The talent of Dow-kietl, the shiny green frog that exudes Sapo or frog sweat to paralyze the biting jaws of predator snakes, was hidden from the western world until Peter Gorman introduced the ´death experience´ to the N.Y. American Museum of Natural History in 1986, and then to Amazon outward bounders. Last night I witnessed three people cringe under cigarette burns on their biceps, the yellow viscous Sapo dabbed on exposed mesoderms, and I sat back to watch them `die`.
Now I know what it looks like to watch a thrashing Amazon boa expire after a quick frog snack, with an added insight into the resiliency of human nature as the three rebounded quickly to ask when they could repeat.
‘It’s the most painful and exhilarating thing I ever did!´ admitted a New York City programmer one minute after reentering this world.
´Life is tough, dying is tougher,´ claimed an Australian artist opening his eyes.
´Everything is easier after passing through fire,´ explained a Stanford anthropologist.
Their experiences were remarkably similar.
The programmer sat on a hard chair under a palm as Peter touched a burning cigarette to the side of his right bicep, peeled the singed epidermis, patted one drop of Sapo and counted backward from fifteen…
Suddenly the eyes opened and fixed straight ahead on who knows what in the night.
´You are alone. But everyone around you is a friend,´ said Peter softly.
He crumpled to the jungle floor on all fours, staring ahead like the freshly euthanized dogs I once put down as a Vet with Sodium P____barbital. He flushed, vomited twenty times and probably pooped his pants.
´You will be like this for nine minutes, I guarantee. And then you will return to the greatest joy you have ever known,´ intoned Gorman.
On the nose in nine minutes, he suddenly propped on an elbow, and then arose to full height with a smile.
A second client sat hard, and the burns and Sapo applied. In fifteen seconds his eyes looked without seeing, and he sweat without movement. Though built like Rocky the Sapo took a TKO in four minutes as his head slowly found the table edge. He vomited one long string, and I wished to take a pulse but snapped a (viewer beware). Corner man Peter used my knife to halve a lime to sponge the artist’s forehead as I poured cold water on the crew-cut, but Peter sliced his thumb and cauterized it with the burning cigarette just before the man blinked and moaned, ´Thank you.´ Minutes later he stood for round two…
Next the female anthropologist took the chair and in fifteen seconds entered the netherworld with puffed lips and face until she resembled a frog, In nine minutes the features humanized.
Their three brave descriptions of Sapo baptism carry one tune. ´I went inside my body and heated painfully until I wanted to die but couldn’t.´ ´Every cell was as if microwaved, but in an eternity it switched off as quickly as on.´ Finally, ´There’s no fear of death.´
Sapo is reputedly the most biochemically active substance known to man and a vital element in jungle pharmacopoeia. That evening I suggested, ´Two possible uses come to mind. The first is a therapeutic replacement for epinephrine that’s presently extracted from the adrenal glands of my friends the hogs and sheep; and the second is a transport vehicle like but more potent than DMSO used in race horses and by dermatologists to cause medications to penetrate the skin.´
I thought to perform a backyard experiment and dropped 1/20 of one dose of frog sweat that resembles mustard into two ounces of rubbing alcohol and stirred into solution. The dilution must have been about 1/5000 of what the three clients took directly onto cigarette burns. Instead, on my left forearm I drew one magic marker red circle and another next to it. In the first I put a couple drops of pure rubbing alcohol, and in the second circle the same amount of dilute Sapo. I walked away expecting nothing but in mid-stride at thirty seconds truthfully told Peter, ´The inside of my left arm is heating as Sapo spreads via the circulation. Now the burn is rising from chest to neck to head. I´m inclined to sit down,´ and did on a soft chair. In five minutes the slightly elevated blood pressure, pounding heart and internal heat gave way to a transient euphoria.
The apparent Sapo death and benefits to western medicine and frogs are unimaginable without more experimentation.