Magic Mushrooms & Other Highs:
   From Toad Slime to Ecstasy

  Edited by Paul Krassner

    Stories by and about Terence McKenna, John Lennon, Ken Kesey, Timothy Leary, Stephen Gaskin, John Lilly, Robert Anton Wilson, Ivan Stang, Ram Dass, Ralph
Metzner, William S. Burroughs, Stanley Krippner, Todd McCormick, John
Shirley, Ken Weaver, Ed Sanders, Ed McClanahan, Michael Simmons, Peter
Gorman, Bill Weinberg, Preston Peet, Lorenzo Milam, R. U. Sirius, Lisa Law,
David Jay Brown, and many others...
 

    If the words "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" don¹t include
the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of
Independence isn't worth the hemp it was written on."
                                                --Terence McKenna, 1946-2000

    Magic Mushrooms and Other Highs is dedicated to the memory of McKenna
and his Magic Mind--one of the most vibrant minds I¹ve ever encountered--and
so it was with karmic irony that he died of brain cancer.  He had a tumor
which he described as "the size of a quail egg" three inches behind his
right eye.  It had to be cut out immediately, under local anesthetic.  He
was conscious during the entire operation.
    "Guys," he joked with the doctors, "let's keep the Oops factor to a
minimum here."
    Later,  his son asked the surgeon, "So, this tumor, it¹s thinking?"
    The doctor thought for a while, and then he said, "Oh, yes,  it's
thinking about something."
    Two weeks later, Terence said that he kept "looking into my mind trying
to see what difference" there was.  "And," he mused, "I'm trying to figure
out what it was thinking about that I'm not thinking about any more."

 *  *  *

    Five years ago, I began collecting material for a book I planned to call
Funny Dope Stories.  However, not all the stories turned out to be funny, at
least not funny ha-ha, or as they say in cyberspace, all the stories weren't
exactly LOL.  Some were poignant, others were bizarre, but they were all
true experiences.
    Although the tales told of encounters with a variety of plants and
chemicals, in a shrewd marketing move, the publisher, High Times¹ book
division, decided to limit the material just to marijuana and to change the
title to Pot Stories For the Soul.  But who could have predicted that it
would win a Firecracker Alternative Book Award and become a Quality
Paperback Book of the Month Club selection?
    Then came the sequel.  I wanted to call it Acid Trips For the Soul.  The
distributor insisted on a different title--Psychedelic Trips for the
Soul--which was fine with me.  And, although there was a great deal of
material about all kinds of hallucinogens, I decided to include only the
stories about LSD.
    Meanwhile, the publisher of Chicken Soup For the Soul threatened to sue
High Times if they did not cease and desist.  So Psychedelic Trips for the
Soul turned into Psychedelic Trips For the Mind, and it too became a Quality
Paperback Book of the Month Club selection.
    The moral of this story is that, although the human soul cannot be
located, it can be copyrighted.  However, a 20-year-old man did attempt to
sell his soul on the Internet, auctioning it off to the highest bidder for
$400.
    So now you hold in your hands the third book in this trilogy--not Magic
Mushrooms for the Soul as originally planned--and, who knows, that might
have been changed to Magic Mushrooms For the Body--but instead it¹s Magic
Mushrooms and Other Highs: From Toad Slime to Ecstasy, featuring stories
about anything folks have used to get high except for marijuana and acid.
It¹s as though Pot Stories had been an amoeba which split in half to
reproduce itself in the form of Psychedelic Trips, which in turn bifurcated
to reproduce itself in the form of Magic Mushrooms.
    The stories in this book are told in a great many different voices with
a wide variety of styles along the spectrum--from hilarious to frightening,
from naive to sophisticated, from schmaltzy to jaded, from sacred to
profane--but what all these contributors have in common is the fact that
they have chosen to explore and enjoy their own consciousness with
substances that are not manufactured by corporations or advertised on TV by
pharmaceutical pushers trying to persuade you to "Ask your doctor" for
prescription drugs with deadly side effects.
    My favorite is Pravachol, which promises to prevent your first and
second heart attacks.  Which means that when you have your first heart
attack, you¹ll think it¹s really your third.
    On October 4, 2001, the U.S. government released the results of the 2000
National Household Survey on Drug Abuse.  Roughly one million Americans were
considered current users of hallucinogens if they had used LSD, mushrooms,
mescaline, Ecstasy, peyote or PCP during the month prior to the interview.
    Although the study didn¹t mention scorpions, according to a Reuters
dispatch from Quetta, a small but growing number of people in strife-torn
Pakistan deal with their woes by smoking scorpions.  Users dry the
scorpion's stingers, grind them up, light the powder and suck in the smoke.
"When I smoke scorpion," said Ghulam Raza, "then the heroin is like nothing
to me." Addicts in Quetta tend to hang out at a local cemetery, where
outsiders will not bother them, though there is an occasional problem with
"enstupored persons" falling into partially-dug graves.
    Meanwhile, psilocybin has made its way into mythology.  Dr. Ian Edwards,
head of education at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, claims not only
that the bright color of magic mushrooms may have inspired the traditional
red coat worn by Santa Claus, but they may also help Santa Claus to fly.  He
told the Daily Telegraph about a story originating in Lapland, where the
people used to feed the hallucinogenic fungi to their herd of reindeer.
    ³They used to feed red and white fly-agaric mushrooms to their raindeer,
then drink the animals¹ urine.  Drinking the urine would give them a high
similar to taking LSD.  One of the results was that they thought they and
their reindeer were flying through space, looking down on the world.²
    Speaking of which, you might want to lick the bottom right-hand corner
of page 23.  Go ahead, it¹s all right.  No one will ever know.
    And you won¹t be indirectly providing any drug money for weapons to the
terrorists, either.

      *  *  *

    Available from this Web site: $20 including postage

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