A monk was recently found stumbling naked around a German forest. Experts believe the monk's strange behavior occurred after he ate hallucinogenic berries in the forest.
On Sept. 6, a hiker spotted a naked man wandering around the forest. Alarmed by the man's behavior, the hiker tried to assist him. When he was unsuccessful, he called police in the town of Unterwössen. Police arrived and found the man, who turned out to be a monk from the area, cold and disoriented.
The monk was taken to a nearby hospital. The hospital determined that the monk ate berries that he must have found in the forest while he was camping.
The berries left him with hallucinations and partial paralysis, preventing him from being able to make it back to his campsite. The monk, from Traunstein, planned on exploring the countryside for several days on his bike.
The hospital staff believes the berries came from a Deadly Nightshade, or Atropa belladonna plant. Chemicals within the plant, such as atropine, scopolamine and hyoscyamine cause hallucinations and muscle impairments. Large doses of these chemicals can be fatal. An overdose of these chemicals can cause confusion or unusual behavior, fast or irregular heartbeat, flushing of the face, and hallucinations.
It is not clear why the monk was naked, but it may have been because he experienced a fever as a symptom.
Certain undomesticated animals can eat the berries without being affected, yet cats and gods are susceptible to the poison.
In low doses, the plant case be used for medicinal purposes such as treating stomach problems, pain and motion sickness.
Despite its name, Deadly Nightshade looks pretty as it grows pink bell shaped flowers and dark, shiny berries.
Deadly Nightshade can be found in the United States in California, the Pacific Northwest, Michigan, New York and New Jersey. Other deadly plants like Jimsonweed can have similar effects.