Mithradites of Fond du Lac

Kent Russell at The Believer:

little while ago, I was searching the web for the man who best embodied the dictum “That which does not kill me makes me stronger.” I was looking for someone who thought he’d succeeded in fortifying his inborn weaknesses, who believed he had bunged the holes left by God. I discovered Tim among the self-immunizers. They’re this community of a couple dozen white, Western males who systematically shoot up increasing doses of exotic venoms so as to inure their immune systems to the effects. Many of these men handle venomous snakes for business or pleasure, so there’s a practical benefit to their regimen. A few prefer instead to work their way from snakes to scorpions to spiders, voiding creatures’ power over them. Most seem to be autodidacts of the sort whose minds recoil at the notion of a limitation deliberately accepted—something I sympathized with, being myself an unfinished, trial creature. On their message boards, Tim talked the biggest medicine.

Their practice of self-immunization has a great old name: mithridatism.

more here.