Revisited January 24, 2005; July 29, 2007; November 5, 2007; and April 7, 2017.
Copyright 1998-2017 by John W. Allen.

A section devoted to newspaper clippings, unusual articles and some psilocybian mushroom trivia


Hello and welcome to our News archives. In this section you will find a wide variety of newspaper clippings regarding the visionary mushrooms. I Started to catalogue these clippings back in 1973.
They are arranged alphabetically by countries and newspapers and then Chronologically by dates.


Intelligencer & Wheeling News-Register
Wed, 15 May 2002

Newshawk: chip
Pubdate: Wed, 15 May 2002
Source: Intelligencer & Wheeling News-Register (WV)
Copyright: 2002 The Intelligencer & Wheeling News Register
Author: John Phillips

John Phillips

Approximately 50 people have been arrested in connection with picking of psilocybin mushrooms near Castleman's Run Road in Brooke County near Bethany.

Brooke County Sheriff Bernie Kazienko confirmed Tuesday the arrests have been made since May 1, and 30 more people face charges of picking the psilocybin mushroom.  Kazienko explained that the psilocybin mushroom, when ingested, produces a mild hallucinogenic effect or "buzz."

Psilocybin mushrooms are classified as a controlled substance under the West Virginia Controlled Substance Act.

"This is an annual event during the mushroom season, which is May through September," Kazienko explained.

"The last couple of years, we've been watching the area, and watching which mushrooms have been picked."

He said that while the arrests have been made during the initial investigation, many suspects also were charged with possession of marijuana either on their person or in vehicles.  Some individuals attempted to escape the area and were charged with fleeing from police.

"We've actually come in contact with approximately 100 people, and other charges are pending on close to a total of 80 individuals," Kazienko said.  "There are also juveniles involved."

He said the property is owned by Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp.  and that the steel company has been cooperative.

He also said he met with an environmentalist and an attorney from Wheeling-Pitt, which owns 160 acres in the area.

"We took them to the scene," Kazienko said, adding that since the meeting, Wheeling-Pitt has contacted the West Virginia University Extension Office and the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources.

"They wanted to see what they could do to eradicate the mushrooms," Kazienko said.

He said there are other options, such as using a bulldozer to clear the area.

"There will be costs for Wheeling-Pitt associated with that," Kazienko said.

Wheeling-Pitt has since hired security personnel to patrol the area.  Bethany College security also is involved in the patrolling.

"We're going to have people indicted by the grand jury on June 3 in connection with the mushroom incidents," Kazienko said.  "Some have been arrested for possession with intent to deliver the mushrooms and others for possession with intent to deliver marijuana."

Brooke County Sheriff's Deputy Steve Seminsky also has been working on the investigation and confirmed more warrants will be issued.  He said some plain clothes officers also have been on patrol.

"We're learning this has been going on for several years," Seminsky said.  "We've found people out there from the break of day to late evenings, just after dark." Seminsky said, explaining that none of those arrested had to be transported to the Brooke County Jail in Wellsburg, but were processed at the scene.

"Our biggest concern is the safety of the individuals," Seminsky added.  "We don't want them ODing on the mushroom or taking the wrong mushroom and dying."

Charges were were logged against people from Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

A person arrested for simple possession faces a misdemeanor charge and the penalties can include 90 days to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.  Persons also may be placed on probation for six months.

Persons found in possession of the mushrooms with intent to deliver or sell face a felony charge and that carries a prison term of one to five years, a fine of up to $15,000, or both. In addition, any property connected to the incident may be seized, pending forfeiture through the court system.

Police seize shroom supply

By Reed Williams, Daily Progress staff writer.October 29, 2004.

The Daily Progres . Com Charlottesville, Virginia

Local narcotics detectives raided an Albemarle County manís home late Wednesday and seized around 100 grams of hallucinogenic mushrooms, more than 60 ecstasy pills, a gun and about $2,300 in cash, authorities said.

Itís unusual for detectives with the Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement task force to find hallucinogenic mushrooms being grown, according to Sgt. John Baber. In 12 years with JADE, Baber could recall only one other such case.

ďItís rare we come across someone growing or manufacturing it,Ē he said.

Investigators arrested Ian J. Saul, 23, of 1077 Towne Lane, and charged him with possession of ecstasy with intent to distribute and manufacturing psilocybin mushrooms with intent to distribute, both felonies, Baber said.

Saul also was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession.

Additional firearm charges are pending, Baber said.

Detectives raided Saulís house at about 6 p.m. Wednesday after receiving a tip, Baber said. They found mushrooms in tubs and jars of chemicals for growing them, he said.

Authorities also found a .45-caliber pistol, 67 ecstasy pills and about 15 grams of marijuana, Baber reported.

Saul was arrested without incident. He was free on bond Thursday but could not be reached for comment.

Contact Reed Williams at (434) 978-7263 or fwilliams@


Kids Caught Picking Hallucinogenic Mushrooms
Posted Thursday, May 3, 2007 ; 06:53 PM
Updated Thursday, May 3, 2007 ; 08:16 PM

Authorities warn of their dangers.

Story by Dave Elias Email | Bio

WEIRTON -- Four people have been arrested for picking hallucinogenic Psilocybin mushrooms.

These mushrooms could harm or even kill someone if used improperly, police said.

WTRF's news cameras went into the woods with authorities and spotted the mushrooms right away.

Police warn if you get caught picking them you will be arrested.

The mushrooms are narcotics and considered the same as heroin or LSD, according to police.

Copyright 2007 West Virginia Media

A personal Letter to Reporter Dave Elias inregards to his news article.

Concerning your typical sensationalistic journalism over responsible reporting, I would like to inform you of a few comments in your report on the finding of Psilocybe ovideocystidiata, the species in question in your article on hallucinogenic mushrooms.

As usual, you, like most journalists and reporters, seem to take the word of the local police whose staements you published in your article, statements that you took for granted put forth to you by your local law enforcement officials as fact. Well it is not and the spkesperson who gave you information are full of it.

Officials who have no knowledge of mycology (the study of mushrooms) or mushrooms of any kind, including edibles, toxic or hallucinogenic, often provide fear and misrepresentation of what they are talking about in the matter of most drugs, mushrooms included.

ONE: Pilocybine containing mushrooms are nothing like heroin or LSD. The primary similarity is that the mushrooms and LSD work on the same part of the brain. The other similarity is that all three substances (psilocybine,LSD, and heroin) were placed in the same class of those drugs as listed in schedule I of the controlled Substances Act, which include heroin, lsd, mescaline, etc.

TWO: They do not cause death. To die one would have to consume their body weight in mushrooms. Something any person would be impossible to eat that many mushrooms or even more than a few pounds or more of food, pr consume 19 grams of the actual chemical substance, psilocine.

THIRD: They have never been a. substance of abuse or hold a high risk of abuse because if one consumes them on a daily basis for two or three days or more, the effects disappear due to tolerance which is highly developed in a person who eats said mushrooms on a regualr schedule.

FOUR: The mushrooms are completely out of your system within 24 hours.

FIVE: The mushrooms found in West Vitginia, including those recently a few years ago from Wheeler and Bethany, are a newly named species, Psilocybe ovoideocystidia.

I am currently legally studying those mushrooms in Bangkok at Chulalongkorn University for DNA sequencing, chemical analysis, SEM photography and cultivation and we are doing comparative analysis between P. ovoideocystidiata, the ones featured in your news cast and a sister species also found form North Carolina to Maine and southern Ontario to Michigan, Psilocybe caerulipes.

There are more than 200 species of magic mushrooms belonging to 11 families of which the majority are of the genus Psilocybe. And there are 27 known species of psilocybian fungi in the United States. 22 alone in the Pacific Northwest of America. They grow everywhere.

And I should also remind you that police could actually accidentally arrest people picking edible mushrooms which grow in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virgina and Michigan, all states with mycology clubs and with hundreds of people who love to pick morels and chantrelles and other edible species found in similar habitats other than along streams and river banks.

Those mushrooms in your video are also common in major cities in landscaped gardens and/or mulch beds in the hearts of most communities and suburbs. By the tens of thousands in some locations.

There area at least 5-7 different varieties in West Virginia and all do not grow in the woods.

One last point Dave Elias, Your quote from your article is incorrect also in this following matter:

"The mushrooms are narcotics and considered the same as heroin or LSD, according to police."

For a journalist, I am surprised that you do not understand the meaning of the word narcotic.

It comes from the Greek word, 'narcos' which implies to 'induce sleep' or numbness, narcotic, narcoleptic, etc. Neither mushrooms nor LSD puts users into such a state as to sleep or to be put into a stupor as in to put to sleep or drugged.

Mushrooms do not put anyone to sleep. They tend to keep thise who consume such fungi awake from four to six hours, and generally cause people to laugh. No one has died directly ever from eating hallucinogenic mushrooms, yet many mushrooms in the woods contain toxins which could kill someone if improperly picked and served as a source of food.

The chemicals in the mushrooms are directly related to serotonine (5-hydroxytryptamine, a neurotransmitter which is also common in the magic mushrooms as this chemical is also in the human brain.

Hallucinogeic mushroom use dates back as far as 9,000-years B.P. in Africa. In China from the 2nd century A.D., In Japan from the 1th Century, and in for more than 3,000-years of use in Mesoamerica, were in the latter they are used in divination and healing in Mexico.

If you would like to read up on some of the nature of these mushrooms than visit my website, which has over 10,000 photos and histories and distribution of species.

I have several of my books posted there and a few dozens of articles published in prestigious scientific journals.

Best regards

John W. Allen

I hope you find the time to put some corrections into your next story regarding these mushrooms.

I will post at my site your errors and name for references regarding your article so others may learn that again, another news story falsely reported mis-information to the public.



Weirton, West Virginia

May 20,2007


Five Arrested For Picking Illegal Mushrooms

POSTED: 9:52 pm EDT May 20, 2007

WEIRTON, W.Va. -- Panhandle Trail is a quiet, peaceful trail where many families enjoy walking or even biking. But there is something growing near the trail that's not so family friendly -- wild mushrooms containing psilocybin, a drug that causes hallucinations. For the second time in one month police have arrested a group of people they said were trying to pick them.

"I don't understand why people would want to do that to themselves. I mean I don't even like being on cold medicine. I can't imagine people wanting to be out of control with their mind," said trail walker R.J. Cooke.

Weirton police took five people into custody along the trail on charges of possession of marijuana and possession of illegal mushrooms around four oíclock Sunday afternoon. Police would not release their names, but said they got a tip from a trail walker who said they saw suspicious activity.

"I'm not exactly sure what they do with the mushrooms, but I've heard that they come out there and gather them," said trail walker Jim Virtue.

Police said they will not tolerate anyone picking the mushrooms. Currently, the five people arrested are facing misdemeanor charges, but could face felony charges in the future.

"I have a lot of friends that live in Weirton and they are concerned about it for their kids, themselves, and the criminal aspect," said Cooke.

Most of the people on the trail said it won't stop them from enjoying a weekly stroll , but they said they will report seeing any suspicious activity to police.

Copyright 2007 by

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