Museum of Hoaxes
"Very well-researched and delivered in an engaging, breezy, wink-wink tone similar to that of Mark Leyner and Billy Goldberg's Why Do Men Have Nipples?, this will likely be enjoyed equally by science buffs and casual aficionados of the curious. One of the finest science/history bathroom books of all time."
-Kirkus Reviews

Web Hoax Museum


#1: Elephants on Acid
imageWhat happens if you give an elephant LSD? On Friday August 3, 1962, a group of Oklahoma City researchers decided to find out.

Warren Thomas, Director of the City Zoo, fired a cartridge-syringe containing 297 milligrams of LSD into Tusko the Elephant's rump. With Thomas were two scientific colleagues from the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine, Louis Jolyon West and Chester M. Pierce.

297 milligrams is a lot of LSD — about 3000 times the level of a typical human dose. In fact, it remains the largest dose of LSD ever given to a living creature. The researchers figured that, if they were going to give an elephant LSD, they better not give him too little.

Thomas, West, and Pierce later explained that the experiment was designed to find out if LSD would induce musth in an elephant — musth being a kind of temporary madness male elephants sometimes experience during which they become highly aggressive and secrete a sticky fluid from their temporal glands. But one suspects a small element of ghoulish curiosity might also have been involved.

Whatever the reason for the experiment, it almost immediately went awry. Tusko reacted to the shot as if a bee had stung him. He trumpeted around his pen for a few minutes, and then keeled over on his side. Horrified, the researchers tried to revive him, but about an hour later he was dead. The three scientists sheepishly concluded that, "It appears that the elephant is highly sensitive to the effects of LSD."

In the years that followed controversy lingered over whether it was the LSD that killed Tusko, or the drugs used to revive him. So twenty years later, Ronald Siegel of UCLA decided to settle the debate by giving two elephants a dose similar to what Tusko received. Reportedly he had to sign an agreement promising to replace the animals in the event of their deaths.

Instead of injecting the elephants with LSD, Siegel mixed the drug into their water, and when it was administered in this way, the elephants not only survived but didn't seem too upset at all. They acted sluggish, rocked back and forth, and made some strange vocalizations such as chirping and squeaking, but within a few hours they were back to normal. However, Siegel noted that the dosage Tusko received may have exceeded some threshold of toxicity, so he couldn't rule out that LSD was the cause of his death. The controversy continues.

Listed in chronological order. Newest comments at the end.
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I hate this people who have no hearts and care so less about this poor animals. They should honestly receive some years behind bars for bad treating an animal. That's what I would do, beside the fact that I would beat the crap out of them.
Posted by International Oddities  on  Wed Sep 09, 2009  at  05:18 AM
if you didnt know this, at the time the government was also administering lds to the public.. as a form of population control. Seeing that the government was actually providing the drug, .. its kind of ridiculous to be upset that they were testing on animals at the time. Laws and regulations were not the same, and with out events like this occurring .. would we have ever actually enforced laws to protect animals? eh? like how the FDA wasn't actually invented until a lady went blind from mascara.. this book is actually very interesting if you vegan kids want to learn a thing or two about how doctors can save your own lives.
Posted by samantha  on  Thu Oct 08, 2009  at  09:06 PM
Right, so. Basic maths:

An grown elephant is between 40 and 100 times heavier than a human.

A human would on average need 100ug for an LSD trip, ergo an elephant would need between 4mg and 10mg if you go by body weight.

297mg of LSD would be more than enough for a blue whale to trip on, my guess is therefore that the "scientists" were tripping and did not really prepare whatsoever.
Posted by Martin  on  Mon Apr 05, 2010  at  10:46 AM
That is just sick and wrong! Those stupid scientists should have done their experiments on them selves.Poor elephants . :(
Posted by Karen  on  Thu Sep 16, 2010  at  12:27 PM
Want to try this experiment... but can't manage to find any lcd 😊
Posted by xvan  on  Thu Sep 30, 2010  at  11:41 AM
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