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8 Brilliant Minds in History and Their Favorite Drugs

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8 Brilliant Minds in History and Their Favorite Drugs

Brilliant Minds in History and Their Favorite Drugs

 

Whether it’s leading countries, being part of a creative community or just wanting to experiment – at some point, some of the most famous names in history have tried or been addicted to drugs of some kind. Here’s the round-up of the most brilliant minds in history and the drugs they were once addicted to.

1. Charles Dickens

In Dickens’ time, opium was common on the Victorian streets of London and it’s fairly safe to say that Dickens himself was a fan, even referencing the drug and provided a detailed first-hand description of the opium dens in his later, unfinished work The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Dickens used the drug in the form of laudanum for many years before dying of a stroke in the 1870’s.

2. Vincent Van Gogh

Whilst cutting off his own ear was one of the wackiest things Van Gogh did, being addicted to the prescription drug Digitalis and strong spirit Absinthe can also be added to the list. Initially using the substances to treat bipolar disorder, anxiety and temporal lobe epilepsy, he soon became addicted and the yellow spots affecting sight associated with both certainly explain a lot about his artwork. Some people also believe that the use of lead-based paints also resulted in lead poisoning, further affecting his substance abuse and it was once noted by Dr Peyron that the famous artist once tried to commit suicide by swallowing paint or drinking kerosene.

3. Adolf Hitler

It is a well-known fact that Hitler used a cocktail of drugs to suit his needs, through the help of his many men. A USA Military Dossier states that Theodor Morell would assist Hitler in his drug-taking needs, using barbiturate tranquilizers, morphine, crystal meth, bull semen and many others. Some accounts claim that Hitler took crystal meth before his 2-hour long rant during a meeting with Mussolini and in his last hours in the bunker, it is said that he took nine shots of methamphetamine.

4. Thomas Edison

Vin Mariani was invented in 1863 and was essentially, a cocaine elixir. The wine was made from coca leaves and the ethanol content in the Bordeax could extract cocaine from these leaves exceeding 7mg per fluid ounce of wine. During this period, it wasn’t uncommon to consume the wine that had been laced with Cocaine and it became popular with the late Thomas Edison.

5. Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs may have been a technological genius, but in the 1960’s he was also usingLSD. He was also said to think that certain people around him, who hadn’t tried recreational drugs, just didn’t understand him.

6. Stephen King

The famous horror writer is said to have been a practiced user of a self-made cocktail of cocaine, Xanax, Valium, NyQuil, beer, marijuana and tobacco. After an intervention by his family, King is said to have gone to Rehab to fix his problems and to this day, remains clean and sober. Apparently…

7. Winston Churchill

Whilst not quite as wild as others on this list, Churchill is said to have taken amphetamines on a regular basis in order to be able to stay awake to plan strategies in World War II. Add this to his reputation for smoking cigars and drinking whisky and it’s not hard to see how the previous UK Prime Minister died of a stroke in 1965.

8. Ernest Hemingway

If you’re familiar with Ernest Hemingway, it’s more than likely you’re aware of his alcohol problems. Although being one of America’s most famous authors and winning a Nobel Prize, Hemingway lost himself to alcohol consumption and turned to this after the lonely life of being a writer, apparently. Sadly, the drinking worsened his depression and caused a great deal of confusion, resulting in him eventually taking his own life.

With drugs and alcohol overtaking some of the smartest, most creative minds in human history, what hope does that leave for the rest of us? Whilst a lot of these claims can’t actually be verified, it’s still interesting to learn about the hidden past of some of these famous historical figures.

References:

https://www.distractify.com/brilliant-people-and-their-drugs-of-choice-1197892615.html

COOL PEOPLE – ERNEST HEMINGWAY DOCUMENTARY AND IN CUBA 1952

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Documentary on Ernest Hemingway The Writers Block Library

http://youtu.be/mv5ewz4YE1g

 Hemingway in Cuba, 1952: Portrait of a Legend in DeclineBen Cosgrove

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That Ernest Hemingway was, for years, the most celebrated writer in America is hardly surprising. After all, if he had written nothing besides, say, The Sun Also Rises, the early collection, In Our Time, and the superlative“The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,”he would still be an indispensable American writer. The preposterous literary myth that Hemingway himself created and nurtured, meanwhile—that of the brawling, hard-drinking, thrill-seeking sportsman who is also an uncompromising, soulful artist—ensured that generations of writers would not merely revere him, but (often to their abiding detriment) would also try to emulate him.

So . . . despite what countless acolytes might claim, Hemingway was not the greatest American writer of the 20th century. He was, however—and more than five decades after his death, he remains—the single most influential, most parodied, most prominent, most immenseAmerican author of the past 100 years.

Incredibly, one of Hemingway’s most highly regarded novels, the short masterpiece, The Old Man and the Sea, was first published, in its entirety, in a single issue of LIFE magazine in September 1952.

At the time, Hemingway was—if we might employ an apt metaphor for a man who fairly worshiped machismo—the heavyweight champ of American letters. Even if his productivity had waned, and even if the searing brilliance that defined seemingly every story and novel of his early years had, by 1952, been reduced to an occasional flare of the old genius, “Papa” was still a cultural force to be reckoned with.

(A mere two years before, John O’Hara, in a New York Times review of the novel, Across the River and Into the Trees, had gone a bit overboard, calling Hemingway “the most important author living today, the outstanding author since the death of Shakespeare.” But such was the shadow he cast.)

Warranted or not, the hubbub that attended Hemingway turned any new story or, better yet, new book into a publishing event; the Old Man and the Sea LIFE issue, to absolutely no one’s surprise, was an enormous success, selling millions of newsstand copies in a matter of days. The novel itself earned Hemingway his first and only Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and remains among his most widely read works.

And yet, as anyone who has indulged an even casual interest in his career knows, by the early 1950s Hemingway’ private world was one increasingly defined not by protean artistic achievements, but by rivers of booze; bewilderment at his own diminishing powers as a writer; depression and even rage at his failing, once-indomitable health—in short, by a host of personal, relentless demons. The larger-than-life figure who prized “grace under pressure” above all other attributes was besieged; in less than a decade, his demons would drive him to suicide by shotgun.

 All of this helps explain why, when LIFE’s Alfred Eisensstaedt went to Cuba to photograph Hemingway for the September 1952 issue, he encountered not a gracious, if perhaps prickly, fellow artist and man of letters, but a thoroughly disagreeable, paranoid, booze-sodden lunatic.

Eisenstaedt was able, eventually, to capture a few usable images of the middle-aged man who was soon be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. His cover photo of Hemingway, in fact, is something of a classic: a riveting portrait of a no-longer-young, still-formidable literary lion.

But the experience of trying to photograph the 52-year-old writer, as Eisenstaedt recalled years later in an interview with historian Alex Groner, was a stressful and at times even frightening misadventure.

Hemingway, Eisenstaedt wonderingly noted, drank from the moment he awoke until the time he went to bed, with a lackey constantly plying him with booze; obsessed over his virility (sometimes literally pounding his chest, “like King Kong,” to illustrate that, while perhaps diminished, he was still a man to whom attention must be paid); erupted into violent rages over minor slights, both real and imagined; rarely spoke a sentence, to anyone, that wasn’t peppered with obscenities; and generally behaved like a buffoon.

Words and phrases that crop up repeatedly in Eisenstaedt’s reminiscences include “crazy,” “berserk,” “wild,” “insulting,” “drunk,” and “blue in the face.” Eisenstaedt found very few moments when he could take—or when Hemingway would allow him to take—usable photos. More than once, the gregarious, easy-going Eisie, who by all accounts got along famously with virtually everyone he met, went off by himself to photograph quieter scenes on the island, hoping the writer might calm down enough so that he might make a few worthwhile pictures.

“He was,” Eisenstaedt once said of Hemingway, “the most difficult man I ever photographed.” Coming from a man who was a professional photographer across seven decades—someone who photographed presidents, emperors, socially awkward scientists, testy athletes, egomaniac actors, insecure actresses and once, famously, a scowling and goblin-like Nazi minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels—coming from Eisenstaedt, that bald assertion about Hemingway is striking, and sadly revealing. And it’s especially sad in light of the effort that Eisenstaedt evidently put into trying tolike Hemingway.

Throughout his interview with Groner, for example, Eisenstaedt repeatedly, almost wistfully, refers to the man he went to Cuba to photograph—the man who thwarted his efforts at almost every turn—as “Papa.” It’s almost as if, years later, recounting his tumultuous dealings with the author, Eisenstaedt refers to Hemingway by his famous, companionable nickname in the vain hope of summoning something about the man that he can recall with fondness.

Ernest Hemingway was a major writer. Not everything he wrote was great; but some of what he wrote was as good as anything ever written by an American, and a handful of his works are, by common assent, vital and groundbreaking landmarks in world literature.

This gallery serves as both a tribute to Hemingway’s achievements, and a reminder of the haunting truth that when they fall, great men fall very, very far indeed.

Ben Cosgrove is the Editor of LIFE.com

COOL PEOPLE – Ernest Hemingway Trivia

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Ernest Hemingway Trivia


“The first draft of anything is shit.” – Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway’s favorite bars: Ritz, Paris; Harry’s Bar, Venice; Costello’s, New York; Sloppy Joe’s, Key West; and La Floridita, Cuba.

“The whiskey warmed his tongue and the back of his throat, but it did not change his ideas any, and suddenly, looking at himself in the mirror behind the bar, he knew that drinking was never going to do any good to him now. Whatever he had now he had, and it was from now on, and if he drank himself unconscious when he woke up it would be there.” —To Have and Have Not, 1937

Ernest Hemingway once dubbed Key West, Florida, the “St. Tropez of the poor.”

Shortest Story Ever Told

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Shortest Story Ever Told

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Shortest Story Ever Told

Ernest Hemingway

It is said that the shortest story ever told was written by the then young Ernest Hemingway, who said he could write a complete story in only six words!

His colleagues disagreed, and each bet 10$ against the claim.

Hemingway wrote down the words on a napkin
and passed it around.

Everyone agreed that he won the bet.

Here is the shortest story ever told:

For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.

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