Episode 41: German New Cancer

German New Medicine, it’s dangerous pseudo-science and Aaron will tell you all about it, then Shea will help you forget with ALL the weird drugs!

Welcome to Interesting If True, ze podcast zat vill heal vut ales you, yaaa.

I’m your host zis veek, Aaron, and with me is dos ubermensch Dr. Shea:

I’m Shea, and this week I learned that you can tell how evil a company is by how touching their super bowl commercial attempts to be.

Dur Uber Medicine

I mean, I’m pretty sure “uber” is German for something but the “dur” that’s there because… the people in this story. People who, having never admitted there is anything they don’t know—unless it’s to sell you on their next line of reasoning with nuisance-logic—want to sell heal you.

And so, it is my unique schadenfreude to introduce you to Germanic New Medicine’s “Dr.” Ryke Geerd Hamer.

Hamer, born 1935, is the founder of GNM, or German(ic) New Medicine. Following his death a number of people picked up GNM. Today I have a few clips from “Doctor” Melissa Sell. All her materials claim she’s a doctor but having given her site and socials a good once over, I can’t find that she’s ever been to school, much less medical school. I’m happy to be corrected, but insofar as I can tell, not only is she not a doctor, she barely plays one on YouTube.

But before all that, let’s take a jump over to Germany, and a step back to the 1980s…

So it’s 1981 and a German Doctor by the name of Hamer has discovered that “every DISEASE is caused by shock experience that catches us completely off guard.” And “how did he do this?” you might ask. Well, the answer is equal parts tragedy and stupidity. In 1953 Hamer started medical… and theological…studies at Tubingen Stift—a school owned and operated by the Evangelical-Lutheran Church. While this school has put some folks you may know, like Johannes Kepler, the astronomer the Kepler zone is named for, it also created a bunch of zealots and nazis. So that’s less great.

Speaking of Italian royalty, The Prince of Naples, Vittorio Emanuele Alberto Carlo Teodoro Umberto Bonifacio Amedeo Damiano Bernardino Gennaro Maria di Savoia, or Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy for short, the last prince of Italy, shot Hamer’s son, Dirk, to death in his sleep on the King’s Yacht, on August 8th, 1978. In the wee-hours of the night Vittorio discovered his yacht’s rubber dinghy had been used to go to another neighboring yacht. For reasons unknown, Vittorio armed himself with a rifle and attempted to board the other yacht. Not being a particularly agile pirate he awoke one of the yachts passengers and upon seeing them move, shot at them. He missed the passenger entirely, but mortally wounded the young Dirk, who he would later be filmed laughing about. The same film would be crucial evidence in the civil wrongful death case Dirk’s sister brought and won against the disposed prince.

Vittorio is a real stand up guy, who we’ll definitely hear more about in a coming episode. Aside from being a murderer he’s also quoted as saying Mussolini’s anti-Semitic laws were “not that terrible,” he frequently fought with other royals, and was eventually arrested for running a prostitution ring. So yeah, we’ll get there everyone

Back to our proper story, we now have a German theologian and doctor whose son was murdered by Italy’s royal family. Of course, it never rains but it does pour, and just a few months after Dirk’s murder Hamer discovers he’s got prostate cancer… According to wikipedia and most of the summary-style sources I found, most of his German New Medicine sites and information say it was testicular cancer. Either way, dude has cancer and he blames it on the shock of hearing of his son’s death.

Not to minimize his grief or the tragedy of it all, but this was the “Eurika!”moment for German New Medicine. Hamer just knew, in his heartiest of hearts, and testiest of testicals, that these two events had a causal relationship. And so, he set out to develop what would become known as the “five biological laws” of GNM.

And, I suppose, where better to dive into GNM than it’s foundational … I’m not gonna say “laws,” let’s go with, founding notions…

From Mercola.com, and everywhere else including learninggnm.com, GMN’s homepage:

GNM is based of five biological laws that apply scientifically to each and every case of disease. They include:

  1. Every disease is caused by a conflict shock that catches an individual completely off guard.
  2. Provided there is a resolution of the conflict, every disease proceeds in two phases, a conflict-active phase and a healing phase.
  3. Ties the findings of the first two laws into the context of embryology and the evolution of man. It illustrates the biological correlation between the psyche, the brain, and the organ from an evolutionary point of view. (The Ontogenetic System of Tumors and Cancer-Equivalent Diseases.)
  4. Addresses the role of microbes in the context of evolution and in relation to the three germ layers from which our organs originate. Microbes are indispensable to your survival.
  5. Every so-called disease has to be understood as a “meaningful special biological program of nature” created to solve an unexpected biological conflict.

Further, Dr. Hamer believes that a person cannot die of cancer in and of itself.

If someone dies during the conflict-active phase of disease, he says, it’s because of energy loss, weight loss, sleep deprivation, and emotional and mental exhaustion. The stress of receiving a cancer diagnosis, or being given a negative prognosis, is often enough to deprive a person of their life-force. Conventional cancer treatments only accelerate the downward spiral.

Mercola.com, website of again, scare-quotes “Doctor” Mercola, is a deep well of medical nonsense. If it’s woo, you can find it there. When last I visited their homepage sported two stories whose views of illness were mutually exclusive. Between that and the literal two paragraph long disclaimer in the footer, I think we can easily put Mercola in the “Dangerous Woo Hawksters” column.

In a nutshell, what his five suggestions are getting at is that all illness is caused by emotional trauma and the symptoms of disease are actually your body fighting off the negative emotions… or… something.

Modern practitioners of GNM, like “Doctor” Melissa Sell, accept this impossible explanation for illness and vociferously deny the Germ Theory of Disease. While I could try to explain this for them, or tell you about her fearlessly maskless instagram account… I’ll let her do it…

So… yep. There’s hours and hours of that crap on YouTube and in a handful of old podcast episodes. Her introductory video thanks a few “doctors” in the field for slides, images, etc., and I did follow some of those links … right on into a future episode. For now, let’s get back to GNM. You heard Sell say they don’t believe in disease and she used a few terms we’ll need to understand insofar as they’re actually defined:

Diseases don’t exists so whatever’s got ya down is called a Significant Biological Special Program, or “SBS”, not “SBSP” because I’m pretty sure it means Special Bull S#*%.

These come from an emotional shock called a Dirk Hamer Syndrome, or DHS, after his late son, which is, ya know, pretty sad and stuff when you don’t consider the lives of kids like Olivia Pilhar, who we’ll come to shortly.

The DHS needs to be caused by a “Conflict Shock” which is a shock to all three of your super-cruch bits, your brain, psyche, and any given organ.

And the “Hamer Focus” or, where you’re not doing so great… For example, his son died so three years later he got maybe-testicular cancer.

Knowing these we can really dig into Hamer’s laws. You could, in fact, now say it’s… Hammer Time!

The first of his laws—known as the Iron Rule of Cancer—has three parts, because of course it does. So here’s all that with each word in the order he meant for them even..

  1. Every cancer or cancer-equivalent disease originates from a DHS (Dirk Hamer Syndrome), which is a serious, highly acute, dramatic and isolating shock that catches an individual completely off guard. The conflict shock occurs simultaneously in the psyche, the brain and the corresponding organ.
  2. At the moment of the DHS, the content(s) of the conflict determine the location of the Hamer Focus in the brain and the location of the cancer or cancer-equivalent disease in the organ.
  3. The development of the conflict determines the exact development of the Hamer Focus in the brain as well as the exact development of the cancer or cancer-equivalent disease in the organ.

Did you get all that?

Basically, don’t surprise yourself with a sad memory and stub your toe or your shame might die. Or something.

It’s the second item, the Hamer Focus, that is pointed to as evidence, explanation, or perhaps just an excuse to use some big science-sounding words.

While I could continue to quote the nonsense, it’s probably best for all of us if I paraphrase the LearnGNM website…

Hamar “analysed,” his word, thousands of brain computer tomograms (CT) in relation to his patient’s histories. They’re unclear if this means scanned them while talking about traumatic events, or if he makes new patients tuff-mudder through imaging equipment while filling out their intact forms. Anyway, he found what he called “lesion”s in the form of sharp, concentric, circles in a specific, predetermined area of the brain. GNM is also quick to point out that the manufacture of the equipment is totes mcgoats sure aren’t equipment failure, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve never known an imaging drum to make sharp, predictable, geometric patterns. The idea became that the area of the brain affected was most related to our bodies inherent self defense systems. That is, your brain responds in predictable areas when exposed to predictable emotional threats in such a way as to give you your best chance at survival.

So, as the video in the show notes I’m about to play explains, if you’re a woman going through menopause, your brain is grievously injured by men no longer wanting to breed you, so you get bone cancer. Yep, Osteoporosis is because, as they flash on the screen, women feel like they “aren’t the woman they used to be,” which in turn, gives them bone cancer! F$*&^*&$% bone cancer is because you’re not a supermodel… like the one they cut to a real creepy clip of.

German New Medicine – How You Control Your Own Healing

And if you think that’s infuriating, wait until we get to the anti-semitism, racism, and literal god-damned Nazis.

So all of this means that you can treat your cancer, or whatever else might ale you, by getting your head right. Not sure how to do that if you’ve lost your son to an Italian price, I guess you just have a stroke and die in 2017. But for men with colon cancer caused by job loss you could, for example, just get a goddamned job you freeloading cancer-hippy. Quote from SBM of a quote from a now-defunct GNM site:

The therapeutic focus of the New Medicine is to identify the original DHS and to find a solution to the conflict that is as real and as practical as possible. For example, a man who lost his business and suffers a territorial loss must find a new occupation; the shock from an unexpected early retirement could be resolved by establishing a new “domain”, such as by joining a club or taking up a neglected hobby. As soon as the conflict is resolved, healing runs its natural course.

Or as Science Based Medicine writer David Gorski puts it “I guess that would put us surgeons out of business, given that most colon cancer is cured primarily by surgery” though I guess they could just find work at a supermarket as really precise butchers, and boom, no more cancer.

In his Third Law, called “Ontogenetic System of Tumors’ Meaningful Special Biological Programs of Nature” … yep … Hammer divides cancer into two phases.

The first, “sympatheticotonia” (conflict active phase) and the second “vagotonia” (conflict resolution phase), which, I gotta say, might be all we need to know about Hamer and his follower’s “SBS” amIright?

For this, again I’ll just quote the source, LearnGNM.com. Stick with me, this one’s a doozy, I trimmed what i could but… ooof:

GNM’s “Ontogenetic System of Tumors” illustrates that “old-brain”-controlled organs, which derive from the endoderm or the “old-brain” [… autonomic functions ], always generate cell proliferation as soon as the corresponding conflict occurs. Tumors of these organs therefore develop exclusively during the conflict-active phase (initiated by the DHS).

Let’s take lung cancer, for example: The biological conflict linked to lung cancer is a “death-fright conflict”, because in biological terms the death panic is equated with being unable to breathe. With the shock of the death- fright the lung alveoli cells, which regulate breathing, instantly start to multiply, forming a lung tumor. Contrary to the conventional view, this multiplication of lung cells is not a pointless process but serves a very definite biological purpose, namely, to increase the capacity of the lungs and thereby optimize the organism’s chance of survival. Dr. Hamer’s brain scan analyses demonstrate that every person with lung cancer shows a distinct target ring configuration in the corresponding area in the brain stem, and that each patient had suffered an unexpected death panic prior to the onset of cancer. In the majority of cases the death scare was triggered by a cancer diagnosis shock that the person experienced as a “death sentence”. Given that smoking is on the decrease, this sheds new light on the enigmatic increase of lung cancer (“The #1 Killer”) and calls into question whether smoking is per se an actual cause of lung cancer.

So it’s not smoking, lung cancer is caused by having the real bad lung cancer sadz. Good to know, I’m sure Marlborrow is working tirelessly to verify his results. He also goes on about how breast cancer is your body’s way of helping you process being a helicopter mom.

Oh, also metastasization is just you getting secondary or tertiary forms of the same cancer because of the shock of being told you had cancer the first time.

His fourth talks about microbes, evolution, and why AIDS is great.

See, we evolved over millions of years to be perfectly adapted creatures (as long as it’s nice out) which means each organ in our has a specific function and wouldn’t be there otherwise. Also, shut your whore mouth appendix. That same goes for the creepy crawlies. Microbes that co-evolved with us are, of course, only beneficial. Also, fungi, other bacteria, and virus’ are also beneficial in that they help your body fight your illness by producing symptoms which “optimize the healing process.” Like, if you have big toe cancer, your foot falling off from gangrene totally solves that toe problem. Also tuberculosis is a member of the “destruction crew” which decomposes tumors in the lungs, liver, kidneys or colon. Because, why not?

The Fifth and final law, you remember the one that has “so-called disease” in it, well it’s about as woo as one wants to get. Gonna quote this one too:

All so-called diseases have a special biological meaning … While we used to regard Mother Nature as fallible and had the audacity to believe that she constantly made mistakes and caused breakdowns (malignant, senseless, degenerative cancerous growths, etc.) we can now see, as the scales fall from our eyes, that it was our ignorance and pride that were and are the only foolishness in our cosmos. We could not understand such a ‘sewn up’ totality, and so brought upon ourselves this senseless, soulless and brutal medicine. Full of wonder, we can now understand for the first time that nature is orderly (we already knew that), and every occurrence in nature is meaningful, even in the framework of the whole, and that the events we called ‘diseases’ are not senseless disturbances to be repaired by sorcerers’ apprentices. We can see that nothing is meaningless, malignant or diseased.

So there ya go. Be happy, not riddle with tumors.

Of course, all this begs the question “why is big medicine?” and the answer might surprise you. Unless you’re Jewish, then it won’t surprise you at all because anti-Semitism is seemlingly wherewhere and always. He parroted the theories of doctors he admired, like Gerhard Wagner, leader of the doctors of the First Reich. Yep. Hamer is less than two steps from Hess. So that’s not what you want. Hamer maintained that Israel didn’t use modern medicine but was poisoning it to give the Gentiles cancer. Meanwhile, they would use GNM for themselves but use their massive globalist influence to keep it from being accepted or Hamer being recognized as the groundbreaking, very stable medical genius that he was.

He accused all German oncologists of being Jewish and said that “no Jew is treated with chemotherapy in Germany”. He also posited that hypodermic needles used in chemo were made to implant “chips” into Gentiles containing “chambers of poison” which could be activated by satellite. No word on whether or not those are the same satellites as the lasers. Also, mixed in there somewhere was a little extra virus denial in the form HIV/AIDS denial. As in, it’s not real, the Jews did it, just like swine flu.

As evidence of his claims in 2008 he presented evidentiary documents from “Chief Rabbi” “Esra” Iwan Gotz. A Chief Rabbi is a country’s highest ranking Rabbi, but it’s also not a legally protected title in Germany. Unlike the other professional and academic titles Gotz has been repeatedly arrested for misusing. Gotz’s document asserts that Jewish oncologists “torture” non-Jewish patients with chemo while saving the “correct” GMN for themselves. Of course, Gotz is also a German holoccaust denier, active in Reich revivalism, is convicted of fraud, defamation, the titles thing, and falsification of documents… so… not a great document source.

And now that Hamer’s “philosophy” is … out there … his license to practice medicine was revoked in 1986—always something you want to see in your foundational geniuses. A revocation that was upheld in 2003. Of course, this didn’t stop him. Hamer was investigated for malpractice a number of times ultimately spending 1997 in a German jail and 2004 to 2006 in a French one. He was exiled to Spain until 2007 when they got tired of him killing people. By 1997 he had clinics in Germany, Belgium, Italy, Austria, and the Netherlands. He wound up retiring to Norway until July of 2017 when he opened a Jack-in-the-box and gave himself such a fright his heart exploded. He was 82, free, and killed sooo many people.

Remember Olivia Pilhar?

I mentioned her earlier but you might actually recall the name. In 1995 she was six and suffered from a Wilms’ tumor, aka, a neuroblastoma of the kidney. It’s considered highly treatable and she had a 90% chance of survival. Her parents consulted Hamer who diagnosed her with several “conflicts.” When her parents then refused modern medical treatment the Austrian government said “oh hell no” and removed their rights of care and control… which caused them to flee to Spain. The case drew international attention. The Austrian President Thomas Klestil publicly promised they wouldn’t be punished if they returned—he lied by the way, they wouldn up in jail for eight months. When they returned to Austria Olivia’s tumor weighed 4 kilos and she had a 10% chance of survival. Fortunately, as far as I know Olivia is still alive. She’d beaten cancer and, as of the last reference I could find, was doing well in 2010.

The same can not be said for hundreds of Hamer’s patients, or thousands of GNM patients across Europe. Wikipedia has a list of ongoing cases if you’re interested. They’re all… very depressing and more than a few include pictures that I promise you don’t want to see.

GNM books from Hamer, he wrote four, and others are published by Kopp Verlag, a German publisher of right-wing esotericism, populism and extremism. Kopp prints ufology, ancient astronauts, phantom time stuff, astrology, geomancy, and all manner of gender related stuff that will set your blood to boil if you’re at all a decent person. Great people to work with I’m sure.

In 2016, just before his death, Hamer was awarded the Das Goldene Brett vorm Kopf, or “The Golden Blockhead” award. Given by the Society for the Scientific Investigation of the Pseudosciences, or GWUP because their name is actually in German, the award goes to the “most astonishing pseudo-scientific nuisance” of the year. So take that you asshat.

Also, in closing, those brain rings… those are CT scan artifacts and there are so, so many papers and examples to prove it: https://pubs.rsna.org/doi/full/10.1148/rg.246045065

Mid-Show Bumper

Thanks for listening to Interesting If True, if you like what you heard and think your friends might too, share us on the socials, leave us a good review wherever you’re listening, or subscribe at Patreon.com/iit where, for as little as a dollar a show, you’ll get a patron-exclusive story each week, episodes of our sister show 4 More Beers, outtakes and more!

You can contact us, find out more, and see what else we do at InterestingIfTrue.com

Thanks to the patron support of listeners like you Interesting If True is a proud supporter of Wyoming AIDS Assistance, a registered 501(c)3 charity that provides support to Wyomingites living with HIV/AIDS. Find out more at WyoAIDS.org and thank you for listening, sharing, and donating.

Use and Abuse

Interested in what we have to say about this story?
Good news, it’s available right now to
subscribers at Patreon.com/iit!

Mankind has been getting high for so long, it doesn’t even make sense to ask when homo sapiens “discovered” mind-altering substances. They’ve just always sort of been there, asking to be drunk, eaten and snuffed, a feature of our development as both a species and a civilization. From residues and fossils, we know that the use of psychoactive plants, seeds and fungi has been a steady feature of our time on this planet, dating back, like all the way to humanity’s earliest known records.

Evidence of our favorite prehistoric highs constitutes a global history. Mescaline beans have been found in Peru dating to around 9,000 BC. Throughout the Andes, cultures have been chewing coca leaves for at least that long. We know the Chinese were getting smashed on sweet, rudimentary wine around 7,000 BC—a full thousand years before many Americans believe the world was created as per the Old Testament. Ancient fossils of cultivated opium plants have been discovered not far from Rome.

Unlike many modern cultures, most notably our own, these drugs were not banned by the primitive societies that consumed them, but incorporated into their religious and social rituals. Indeed, the use of these drugs may have been central to social bonding and our earliest religious impulses and insights.

With that in mind, let’s relax and get a bit freaky.

Marcus Aurelius, a famous stoic philosopher and the Roman emperor in the 2nd century AD was a known opium addict. He is known as the last of Five good emperors. His book Meditations is widely quoted still today. Marcus Aurelius used opium to fall asleep and to ease the hardships of the military campaigns in Germany.

Opium in Roman times was prepared as a tea. It was very bitter to drink. Roman called this drink a ‘cretic wine’ and used it as a sleep aid. Another version, called ‘mekonion’ was prepared from poppy leaves and was much less potent.

Yet even earlier, opium was grown in Mesopotamia. Some researchers have no doubt that the Assyrians were aware of the plant’s properties. The Assyrian name of the poppy can be read as Hul Gil, meaning ‘Happy Plant’.

Jugs containing opium residue have also been found in Egyptian tombs, which is unsurprising given that the poppy was extensively cultivated in Egypt. In the Classical era, the extract of the plant was known as ‘Opium Thebiacum’ after the city of Waset, which the Greeks knew as Thebes.

Have you ever heard of Ichthyoallyeinotoxism? The Romans have, ichthyoallyeinotoxism, is characterized as a type of food poisoning which can manifest with vivid auditory and visual hallucinations, delirium, disturbances in motor coordination, nausea, nightmares, vertigo, and other disturbances to the central nervous system. Romans used to eat specific fish at their parties to get high. Fish was called Salema porgy fish or dreamfish (Sarpa salpa) and can be found in the Mediterranean. When eaten, it has hallucinogen effects, including auditory and visual hallucinations with lucid nightmares for several days after. Hallucinations start two hours after ingestion and last up to three days.

Recognizable by the gold stripes running along its side, the salema porgy is an otherwise unremarkable inhabitant of temperate and tropical areas, from the Atlantic coast of Africa and up throughout the Mediterranean Sea. While it seems to be a normal fish it can function as a hallucinogen. The fish can induce vivid, LSD-like hallucinations, which the Ancient Romans knew. The salema porgy can cause hallucinations if their heads are ingested. Besides the fact that it was consumed as a recreational drug in the Roman Empire, it was also used ceremoniously among Polynesians.

In 1994, a 40-year-old man felt nauseated about two hours after enjoying fresh baked Sarpa salpa on his vacation on the French Riviera. After a couple of hours, he developed nausea, followed by blurred vision, muscle weakness, and vomiting. He wanted to drive home but he couldn’t drive with all the screaming animals distracting him. He recovered in hospital after 36 hours. Surprisingly enough this fish can be found on local menus and can be easily purchased from a fishmonger. I even found a food blogger who, while vacationing in Croatia, cooked a few of these up for her family not knowing the potential side effects. Luckily they didn’t consume the heads so didn’t have any bad reactions but the blogger was surprised when she found out later she could have been tripping balls.

By now, most people have heard of Ayahuasca, the ancient jungle brew derived from vines and leaves still used by shamans in the indigenous cultures of the Amazon rainforest. But Ayahuasca is not the only potent organic cocktail containing psychedelic DMT with a long pedigree in the Americas. Anadenanthera, a kind of bean found in the grasslands of Latin America (and later the Caribbean), was dried and crushed into a potent hallucinogenic ritual snuff during the same ancient timeframe. This snuff appears in creation myths of many cultures, which, like Ayahuasca-based creation myths, often involves some combination of riverside sex, jaguars, snakes and twins.

Yopo, as it’s called from the locals, is a snuff that is usually blown into the user’s nostrils by another person through bamboo tubes or sometimes snuffed by the user using bird bone tubes. Blowing is more effective as this method allows more powder to enter the nose and is said to be less irritating. In some areas, the unprocessed ground beans are sniffed or smoked producing a much weaker effect with stronger physical symptoms.

Inhaling Yopo can cause considerable pain in nostrils. However, this pain usually subsides within minutes. Physical effects include tingling and numbness throughout the body and an increased heart rate. The hallucinatory effects follow as colors become enhanced and shapes appear to morph. The effects of Yopo intensify quickly but gradually fade and are replaced by nausea and general bodily discomfort.

Though not a mind altering drug, silphium was a very sought after drug used and abused until its extinction by the hand of its users. Long ago, in the ancient city of Cyrene, there was a herb called silphium. It didn’t look like much – with stout roots, stumpy leaves and bunches of small yellow flowers – but it oozed with an smelly sap that was so delicious and useful, the plant was eventually worth its weight in gold.

Silphium was a veritable wonder herb, a panacea for all manner of ailments, including growths of the anus (the Roman author Pliny the Elder recommends repeated fumigations with the root) and the bites of feral dogs (simply rub into the affected area, though Pliny warns his readers never, ever to try this with a tooth cavity, after a man who did so threw himself off a house).

Finally, silphium was required in the bedroom, where its juice was drunk as an aphrodisiac or applied “to purge the uterus”. It may have been the first genuinely effective birth control; its heart-shaped seeds are thought to be the reason we associate the symbol with romance to this day.

Silphium could be found only in a narrow coastal area, about 201 by 56 km, in Cyrenaica (modern-day Libya). Despite numerous tries to cultivate plants elsewhere, nobody succeeded in growing silphium in other locations. The seeds from the silphium plants failed to grow, no matter how they were tended. Silphium was the main export of Cyrenaica. It was so important for their economy, it was depicted on Cyreneic coins. The people of Cyrene built a wall around the field to protect silphium from the thieves.

Romans were willing to pay for silphium an equivalent of its weight in silver. Silphium allowed people of antique to have extramarital fun without the consequence of illegitimate children.

In the first century AD, silphium became extinct. Historians speculated on numerous reasons from overharvesting, overgrazing to climate change. The last plant was sent to emperor Nero as a gift. Nero responded by eating it.

So here is a weird question that I promise will make sense in a bit. But do you know why witches fly on brooms? Turns out it could have been to get high, not literally of course, but doped up out of their minds. The historical depiction of witches riding broomsticks has its origins in hallucinogenic plant pharmacology, as popularized by Shakespeare, but the indigenous knowledge predates even him.

Hallucinogenic chemicals called tropane alkaloids are made by a number of plants including Atropa belladonna (deadly nightshade), Hyoscyamus niger (henbane), Mandragora officinarum (mandrake) and Datura stramonium (jimsonweed). During the Middle Ages, parts of these plants were used to make “brews,” “oyntments” or “witches’ salves” for witchcraft, sorcery and other nefarious activities.

Somewhere along the line, the observation was made that the hallucinogenic compounds could be absorbed through sweat glands in the armpit or via the mucus membranes of the rectum or vaginal area. As compared to eating the plants or drinking their extracts these routes also bypassed the first cycle of rapid metabolism by the liver and severe intestinal discomfort if ingested normally.

Just how did the alleged witches apply said ointments? The earliest clue I could find comes from a 1324 investigation of the case of Lady Alice Kyteler:

“In rifleing the closet of the ladie, they found a pipe of oyntment, wherewith she greased a staffe, upon which she ambled and galloped through thick and thin.”

And from the fifteenth-century records of Jordanes de Bergamo:

“But the vulgar believe, and the witches confess, that on certain days or nights they anoint a staff and ride on it to the appointed place or anoint themselves under the arms and in other hairy places.”

These passages account for why so many of the pictures of the time depict partially clothed or naked witches “astride their broomsticks.” The tropane alkaloid hallucinogens tended to cause sleep, but with dreams that involved flying, “wild rides” and “frenzied dancing.” So, these psychosensory experiences of flying were associated with boiled down hallucinogenic plants applied to the delicate lady flower with a broomstick, probably used to mix the concoction.

As long as humans are living there will always be someone wanting to get high and with the number of people on this planet there are countless more ways to alter your mind.


I’m Aaron, and I’d like to thank all our listeners, supporters, and my co-hosts.

Find out more about the show, social links, and contact information at InterestingIfTrue.com.

Music for this episode was created by Wayne Jones and was used with permission.

The opinions, views, and nonsense expressed in this show are those of the hosts only and do not represent any other people, organizations, or lifeforms.
All rights reserved, Interesting If True 2020.

Join The Discussion

To contact the show, get more content, or interact with other listeners, visit our web, Twitter, or Facebook pages. Of course, we’d love a 5-Star review wherever you get your podcasts from!