There were also a couple of interesting historical anecdotes concerning the oracle that supported the ethylene gas theory.
The first anecdote was the legendary shortened life span of many priestesses that served as oracle throughout the five centuries that the temple was active.
Regular, prolonged exposure to ethylene gas would not only cause progressive physical and psychological deterioration, but would also explain the legends of intense ecstasies, or violent possessions, which could easily be ancient code speak for seizures. Apparently, this intense spiritual ordeal caused many oracles to die as very young women.
The second anecdote is an actual earthquake recorded in the area of Delphi in the year 373 B.C. – an earthquake that reportedly damaged the temple and surrounding structures.
The reason this earthquake may support the geomythology explanation of the oracle is that after this earthquake, stories about the oracle diminish considerably. Post-earthquake, it’s evident that the revered, prophetic reputation of the oracle was no longer a prominent feature of Greek history or myth.
In this video, presenter Frederick Tamagi explores what happened to the temple at Delphi.