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Did Donner Party’s Hemp Attire Lead to Cannibalism?


TRUCKEE—Researchers at the Truckee Institute of Archaeology (TIA) have discovered particles of industrial hemp in the digestive tracts of members of the doomed 19th century Donner Party. The TIA’s Dr. Fielding Blythe postulates that it may have been hemp clothing worn by the pioneers that led members of the ill-fated group to turn cannibalistic after being stranded in the snowy Sierras. Says Blythe in the Tahoe Tribune, “Hemp garments seasoned with salted body perspiration may have served up a dish so tantalizing it proved irresistible to the would-be settlers.”