Ben Fogle, the globe-trotting BBC presenter, has revealed he took a bad trip on Friday night – when his drink was spiked with LSD in a Gloucestershire pub.
Fogle, the star of Castaway, Countryfile and Swimming with Crocodiles, had enjoyed an evening with his wife Marina at a country boozer but, when they returned to the house of the friends they were staying with, events took a sinister turn.
The presenter was settling his one-year-old daughter Iona back to sleep at around midnight when he noticed something “very strange” was happening.
“I started feeling hypersensitive and I knew something was wrong,” Fogle told the Daily Mail. “I picked my daughter up and she felt incredibly light, like a grain of rice.”
When Fogle emerged from the child’s room, matters became more serious.
“I suddenly had this compulsion to jump through a window,” he recalled. “I went back into the bedroom and asked my wife, ‘Are you feeling OK?’ She said: ‘Yeah, are you?’ and I said, ‘Look at me.’
“I was staring at her and then I just flipped and had a full-on psychotic episode. I was ranting, marching up and down, hitting walls, trying to jump out of windows. My wife ran out and had to get my friends who had to restrain me.
“I don’t like using the word, but I was acting like a stereotypical madman. I thought I was doomed, I thought I was going to die. My wife and friends kept trying to calm me down as I was threatening to hurt myself.”
The 39-year-old, who said he had drunk no more than half a bottle of wine at the pub and has never deliberately taken mind-altering drugs, went on: “It was like having an out-of-body experience. It was really upsetting because my wife had to see all of this. They had to lock the doors. I wanted to throw myself on a glass table and through a window.”
Fogle described how his acid experience went through several distinct phases. After the initial fearful, raging period, the mashed presenter became more entertaining: “I started doing very strange walks, like the Ministry of Funny Walks. It went from scary to comical. I was trying to get into bags.
“I was 100 per cent out of my normal character,” Fogle clarified.
By the time paramedics arrived, the rollercoaster of perception had moved on and Fogle had entered a mellower state of mind. “The whole experience took a different shift and it went from this aggressive episode into what I’d call a spacey moment,” he said.
“In the ambulance they were saying to my wife: he must be on some sort of drugs.”
Fogle, whose behaviour was erratic for around six hours, spent 12 hours in A&E and, although the hospital to which he was taken did not perform a toxicology test, he told the Mail he had concluded LSD was the culprit. Three further days of tests have revealed no neurological or psychological problems.
“I’ve spent the last few days genuinely worrying that I was going crazy,” Fogle said. “When you go through this and don’t know why, you start questioning your sanity. But five doctors have now concluded it was almost certainly drugs.”
Fogle said his eyes had been opened to the seriousness of drinks being spiked: “What I’ve realised from my experience is that drink spiking is a big thing.”
So what would happen were he to meet the person responsible? “I might stare at you for a while but I would forgive you. I just want to know what you put into my drink and into my body.”