|Scopolamine: Bringing people in Bogotá on a 'trip' they don't want to go on?|
It's all to do with what you could describe as a type of hypnotising drug, sourced from plants found in these parts. For those unaware of scopolamine/hyoscine, or Devil's Breath as it's also called, how it allegedly affects individuals under its influence reads like some sort of horror/science fiction movie.
Basically, if you're unlucky enough to be exposed to it, so it goes, you'll become completely subservient to whoever happens to be around you; you'll pretty much do whatever they ask you to do. You can still function, superficially and physically in any case, more or less as normal. The problem is that you lose your will power. Pretty much whatever is asked of you, you'll do, no questions asked.
Now some pharmacological experts are unwilling to give scopolamine, or whatever similar version of it is used, such lofty 'credit' as a drug that takes away your will power with just the slightest sniff of it. They dispute the commonly held belief that inhaling a small dose in powder form – one of the ways Devil's Breath dispensers drug their victims is by blowing it in their faces – would instantly send somebody into a puppet-like stupor.
Nonetheless, you'll find plenty of people who were robbed or taken advantage of in Bogotá who swear that they were maliciously administered something that dramatically altered their behaviour, something other than the usual alcohol and whatever else they might be having.
|The Brugmansia plant, source of scopolamine. (Photo from web.)|
Despite all the anecdotes of such freaky episodes, in a lot the cases there's a lack of hard evidence available to say whether it was actually Devil's Breath at play or not – that is to say, no toxicology tests were taken.
For this reason, it continues to remain in some sort of limbo: an urban myth or a dangerous criminal reality? Whatever the case, for some victims of crime in Bogotá, something sinister has been, and continues to be, lurking in the air. More reasons to always have the guard up around here.
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