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Re: books elevate the mind??



Not all highs are pleasant.  The disorder believed to be involved in the
Salem witchcraft trials is called convulsive ergotism and one theory
around it's occurrence in Salem was proposed by Linda Caporeal several
years ago in an article in Science.

Convulsive ergotism is caused by the growth of ergot on rye planted in
cool, moist conditions such as those in Salem in the year of the
"possesions".  Caporeal documented this through analysis of tree rings
and other records of the weather as well as the places where those
suffering lived.  Interestingly, cows as well as people suffered
ergotism.

Ergotism would not be a pleasant, recreational hallucinogenic
experience.  In addition to hallucinations those affected had severe
headaches and reported feeling as though ants were crawling under their
skin (leading to their writhing and seeming possession by evil spirits).

R*


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