Hallucinogenic Mushrooms

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

hallucinogenic mushrooms some anyway, are eaten by some people. They include the well-known fly agaric and certain species in such genera as Psilocybe and Stropharia. Research by the Wassons (1957, 1967, 1969) and a review of the subject by Gray (1973) have given some clarity to the vague ideas previously entertained about the antiquity and extent of this practice.

So far as Europe is concerned, Wasson (1969) effectively dismisses any idea that hallucinogenic mushroom cults existed in the past. Supposed evidence of ancient mushroom cults in Egypt and the Middle East has likewise been scouted. Nor are there any surviving traces of a mushroom cult in the Indian subcontinent, although some believe that the plant ‘soma’, deified by the Aryans in the Indus Valley in times bc, was fly agaric.