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Literally Berserk

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Howard Fabing did human experiments with the psychoactive chemical bufotenine found in nature throughout the world. Similar to the Norse legend of berserkus/berserkers/berserkr, the human test subjects displayed similar symptoms to that of the wild warriors. Symptoms included the belief in superhuman protection from all (a belief so strong that some can safely walk on embers and perform other such feats). Also, those who partook were mainly uncontrollable and needed to be restrained to be observed. The reckless behavior is mirrored in stories of berserk warriors biting into iron shields among other crazy behavior.
The chemical is somewhat associated to Haitian zombification and European witchcraft. Since bufotenine is found in certain toads, one can understand its link to broom-and-cauldron witches brewing ingredients like tail of newt and body of toad. As far fetched as it once may have sounded, these witches were most likely the real thing. Able to kill and appear to raise the dead due to psychosomatic comas undetectable to even the physicians of the time.
Lastly, the word toadstool comes out of beliefs surrounding the certain toad's psychoactive properties. Some thought that these toads ate psychedelic mushrooms and acquired their power in that manner.

 

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