After spending a few tedious months on the 1972 campaign trail, Ed Muskie—the Democrat favored to win the party’s nomination—had been putting his entire press corps to sleep with hopelessly repetitive stump speeches.
“I didn’t get a quote worth filing out of the whole goddamn trip,” a New York reporter told Hunter S Thompson about the senator’s tour of Florida.
So on May 11, 1972, Thompson gave the campaign a jolt, filing a speculative story through a primitive version of a fax machine he called the Mojo Wire. Describing Muskie as a competitive political animal who would never back away from a challenge, Thompson couldn’t understand why the senator had suddenly become rigid and unresponsive—seeming to read directly from a script—but he took one hilarious shot at figuring it out.
“Not much has been written about the Ibogaine Effect as a serious factor in the presidential campaign,” Thompson wrote in an article he later claimed was never meant to be taken at face value. In it, he declares, “word leaked out that some of Muskie’s top advisers called in a Brazilian doctor who was said to be treating the candidate with ‘some kind of strange drug.”