When is a hoax not a hoax? Meet The Anarchist Cookbook.
This text was considered the defining secret text of the counterculture throughout the 1970s, into the 1980s and beyond. Unfortunately for its credibility, the people who considered it such were typically teenagers who weren’t old enough to have a driver’s license.
It was part drug book and part weapons book. It taught people how to make homemade sound suppressors for weapons, how to create plastic explosives, how to hide your drugs from police searches and much more.
Unfortunately for anyone who attempted to follow the guidelines laid out in the book, the authors were neither informed nor experienced. People were far more likely to injure themselves trying to follow the instructions in the book than they were to create viable bombs for public use. The ideas like hollowed-out books for housing drugs wouldn’t slow most trained dogs for more than a few seconds.
Despite its utter uselessness, it remains a strong seller today. This, despite the fact that the current edition is a sanitized and thinned-down version of the original. Gone are many of the explosives instructions… not because of fear of political attack, but because of fear of lawsuits from the resultant explosions.
If people want to learn how to make Mercury Fulminate or other explosives – or, better, how to defuse such explosives, there are books available through Amazon and other venues. It’s the information age. Disinformation shouldn’t sell.
There’s one thing that the Cookbook is famed for, though, above and beyond the problematic explosive advice and long-outdated drug tips. That’s smoking banana peels.
The notion that banana peels, when properly treated, can cause a mild “high” stems from a publicity stunt by the band Country Joe & the Fish, exacerbated by a famed article from the Berkley Barb explaining how to treat the peels to bring forth the hallucinogenic compounds. The Anarchist Cookbook simply copied this advice word-for-word and presented it as factual information. An urban legend was born.
For the record, it is chemically impossible to get high on banana peels. It did lead to a lot of banana sales, though (I refuse to say a “bunch” of sales), so at least the great “secret book” managed to do one thing successfully. Between the book’s dozens of printings and the thousands of bananas sold, it promoted free-market economics.
Somewhere, a hippie is sad.
Question of the night: What’s your favorite banana-using recipe?