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Pomp & Circumstance
"Everyone is a victim of circumstances they accept." - Steven Redhead
Today we’re going to learn about how sometimes the circumstances might have outsized impact on history …
The Daily Rabbit Hole: Global pandemics lead to a decline in … beards.
“There is real menace to the milk if the dairyman is bearded.” - Dr. William H. Park, Board of New York Health
Before we continue, it’s imperative that you understand a seemingly minor historical period: The Great Fear.
(Prior to the French Revoloution) … The Great Fear was a period of panic and riot by peasants and others amid rumours of an “aristocratic conspiracy” by the king and the privileged to overthrow the Third Estate. The gathering of troops around Paris provoked insurrection, and on July 14 the Parisian rabble seized the Bastille.
The Great Fear was the kindling before the French Revolution became a flame. Remember that.
The ‘Wait, What?’ Vortex: Edgar Allen Poe is said to have invented the modern detective story, and the bizarre circumstances surrounding his death lead many to believe - his last days were spent living one out.
“Maybe it’s fitting that since he invented the detective story," says Chris Semtner, curator of the Poe Museum in Richmond, "he left us with a real-life mystery.”
Why, Rye! …
While there is plenty of blame to go around for why the French Revolution occurred, I couldn’t help but get caught up in one particularly fascinating discovery.
There is a poisonous fungus called Ergot that grows on rye, which was a major ingredient used by local bakeries in France during 1789 (and frankly, any time). Ergot has connections to other historical events of mass hysteria that seem to have little explanation, namely the Salem Witch Trials. The fungus causes what you might have guessed at this point … hallucinations.
Ergot, a fungus used in the development of LSD, happened to have prime conditions to grow on rye in that time period … a period in which people were notably imagining and inventing dangers from the French elite as panic spread across the country.
Circumstantial? Sure. Interesting? Absolutely.
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