Miscellaneous > Non-DP Related Mysteries!

The Pont-Saint-Esprit “incident”

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I am aware, that this is a well-known thing, but still it is interesting and there might be some correlations to the Pass incident.
This event happened in August 1951 in the small French town Pont-Saint-Esprit, when mass psychotic chaos along with various physical symptoms (starting with nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea, then worsen) struck nearly 250 people, resulting in about 50 of them interned in mental asylums and 5 deaths. The reason for that event vary from food poisoning (ergot poisoning - contaminated bread) to a deliberate and intentionally conducted experiment to test how LSD affects people on a more massive scale, involving CIA agents (the infamous Project MKUltra https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_MKUltra). Other theories include mercury, mycotoxins, or nitrogen trichloride.

Now, even though it is tempting to speculate how the bread got contaminated – by accident or by intention, what I find more relevant (for now) are the consequences and the symptoms. Psychosis is an abnormal condition of the mind, which results in the inability to make a difference between what is real and what is not. Symptoms include hallucinations and delusions (seeing and/or hearing) things that are not present, incoherent speech, illogical decision-making, constant change of moods, false beliefs, and such. One of the ways psychosis may occur is because of ergot poisoning, which is the most credited theory for the accident in France – people ate bread made from rye grain that was infected with the fungus. The victims appeared to have one common connection - they had eaten bread from the bakery of a man named Roch Briand, who was subsequently blamed for using flour made from contaminated rye.
The physical symptoms in the beginning were typical for food poisoning – sore stomach, vomiting, but then it became worse - extreme tiredness and insomnia. For some patients, the symptoms subsided completely for 48 hours, only to return again much worse than before, culminating in vivid hallucinatory episodes involving fire and multi-coloured animals. A number of accounts noted some increasingly bizarre events: man shouting to his room-mates “I’m dead! My head is made of copper and I have snakes in my stomach!”, young girl believe that she was being attacked by tigers, an 11-year-old boy who tried to strangle his mother, a man jumped from the second floor of the hospital, believing he was an airplane, breaking his leg, and then continue to run for 50 meters before being caught by hospital personal. Others could hear celestial harmonies in their heads, and so on.
The whole ordeal lasted for about a week. People were affected in different ways, but the symptoms were pointing to ergot poisoning, even though such cases in France didn’t happen since the 18 century. On the other hand, it coincides with the development of LSD by Albert Hoffman in Sandoz laboratories in Switzerland, which is basically synthesized from the ergot fungus. Hofmann himself first considered that the synthetic drug poisoning was a possibility but he rejected the theory shortly after. Meanwhile, an American laboratory carried out tests on bread deliberately tainted with ergot but noted that volunteers who ingested it “had none of the symptoms reported by victims in Pont-Saint-Esprit.” … So that is the convenient base of the conspiracy theory.
Not surprisingly, there is no official satisfactory explanation for the event.   dunno1

With regard to the DPI, I have always thought that at least some of the actions of the group, especially in the beginning of the event, are caused by irrational behavior, rather than someone or something forcing them to act like that. The effect of the psychotic condition may fade away with time, so it may have triggered the whole event, but afterwards, as we see some rational acts (lighting fire, forming groups), it was probably too late and the winter night and elements took their toll.
So it is a possibility, that the Dyatlov group might have poisoned themselves if they ate contaminated bread/biscuits, etc.
Of course, no way to know what amount and how contaminated food would be sufficient to cause hallucinatoins or any kind of mental dellusions to each of the hikers. I think that it is not mandatory to have all the group members affected to the same extent. Even if only 1-2 were more severely affected, it could be enough to cause panic among the others in the middle of the night inside the tent. The possibility of sudden panic attack due to severe hallucinations among the students could explain some of the events that night.
When someone has a panic attack, that person feels a sudden, intense fear that cant be controlled. Also, panic attacks usually start suddenly. They can happen at any time and even without apparent reason. The symptoms usually feel most severe after about 10 to 20 minutes and then go away within an hour, but could take longer time. During the panic attack, people feel as if they are going to surely die. Afterwards they may feel extremely tired or overwhelmed by emotions. There is no universal pattern.

Nigel Evans:
There's a section for the Ergot poisoning theory.
Most of the theories on this site can be dismissed by asking - why a high level coverup?

I know there is. I am referring to a different incident in France, that is why I post it in non-dpi.
Also, the " high level cover up" is a probable consequence, while I am talking more about the origins of the whole event.

Nigel Evans:

--- Quote from: Морски on May 20, 2019, 01:49:47 AM ---I know there is. I am referring to a different incident in France, that is way I post it in non-dpi.
Also, the " high level cover up" is a probable consequence, while I am talking more about the origins of the whole event.

--- End quote ---
Okishev was perfectly clear, there was a high level coverup and the officials he met had no interest in the investigation that his office was undertaking (via Ivanov) as if they completely understood the origins of the event. He was ordered to create an accidental death story and sell this to the relatives, a task he admits cost him some sleepless nights.

You can't make that statement fit with ergot, wolverines, elks, murder etc etc.


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