Mushroom of the day #2
I felt like I was walking on eggshells when I was documenting this one. This is a drug. This will get you high. I recorded the use as a drug for educational purposes alone. If you or someone you know attempts to go hunting for this mushroom to get high, they should be considered a borderline moron and should seek help immediately
Similarly to the previously discussed death cap, the distribution of the fly agaric mushroom spans across most of the northern hemisphere, including some unlikely places like the Hindu Kush mountains and some parts of Central America and the Mediterranian. This mushroom has been brought into places of the southern hemisphere, which is why it's possible, albeit unlikely to find the mushroom in places like Brazil, South Africa, and Australia. The fly agaric can be found near or under trees such as pine, spruce, birch, fir, and cedar.
The fly agaric is blood red in all instances of these mushrooms. The cap of the mushroom holds triangular white patches that sometimes get washed off in heavy rain. Like the death cap, the fly agaric is a veiled mushroom with free gills. It's also an Aminta, resulting in the occasional veil on the mushroom. The cap is 2-10" (5-25 cm). The stalk is 2-7" (5-18 cm) long and 1/8 - 1 1/4 (0.3-3 cm) thick. Fun fact: the white patches that appear on the fly agaric are technically considered to be a part of the veil, considering they're a similarly membranous structure
EFFECTS OF CONSUMPTION:
Stupidly enough, there's been reports of young children consuming the fly agaric, in which they would consume the poison mushroom for a temporary high before suffering the symptoms afterward (don't do drugs, kids!). In addition, the smaller fly agarics can be confused for a common button mushroom. Occasionally, when heavy rain washes the patches off the mushroom, it looks strikingly similar to an edible mushroom, leading to confusion in that area as well. Consuming the mushroom will provide a high to intoxicate an average-sized adult slightly, but it is an extremely poor decision to do so. Despite how dangerous the fly agaric may seem, it requires 15 caps of the mushroom to provide a fatal dose and no deaths from fly agaric poisonings have been reported within the last 100 years. THIS DOES NOT MEAN IT IS SAFE TO CONSUME. There are still the prevalent consequences of consumption, which include nausea, drowsiness, twitching, low blood pressure, sweating, salivating, auditory hallucinations, visual hallucinations, euphoria, relaxation, loss of muscle coordination, and loss of balance. In more extreme cases, the hallucinations become stronger, agitation, confusion, delirium, central nervous system depressions, and sometimes seizures or coma. Looking at the uses as a drug, the mushroom is classified as a depressant, sedative-hypnotic, psychedelic, dissociative, or deliriant. Several perceptual phenomena are known to happen under the effects of this mushroom, including synesthesia, macropsia, and micropsia
APPEARANCE IN CULTURE:
Referencing the fly agaric in religion can be difficult, considering the only theory about the fly agaric in the Christian religion has been criticized to no end. In 1970, scholar John Marco Allegro published a book that focuses on a theory he had surrounding the ties between the fly agaric and the early Christian religion. Allegro speculated that fertility cults had been focused around the consumption of the fly agaric mushroom for the hallucinogenic component. Christian author John C. King wrote an entire book as a rebuttal against Allegro's work, giving the claim that "the fly agaric mushrooms are not found in the Middle East", which would result in the fertility cult being "the best-kept secret in the world". Outside of the Christian implications, the fly agaric appears widely in fantasy literature and entertainment. In the smurfs, mushrooms presumed to be fly agarics make up the furniture and houses of the residents, however, its also possible the said mushrooms are just generic mushrooms that coincidentally have features resembling the fly agaric