Revised February 24, 2006 and November 3, 2007
Copyright 1998-2007 by John W. Allen

Copelandia cyanescens (Berk. & Broome) Singer


Hello and welcome to our News archives. In this section you will find several newspaper clippings regarding the occurrence and use of visionary mushrooms in Hawaii.
They are arranged alphabetically by newspapers and then Chronologically by dates.

A page devoted to newspaper clippings from the Hawaiian Islands

Wednesday March 11, 1961-Page A11

'Sacred Mushrooms' Are Sought on Kauai

A Search for a "sacred mushroom" that may have played an important roll in ancient Hawaiian religious rites moved to Kauai yesterday.

Dr. Andrija Puharish, Califonia psychic research scientist, and kahuna David Bray, Honolulu, a leading teacher of Hawaiian religion will spend two days on the Garden Islem studying records of Hawaiian culture.

Puharich came here in late February seeking evidence that a mushroom may have been used in early religious rites.

He indicated yesterday that he has not uncovered conclusive proof supporting the mushroom theory.

The "sacred mushroom" is know to have played an important roll in ancient Mexican Indian religious rites, according to Puharich.
When eaten the mushroom, which is still grown in Mexico, gives extra-sensory perception.

A similarity between the Hawaiian word "akua" referring to the supernatural and the word "aku" with a similar meaning in five other areas of the world, brought Puharich to Hawaii.

The Carmel, California scientist expects to continue his research here until March 26 when he will return home.

Tuesday December 26, 1972-Page c4

Mushroom Eater Dies
A mainland youth living in a tent at Mokuleia died yesterday with symtoms of a highly toxic poison after eating about 10 "magic mushrooms" Friday.

He was John Gomilla Jr., 18. of Bowie, Md., who resided here sevral months, mostly with friends on the North Shore.

Doctors studying case suspect that mushroom poisoning or muscarine poisoning caused his death, but the City Medical Examiner's Office will determine the cause.

Gomilla became seriously ill Friday night and was taken to Wihiawa General Hospital, where he was admitted at 3:20 a.m. Saturday.

He was suffering from severe diarrhea and vomiting spasms and showed other signs of muscarine poisoning, doctors said.

He denied eating anything except the mushrooms which were picked in pastures around Mokuleia. He had no reason--ill as he was--to hide anything, said a doctor.
THE SO-CALLED "magic mushrooms" are eaten commonly for their hallucinogenic effect, which apparently is not lessened if they are cooked.

"Other people have eaten them with no ill effects," said the doctor. "this boy had eaten them before, and so had his friends."

"But this time he had a violent reaction to something he ingested, and he said that all he ate was the mushrooms and not a large amount."

Investigators went with his friends yesterday to the area where the youths had picked the suspected mushrooms and harvested some for a toxicological study.


Tuesday December 26, 1972

'Magic Mushrooms' Cause Death Here
A tent dweller at Mokuleia died yesterday from apparent muscarine poisoning after eating a number of "magic mushrooms" over the weekend, police said.

The victim John Gomilla Jr., 18, of Bowie, Md., had lived for some months on the North Shore.

He became seriously ill and was taken to Wahiawa General Hospital, where he later died. The mushrooms he had eaten were picked in pastures around Mokuleia, he told doctors.

The "magic mushrooms" are widely consumed by persons in the area for their hallucinogenic effect, police said.

Gomilla said he had been eating them regularly for six months.

An investigation is continuing.

Wednesday December 27, 1972-Page B8

An autopsy is to be done this morning on the body of a mainland youth who died Monday after eating a number of "magic mushrooms."

He was living in a tent in Mokuleia.

The City Medical Examiners Office is to determined the cause of death to John Gomilla Jr., 18, of Bowie, Md., who died with symptoms of a highly toxic poison

The boys doctor, Dr. William Wilkinson, said other people have eaten the mushrooms, picked in pastures around Mokuleia, with no ill effects.

Thursday, December 28, 1972. page B6

Death Cause Not Revealed
The city Medical Examiner's Office yesterday deferred announcing the cause of death of a Mainland youth who died Monday after eating about 10 "magic mushrooms" on the North Shore.

Dr. Alvin Majoska, a contract pathologist in the Medical Examiner's Office said he will continue to investigate "specimens" from the victim's body.

Before dying, john Gomilla Jr., 18, of Bowie, Maryland, told doctors at the Wahiawa General Hospital he had eaten nothing except the mushrooms, which have the reputation of producing hallucinogenic effects.

Gomilla told doctors he picked the mushrooms near Mokuleia and ate them Friday. He became ill Friday night, was taken to the hospital early Saturday morning and died Monday.

Majoska said Gomilla's body was autopsied yesterday and will be released to the family of the youth

Thursday March 1, 1973. Page a16

Drugs Cited In Mushroom Eater's Death

A spokesman for the Honolulu Medical Examiner's Office said yesterday that the death of a youth who had eaten a number of "magic mushrooms" was caused by "poisoning due to drugs, probably heroin."

However, Dr. Alvvin majoska, a contract pathologist in the Medical Examiner's Office, said his findings did not rule out the possibility of mushroom poisoning.

"There was no evidence toxicologically of poisoning by mushrooms," Majoska said. "There was a small amount of morphine found in him...I don't believe he died of mushroom poisoning, but there is no way of knowing if he ate a toxic mushroom."

Before dying on Christmas day, the youth -- John Gomilla Jr., 18, of Bowie, Md. -- told doctors at the Wahiawa General Hospital that he had eaten nothing except the "magic mushrooms" picked in pastures at Mokuleia.

Investigators picked a sample of the suspected mushrooms. Tests failed to show any poison in the mushrooms, Majoska said.

What the mushroom tests found was that the "magic mushroom" is hallucinogenic when eaten, Majoska said.

Majoska said a report on the tests will be sent tot he State Department of Health.

Dr. Walter Quinsenberry, State Health director, said last night he will assign the staff members from the Food and Drug Division to investigate the hallucinogenic effects of the "magic mushrooms."

Thursday, March 1, 1973. Page B1.

Heroin Apparently Killed 'Magic Mushroom' Victem
A youth who ate "magic mushrooms" shortly before his death, died from "poisoning due to drugs, probably heroin," said Dr. Alvin V. Majoska, of the Medical Examiner's Office.

Before he died on Christmas Day, John Gomilla Jr., 18, of Bowie, Md., told doctors at Wahiawa General Hospital that he had eaten "magic mushrooms" picked at Mokuleia.

Majoska did not rule out the possibility of mushroom poisoning but said there was no evidence to substantiate it.

Eating wild mushrooms is extremely dangerous because an amateur cannot tell the difference between toxic and non-toxic mushrooms, Majoska said.

"Anybody who is picking wild mushrooms and eating them is playing Russian roulette," he said.

"That's why we have so many mushroom deaths in this country."

"There was a small amount of morphine found in his bile," Majoska said.

The alleged type of mushrooms that he ate were identified as hallucinogenic mushrooms," Majoska said.

Specimens of body liquids were sent to the medical examiner's office in Dallas, Texa for tests, he said.

That's where the morphine was detected.

"He was a known heroin addict until age 16, but he claimed he quit," Majoska said.

He said that "toxins of poisonous mushrooms rapidly metabolize" and do not stay long in their pure form long enough to permit analysis.

Saturday January 31, 1981


Police arrested five University of Hawaii dormitory students and three Kailua high school students as they harvested hallucinogenic "magic mushrooms" near Kawainui swamp.

All were booked for promotion of dangerous drugs, a felony.

Police stressed that the mushrooms can be lethal and are considered dangerous drugs under state law. Kailua police officers and narcotic detectives will be checking likely growring areas in Kailua.

Acting Major Frank Sua of the vice division said the mushrooms grow on cow dung in low swampy areas such as pastureland around Kawainui.

He said a 14-year-old boy suffered an overdose Jan. 15 og the mushroom's drug, psilocybin, which has effects similar to the mescaline found in peyote "buttons" harvested from cactus.

He said the boy's stomach had to be pumped out at Castle Memorial Hospital. People have died from overdoses, he added.

The day before the boy's overdose, a plainclothes officer was offered a packet of magic mushrooms. So Sua's men, learning where the mushrooms were growing, staked out the pasture area beside Kaelepulu Stream near the intersection of Kailua Road and Hamakua Drive.

Two men were stopped while harvesting a few days later and their product analyzed, confirming the hallucinogen was present. The university students arrested yesterday were booked as adults, then released pending laboratory analysis of their mushrooms. The juveniles were turned over to their parents. 

Monday February 9, 1981-Page A-2


Kailua police arrested three Kaneohe marines, two Schofield Barracks soldiers and a Kahaluu resident that officers said they saw harvesting "magic mushrooms" in a Kawainui Swamp Pasture at 8 a.m. yesterday.

The six men, booked for investigation of possessing dangerous drugs, a felony punishable by a prison sentence, were later released without charges pending further investigation.

On Jan. 30, police narcotics detectives arrested five University of Hawaii students and three Kailua high school students picking the mushrooms off manure in the same marshy area near Kailua Road and Hamakua Drive.

Charges against those eight are still pending.

Police at the time said they were aware that young people had been gathering the mushrooms, which they said can be lethal, and that officers on random patrol would be checking pasture areas where the mushrooms grow.

Detectives said a 14-year-old Kailua boy was hospitalized Jan. 16 for an overdose of the mushrooms' hallucinogen psilocybin, which has effects similar to mescaline, derived from peyote cactus buds.

February 14, 1981. Page A19.
Mushrooms and Marijuana

By Wally Bachman (A high School Math teacher and Marijuana Advocate).

America has been a great country because we were proud of our basic right -- life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the freedom of religion. However, it is sad to say today, that each of these is in danger.

Our live are threatened by the phenomenal increases of poison pollutants in the air, water, and all over this once fair land

The best antidote to this proliferation of chemical rubbish in the environment, food supply, and pharmacies is clean living with plenty of good food and exercise. If aches and pain sets in, marijuana is the safest medicine. Even aspirin is more toxic.

Marijuana works so well that the drug companies are afraid to release it -- just like DMSO. These are both potentially detrimental to multi-million dollar drug companies profits.

The newest lie is to support alcohol's monopoly in the field of recreational drugs is the false claim that "magic mushrooms" are suppose to be "lethal."

Too many might make a person ill -- an empty stomach is usually advised -- but there have been no deaths attributed to mushrooms containing only psilocybin, such as the ones that grow here. Most people associate them with a religious experience.

Drugs like alcohol and nicotine are often lethal. Should we make felons out of all bartenders and cigarette sellers? Should we stop the sale of all morning glory seeds because they contain small amounts of LSD? Should we make all farmers clean up after their cows?

Let's be sensible and accept God's gifts with respect and love rather than criminal charges.

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