Hello, Reddit!

My name is Robert. I’m an editor at Cracked and over the last year I wrote a book tracking the early history of many my favorite vices. Here’s a brief list of weird drugs I tested on my own body:

  1. A mixture of tobacco, garlic and my own urine, meant as a treatment for constipation.

  2. The most likely recipe for the ancient Hindu drug Soma (magic, powerfully hallucinogenic and legal mushrooms)

  3. The old Scythian method of smoking weed (via a giant tent)

  4. The earliest coffee-related recipe, basically a ball of coffee cherries, grounds and clarified butter. It’s like an ancient power-bar.

  5. A weird Greek hallucinogen that required a four day total fast beforehand.

  6. Marijuana yoghurt shakes that wound up sending a friend of mine to the hospital, briefly.

And a bunch more! I also tested the theory that Stonehenge was built as a giant acoustic amplifier for rave-like prehistoric parties. I brought a Samba band to a scale reproduction of the original Henge in Maryhill, Washington and it was great. Generated an audible hum, like running your finger along the edge of an enormous stone wine glass.

I interviewed drug chemists, beer historians, medicinal sex workers, and even tracked down the truth about hallucinogenic Salamander Brandy in Slovenia (and made a batch of my own without murdering any Salamanders).

So that’s what I did. Ask me anything.

Here’s a link to my book; https://goo.gl/843JVP

And here’s a video on Cracked where I tested four of these drugs on my co-workers, with only some vomiting and a lot of tripping pretty hard.


And here's an excerpted version of the first chapter, on Esquire; http://www.esquire.com/entertainment/books/a47449/alcohol-science-history-vice-evans/

And here's me; https://s10.postimg.org/cwsprr0bd/Clipboard01.jpg

Comments: 136 • Responses: 37  • Date: 

Tsmacey27 karma

Hey there! A couple questions I hope you don't mind answering...

1) Which Ancient Drugs gave you the strangest effects?

2) Which drug do you NOT want to touch again after doing this?

TheOtherRobertEvans49 karma

  1. Salamander brandy made it difficult to walk. It felt almost a smidge like what happens when you take GHB with no alcohol, and your limbs just stop working for shit.

  2. I'll never smoke wild tobacco through my nose, or drink it with pee, again if I can help it.

GardenImplement17 karma

1) What is the oddest thing you remember doing under the influence of any substance, and what was that substance?

2) Would you be willing to try Jenkem?

Its street name is "butt-hash", and I got high from laughing at that alone.

TheOtherRobertEvans37 karma

One time I took 30 mg of 2ci and 20 of MIPT and wound up beating a giant metal band saw in my friend's music room with a bowie knife. The knife broke in half and I grabbed the blade and just kept hammering. The sound was so intoxicating, I couldn't let it stop. There was this sensation of resonance, vibration in my skull every time I struck the saw. It was so satisfying I didn't even feel the pain, although the next morning I realized my hand was cut to shit and my friend's music room was covered in specks of blood.

TheOtherRobertEvans17 karma

And I'd try Jenkem if I had a good reason to do so.

philosophickle17 karma

Were any of them surprisingly helpful?

TheOtherRobertEvans35 karma

Yeah, the coffee balls were AWESOME. I woke up one day, put one around my neck in a leather bag and ran a half marathon on an empty stomach. About 8 or 9 miles in I started to flag and got into the coffee balls, which had turned into more of a trail-mix type thing. It was delicious and energizing, just the right amount of fat, protein and caffeine.

doohicker1 karma

Dude, recipe pls..

TheOtherRobertEvans2 karma

Yeah, the book is full of recipes.

eah200214 karma

Which of these ancient drugs was the most fun? Which was the worst?

TheOtherRobertEvans38 karma

Soma or the marijuana tent was probably the most fun.

The Bhang Lassis (sacred Hindu marijuana yoghurt drinks) were the worst. That beverage is NOT MEANT to be made with California medicinal marijuana. I learned to make it in India with their local weed and, even using less than half as much pot over in California, it turned out disastrously strong.

vercetti4414 karma

Were there any ancient drugs or drinks you could not experiment, because of travel, cost, danger or other reasons?

TheOtherRobertEvans32 karma

I desperately want to try Umm Nyolokh, a hallucinogen made from DMT taken out of a giraffe's liver.

Known2bG12 karma

Are you looking for any more employees?(Seriously) I would love to be involved with research of the human psyche after the introduction of given "drugs."

What do you think about the consensus that "smart" people are more likely to experiment with drugs?

TheOtherRobertEvans21 karma

I think smart people are more likely to experiment, period.

Fuck-You-Dave11 karma

What is your favourite type of cheese?

TheOtherRobertEvans30 karma

Smoked gouda.

leclittoris10 karma

How were the hallucinogens? Potent?

Very interesting AMA, thanks for submitting.

TheOtherRobertEvans5 karma

The Kykeon mixtures I tried were interesting, but not potent hallucinogens. Soma's potent. Salamander Brandy was pretty weird. The Bhang Lassis sent my friend to the hospital (he was fine).

leclittoris2 karma

Weird? How so aside from the difficulty in walking?

TheOtherRobertEvans3 karma

It was a pretty significant impairment. I hadn't expected that.

sjm6bd9 karma

How did you make soma?

TheOtherRobertEvans21 karma

The Vedas contain a recipe detailing the methods used to create Soma, they just don't specify the ingredients. Gordon Wasson theorized it was Amanita Muscaria. So I applied those methods to that drug. Eaten straight, Amanitas tend to be pretty unpleasant. But when filtered according to the Vedas, they're a really fun experience with (at worst) a little vomiting.

sjm6bd8 karma

Hm, interesting. I've eaten amanitas before straight and was underwhelmed by the effects.

TheOtherRobertEvans13 karma

Where'd you get them? Quality varies widely. The weakest I've gotten have been from headshops. If you don't know someone you trust at mycology (you reeeeeally don't want the wrong Amanita) shooting for A+ grade mushrooms from Washington State is your best bet.

sjm6bd4 karma

They were purchased online, but were reportedly A + from Washington state. Made a tea with some, ate the rest. Very weak psychedelic effects

TheOtherRobertEvans12 karma

I got my most recent dose from these guys; https://eternityinabox.com Full recipe is in the book, but I basically soaked for 24 hours and strained. Soaking them for at least a day is critical.

PunchingDolphins7 karma

The mixture of tobacco, garlic and urine. What was the after taste like?

TheOtherRobertEvans23 karma

It burned. The best description of the flavor is "burning salt". The aftertaste was like garlic bread that had spent several hours in Hulk Hogan's jock strap on a hot July day.

I didn't have much time to savor the flavor, because I started vomiting very soon after.

Laurendoesit5 karma

I just stumbled across your video on cracked a couple hours ago...that asian girl who tried the soma made me cringe so hard it was difficult to watch. Do you think she was really having this transcendent out-of-body experience, or was she just majorly playing it up for the camera?

TheOtherRobertEvans1 karma

I have no doubts that Teresa's experience was genuine. She is a very professional, put-together person at work and her clear, estatic, uncontrolled glee is not something I think can be faked.

mistareez284 karma

Did you ever come across or try a plant called "Sun Opener"? It's also called Sinicuichi. A buddy and I ended up ordering and trying every legal hallucinogenic under the sun back in the day, and sun opener was easily my favorite. We essentially processed it to get a resin and would smoke it, which seemed to be the best way to get the full effect.

We would essentially get a really heavy body high (similar to opium) for about 10 minutes, then come out of it with an almost intense feeling of giddiness that would last about an hour. I would compare it to the giddiness from good boomers without the strong hallucinations. There would be some mild visual hallucinations, in that colors seemed to be sharper and more defined, sometimes a little glittery in peripheral vision. The effect would slowly fade out, no burn-out whatsoever, and we'd be left with a strong sense of well-being, like that inspired feeling you get from finishing a good book or creating something.

Anyway, I've never met anyone else who has tried it, and I figured you'd be the best person to ask!

TheOtherRobertEvans1 karma

I have never heard of this but very much want to try it. Thanks for the tip.

Hwight_Doward4 karma

Could you expand some more on the Greek hallucinogen?
Also, which was the most time/energy consuming to produce?

TheOtherRobertEvans9 karma

There are a number of theories as to what, exactly "Kykeon" was, but it was apparently an influential experience for many ancient philosophers. Many people suspect it was an LSA synthesis. I tested the theory about whether or not the hallucinations might be due to a combination of "not eating for days" "hiking a long distance" and immediately drinking wine and pennyroyal (a mild intoxicant).

The most time-consuming drug to put together was the Salamander Brandy. I had to milk my little fire salamander for his poison for several weeks, and this was after a week in Slovenia trying to track the actual stuff down.

TheDiscordedSnarl3 karma

If I were to start writing articles in the hopes they'd get published on Cracked, how long would it take before I end up with a byline/nifty title (like "The People vs Adam Tod Brown" -- like that)?

TheOtherRobertEvans6 karma

That primarily depends on how quickly you can establish a voice and an audience. We're always looking for people who can write quality articles that people want to read. That's a difficult thing to do, and the folks who can establish a following and prove their consistency are worth more than gold to us. It took me a few years of freelancing for several different sites before I hit that point, but I'm pretty dumb.

workingtimeaccount3 karma

Have you read Food Of The Gods? In that book McKenna suggests that Amanita Muscaria is most likely not Soma. What is your opinion on that?

TheOtherRobertEvans1 karma

I like McKenna, but I think Amanita Muscaria makes more sense, given the preparation method specialized in the Vedas seems tailor-made to counter the negative effects of Amanitas.

rbevans2 karma

How do you feel about the other Robert Evans?

TheOtherRobertEvans13 karma

I think that Godfather-producing bastard has forever damned me to the second page of Google results for our name.

Reform1slam2 karma

Are you afraid of any irreparable damages like to your brain? Dissociative Identity Disorder is usually drug induced for example.

Also how do you take your coffee?

TheOtherRobertEvans7 karma

If I was going to irreversibly damage my brain, I would've done it back when I was 19-22 doing various psychedelics from Canadian RX sites every weekend.

And usually just black. I kinda fell in love with Turkish coffee over in the Middle-East and the Balkans, though, so sometimes I add cardamom.

PhatDuck2 karma

Can I ask about the type of weed you used?

For myself, I smoked for many years, the modern super strength stuff and all the benefits that weed has traditionally had I personally found were either muted by brain zombification or ended up just lacking over time. I also found it highly addictive and now I can't touch the stuff without bad anxiety and just plain drowsiness.

I've often wondered if the stuff shamans used centuries ago or even just the stuff my parents had would be not only a far better choice for me and my peers but something I could smoke now too.

Did you use or research the kind of weed they used and used the same?

If so did you find a marked difference, not just in strength but in the mental effects?

Also, what variety of mushrooms were they? Have you had them before and did you notice any difference, like anything extra, due to the magic even if it was just the environment and the psychology of the idea of magic that did it.

I don't really believe in any kind of magic but I do know from past experiences with mushrooms that environment and the build up make a huge difference to the experience.

TheOtherRobertEvans6 karma

The weed was medicinal marijuana grown by a friend of mine. It was tremendously strong and we used about an ounce, sprinkled over hot rocks. I'd imagine the ancient Scythians weed would've been used in much greater quantity. I've smoked wild-growing marijuana in India and their weed was probably similar.

I've known some folks to get headaches from so-called "ditch weed", but I do like being able to smoke a whole joint or three without getting paralyzed-stoned.

If you live in California, or a legal state, many dispensaries offer lower-strength shake that's much milder than the traditional medical strains. I know a location in West LA that sold an ounce of this stuff for like $20. Might be what you're looking for.

The mushrooms were Amanita Muscaria. And while set and setting absolutely have an impact on the experience, I think the mushrooms we got for the video were just way stronger than my prior batches. When you order hallucinogenic mushrooms online, the quality is going to vary.

theflamingskull1 karma

If you live in California, or a legal state, many dispensaries offer lower-strength shake that's much milder than the traditional medical strains. I know a location in West LA that sold an ounce of this stuff for like $20.

At $.71 per gram, it was more likely trim than shake. Trim is what's normally used for butter/oil/milk, so you'd have had a much better experience had you used it for your yoghurt.

Were you able to get spores delivered to California, or were they sent elsewhere?

TheOtherRobertEvans3 karma

It looked like what you find at the bottom of a turkey bag once all the buds have been emptied, but the weed it was from wasn't very sticky or crystally, so you didn't get that dank clumping I associate with good shake. (I love shake and prefer it for my joints)

I got full dried caps and stems delivered to my door. I think you can have Amanitas delivered legally in pretty much every state.

uncooljock2 karma

Why did you do these things?

TheOtherRobertEvans1 karma

Because they were there.

ryuut2 karma

Sorry, legal shrooms? Please share.

daddyolaf1 karma

Could you detail the effects of the Salamander Brandy? Also, what exactly is it made of besides salamander poison and brandy?

TheOtherRobertEvans1 karma

It's actually not brandy. That's the common name, but everyone I spoke to in Slovenia insisted it was a type of schnappes.

throway_nonjw1 karma

Which of they ones you tested would you never do again, and why, and which did you feel was the most beneficial?

TheOtherRobertEvans1 karma

I'd say the Soma and the coffee balls are the most beneficial.

I'll never drink pee mixed with tobacco and garlic again.

elvagabundotonto1 karma

Not sure you are still around. How did you fund all your extensive research? And how hard were some of the items to find? Were some illegal?

TheOtherRobertEvans1 karma

Plume paid me to write the book, and Cracked pays me well. I'm used to self-funding my endeavors. I paid to send myself to Iraq earlier this year for a bunch of articles.

TijnTijn1 karma

Which acient drug would you recommend to a regular recreational drug user?

TheOtherRobertEvans1 karma

Soma, AKA Amanita Muscaria. But you've got to prepare it right to avoid getting terribly ill. Again, my book has a recipe (https://www.amazon.com/Brief-History-Vice-Behavior-Civilization-ebook/dp/B01839Q4ZE/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=#nav-subnav)

vidiot761 karma

I think this is over, but I watched your cracked video and it was super interesting! My question is, was any of the soma stuff edited at the end to make it look more wacky?

TheOtherRobertEvans1 karma

No, and the wackiest stuff actually wasn't filmed because the cameras could only run so long.

Addprofile1 karma

Do you feel complete with the usage of these substances? What is your true purpose that lies underneath the usage? Pure experiment? Joy? Is there any part of you that makes you to continue your consumption to keep up with an image? (Came too far to go back)

I am very curious to know. Whatever is great for you, go for it.

TheOtherRobertEvans1 karma

I don't feel like I have much of an image. I like being high, and I don't think it's bad to spend a lot of time intoxicated if you take some basic health precautions and know what you're using.

northcrunk1 karma

Did you try Ayahuasca?

TheOtherRobertEvans1 karma

Back in the day I used to do acid/base extractions on Mimosa hostilis root bark to extract and smoke the DMT. I've never taken it orally, though.

liliputput1 karma

That's pretty interesting! I'm Slovenian and never heard of this salamander brandy until a couple of years ago in some random article. It's never talked about it here, a vast majority never heard about it so I assume it's very rare. How difficult was it to find it? Do you know how many people do it, what part of the country and did you see the process of making it?

TheOtherRobertEvans1 karma

Skofja Loka is apparently the nexus of Salamander Brandy (schnappes, really) production. And I had to talk to older rural folks to hear much about it. Most younger folks only knew about it through the Mladina article.

NathanFillionsChild1 karma

First question: Is this the right thread?

TheOtherRobertEvans5 karma

I hope so. I'm having some communication issues with the mods.

NathanFillionsChild2 karma

Gotcha. First Real Question: How many full length novels have you written? How many published?

TheOtherRobertEvans5 karma

This is my first solo affair. I co-wrote both of Cracked's books, and I also contributed an article on Asexuality for this textbook: https://global.oup.com/ushe/product/queer-9780190277109?cc=us&lang=en&

NathanFillionsChild1 karma

You have a background in psych?

TheOtherRobertEvans2 karma

Not really. For Queer, Oxford University Press just liked an article I wrote on asexuality and reached out to me.