What Are People Blaming Ergot Poisoning On Today?

Dance at Molenbeek

Previously in this investigative series: You can't just blame everything in the past on ergot poisoning.*

Dance at Molenbeek

"It was ergot poisoning" is the historical equivalent of encountering some mildly creative art and saying "man what were they smoking when they made this!!!!" or "they must have been on something crazy to have come up with this one 😂😂😂," trying to reduce the entirety of the human experience to either "normal" or "rye poison." Please stop saying it at once; it makes me hate you.

Salem Witch Trials

Clinton body count

Mystic theology

St. Anthony's Fire (this one actually is caused by ergot poisoning, so you might think I'd like this one go; I won't. Stop saying ergotism is caused by ergot poisoning)

Shakespeare generally

Hansel and Gretel


Spanish Inquisition

The Crusades

Pied Piper of Hamelin, Joan of Arc, William Tell

All folklore generally

Kindly knock it off at once. Thank you in advance for your cooperation,


*You know what I mean. It's that fungus that can infect rye and either kills you or drives you insane or gives you gangrene. And of course sometimes people have gotten ergot poisoning, but it's usually pretty specific one-offs like at Pont-Saint-Esprit and everyone who survives it says things like "We noticed the bread that day was grey and mostly liquid." You know if you've gotten ergot poisoning, is what I'm trying to say!!

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]