1898: Doctor sees zoo animals during hashish trial

In March 1898, a Californian physician, writing anonymously for the Los Angeles Herald, described his evaluation of popular pain relief therapies. Having long suffered from back and muscular pain, the author tried galvanism (mild electrical shocks) and hypnotism, both of which afforded him some pain-free moments.

Lastly, he experimented by consuming large doses of hashish, which for safety was carried out in the presence of another doctor and two nurses. The substance was very effective at relieving pain, he noted, but had some significant side effects:

“For seven hours after the drug was administrated I was convulsed with laughter. I laughed incontinently, loudly, boisterously… The sensation was almost continuous, yielding at times to a feeling of dreadful seriousness that ended in tears, and then again breaking out… in a flood of laughter.”

And in the second phase, he began hallucinating:

“This was also most amusing… One faithful nurse had been metamorphosed into a monkey, another into a bear; my good doctor was as fine a specimen of a lion as ever was beheld in Van Amburg’s show… One of my bed posts seemed to extend quite to the ceiling while the other disappeared wholly from view. The clock on the mantel, once I looked at it, appeared to be nine feet in height.”

Source: Los Angeles Herald, March 14th 1898. Content on this page is © Alpha History 2019-23. Content may not be republished without our express permission. For more information please refer to our Terms of Use or contact Alpha History.