"What you lookin' at, narc? It's legal."
A story of psychedelic trips induced by frog slime has made it into Detroit's major daily paper.
You, like us, may have first heard of tripping off frog poison on an old Viceland show about drugs. The 2017 episode of Hamilton's Pharmacopeia sends show host Hamilton to Mexico in search of what's said to be the world's most venemous — and psychedelic — toad.
But frog poison is being dosed in ceremonies in Detroit, too, and the Free Press was recently invited to watch people of all "races and religions" get high off it, owing likely to the fact that psychedelics were decriminalized in the city last fall.
Here's journalist John Carlisle's vivid scene-setter from the Psychonaut Academy of Detroit:
On one chair sat a young woman, holding out her bare arms in anticipation. On the other chair was Sincere Seven, the 43-year-old master of this ceremony, who calls himself a multidimensional travel agent, spiritual tour guide, medicine man and witch doctor. His long dreadlocks rested on his African mudcloth. His slender fingers prepared the substance he would give her. His pupils were glossy from the magic mushrooms he took earlier.
He reached out, took her hand and burned another tiny spot on her arm using the glowing end of a flame-lit twig.
She smiled. It was exactly what she came here for.
It was the day of the full moon, the designated time for the kambo ceremony, a ritual performed by tribes in the Amazon rainforest using the defensive toxic secretions of the giant monkey frog. A tiny hole is burned into someone’s skin, and the kambo is applied to the open wound. Within minutes it causes a reaction. First comes the warm flush. The heart beats faster. The mouth starts watering. Soon the face swells up, the intestines feel gripped and squeezed, nausea rises into the throat.
And that’s before the vomiting and diarrhea.
The ceremonies are held in a house Sincere Seven calls "the pad," and for pretty much anyone who asks to participate, plus regulars known as "the Village." On the day the Freep attended, a model, gym owner, current and former military personnel and massage therapists joined in the ritual, which is said to bring about spiritual and mental clarity.