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Henbane [electronic resource]: The Witches Brew? Sacred Weeds

Also known as the devil's weed, henbane has long been associated with demons and black magic. In this program Oxford anthropology professor Andrew Sherratt investigates whether alteration of the senses by henbane is responsible for medieval accounts of witches turning into animals or flying. Under medical supervision, volunteers took a dose and then answered questions posed by a pharmacologist, an expert on cultural beliefs about witches, and the author of several works on ritual use of hallucinogens. Teasing out the historical truths from lurid ecclesiastical reports, the group speculates on how and why an anti-hallucinogen attitude evolved in Europe.
Online
1998