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J is for Jimsonweed.....

Also known as Jamestown Weed and Devil's Trumpet, this plant, related to the nightshade family of plants, is extremely toxic. For centuries, however, parts of the plant (specifically the leaves and seeds) have been used for their hallucinogenic qualities. The effects of Jimsonweed on the human that has consumed it have been likened to those of LSD, the major difference being the person hallucinating on Jimsonweed has an inability to distinguish reality-- s/he will not be able to comprehend that they are under the influence of anything.

Poisonings by Jimsonweed lead to severely delirious episodes, commonly called 'Vanishing Cigarette Phenomena'.  Victims become obsessed by things that aren't actually there and can become frantic in their search for the same thing once it "vanishes"... some of the most recurring hallucinations involve smoking cigarettes that aren't actually there, the victims becoming very confused/alarmed when they can no longer find the cigarette they were just smoking.

Jimsonweed took the name Jamestown Weed during Bacon's Rebellion in 1676 when British troops were sent to Jamestown to squelch an uprising of frontiersman, farmers and slaves led by Nathaniel Bacon. Unaware of its hallucinogenic properties, the soldiers gathered jimsonweed and boiled it for inclusion in a salad. The toxic effect of the plant took over shortly after leading the soldiers to being poisoned en masse. It was recorded that the soldiers began acting strangely and had to be confined, for their own safety, for several days. Most of their antics were harmless enough-- kissing and pawing at each other, leaping into the air as if they could fly, swatting at things that weren't there... and after eleven days, the soldiers all returned to normal, none having any memory of their delirium.

As tempting as it might be to want to try such a 'trippy' plant, I'm not sure how much fun people can have if they have no memory of 'enjoying' it....

Jimsonweed Juice

Sip the tea lightly,
turn your head away,
watch the shadows brightly
slip around the day.

The cheek you kissed this morrow,
though warm and soft and bright,
will have gone tomorrow,
as your mem'ry clears tonight.

The face your fingers chanced to find,
though it once set your mind to reel,
now holds no spot within your mind,
as no longer the madness you feel.

As right as before you'll soon be,
no thought of what's gone before,
you'll have no beautiful mem'ry of me,
lest you sip of my tea once more.  

                                                                                     --- e.a.s. demers


  1. It suddenly occurs to me that some of the people tried as witches back in the day, while not "witches," may not have been innocent.

    A solid understanding of plants, as you're outlining here, would certainly empower a person. It would be easy enough to turn an enemy into an outcast, or kill 'em outright, with little effort.

    Then as now, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

    1. Aw, darn, you've figured out my

      I'm sure those witches were probably guilty of poisoning some folks-- I mean, they had to have guinea pigs to learn what the poisons/plants did to a person....

  2. I've often heard it said that, "If you can remember the 60s, you weren't there." That indicates to me that being able to remember a "good time" isn't really necessary for believing you had one.


    1. But, not remembering the good time certainly makes for a depressing 'day after'.... :-)


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