Witches literally flew high in the Sky with Diamonds

Sehr schöner Artikel aus der 1998er Ausgabe von Anesthesiology über die Drogen und Salben, die sich jene Frauen, die (immer zu Unrecht) der Hexerei bezichtigt wurden, im Mittelalter verabreichten um wie Lucy durch die Luft zu fliegen. Ich hab' mal ein etwas verdrogteres Zitat ausgeschnitten, mehr Links gibt's auf Mindhacks: Witch on a hallucinogenic flying broomstick.

Andres De Laguna (1499–1560 CE), physician to Emperor Charles V and Philip II, provided an unambiguous description of an experiment with an ointment he discovered in the home of a couple accused of witchcraft:

… a pot full of a certain green ointment … with which they were annointing themselves … was composed of herbs … such as hemlock, nightshade, henbane, and mandrake … I had the wife of the public executioner annointed with it from head to foot … she … had completely lost power of sleep … no sooner did I annoint her than she opened her eyes, wide like a rabbit, and soon they looked like those of a cooked hare when she fell into such a profound sleep that I thought I should never be able to awake her … after a lapse of thirty‐six hours, I restored her to her senses and sanity.

This passage is redolent of the description of belladonna alkaloid poisoning “hot as a hare, blind as a bat, dry as a bone, red as a beet, and mad as a wet hen.” [29] De Laguna's personal commentaries accompanying the above text included the astute observation: “From all this we may infer that all that those wretched witches do and say is caused by potions and ointments which so corrupt their memory and their imagination that they create their own woes, for they firmly believe when awake all that they had dreamed when asleep,” making him perhaps the first physician to correlate herbal intoxication with the rituals of witchcraft and to imply that confessions extracted from such drug users might represent the delusional speech of a deranged mind.

De Laguna was not the sole commentator about the relationship of mind‐altering drugs and witchcraft in the 16th century. In De Praestigiis Daemonum, which Freud called one of the 10 most significant books of all time, Johann Weyer (1515–1588 CE) concluded henbane was a principal ingredient of witches' brew, along with deadly nightshade and mandrake. [31] According to Weyer, there were other ointments, but the essential ingredients remained the same in all. The preparations, when applied to the upper thighs or genitals, were said to induce the sensation of rising into the air of flying. Witches were thought to anoint a chair or broomstick with the devil's ointment, and after self‐application, would fly through the air to meet for devil worship at the sabbat [32] (Figure 3 and Figure 4). Francis Bacon (1561–1626 CE) observed that “… the witches themselves are imaginative, and believe oftentimes they do that, which they do not … transforming themselves into other bodies … not by incantations or ceremonies, but by ointments, and annointing themselves all over.”

The Legacy of Atropos, the Fate Who Cut the Thread of Life (via Mindhacks, Bild: „Hexensabbat“, 1510, Hans Baldung Grien via Witchcraft History)