Devil's Breath
August 27, 2007 12:04 AM   Subscribe

Burundanga (NSFW, video). Arguably the worlds most sinister drug. Under its influence you remain lucid and articulate yet absolutely compliant to any suggestion. When your 'trip' is over, you have no recollection of what has transpired. The "Devil's Breath" is an admixture of Scopolamine, a chemical that was experimented with, for its interrogative properties, by both the C.I.A. and Josef Mengele. For at least the past two decades, Burundanga has been a major component of Colombia's criminal element.
posted by thanatogenous (46 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
If you are currently under the influence of Burundanga, please e-mail me your social security # and bank account info.
posted by Poolio at 12:13 AM on August 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


The "absolutely compliant to any suggestion" is not really true, also are the tales of it working like some sort of dime store spy novel drug.

Come on this is Vice, it is interesting but you have to take their anecdotes with as much credibility as a Vice article. They once did an segment on "Dangerous Shit" or something along the lines of the most dangerous things people have done. About half of them were trumped up urban legends. Sort of like this video report.
posted by geoff. at 12:31 AM on August 27, 2007


Oh and they had to go to Colombia for this? I would hope a magazine as cool and indie as Vice has better connections. Anyone who knows boaters or divers will tell you that this also makes a great cure for sea-sickness at lower doses.
posted by geoff. at 12:33 AM on August 27, 2007


i'd heard/read about scopolamine's use during WWII as an interrogation aid, but hadn't ever realized it was cultivated in any sense as something even resembling recreational.

though i will say i'm somehow not entirely surprised, having heard news tidbits here and again (in the midwest, at least) about stupid fucking suburban brats burning out neurons on extracts of jimson weed, which as far as i know contains similar alkaloids, or possibly analogues.

people will go to crazy lengths for a buzz, i guess. or just go lengths for a crazy buzz.
completely unrelated in affected receptors, but i feel like salvia should get a nod for that statement.
i'll stick to GABA agonists, thanks.
still, enlightening post.
posted by vellocet at 12:34 AM on August 27, 2007


Reefer fuckin' madness. What feverish bullshit.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:35 AM on August 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


THE WORLD'S MOST SINISTER DRUG!!! OOOOOOHHHHHHHH!
posted by mr_roboto at 12:36 AM on August 27, 2007


These aren't the droids we're looking for.
posted by Shakeer at 12:37 AM on August 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


Uh, I'm not not lying to you.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:42 AM on August 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


THE WORLD'S MOST SINISTER DRUG!!! OOOOOOHHHHHHHH!

You know who Josef Mengele worked for?
posted by Poolio at 12:45 AM on August 27, 2007


Hmm, all that and they didn't even give it a go on themselves at the end. I was hoping the hipsterhair guy would be talked into a new haircut by his accomplice. Oh well.
posted by barnacles at 12:46 AM on August 27, 2007


You know who Josef Mengele worked for?

The Jews!!

Check the facts people.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 12:47 AM on August 27, 2007


The Jews!!

Exactly.
posted by Poolio at 12:54 AM on August 27, 2007


Scopolamine doesn't work the way it is often claimed to work in fiction, and, indeed, in some supposedly factual reports.

It certainly doesn't make you utterly compliant to suggestion & unable to lie; its use as a 'truth serum' is exaggerated. You are in a dream state and likely to say anything that comes into your head, mostly delusional rubbish (however in large doses it does pretty much wipe your memory).

Scop is not a particularly pleasant recreational experience. Datura contains scopalomine, so refer to datura (jimsonweed) trip experiences for insight.

Thus, I would be skeptical about the claims for Burundanga.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 1:06 AM on August 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Almost interesting - the video, I mean. Scopolamine? Interesting.

But presentation was crappy though, ads etc... But I hung in there, just to see how it ends, just to see if the bald guy didn't maybe slip his fuzzy buddy a whiff and, as barnacles suggested, give him a make-over...

Following was a report on gold mining in Venezuela presented by Lance Crutchfield. "Lance I am wearing a polo shirt Crutchfield". First time I ever tried to punch someone inside my computer.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:14 AM on August 27, 2007


Chemical hypnotherapy?
posted by gomichild at 1:48 AM on August 27, 2007


Thus, I would be skeptical about the claims for Burundanga.

What about cultural factors? In the context of a particular sub-culture, it might produce some dramatically different results. (Most likely not what's advertised, sure, but they might be surprising relative to how the drug works on mainstream westerners in their own home cultural millieu.)

(FWIW, I have heard of people using scopalamine recreationally, but I didn't go into details with the person I heard that from. He was a neurologist, into some really bent shit. I seem to recall he was using it on himself in social situations without the knowledge of anyone but his spouse.)
posted by lodurr at 4:05 AM on August 27, 2007


All the way to Colombia. You kidding? I've had datura in my yard in more than one rental house on the west coast of good old USA.

It's a dangerous drug, since it's lethal if you take just a little too much, but come on.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:25 AM on August 27, 2007


Burundanga's a hell of a drug.
posted by Scoo at 6:03 AM on August 27, 2007


Here in Venezuela it's one of those urban legends that people are most afraid of. Everyone knows the tales, and everyone says they know of a friend of a friend who got kidnapped for a few hours and was raped/ taken to an ATM and voluntarily gave all their money/ taken home and voluntarily handed all their belongings. It's hard to know how much is true, how much is urban myth.

And just a few days I read a police report where it said Burundanga was the same as what they call Toloache in Mexico. If this is true, the effects are horrendously exaggerated. Toloache in Mexico is a drug commonly known to be the drug that a woman who is obsessed with a man she can't get, will give to that man. It supposedly makes the person submissive, but certainly not to the point of accepting to go to an ATM and hand out all their money to strangers.
posted by micayetoca at 6:10 AM on August 27, 2007


"What about cultural factors? In the context of a particular sub-culture, it might produce some dramatically different results."

Good point. That's possibly true. Expectation plays a large part in response. However, I'm not sure that it would take one to the level that reports often suggest. I find micayetoca's comment to be insightful.

If it was me playing the drugger game, I would combine Scop with some other pharmaceuticals to get a sort of multi-level effect, although I'm not sure if that would work with every drug, as some would cancel each other out, or the effects battle one another. Scop would handle the suggestibility, perhaps something else might work to take the edge off the will and/or psychological inhibitions. I'm wondering just what sort of cocktail would produce these sorts of results. Hmmm. Perhaps heroin + scop.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 6:38 AM on August 27, 2007


i live near good ol' woodstock ny and when i was working there in the late 90s, there was a few summer weeks in a row where ambulances were constantly taking away teenagers who had ingested too much jimsonweed. their behavior was worse than the worst bad acid trip. some of the kids they took away, ive never seen again. broke their brains i suppose, so where did they find it? growing right outside both the police station and courthouse. oh, and in the gardens maintained by the local church. naturally, instead of trying to inform these kids about the dangers of too much of anything, rioting parents and tourists went around ripping it all up. of course, being tourists, they missed the huge stash on the edge of the "magic meadow".
silly kids. silly tourists.
posted by stackmonster at 6:53 AM on August 27, 2007


Toloache in Mexico is a drug commonly known to be the drug that a woman who is obsessed with a man she can't get, will give to that man.

Anybody out there know if/how well this works? [NOT OBSESSIVE]
posted by GrammarMoses at 6:55 AM on August 27, 2007


Placebo: the world's most dangerous drug.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:15 AM on August 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


I've got to get my hands on some of this shit for Friday night. For..research...yeah, research.
posted by MikeMc at 7:35 AM on August 27, 2007


Scopolamine was the name of my college ska band.
posted by NationalKato at 8:09 AM on August 27, 2007


Perhaps heroin + scop.

Uhhh, yeah. You let us know how that works out.

Unless, of course, it looks surprisingly like a twitchy drug-nap.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 8:11 AM on August 27, 2007


I think its obvious that if this drug worked as flawlessly as made out in the film, the whole world would be a bunch of zombies under the control of vicious druglords.

One thing that never got mentioned was how long the drug's effects last. Apparently, its long enough to empty out someone's apartment. I'm just curious if you could keep dosing someone every day and keep them under your control. There was mention of someone developing a tolerance and ever-higher doses were needed until the victim died of a heart attack.

I always thought George Bush to be a genuinely nice guy. Perhaps Karl and Dick've got him on a scopolamine cocktail.
posted by PigAlien at 9:44 AM on August 27, 2007


Couldn't this be added to the local water supply and then everyone could be controlled through their televisions and radios?
posted by PigAlien at 9:45 AM on August 27, 2007


More on: "What about cultural factors? In the context of a particular sub-culture, it might produce some dramatically different results."

That's true with booze: alcohol is a relaxing sedative, it does not produce truth, make you enjoy your priends more or beat your wife, deepen your appreciation of music or release your inner slut. Those are "cultural factors": people given alcohol without being told just get drowsy and eventually sleep, and people given plain orange juice but told it's a screwdriver exhibit whatever they think "drunkenness" is.

Similarly, that was not God I found on LSD -- but that blotter WAS worth $5 a hit.
posted by davy at 9:48 AM on August 27, 2007


"Toloache in Mexico is a drug commonly known to be the drug that a woman who is obsessed with a man she can't get, will give to that man. It supposedly makes the person submissive."

I can imagine: "Okay davy, I have given you a strong drug! Because of that now you'll HAVE to let me massage your neck for two hours!" Oh, what demeaning torture.
posted by davy at 9:51 AM on August 27, 2007


I always associated datura/brugmansia trips with a compulsion to self-amputate, but now I'm not finding mention of that. Anybody got a link?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:09 AM on August 27, 2007


The first story here.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:13 AM on August 27, 2007


NationalKato: Scopolamine was the name of my college ska band.

Why? Was Skapolamine too obvious?
posted by Pronoiac at 10:22 AM on August 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sheesh. Why don't they just used the Imperius curse?
posted by missrachael at 10:49 AM on August 27, 2007


They make it out to be puissant and horrid so it may be used to cause fear and other reactions far above what the drug actually does. People are suggestible. Kinda like those old email forwards that say "OMG, watch out for the such-and-such virus, it'll kill your computer!" when the real virus is the email forward itself.
posted by SaintCynr at 11:00 AM on August 27, 2007


You remind me of the babe
What babe?

The babe with the power
What power?

The power of voodoo
Who do?

You do!
Do what?

You remind me of the babe!

posted by radgardener at 11:45 AM on August 27, 2007


Dance, Magic, dance!
Jump, Magic, jump!


sorry
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:57 AM on August 27, 2007


If it was me playing the drugger game, I would combine Scop with some other pharmaceuticals to get a sort of multi-level effect

I've definitely had ampoules of morphine and atropine and morphine and hyoscine in the past. Both were extremely unpleasant, and I wouldn't willingly consume either compound again.

I imagine morphine and scolopamine would produce similar effects.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:20 PM on August 27, 2007



"the worst roofie ever, times like a million."
"Colombia is basically fucked"

Whoa dude this guy is totally like a real journalist.

I can't make it through the whole thing, but I'm listening to the "please tell me an urban legend, pretty Colombian girls" section.
posted by desuetude at 6:34 PM on August 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


PeterMcDermott: according to wikipedia, scopolamine and hyoscine are the same thing.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 6:51 PM on August 27, 2007


Interesting post and info, thanks.

What the plant looks like.

The hilarious La Tigresa del Oriente canta Burundanga. Makes me wish the video induced retrograde amnesia like Versed.

"Burundanga is a drug made from the plant called either cacao sabanero or borrachero. It is used to drug unsuspecting tourists in order to rob them."
posted by nickyskye at 1:47 AM on August 28, 2007


PeterMcDermott: according to wikipedia, scopolamine and hyoscine are the same thing.

In that case, it's definitely extremely unpleasant. I think, in relatively low doses as a pre-med, you might not notice the scopolamine. However, if you've got any kind of tolerance to the morphine, the scopolamine completely overwhelms it and acts as a horrible deleriant.

As I said, I wouldn't do it twice.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:46 AM on August 28, 2007


Though I remember once having a conversation with Anthony Henman on the subject. IIRC, due to the time he spent in Latin America, he was quite fond of this family of deleriants. As a consequence, here in Liverpool we used to call him Anthony Henbane.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:56 AM on August 28, 2007


Oh, yes. Very unpleasant.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 4:13 AM on August 28, 2007


He. This drug is so fucking powerful, that in the garden of a senator's house here in San Francisco I have seen gorgeous Brumansias. Who is being interrogated there? Hell, it is all over the city! Call the DEA, this is worse than people growing Cannabis or Papavers on their yard!
posted by Dataphage at 5:47 AM on August 28, 2007


Clever, that: linking the CIA and Mengele by turn of phrase. You realize that scopolamine is a very commonly used drug, right? That there are plants (d. inoxia, d. brugmansia, etc) growing very near your home (unless you live in the steppe or something) which contain the mixture you're talking about?

A long time ago, I spent a year or so writing a document on the effects of these alkaloids, where they were found, what they did, and so on. My eventual conclusion was that they were not especially harmful unless used in a way that was intentionally harmful (such as the scenarios you have suggested), and at such high doses as to incur the effects you describe. Even moderate usage can create the euphoria and hallucinations (not technically hallucinations, but it's a blurry distinction) without creating the memory-robbing effects, high suggestibility, and so on.

It's a lot like claiming marijuana is a dangerous drug because if you give somebody a few ounces' worth of THC that they'll pass out or have a stomach perforation from Doritos. Well yeah, duh.

I'm completely okay with people not liking drugs. I just can't understand why people want to both demonize drugs (thus taking the responsibility for their use out of the hands of their users) and take the right to use away from other people. The whole post reeks of Reefer fuckin' madness (thanks, mr_roboto). Enough already.
posted by avriette at 2:02 PM on August 28, 2007


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