Citation: Rhys D. "The Dark Cup: An Experience with Datura stramonium, Amanita muscaria & Alcohol (exp49144)". Erowid.org. Nov 7, 2012. erowid.org/exp/49144
I have been growing thornapple (Datura Stramonium) for some years now in an indoor window box, where the plants grow very readily indeed. (Datura is not illegal in the UK). I collect seed each year from the over-ripe pods to replant the next, and always have plenty of plant material – including seeds – left over for experimentation. Initially I only used the material in the form of a ‘flying’ ointment applied to the skin, though I have also experimented with eating small numbers of seeds.
I am the male leader of a Wiccan coven. Samhain/Halloween represents to us a time when the veil between the mundane world and the world of spirits is at its weakest, and specifically it is a time when it is possible to speak with the dead. As a reflection of this, I decided to include in our 2005 ritual the opportunity (without coercion) to drink from a ‘dark cup’, intended to bring on visions and contact with the spirits of the otherworld.
The basis of the cup was a very sweet batch of Sloe Gin I had made from local sloes. To this I added a number of ingredients, of which the most relevant were a single Amanita Muscaria (fly agaric) mushroom which I had picked and a handful of thornapple seeds, perhaps 25-30 in all. These additional ingredients were steeped in the gin for almost a month, with occasional agitation, before being filtered out and discarded. The total volume of gin was about one pint.
The ‘dark cup’ was offered to seven persons, including myself, all of whom drank from it, to the extent that the total amount available was consumed. I took only a token sip, the others drank more freely to varying degrees. All were aware (in general terms) of the content of the cup.
I summarise below the effects on the seven:
Myself – no discernable effect.
After about 45 minutes, G, a female in her twenties who has recently lost weight to about 125lb reported very dry mouth, faintness and a feeling of spaciness/unwellness. At her request, she was escorted back to her hotel room. She was barely able to stand at this stage, and needed assistance to her room as though she was very drunk. Her stated intent was to settle down for the night, as she had an early bus to catch in the morning, and she was left on that basis.
I next spoke to G by phone in the morning. She had had a very disturbed night, poor sleep, and had been sick on at least one occasion. She had also picked up a bruise on the side of her head, though she had no recollection of how this occurred. Nonetheless, she succeeded in catching the bus home – a six hour bus journey.
G phoned me again in the evening to ask if others had been having the same problem she now had, i.e. blindness. A few questions clarified that this was not total blindness, merely pupil dilation leading to an inability to read close-up material (such as the computer screen). My knowledge of thornapple use allowed me to reassure her that this would pass, though potentially it could be some days before it did so. During the call she mentioned that during her bus journey home, she had spent a good portion of the journey talking with the guy sat next to her, and it was only late in the journey that it became apparent to her that she was hallucinating and that there was no-one sat next to her. Apparently she got some very funny looks from the other passengers.
By the following day G’s symptoms had diminished to the extent that she was able to return to her job without significant interference.
P, a man in his late twenties, experienced dry throat symptoms during the ritual, and became tired, so that he did not stay to the end of the socialising after the ritual, but went upstairs to bed. During the night he spent much of the time wandering around corridors, bumping into walls which he claims he was unable to see. He had a number of hallucinations of people in various rooms who he saw as real until he touched them and they disappeared. This included, in one case, a couple of people looking through his bag, something which he jealously guards.
By the morning, P’s symptoms had largely subsided and he appeared his normal self.
D, a woman in her forties who is the female leader of the coven, experienced dry mouth, lack of ability to taste food, and a pleasant spacey feeling, but no more significant effects. All effects were gone by the morning.
The remaining three attendees have not reported in detail their experiences, although by implication these were probably at the milder end of the spectrum.
The loss of ability to taste identified by D appears to have been fairly general, in that a substantial post-ritual meal remained essentially untouched, other than by myself.
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