Created January 1, 2012. Revised May 14, 2013; May 29, 2013; and May 7, 2017.
Copyright 1998-2017 by John W. Allen.


Originally Published In:
Journal of Psychedelic Drugs vol. 8(1):43-57. January-March, 1976.


Please take note that when Dr. Steven Hayden Pollock wrote this paper in the mid-1970s that the following and somewhat confusing study presented several dozen errors related to the known species of the Genus Panaeolus especially those species of Panaeolus that had previously been reported in numerous academic journals and other publications of both non-fiction and literature of the times. Many of these field guides for mushroom identification ofter listed such Panaeolus and some Psilocybe species as possibly being psychoactive due to their relatonship with active known species that contain the mind-altering alkaloids psilocine and psilocybine. Those articles that erroneously described such species have been dated back to as far as the Chin Dynasty in China from the 2nd century A.D. up to and including the later 17th and 18th centuries. Until this paper by Dr. Pollock appeared in 1976, a majority of mycologists, botanists, theologists, and scholars in related sundry fields of endeavor all relied on those early journal publications of ingestions of fungi that caused strange behavior and uncontrolable laughter. They soon put forth to pen and ink, the tales of long ago incidents of magical intoxications and then frought forth and brought to the attention of the public and academic community those writings as being the sound of reason for their further studies into these interesting mushrooms.

Readers, please take note that in the Spring-Summer of 1976, this document was considered by scholars, as well as Dr. Pollock's peers, to be an outstanding revelation in a new field of pioneering research of the reviewed literature and studies that made possible to the world through academic publications; The spread of the power these mushrooms imbued upon those who consumed them. Some of these very authors are noted below here and elsewhere, and their subsequent writings about these special fungi became the base foundation for what is now described as the "Field of Ethnomycology." That phrase was coined by renown ethnomycologist R. Gordon Wasson, an autodidact scholar, banker, Wall Street financier and sudden amateur mycologist who opened the door of the mushroom world of magic by spreading his studies from simple mycology in this new field of study as 'ethnomycology.' This field has now grwon into dozens of sub-sundry fields of research all related to those linked in one way or another to the study of all mushrooms in various fields of research and laid numerous new fields of study for those whose interest lay in the newly founded and formed group of scholars.

Many of those scholars who soon joined and followed in the footsteps of R. Gordon Wasson, his wife Valentina, and French mycologist Roger Heim (pronounced as 'em'). Short biographies of many of these mushroomic scholars are noted in my cd-rom, Mushroom Pioneers that is posted here on my website and relates to the reader, some of the pioneering research that led Wasson and or followed Wasson on his many voyages into the realm of the studies of visionary mental science. Such intrepid Mushroom Pioneers whose interest spread into the field of magic mushrooms included: Blas Pablo Reko, Richard Evans Schultes, R. Gordon Wasson, Albert Hofmann, Gastón Guzmán, Rolf Singer, Palacios of Oaxaca, Alexander H. Smith, Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner, Jonathan Ott, Gary Lincoff, Paul Stamets, and Sasha Shulgin, all who contributed greatly to bring about a real new world of study for those interested in new medicines that might help in the control of ones mind and the mind medicine and healing plants that they discovered from far away and brought such knowledge to the attention of Western Civilization. In the early 1930s to the the mid 1950s, these intrepid scholars and their many contributions often contained a plethora of misinformation due to their reliance on information obtained from their studies of those who came before them and also from the many published reviews containing errors that they further spread across the academic community throughout the world and at the time, even unto their own publications that appeared in print in the Spring-Summer of 1976 as a prelude to words that were written centuries ago and were somewhat often confusing and presented a display of mycophobic behavior from those who chronicled the tale of the Spanish Invaders. They were the first to present a false impression, providing their mycophobin interpretations of what occurred when one consumed these nasty-bitter tastiong fungi. Between the late 1500s until the year 1900, only 50 or so known papers existed that made reference to the posssibility that there were mushrooms being used by shamanic healers as tools to aide in ancient healing and curing ritualistic ceremonies. Thus, the research posted here by Dr. Steven Pollock is important literature that became at the time of their publications, historical documents, xondisdered as absolutely resolate in the fields of both this paper on Panaeolus species that were once believed to be active due to certain tryptamine alkaloids and years later their early chemical analysis became known as false positives. That came about through faulty and irresponsible chemical analysis and human error. This is also true in Dr. Steven Hayden Pollock's paper on alleged known species of Psilocybe, in which Dr. Pollock noted mumerous species that he described as psilocybian fungi were later determined to not be active species. It wasn't untill many years later that we learned of the massive confusion that Dr. Pollock wrote of when he thought he was presenting to the academic and public communities what he believed to be actual active species. However, today we know from present studies that numerous species that Dr. Pollock wrote of in this study here were not active at all. In fact, most Panaeolus species discussed in this PDF file below were erroneously misidentified as psilocybian fungi, determined throught new analysis that proved they did not contain the active tryptamine alkaloids that many of us in this field of study are interested in.

Since only fifty known publications occurred between the 15th century up to the early 1900s, we learned that those words were all written in Spanish from the Nahuautl language and today they are now available in English> We also now know that there are more than 3000 known published papers, books, reviews, news items, journal article publications and each year, a dozen new field guides and books are being written and published about these wonderful and yet somewhat very mysterious magical mushrooms. At the time of this publication, the majority of data provided here, as noted above, was most likely obtained from PNW studies of known local and Mexican active species based on Singer and Smith's 1958 Monograph of the Genus Psilocybe as published Vol. 50 of the 1958 journal, Mycologia. Both this paper and Dr. Steven Hayden Pollock's paper on the Genus Psilocybe tell of the use of these sacred mushrooms by indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica and other regions of the world; including, the U.K., Europe, Asia, Siberia, and in the Austral Zone region of Australia.

From such writings we now know that even other mushrooms that also contain compounds other than the tryptamines are continuing other ingredients are still used by primitive cultures and that other species besides the 200 known species of psilocybian fungi are still employed as catalysts of the mind and are still used in healing and curing ceremonies.

Page 43
Mushroom intoxications have been noted throughout history. One 11th Century Episode in Japan allegedly involved some Buddhist nuns who became lost in the forest. After eating some wild mushrooms, they felt compelled to dance. Some woodcutters who were also lost happened along, indulged in the peculiar fungus and joined the nuns in dancing. This tale has been handed down in the Kojaku Monogatari (“Tales of Long Ago”) and the legendary toadstools first became known the 'dancing mushrooms' (maitake) and later as laughing mushrooms (waraitake) (Sanford, 1972; Wasson, 1973). While the identity of the causative fungus is unknown, Panaeolus papilionaceus (Fries) Quélet has been suggested as one possible candidate (Sanford, 1972; Wasson, 1973). Sanford (1972) notes that Seichii in his Genshoku Nihon kinrui zukab (Icones of Japanese Fungi) quotes a 1917 episode from a newspaper article: “Mr. Taniguchi (age 31) Mrs. Taniguchi [age 35], and Mrs. Taniguchi’s brother, Buntsuke (age 41), treated themselves to two bowls of mushroom soup while the elder Mrs. Taniguchi {age 71) ate one bowl with only two or three mushrooms in it. They had hardly eaten when first Mrs. Tanaguchi and then Mr. Tanaguchi began to feel odd. Mr. Tanaguchi then went next door to ask someone to fetch a doctor. When he got back home he found his wife dancing around stark naked, playing with an imaginary shamisen, and laughing raucously. Even as he stood there amazed at all the uproar he found that he too was falling into some crazed state. The older brother also eventually began to dance crazily. The intoxication of Taniguchi’s mother was weaker, however, and though she became muddled she never completely lost control of her senses. She did, however, keep repeating the same words over and over and went to every house in the neighborhood apologizing throughout the night for “preparing such a poor meal”” and thanking everyone for putting up with it.”

Dr. Seichii was “able to obtain some samples of the mushrooms involved and solidly identify them as none other than Panaeolus papilionaceus” (Sanford, 1972).

Page 43-57 PDF

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