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Observations placeholder

Richet, Charles Robert - The effects of absinthe



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 1


A description of the experience

The A Pros And Cons Of Vivisection' By Dr Charles Rlchet Professor Of Physiology In The Faculty Of Medicine Paris 1908

Permit me to quote myself. However little I may be a partisan of painful experimental demonstrations, I make one exception for an experiment which I consider it essential to present, in all its horror, before the young men who attend my lectures. I refer to absinthe. If two or three drops of essence of absinthe are injected into the veins of a dog, he is at once seized by a violent attack of epilepsy with hallucinations, convulsions, and foaming at the mouth.

It is truly a terrible sight, one which fills with disgust and horror all who have witnessed this experiment.

But it is precisely for the sake of arousing this disgust, this horror, that I perform the experiment. The unfortunate dog will, during ten minutes, have had an attack of intoxication and absinthian epilepsy; but at the end of an hour he will have recovered completely.

At the same time, the two hundred students who have witnessed this hideous spectacle will retain, profoundly engraved on their minds, the memory of that epileptic fury, a memory which will remain with them to the end of their days.

They will then be able, by their propaganda against absinthe, to exercise around them a salutary influence, to prevent perhaps ten, fifteen, one hundred human personalities from destroying themselves by the use of this abominable poison. After all, it is better to give a dog ten minutes of absinthism than to allow twenty human families to be plunged, by absinthism, into degradation and misery.

The source of the experience

Richet, Charles Robert

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Drinking absinthe