|This article is part of UnNews||UnFair and UnBalanced|
13 March 2010
PONT-SAINT-ESPRIT, France -- 1951 was an unusually busy year by the standards of any sleepy French rural village, but for Pont-Saint-Esprit in the south of the frog-worrying country it's a year that will be remembered for the rest of eternity.
That's because, during that long-ago summer, strange things started happening to the residents. People who had previously experienced nothing more psychoactive than a slightly cloudy bottle of the local vin began to experience all manner of strange goings-on, such as when one elderly man from the village watched his own heart escape through the sole of his foot and run off. It was only when he went to the doctor, begging for a new heart to be fitted, that authorities started to take notice.
Over the coming days, almost everybody in the village began seeing strange beasts roaming the countryside and pits of fire opening up in the cobbled roads. At least one resident apparently believed himself to be an aeroplane and attempted to fly from an upstairs window, falling to his death in the street below. News of the weird events spread far and wide and, before long, the world's press took note. Time magazine wrote, "Among the stricken, delirium rose: patients thrashed wildly on their beds, screaming that red flowers were blossoming from their bodies, that their heads had turned to molten lead."
Around one hundred villagers soon found themselves incarcerated in the nearby asylum, pushing the small institution - which had previously only dealt with the occasional hysterical woman - to its limits. Inmates were crowded ten or more to a cell and conditions soon turned filthy with diseases such as botulism and typhoid rampant. Retired orderly Jean-Pierre Lourgant remembers it well: "Zut alors, ah weel nezzer ferget zat fateful year," he told UnNews. "It was tres terriblé! Ze 'ole place, eet smelled of merde - ah 'as nezzer smelt zer like of eet, and ah 'ave been to Paris!"
There have been many theories as to what caused the strange events of 1951 and they vary greatly, with everything from locals consuming snails that had been feeding on hallucinogenic fungi to witchcraft being blamed. However, it seems that the truth has finally been discovered - and it's every conspiracy theorist's ultimate dream: journalist H. P. Albarelli Jr has uncovered historical evidence to suggest that the entire locale was administered an enormous dose of the drug LSD as part of a clandestine CIA experiment.
Old-timers may still recall those strange days, but few are angry - or at the very least, few are sufficiently healthy these days to display signs of anger. Villager Claude-Nicolas Gautier explains: "'Ad we 'ave knern all zis at zat time, zen of course we would 'ave been angry - very angry. But, mon Dieu, eet was such a long time ago and we are French. We cannert be angry for very lerng because we concern ourselves wiz more pressing matters like vin and what we are 'aving fer lernch."
The CIA's actions may well have had an unintended and undesirable effect, however, as several sources now claim that the LSD may have been the cause of France's reluctance to support US efforts aimed at deposing Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Sam Starchild, a world-renowned expert in LSD and its effects, says that according to French records ex-President of France Jacques Chirac spent the summer of 1951 holidaying with his Aunt Cybille in the village. "This would go a long way to explaining Chirac's anti-war sentiments," he says. "Any acid-head will tell you that once you've dropped a few trips you realise that whole conflict thing is a real bummer, daddio. That dude is well known for being into the Grateful Dead, Zappa, Beefheart and all that stuff too, you dig? Think about it, man, it makes sense."
Since the news was first broadcast, it seems that France too may experience undesired consequences as Pont-Saint-Esprit's mayor Chrisophe Jardine explains. "Ezzer since 1967, zere 'as been all sorts of beatniks and long-'aired layabouts zat make ze pilgrimmage to 'Aight-Ashbury in San Francisco, believing it to be ze birthplace of ze free love movement," he told us, "and we do not want zere kind 'ere, ze stinking 'ippies! Pont-Saint-Esprit is a quiet, peaceful place and wiz zem 'ere we would no longer be able to sell village 'ouses for 'ugely inflated sums to rich Parisians as 'oliday 'omes and wizzout zat source of incurm we would 'ave to get jobs."