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


SAMPARKOUR from Wiland Pinsdorf on Vimeo.

Commercial/music video director Wiland Pinsdorf’s SAMPARKOUR is “a short that reveals the city of São Paulo (Brazil) under the look of Parkour. Where people see obstacles, Zico Corrêa visualizes new possibilities.”

Shot in HD with a 35mm lens adapter, the short is simultaneously dizzying and becalming, presenting Corrêa’s death-defying feats in a breathtaking rush of carefully framed shots and well-paced edits. Today –perhaps more than most days– it is deeply satisfying to witness a collaboration (between filmmaker and athlete, city and gravity) so vital, immediate, and perfectly alive.

(via Coilhouse)

The Learjet repo man

I wasn’t going to post this here, but I read this a couple days ago and am still thinking about it:

The charge was the attempted theft of a 707 jumbo jet and he was facing 20 years to life. The jet in question belonged to a Caribbean tour company that went bust. After a few missed payments, the bank had called Popovich, who had tracked the plane from the Dominican Republic to Haiti. The gig promised to be simple. Popovich even spotted the battered silver-and-blue jet on the tarmac as he taxied into Port Au Prince’s Toussaint L’Ouverture airport on a sweltering February afternoon. All he needed was an hour to check the avionics, an open runway and a flight plan. It hadn’t worked out that way.

By the third day of his imprisonment — sometime after the American embassy politely informed him that the bank employing him wouldn’t put up $100,000 in bail — details started to come back. The tracer fire pinging the plane’s wings like popcorn kernels. Men with bayonets slamming on the fuselage. A police cruiser skidding to a halt right in front of the jet, blocking the runway and preventing Nick from taking off. The cops beating him senseless and throwing him in Penitentier National prison. And now, here he was. […]

“I landed in Paris and contacted Arpels to see if we could work something out,” says Popovich. “Arpels tells me, ‘I’m Francois Arpels and this is Paris. You will never find the planes.’ I looked him right in the eye and told him, ‘Frankie, they are all but gone. Trust me.’ He hated the fact that I called him Frankie. That really got under his skin.”

Salon: The Learjet repo man

(via Cryptogon)

Man who carries 1300 items in his clothes at all times

crazy eric's blouson schott

crazy eric's blouson schott

Awesome and amazing.

I don’t know if I have an “obsessive compulsive disorder”, as I’ve read somewhere, but I know that when I do something, I try to do it as best as possible (I don’t like to make things “half”).

I wear all this each time I go outside my home (unless I go to the swimming pool or to the beach of course, or unless I go out only 3 mn to drop a letter in the post box down the street (boring ancient times snail mail !)).

There are many things useful for travelling, I use to travel a lot, sometimes I leave for 3 or 4 days, without knowing where I will go ; I like adventure (but with prepareness it’s more fun ! I like adventure and discovery, not struggling all day against problems (I’ve seen too many tourists with painful stories, nothing in head)).

I live in a big city in France and my job has nothing to do with my special clothing, although I use quite often my things at my job (instead of wasting “hours” searching for things there, never placed where they should be) ; I learnt electricity at school, which explains that it is natural for me to use some tools like a digital multimeter, soldering iron, and so on…

My job allows me 4 days of weekend, which explains why I can easily make some small adventure escapades.

More pics and a list of what he carries at Crazy Eric’s homepage

(via OVO)

The cost of travelling around the world (about $9k)

Jon Blake has published TransGlobal Expedition One’s budget for their trip around the world. It comes to only about 9k.

Full Story: TransGlobal



Parahawking is a unique activity combining paragliding with elements of falconry. Birds of prey are trained to fly with paragliders, guiding them to thermals for in-flight rewards and performing aerobatic manoeuvres.

Parahawking was developed by British falconer Scott Mason in 2001. Mason began a round-the-world trip in Pokhara, Nepal, where many birds of prey – such as the griffon vulture, steppe eagle and black kite – can be found. While taking a tandem paragliding flight with British paraglider Adam Hill, he had the opportunity to see raptors in flight, and realized that combining the sport of paragliding with his skills as a falconer could offer others the same experience. He has been based in Pokhara ever since, training and flying birds during the dry season between September and March.

The team started by training two black kites, but have since added an Egyptian vulture and a Mountain hawk-eagle to the team. Only rescued birds are used – none of the birds has been taken from the wild.”

(Parahawking website. h/t: The Adventure Channel)

(Scott Mason’s site)

(“Hawkman of the Himalayas” via YouTube)

Transglobal – Jonathan Blake and Edward Wilson’s trip around the world

edward wilson

Above: Edward Wilson at Technoccult International HQ

Jonathan Blake and Edward Wilson (who some of you might have known as Squink and Fenris 23 on Irreality) are in the planning stages of an ambitious trek across Asia. Making small steps first, they visited Portland for a gear collecting mission, and made time to stop by and visit my partner and me at our apartment.

Jon’s post on the trip, Edward’s post on the trip

Visit the Transglobal web site

By Flying Car from London to Timbuktu


“A voyage to fabled Timbuktu in a flying car may sound like a magical childhood fantasy. But this week a British adventurer will set off from London on an incredible journey through Europe and Africa in a souped-up sand buggy, travelling by road – and air.

With the help of a parachute and a giant fan-motor, Neil Laughton plans to soar over the Pyrenees near Andorra, before taking to the skies again to hop across the 14-km (nine-mile) Straits of Gibraltar. The ex-SAS officer then aims to fly over the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, above stretches of the Sahara desert and, well, wherever else the road runs out. But forget Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – this flying machine is based on proven technology.”

(via BBC News. h/t: The Adventure Blog)

39 Days, 7 Hours, 49 Minutes: Todd Carmichael Officially Breaks Hannah McKeand’s South Pole World Speed Record


“Todd Carmichael has officially set a new solo and unsupported world speed record to the South Pole. His time of 39 days, 7 hours, and 33 minutes bested former world record holder Hannah McKeand’s time of 39 days, 9 hours, and 33 minutes set back in 2006. This is an official time coming from Todd’s tracking equipment and being reported by ExplorersWeb. How close was it? The difference between Todd and Hannah is 1 hour and 44 minutes – or less than 0.2% of the time on the ice. If the same difference was applied to a 100 meter dash, it would equal less than 0.02 seconds – just barely measurable with modern time keeping.

Along with gaining the new official solo and unsupported world speed record, Todd Carmichael has also become the first American to go solo and unsupported to the South Pole. It is still undecided if Todd will gain the record for going the longest distance on foot. When I first interviewed Todd before this journey, becoming the first American to go solo and unsupported was his biggest priority. A week before he set foot on the ice, I got an email that nonchalently stated “I might as well go for the world speed record while I’m at it. What do you think?” Todd felt that his conditioning and preparation for this journey were miles ahead of where he was with his unsuccessful South Pole expedition last year. Obviously, we can now see how far ahead Todd was.”

(via The Adventurist)

Climber Plumps for Portable Toilets for Everest

Well, why not? How about some glow-in-the-dark signs to find it at night?

On a serious note, there are a lot of stories about mountaineers getting sick from drinking melted snow contaminated by human waste. Having some portable toilets in some designated areas might alieviate the sickness suffered by those who depend on melted snow for a water source. As a nature lover and avid hiker I’m disgusted by the amount of trash and graffiti I find in our national parks. Please take your trash with you. Let’s leave our wild areas clean for all to enjoy.

“A young Nepali climber is seeking to popularize a toilet fashioned from a plastic bucket with a lid to promote eco-friendly climbing on Mount Everest.Hundreds of climbers flock to the world’s tallest peak at 8,850 meters (29,035 feet) every year, with many simply squatting in the open or hunching behind rocks as the Everest base camp has no proper toilet facilities. Dawa Steven Sherpa, who led an eco-Everest expedition in May to collect trash dumped by previous climbers, said his team used a plastic bucket as well as a gas-impervious bag designed to safely contain and neutralize human waste and keep in odor.

“It is portable and very secure,” Sherpa, 25, told Reuters. “I want to promote anything that manages human waste on the mountain.” Sherpa’s team, during its month-long expedition, picked up 965 kg (2,100 pounds) of cans, gas canisters, kitchen waste, tents, parts of an Italian helicopter that crashed 35 years ago and remains of the body of a British climber who died in 1972. In addition, his team also brought down 65 kg of human waste produced by its 18 members, which it handed over to a local environment group at the base camp for management. “To date, no other container designed for human waste exists in this size, weight or strength,” Sherpa said of the U.S.-designed bucket, which is 11 inches tall and weighs 2.4 pounds, and has an opening that is eight inches in diameter.”

(via Reuters)

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