The Great Banana Smoking Hoax of 1967

Brooke Kroeger and Cary Abrams have an article in the Local East Village analyzing the Great Banana-Smoking Hoax of 1967 -- in which a rumor spread alleging that you could get high by smoking bananas. Or rather, get high by smoking "bananadine," created by scraping the inside of a banana peel, boiling the residue, then drying out the residue and rolling it into a joint.

They try to get to the bottom of who started the rumor. One contender is the staff of the East Village Other magazine. Another theory has the singer Donovan as the instigator, through his song Mellow Yellow. Or perhaps it was the singer Country Joe.

Kroeger and Abrams think Country Joe is the most likely original source of the rumor, though they concede that "the Great Banana Smoking Hoax has many mothers."

Whoever started the rumor, it eventually had the great effect of inspiring the federal government to study bananas to determine any psychedelic properties they might have. Just in case bananas might have to be added to the list of controlled substances.

Food Health/Medicine Urban Legends

Posted on Thu Feb 23, 2012


I remember this claim back when I was very young. Supposedly it took a very large number of bananas to get a very mild effect. Never tried it myself.

I was very young back in '67
Posted by Sharruma  on  Thu Feb 23, 2012  at  11:56 PM
Mad Magazine #116, January 1968: "A San Francisco Trip". This Don Martin cartoon shows a hippie preparing some banana peel shavings in a frying pan, and trying to smoke the result in a pipe. Nothing happens. He angrily stalks away -- immediately slipping on the peel he cast aside earlier. He bashes his head (KLANG), and THEN begins seeing paisley-styled hallucinations.

Always knew my Don Martin books would prove to be a valuable research tool.
Posted by Dbenson  on  Sat Feb 25, 2012  at  09:39 PM
I seem to remember thinking when Donovan's 'Mellow Yellow' came out that it might refer to this rumour - meaning that I must have heard the rumour before I heard the song.

Whatever happened to 'lettuce opium'?
Posted by MrHenderson  on  Mon Feb 27, 2012  at  01:54 PM
I have clipping from International Herald Tribune 25.6.1997. It's column written by Paul Krassner and title is: "The Summer of Love Plus 30: You Want to Smoke a Banana?"
Sentence about babanas: "The underground papers, with the aid of Underground Press Syndicate, played a vital role in spreading the word about the Summer of Love. But the word wasn't always the truth. In New York, for example, editors of East Village Other launched the Great Banana Hoax."
Posted by Asmo Koste  on  Tue Feb 28, 2012  at  10:51 AM
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