Most human beings are inexplicably drawn to at least some measure of mind-altering substances, from your grandmother sipping her soothingly-caffeinated tea to the dude in Under Armour sweatpants puking out rivers of beer in front of your apartment building at seven o'clock on a Sunday morning.
However, only the few, the visionaries, look at passing wildlife and think, "Hey, I wonder if that creature can get me wasted? Let's lick it and find out."
The sad part? Those guys are often rewarded for their efforts, by animals like...
The Arabic-speaking Humr people of Sudan are strictly forbidden to partake in any plant-based intoxicant such as alcohol or cannabis, which is a bizarrely specific restriction reminiscent of the Transportation Security Administration's express identification of nunchucks as a prohibited item on airplanes. However, as long as only plant-based toxins are forbidden, we're seeing a loophole big enough for B.J. McKay to drive through.
You can't see it, but Bear has nunchucks.
Umm Nyolokh is a made from the liver and bone marrow of giraffes, a compound believed to contain traces of DMT and other psychoactive components. The primary effect of Umm Nyolokh is the hallucinations it reportedly causes, which stupendously are hallucinations of giraffes. As whimsical as this sounds, seeing the animal that you just killed to get high sounds like it could make for some pretty terrifying trips.
"REMEMBER ME, ASSHOLE?"
Among the Humr people, the purpose of taking Umm Nyolokh is that the visions supposedly reveal the location of more giraffes that can be hunted. At first glance this seems like a very vision-quest type thing to do; a spiritual extension of a people living harmoniously with nature. But like the 80s drug PSA starring the stock broker who "does more coke, so he can make more money, so he can buy more coke," the tribesman probably take that extra hit of Umm Nylokh so they can locate more giraffes, so they can make more Umm Nyolokh, so they can locate more giraffes. It's a vicious cycle, and one that we'd imagine has to make for some much more confused hunting and gathering.
"Shit, are you the giraffe I just killed and made drugs from, or the giraffe I'm about to kill and make drugs from?"
It's really no more harmonious than taking your stereo to Cash Converters so you can buy a couple grams of heroin, though admittedly less African wildlife is involved.
For those who missed a few classes of third grade Biology, salamanders are those amphibians that look like lizards as part of a desperate natural ploy to stop getting thrown out of reptilian country clubs. Salamanders also have the charming characteristic of oozing mucous from pores in their skin, protecting them from drying out in the air and providing lubrication while in the water.
Geraldo shares this trait.
In many species this doubles as a defense mechanism, as the mucous is both highly toxic and completely fucking disgusting.
You're right with us if you're thinking right now you'd rather keep these things as far away from your mouth as possible. However, a Slovenian folk recipe for salamander brandy calls for throwing live salamanders into a fermenting pot of fruit.
The salamander, in an attempt not to absorb ethanol into its sensitive skin, will exude the toxic mucous until its ooze-glands are spent and it dies, because the one thing missing from our fruit bowl is a rotting dead amphibian.
"Wow... that's a lot of blood."
The resulting salamander brandy has euphoric, hallucinogenic and aphrodisiac effects to the point that it is said that after drinking it, users may suddenly develop spontaneous new fetishes--which could be for anything at all--and then act them out on something completely different in their boner-driven salamander juice confusion.
So, the evening of a typical salamander brandy drinker may progress from pizza and TV, to cracking open a salamander brandy, to developing the insatiable urge to peniscerate a dishwasher, to mistaking a cat for a dishwasher, to mistaking Tom Sizemore for a cat, to having sex with Tom Sizemore.
The cobra, or naja, family of snakes are renowned for deadliness and are one of the only non-Australian species to regularly show up on "deadliest snake" lists. And for good reason; the venom of the cobra contains several separate active components, including a powerful neurotoxin and a compound that attacks the respiratory system. Essentially, a cobra bite will suffocate you and rape your brain. Obviously it was just a matter of time until someone tried to do some on purpose, to get high.
Some of the proteins in cobra venom effectively block acetylcholine receptors in the brain, producing a state referred to by science as "spaced the fuck out, man." Iranian-American, new age author, Jamshid Hosseini described his experience with a drink made from tea, milk and cobra venom whilst traveling with Hare Krishna and Hindu monks:
"Oh, my God, why did I do this? I'm a fool. This is the stupidest thing I ever did."
- Jamshid Hosseini
He then went on to re-experience his childhood before embarking on a cosmic journey through time.
Hosseini barely survived the cobra tea party, and recommends that those seeking spiritual enlightenment substitute meditation for almost dying from deadly snake venom. Still, his experiences haven't deterred our eastern brothers, as many Asian cultures have been bottling "snake wine" for years, jamming cobras into bottles of rice wine and straight grain alcohol to dilute them into the mixture.
Not pictured: snake-related agony
Spiking alcohol (which is a poison) with cobra venom (which is a poison) is the type of trailblazing genius that painted the Sistine Chapel and brought The Flintstones to prime time television, so knock back another cold glass of death juice in the name of progress.
Also, there's sometimes scorpions in it, which adds a delightful bouquet of more poison.