Message From The Author

Barbara D'Amato

Book Title: OTHER EYES
Genre: Suspense, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

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Author's Message

Blue Eriksen, the central character in Other Eyes, is a forensic archaeologist at Northwestern University. When her book Goddess, a scholarly study of the primacy of female goddesses in ancient religions, became a bestseller, no one was more surprised than Blue. Now she is testing mummies at ancient sites, hoping to determine the use of hallucinogens in the development of early religions.

Naturally, since she is fictional, I had to do her research for her.
 
Sometimes good luck happens. While I was working on an early draft of the book, a friend mentioned the Good Friday experiment to me -- and therefore to Blue.
 
The Good Friday experiment of 1962 was run by Walter Pahnke under the auspices of the Harvard Psilocybin Project. Briefly, divinity student volunteers were randomly divided into two groups, one receiving the hallucinogen psilocybin, and one receiving niacin, a B vitamin that would make them feel flushed and therefore give them the illusion of having received the real hallucinogen. The psilocybin group experienced intense religious feelings, as well as a sense of oneness with the world and loss of the fear of death. These feeling remained decades later, as found by a follow-up study. [In 2006 a similar experiment at Johns Hopkins University produced very similar results.] None of the psilocybin group went on to use illegal drugs.
 
Well, this was right up Blue's alley.
 
She decided to encourage experiments into whether psilocybin administration could cure or prevent some types of drug addictions. While she was in Peru and Turkey, continuing her research on mummies, someone twice tried to kill her. It was a paid assassin sent by worldwide marketers of illegal drugs, who believed her fame made her a threat.
 
Do I think there is a consortium managing illegal drug traffic worldwide? I think it's inescapable, and others better informed than I am believe so, too. The drug market numbers are astonishing. Marijuana production in the United States runs about thirty-five billion dollars annually. That's more than the value of our corn and wheat crops put together. Corn production runs about twenty-three billion dollars and wheat seven and a half billion. Imagine the dollar value of the coca and opium crops worldwide! Production on that scale cries out for global management. Also--very little cocaine or opium products are sold where they are produced. Vast distribution systems are needed. In Other Eyes I've given the management company a fictional name, but think of it as similar to OPEC-- DOPEC you might say. If oil were marketed like wines from boutique wineries, we could go to the pump and order five gallons of a modest little Kuwaiti with just a bold hint of light sweet crude. But of course oil distribution is managed globally.

- Barbara D'Amato


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