CLAVICEPS PURPUREA

I had never seen it before, and there it was, standing right in front of me, looking like a curse from hell as the rye proudly rose from the ground. Even a few students stopped doing their garden work, as they noticed the dark fungi, asking me what it was. It was a perfect moment to tell them about how they in the old days did not know how dangerous it was, and ate the bread made from crops suffering from it; it was even considered practical, because they got more flour out of it.

People went crazy eating the poisonous fungus that had attacked their rye. Some even believed that these said people were cursed, when they started behaving like wild beasts – moaning and screaming. I heard a theory that it was the case during the Salem Witch Hunt, although many other historians are skeptical.

Yet, as a ritual to remember this, the kids and I burned it.

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