Author Topic: Did drugs inspired Stevenson's Hyde monster ?  (Read 2914 times)

Loki

  • The Law
  • Administrator
  • Realized Monster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1198
  • Karma: +9/-8
    • Monstrous.com
Did drugs inspired Stevenson's Hyde monster ?
« on: March 23, 2005, 02:17:53 AM »
THE Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was written by Robert Louis Stevenson under the influence of a hallucinogenic drug similar to LSD, according to new research.

Doctors believe the Scots author wrote the classic exploration of good and evil while being treated with a derivative of ergot, a potentially deadly hallucinogenic fungus.

The mould, which affects rye and wheat, caused mass poisonings during the Middle Ages. Victims suffered vivid hallucinations and convulsions, which were mistakenly believed to be symptoms of demonic possession. Many witch trials, including those in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, are believed to have been triggered by outbreaks of ergotism.

During the Victorian era, ergotine, a derivative of the fungus, was used by doctors to stop bleeding. Stevenson, who suffered from tuberculosis, was given injections of the drug to stop bleeding in his lungs.

Professor Robert Winston, the chair of the House of Lords select committee on science and technology, and Dr George Addis, a former consultant in medicine and therapeutics at Glasgow University, believe that the injections led to side-effects that created a “Mr Hyde-like” transformation in the author. Their findings will be revealed today in a BBC1 documentary.

They believe that they have found evidence in a recently uncovered letter, now held in Yale University’s archive, that shows Stevenson experienced spasms and hallucinations characteristic of an ergotine overdose.

In the letter, dated “end of August, early September 1885”, Stevenson’s wife wrote to William Henley, her husband’s friend and literary agent: “Louis’s mad behaviour . . . I think it must be the ergotine that affects his brain at such time.

“He is quite rational now, I am thankful to say, but he has just giving up insisting that he should be lifted into bed in a kneeling position, his face to the pillow.”

Two weeks later Stevenson began writing his famous work about the duality of human nature. The story recounts the adventures of Dr Jekyll, who takes drugs that separate the good and evil in his psyche. Although the doctor is purified, the evil Mr Hyde is created as a terrible side-effect.

Stevenson always claimed that the plot of Jekyll and Hyde came to him in a fevered dream while he was seriously ill. Yet in August 1885 his bleeding became so severe he was given at least one injection of ergotine, which is referred to in another letter.

In the BBC programme — The Adventures of Robert Louis Stevenson — Winston claims that ergotine was an important influence on Stevenson.

“Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is about drug taking and the power of drugs which overtake his body completely and drive Dr Jekyll in a way that really is completely alien to him,” he says. “Maybe that’s what Stevenson is feeling with the use of the drugs that he’s taking, particularly ergotine. Perhaps he becomes a Mr Hyde himself.”

Andrew Thompson, the documentary’s producer and director, said the doctors’ findings could lead to important insights into Stevenson’s influences.

“The fact that Stevenson was injected with such a powerful drug just a couple of weeks before the writing of his famous story about personality-altering drugs has to be linked.”
The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world that he did not exist.” - Charles Baudelaire (French and monstrous poet).

lovenrock243
  • Fearless Warrior
  • ****
  • Posts: 174
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • http://www.freewebs.com/silenttearsofpain
Did drugs inspired Stevenson's Hyde monster ?
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2005, 02:53:10 PM »
ok , but was it lsd??? cause that would be pretty messed up
-------(\ /) --------|
--\m/(>.<)\m/ ---|
-------( " ) --------|
-------/_|_\--------|
^^^^^^^^^^^^

Dark_Sumerian
  • Monstrous Imp
  • *
  • Posts: 28
  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Did drugs inspired Stevenson's Hyde monster ?
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2006, 10:14:17 AM »
Can never be too sure.  Ralph Waldo Emerson and Edgar Allan Poe admitted to using Absinthe to detach themselves from reality and enter the realm of the abstract.

Hemmingway was in a sense, a pot-head.

Stephen King is an admitted recovered drug addict/alcoholic.

and who knows where HP Lovecraft and Robert E Howard got their ideas from, but they were excellent writers.

talk of this drug use is dangerous however.  The truly creative and talented minds will always out perform the chemically altered.  Steroids can give an athlete the edge for the short term, but in the long term he destroys his career and himself and soon becomes insignificant.  the same goes for artists.
I do not do what I say, I do not say what I do

alastor moon

  • Great Master
  • ******
  • Posts: 271
  • Karma: +2/-5
  • just curious
Re: Did drugs inspired Stevenson's Hyde monster ?
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2006, 03:34:43 PM »
Can never be too sure.  Ralph Waldo Emerson and Edgar Allan Poe admitted to using Absinthe to detach themselves from reality and enter the realm of the abstract.

Hemmingway was in a sense, a pot-head.

Stephen King is an admitted recovered drug addict/alcoholic.

and who knows where HP Lovecraft and Robert E Howard got their ideas from, but they were excellent writers.

talk of this drug use is dangerous however.  The truly creative and talented minds will always out perform the chemically altered.  Steroids can give an athlete the edge for the short term, but in the long term he destroys his career and himself and soon becomes insignificant.  the same goes for artists.
it could also be mental illness combined with a very active imagination, also many mentally ill "self medicate" themselves with alchohol and drugs or a combination of the two.  :|
« Last Edit: April 25, 2006, 05:25:27 AM by alastor moon »
" 'tis now the witching time of night,
when churchyards yawn and hell itself breaths out contagion to this world,
now, could I drink hot blood, and do such bitter business as the day would quake to look on."
~Hamlet

Shadowborn

  • High Priest
  • *****
  • Posts: 200
  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Did drugs inspired Stevenson's Hyde monster ?
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2006, 12:10:29 PM »
The best writers always write in reflection of events. I highly doubt he wrote the story while under the influence of ergotism. More likely, he wrote influenced by his memory of his thoughts and possibly actions while under the influence of the drug, if that was indeed the case.
"It is no measure of health to be sane in an insane society." -- Krishnamurti

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." -- Galileo Galilei