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Post Info TOPIC: Pont-Saint-Esprit poisoning: Did the CIA spread LSD?

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Pont-Saint-Esprit poisoning: Did the CIA spread LSD?

Nearly 60 years ago, a French town was hit by a sudden outbreak of hallucinations, which left five people dead and many seriously ill. For years it was blamed on bread contaminated with a psychedelic fungus - but that theory is now being challenged. Leon Armunier Leon says he would prefer to die than endure the 1951 events again

On 16 August 1951, postman Leon Armunier was doing his rounds in the southern French town of Pont-Saint-Esprit when he was suddenly overwhelmed by nausea and wild hallucinations.

"It was terrible. I had the sensation of shrinking and shrinking, and the fire and the serpents coiling around my arms," he remembers.

Leon, now 87, fell off his bike and was taken to the hospital in Avignon.

He was put in a straitjacket but he shared a room with three teenagers who had been chained to their beds to keep them under control.

"Some of my friends tried to get out of the window. They were thrashing wildly... screaming, and the sound of the metal beds and the jumping up and down... the noise was terrible.

"I'd prefer to die rather than go through that again."

Over the coming days, dozens of other people in the town fell prey to similar symptoms.

Doctors at the time concluded that bread at one of the town's bakeries had become contaminated by ergot, a poisonous fungus that occurs naturally on rye.

Read more at Unsolved Mysteries of World



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