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...

Do slugs trip on psychedelic mushrooms?

So here's the question: Do slugs trip on psilocybin when they consume it? Because in humans, the substance generates a wide variety of mind-altering effects. Time changes. Reality shifts. Sometimes we feel a deeper connection with the universe and openness to each other. But what about slugs?

The Shaman and the Scientist: Hallucination

The Shaman and the Scientist: Hallucination: Join Robert and Julie as they continue their discussion of the overlap between shamanism and cognitive neuroscience. What sort of experiences do substances like DMT, psilocybin and salvia grant users? Why do human bodies have trace elements of DMT?

Blow Your Mind: The Scientist and the Shaman

Inspired in large part by Emory University's "For I am the Black Jaguar" exhibit (get the book here), we explore some of the common ground between psychedelically-fueled spirituality and scientific research into the effects and nature of psychedelic experience. Here's what we have for you...

The Shaman and the Scientist: My Egoic Mind

The Shaman and the Scientist: My Egoic Mind: A shaman consumes a psychedelic mushroom and visits the spirit world. Meanwhile, a scientist studies the effects of psilocybin on depression and conceptions of self. In this episode, Robert and Julie discuss the common ground shared by these disciplines.

Did Ebenezer Scrooge take a mountain of DMT?

Christmas is magic. Christmas is transformative. And since we're dropping two episodes on the psychedelics, science and shamanism the week of Dec. 25, I keep wondering if everyone's favorite holiday curmudgeon didn't smoke DMT on that fateful Christmas Eve. Because what happens in "A Christmas Carol?" Why, a self-centered old miser barricades himself in an empty house and experiences a ghostly visitation from a dead friend. Next, three outlandish spirit entities arrive and take him on a mind-rending journey through time and space. At the end of that journey, Scrooge re-engages the world with a profoundly increased sense of openness -- which brings us to DMT.

Touching the Void: Psychedelics and Death

Can psychedelic drugs help prepare terminal patients for death? Can substances like MDMA ease the dying through the ultimate transcendent experience? While the scientific study of psychedelic experience has been somewhat of a touchy subject since the 1960s, some researchers continue to seek out the beneficial aspects of these powerful, mind-altering substances. What actually goes on inside the mind during a "trip" and how might we use that to ease our passage through death?

Touching the Void: Psychedelics and Death

Can psychedelic drugs help prepare terminal patients for death? Can MDMA ease the pain of dying through the ultimate transcendent experience? In this episode, Julie and Robert discuss what some researchers believe may be the future of end-of-life care.