Re-identification of Viking corpses has revealed that half of their warriors were female.
"Researchers at the University of Western Australia decided to revamp the way they studied Viking remains. Previously, researchers had misidentified skeletons as male simply because they were buried with their swords and shields. (Female remains were identified by their oval brooches, and not much else.) By studying osteological signs of gender within the bones themselves, researchers discovered that approximately half of the remains were actually female warriors, given a proper burial with their weapons.”
Women have always fought. We have always been there, ‘contributing to history’. Our own, modern sexism contributes to the erasure of it.
Girls pose by a jail that recalls the witch trials of 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts. Photo taken in 1945.
I recently learned that the water in Salem was contaminated with the fungus from which LSD is derived and a legitimate theory for the whole thing is that everyone in the town was tripping balls
This might be the greatest thing ive ever seen on the internet
We did a whole massive thing on this in history. I believe the fungus in question is called Ergot and it’s terrifying. It makes your muscles spasm so when they had seizures that was the reason, not because they were possessed. One woman had to be strapped to her bed, she was seizing so bad. And, like ‘theybuildbuildings’ said, it had the same effects as LSD; as soon as you touch it, let alone consume it, it messes with your entire system. The worst thing is, you practically always had a bad trip. Many complained about bugs crawling under their skin or monsters emerging from the shadows to scratch and bite at them until they were screaming. It was a horrendous thing and the worst part is, Ergot is still around. It grows on crops and, if your wheat isn’t properly treated, it can be eaten and you’ll most likely experience the same as the women of Salem.
god i love history
This is hella cool and almost correct…
The effects on the people of Salem were probably from consuming bread with the fungus in it, not from contaminated water. And apparently rye is way more commonly affected than wheat. In fact, often the members of the clergy were able to afford nicer bread made from wheat and thus were not as commonly affected.
You don’t go on a spasm-y trip just by touching it. You have to consume it for weeks, which results in chronic poisoning. ( If you stop eating it early enough, you may recover. So when people suffering from these “demonic possessions” took refuge in churches and stopped eating low-grade rye bread they were sometimes miraculously healed.
More interesting facts:
Ergot poisoning can result in convulsions & hallucinations, or it can cause gangrene, depending on which group of active alkaloids are present. (Horrifying, either way.) It killed a lot of people in Europe in the Middle Ages.
In Europe, often there was a strong correlation between wet summers (which provide ideal conditions for ergot) and reports of witchcraft/ possession. And in Norway and Scotland, records of witch persecution are only found in areas where rye was grown and used to make bread.
And I just learned right now that one author dude translated the word “Beowulf” as “barley-wolf” which could indicate a connection to ergot. The LSD-like effects could be a valid explanation for stories of Old Norse warriors going into the a sort of trancelike battle rage.
(this is exactly the kind of stuff my
herbologymedicinal plants class is about, it’s so cool omfg. we had a lecture on ergot last week.)
Fun fact: Ergot also played an important role in the Eleusinian Mysteries, arguably the most famous secret religious rites in ancient Greece. Some of the initiates included Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Proclus, and Demosthenes, all of whom referenced the influence of the Mysteries in their works.
Obviously the actual ceremony was secret, but there are some accounts and depictions of the events, which claim that it was an experience that involved conjuring visions of the afterlife (which makes sense because cult was for Demeter and Persephone), and at the end of the ceremony, initiates broke a sacred fast by drinking “kykeon,” a brew that was made of mixtures of things like water, barley, wine, cheese, etc. The kykeon evidently put them into an intense, revelatory state that allegedly allowed them to see the gods and the mysteries of the afterlife, among other things, and modern scholars think it was made with ergot-infected barley and the initiates were all tripping balls.
In other words, some of the most influential philosophers who have ever lived probably came up with a lot of their ideas because they drank a hallucinogenic fungal parasite.
Te Amo- Atlas Sound
In the magazine this week, David Sedaris writes about his obsession with his Fitbit: http://nyr.kr/1wm5c0f
“I look back on the days I averaged only thirty thousand steps, and think, Honestly, how lazy can you get? When I hit thirty-five thousand steps a day, Fitbit sent me an e-badge,…
Maybe John Oliver has found his post–Daily Show niche: Explaining boring or uncomfortable subjects in a way that makes sense and makes you laugh.