St. Anthony’s Fire is a type of ergotism, caused by a poisonous fungus growing on rye, and the main symptoms are delusions and dancing mania (the actual poison is closely related, chemically, to dextro-lyserigic acid diethylamide, or LSD). It is possible, in fact, that the flagellants were suffering from St. Anthony’s Fire when they embarked on their nightmare pilgrimage; in any case, the spread of the ergotism and the spread of plague occurred together to produce uniquely horrible scenes of madness and death. St. Anthony’s Fire, a poisoning caused by the ergot fungus in rye flour kept over winter. Ergot contaminates grains in the field, causes wild hallucinations, blood vessel constriction and limb loss and is still a threat to modern agriculture.
St. Anthony’s Fire Epidemic of Paris (945 A.D.)
The Problem: The people of Paris were plagued with great sores which encompassed their limbs. To which the only cure was a trip to St. Mary’s church in Paris where Duke Hugh the Great, Count of Paris nourished the ill with hisnown holy stores of grain. The ill were quickly cured, but as soon as they returned home they came back down with the terrible sores.
The Cause: Ergot poisoning. Ergot is a fungus that grows on rye during cold, damp conditions. When the grain is ground up and then made into bread, people consume the fungus and poisoning ensues. There are three different types of ergotism: gangrenous, convulsive, and hallucinogenic. In the case of the Paris epidemic, sufferers were stricken with the gangrenous type of ergotism. So why were they cured when they went St. Mary’s? The answer is quite simple. Duke Hugh’s stores of grain were better maintained, and therefore, not contaminated with ergot so when people ate his grains their ergotism went away, but as soon as they returned home they consumed their contaminated grain causing them to once again come down with the poisoning.
It was in the Rhine Valley, in 857 A.D., that the first major outbreak of gangrenous ergotism was documented. It was at this time that the symptoms (but not the knowledge of what caused the symptoms) from consumption of ergot was called Holy Fire. “Fire” because of the burning sensations, in the extremities, that were experienced by the victims of gangrenous ergotism, and “Holy” because of the belief that this was a punishment from God. The victims’ toes, fingers, arms and legs often became blackened as a result of gangrene, and would eventually die from the infections in these extremities. In addition, the victims often suffered from convulsive ergotism, as well, from the psychoactive properties that may occur in the ergot. Numerous epidemics of ergotism followed, with thousands dying as a result of the continual consumption of infected rye, with the most susceptible victims often being children.
In 1039, an outbreak of ergotism occurred in France. During this outbreak, however, a hospital was erected in order to care for the victims of ergotism, by Gaston de la Valloire. De la Valloire dedicated this hospital to St. Anthony, and through this gesture Holy Fire came to be called St. Anthony’s Fire. Monks would eventually start the order of St. Anthony and over 370 hospitals would be built for those ailing from Holy Fire, in the name of St. Anthony. Each hospital was symbolically painted red to inform the illiterate that aide was available to help alleviate their pain. Those who came often did find relief from ergotism. This was probably due to the absence of rye bread from the victims’ diet during their care in the hospital. However, those inflicted by ergotism, and healed, were likely to be inflicted again since the cause of this strange disease was unknown.
Although there is no doubt that ergotism occurred in the Middle Ages, medicine was at a very primitive state at this time, and some of the symptoms that we associate with ergotism can be due to other illnesses. Thus, the outbreaks of ergotism couldn’t always be confirmed. However, it seems rather certain that by the 8th. and 9th. centuries, in the kingdom of the Franks, ergotism was present and would continue to be present in this area for the next eight hundred years. From the year 900 AD, when records evidently became common in what is now France and Germany, to around 1300 AD, there were severe epidemics of ergotism over large areas every five to ten years.
Kicked Out of Heaven Vol. II
E-Book PDF: $10.00
The Untold History of The White Races cir. 700 – 1700 a.d.
666 pgs + 197 pix = 1,000s of FACTS!
Kicked Out Of Heaven Vol. II: The Untold History of The White Races cir. 700-1700 a.d. is a 3 volume series that will be released one by one. This book details everything about European society and mentality. In this edition you will find these facts: Alcoholism & The Blue Devils, Insanity & Lead Poisoning, Ergot (LSD) Hallucinations, The Sweating Sickness & Leprosy, The Tobacco Enema & Leeches, The Defloration Mania, The Dancing Mania, The Black Death, The Gravediggers & Body Snatchers, Jews Poisoning the Wells, Millions of Deaths, Folklore & Superstition, Magic Mirrors & Crystal Balls, Witches Dancing in Baby Blood, Pants Made of Human Skin, Necromancy & Ghost Armies, Attacks from The Undead, Lycanthropy & Were-Wolves, Multiple Cases of Vampires, Who is Satan, Lucifer & The Devil!
The Guardian: Acid test: how psychedelic virtual reality can help end society’s mass bad trip.