Ergot Poisoning and the Salem Witchcraft Trials

Colonies to ConstituionThis week I was reading through various interpretations of why and how the Salem Witchcraft Trials happened. You can read numerous interpretations in this book. The most interesting and unusual reason for the Salem Witchcraft trials to me is it the one dealing with ergot poisoning which causes hallucinations.

Ergot on RyeApparently under certain weather conditions the ergot fungus grows in rye. The Rye is used to make bread and that is what people eat and therefore get ergot poisoning. This was so interesting to me that I looked up more information about the ergot fungus here.

Here is what I found:

Ergot is a fungus that effects rye. Ergot poisoning does indeed cause all sorts of body contortions and twists as well as hallucinations. Ergot is a derivative of LSD. LSD was first   invented in 1938 by the Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman. He was actually looking to develop medicines from compounds in ergot.


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