More than half of Australia's beef cattle can be found in the coastal areas of Queensland and New South Wales; and the 20 to 30 inch (500-750mm) rainfall belt of Queensland, New South Wales and Northern Victoria, generally provide adequate climatic environments for the growth of psilocybian mushrooms, especially after heavy rains. It has been suggested that "Psilocybe cubensis was introduced into Australia accidentally by early settlers along with their livestock." This same spore dispersal mechanism also probably applies to Copelandia cyanescens, Panaeolus subbalteatus and several additional species known to occur in or around the dung of other ruminants. This includes Psilocybe semilanceata and the non-hallucinogenic "haymaker's" mushroom Panaeolina foenisecii. While cattle are raised in all Australian states, as well as in the central lowlands, recreational users have been known to export these psychoptic species to various areas in Australia from areas where they were collected. In the case of New Zealand, hereafter referred to as NZ, cattle are the primary source for Copelandia cyanescens, but the "liberty cap" mushroom Psilocybe semilanceata only grows in the manured soil of four-legged ruminants and not directly from manure (Jansen, Pers. Comm., 1988). The identification section of this guide documents reported locations for more than 1 dozen species of psilocybian mushrooms in Australia and NZ which most likely have been used at one time or another for recreational purposes. e aggression typical of alcohol intoxication.
Soon afterwards, I began to project my emotions
onto the psychiatrist. I saw him undergo
illusionary changes; initially he appeared to be a
dominant rooster which transformed into a punk
rocker. Then 1 felt that he would understand
what 1 was going through, given his extensive
background and experience with psycholytic
therapy. So I asked him, if the two of us could
retire to another room. When he consented, I
began to undergo a psychic split. The sound of
my voice was strange and whiny. I felt as if part of
me had split off and become an observer, while
the rest of my prone body had assumed the
position of an infant, sucking on a finger and
crying, crumbling up tissue papers at the same
time. On the psychoanalytic level, an
extraordinary experience began to unfold. I
became conscious of all recent and past conflicts,
especially those involving my parents. This
part of my personality articulated and worked
through the emerging conflicts. Even though
one might assume this process was facilitated by
the psychiatrist, this was not the case. In the semidarkness
1 perceived him as my deceased
grandfather, as a human skull and as an
American football player, whose armor I
recognized as a projection of my own uptight
Afterwards I looked at my reflection in a
large mirror and reconciled my differences with
myself as the two halves of my personality merged
into one. I saw a soft and tearful face and soon
realized that the person I was looking at was none
other than myself, that I had learned to accept
myself, in spite of all my problems. At the time I
also noticed that my self-disciplined behavior was
overly exaggerated, a trait generally judged as
unfavorable by those around me. I resolved to
become more relaxed and carefree in attending to
my daily routines. I believed this psychological
insight to be a revelation. With my eyes closed, I
saw images of translucent vessels atop a
brilliantly blue surface. In the weeks and months
after the experiment, those around me noticed that
my behavior had changed to become more relaxed,
which was mentioned spontaneously on several
The experience of an initial, painful
delirium illustrates a resistance to dealing with
the conflicts that invariably emerge in response to
high dosages - conflicts that were resolved
through an intense psycholytic catharsis (also see
Chapter 9). A psychedelic experience ensued as
both parts of the divided personality were merged
into a whole. This is a decidedly positive
outcome of a psycholytic episode with
corresponding therapeutic benefits - a result that
was entirely unintended (!). Personal stress prior
to the experiment apparently facilitated the
manifestation of deep-seated conflicts and issues
that might otherwise never have been dealt with.
With the exception of the attending psychiatrist,
outside observers appraised this experience as a
lucinatory purposes, a
practice that failed to draw much public
attention. It appears that a relatively large dose
was required to achieve the desired effects,
since several individuals consumed forty or
more of the fleshy mushrooms at a time.
"Soma": A Psilocybian Species?
Within the context of discovering this
species, Schroeder and Guzman proposed a most
interesting hypothesis. They suggested that
"soma", the substance revered as a deity by the
mysterious, ancient Aryan civilization, who are
said to have developed a soma cult, did not, in
fact, refer to the fly agaric mushroom, Psychedelicmushrooms as initially
proposed by Wasson. More likely, soma was the
name of a psychedelic Psilocybe species, based
on its spectacular psychotropic effects and the
mushroom's geographic distribution pattern.
An article authored by J.W. Allen and
M.D. Merlin concludes that currently Thailand is
the country with the largest consumption of
In several areas across Thailand, tourists
can find menus offering mushrooms prepared as
part of omelettes, soups, teas, pizzas or juices.
Allen specifically studied patterns of usage on
the two islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan.
Previously, sporadic reports from other
islands off the Thai coast contained descriptions
of similar practices there. In January 1990, Allen
also confirmed usage of the mushrooms in the
northern areas of Thailand.
German Tourist Boom
On Koh Samui and Koh Pha-ngan, the
mushroom dishes are enjoyed primarily by
German tourists. Along with a few other
foreigners, some Thai teenagers use the
mushrooms as well, sometimes even attempting
to smoke them in a bamboo pipe. As a salt-like
chemical compound, psilocybin requires
temperatures of about 200°C for it to melt and
partially break down without sublimation, so that
a tobacco pipe will not be effective in achieving
the desired psychoactive effects.
During the fall of 1988, Thai authorities
distributed warning leaflets at tourist centers,
providing a detailed description of a bizarre panic
reaction experienced by an Australian tourist,
who was hospitalized briefly as a result. Allen
thoroughly analyzed this event by seeking
additional information about the circumstances of
this case, including interviews with all other
individuals involved. Allen discovered that the
Australian visitor had used excessive amounts of
various pharmaceuticals, including highly
addictive substances, which is why he eventually
Finally, in January 1989, this incident
was central to justifying passage of a law that
prohibits usage of psychoactive mushrooms
("hed keequai" in local language), with harsh
penalties provided for non-compliance. Until that
time, many restaurants posted signs advertising
the various types of mushroom dishes on their
menus. But mushroom usage continued despite
passage of the law. Specific species still being
used were identified as Psilocybe cubensis,
ky psychedelic mushrooms Grow Shroom Oyster Mushroom
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oped symptoms of
intoxication, such as markedly dilated pupils,
spontaneous laughter and delirium. The progression
of symptoms was experienced as wave-like, with
cycles of increasing and fading intensity. In
addition, the father's visual perception was affected
so that everything around him appeared to be black
- a frightening experience he believed to presage his
Even though two family members (ages 12
and 18) consumed only small amounts of the
cooked mushrooms, the ensuing symptoms of
intoxication were no different from those observed
in family members who had eaten comparatively
larger portions. After several hours, the psychic and
perceptual disturbances subsided and finally
disappeared, without any lingering side effects.
Attempts to treat acute symptoms included
administration of emetics and fortifying tonics. In
the end, these potions were heralded as the crucial
treatment that "cured" the family.
For the most part it is extremely difficult, if
not impossible, to assemble complete and accurate
details on many aspects of magic mushroom history
from source materials available today. Thus, it is an
instance of rare good fortune and a boon to
mushroom historians that E. Brande's description of
a typical psilocybin syndrome was augmented by J.
Sowerby, author of "Coloured Figures of English
Fungi or Mushrooms" (London, 1803). Sowerby's
book included a rendition and description of the
mushroom species responsible for the poisoning
case described by Brande (see p. 17). Within the
context of Sowerby's book, only the variety of
mushrooms distinguished by their cone-shaped
caps were believed to cause intoxication. Figure
9 shows a typical rendition of Psilocybe
semilanceata. This mushroom species was
known to Sowerby's contemporaries as
"Agaricus glutinosus Curtis" and its descriptions
are fully compatible with current knowledge
about Psilocybe semilanceata.
A few years later, renowned Swedish
mycologist E. Fries referred to "Agaricus
semilanceatus" in his book entitled "Observationes
Mycologicae" (1818). Later on, the
same mushroom also appeared under the names
Coprinarius semilanceatus Fr. or Panaeolus
semilanceatus (Fr.) Lge. Not until 1870 did
Kummer and Quelet classify this mushroom as
a member of the genus Psilocybe.
Consequently, two valid designations may be
found in the literature:
-- Psilocybe semilanceata (Fr.) Kumm. or --
-- Psilocybe semilanceata (Fr.) Quel.
Around 1900, M. C. Cooke reported two or
three new instances of accidental mushroom
intoxication involving children in England.
Interestingly, Cooke noted that symptoms were
caused only by a variety of mushroom known to
turn blue (var. caerulescens). He
was the first mycologist to wonder if a bluing
variety of this species was poisonous, or if the
bluish color was induced by external factors,
causing changes in the mushroom's chemical
composition so as to render them poisonous.
A c Magic
mushroom spore Magic
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lose relative of Mexico's
psychoactive species, Psilocybe semilanceata is
a mushroom whose physical appearance
resembles Psilocybe semperviva Heim &
Cailleux and Psilocybe
Stalks generally single, sometimes clustered, from two to four inches in
height, the thickness of a goose quill, thread shaped whitish almost solid, the
tube being very small, glutinous; ring, a little below the cap, scarce
“ Cap, from one to two inches in breadth, of a brown color; in the full. grown
ones hemispherical, always convex, and more or lets glutinous; wet with
rain, it becomes browner and transparent,'so that it sometimes appears
“ Gills numerous, single, of a brownish purple color, clouded; whole ones
about twenty, horizontal, three shorter ones placed betwixt them; they throw
out a powder of a brownish purple color."
With respect to the use of it, he only says, « There is nothing acrimonious or
disagreeable in its taste, yet its appearance will not recommend it to the
lovers of mushrooms."
Figure 9 - Drawing and description of Psilocybe semilanceata by J. Sowerby (London, 1803).
1733. A. semilanceatus Fries (Observ. II. pag. 178).
Synon. : Agaricus semiglobatus Sowerby (Engl. Fungi taf. 240.
fig. 1-3). Hut etwas hautig, spitz kegelfdrmig, fast zugespitzt, 11/2 Cent.
breit, 1/2 Cent. hock, feucht klebrig, fein streifig, gelb oder grunlich,
zah, mit Anfangs umgeknicktem Rande und leicht trennbarer Oberhaut.
Stiel zah, gebogen, 11 Cent. hock, kahl, blass. Lamellen angeheftet,
aufsteigend, purpur-schwarz. Sporen ellptisch, hellbraun, 9 -16 u
lang, 4 - 9 u dick.
Ax Wegen, auf Grasphitzen, besonders wo Mist gelegen hat.
spitzkegeliger Kahlkopf (Psilocybe semilanceata). Kegel-glockenformig mit
papilenertiger spitze Hut-o,5-1 cm breit, bis 2cm hock, lehmfarben mit olivgrunem
Stich, klebrig. Lamellen breit, oliv-lehmfarben, spater purpurbraun.
Stiel schlank, glanzend. - Gedungte Wiesen, Wegrander. Stellenweise.
Figure 10 - Two descriptions of Psilocybe semilanceata from the German-language
literature. The first description (top) was written over a hundred years ago, while the
second one (bottom) dates to 1962. Significantly, the more recent entry classifies the
species as "essentially worthless". Also see Figure 11.
mexicana Heim. Like Psilocybe semilanceata, these
Mexican species thrive in meadows and pastures.
Another common trait among these species is the
rather subdued and subtle quality of their bluing
reaction. Recognition of these similarities with
Mexican species sparked the curiosity of scientists
who wanted to learn more about Europe's
Psilocybe species. A research team that included
A. Hofmann and R. Heim began to study samples
of Psilocybe semilanceata, in collaboration with C.
Furrer, a mycologist who examined fruiting bodies
collected in Switzerland and France. By 1963,
paper chromatography testing had yielded data of
historic significance. For the first time, scientists
had Growing Mushroom Kit Kit Mushrooms