|Hello and welcome to our News archives. In this section you will find newspaper clippings regarding the visionary mushrooms in Mexico. I Started to catalogue these clippings back in 1973.|
|New York Times
Thursday July 23, 1970
Hippies Flocking to Mexico for Mushroom ‘Trips’
Sierra Mazoteca [sic!], Mexico, July 22 (Reuters)
Hundreds of hippies are braving imprisonment and fines to penetrate this mushroom paradise in the State of Oaxaca, where the authorities are conducting a drive against mushroom eaters.
Below cascading waterfalls, in winding limestone caves, in empty mountain huts and in animal shelters, the mushroom eaters enjoy an idyllic existence gobbling up a few raw fungus that rockets them into a strange psychedelic orbit where they have hallucinations for hours.
The authorities, handicapped by the inaccessibility of the terrain, torrential rains that cut mountain tracks for days and the lack of cooperation from the local Indians—themselves avid mushroom eaters—have been unsuccessful in flushing out the addicts.
A correspondent who spent a week in the breath-taking beauty of the area between Teotitlan del Camino and Huautla de Jimenez, found no trace of troops but thousands of barefoot Indians who will trade enough fungus to dream away an entire day for a cigarette.
NO MORE CADILLACS
Gone are the days when late-modeled Cadillacs were parked beside the mountain tracks for weeks while time stood still for their American owners. Also gone are the days when high priests of the mushroom paradise held communal trips through the nights.
Before the crackdown Marragarito, guru of the mushroom addicts, used to gather up to 500 disciples on his mountain ranch to experience the strange hallucinary effects of the fungus, which was medicine, food and entertainment to Indians before Cortez conquered Mexico.
Now, fearful of the dreaded federal police, the mushroom seekers bypass sleepy Teotitlan de Camino, at the foot of the sierra, where villagers have baited hippies and where local officials cut beards and hair.
When they are spotted by Bartolome Mendez, the Teotitlan sheriff, the mushroom seekers are pounced upon by the District Attorney Jesus Martinez and his assistant Juan Hernandez, who drag them in for a complete search for narcotics.
Unless they can pay a heavy fine, the hippies are jailed for a few days and then run out of town.
Sympathetic Mazateco [spelled mazoteco in the article] Indians who do not speak Spanish guide the visitors on secret tracks past Teotitlan. Hidden in trucks, often soaked to the skin after days of traversing the moist mountains, always pursued by "the terror of the red jeep" – containing two immigration officials who patrol in search of foreign mushroom eaters—the travelers reach the center of the mushroom paradise at Puente de Fierro, 25 miles form Teotitlan and four hours by special four-wheel-drive bus.
There, in wooden shacks or in one of the hundreds of limestone caves away from the track, they live on berries and tortillas bought from the Indians, herbs and the abundant mushrooms. Neither soldiers nor immigration officials ever penetrate the dense growth.
Danny, from Chicago, who trekked through Mexico for two weeks with six other Americans, spent five nights in jail at small towns and paid 90% of his money in fines. "The fear is that they catch and deport you before you have eaten the mushrooms," he said. "Once you have eaten them, you don’t worry anymore." Danny’s companions – from New York, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Rhode Island – lived a month in the mushroom paradise.
LIKE A T-BONE STEAK
David from San Francisco, put the mushroom craving this way: "The difference between LSD and the mushrooms is the difference between a hamburger and a t-bone steak."
"In the city you suffer paranoia when you are on a trip – you always fear being busted while you are high," he went on, "Here the mountains protect you, you are away from the squares and the trips are good."
Mushroom eaters say they become super perceptive under the effects of the mushrooms. Their thoughts, fears, inhibitions, their faults and deeds, are multiplied hundreds of times into good or bad nightmares.
They journey aloof in a world of colors, symbols and separation. On the really great trips their minds slip from their bodies.
"You have to have good thoughts all the time, do good things, then your trips are good," said Carlos, A Mexican student who had been in the mushroom paradise for three months. "you do bad things and your trips are bad."
There is a close bond of friendship and spirit of survival between the mushroom eaters and the local people.
"We are brothers by the power of the mushrooms," Ronny a Texan said. :They share with us, we share with them. When we are sick, their women look after us. One of the boys had typhoid three weeks ago. One Indian walked across the mountains for two days to bring a herbalist, who cured him."
While the foreigners seek thrills and trips, the stocky Indians are worshipers of a pre-Hispanic cult, according to which they chant or stomp in rhythm when they eat the fungus.
They are without medicines, living off a beautiful but barren land where they raked out a miserable existence. "The god of the mushroom" heals their ills, keeping them strong, sound and incredibly sensitive.
"We ate mushrooms long before the first white man ever came here," said Florencia, who speaks Spanish. "We eat them in small numbers, we dream, but we eat them only when we need to and then with the right ritual."
The rituals very from burning incense and imploring the saints, gnomes and fairies of the mountains to meditation in front of the candles.
In the market of Huautla de Jimenez there are mushrooms for sale – tiny peak-hatted, long-stemmed pajaritos (birdies), the smallest variety: derumbes (landslides), which are larger, Santo Jesuchristos, the size of a dinner roll. All are consumed raw.
Nearby the municipal president Felicio Pineda, keeps two barefoot Indians armed with ancient shotguns as the villager’s official hippie-hunters.
"We can not allow the vice to spread," he said. "The mushrooms are a great medicine. Taken in right quantities they can do miracles."
New York Times
Thursday, July 23, 1970