We here at Throckmorton HQ are far from conspiracy theorists and by no means endorse the views of these sometimes ricockulous paranoid nutjobs. However, our ears perk up when we hear about entire towns descending into madness as the CIA skulks away into the darkness, especially when the story is backed up by government documents. Double-especially when those documents had to be wrenched from government archives only after sweeping transparency legislation.
See, the US is the protector of the world, and, man is it tough and thankless work. As benevolent savior of the planet, we have to continuously dabble in designing new weapons to stay ahead of Osama bin Laden Ilyas Kashmir various and sundry boogie men. It also means we can do whatever we want to to anyone we choose to test our nifty security devices. One such obvious breakthrough, of course, is lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD, for your squares).
To wit, we reviewed a memorandum obtained from the endless stacks of papers unleashed by the FOIA sporting the scintillating title, “Re: Pont-Saint-Esprit and F. Olson Files. SO Span/France Operation file, inclusive Olson. Intel files. Hand carry to Belin - tell him to see to it that these are buried.” “Buried” can only be positive, right? Like gold doubloons and the pig at a redneck BBQ.
In the mid-20th century, Pont-Saint Esprit was a sleepy French town nestled into a curve of the Rhone. But on August 16th, 1951, things done changed. Many of its citizens began experiencing hallucinations, nausea and, general hysteria. Reports include:
- People trying to drown themselves
- One man screaming his belly was being eaten by snakes (did they have [stun guns] back then?)
- Children trying to strangle their mothers
- One man begging doctors to put his heart back in his chest (it had not been removed)
- At least two people jumping out of windows. (One guy screaming “I am a plane.” After hitting the ground, dude gets up and runs 50 yards. With two broken legs. Strong work!)
Dozens were committed to insane asylums and at least 5 people died as a direct result of the days of mayhem. The explanation given at the time was that all the fun started after the local bakery dispensed a batch of bread tainted with a poisonous fungus, grain ergot.
The ergot explanation was commonly accepted until 2009 when the above-mentioned file was found by whistleblower Hank Albarelli, who was investigating the suspicious circumstances surrounding the suicide of Frank Olson (head LSD researcher for the CIA in the 1950’s) for his book A Terrible Mistake. Albarelli believes that a specific document exists that will link Frank Olson’s LSD research to the crazy events at Punt Sainte Esprite. He thinks it will prove that the town of was the victim of CIA research on using LSD to incapacitate large groups of people. (The Sandoz Chemical Company was located a few hundred kilometers away from Pint St Espree and was the only company making LSD at that time)
Since these accusations have surfaced, people with real knowledge of the side-effects of LSD have chimed in and don’t believe it could explain all the medical conditions seen at Pontt Sainttt Esp-whatever. And we have to agree that, if dosing large crowds with LSD caused that sort of hysteria, every Phish concert would end up looking like a Jim Jones religious retreat. And it would take some serious CIA acid to, say, turn a man into a precarious glass of l’orange juice or force taut, supple French au pairs to toss le baby into le oven. But entire towns tearing themselves apart based on a tainted bread? It’s an airtight explanation, happens all the time. Bono whined about the ergot-related injustice during U2’s most recent tour. It had to be the bread. Right?
To learn more and begin your trek toward paranoia, check out Albarelli’s website. And how can you not want to read about how grain ergot was also responsible for the Salem Witch Trials?
Here’s some footage of British soldiers totally off-their-tits on acid while still fully armed. Total insanity all around.