some kind of preliminary testing. When you have no reference point there is simply no way to tell how much devastation it can produce, and this is the anatomy of fatal consequence.
On the other hand, some people exaggerate the danger adding even more ignorance to the topic. Talking about any and all doses like some kind of comic book super-villain does no justice. There are numerous factors that come into play. Some dangerous. Some not so dangerous. But the truth is: there is definitelyrisk involved in all cases until you know how your body reacts to low doses and how potent your plant material is then there is no telling the outcomes of larger dosage. When small dosage outcome is established, the safer way to go is working up incrementally using the same plant material. By incrementally I mean in baby steps not giant leaps.
Getting to know this plant means understanding it in as many ways as you can. This is why I believe it is important to grow your own plants. For one, you are developing a relationship with this plant. Your loving care for this plant goes a long way with the tropane mistress. I believe in the spiritual aspects involved. You are stupid not to, seeing as though this is a living being.
I live very closely to all of my plants. Most of my plants live right in my room with me. This may be too close for comfort for some of you. But these plants and their study is pretty much my life so I am more than comfortable being so close to them. These plants enter my dreams quite often. So this has not much difference to me. I prefer it actually.
The Spirit of Lady Nightshade is intense, powerful, some might even say overkill. She is the epitome of power and intensity. Everything she does is characterized by this energy. Dark. Rugged. Raw. If you attempt to communicate or interact with her in an irresponsible manner, she will not respond lightly. Expect a tidal wave of energy. Her elements are no different. How you allow yourself to be directed by this force is no simple task. Curiosity and thrill-seeking are not the means by which to approach these beings. Careless mistakes can be fatal. If its a trip you’re looking for, there are safer substances out there. Of course, you can always grow her and admire her beauty without trying to gain carnal knowledge by ingesting her. Treat her with the proper respect and you will have nothing to worry about.
Lets talk about how tropane poisoning is reversed. So we have already established that when someone is poisoned by tropane alkaloids they have restricted the flow of acetylcholine and the system begins to malfunction and ultimately shut down if too much has entered the system.
The initial effects of tropane exposure will be:
Mydriasis (Dilated Pupils)
The deeper exposure will result in:
Redness and Flushing of the skin
Difficulty walking/balance/muscle coordination
Limited Reaction to External Stimuli
And further exposure will culminate in:
Multiple Organ Failure
Now, The recognized antidote by the medical industry is Physostigmine which is produced in nature by the calabar bean, also a poison in its own right. The effects are much like nerve gas poisoning:
Increased salivation and body fluids
So this would be the case if we did not have extreme deficiency of acetylcholine by ingestion of an anticholinergic like scopolamine or atropine. But if a person has ingested these tropanes and the anticholinergics cause the resulting poisoning, administering physostigmine would reverse the effects and put the much needed acetylcholine back into the system.
Another recognized antidote is Pilocarpine. This is a compound isolated from the Pilocarpusgenus of plants in South America more commonly called Jaborandi. These are another source of acetylcholinesterase compounds (promoting the flow of acetylcholine).
Another known compound for treating the anticholinergic effect is a drug called scopoletin. This can be isolated from multiple plants like Scopolia, chicory, Artemesia scoparia, Passionflower, and most commonly Brunfelsia. I can personally attest to the fact that Brunfelsia will reverse the initial effects in low doses of tropane alkaloids.
Due to stomach/digestive problems, I ingested a small number of Datura stramonium seeds, which I had carefully dosed through numerous small dose experiments. After reaching a medicinal dosage guideline, I ingested a few more for the purpose of this experiment. After a while, My eyelids got heavy, my mouth became fairly dry, and pretty much my whole system dried up. I could drink a lot of fluid with barely any urination. This is what I was aiming for. Next, I made tea with about 15-20 leaves of Brunfelsia grandiflora. Upon drinking this concoction, I could feel my mouth producing saliva again. I could somewhat feel my body producing fluids again. Or rather, I could feel the initial effects of the Datura seeds containing tropane alkaloids reversing as I continued to drink the Brunfelsia tea.
I can’t say for sure how effective this would be at higher levels of tropane exposure. I’m sure you would need to drink a fair amount more than one cup. But this is just my experience at low doses. I would not recommend trying it because as I said before: There is a great amount of Risk involved in consuming high amounts of tropane alkaloids and the same is true of Brunfelsia and scopoletin. My point being, you are walking into uncharted territory and I have no way of telling you what could happen because these are both poisons in their own right!
I hope this post gives you a more in-depth understanding of the Nightshade plants, tropane alkaloids, and their effects on acetylcholine in our brain. I hope you find these plants as awesome and inspiring as I do, but at the same time I hope you approach them with respect as I do. While I do not encourage ingesting them to my audience, I can’t tell you not to because that would be somewhat hypocritical. But what I will say is please, please don’t be foolish by guessing at dosage or thinking you have balls by taking large amounts. These are dangerous compounds. Overdosing and dying is a very real risk. Or maybe worse than dying, permanent psychosis, brain damage, and vision impairment is always another plausible scenario. So if reading this isn’t enough for some of you crazy cats then just please be very, verycareful!!
In the Sierra Madre of Mexico are the Huichol Indians who have lived and thrived for as many years on their own and undiluted by western and Christian influence. Within this culture work shamans and healers alike. There is a story among the Huichol about a mythic battle between a hero Kauyumarie, a good spirit, and Kieri or Crazy Kieri, an evil spirit. There have been reports of Kauyumarie as being associated with the deer and peyote (Laphophora williamsii). And Kieri being associated with the wolf and Datura inoxia or Solandra (Solandra spp.).* Solandra is another tropane-based plant in the Nightshade Family (Solanaceae).
Although there are different versions of Kieri and which plant was the true Kieri, It has been said that Kieri also had two sides. One side being the good spirit aspect under the Solandra, and the evil spirit aspect under Datura inoxia. The Crazy Kieri plants were said to be used only in sorcery and brujeria, to poison and bring delirium and deceit.
As Crazy Kieri has been associated with Datura, there has also been an association with the wolf. In Lightning In My Blood James Endredy tells of a story of being poisoned by a jealous Huichol, Umberto, who blows either Datura inoxia or Solandra into his face and falls into a deep slumber not promised to return. During the few days of being deeply immersed in the world of Datura poisoning, James recalls being eaten by wolves and after his death is born as a wolf. He experiences being a wolf. The experience to James seemed completely vivid and real which is not uncommon for such a poisoning.
Upon awakening, James is surrounded by his Huichol teachers who watch over him as he recovers:
“…You’ve been gone for four days; we thought you might not come back. people who are attacked with Kieri usually either die or come back crazy.’
I rolled to the right so that I could see Jose Luis sitting next to me. ‘What’s Kieri?’ I asked.
‘Kieri is the powerful spirit that lives inside a plant with white, funnel-shaped flowers and spiny seed pods. The plant grows in steep, rocky cliffs and is very rare. Evil sorcerers like Umberto’s father sometimes make a powder from it to attack their enemies. It can make a person crazy or even kill.’
I thought about what Jose Luis said , but thinking about the experience I just had with the Kieri, it didn’t really treat me badly, except for the splitting headache I had. I remembered what it was like to live as a wolf, and a smile crossed my face.
‘What are you smiling about?’ Jose Luis asked.
‘I was remembering the dreams I had. I was a wolf, and it was fantastic.’
‘A wolf!’ exclaimed Jose Luis. ‘What color?’
‘Well, first I was a white wolf. She ate me after her mate, the black wolf, killed me. Then I was a black and white wolf- their son.’
A few minutes later, Nichu came with a few of the Jicareros and a couple of elders. One of the elders I had seen briefly once before. She was a large women dressed in a fully embroidered Huichol dress that showed her status as an elder. The elder woman came and knelt beside me, looking into my eyes. ‘Jose Luis tells us you were dreaming of wolves’, she (Marta) said in a strong and melodious voice that told me right away that she was a singing shaman.
I nodded my head yes in response and then added, ‘But the dreams seemed more real than any I’ve ever had. It felt like I was a wolf for many weeks, and I can still remember each day and everything I did and felt.’
‘Marta knows more about the Kieri than anyone else in the Sierra’, Nichu said. ‘She has been watching over you the whole time you were traveling in the land of the Kieri, and she has kept away the wolves.’
‘The vibration of the Kieri is very close to the wolves’ Marta said. ‘In the old days, the users of Kieri were called wolf shamans, as it was said that they could transform into wolves by using the power of the Kieri. Not many shamans use the Kieri anymore, it is not easy to make friends with that spirit, and it is extremely dangerous. We have all been very afraid for you.”
Other writings corroborate this claim saying that Kieri’s role as “an ally of shamans who train to receive their power from wolves (more correctly the wolf-people),“** in describing this specialized, rare form of wolf shamanism among the Huichol. This Datura cult has almost certainly disappeared since it was probably more common when wolves were more prominent in the Sierra Madre, before they were hunted and eradicated due to the loss of cattle in the area.
There has been much speculation about the true Kieri being either Solandra or Datura, and in some circles, even Brugmansia. While we may never have a definitive answer to this question, it is safe to say Kieri worked through one of tropane-based Nightshade plants. The Crazy Kieri is truly a plant for her Spirit, and the wolf can be a viscous but beautiful creature, deserving respect much like Lady Nightshade…
*Yerba del Diablo: The Enigmatic Datura : John McCloy http://www.tripzine.com/listing.php?id=datura
**Furst P. “Kieri and the Solanaceae: Nature and Culture in Huichol Mythology.” Erowid.org/plants/solandra/solandra_article1.shtml
Endredy, James. Lightning in My Blood: A Journey into Shamanic Healing & the Supernatural. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2011. Print.
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” – Abraham Lincoln
In 1968 Carlos Castaneda released The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge detailing his apprenticeship with a powerful shaman from Mexico named Don Juan.* His apprenticeship consisted of utilizing three powerful psychotropic plants to stimulate his abilities into shamanism: 1.) Peyote 2.) Psylicybe mushrooms and 3.) Datura inoxia. Taming the Devil’s Weed is taming Datura inoxia. The most frightening and dangerous of these channels was of course the Dark Spirit of Datura. She was the elite form of power, but very few could handle Her power. Not only was She powerful, but She was also unpredictable. When one is dealing with intense forms of power such as The Devil’s Weed, You need to be able to predict your calculations. One wrong turn and She would turn unpredictable. Leaving you in the depths of madness… insanity.
Not only does She like to be unpredictable in her effects on the mind but She likes to be unpredictable in her alkaloid content as well. As you may have heard, the tropane concentration in the death-laced Solanaceae can be various in every respect. From plant to plant. From leaf to leaf. From age to weather condition. She truly has the upper hand in the relationship. She seems to decide herself which rule She wants to play by.
You may have to ask: How could She be beneficial at all to one’s work if She is so unruly and dangerous. The answer to this question I believe lies in your ability to sense what She thinks of you. Because although we see Her having Her way and say in all matters, imagine how that could work out if She was extremely fond of you? Now we see Her in a much more favorable light. She will then go out of Her way to see that you have your way. She will destroy anyone standing in your way. That is the reward of gaining Her as an ally, She will make you a power to be reckoned with. You will have IMMENSE power through Her.
This seems to be one of the pitfalls of Her apprenticeship. Keeping your power from corrupting and owning you. When people gain power they lose control of themselves. This leads to instability, decay, and eventual self-annihilation. Power is easily subversive when you become arrogant and proud so you better be well aware of your own well-being if you want to keep those privileges with your Lady friend…
The Devil’s weed had to be experienced in a specific order to gain her abilities:
“The Devil’s Weed has four heads: 1. The Root, 2. the stem and leaves, 3. the flowers, and 4. the seeds. Each one of them is different and whoever becomes her ally must learn about them in that order. The most important head is in the roots. The power of the Devil’s Weed is conquered through the roots. The stem and leaves are the head that cures maladies; properly used, this head is a gift to mankind. The third head is the flowers, and it is used to turn people crazy, or to make them obedient, or to kill them. The man whose ally is the weed never intakes the flowers, nor does he intake the stem and leaves, for that matter, except in cases of his own illness; but the roots and the seeds are always intaken, especially the seeds; they are the fourth head of the devil’s weed and the most powerful of the four.”
There is a staggering amount of complex and specific instructions to follow when procuring favor with the Devil’s Weed. There is no room for error when working with Her. It would be a nerve-wracking feat to undertake. The strange thing about Castaneda’s undertaking was that he made a careless mistake applying the paste to his forehead when he was instructed to apply it to his temples. There was also a ritual he had to do involving lizards for divination, and he made some errors there as well. Don Juan was in amazement that Castaneda had even made it back to tell of these mistakes. She usually always destroys Her proteges when they take a wrong turn. And this plays directly into Her unpredictability as well as Her fondness for Castaneda. Its like I said before, when She favors you She will bend the rules around what She wants to happen, revealing the power and control within Her domain. Taming the Devil’s Weed would be no easy task…
This page will be expanding as I gather more information on working with The Devil’s Weed as well as my own journal with work using the Devil’s Weed. Mine is on a much smaller scale with minuscule amounts to aid in dream enhancement and small matters. It will be a long, slow, and arduous journey. In either case I hope to bring some valuable reference material to a much needed and disappearing tradition… So stay tuned for more…
*The book by Castaneda has been under criticism by academics and scholars. I will say that there is probably both true standing knowledge and application concerning the Devil’s Weed in this book, there could possibly be fictional information as well. So while I am aware, I don’t generally use this as a definitive reference. I cover this as one avenue. So little has been written on the subject but these plants have been utilized for a very long time and probably not only for inducing delirium…
Plant Toxicity and its action on the Body and Mind
So just to let my readers know, I will be creating a database of the poisons of the plant realm. The Poison Database will be a big undertaking so bear with me while I get all this stuff in order. This will not happen overnight there are literally thousands of toxic compounds to cover… But I will get the bulk of it out to you so you can learn about these devious ingredients within the dark world of the poison in plant life. This will be in alphabetical order as it gets created. Bear with me… This will be fun! I promise!
One of the tropane alkaloids found in plants of the nightshade family such as Belladonna, Mandrake, Henbane, Datura, Brugmansia, etc. Atropine has a spot on the World Health Organization’s Model List of Essential Medicines; The most important medications needed in a basic health system. Atropine is an anticholinergic. This blocks the action of acetylcholine which is responsible for a spectrum of functions in the body like muscle coordination, secretion, and the brain’s functioning as asleep or awake. This would make one function in the dream state even while physically awake and experience dreams in the waking reality as hallucination and delirium.
medicinal use: Atropine is used as an antidote for insecticides as well as various types nerve gas poisonings like sarin, VX, and soman. Atropine is used by ophthalmologists as a mydriatic to dilate the pupils. It is used to treat bradycardia (slow heartbeat; less than 60 beats per minute). it is used in reducing secretions (saliva, sweat) and can treat the symptoms of diarrhea. It is used along with scopolamine and hyoscyamine to treat stomach ulcers and other intestinal disease.
Toxicity: Atropine poisoning can cause tachycardia (fast heartbeat), dry mouth, mydriasis (pupil dilation), blurred vision, photophobia (sensitivity to light), dizziness, loss of balance, extreme confusion, tactile hallucinations, and death.
Antidote: physostigmine and pilocarpine
One of the tropane alkaloids found in plants of the nightshade family such as Belladonna, Mandrake, Henbane, Datura, Brugmansia, etc. As an anticholinergic, Hyoscyamine blocks the action of acetylcholine which is responsible for a spectrum of functions in the body like muscle coordination, secretion, and the brain’s functioning as asleep or awake. This would make one function in the dream state even while physically awake and experience dreams in the waking reality as hallucination and delirium.
Medicinal use: Treats various gastrointestinal diseases like peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, pancreatitis, colic and cystitis. It is also used to treat some heart problems, secretions, respiratory problems, some symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Hyoscyamine has also shown promise in neuropathic pain in combination with opiates.
Toxicity: Hyoscyamine poisoning can cause arrhythmia, flushing and faintness, dizziness, loss of balance, headache, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, eye pain, blurred vision, extreme confusion, tactile hallucinations, sexual arousal, euphoria, short term memory loss, coma, and death.
Antidote: physostigmine and pilocarpine
One of the tropane alkaloids found in plants of the nightshade family such as Belladonna, Mandrake, Henbane, Datura, Brugmansia, etc. As an anticholinergic, Scopolamine blocks the action of acetylcholine which is responsible for a spectrum of functions in the body like muscle coordination, secretion, and the brain’s functioning as asleep or awake. This would make one function in the dream state even while physically awake and experience dreams in the waking reality as hallucination and delirium. Aside from that the scopolamine is listed in the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines: The most important medications needed in a basic health system. Like Hyoscyamine and atropine, it can have quite the dark side. But then there are smaller dosages that can be extremely kind and healing. Perhaps this was part of the meaning of Kieri, She has a good side and a bad side. Treat her with respect!
Medicinal uses: Scopolamine enjoys a wide variety of medicinal use. Some of these are: Postoperative nausea and vomiting, motion sickness, gastrointestinal spasms, renal or biliary spasms, irritable bowel syndrome, Clozapine induced hyper-salivation (drooling). bowel colic, sometimes used as a premedication to surgery.
Toxicity: Scopolamine can induce tachycardia (fast heartbeat), bradycardia (slow heartbeat), arrhythmia, blurred vision, photophobia (sensitivity to light), dry mouth, mydriasis (dilated pupils), hives/rash, itching, constipation, urinary retention, agitation, restlessness, vivid hallucinations, confusion, dizziness, seizures, anaphylactic shock, shortness of breath, redness of the skin, drowsiness, and death.
poisonpath.com is not secured by an SSL currently. Visit StartSSL.com for one for FREE.