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Sacred Weeds: Four Experiments With Psychoactive Plants
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The Fly Agaric Mushroom [electronic resource]: Sacred Weeds

Siberian shamans used the fly agaric mushroom to access a world inhabited by small, elf-like beings, while Victorian artists often depicted elves sitting atop a fly agaric's cap. In this program, Oxford archaeology professor Andrew Sherratt compares the effects of fly agaric on volunteers to the effects described in traditional accounts. The experiment is attended by a psychiatrist interested in how the drug affects the brain, a neuropsychologist measuring spatial perception, and an ethnobotanist assessing the volunteers' subjective report of the experience. The group cannot agree: Does fly agaric distort our perception of the world, or does it allow a glimpse of a different reality? Part of the series Sacred Weeds.
Online
1998
2.

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