For most people, freedom of thought is pretty near the top of their list of "Things I would quite like to keep, thanks". As humans, we hold our ability to think for ourselves in pretty high regard, and the idea that someone might be able to take that away from us, perhaps even just with the flick of a switch, is one that we tend to find deeply disturbing. Our obsession with will and obedience is probably one of the things behind our fascination with places such as North Korea, possibly one of the biggest experiments in mass manipulation in history. The truth is that you can be manipulated in all manner of ways. Whether that's through clever marketing, a spiked drink, or a literal hole in the head, your free will is pretty easy to take - and there are a fair few people out there who might want it.
8. Scopolamine - The Zombie Drug
Scopolamine, Burundanga, Devil's Breath. You might have heard of this one. Maybe you watched that Vice documentary, maybe you received one of those scary chain emails about it, warning of the "Zombie Drug" that allows you to control its users like a puppeteer. Scopolamine has become something of an urban legend on the internet. It is said that it is used by criminals to render their victims powerless and compliant. The drug is delivered via spiked drinks, contaminated pieces of paper or even simply blown into the face of the victim. Within minutes of contact, the victim is reportedly powerless to resist any orders given to them. They will ransack their own house, hand over their bank details and even take all of their money from an ATM and cheerily hand it over to their attacker. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence for the drug's criminal uses, but so far this has failed to square with the lab results. Scopolamine certainly induces disorientation, memory loss and sleepiness, but perhaps the "brainwashing" abilities of the substance may have been a bit overblown. It is more likely that it works in a similar way to a date rape drug or even just large amounts of alcohol, bringing about a disinhibited state in which people are much more susceptible to coercion. That said, the clinical and street version of the drug are likely to be very different. Either way, it's probably best to avoid accepting drinks (or any other substances) from strangers at all, just in case.