ergotism

X-Files Science Part II: Bugs, Hybrids and Hypnosis

We want to believe. With the return of The X-Files to television Joe and Christian go digging through Scully's reports for scientific answers to the big themes of the show. Join us to learn more about regression hypnosis, weaponized bees, alien hybridization and more. Just remember... trust no one.

X-Files Science Part I: Mutants & Parasites

With the return of television's The X-Files, it's never been a better time to look at the science behind the show. Join Joe and Christian as they examine the possibilities of classic Monsters of the Week, including otherworldly parasites, killer mutants, talking tattoos and more. We'll add present research to the scientific theories surrounding the show during its initial release to find if the truth is out there.

Art Spotlight: Saint Anthony, Hand of Fire

The Psychedelic Nightmare of Ergotism

Imagine an entire town overcome by a collective waking nightmare. It's the stuff of fantasy to be sure. Just read Brian McNaughton's "The Return of Lrion Wolfbaiter" or play a little "Skyrim." You'll get there. But is it also the stuff of history? Is there a scientific explanation for events such as the Salem Witch Trials, when a sleepy, repressed new England town erupted into an orgy of superstitious accusations, urine cakes and heart-wrenching persecution? It brings us to ergot poisoning. Ergot is a fungus (Claviceps purpurea) that contains toxic compounds similar to LSD. When it infests grains it sometimes makes its way into contaminated bread. And if everyone gets their bread from the same baker...