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The 10 Craziest Ways People Have Tried to Get High

Licking toads? Drinking reindeer urine? Teenage desperation knows no bounds.

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6. Corn Silk Kids have been looking for ways to get high at home since way back when. In one  newspaper article from 1976, for example—charmingly entitled "Less Fun in Smoking Nowadays"—a man waxed nostalgic about how he used to sneakily smoke corn silk when his pappy wasn't looking. He recalls how boys used to dry the silks in a secret place, roll them up in papers stolen from their smoker dads and get puffing. It wasn't just the kids either: Farmers who couldn't afford tobacco did the same. Some rural Iowans reportedly do it to this day to top off a long day's work. But does it get you high? Aside from the intoxicating effect of limiting the brain's oxygen intake, no. But herbalists claim that it's good for your bladder if you take it in a tea.

7. Peanut Shells and/or Skins Those teens must still be really bored: Enter peanut shells and/or skins. The first red flag about this practice should be that no one seems to be sure about which part of the peanut you're supposed to smoke. Some advise that you spend the better part of a day peeling off the thin skins, while others tell you to crush up the shells and smoke 'em. Apparently the myth of their effectiveness began in the  largely un-factual Anarchist's Cookbook, where the recipe calls for the shells of raw peanuts. If peanuts really did get you high, this practice would be a lot more popular than is currently the case. And all that secondhand smoke would leave people with peanut allergies in mortal peril.

8. Salamander Brandy Toads aren't the only port of call for those who seek a high via toxic goo that's seeped from the skin of an amphibian. But even more than toad-smoking, this recipe requires an unpalatable dose of  animal cruelty. The hallucinogenic brew is made by tossing live salamanders into a barrel of fermenting fruit—so they excrete poisonous mucous from their skins in a hopeless attempt to prevent their bodies from absorbing ethanol, until the poor creatures die of exhaustion. Drinking this concoction reportedly results in hallucinations and—if  certain Slovenians are to be believed—some powerful aphrodisiac effects. Removing the salamander corpses is optional.

9. Bananadine How do you extract banandine from bananas? First, acquire 15 pounds—yes, really—of bananas. Scrape off the insides of the skins, boil up the scraped pulp and then leave it in the oven until it becomes a fine black powder. This is precious bananadine—smoke three or four cigarettes of this to get high...or not. Because there's no such thing as bananadine. That didn't stop people in the '60s from freaking out in the belief that Donovan's song, “Mellow Yellow,” was based on partaking in this scourge. Even the FDA got pretty worried. So who started this nonsense? Some say it was a  prank by singer Country Joe McDonald. Others blame a hoax by the underground paper Berkeley Barb. For some reason, no one suspects the banana industry.

10. Reindeer Urine Legend has it that Arctic shamans once stalked reindeer that dined on hallucinogenic fly-agaric mushrooms in order to collect their urine...and then drink it for its trippy effects. People drinking shroom-tainted reindeer pee sound too far-fetched to you? Andy Letcher, author of Shroom: A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom, thought so too. That is, until he met a Scandinavian deer herder who  did just that at a get-together with some indigenous Saami people. It turns out that the active ingredient in the toxic fly-agarics, ibogenic acid, passes through the reindeer's body largely unmetabolized, while the poisons are conveniently filtered out—giving humans a (relatively) nausea-free psychedelic high. Some even speculate that Christmas traditions  are built around the fly-agaric 'shroom, complete with Santa's  red 'n' white palette and his “flying” reindeer.