Mystery of the cursed bread: who is to blame, the CIA, Stalin, or ergot?Pictolic
1951. A small town in the South of France strikes suddenly a strange illness. It all starts almost innocently, headaches, nausea, dizziness. And then night falls, which was later the name of "night of the Apocalypse".
The village of Pont-Saint-Esprit is situated on the right Bank of the rhône river. Seventy years ago it was a small village where lived only 4,500 people. From the coast with a beautiful view of the river, life flowed smoothly and quietly — Pont-Saint-Esprit was one of those places where, passing through the street, it was impossible not to meet someone.
No one could have foreseen that this village will fall mountain, which the French call "cursed bread" — le pain maudit.
Seven people were killed and dozens were in a madhouse, hundreds more suffered severe symptoms of poisoning. And the culprit was the bread, but the mystery of the tragedy still is not fully disclosed.
It all began on 16 August 1951, when the townspeople is suddenly attacked by a disease of unknown origin. Madness descended on the Pont-Saint-Esprit.
Three doctors attacked patients who saw a terrible picture: it seemed that their bodies were on fire and being attacked by monsters. One man tried to drown himself, screaming that his belly eating snake. Eleven-year-old boy has attacked his own grandmother, trying to strangle her. And another man shouting "I'm an airplane!" he jumped out the window of the second floor. Poor survived but broke both legs. That, however, did not prevent him to rise and walk another 50 meters.
Another victim of the "cursed bread" see how the heart runs between feet, pleading with the doctor to get it back. Many crazy had to be hospitalized, before wearing them straitjackets.
The journal wrote:
The doctor guessed that the culprit of food poisoning, but for a long time failed to find the source of the poison. In the early days, five people died and two more later. By 21 August, after only five days, more than a hundred people were poisoned, six were hospitalized, among them were three children.
Peak disaster reached in the night from 25 to 26 August. The local called it "night of the Apocalypse". 23 people who are obsessed with macabre visions, was taken to the hospital. Several people jumped out of Windows. Many of crazed held in the crazy house for a few months.
The first theory and their debunking
French historian Steven L. Kaplan, in his book "Cursed bread: the return of forgotten years France 1945-1958" wrote:
Indeed, all the troubles of the accused by a local Baker, who is not intentionally used in baking flour contaminated with ergot — mushrooms, which are parasitic on grasses. However, some time later, this theory was replaced by another — the people were poisoned with mercury.
Journalist H. P. Albarelli Junior in 2011, he shared the results of its own investigation, according to which the incident to blame the division of special operations of the US army SOD and the CIA, which ran thus human experimentation. Albarelli have examined the records concerning the strange suicide of a man named Frank Olson, a biochemist, who once worked for SOD. The man jumped from the 13th floor, two years after the incident with the "cursed bread".
Albarelli found a recording of a conversation between a CIA agent, which mentioned the "secret of Pont-Saint-Esprit" and the version that the issue was not in ergot, and the toxic substance the diethylamine, which is part of the LSD.
In the preparation of his book "a Huge mistake: the murder of Frank Olson and the secret experiments of the CIA during the cold war" (A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA''s Secret Cold War Experiments) Albarelli spoke with former colleagues Olson. Two of them told the man that the cause of the incident was mysterious experiments, which were carried out in those parts. According to the journalist, Frank was directly associated with the ongoing experiments, during which, presumably, LSD as a toxic weapon sprayed from airplanes, to test the effect of mass hysteria.
This bomb was the document from the White house addressed to the members of the Board of the Rockefeller Foundation, which was formed in 1975 to investigate the crimes committed by the CIA. The document was a list of names related to the incident in France, and a direct indication of the connection between the CIA, LSD and the Pont-Saint-Esprit. However, the accused party was in denial.
The inhabitants of Pont-Saint-Esprit insist on disclosure of the true causes of the disease. 71-year-old Charles Grange says, "I was almost done and would very much like to know why."