Citation: Kevin. "The Manson Family Killed on This Plant: An Experience with Atropa belladonna (exp18736)". Erowid.org. Nov 10, 2002. erowid.org/exp/18736
I had first heard about Belladonna in Kurgan, Siberia. There was a local thrash metal band named after the plant, and their motto was 'Many poisoned, few cured!'. A few years later, while crashing at a communal apartment Western, WI with several punks from across the state, one of the couples told me about experimenting with a tea made from the plant while in Texas. The girl was originally from there, and they were apparantly turned on to the drug by her grandmother. The description they gave me led me to believe that it was something like a mix between a near blackout alchohol experience and an intense LSD trip.
I managed to procure some foilage of the plant about a year later while I was living on the other side of the state with my girlfriend and my best friend. We were involved with some fairly sizable amounts of LSD and experimented regularly with a plethora of chemicals from Cocaine to DXM to Dimenhydrinate to Ketamine etc. We considered ourselves experienced psychonauts, and I had a particularly high tollerance to the drugs. This drug in particular was difficult to find information on, so we truly had to 'experiment' with it.
We used a coffee maker to brew the tea. We did not measure out a specific amount of foilage and just decided that we would measure by glasses. My friend and girlfriend only drank one glass of the tea. I drank two for starters. I was ignorant and arrogant, but figured that since I usually needed almost twice as much as anyone else when using other drugs, that the same would be valid with this. I understood that the drug was extremely toxic and potentially fatal, but I had taken dosages of several chemicals that could have in other people proven fatal and felt that my tollerance would somehow come into play with this drug as well.
After a few hours I decided to drink a couple more cups of tea as I was not
feeling anything... this I can only attribute to the fact that my judgment was already impaired by the drug.
Shortly after this, we, for some reason, decided that it would be a good idea to split up. My girlfriend was feeling sleepy, so she layed down for a nap. My friend felt a bit queezy, and decided that it might be a good idea to go stay at his parent's house for the night, where he would have a little more privacy. I went over to another friend's house.
For the next few hours, I simply lay back on my friends floor, trying to shake the discomfort I felt. I could compare it to a slight overdose of caffeine. Eventually my friend went to sleep, and I lay on the floor convulsing all night long. I did not experience anything that I could have considered 'mind-altering' or 'psychedelic'. The next morning, my friend and his wife came and picked me up to spend the day with them.
We went out to eat and I noticed that people were looking at me strange. I could not read the menu, and felt a slightly disconnected. The next time I spoke to my friend and his wife, they explained to me that the whole time I was with them I shook and quaked, almost like I was having a seizure. I was unaware of it, and they told me they didn't tell me, because they figured that I was on something and didn't want to freak me out. They said that my face was sunken in and dark and that I looked very sick. I only felt a slight disconnection that lasted for somewhere near 48 hours after consuming the tea.
During this time I could not focus on printed words, and was near the end of the 48 hours was starting to feel great concern. I thought I might never be able to read again.
I didn't see my friend and roomate until a few days later. What he described to me could best be compared to a three day Dimenhydrinate trip multiplied in intensity by a hundred. His mother ended up finding him in his underwear in the middle of the night talking to people who weren't there. My friend had spent a couple of years of his life institutionalized for schizophrenia, so his mother assumed he was going through an episode and brought him to the psychiatrist the next morning.
He constantly refered and talked to people who weren't there. He did not seem alarmed or scared by what was happening and did not even remember that he had consumed the tea or that he had been expecting a 'trip'. Unfortunatly for him, he also had his first meeting with his new probation officer two days after consuming the tea, while he was still deep within the grip of the drug. He had to have his mother hold a pen in his hand and sign his name for him on his documents. Nobody expected that it was anything other than a psychotic episode for him, and his psychiatrist just raised his prescription.
I saw my girlfriend the evening after we drank the tea. When I got home she was gone. She had went to work. When she came home, the first thing she did was tell me that when she woke up that morning she found our cat, cold, stiff and dead on the couch. She picked it up and held it for a while. When she put the cat down, she said it awoke from the dead and started walking around. At this point she believed what she was saying to be true. She had not even considered the possibility that she was perceiving this because of the drugs we had consumed the day before. I asked her about her 'trip' and she said that after we left, all sorts of people she hadn't seen in a long time showed up at our apartment, and that there was a big party. She actually thought that both my friend and I had come back at some point during the night. She said she had a lot of fun.
We later contacted virtually everyone she saw (some were unreachable as she hadn't been in contact with them for years) and none of them had come over, most of them were not within 200 miles from our apartment at the time. When she was at work that day, she thought that I came to visit her (she worked alone most of the day as a screen printer in a big shop) and that we had talked all day long. She said that her boss came in a few times and asked who she was talking to, and anytime he did, she explained that she couldn't exactly remember. Only shortly after he left did I reappear and she did not at the time (both when it was happening, and again as she was explaining it to me) seem to understand how illogical this was.
Eventually, over the course of the evening she started coming back to her senses. Never once as I talked to her did I get the feeling that she was 'tripping' so much as she was delusional, but she was so calm that unless you listened to what she was saying, you wouldn't have noticed.
Since our experiment, none of us have had any urge to try and repeat it. I myself did not notice any hallucinations or anything particularly strange at all. I feel very sure that I put myself and my friends at great risk of dying, but feel particularly lucky that I am alive to tell the story.
I would recommend that anyone wishing to experiment with this plant excersize great caution. I would recommend doing some serious research into the toxicological effects of the plant and try to find out what is a reasonably safe amount before consuming any. I would also strongly recommend taking a few lower level practice runs before jumping into it, and I would say that it is imparitive that you have a sober sitter around, as it is very likely that if you come into contact with someone who doesn't know or understand what's going on (or possibly even worse if they do) that you will end up in jail or the mental institution.
I would also recommend reading the trial statements (testimony 1
& testimony 3
)of Charles 'Tex' Watson of the Manson Family, to get another interesting take on this plant.
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