In August of 1951, in the French village of Pont-Sant-Esprit, bakers received several loads of flour. It had a greyish cast, and smelled a little off. The government depot in charge of distribution ordered them to use it anyway. By August 11, customers complained of feeling ill after eating the bread, and other bakers reported trouble getting their dough to behave properly. Multiple complaints about the flour fell on deaf ears, even though, as it later proved, more bakers in other villages complained about the products of that one specific mill. On August 17, the first local people began to suffer hallucinations. Their feet burned as if they walked on coals. Physicians had no idea what was wrong, until someone realized: St. Anthony’s Fire had struck for the first time in hundreds of years.
Ergot poisoning, or St. Anthony’s Fire, was a disease that afflicted people who ate wheat or…
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One thought on “St. Anthony’s Fire and a Problem of Bureaucracy”
Gee. Government bureaucrats aren’t very good at micromanaging how people live. Who knew? /sarc 😆