5 Ridiculous Myths Surrounding Psychedelics

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5 Ridiculous Myths Surrounding Psychedelics

Countless myths and urban legends surround the topic of psychedelic substances. Despite some stories being outright ridiculous, all these myths were once believed to be true - at least for a little bit. Here are some of the most ridiculous myths surrounding psychedelics.

There are many outrageous urban legends about psychedelic drugs and their effects. Some of these tales are still spread today. In this post, we examine 5 of the most ridiculous myths about psychedelics.

MYTH #1 - LUCKY STRIKE CIGARETTES ONCE CAME WITH A NICE SURPRISE

The myth goes that Lucky Strike smokes didn’t get their iconic name for no good reason. They are named so (would you believe it!) because every so often, a smoker would get a “lucky strike” where they’d find a marijuana spliff in their pack! Those who spread this myth normally know something about the odds of such a fortunate find. The claims range from those involving a single spliff per thousand cartons, and those arguing that there was a treat in every pack.

It’s not known where and when this legend originated, but it has floated around for “many years” according to Snopes.com. The official Lucky Strike slogan “It’s Toasted” didn’t exactly help in disproving this legend. Needless to say, there are no credible reports of anyone ever having found a spliff in their pack of Luckies.

MYTH #2 - MAGIC MUSHROOMS INSPIRED THE SUPER MARIO POWER-UP

The mushroom power-up in the Super Mario video games is actually based on psychedelic mushrooms - at least according to drug lore. Those who believe the myth point to visual similarities between the mushroom in the game (red caps with white spots) and that of the species Amanita muscaria, a variety which indeed has some hallucinogenic properties.

The official stance of the Super Mario game creators is (of course) that there is no relationship to drugs whatsoever. They even made a point to call the power-up a “Super Mushroom” instead of “Magic Mushroom” to avoid any association with psychedelics. At least that is what they say. Of course, this doesn’t convince some conspiracy-minded folks in the gaming subculture who swear that there is a trippier meaning.

MYTH #3 - BAD TRIPS ARE CAUSED BY BAD LSD

The myth that bad LSD trips are caused by “bad LSD” started sometime back in the psychedelic “flower power” era of the 1960s. Concert-goers at the famous 1969 Woodstock music festival had even been warned to stay away from the allegedly bad “brown acid.”

It is more likely that this supposed “bad acid” contained higher doses than usual and caused individuals to experience overwhelming or “bad” trips. Add that to the fact that back then (and still today), there was no such thing as quality control when it comes to psychedelic substances. But maybe calling it “bad acid” wasn’t so wrong if you consider that drugs distributed as LSD often contain all sorts of other stuff, including PCP or amphetamines. This can absolutely cause different, and sometimes quite unpleasant effects to occur.

MYTH #4 - BANANA PEELS MAKE YOU TRIP

This one is a classic that is still making the rounds today. Some folks believe that it is possible to synthesise LSD, or some other hallucinogenic substance, from banana peels. “Bananadine" (as if the name isn’t hideous enough) is supposedly a mild psychoactive substance that can be synthesised without any special knowledge or lab equipment. Just get a whole bunch of the yellow fruit and it’s party time! Sounds great, right?

Myths about the effects of smoking banana peels started back in the late-1960s, long before people had access to the internet and social media. The famous “Anarchist Cookbook" mentioned the “mild psychoactive effect” of banana peels (“musa sapientum bananadine”) alongside other articles, most of which were hoaxes. Those who still didn’t believe in the trippy effects of smoking banana peels just had to listen to Donovan’s 1966 psychedelic song “Mellow Yellow” where the singer refers to an “electric banana.” What more proof could one need?

MYTH #5 - THE ORANGE JUICE MAN

The “Orange Juice Man” is one of the most notorious and yet, most ridiculous urban legends surrounding LSD. One guy from Canada is said to have been offered a great deal on acid while visiting the United States. Of course, he couldn’t resist, so he bought a large amount - like several hundred tabs. To avoid detection at the border going back, he taped the whole sheet of acid to his body.

Nevertheless, the unlucky guy must have raised suspicions because border control asked that he waited in a room while they searched the car. Of course, he starts freaking out and sweating because he’s convinced that they will search him next. The sweat soaks the sheet of acid tabs, causing an ungodly amount of LSD to become absorbed into his skin.

Soon, all this acid kicks in, resulting in the poor guy believing he is an orange, which he apparently still believes to this day. Rumour has it, he lives confined in a psychiatric ward where he shares a room with a peach and a pineapple. There are many variations on this story. In one version, the guy wants to peel himself, so he takes off all his clothes; in others, he skips the fruit stage altogether and turns right into a glass of OJ. This iteration takes the unfortunate twist of him being unable to lie down or sleep for fear of someone drinking him. Despite the ridiculousness of this story, it was widely used in the 1960s as anti-drug scare tactic, causing many to believe the ridiculously tall tale.