Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Elephants On Acid: And Other Bizarre Experiments” as Want to Read:
Elephants On Acid: And Other Bizarre Experiments
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Elephants On Acid: And Other Bizarre Experiments

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  2,641 Ratings  ·  254 Reviews
When Tusko the Elephant woke in his pen on 3 August 1962, little did he know that he was about to be given the largest ever single dose of LSD . . .

"Elephants on Acid" is a wonderfully entertaining, authoritative collection of history's most bizarre experiments, from the 19th-century creation of zombie kittens to a University of Wisconsin study that answers, definitively,
Paperback, 283 pages
Published by Boxtree, Limited (first published November 5th 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Elephants On Acid, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Elephants On Acid

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Boese presents a catalogue of truely bizarre experiments, giving a short essay on each and collecting them into themed chapters. The book is intended to be humourous and it is, in places, but the technique used for the jokes hardly varies throughout and if read in just a few sessions, becomes repetative and palls. Some of that humour is also, in my view, in poor taste; jokes about dogs that have been repeatedly shocked with electricity don't make me laugh.

This leads directly to the other problem
Feb 04, 2009 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
An interesting book, I heard about ELEPHANTS ON ACID from the Kevin Smith podcast (SMODCAST). This is a great, quick/bathroom read that will that astound and captivate even the least scientific-minded individual.

In fact, I will go so far as to say that book is less about the experiments AND more about the experimenters. Scientists are a strange group of people (drinking vomit to prove fellow fever isn't contagious? Yikes).

The book is a nice blend of the horrifying and the humorous. Having take
Jen Estrella
Aug 05, 2012 Jen Estrella rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
This is really a 2.55 stars but since there are no halves, a 3 will have to suffice.

So. For what this book was, it served its purpose. It delivered what it promised: a book filled with an assortment of strange, and sometimes straight up scary experiments from a time obviously long before regulations existed to protect the "subject" in the experiment. There was a decapitated canine being pumped fresh oxygenated blood in order to examine the possibility of a head/brain being able to maintain funct
Kynthos-the-Archer (Kyn)

Impulse buy. Couldn't leave it alone after reading that crazy blurb on the back cover. Besides, I am so loving the cover and that odd title and thinks that it would look great in my living room library section.

Part of the blurb that caught my curiosity: Have you ever wondered if a severed head retains consciousness long enough to see what happened to it? -- Kinda morbid huh? But I can't help wondering about the answer to that question.

Jan 18, 2014 John rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
TL:DR: This book is excellent popular science reading; I can’t recommend it enough.

If you have ever taken a basic course in psychology, then you have a good idea of the kind of material found in this book. Elephants is essentially a collection of the more bizarre anecdotes you will find in a basic psychology and/or sociology class, though this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The author admits this groundwork in his introduction; he is very aware of the nature of his project, and he constantly liv
Joseph Mckenna
Sep 11, 2011 Joseph Mckenna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An absolutely fantastic book that gives great insight into the odd ends of humanity's pursuit of knowledge as well as some excellent scientific trivia. I highly recommend this book to any who have even a slight interest in general science, especially sociology and psychology. Heck, I really want everyone to give this book at least a try.

Although there are many well known studies in this book, that might not be new or surprising to the scientifically aware, the author does an excellent job giving
Dane Cobain
Feb 02, 2016 Dane Cobain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There’s an interesting story behind this one – I rescued it from almost certain death, after a clear out at work. We had so many books that we had to get rid of a load of them, and so I pinched this one before it went to the charity shops. I’m glad I did.

As you can imagine, it’s basically a collection of some of the strangest scientific experiments that have ever been performed, and they’re grouped into different sections so that although Boese draws from all sorts of different sources, there’s
Another chance pick up from Fopp: this one more of a miss than a hit, but if I'm paying peanuts then I'll get the odd duffer, and I can live with that.

I'm not sure what my real beef with the book is though, to be honest. It's laid out in a sensible fashion: experiments grouped together by "genre" and they're all written up pretty succinctly.

Perhaps it's the lame attempt at humour from the author that grated, or the slightly laborious writing style.

However, being impartial, there are some interes
Sep 17, 2010 Tammy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is touted as a bathroom book and I think I may have enjoyed it more if I'd read it as such rather than reading it straight through. It consists of brief write ups of bizarre experiments conducted in 10 different categories. I don't know if it speaks to my tastes/interests or what, but I was familiar with many of the experiments that were addressed and I think that disappointed me - I wanted new stuff! Although I only gave it two stars - it was ok - I really would recommend it as fun li ...more
Jun 05, 2015 Neenee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-whim, my-2016
An entertaining and informative book on bizzare scientific experiments that have been done so far. Some experiments were so disturbing, I had to stop reading for a while or jump to the next chapter. I knew there were inhumane endeavours out there in the name of science but reading them like this definitely made me squirm and quite angry. The author could address its ethical concerns a little bit more. But I guess that was not the purpose Mr. Boese wrote this. He wanted this book to be light and ...more
Right up my alley, this book filled with weird (and sometimes highly unethical) experiments in the science world shows readers how, without the weirdos and the trouble makers, science wouldn't be anywhere near as far as it is. It's a funny book, though the information regarding the experiments is accurate and clear. There's a lot of material here for a psychology student such as me, but just as well for a person interested in the history of science and how the rebels helped it in being born!
Oct 09, 2012 Bagtree rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
The author's sense of humor is extremely grating, and the experiments all seem to fall under either "somewhat eccentric but useful way of answering a valid question" or "stupid and cruel." Neither is enhanced by Boese's jeering or the weak one-liners with which he ends each anecdote.

Look, scientists can be huge weirdos. Charles Darwin once conducted an experiment to determine whether worms will get distracted from whatever it is worms do if you play the bassoon in their vicinity. THAT is the kin
May 14, 2015 Edgar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: smart, wierd
This book is recommended for someone with scientific mind and passion for exploration. Weird fact about that book is that it is actually interesting, reading how scientists were coming up with their experiments, investing their time, knowledge and in some cases sanity to provide people of Earth with eligible explanations for strange questions like "can we resurrect dead corpses?" or "is the system the one to blame for prison troubles or people?" is exciting as well as fully educational.
Yes, man
Jul 16, 2009 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a collection of classic bizarre experiments, this book holds up well. I had read about most of the included studies before, and it would have been nice to get a little more obscure research, but I'm sure most of this is new to the general audience. There were a few new ones for me, including a study making fools of professional wine-tasters and another that showed being visited by a clown almost doubles likelihood of pregnancy for in vitro fertilization (which has interesting implications for ...more
Sep 06, 2012 Hanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with a science background, especially life science or biology
Shelves: non-fiction
If you're a scientist, you'll love this book. If you're not a scientist, you might love it too, but i won't vouch for it.

I read this book a couple of years ago, probably in 2007 when it first came out, and i still remember some of the cases even though i haven't reread it. That in itself is quite miraculous. These books are typically fun to read but half a year later you don't remember it anymore.

This book learned me that 'the elephant memory' really exists. But it also learned me not to trick a
May 14, 2016 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I enjoyed this odd book. It's a selection of weird experiments conducted over the years, often when the consideration for animal and human feelings and emotions were less empathetic and, frankly, humane, than today.
Some times I cringed a little but what I thoroughly enjoyed was when some weird thing led to something else which led to something which is a recognisable benefit nowadays.

Other times I just shuddered at the things we thought acceptable.

A book worth reading in fits and starts really,
Dec 19, 2008 Patricia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somewhat dry factual of many of the experiments done by man, to man or to animal. Some are unbelievable like the guy who drank vomitus to see if he would catch the disease. Anyhoo, mostly interesting, sometimes not. Did make me wonder about the intelligence or stupidity of the human race....even more....
Jyotika Bahuguna
A 3.5 actually.
Idea: Brilliant.
Content: Good, there are summaries of over 100 research papers about interesting, amusing, thought-provoking and truly bizzare experiments.
Writing style: Fair, with the experiment description lengths quite small, I wish there wasnt an average , predictable, playing-on-the-words-of-the-experiment joke at the end of each description.
Esmeralda Rupp-Spangle
Couldn't even finish it. Author possibly sociopath/ high functioning psychopath? Animal despair and distress used as source of humour. Information spotty. Imagined wit interspaced with vague incomplete anecdotal accounts and abbreviated stories with varying degrees of inhumanity. Not good.
Eve K
Jan 07, 2017 Eve K rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm so pissed off at myself that I even tried to read this book not once but three times.

All it consists of is an utterly emotionally void fucking cretin (the author) getting obvious thrills over vomit inducingly vile and infuriatingly FUCKING POINTLESS experiments on animals, done by probably even more emotionally fucked cunts than the author.

Take the weird kid at school who thinks it's funny to pull off spiders legs and butterflies wings just because he/she is big enough to have complete power
Jess Hadlow
Jan 12, 2017 Jess Hadlow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5. The topics are interesting, but the authors writing style occasionally gave me the shits. His puns and jokes are predictable not only in content, but in placement. Otherwise Boese has done a good job of collating what I would also call a bizarre lot of experiments.
Jan 19, 2017 Katrīna rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If it wasn't for the cringe-inducing unfunny jokes this book is generously sprinkled with, it would make for a mediocre refresher on classic psychology experiments.
Feb 19, 2017 Alex rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
While lots of these experiments are really interesting and the writing style allows them to be accessible, Alex Boese's attempts at humour are embarrassing
Fun, quick read with some interesting and horrific experiments.
William Berry
I picked this book up on a recommendation from a student. The title is certainly catchy, and as it is full of odd (and some amazing) experiments, I thought it’d be an interesting read.

It is definitely interesting. Some of the experiments are downright sick (he goes back in time a bit, when we had less understanding of science, or maybe even morals). There are several headings in the book, and he categorizes experiments under them (for example, some of the most disturbing are under the heading, “
Originaltitel: Elephants on Acid: and other Bizarre Experiments
Autor: Alex Boese
Originalsprache: Englisch
Gelesen auf: Deutsch (übersetzt von Kristof Hahn)
Seitenanzahl: 384 Seiten
Verlag: rororo

Der Autor Alex Boese wurde in Pennsylvania, USA, geboren und wuchs in London (UK) und Washington DC (USA) auf. Er ist bekannt für seine Webseite, die über Urban Legends und Hoaxes berichtet. (vgl. Webseite von Alex Boese, die auch seine Biographie enthält: [Aufruf am 09.Nov.2015])
I found this book fascinating - occasionally discomfiting or even downright horrifying - but always interesting.

I wasn't sure of the contents when I picked it up, but was happy to find that it is full of specific accounts - complete with references - of experiments or studies. That each began with a short blurb written as a dramatisation or memory of the events in question was an excellent touch.

The layout, of grouped experiments in a chapter with a single theme, was easy to focus on and more en
Elephants on Acid is a delightful romp through the bizarre world of strange science experiments. Like Alex Boese's previous book The Museum of Hoaxes Elephant's on Acid is largely made up of short entries detailing the world of the bizarre. Boese is careful to avoid the more classical entries that come up whenever strange science is discussed i.e. Nazis, the Tuskegee experiments, etc. and instead delight in the less harmful, if no less strange, situations.

I first found this book in college, a
Robert C.
Oct 20, 2012 Robert C. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: knowledge
When I'm a hundred and the words will be extinct, I'll be able to drink this description of a small portion of my experience of fifty years ago as easy as if it were a vial of coloured juice. Reading with the eyes? That will be sooo last half century!

Thrill I will to the thought that over 5 decades ago I used to keep piles of books on top of a filing cabinet in the study and that I would designate them as 'to read next' and that one of those would be Electrified Sheep: Glass-Eating Scientists, N
Guilherme Solari
An uneven compendium of the strangest side of science

Elephants on Acid is a collection of some of the most bizarre, curious and plain cruel experiments executed in the name of science. Among them, the LSD induced elephant of the title, Russian two-headed dogs, monkey head transplants, sleep deprivation, monkeys brought up as humans, baby reactions experiments, sexual studies, how to maximize waiters’ tips experiments and missiles guided by pigeons.

The book is very informative and does have it’s
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • How To Fossilise Your Hamster: And Other Amazing Experiments For The Armchair Scientist
  • Mental Floss presents In the Beginning: From Big Hair to the Big Bang, mental_floss presents a Mouthwatering Guide to the Origins of Everything
  • Smoking Ears and Screaming Teeth
  • A Cabinet of Medical Curiosities
  • The Ig Nobel Prizes
  • Discarded Science: Ideas That Seemed Good at the Time...
  • Mad Science: Einstein's Fridge, Dewar's Flask, Mach's Speed, and 362 Other Inventions and Discoveries that Made Our World
  • This Will Kill You: A Guide to the Ways in Which We Go
  • When Science Goes Wrong: Twelve Tales From the Dark Side of Discovery
  • The Complete Manual of Things That Might Kill You: A Guide to Self-Diagnosis for Hypochondriacs
  • How to Defeat Your Own Clone and Other Tips for Surviving the Biotech Revolution
  • Why You Shouldn't Eat Your Boogers and Other Useless or Gross Information About Your Body
  • Mutants: On Genetic Variety and the Human Body
  • Book of the bizarre
  • Ken Jennings's Trivia Almanac: 8,888 Questions in 365 Days
  • Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed
  • Jumbo: This Being the True Story of the Greatest Elephant in the World
  • Mental Floss: Genius Instruction Manual
Alex Boese holds a master's degree in the history of science from UC San Diego. He is the creator of He lives near San Diego.

More about Alex Boese...

Share This Book