The Delphic Oracle: A Multidisciplinary Defense of the Gaseous Vent Theory

  title={The Delphic Oracle: A Multidisciplinary Defense of the Gaseous Vent Theory},
  author={Henry A. Spiller and John R. Hale and Jelle Zeilinga de Boer},
  journal={Journal of Toxicology: Clinical Toxicology},
  pages={189 - 196}
Ancient historical references consistently describe an intoxicating gas, produced by a cavern in the ground, as the source of the power at the oracle of Delphi. These ancient writings are supported by a series of associated geological findings. Chemical analysis of the spring waters and travertine deposits at the site show these gases to be the light hydrocarbon gases methane, ethane, and ethylene. The effects of inhaling ethylene, a major anesthetic gas in the mid-20th century, are similar to… 

The Delphic Oracle and the ethylene-intoxication hypothesis

It is observed that positivist dispositions can lead to the acceptance of claims because they have a scientific form, not because they are grounded in robust evidence and sound argument.

Delphi's Small "omphalos"; An Enigma

The history of Delphi’s small omphalos began with its discovery in the adyton of the Apollo Temple in 1913 and temporarily ended with its disappearance, at some point after 1951, following its

Drugs and the Delphic Oracle

This paper critically examines several recent studies purporting to show that the priestesses of the oracle of Apollo at Delphi were intoxicated on gaseous fumes emitted as a result of geological

The Gates to Hell in Antiquity and their Relation to Geogenic CO2 Emissions

Plutarch's Report on the Blue Patina of Bronze Statues at Delphi: A Scientific Explanation

Abstract Plutarch reported that the Spartan Monument from Delphi was coated with an unusual blue and glossy patina, due to peculiarities of the air inside the sanctuary. This bronze statuary group

DELPHI ’ S SMALL “ OMPHALOS ” 83 from oblivion , is none other than the oldest and most remarkable symbol of Hellenic religion : the authentic omphalos , the center of the earth . ” )

The history of Delphi’s small omphalos began with its discovery in the adyton of the Apollo Temple in 1913 and temporarily ended with its disappearance, at some point after 1951, following its

Using geosciences and mythology to locate Prospero's island

  • T. Lanza
  • Geography
    Geoscience Communication
  • 2020
Abstract. The Tempest, the last work entirely attributed to William Shakespeare, has been subject to many studies and interpretations, ranging from adventure and Shakespeare's biography to

A Bittersweet Story: The True Nature of the Laurel of the Oracle of Delphi

  • H. Harissis
  • History
    Perspectives in biology and medicine
  • 2014
It is likely that it was oleander, not sweet bay, that the Pythia used before the oracular procedure, and this explanation could also shed light on other ancient accounts regarding the alleged spirit and chasm of Delphi.

Hypoxia in Paleolithic decorated caves: the use of artificial light in deep caves reduces oxygen concentration and induces altered states of consciousness

ABSTRACT In this paper, we present a novel hypothesis as to what led humans in the Upper Paleolithic to penetrate and decorate deep, dark caves. Many of the depictions in these caves are located in



New evidence for the geological origins of the ancient Delphic oracle (Greece)

Ancient tradition linked the Delphic oracle in Greece to specific geological phenomena, including a fissure in the bedrock, intoxicating gaseous emissions, and a spring. Despite testimony by ancient

The geological origins of the oracle at Delphi, Greece

Abstract Ancient authors from Plato to Pausanias have left descriptions of Delphi’s oracle and its mantic sessions. The latter were interpreted as events in which the Pythia (priestess) placed


Investigations showed that one part of ethylene in 2,000,000 parts of air caused the already open flowers to close, on twelve hours' exposure, whereas one part in 1, thousand,000 prevented the opening of buds already showing petals.

A short history of fires and explosions caused by anaesthetic agents.

Although fires and explosions from nonanaesthetic causes, for example gastrointestinal gases, skin sterilizing agents and laser surgery, may continue to occur, those from gaseous and volatile anaesthetic agents may now be of historical interest only.


March 12,1933,1marked the tenth anniversary of the introduction of ethylene in the anesthetic field, and it seems a fitting time to discuss its merits, demerits, and general application in surgery.

Uptake, elimination and potency of the inhalational anæsthetics *

To regulate anaesthesia rationally, the anaesthetist should have a clear concept of the dynamics of inert gas exchange in the body; for, physically and chemically, the gaseous and volatile anaesthetics, with the exception of trichlorethylene, behave in theBody as inert gases.

The Uptake of Ethylene in Man

Comparison of two separate studies done on the same subject, measuring “wet” end-tidal samples in one and “dry” samples in the other, showed no essential differences between the two uptake curves, indicating that the diluting effect of pulmonary water vapor on the dry inspired gas mixture could be ignored.

The Uptake and Distribution of Four Inhalation Anesthetics in Dogs

The demonstrated ability of the model to predict anesthetic uptake and distribution suggests that such a model may eventually be used for predicting and controlling anesthesia uptake during surgery.

Autoradiographic Distribution of Volatile Anesthetics within the Brain

Results indicate that the early distribution of anesthetics to the gray matter and nuclei is determined primarily by circulatory factors, while the later distribution to the white matter more closely correlates with lipid content, although many exceptions were found.


  • W. Cole
  • Medicine
    The Medical journal of Australia
  • 1968
It seems likely that, because the technique described here obtained only cortical tissue and thus was unlikely to damage renal vessels, it may be safer than percutaneous biopsy of a kidney in the normal position.