The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Mycology’s Greatest Hit *

* (restored)



‘The first well-documented hallucinogenic mushroom experience in Britain took place in London’s Green Park on 3 October 1799. Like many such experiences before and since, it was accidental. A man subsequently identified only as ‘J.S.’ was in the habit of gathering small field mushrooms from the park on autumn mornings, and cooking them up into a breakfast broth for his wife and young family. But this particular morning, an hour after they had finished eating, the world began to turn very strange. J.S. found black spots and odd flashes of colour bursting across his vision; he became disorientated, and had difficulty in standing and moving around. His family were complaining of stomach cramps and cold, numb extremities. The notion of poisonous toadstools leapt to his mind, and he staggered out into the streets to seek help. but within a hundred yards he had forgotten where he was going, or why, and was found wandering about in a confused state.

‘By chance, a doctor named Everard Brande happened to be passing through this insalubrious part of town, and he was summoned to treat J.S. and his family. The scene that he discovered was so bizarre and unfamiliar that he would write it up at length and publish it in The Medical and Physical Journal later that year. The family’s symptoms were rising and falling in giddy waves, their pupils dilated, their pulses and breathing becoming fluttering and laboured, then returning to normal before accelerating into another crisis. They were all fixated on the fear that they were dying, except for the youngest, the eight-year-old Edward S., whose symptoms were the strangest of all. He had eaten a large portion of the mushrooms and was ‘attacked with fits of immoderate laughter’ which his parents’ threats could not subdue. He seemed to have been transported into another world, from which he would only return under duress to speak nonsense: ‘when roused and interrogated as to it, he answered indifferently, yes or no, as he did to every other question, evidently without any relation to what was asked’.

‘Dr. Everard Brande would diagnose the family’s condition as the ‘deleterious effects of a very common species of agaric [mushroom], not hitherto suspected to be poisonous’. Today, we can be more specific: this was clearly intoxication by Liberty Caps (Psilocybe semilanceata), the ‘magic mushrooms’ which grow plentifully across the hills, moors, commons, golf courses and playing fields of Britain every autumn. But though Dr.Brande’s account of the J.S. family’s trip would not be forgotten, and would continue to be cited in Victorian drug literature for decades, the nineteenth century would come and go without any conclusive identification of the Liberty Cap as the species in question. In fact, it would not be until Albert Hoffman, the discoverer of LSD, turned his attention to hallucinogenic mushrooms in the 1950s that the botanical identity of these and other mushrooms containing psilocybin, LSD’s chemical cousin, would be confirmed.

‘But if they were obscure to Victorian science, there was another tradition which would appear to explore the ability of certain mushrooms to whisk humans off to another world: Victorian fairy lore. Over the nineteenth century, a vast body of art and literature would connect mushrooms and toadstools with elves, pixies, hollow hills and the unwitting transport of subjects to fairyland, a world of shifting perspectives and dimensions seething with elemental spirits. Is it possible that the Victorian fairy tradition, underneath its twee and bourgeois exterior, operated as a conduit for a hidden world of homegrown psychedelia, parallel perhaps to the ancient shamanic and ritual uses of similar mushrooms in the New World? Were the authors of such otherworld narratives – Alice in Wonderland, for example – aware of the powers of certain mushrooms to lead unsuspecting visitors to enchanted lands? Were they, perhaps, even writing from personal experience? … ‘




The Basics


Psilocybe cubensis is a medium strength or typical psilocybian mushroom consisting of approximately .63% psilocybin and .60% psilocin in dried wild mushrooms. Indoor cultivated mushrooms tend to have higher concentrations. Note that potency of mushrooms can vary greatly from one batch to the next. The following chart shows approximate oral dosages for (dried) Psilocybe cubensis in grams.

Threshold: .25 g (1/100 oz)
Light: .25 – 1 g (1/100 – 1/28oz)
Common: 1 – 2.5 g (1/28 – 1/10oz)
Strong: 2.5 – 5 g (1/10 – 1/6oz)
Heavy: 5 + g (1/4oz +)

Onset: 10 – 40 minutes (when chewed and held in mouth)
Onset: 20 – 60 minutes (when swallowed on empty stomach)
Duration: 2 – 6 hours
Normal After Effects: up to 8 hours

Comparative potency of selected Psilocybe mushrooms

Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms time lapse

Drying process of Psilocybe cubensis

Magic Mushroom: The Forbidden Fruit (5:13)


Dutch Ban Hallucinogenic Mushrooms

Associated Press, October 7, 2007: 

The Netherlands will ban the sale of hallucinogenic mushrooms, the government announced Friday, tightening the country’s famed liberal drug policies after the suicide of an intoxicated teenage girl. The ban in response to the death and other highly publicized adverse reactions involving the fungus is the latest backlash against the freewheeling policies of the past. Psilocybin, the main active chemical in the mushrooms, has been illegal under international law since 1971. However, fresh mushrooms continued to be sold legally in the Netherlands along with herbal medicines in so-called “smart-shops,” on the theory that it was impossible to determine how much psilocybin any given mushroom contains.

The outright ban came as a surprise: The government had solicited advice from vendors, advocacy groups and the city of Amsterdam, which benefits greatly from drug-related tourism, on how to improve the situation. Mushroom vendors suggested stricter ID controls to prevent underage buyers, and strong warnings against mixing mushrooms with other drugs. Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen had suggested a three-day “cooling off” period between ordering them and using them. The Justice Ministry decided those measures did not go far enough.

Guide to Amsterdam’s Smart Shops

Tatanka Mushroom Amsterdam

The Magic Mushroom Gallery Smartshop Amsterdam

The Rise of Psychedelic Truffles in Amsterdam

What are the best magic truffles in Amsterdam??




1. Psilocybe cyanescens: Psilocybe cyanescens grows on woody debris – in the presence of woodchips and mulched plant beds (particularly under rhododendrons). In the U.S., P. cyanescens occurs mainly in the Pacific Northwest, south to northern California. It can be found as well as in Western and Central Europe. This species was likely introduced to Europe, where it occurs mainly in cemeteries, botanic gardens and city parks.

List of the (186) known Psilocvybian Mushrooms

Comparative Psilocybian Mushroom Strengths
Images of the Different Species



30 Days of Magic Mushroom Hunting

The Hunt for Wild Magic Mushrooms


The Florida Mycology Research Center

Helping the research needs of Mycologists and Mushroom Growers since 1972

How To Place An Order:
FMRC no longer takes any credit card or online orders. This is because many are aware of all the records kept on such type orders. Although our customers order items from FMRC for Legal and Academic reasons, they do not want to be included in any “watched activity” or similar list, which the said OnLine method of payments can produce.

If you run across an item you wish to order, just write it down, include payment made out to FMRC, POB 18105, Pensacola, FL 32523, and just mail it in. Be sure to give a good readable shipping address. This is your best protection when ordering mycological items and it has proved itself since 1972.

Overseas And Out of Country Orders: Send payment in U.S. Dollars “CASH” or International Postal Money Order. Any check or Postal Money Order must be drawn on an U.S. Bank. If you send cash, large amounts should be insured. Canada orders should send “Canadian Postal Money Orders” making sure the amount is in U.S. Dollars and not Canadian Currency. These can be bought at your local post office. Payments should also include extra funds to cover Airmail Shipping. Without extra funds for this postage, orders are shipped by low cost land or boat. This can take many weeks sometimes. You may contact us at if you have any questions or need help with the extra money needed for this Overseas and Out of Country shipping.

For mail orders, simply write or type items you wish to order. Use catalog numbers whenever they are given. Always give complete description of item. Show what item cost. Total up the entire order. There are no other hidden charges like postage, handling, or insurance. You send only the amount listed. The best method of payment is a U.S. Postal Money Order made out to FMRC. Personal checks are accepted. FMRC will replace any item which is faulty, and will stand behind products listed in this catalog 100%.

As all products offered by FMRC are for “In-Vitro research purposes only, FMRC waves all responsibility for any injuries or legalities incurred through the use or mis-use of any products it sells.

Update (2019): The Florida Mycology Research Center has had its DEA registration revoked because primary researcher provided psilocybin mushrooms to non-DEA registered individuals and let visitors keep such mushrooms that they found on his property.

Get your mushrooms here (defunct)


The Effects


Physical: Physical effects are all related to how many mushrooms are consumed. Low doses exhibit effects along the lines of feelings of relaxation or peace, a feeling of heaviness or lightness, and loss of appetite. Higher doses cause numerous effects like a feeling of coldness in some users, numbness of the mouth and adjacent features, nausea, weakness in the limbs (making locomotion difficult), excessive yawning which usually occurs during the come-up, swollen features, pupil dilation, and stiffness in points of the body, often the result of the users staying in awkward positions because of their inability to accurately judge the flow of time and their level of fatigue.

Sensory: As with many hallucinogens, the sensory effects are often the most dramatic of the experience. Most general doses cause a noticeable enhancement and contrasting of worldly colors, surfaces that seem to ripple, shimmer, or breathe, and some visual hallucinations. Heavy experiences cause complex open and closed eye visuals, objects that warp, morph, or change solid colors (juxtaposed with the free-flowing and changing colors of LSD), a sense of melding into the environment, trails, and auditory hallucinations. Intriguingly, some users speak about the feeling of their senses overlapping or synesthesia. A rather interesting genetic trait (which occurs in 1 in every 23 individuals), it causes, for example, a visualization of color upon hearing a particular sound.

Emotional: Feelings of euphoric bliss, relaxation, peace, wonder, anxiety, or fear have all been reported. A childlike sense of intrigue about the world on common doses is contrasted with cosmic revelations and perceptions of a “higher power” on large amounts. Some users may experience intense episodes of hilarity. Emotions can be experienced with increased sensitivity. Heavier trips carry the increased possibility of a surreal event known as ego death, whereby the user loses the sense of boundaries between their self and the environment, creating a sort of perceived universal unity. Also, anxiety and paranoia are possible and if they become severe enough they could culminate into a bad trip.

Psychological: Mushrooms cause the mind to conduct itself in an unusual manner. Abstract thoughts develop and are often difficult to explain to others correctly. A more-thorough thought pattern becomes apparent, climaxing in deep philosophical or introspective silence. Complex personal issues may be taken on full force by more experienced users, helping them arrive at a conclusion and make an appropriate change to their lifestyle. During this process, a user may also gain a new perspective on a thought they’ve held for years. The mind seems to flow more lucidly from idea to idea, making such things as improvisation easier. The natural filters of the mind are bypassed, causing a large increase in mental stimulation and creativity. Time dilation has been reported, with minutes and seconds taking an unusually large amount of time to pass. There may also be some indecisiveness in deciding what to do or get.

Bad Shroom Trip — Jefferson Street Incident

Heroic 8 Gram Shroom Trip Report


61 Year Old Tries “Magic Mushrooms”



María Sabina was the Mazatec curandera from Oaxaca, Mexico who encountered the amateur mycologist and international banker R. Gordon Wasson on a trip to Mexico in 1955. On June 19th, 1955 she introduced him to psilocybin mushrooms during a healing ceremony. He became the first Westerner to experience the effects of these psychedelic fungi, followed shortly thereafter by Valentina Wasson. Wasson wrote about his experience with María and the psilocybin mushrooms in an article for Life Magazine in 1957.

In the Life Magazine article, Wasson referred to María Sabina as “Eva Mendez” in an attempt to protect her privacy, but the attempt failed. Over the coming years, María Sabina was inundated with visitors from the United States. The onslaught of “young people with long hair who came in search of God” disrupted her village and led to her arrest on more than one occasion by local federales. She sometimes turned visitors away, and sometimes introduced them to the mushrooms they sought, occasionally charging a fee, and often not.

María Sabina died in 1985 at the age of 91.


In the movies

Shrooms (2007)

‘A group of walking clichés are on a trip into the countryside of Ireland for the sole reason of getting high off the mushrooms that grow out there. Tara (Lindsey Haun) ends up eating a deathcap mushroom after being told not to & suffers a seizure. Afterwards she is able to see future events when entering a kind of trance…but she can’t control it.

‘She sees all her friends & herself being killed off by a hooded & cloaked killer which may or may not be related to a local ghost story. A story that relates to a crazed monk who worked in a children’s home nearby.

‘Unsurprisingly the cast begin to get picked off by a hooded & cloaked killer. Tara tries to use her visions to save everyone but they always seem to come too late. Coincidental, eh?

‘Throw in a whole load of attempts to give the film a ‘trippy’ feel, two random hicks that are bit ‘rapey’ & a twist that is so obvious it’s almost insulting & what you have is a way below average slasher horror movie.

‘Shrooms was popular when it first came out in 2007. Looking at it now, that makes no sense. It doesn’t have an original bone in its entire body. The cast are incredibly forgettable.’ — Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life




‘After an awkward teen boy and his girl crush switch bodies after taking mushrooms, he discovers that attraction is more complicated than he thought. Magic Mushrooms is an unexpected, wry reflection on gender identity and coming-of-age sexuality.’ — Canadian Film Fest



The Secret of the Magic Mushroom (2016)

‘There’s the tall one and there’s the short one. They are best friends. In order to celebrate a drunken four-eyes party, they go deep into woods of Silschede. Soon the alcohol makes them more aggressive than it’s good for them. Tey starting a silly punching game in which the tall one kills the short one. He is shocked and can’t believe it. When he tries to dispose the body a wicked dwarf is suddenly around him and tells him of a rare kind extremely vitalizing mushrooms, which can bring his dead friend back to life again. But to find these magic mushrooms is everything else but easy…and who knows if those mushrooms really got the effect the dwarf is promising.’ — Werner Timm, IMDb

the entire film


The Psychonaut (2015)

‘Comedian Shane Mauss goes on a series of adventures to deepen his understanding of psychedelics. He describes the indescribable and takes us through some of his most intense experiences, while getting the added perspectives of some of the top scientists and experts in this realm. With moments of both confusion and clarity, this documentary is an honest account of the experiences of a genuine Psychonaut.’ — Psychedelic Experience



Mushrooms and the Law


USA: Psilocybin mushrooms are not specifically named in the U.S. federal scheduling system, however their two primary active chemicals Psilocybin and Psilocin are both Schedule I in the United States. This means they are illegal to manufacture, buy, possess, or distribute (sell, trade or give) without a DEA license. Fresh and dried psilocybin mushrooms are considered containers of Psilocybin and Psilocin, making them illegal to possess as well.

Because spores contain no psilocybin or psilocin, they are legal to sell and possess (in all states except California, Georgia, and Idaho). But in most states, it is illegal to cultivate or propogate spores into mycelium since mycelium generally contains both psilocybin and psilocin.

Some states in the U.S. (Florida, New Mexico) and some countries have ruled that growing psilocybe mushrooms does not qualify as ‘manufacturing’ a controlled substance (psilocybin).

International: Country by country

Tested for in Standard Drug Tests? NO
Tested for in Extended Drug Tests? Sometimes
Possible to test for? YES
Detection Period in Urine: 1-3 days

The first thing to know about mushrooms and drug tests is that psilocybin and psilocin, the primary psychoactive substances in psilocybe mushrooms, are not commonly tested for in the standard drug test. The basic drug test, currently used for nearly all corporate and sports testing programs, checks for 5 types of substances

Cannabinoids (marijuana, hash)
Cocaine (cocaine, crack, benzoylecognine)
Amphetamines (amphetamines, methamphetamines, speed)
Opiates (heroin, opium, codeine, morphine)
Phencyclidine (PCP)

Even the extended employment drug tests used by most companies do not test for the presence of psilocybin or psilocin. For more information on the basic and extended drug tests…see the Drug Testing Vault.

It is, however, technically possible to detect psilocybin and psilocin with a drug test and we have received reports of psilocybin testing during criminal probation and a school-related drug test. Because they are less standard, these tests are more expensive to give than the basic test. The more expensive and comprehensive drug tests are sometimes used in cases where there is specific reason to believe that psilocybin mushrooms use is an issue; for example, an individual who is on probation for mushroom use might be specifically tested for the presence of psilocybin in hir system. However, generally mushroom use does not cause an individual to test positive on most random drug tests given by an employer or school.



p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Nice that you’re a familiar with Borowczyk’s films. I wondered. Thanks! ** Corey Heiferman, Hi, Corey. Thank you a million too for … being you? Yep. Wow, it is definitely not every day that one finds anyone, much less a video store clerk, much less a grumpy one, who loves ’11 x 17′. A sign from somewhere, above presumably. I’m a longtime sort of lifelong Nintendo guy. They, and living god Miyamoto in particular, are the masters of the adventure/strategy game, if you ask me. Whew, congrats on acing that test! Well, Zac and I are very instructive with the performers in our films. Their performances are highly shaped and placed, but what we do is work with who the performers are, what they do well, how they speak and move, so the instructing, etc. is very much about find the best way to make who they naturally are radiate outworks and fix within the film. And we’re interested in the instances where their performances go out of bounds. Usually it’s due to a necessity on their part to exceed their given perameters to make what we’re asking them to do feel true, and the takes when they ‘disobey’ have often been the most exciting ones that we end up using. So it’s a mix. It’s not a matter of bossiness, or let’s say that none of our performers have ever expressed any objection at all to what we ask them to do or how we ask. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Definitely difficult to impossible to predict the Cannes decisions, as proven almost every year. The closing ceremony is this evening, and I’ll be glued to the live TV broadcast. ‘Parasite’ is definitely in the running, I think. At least over here, it and the Malick have probably been the most rapturously received. Maybe the Almodovar, yeah, although the reactions here in France have been mixed on it. No, the Kechiche film has been heavily derided and hated here. It’s the festival’s big disaster, they say. Oh, wow, I don’t think I know anything about that ’70s punk and poetry book you mentioned. Huh. I’ll see what I can find out. That’s obviously cool and flattering that I’m part of it. Thanks for telling me. ** _Black_Acrylic, That’s a wacked out, fun film, right? The pic of the Rachel Woodside piece is intriguing. I wish I could see that show, obviously. Have a great weekend, pal. ** Nick Toti, Hey there, Nick! Awesome about the new screening. Damn, I’m so sorry for myself that I’m not in LA to see your series. That sucks. Everyone in, around, near Los Angeles, The excellent brain and talent Nick Toti is curating a film series at the great Poetic Research Bureau, and his next entry is tonight. If you’re there, go go go. Seriously. Here’s Nick to tell you about it. Nick: ‘This Saturday night, 951 Chung King Road once again opens its doors and lends its venue to a new screening series programmed by Nick Toti. This installment will feature the U.S. premiere of ‘the greatest movie that never should have been made by the greatest filmmaker you’ve never heard of’: Zachary Oberzan’s The Great Pretender. The Great Pretender could be conveniently described as an unauthorized remake of Abbas Kiarostami’s Close-up, but it is actually much, much more than that: an examination of the absurdities of fame and creativity, a concert by an Elvis impersonator, and a guided meditation through the dark corner’s of Oberzan’s neuroses. It is the type of movie that descriptions can do no justice, so come witness it for yourself!’ Here’s all the info you need.. I hope it goes great and no doubt! ** Okay. Partly instigated by Colorado’s recent legalising of magic mushrooms, I have hauled this weekend’s old post out of the graveyard for you. Parts are a bit out of date, but hopefully its charm, etc. are still relatively in tact. See you on Monday.


  1. David Ehrenstein

    Mycology or as Anita Pallenberg said to James Fox in “Performance” — “You had one for dinner.”

  2. Misanthrope

    Dennis, I used to know a guy -we did acid together while doing community service almost 30 years ago (I have no idea how I got home)- who dropped acid almost every day for a very long time, and then had his worst experience ever with mushrooms. He said they were strange looking and had this rainbow color to them when he took the caps off. Worst trip of his life and it made him sick to think about it. I always found that interesting and funny.

    I haven’t eaten Taco Bell in ages. I only go to higher-grade Mexican restaurants when I want Mexican. I don’t know if it’s snobbery or just health consciousness. To be fair, I’ve not eaten at any other fast food joint, except Popeye’s or KFC, in several years, and then, I only will hit one of those once every…6 months or so? If that.

    But I do see the appeal of a quick hit at any of those places. Weird that Taco Bell is the healthiest. I guess it depends on what you get, right?

    I was just talking to LPS yesterday about this. I’ve worked a number of fast food jobs in my life. I told him that if he gets the job, he shouldn’t get aggravated or angry or put out by the hectic-ness of it. There will be rushes that will be crazy at certain times and he shouldn’t get to the point where he allows himself to be so pissed off that he does something stupid. In MD, minimum wage is $10.10 an hour right now, so it’s much better than the $4.25 to $5.50 I was making back in the day in horrendously hot kitchens with people ordering 20 hamburgers at a time because there was a $1.00 hamburger special going on. 😀

    I’m thinking the whole crew that will probably go to see CROWD is going to enjoy the hell out of it.

    McEwan is really good. Of his earlier work, people really love his Comfort of Strangers. I could see you liking that. Or The Cement Garden, one of my faves of his. (The movie wasn’t bad either.)

    His early stuff dealt with more graphic and extreme content (things like incest and whatnot, much more violence), but as he’s gotten older, his writing’s gotten better and more subtle and layered and is deceptively effortless. Very efficient too. He addresses the same types of themes but without going over the top with his subject matter, though he will sneak that in there at times. I always got this feeling that he used the more extreme stuff to compensate for his lesser but burgeoning skill as a writer. (Oh, God, I just realized you could take the above as a swipe at you; it’s not: you two are doing entirely different things, particularly with your use of more extreme subject matter, and frankly, I think you’re a better writer, though he’s really good too. I always took his use of such stuff as “look at me, I’m extreme and daring!” whereas your stuff isn’t like that at all, it’s very matter of fact and just punches you right in the fucking gut.)

    He does have this tendency in some of his books to “tell” way too much, especially when it comes to what motivates his characters. When he doesn’t do that, he’s at his best.

    Three-day weekend for me because of Memorial Day on Monday. Kind of weird because I remember stuff every day.

  3. David Ehrenstein

    Is everyone in L.A. out of town for the long weekend? If not and you’d liketo score some bargains in DVDs, CDs and Books, write me at

  4. _Black_Acrylic

    Mushrooms were never a thing for my crowd back in the day. Not really sure why not as the drug’s always been so cheap and abundant, maybe that’s why filthy capitalist dealers could never turn much of a profit from them.

    I went to the DCA Cine Sunday event this morning to see Beats, a kitchen sink realist depiction of the 90s Scottish rave scene. The soundtrack was selected by legendary Glasgow DJs Optimo so the music was 100% great, and the whole thing carries an overall tang of authenticity. My friend Andrew messaged me to say he’s in the film as an extra in the the rave sequence: “everyone is going mental except me for some reason, leaning against a speaker stack staring into space.” Also coffee, breakfast and a cinema ticket for £8 is always a good deal.

  5. Steve Erickson

    I hope this isn’t hopelessly pedantic, but what happened re: mushrooms in the US is much more limited than your description. Colorado didn’t legalize them, the city of Denver decriminalized their possession. It’s still illegal to sell them there, and possession’s still illegal everywhere else in the state. But hopefully people will see that the sky’s not going to fall in if the US stops arresting people for using drugs, although only 11 people were arrested for magic mushroom possession in Denver last year.

    PARASITE did win the Palme D’Or! I was surprised that it’s the first Korean film to do so. I’m seeing the Almodovar film on June 4th.

  6. Nick Toti


    Thanks again for sharing the info. The Oberzan screening went great! This was the first time I’ve seen any of his movies with an audience, which was a lot of fun. Have you seen any of his work?

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