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
Shirley, Ken Weaver, Ed Sanders, Ed McClanahan, Michael
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
outsiders will not bother them, though there is an occasional
"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
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
* * *
Available from this Web site: $20 including