The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire

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Monday, March 21, 2005

The truth behind Jekyll and Hyde revealed

New research reveals the story behind the story of Robert Louis Stevens' The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

THE Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was written by Robert Louis Stevenson under the influence of a hallucinogenic drug similar to LSD, according to new research.

Doctors believe the Scots author wrote the classic exploration of good and evil while being treated with a derivative of ergot, a potentially deadly hallucinogenic fungus. The mould, which affects rye and wheat, caused mass poisonings during the Middle Ages. Victims suffered vivid hallucinations and convulsions, which were mistakenly believed to be symptoms of demonic possession. Many witch trials, including those in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, are believed to have been triggered by outbreaks of ergotism.

During the Victorian era, ergotine, a derivative of the fungus, was used by doctors to stop bleeding. Stevenson, who suffered from tuberculosis, was given injections of the drug to stop bleeding in his lungs.

For the record, The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire was written on nothing stronger than Earl Gray tea and the occasional Rolling Rock beer.


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