The strange behavior of a mysterious naked monk wandering through a German forest was probably not triggered by a religious experience, but rather some poisonous berries, according to a German news report.
Last Thursday a hiker, who spotted the monk, tried unsuccessfully to help the confused man stumbling in the forest, and therefore notified police in the Bavarian town of Unterwössen.
When authorities came, they found that the monk, who is reportedly from a town nearly Unterwössen, had eaten toxic berries while camping. The berries had given him hallucinations and partial paralysis, which prevented him from finding his way back to his tent.
Authorities are unsure as to how the man ended up naked, but they believe that given the type of berry the ingested it may not be such a mystery.
Doctors found that the berries the monk may have come from the Deadly Nightshade plant, according to a German police report.
The Deadly Nightshade, a common name for the herbaceous Atropa belladonna plant, contains chemicals like atropine, scopolamine and hyoscyamine that can cause hallucinogenic and muscle-impairing effects.
These mind-altering chemicals interfere with activity in the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for regulating involuntary activities like digestion, heart rate and salivation
However, in low doses, the plant has some medicinal qualities. It has been used to treat stomach spasms and motion sickness and has also been used to keep the heartbeat normal during surgery, according to the Mayo Clinic.
However, the Mayo Clinic warns that, in large does, Deadly Nightshade and its berries, like its name, can be lethal. Some symptoms of an overdose include confusion or unusual behavior, fast or irregular heartbeat, flushing of the face and hallucinations.
The plant can also be found in the United States and according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, grows in states like California, Michigan, New York and New Jersey.