New anthrax thread

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Thru December 2001: New anthrax thread
By Dr_Ordinaire on Monday, November 05, 2001 - 08:46 am: Edit

"The funniest thing about that joke is that you can substitute "Arafat" for "Sharon" everywhere it appears and it's just as funny. "

Right on, Geoff, this joke came from Argentina and the character was ex-president Menem.

It actually works better down there, since it is very unlikely that a farmer in the West Bank will raise pigs.

As far as the difference between Sharon and Arafat, the latter is a terrorist trying to become a statesman, the former is a statesman becoming a terrorist.

By Geoffk on Sunday, November 04, 2001 - 03:48 am: Edit

The funniest thing about that joke is that you can substitute "Arafat" for "Sharon" everywhere it appears and it's just as funny.

-- Geoff K.

By Luger on Sunday, November 04, 2001 - 02:48 am: Edit

"So if Santa wasn't tripping on shrooms then Rudolf and his mates certainly were. "

Makes sense since it actually is the reindeers that pulls Santa's sleigh up in the air, and not Santa himself that flies :-)


By Dr_Ordinaire on Saturday, November 03, 2001 - 02:03 pm: Edit


Another Sharon joke:

Prime Minister Sharon's car is driving through the West Bank when a pig crosses the road, gets hit by them and goes to piggy heaven.

Sharon, seeing a house nearby, instructs his chauffeur to go there, apologize and offer restitution.

The chauffeur takes a long, long time and when he comes back he has a glass of wine in one hand, an expensive cigar in the other, and his clothes in total disarray.

"What happened to you?" - asks Sharon.

"Well - said the chauffeur - the farmer gave me his best cigar, his wife opened a bottle of their most expensive wine and the daughter, with her parents approval, ripped off my clothes, took me to her room, and made passionate love to me".

"Incredible - says Sharon - just what did you tell them?"

"All I told them - said the chauffeur - was: I'm Sharon's chauffeur and I KILLED THE PIG!

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, November 03, 2001 - 12:05 pm: Edit

I read somewhere that the Fly Agaric mushroom was used as Reindeer feed in Lapland. It made the Reindeers easier to control once they'd eaten a few (which apparantly they like doing).

So if Santa wasn't tripping on shrooms then Rudolf and his mates certainly were.


By Dr_Ordinaire on Saturday, November 03, 2001 - 10:30 am: Edit

Santa = Shaman?

There's a very interesting book that explores the subject: "When Santa was a shaman - The ancient origins of Santa Claus and the Christmas tree" by Tony van Renterghem.

It tracks Santa from his not so friendly origins (certainly not "saintly", in the Christian sense) to our modern, jolly version, which is actually a pretty modern construct of a Coca Cola Company's advertizing campaign.

As far as manna being psilocybes falling from Heaven, it may be bullshit but...a man can dream, can't he?

By Luger on Saturday, November 03, 2001 - 12:47 am: Edit

Fly agaric?

Here in Sweden everyone "knows" that was the reason for the Berserks, but:

At my bookshelf I have the 2 Eddas ( "Bibles of the Asa-worshipers" ), and a complete set of the Icelandic Sagas. I have read them all, and AFAIK the use of fly agaric, or any mushroom at all is never mentioned. The Sagas description of the Berserks show madmen with short temper. Such people are found even today, preferably in a locked room, but the cause is not necessarily mushrooms.

The "Völva" was a woman that saw visions, and could travel far ( in her mind ), and she later became the ordinary witch, that can be seen at the regular talkshows,,,,
What the Völva did to make her see, is not mentioned in any of the old texts, but tradition mentions several poisonherbs.

Odin could also do this, but the other gods sometimes made fun of this, since only women was supposed to do such things,,,,


By Luger on Saturday, November 03, 2001 - 12:11 am: Edit

I just might add my few cents,,,

The Swedish "Tomte" is a little old man with white beard and grey and red clothes, and he lives in the biggest tree just outside the farm. He works in the nights, and protects the animals, and the farmer while they are asleep. The farmer should show his gratitude to the Tomte by giving him food on the doorstep on christmas eve, and if the Tomte accepts the gift, the food is gone the next morning, and he and the farmer will still be friends. You should also let the christmas food stay on the table in the diningroom during the night, so that the Tomte, and the farmers ancestors can come and eat some,,,,

A newer habit for the tomte is to come knocking on the door at christmas eve with a sack full of presents, but he is let in through the door.

So: What do the tomte think of the cats that presumably eats up the tomtes food on the doorstep?

Also: The Swedish Tomte never ever enters through the chimney, and he never ever flies. He either comes walking, or sometimes he comes in a sleigh pulled by a horse or two.

The flying Santa Claus that lands in the chimney is certainly coming from America, where the mushrooms are many,,,:-)


P.S. I still feel sorry for my dad that never got to meet the Tomte, because he was so unlucky that he happened to be out buying cigarettes just when the Tomte arrived.

By Lordhobgoblin on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 02:14 pm: Edit

"In fact, there are quite a few indicators that he was simply a recycled Pagan god."

Maybe Santa Claus was not a re-cycled Pagan god but a re-cycled Pagan Shamen tripping on mushrooms. A wild haired, bearded Shamen, living in the Scandanavian wilderness and out of his box on fly agaric. He could well become a legend amongst the local people (most of whom would probably keep well out of his way). Legends grow and the next thing you know they hear he says he's been flying through the air on the back of a reindeer and a few other locals who've also been on the shrooms can verify this. The legend of Santa Claus is born.

The colour of his clothing bears a distinct resemblance to the colours of the Fly Agaric don't you think?


By _Blackjack on Thursday, October 25, 2001 - 03:41 pm: Edit

Ahem, yes, John Allegro...

I spent a bit of time studing with some of the leading younger (meaning under 70) Qumran (Dead Sea Scrolls) scholars, and John Allegro is something of a running joke. He was actually quite brilliant, and one of the first to attempt to popularize Qumran research, but he was ostracized for that, and prety much lost his marbles. He has ended up as the inspiration for several entertaining fictional characters.

There are those who maintain that the mushroom stuff was intended as a satire, but, er, well, if a joke gets taken far enough, it stops being a joke.

By Artemis on Thursday, October 25, 2001 - 02:43 pm: Edit

"I wouldn't be surprised to hear that they caused a change in human thinking and behaviour over generations."


"I'm not going so far to say (like a theory I heard recently) that apes turned into self-conscious humans through the experience of such mushrooms. A little too far out, maybe... "

WAY too far out. I used to devour such theories and perhaps was predisposed to them because of my own fondness for some of the plants in question, based upon my own experience. Nowadays my attention is more easily captured by people such as this guy:

There was a TV program of the "NOVA" series of PBS this week featuring Proff. Ramachandran. Now his work is really fascinating. The PBS website has an online presentation of some of the program. He has answered why amputees still "feel" their phantom limbs, among other things and worked with the visionary experiences of epileptics.

By Heiko on Thursday, October 25, 2001 - 02:34 pm: Edit

Well, that "Jesus WAS a mushroom" is a little, uhm, no comment...

I remember some theory that the holy mana god gave to the israelites was psilocybe mushrooms - they ate it, were not hungry anymore and parted the sea... well, so many things have been interpreted into the bible...

The whole Rasta religion is built on the belief that smoking weed is healing for the nations. Most Rastas see that it's not healing for the lungs when they die of cancer with 40 (it seems a high percentage of Rastafarian Reggae artists die rather young, mostly from cancer - Bob Marley was no exception...)

By Heiko on Thursday, October 25, 2001 - 02:23 pm: Edit

Well, regarding the fact that most European tribes in ancient, pre-christian times seemed to consume rather much of the fly agaric mushroom (not only shamans, but all men - I'm not sure of the women) I wouldn't be surprised to hear that they caused a change in human thinking and behaviour over generations. Perhaps our 'European' thinking is a result of it? Who knows? I know I wouldn't do it because reality-like halluzinations with total loss of reality around me doesn't seem nice to me. This is not just altered perception like with lsd or the psilocybe mushrooms, this is perception of an alternate "reality" - that means you might actually see Santa Claus flying over your house while you're talking with Fidel Castro and would by no means be able to tell if it is real or not (and you would perhaps not know you just had mushrooms and are still in your room).
That is what I call crazy - but our early ancestors obviously loved it, I think it might have had an effect on thinking and behaviour of all of us.

I'm not going so far to say (like a theory I heard recently) that apes turned into self-conscious humans through the experience of such mushrooms. A little too far out, maybe...

By Artemis on Thursday, October 25, 2001 - 02:11 pm: Edit

The American is Terence McKenna. Actually, he's written some fascinating, if extremely far-fetched stuff. See:

The other guy was John M. Allegro and his book was
"The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross"

Not so fascinating. See:, which about sums it up for me.

By Artemis on Thursday, October 25, 2001 - 02:00 pm: Edit

My point was that Santa Claus is a construct built from the myths and traditions of many lands and many cultures. The web page I referenced illustrates that point, regardless of errors it may contain regarding specific myths of specific cultures. Perhaps a culture which had shamans contributed one or more elements to the character, and perhaps that tied in somehow to the shamans' use of entheogens which engender visionary "flight" (obviously not actual flight).

But to say that "Fly Agaric mushrooms was responsible for the legend of Santa Claus", which was the unqualified statement in fact made by Lord H, is quite a far cry from that.

People who write books and essays promoting such theories have partaken of too many mushrooms themselves, I suspect. There is a book out there which claims that Jesus was actually a mushroom. There is a book by an American who went to live in South America to study Psilocybe Cubensis (quite common in Louisiana; he didn't have to go to South America) and after eating enough of them for long enough, starting seeing UFOs and including those in his "theories".

By Heiko on Thursday, October 25, 2001 - 12:59 pm: Edit

It's right, in Germany Santa Claus and Christmas are two seperate things.
But St. Nicholas is not (like said in the article) the helper for the Christkind - so that's also bullshit.

Here's what I was told as a child:
Santa Claus comes in the night of the 5th to the 6th of December, while in the evening of the 24th (right, the 24th!)
comes the "Christkind" (which means something like the little baby Christ) to bring presents to the children.
That makes St. Nicholas somewhat unimportant as on the 6th of December children never get many gifts, only some small treats.
In addition to that, he brings "Knecht Ruprecht" with him, who punishes the bad boys and girls with a willow rod.

Now, what I found in an essay about European christmas traditions that make the connection to the flying agaric more obvious:

The guy named "schwarzer Peter" is part of the tradition in the Netherlands, he helps Sinterklaas who rides from house to house on a white horse.

In Northern Germany, Ruprecht (from "hroth beraht" = "surrounded by shining glory"), later degraded to be the helper of St. Nikolaus, gives presents to the righteous and punishes the evil. In some areas Ruprecht was regarded to be Odin, in others he was merely a ghost from the woods, sometimes a horned ghost, which would make a connection to Cernunnos, the old indo-germanic god of the woods (often depicted as the devil by Christian church).

In southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland, a witch or elve from the woods called Berchtel fulfilled the role of Ruprecht and brought gifts to people.

In Italy it is still a witch, "La Befana" who brings presents to the children, flying from house to house and entering through the chimney. She is often depicted as a witch with a black face.

The elves seem to originate in Scandinavia, where St. Lucia, the christian part of the Jul fest comes to the houses bringing food. Her entourage are the Tomte, little dwarvish ghouls dressed in red clothes with a red hat and a lantern who come to take their presents: food that people leave outside the door. If they don't, the Tomte get nasty.

Regarding all these pagan festivities in this special, magic time of the year when ghosts and demons invade the world of the living, it is very probable that especially then the fly agaric played a major role as it was considered a door to the demon world. Especially in Northern Germany, where Ruprecht was the same as Odin, one cannot overlook the connection between the flying 'St. Nicholas' and the fly agaric.

btw. the article mentions that we are right now again about to change the myth of Santa Claus - more and more the icebear seems to be made into a "christmas bear". Maybe in a hundred years children are told Santa Claus, an afro-asian who now lives at the North pole for economic reasons comes riding on his genetically engineered icebear (blinking red nose and wings) to bring them presents. These kids probably think that their forefathers had too much absinthe when they made up this story ;-)

By Artemis on Thursday, October 25, 2001 - 06:28 am: Edit

"Scandanavian Shamen (sic) consuming Fly Agaric mushrooms was responsible for the legend of Santa Claus. That is not bullshit."

It's worse than bullshit. Hopefully you're not serious.

By Lordhobgoblin on Thursday, October 25, 2001 - 01:13 am: Edit


Why can't Sharon give up the West Bank? Because it's in his wife's name.

By Head_Prosthesis on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 09:30 pm: Edit


Osama bin Laden goes to a psychic who says "You will die on an American
holiday" Needless to say bin Laden is shocked. "Which one?" he asks.
"Doesn't matter", says the psychic. "Whatever day you die will become an
American holiday."

By Verawench on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 09:12 pm: Edit

By Head_Prosthesis on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 07:10 pm: Edit

I had to add one more link...

I just had to.

By Head_Prosthesis on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 07:07 pm: Edit

By Head_Prosthesis on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 07:05 pm: Edit

By Head_Prosthesis on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 07:02 pm: Edit

Is that why I see red and white, blown glass, mushroom Christmas ornaments made in Poland/Czechoslavakia/Germany on my Grandmother's tree?

By Lordhobgoblin on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 03:15 pm: Edit

Scandanavian Shamen consuming Fly Agaric mushrooms was responsible for the legend of Santa Claus. That is not bullshit.

Imagine a wild haired bearded Shamen tripping on Fly Agaric in the snow covered Scandanavian wilderness. The reindeers probably consumed a few as well 'Rudolf the spaced-out reindeer'.


By Lordhobgoblin on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 03:08 pm: Edit

As far as I can remember I think I was vaccinated against smallpox as a child. I think it was routine in the UK back in the late 60's/ early 70's as there used to be the odd rare case. Anyway I suppose a smallpox vaccination is better than nothing.


By _Blackjack on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 03:05 pm: Edit

I should have said "NATURALLY OCCURING case." A British lab worker was accidentally infected in 1978.

By _Blackjack on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 02:55 pm: Edit

I think you're mis-remembering. Plague has been making something o a comeback, but there hasn't been a case of smallpox since 1977, in Somolia.

By Mr_Rabid on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 02:30 pm: Edit

Hasn't there been a recent outbreak of Smallpox in South America, or am I misremembering something?

By Heiko on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 12:02 pm: Edit

Probably the Nazis tried to make their soldiers "berserk" with flying agaric mushroom, took too much and killed their own men, then blamed the French. (This mushroom is one possible explanation for the real, historical Berserks fighting strength - the shit of Odin's horse turned into flying agaric mushrooms on earth, they believed, or something like that...)

By Wormwood on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 05:03 am: Edit

I did once hear a story about the Nazis stealing a case of wine from a truck along a road in France during the war. It was poisoned with some type of mushroom which had been boiled in alcohol. A few ounces of the extract were added to each wine bottle and about 200 soldiers were dead about 12 hours later.

I tend to think that was just wishful thinking about the Polish anthrax in the letters. To my knowledge only Brittish and Japanese developed weapon grade anthrax spores during WWII which could have just been dusted on a letter, like what has been mailed in the USA. Both those programs had the highest levels of secrecy and the material developed in both programs was never used during the war.

If you had an animal on your farm that had anthrax you may have been able to smear a letter with anthrax laden goo and maybe induce a fatal case of skin anthrax (before antibiotics were used). I wouldn't open a letter smeared in gore from some dying animal, I don't know many people who would.

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 09:01 pm: Edit

BJ, there is diminishing chance that it could be anyone else but the Iraqis. Atta went to a pharmacy for some meds to treat a serious red rash on his hands (according to TIME), which rash can be presumed to have been cutaneous anthrax. This was shortly before Sept.11.

I see no reason why we can't be just as precise with our targeting in Baghdad (and elsewhere in Iraq, not to mention a few other places) as we have been in Afghanistan. While I think it is a rather naive way to fight a war, it does demonstrate that we are willing, for the same of the sensibilities of our Moslem coalition partners, and world opinion, to trade money (precision munitions cost!) for vastly reduced civilian casualties.

No doubt it also means prolonging the war; although it does seem that is necessary anyway in order to get a broader post-Taliban government ready. No one, save the Russians their sponsors, wants the Northern Alliance to take over on their own. Meanwhile the Pakis are making noises about including 'moderate elements of the Taliban' which I think is a stupid and transparent ploy. The King is 86 and on the Sihanouk scale of useless ex-monarchs, which is from 1 to 10, he's kind of a -3. All in all the political morass there is pretty bad. The USAF leadership (and middle management) is getting a bad case of the ass from having its hands tied behind its back.

By Verawench on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 08:29 pm: Edit

This is a tidbit I heard from my mother, who heard it from my grandfather, a WWII soldier.

The Polish opposition used anthrax against the Nazis in the following way:

It was a habit to rat on your neighbors to the German police via anonymous letters. Based on the letters, the Nazis would come to investigate the case and usually drag the helpless victim away. The opposition started sending anthrax in these reports. After a few casualties, all anonymous letters were discarded/banned, putting a halt to the tattling.

By _Blackjack on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 07:44 pm: Edit

I figured I'd make a new thread so as not to inerrupt the tlak on Zionism and stuff.

Well, we've had 2 more deaths from inhalation anthrax, and a two more cases being treated, all among postal workers here in the DC area. It looks like postal workers are really the ones at risk here. The CDC is finally shuting down the major mail hub near BWI to test and clean it out, which tey should have done a week ago.

It is troubling that the anthrax seems to be getting out of sealed envelopes in concentrations sufficient to infect people. I assume the mail sorting machines grab the envelopes hard enough to puff a bit of it out the sides, but that still means that the spores are very finely ground, which suggests sophisticated processing.

It is clear that the letters to Senator Daschel, NBC and the NY Post (who had picture of a man flipping the bird with the healdine "Anthrax This" on the cover last week...I love NY) all came from the same person or persons in New Jersey, at the same time. They haved even isolated what route the letters came from, but I suspect the perps are long gone. I hope that means that they just sent out a single batch.

I also really hope it turns out to be domestic terrorists, just because if any foreign government was involved in this, it would be a serious escalation of the the conflict. Using a weapon of mass destruction (which is what this is, even if it isn't really CAUSING mass destruction) is a serious enough provocation that our response would be terribly severe. And I don't think I could faul us for that, since the threat is urgent enough that we would need to nullify it as quickly and permanently as possible.

In other words, I hope the Iraqis weren't involved, because it might mean levelling Baghdad.

I must say, sending the leters to the media is rather ingenious, tho, since it guarantees that it will get maximum coverage (the press are fascinated with themselves...) I mean, if they just wanted to kill people, they would have been better served by just walking into a crowd with a gun. However, since the relatively few incidents (as disease outbreaks go...hundreds of people have died of influenza in the past month) are all over the news, it creates a level of fear far greater than they could have produced by killing a few people in another way.

BTW, the FBI has oficially ruled the letter from my building "anthrax-free." Which is probably good, since the building management told the cleaning crew to go ahead and clean the Life section when it was closed off. That would have been an ugly lawsuit...

I do wish they'd stop talking about smallpox, tho. It would be easier to get bomb-grade fissionables than to get smallpox cultures.

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