Australian skeptic Peter Bowditch was challenged by a homeopath to take some homeopathic 200C belladonna tablets. Ever the intrepid skeptic and critical thinker, Peter has now answered the challenge in front of 100 people and reported his experience, beginning with a description of what he should have experienced:

A Modern Herbal by Mrs Maud Grieve, where it says that I should have been experiencing “”Strange indescribable feelings with giddiness, yawning, staggering or falling on attempting to walk; dryness of mouth and throat, sense as of suffocation, swallowing difficult, voice husky; face at first pale later suffused with a scarlatiniform rash which extends to the body; pupils widely dilated; pulse, at first bounding and rapid, later becomes irregular and faint”.

What did Peter actually experience? Did he survive his plunge into homeopathy?

Find out by watching this video.


  1. #1 Greg
    June 20, 2006

    Well, I think what happened here is obvious. Peter cheated…he took too many tablets.

  2. #2 Catherina
    June 20, 2006

    oh, there are a lot of possibilities why he is still alive:

    the pills were “sent” to him. Maybe they were X-rayed on the way, which renders the globuli useless.

    Peter B. had coffee in the morning.

    Peter brushes his teeth with peppermint containing toothpaste.

    When Peter had measles, his parents suppressed his fever, hence he could not shed his sulphur miasm and everyone knows that the sulphur type does not respond to Belladonna (ok, I made that up, but it sounds convincing, doesn’t it)?

  3. #3 Bronze Dog
    June 20, 2006

    Peter brushes his teeth with peppermint containing toothpaste.

    Why would someone put toothpaste in peppermint? 😉

    The power of the missing hyphen.

  4. #4 Tony Jackson
    June 20, 2006

    Did you hear the one about the homeopath who forgot to take his medicine and died of an overdose?

    Sorry about that….but the old jokes are the best!

  5. #5 Phil Plait
    June 20, 2006

    Peter, Barry Williams, several other Aussie Skeptics, and I did this same thing back in November 2004 at the Australian Skeptics National Convention. We used sleeping pills. The recommended dose was 2, but I personally took at least 24.

    Obviously, if homeopathy really worked, the maximum does would be ZERO pills. Duh.

  6. #6 Richard Saunders
    June 20, 2006

    I was one of those skeptics who, along with Phil Plait, took all those ‘sleeping’ pills. You can see the video here.

  7. #7 Julia
    June 21, 2006

    Sounds like fun. Most of the homeopathic pills I’ve seen contain enough milk product that it’s not a good idea for me to take more than, say, 3 at any given time.

  8. #8 Valhar2000
    June 21, 2006

    Were you not concerned that the homeopaths you were challenging might cheat? If they substituted the real sleeping pills for the homeopathic sleeping and you took a much higher dose than the maximum recommended you would have suffered ill effects AND the quacks would have won…

    I find that quite unnerving.

  9. #9 Graculus
    June 21, 2006

    The Belgian Skeptics (IIRC) did a similar stunt years ago:

    “snake poison, Belladonna or deadly nightshade, arsenic, dog’s milk, petrol, and cockroach. Dog’s milk does not sound that dangerous, but try milking a pit bull.”

  10. #10 Catherina
    June 21, 2006

    bronze dog – give a non-native speaker a break, will you?

  11. #11 Abel Pharmboy
    June 22, 2006

    Catherina, your English is far, far better than my German will ever be!

  12. #12 Bronze Dog
    June 22, 2006

    Don’t worry too much about the little error. I wouldn’t have pointed it out if the image it generated in my mind wasn’t amusing. 🙂

    I suppose sneaking toothpaste into peppermints would be one way to counteract cavities in spoiled kids who don’t brush.

  13. #13 Roman Werpachowski
    June 23, 2006

    One reason I wouldn’t pull a stunt like that: who knows what they REALLY put in those tablets?

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