October 31, 2013
Why Do Witches Carry Brooms? (NSFW)

It started with bread.
In the Europe of Middle Ages, most bread was made with rye. As nations urbanized, however, bread-delivery methods changed: Bread went from kitchen-to-table to bakery-to-customer, meaning that it often spent more time sitting around, waiting to be eaten. A mold, ergot, began to develop on the bread. People, in turn, began to consume it. 
Ergot, in high doses, can be lethal. (The spread of ergotism, in fact, is what led to the popularization of wheat bread in Europe: Wheat is resistant to the ergot mold.) In smaller doses, however, the ergot fungus can be a powerful hallucinogen. Records from the 14th to the 17th century mention Europeans’ affliction with “dancing mania,” which found groups of people dancing through streets—often speaking nonsense and foaming at the mouth as they did so—until they collapsed from exhaustion. Those who experienced the “mania” without being killed by it would later describe the wild visions that accompanied it.(In the 20th century, Albert Hofmann would realize the psychedelic effects of LSD while experimenting with ergot.) 
Read more. [Image: Shutterstock/Gwoeii]

Why Do Witches Carry Brooms? (NSFW)

It started with bread.

In the Europe of Middle Ages, most bread was made with rye. As nations urbanized, however, bread-delivery methods changed: Bread went from kitchen-to-table to bakery-to-customer, meaning that it often spent more time sitting around, waiting to be eaten. A mold, ergot, began to develop on the bread. People, in turn, began to consume it. 

Ergot, in high doses, can be lethal. (The spread of ergotism, in fact, is what led to the popularization of wheat bread in Europe: Wheat is resistant to the ergot mold.) In smaller doses, however, the ergot fungus can be a powerful hallucinogen. Records from the 14th to the 17th century mention Europeans’ affliction with “dancing mania,” which found groups of people dancing through streets—often speaking nonsense and foaming at the mouth as they did so—until they collapsed from exhaustion. Those who experienced the “mania” without being killed by it would later describe the wild visions that accompanied it.(In the 20th century, Albert Hofmann would realize the psychedelic effects of LSD while experimenting with ergot.)

Read more. [Image: Shutterstock/Gwoeii]

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