The Devils Breath
Reaching anywhere from less than ten to more than 30 feet in height, these trees and shrubs possess broad green leaves peppered with delicate flowers that bloom either upward like trumpets or downward like bells. Across large swathes of the planet, chiefly in North and South America, these flowers flourish with their sinister uses escaping all but the trained eye.
As for coercion, not long after German scientist Albert Ladenburg first isolated scopolamine in , both doctors and government agencies began investigating its uses as a kind of truth serum.
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Robert House, a Texas obstetrician who had begun using scopolamine to interrogate prisoners. Wikimedia Commons Albert Ladenburg, the German chemist who first isolated scopolamine in Both the C. And before the dawn of the Cold War, infamous Nazi scientist Dr. Josef Mengele was rumored to have used the drug on his captive subjects.
The further back in time we go, the more murky and oftentimes grisly the stories become.
In , Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen was famously hanged after a widely covered trial for allegedly murdering his wife with scopolamine which is indeed fatal in high doses.
Scopolamine: The Realities of Devil’s Breath in Colombia
The ancient Greeks used the henbane variant both as a recreational downer and as a medical sedative. Accused witches during the Spanish Inquisition allegedly used henbane as an essential ingredient in their proverbial brews. And some say that in pre-colonial Colombia, incoming leaders used scopolamine to lure the wives and mistresses of newly deposed leaders into mass graves where they would then be buried alive.
He said: "I remember very few things after being sprayed.
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The Department of Foreign Affairs has said it is aware of the drug and warns people not to lower their alertness while on holidays. The substance is derived from a South American flower known as Angel's Trumpet Brugmansia which looks elegant - but hides sinister properties in every part of its make-up. The plant is similar to close and perhaps better-known relation, Datura - a poisonous plant famed for its hallucinogenic properties.
Datura trips are notoriously powerful. Some recreational drug users who take it in hopes of achieving hallucinations and euphoria can become so agitated they have to be hospitalised. Angel's Trumpet, while a close relative, has a different appearance and effects to Datura, and experts warn users risk death. It has come to be associated with crime against unsuspecting tourists in some countries, and it has been labelled a 'date rape' drug for its effectiveness in swiftly putting victims into a trance. Every part of the Brugmansia plant is poisonous, as its seeds and leaves are particularly dangerous to ingest as they are rich in the poison scopolamine.
Consumption of the plant has been described by experts as inducing symptoms like hallucinations, paralysis, a trance-like state and confusion. The Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience journal reported one young man amputated his own penis and tongue after drinking just one cup of Brugmansia. By Gavin O'Callaghan. Talia Shadwell.
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