the aristocrats go gaga

Scopolamine is a drug with a long dark history in Colombia.

image found here

Legend has it that Colombian Indian tribes used the drug to bury alive the wives and slaves of fallen chiefs, so that they would quietly accompany their masters into the afterworld. The tree which naturally produces scopolamine grows wild around the capital and is so famous in the countryside that mothers warn their children not to fall asleep below its yellow and white flowers. It’s popularly known as the “get-you-drunk” tree and the pollen alone is said to conjure up strange dreams.

image found here

Colorless, odorless and tasteless, scopolamine is slipped into drinks and sprinkled onto food. Victims become so docile that they have been known to help thieves rob their homes and empty their bank accounts. Since scopolamine completely blocks the formation of memories, it is usually impossible for victims to ever identify their aggressors.

image found here

There are so many scopolamine cases in Colombia that they usually don’t make the news unless particularly bizarre. One such incident involved three young Bogota women who preyed on men by smearing the drug on their breasts and luring their victims to take a lick. Losing all willpower, the men readily gave up their bank access codes. The breast-temptress thieves then held them hostage for days while draining their accounts.

image found here

In 1929 several Russian emigres in Paris were overwhelmed by the side effects of scopolamine which caused a condition they referred to as gaga-ism

“It seems that Prince Yusupoff’s valet encouraged another valet to put the drug in the tea of the latter’s masters and their guests. The polite poisoning had been going on for months, producing a state of complete stupidity which none of these aristocrats found strange.

aristocrats found here

Memory vanished, general conversation lagged, the two children dropped behind in their studies and became unable to add two and two without exciting comment from their proud parents. Casual guests dropping in for ‘le five o’clock’ were led back to their limousines in a state of complete imbecility, and an aunt fell flat on her face after having sipped a cup of weak Orange Pekoe.

image found here

Also, the unfortunate Comte de Lareinty-Tholozan, who had been imbibing from the scopolamine bottle steadily since the previous November, each day lost a little more sense, according to his admiring spouse. The hilarity among red-blooded mortals caused by these blue-blood disclosures was said to be as good as a revolution…..”