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Watch What You Eat!
December 9, 2008 8:17 AM   Subscribe

Poisonous and Hallucinogenic Mushrooms, including Alice's [Amanita muscaria].
posted by Miko (51 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've eaten these inky caps regularly — they pop up in yards where there's rotting wood underground from roots or debris. I understood, from other sources, that they were OK to eat but could cause problems if combined with alcohol. But here I learned that the alcohol sensitization actually follows ingestion and can last up to 5 days. Apparently only some individuals are susceptible, so I must not have this problem and will keep eating them. (Research was conducted on Beagles!)
posted by beagle at 8:45 AM on December 9, 2008


I often wonder why I'm not dead. I used to buy magic mushrooms fairly frequently in college. In hindsight, how I didn't die purchasing potentially poisonous plants from folks who didn't exactly seem like trained botanists remains a mystery. Almost as scary as buying acid from homeless people in Peoples Park like I used to do in high school. Thank you, Guardian Angel.
posted by The Gooch at 8:47 AM on December 9, 2008 [6 favorites]


I often wonder why I'm not dead. I used to buy magic mushrooms fairly frequently in college.

Now, thanks to YouTube, you can experience the disorientation of a mushroom trip from the safety of your computer. [warning: boobies, snakes, crucifixion imagery, bad techno music. via Boing Boing]
posted by Joe Beese at 8:58 AM on December 9, 2008


There are old mushroom hunters and there are bold mushroom hunters, but there are no old and bold mushroom hunters.
posted by isopraxis at 9:00 AM on December 9, 2008 [8 favorites]


The reason most people don't die from eating hallucinogenic mushrooms is because almost all recreational psychedelic mushrooms are cultivated from spores known to be from the psilocybe genus, not picked in the wild. At least in my experience here back east.
posted by BeerFilter at 9:24 AM on December 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


The strange phenomenon of fungi that shine in Japan
posted by homunculus at 9:33 AM on December 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


I read an article - at a very impressionable age - which stated there was one famously amazing and historic hallucinogenic mushroom that only worked after it had been eaten, digested and voided - as urine - by a horse. (To get the greatest trip of your life, therefore, you had to drink the appropriate horse pee.)

I mentioned this to a college Eng Lit tutor - in great excitement - when I was studying Antony and Cleopatra.

There's a line in the play about how heroic and manly and sober Antony once was (contrasting him - disapprovingly -with how decadent he had became after falling for Cleopatra's corrupting charms):

"thou didst drink
The stale of horses, and the gilded puddle
Which beasts would cough at: thy palate then did deign
The roughest berry on the rudest hedge...
"

I later suggested to the tutor that this might be a bit of Shakespearian subversion! Kind of winking at the audience that Antony had always been a bad boy.

That the "stale of horses" line was subtly about how Antony was actually taking risks to get high (in a decadent way) even when he was a heroic soldier. That maybe he was known to lap up horse pee not just to slake his thirst - but in case it gave him a druggie thrill!

I remember the tutor was not impressed - but very kind all the same.
(And this is a really stupid comment.)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:34 AM on December 9, 2008 [4 favorites]


My friend bought a kit and tried to grow them in his apartment closet. The kit consisted of a cardboard box with spores to be added to the dirt. The mushrooms grew but they were infected with a black mold and he threw them out. I wasn't surprised, given the state of his closet.
posted by Brodiggitty at 9:35 AM on December 9, 2008


I found that after eating a few caps of psylocibe cubensis (fresh out of the dung, mind you), I could locate other caps of like species much easier. Like a homing device, almost. Go figure.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:36 AM on December 9, 2008


Also, because I can't find enough excuses to post this:
The Psychedelic Secrets of Santa Claus

To paraphrase, our holiday rendition of St. Nick is based off of Northern European shamans who harvested Amanita and brought them as gifts.

Christmas Tree = World Tree of northern European nomadic cultures
Star at top of Tree = North Star
Tinsel on the tree = you don't want to know...
Santa's Sleigh = Odin's Chariot = Big Dipper, which travels around the world (North Star) in one night.
Climbing down the chimney to hang presents over the fireplace = Shaman climbing down the chimney/entrance of the tee-pee like yurt, to hang fresh mushrooms by the fire to dry.
Flying reindeer = thought they were flying cause they were tripping

I love reading this every holiday season so that I can set people straight when they wonder why we have these crazy holiday traditions associated with the birth of Christ.

Share with your family today!
posted by daHIFI at 9:44 AM on December 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Erggg... broken link. Let me try again.
posted by daHIFI at 9:46 AM on December 9, 2008


SPOILER ALERT

















The tinsel is jizz. Divine Jizz.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:46 AM on December 9, 2008


Huh. I thought he was smoking parrot blood.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:53 AM on December 9, 2008


"Paradoxically, several strains of the common commercial button mushroom including the now popular Portobello, contain significant levels of Agaritine, a potentially carcinogenic hydrazine that is bioactivated by cooking."

Hmm. I guess it's OK that I've never been overly fond of button mushrooms.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:57 AM on December 9, 2008


About 3 years ago riding my bike, I saw an Amanita Muscaria as big as a soccer ball at the base of a weedy slope down to a ditch by the east side of Ravenna Ave. NE, around thirty feet north of the intersection with NE 90th (just before it meets Lake City Way) in Seattle.

I am not kidding; it was more than 9 in. across ( the length of my palm and fingers) at the base of the cap and about that high. At first I thought it was a toy or lawn ornament that someone had tossed aside or set up as a joke, but it was the real thing. I went back the next day to see if I could find something unusual about the place which could explain such a prodigy (no), and it was still there.

On the third day it was gone without a trace.
posted by jamjam at 9:59 AM on December 9, 2008


God, I love shrooms.
If any MeFites would like to send me a magical Secret Santa gift...
posted by Thorzdad at 10:01 AM on December 9, 2008


Warning: Ingesting magic mushrooms while reading MetaFilter can lead to this.
posted by not_on_display at 10:15 AM on December 9, 2008


Why am I not at all surprised that this site is hosted by Evergreen State?

And uh, for an interesting time read Terrence McKenna's thoughts on psilocybin.
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 10:15 AM on December 9, 2008


Ah, Amanita ocreata. This must be the one a mycologist described recently to me when we spotted it in somebody's yard: "This one's sneaky, because the first toxins give you the worst cramps and diarrhea and vomiting you've ever had in your life, and then it passes and for one day you're congratulating yourself on surviving a close call, and then the later set of toxins gets to your neurological system and you drop dead." Perhaps a little exaggerated though, as this site observes that there's only "50% mortality if untreated. Death usually occurs in 4-7 days."
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 10:25 AM on December 9, 2008


Penis Envy or gtfo
posted by Fupped Duck at 10:27 AM on December 9, 2008


Eating mushrooms feels like coming home.
posted by baphomet at 10:41 AM on December 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


it's a handy guide for the youth of amerika ! (more inside)
posted by NikitaNikita at 10:57 AM on December 9, 2008


jamjam: Just head over to Magnuson park and walk around on the footpaths, sometime in the fall (late October to mid-November is usually good). It's chock full of Amanita Muscaria mushrooms every year. Not always as big as a soccer ball, but pretty large specimens.
posted by Araucaria at 11:02 AM on December 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


BeerFilter: a note about mushroom cultivation -- it is highly unusual, not to mention dangerous, to cultivate a mushroom from spores. You never know what you might get in that case. Mushrooms are almost always cultivated via cloning. That is, a small portion of the fungus is cultured into a medium such as agar, then the mycelium is used to inoculate a growing medium such as wood pegs, wood shavings, etc.

Lots of info about mushroom cultivation can be found at Paul Stamets' site, Fungi Perfecti
posted by Araucaria at 11:09 AM on December 9, 2008


@ jody ... that would be Amanita muscaria ... and the Siberian shamans would eat it, standing in for your horse, and then the rest of the folks would drink the shaman's urine ...
posted by aldus_manutius at 11:18 AM on December 9, 2008


Zombie hand mushroom.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 11:29 AM on December 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Some amanitas can walk
posted by Iron Rat at 11:34 AM on December 9, 2008


Aruacaria, thanks for the follow-up. I did not know that particular fact. I was mostly speaking to the idea that a lot of recreational mushrooms come from the wild, and I do not believe that to be the case in my experience. I've never cultivated them myself, just eaten them and had the process of growing them described to me (perhaps by someone who did not fully grasp the nomenclature of what he was doing).
posted by BeerFilter at 11:39 AM on December 9, 2008


Good grief, aldus_manutius

Just looked at your link (thanks!) and this line also stuck out:

The Norse took the mushrooms so that
the effect came on during the heat of battle or while at work.


Which makes me wonder if my stupid idea (about Antony) did have some foundation - since a soldier could well make valid - not just recreational - use of the mushroom effect? Though whether Shakespeare knew, of course.... That's a fascinating link anyway (we didn't have google when I was a student; it would have been so brilliant!)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 11:44 AM on December 9, 2008


I am peaking, Egypt, peaking;
Give me some Vitamin C and let me watch the Cartoon Network.
posted by Spatch at 12:37 PM on December 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm really tempted to run this cute little index by my mycologist friend and see how many errors she can spot. Though, being a good mycologist she'll probably say something like "I need specimens and a 'scope, damnit. IDing from pictures is dumb."

Did you know that yeast is a fungus, and not a bacteria?

Also, apparently almost all mushrooms are poisonous and shouldn't be eaten raw - including the common white/brown buttons and portobellos?


I'm dubious. Because, damnit, I like raw mushrooms in salads and sandwiches. And I honestly don't seem to have any problem digesting them.
posted by loquacious at 2:10 PM on December 9, 2008


I am not kidding; it was more than 9 in. across ( the length of my palm and fingers)

*Blushes*

posted by applemeat at 2:25 PM on December 9, 2008


The strange phenomenon of fungi that shine in Japan

There are glowing mushrooms in the middle of Perhentian Kecil and seeing them (if you happen to be mid-jungle at night with your flashlight off for some reason) is pretty magical.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:28 PM on December 9, 2008


BeerFilter said: The reason most people don't die from eating hallucinogenic mushrooms is because almost all recreational psychedelic mushrooms are cultivated from spores known to be from the psilocybe genus, not picked in the wild. At least in my experience here back east.

I'm almost positive that I've never seen cultivated shrooms. But then, I live in cattle country.
posted by dejah420 at 3:30 PM on December 9, 2008


Better save that blush, applemeat. I do have big hands, but everything else is pretty ordinary.
posted by jamjam at 3:38 PM on December 9, 2008


There is something missing from this list. In the late '80's I (foolishly, I suppose) bought and ingested what were sold as "mexican mushrooms". I have not seen, heard or experienced anything like them since.

They were light brown, about half an inch across, leathery, and had a raised lines intersecting lines on them. I am not even 100% sure they were mushrooms, (or even that they originated from this planet for that matter).

The effect was both enjoyable and scary - there was a mild euphoria, but the real effect was a complete loss of short term memory. I would start a sentence and be utterly incapable of rembering what it was about before I got to the end of it. This must have applied only to short sentences, as I recall being able to order a beer ok. Any more more complex thoughts defeated me utterly. I don't think I knew where I was exactly, or how I got to whereever that was.

It was a pretty freeing experience - I wasn't really suffering, because I couldn't recall what the suffering might have been about. It was definitely not like any other mind altering substance I have tried (and that is a long list). One of my favourite movies, Memento, is the closest thing to compare the experience to, but there was subtle euphoria, even some subtle colours, as well.

If anyone has a clue as to what this might have been, please post a response. My apologies if this post would be better suited to Askmefi.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 3:52 PM on December 9, 2008


"Mexicans" are typically on offer in Amsterdam, not_that_epiphanius. Harder than Thai (pretty colours) and not as crazy as Hawaiian (the universe just melted away). The memory loss thing pretty much comes with the territory, I think. Of every variety. Though it looks like you escaped ten-minute-circular-memory-hole-hell. Kudos.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:56 PM on December 9, 2008


On mushrooms, it may actually be possible to "watch what you eat". Having said that, I'm not sure if I can recall a time when I've eaten on mushrooms.
posted by gman at 4:05 PM on December 9, 2008


I ate some fruit once on shrooms and witnessed the process of metabolism on a chemical/bio-electronic level as the fruit became a part of my organism.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:08 PM on December 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thanks so much, Durn. I had considerable experience with the cubensis, some other varieties and this was very different. And the things looked and felt different, they were tough to bite through, like thin leather, not crumbly like the more common varieties, and the effect was markedly different.

But if you've heard of ten-minute-circular-memory-hole-hell, then I guess they've been identified. It's been bothering me for years, and Erowid was no help. It wasn't that hellish, a little nerve wracking, but then I'd forget what I was worried about, so it was all good. Hope to see a picture of them some day (they are not present in the parent link).

Cheers,
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 6:25 PM on December 9, 2008


Burhanistan: Totally. People I know used to keep and dry one mushroom after every collection. If the next time they couldn't find anything, they would eat the dry one, and pop, pop, pop, pop, mushrooms everywhere.

Araucaria and BeerFilter: Cloning is a clean way to grow mushrooms, but people I know and thousands others have grown them from spores. There is a very active spore trading community. You have to be careful. The people I know would look at the spores under the microscope, keep a close watch on the mycelium, throw out any jar that showed any weird development, look at the mycelium again under the scope, wait for the fruits, let some of them mature and look at their spores again.

Someone I know sent some spore print made from wild mushrooms to sporechicks (do they still exist?), sporeworks, and to drooldonkey moderators. Two new varieties resulted. Someone I know grew thai, ecuadorean, cuban, mexican and many other varieties of P. cubensis.

not_that_epiphanius: Maybe you had P. zapotecorum or P. mexicana? These are a lot harder to find and cultivate than P. cubensis, and are superior in every way.

It was a tradition in drooldonkey to never use first person pronouns, and to start posts with "I dreamed that" or "Someone told me that". It was a good idea, some of the members were raided by some kind of police (local, fbi, dea, no idea), and the site disappeared a few days later. The people I know who did all the stuff I mentioned here? i never knew their real names, only saw them once, it was dark, and I was drunk. And i was never there.
posted by dirty lies at 6:27 PM on December 9, 2008


i never knew their real names, only saw them once, it was dark, and I was drunk. And i was never there.

Really, though, isn't this the normal state of humans in relation to themselves?
posted by Burhanistan at 6:41 PM on December 9, 2008


The people I know would look at the spores under the microscope, keep a close watch on the mycelium, throw out any jar that showed any weird development, look at the mycelium again under the scope, wait for the fruits, let some of them mature and look at their spores again.

I've looked at pictures (not being coy -- I really just looked at pictures) of various grow tanks at various stages and some of the ones that went bad, and frankly, the whole thing freaks me out. I can't really explain it. I think it's the closest thing I have to an irrational fear.

Mushrooms in the wild -- love 'em. Mushrooms in the grocery store, mmm. Mushrooms growing in my closet. Growing. GROWING. *shudder* Some kind of Lovecraftian connection there.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:10 PM on December 9, 2008


I ate some fruit once on shrooms and witnessed the process of metabolism on a chemical/bio-electronic level as the fruit became a part of my organism.

So you've got that going for you. Which is nice.
posted by Adam_S at 7:12 PM on December 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Deoxyribonucleic Hyperdimension, Terrence McKenna and friends.
posted by hortense at 8:21 PM on December 9, 2008


Mushrooms outlawed in amsterdam
posted by lalochezia at 9:57 PM on December 9, 2008


It was a tradition in drooldonkey to never use first person pronouns, and to start posts with "I dreamed that" or "Someone told me that". It was a good idea, some of the members were raided by some kind of police (local, fbi, dea, no idea), and the site disappeared a few days later. The people I know who did all the stuff I mentioned here? i never knew their real names, only saw them once, it was dark, and I was drunk. And i was never there.

I dreamed that on the forums of synthetic drug chemistry site The Hive posters would use SWIM (Someone Who Is not Me)
posted by atrazine at 10:00 PM on December 9, 2008


Mushrooms outlawed in amsterdam
posted by lalochezia at 9:57 PM on December 9 [+] [!]


Your link outlawed on MeFi.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:12 AM on December 10, 2008


Amanita muscaria thats where I'm a viking berserker.
posted by adamvasco at 12:57 AM on December 10, 2008


Maybe you had P. zapotecorum or P. mexicana?

I appreciate the effort, but that ain't them. I'm still not 100% sure the were psilocybin at all, although Durn's phenomenological description fit very well.

I appreciate your concern about self incrimination, but all I did was ingest, and it was 20 years ago, so I'm outing myself as a curious youth.

I do like the idea of starting posts with "I dreamed that..." It would be a worthy exercise to start every single thought with that phrase, for a while, come to think.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 6:39 AM on December 10, 2008


I dreamed I posted to Metafilter in my Maidenform Bra.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 11:17 AM on December 10, 2008


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