AuthorStephen Baxendale

Vice’s Hamilton Morris Interviewed on Hallucinogenic Fish [Guest Post]

sarpa salpa fish

In 2006 two men cooked and ate a fish which they had caught in the Western Mediterranean. Minutes after ingesting the fish frightening visual and auditory hallucinations began to overcome them. These intense visions lasted 36 hours. The fish they had caught was a Sarpa Salpa. A species of Sea Bream which is commonly found off the coast of South Africa and Malta and can induce ichthyoallyeinotoxism, a condition also known as hallucinogenic fish poisoning.

I recently learned that Vice columnist Hamilton Morris is assembling a team to capture and analyze a live sample of Sarpa Salpa. Morris is a writer and filmmaker and expert in anything psychoactive. In his column for Vice, Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia, he mixes his subjective experiences with insights into pharmacology, neurology and chemistry. In one column he traveled to the Amazonian jungle to have the secretions of a “shamanic” frog burnt into his arm. In another he traveled to Haiti to be dusted with the voodoo “zombie” poison Tetrodotoxin. He is currently working on a complex research project about extremely obscure information related to psychoactive mushrooms.

I e-mailed Hamilton to find out more about his trip.

Stephen Baxendale: Do you have any theories on what causes the fish to be hallucinogenic?

Hamilton Morris: The sea is a rich source of halogens. Scientists have found a variety of marine iodo-tryptophans and chloro-tryptophans in compounds like the plakohypaphorines and some amazing sponge derived tryptamines, like 5-bromo-DMT, which has been demonstrated to have “antidepressant-like” activity in rodents and is possibly psychedelic in humans. It seems that many of the sponge derived tryptamines are of microbial origin and same is true for more complex compounds like TTX and probably the byrostatins. So I think it is likely the fish ingests some kind of a microorganism that biosynthesizes the compound, which may behave as a classical serotonergic psychedelic or may have some messier deliriant effects, based on the case reports either could be possible.

Do you plan on ingesting the fish yourself?

If I have positively identified the species as Sarpa salpa I will carefully ingest it, starting with 1µg of fish and incrementally increasing the dose.

Do you think consuming hallucinogenic fish will ever catch on as a recreational drug?

Well it was already popular in the Roman empire so it’s really a question of whether it will make a comeback.

For more information:

Wikipedia: Hallucinogenic fish poisoning

Hamilton Morris’ Vice column

Stephen Baxendale is a writer from Liverpool, England. He specializes in lowlife literature and fringe journalism

Photo by Steven Van Tendeloo / CC

Independent Infographic

The english newspaper The Independent has a great infographic on its cover today depicting which countries support the immediate ceasefire in the Middle East demanded by the UN and which do not:


(via Kottke)

Plausible Time Travel Machine Outlined

“A new concept for a time machine could possibly enable distant future generations to travel into the past, research now suggests. “

Virtual Esozone

The designer reality festival Esozone is just around the corner, but many primates (like myself) can’t make the event due to lack of funds, the atlantic or just general bad karmic energy.

So luckily the lovely people at Someday Lounge have put on a virtual stream that you can catch from the comfort of your own altar.

If you haven’t heard of Esozone (seriously where have you been?) then check out the fantastic website here.

Awesome light Graffiti

Lichfaktor’s flickr


(Via Chris23)

Taxidermia, Magic Realism and Hypersigils

Taxidermia is a magic realist story spanning across three generations of a Hungarian family, focusing on the three male primal urges: sex, food and bodily prowess. It’s weird, off beat and you should definitely check it out if you’re into high weirdness .

Magic realism is a fusion of the external factors of human existence and the internal ones to more accurately depict human reality. Using obscurities, magick, symbolism and myths the fiction is able to incorporate aspects of human existence such as thoughts, emotions, dreams and imagination.

Now I know the concept of a hypersigil can be a bit clich?, but the idea’s and techniques used in magical realism could be very usefull if you were so inclined to create said device .

I found these pages on the subject of magic realism quite helpfull:
Magic Realism- Wikipedia
Sarah Orne Jewett
The Bible as Magical Realism

Astronomers look to quark stars for a fifth dimension

If the universe has weird extra-spatial dimensions in parallel to the 3D world we see around us, then billion-dollar particle accelerators may not be the only place to find them.

Objects in Cygnus X-3 are under extreme gravity, which the researchers say would provide the necessary conditions for extra dimensions to affect matter.

Full Story: New Scientist.

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