Category Archives: absinthe hallucinate

The Three Stages of Absinthe Drinking

Cafe Royal

Oscar Wilde on the effects of absinthe drinking. I wonder what brands of absinthe were served at the Cafe Royal in the high days of real absinthe?Anyway it seems that Oscar was actually floating out of the Cafe Royal – as he describes the tulip heads brushing against his shins. However, perhaps he wishes to suggest that the flowers were only just sprouting from the floor as the impatient waiter poured water from the can. The watering-can is even perhaps an interesting metaphor for the time honoured fashion of pouring water into absinthe? The passage seems to be very precise concerning the three stages of absinthe drinking:

At Oscar Wilde told me-in all his great heavy drawl-of the three stages of Absinthe drinking. The first stage is like ordinary drinking, the second when you begin to see monstrous and cruel things, but if you can persevere you will enter in upon the third stage where you see things that you want to see, wonderful and curious things. One night I was left sitting, drinking alone, and very late in the Cafe Royal, and I had just got into this third stage when a waiter came in with a green apron and began to pile the chairs on the tables. “Time to go, sir,” he called out to me. Then he brought in a watering-can and began to water the floor.“Time’s up, sir. I am afraid you must go now,sir”“Waiter, are you watering the flowers?” I asked, but he didn’t answer. “What are you favourite flowers,waiter” I asked again. “Now,sir, I must really ask you to go now, time’s up,” he said firmly.“I’m sure that tulips are your favourite flowers,” I said, and as I got up and passed into the street I felt-the-heavy-tulip-heads-brushing against my shins”

Absinthe and Oscar by John Fothergill

Did you know?

(i)The Oraon tribals of West Bengal, India, were reported to smoke leaves of the thujone-containing (Uniyal et al. 1985) Artemisia nilagirica (Clarke) Pamp. as an entheogen (Pal & Jain 1989) An entheogen is a substance with psychoactive properties often used in a religious or shamanic context.

(ii) The French define absinthe as hallucinogène:


Absinthe Hallucinations?

Zizkov Tower

Žižkov Television Tower

They say the famous crawling babies – on the Prague televsion tower – will start to move if you drink too much Czech absinth! Prague is full of summertime revellers right now, and the strong Czech absinth is flowing like mountain streams during the spring melt.

After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world.

– Oscar Wilde on Absinthe

A word of caution from Auckland film maker James Blick

The hostel I am staying in, however, is neither magnificent nor regal. I went for the cheap dorm option, along with teams of drunk Irishmen on some sort of alcohol-fuelled “weekend-getaway” package. I seem to be the only one in my dorm who is not in Prague for the cheap beer or absinthe, and so sleeping has not been easy as highly intoxicated Irishmen stumble in at all hours, laughing and knocking over heavy things. The guy who sleeps above me came in at six this morning so drunk on absinthe that he was hallucinating and rolling around all morning.

The tale ends with the sight of Italian handcuffed to his bunk and a nine-millimeter revolver! The spirit of Alfred Jarry lives on 😉

Update: Apparently the Green Fairy takes her summer vacations in Portugal:

From Stuart Cullen <>

Just a little extra info from an experienced Absinthe drinker. I have drunk three different types of absinthe (two Portugese [50% and 58% alcohol by volume] and One Czech [55% by volume]) on innumerable occasions — usually 4+ European shots a night.

In Portugal, to get its most extreme effect I was told to add sugar to the shot, light the absinthe, blow it out, drink it through a straw, cup my hand over the glass and inhale as much of the fumes as I could. I am sure this would be potent with any alcoholic drink. I have drunk stronger vodka [63% by volume] yet it has never had the effect of absinthe.

I have experienced one ‘hallucination’ — I was once positively sure that a girl was dancing beside me for several minutes when there was no-one there.