Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Zombie poison: death in the back yard

I'm not sure why this is -  I surely don't go looking for them - but strange stories like this one just seem to drop into my lap. Now, back in 1812 when I was a kid, we did things like smoke banana peels (after the Donovan song Mellow Yellow came out: "Elec-tric-al ba-na-na. . ."), nutmeg which turned out to paralyze the central nervous system, and tea leaves which just made us all sick. We were either too cheap to buy marijuana, or (in my case) had no idea where we were supposed to get it. I simply didn't know any drug dealers, so relied on my brother to bring hashish into the house when he came home from university. I didn't smoke up that many times, but it was far from a mellowing experience for me. I even hallucinated once, white fountains that I am SURE were not produced by cannabis. The strangest effect was the elongation of music, so that one phrase seemed to last about 5 minutes. In fact, I seemed to be able to make it last as long as I liked. Well. Mary Jane is pushing her way into the mainstream now, and becoming more and more acceptable for "medicinal" reasons, including anxiety and depression. You can even get it out of vending machines now, so WHY do people still do stupid things like eating noxious garden weeds to get high? Read on. . . 

Cornwall Seaway News

DEVIL'S SEED: Teens hospitalized after ingesting poisonous plant

Published on September 30, 2014

By Adam Brazeau

CORNWALL, Ontario - Public health officials and police in eastern Ontario are warning the public about a deadly plant that has sent several teens to the emergency room in the past few weeks.

© Kyle Walton


And unlike other deadly toxins people take to get high this one grows wildly and locally.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) issued a community safety alert on Sept. 29 after a Russell County teen was hospitalized for ingesting Datura stramonium, also known as 'Jimsonweed or Devil's Seed,' earlier in the month at a school.

OPP say the teen was spotted at a campus after school hours by faculty acting strangely and not feeling well. As police investigated the case, he was taken to the hospital.

On Sept. 26, provincial police confirmed the accused was intoxicated by the notorious plant. He has been charged with administering a noxious thing with intent - endanger life or cause bodily harm. The teen is scheduled to appear in L’Orignal Youth Court on October 29.

“Young people are not aware of the serious risk they’re taking," said Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, medical officer of health of the EOHU.

"Some of them may think of jimsonweed as a substitute for other drugs. Unfortunately, this could cost them their lives."

According to the EOHU, all parts of the plant are poisonous and contain a powerful hypnotic sedative as well as a high level of nitrate.

Symptoms usually occur within 30 to 60 minutes after ingestion and may continue for 24 to 48 hours or even longer.

Jimsonweed is described as odorous with pointed green leaves sprouts trumpet-shaped white or purple flowers, as well as a prickly pod filled with dozens of seeds.

Common effects include high fever, racing heart rate, blurry vision, hallucinations and delusions. More severely, the plant can also cause seizures and comas.

Roumeliotis urges parents and caregivers to speak with their children regarding the dangers posed by jimsonweed in order to prevent any further victims.

In 2007, over a dozen teens in the Cornwall area were hospitalizes after ingesting the hallucinogenic plant.

Search for Jimsonweed on www.omafra.gov.on.ca to learn more.

For additional information, contact the Addiction Services of the Cornwall Community Hospital at 613-936-9236 or toll free at 1 800 272-1937.

But hey, folks. There's more to this story, as there usually is. It struck me as idiotic beyond lunacy for kids to be ingesting this obviously-toxic substance. They deserve what they get, don't they? But when I saw the name datura, it rang some sort of ancient bell from 20 years ago, when I took an an anthropology class exploring the roots of indigenous medicine. Wade Davis! The Serpent and the Rainbow! The true cult of the zombie, in which people from Haiti and other spooky juju-infested lands were poisoned to induce a deathlike state, buried, and revived so as to appear to come to life again. All to prove the spectacular powers of the shaman. Along with the anaesthetizing venom of the puffer fish, datura was a crucial ingredient in zombification. Is that why kids are ripping noxious weeds out of their back yards and eating them, or smoking them, or whatever-it-is-they-do?




Unlike corpses rising from the grave in George Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead, Voodoo zombies are created through a mixture of drugging, religious ritual, and cultural belief.
After being put into a trance-like state that approximates a coma, victims are regularly fed the hallucinogenic drug scopolamine, derived from the Datura stramonium plant, otherwise known as jimsonweed, the zombie cucumber or the Devil’s weed.
Vice Magazine called scopolamine/Datura the scariest drug on the planet because of its ability to completely consume the mind of those who ingest it (see video below).
Webster University Professor Emeritus and Haitian scholar, Bob Corbett, had this to add:
“Eating the zombie cucumber keeps them in their zonked-out state, but otherwise they are just like animals in a pen and will do what they are told to do.  Mainly they’re used as slave labor.”
Corbett went on to emphasize that despite the effect of the drug Voodoo zombies have beating hearts, and normal blood flow and body temperature. They need to sleep and eat regular foods, and are not contagious, dangerous or aggressive in the slightest.

Here we have an example of taking something that has a kernel of truth in it - people being poisoned to render them docile or even make them appear dead - and stretching it in all sorts of bizarre directions. No doubt this has been a boon for the film industry, but it just has nothing to do with reality. Datura doesn't give you an appetite for human flesh - not as far as I know. It doesn't turn you all grainy and black-and-white and make you kill people with shovels. But the phenomenon of one-upping reality, of creating Boogiemen, is a very ancient one. I won't get into Slenderman (yet - I'll probably write about it sooner or later) and all the ludicrous superstitions that can completely disable the rational brain. But the progress of science and technology has done nothing to eradicate or even slow the viral spread of these terror-based beliefs. In fact, what with the internet, social media and other woeful ills of the 21st century, sick superstitious beliefs can rip through the culture like wildfire, damaging our young people most of all.

So PLEASE do not go out into the back yard with scissors, unless you are planning on trimming the hedges over a very long period of time.

"Mellow Yellow"

I'm just mad about saffron
A-saffron's mad about me
I'm-a just mad about saffron
She's just mad about me

They call me mellow yellow (Quite rightly)
They call me mellow yellow (Quite rightly)
They call me mellow yellow

I'm just mad about fourteen
Fourteen's mad about me
I'm-a just mad about a-fourteen
A-she's just mad about me

They call me mellow yellow
They call me mellow yellow (Quite rightly)
They call me mellow yellow

Born-a high forever to fly
A-wind-a velocity nil
Born-a high forever to fly
If you want, your cup I will fill

They call me mellow yellow (Quite rightly)
They call me mellow yellow (Quite rightly)
They call me mellow yellow

So mellow yellow

Electrical banana
Is gonna be a sudden craze
Electrical banana
Is bound to be the very next phase

They call it mellow yellow (Quite rightly)
They call me mellow yellow (Quite rightly)
They call me mellow yellow

Yes, saffron, yeah
I'm just-a mad about her
I'm-a just-a mad about-a saffron
She's just mad about me

They call it mellow yellow (Quite rightly)
They call me mellow yellow (Quite rightly)
They call me mellow yellow

Oh, so yellow
Oh, so mellow


Welsh-singing voices: As the Deer Pants for the Water