If the Salem witches had only been gluten free…

Something New Every Day – Lecture 12 Drugs and poisons

The hallucinigen d-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) derives from a fungus that grows on improperly stored grain. A dose as small as a full-stop/period of pure d-lysergic acid diethylamide can cause auditory and visual hallucinations that can last 12 hours. It is not addictive but can cause psychosis & flashbacks months or even years later. People try to disguise LSD for trafficking by liquefying it and soaking paper in it, selling it in tablets or building it into the gelatine casing of regular capsule based medications. It has been disguised on the back of postage stamps and in the adhesive strip on envelopes

Those poisoned though exposure to d-lysergic acid diethylamide from bread made from infected grain suffered ‘Saint Anthony’s Fire’, a condition marked by painful seizures, spasms, itching, mental psychosis/mania, headaches, nausea and vomiting/diarrhoea. This condition has been linked to the supposed cases of ‘bewitchment’ in the 1600’s that led to the Salem Witch Trials where the poor, infected people were determined by their symptoms to be bewitched and executed as witches.

‘Trails of Evidence: How Forensic Science Works” is a The Great Courses DVD lecture series