This is a complete re-typing of the book, Field Guide to the Psilocybin Mushroom written by F.C. Ghouled published by Guidance Publications PO Box 15667 New Orleans, Louisiana 70175 in 1972. I found it while perusing an ex-hippie-family-member's books. I sincerly doubt that more than a handful of copies were ever sold and finding one in a bookstore nowadays is almost an impossibility. I don't own a powerful enough computer to reproduce the four full color pictures in the book. However, the descriptions of the mushrooms are precise and leave no margin for error. Pictures of the mushrooms can be found in general mushroom field guides, some of which are listed at the end of this file. The three species here are pictured in The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms which can be found at most bookstores and libraries. When searching for a visual reference, be sure to find one that pictures all four of the STAGES of the mushrooms, notably Ps. cubensis, as each stage of the mushroom's growth alters its outward appearance somewhat.
The reader has a simple task to perform in order to locate the most common psilocybin mushroom. He must search cow pastures after rain storms during those months in which the temperature is between 65 to 85 degress Fahrenheit. Only those specimens which occur on manure, turn blue when damaged and have a hollow stem need be considered. There is no chance for error.
The reader is referred to the article by Wasson listed in the bibliography and to a good library to read about alkaloids. These articles will enhance your cultural and chemical understanding of the mushroom. Good hunting.
The Ps. cubensis and Panaeolus subbalteatus grow only on cow, horse, pig, sheep or even goat manure (all grass or grain fed animals) or soil that has been enriched with manure. They grow most commonly on cow manure. The Ps. caerulescens grow on stream or river banks. All species grow at temperatures between 45 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. They prefer a well-drained site because the immature mycellium is damaged by an excess of water. The mature mycellium, however, demands a large quantity of water for maximum production. The mycellium is the stage of the fungus that produces the mushroom. It is germinated from the spores and grows, permeating the soil or manure. It looks like a moldish web-like growth and may take from 6 to 12 weeks to longer to mature.
The mushroom, the actual fruit, is grown under the soild and with time and proper moisture pops up and appears to grow extremely fast. In the case of the Ps. cubensis, the fruit matures in 24 hours. Therefore, check the weather reports for frontal systems bringing cool air and rain. These conditions, especially in late spring and early fall (but not during the hot summer months) are excellent for mushroom growth. Less psilocybin is produced during hot weather. Even if you do get a good rain during a long hot spell, the poor quality of the few specimens you might find makes them hardly worth taking. Also, an excess of that other vital ingredient, water, will cause the mycellium to rot. The mycellium can handle a few inches of rain on one day and even a few inches a day for several days, but over a prolonged period of time it will die back and become sickly. The warm dry summer promotes the growth of the mycellium, and a cool, moist fall will bring forth the mushrooms in plentiful numbers. The sun quickly causes those mushrooms left growing in the field to age and rot because they are over 90% water.
If picked freshly, however, the mushroom will retain its potency for years, provided they are not sealed in an air-tight container, which causes them to rot in thier own residual water content. The air-dried shrivelled mushrooms may be stored for future delectation.
The person sensitive to other drugs, such as grass or LSD, will be able to tell whether the desired substance is present; a person not so sensitive will still feel something. You will also be able to determine whether the species you have collected (be it not psilocybin) is poisonous or not. Six of the eight alkaloids present in the chemical structure of the psilocybin mushroom are toxic (the two other are psilocybin and psilocin). From this mild toxicity, a slight queasiness of the stomach may result. Also, even if the beginner has happened on a genuine psilocybin mushroom, the eating of it in the field may result in lack of interest in the further work of collecting, with the consequent loss of many pounds of muchrooms which he might otherwise have collected and dried.
The famed 'magic' mushroom of Mexico [sic.], the Amanita muscaria, causes intense hallucinations and is therefore well sought after, but a word of caution is in order. The A. muscaria is a highly toxic mushroom. It contains yet more poisonous alkaloids. It should be avoided as ingestion of more than a few specimens can cause illness and possibly death. The other common species listed in this book are all safe and non-poisonous. The A. muscaria is a red ball-shaped mushroom. It is very distinct and bears not the least resemblance to any of the three species catalogued in this text.
This natural bluing-reaction noted in the psilocybin species is also noted in one other non-psychedelic genus. To even the least observant person the difference in physical appearance is extremely obvious. The non-psilocybin mushrooms that turn blue are: large, bulbous and usually very smooth. This fat cap cannot be confused with the psilocybin cap. The cap and stem will be yellow or yellow-brownish evenly over the entire surface. With age, the specimens of this genus may be noted to turn blue on parts of the stem. The underside of the cap has pores instead of gills. These pores, appearing as an organic sponge, will be of the same color-range. The stem is proportioned like the cap and is quite solid and fleshy. These species do not occur on dung but may be located in pastures and lawns after rains.
The gills are rather closely spaceed and are light-brown in the young stages, becoming a deep purple or black with maturity. In early stages the gills will be connected to the stem but may separate with age.
The stem will be from 1.5 inches to almost 6 inches tall and up to 1/2 inch thick. The stem base (volva) is many times, although not always, thickened. The stem will be hollow, fibrous and generally white or at least a lighter color than the cap. There will usually be a ring of tissue hanging on the upper portion of the stem (the veil) which usually turns blue with age. The inside flesh of the broken stem will usually yield the fastest bluing-reaction.
The flesh of this species is white, has little odor and tastes like fresh grain. It is usually located on cow-manure (although it is located on the manure of other grain-fed animals as well) or on soil that has been enriched with such manure.
The gills will usually be very closely spaced and in young specimens will be very light-brown. This color will become black as the specimen matures.
The stem will be from 1.5 inches to almost 4 inches high and never over 1/2 inch thick. The stem will be very uniform and evenly shaped. The top of the stem will be vertically grooved and the lower portion of the stem will be covered with a mat of hairlike scales and fine white powder. The stem color will usually be white but a tint of sepia of light-cinnamon may be noted. The stem is hollow. The bluing-reaction is noted best in the stem of this species.
The flesh of this species will be white to yellowish. It has a taste and odor that is like that of fine table-mushrooms purchased at the store.
This species has been collected by our team (on cow-dung) while harvesting the Ps. cubensis. These notes have been placed in this book so that you will not throw away this species when it occurs with the Ps. cubensis. It is not extremely common (for every 25 Ps. cubensis collected you may find as many as 3 this species [12% as common]) and will be discovered only occasionally. This species matures slowly so that it will rarely be seen in older stages if it is discovered while harvesting the Ps. cubensis.
The gills will be closely spaced, wide and light-cinnamon to light-brown color and will become dark brown to black with age. The edges of the gills will be a lighter color.
The stem of this species will range from 1.5 inches to 4 inches tall and will be up to 1/2 inch thick depending on the size of the specimen. It is usually very even, hollow and smooth and the top with thick fibrous hairs balling up the rest of the way to the even base of the stem. The veil usually falls away very early in the life of the mushroom and the stem is fibrous and tough.
The flesh of this species is off-white to yellowish occasionally with tints of light brown in the cap. It has a strong grain-like odor and turns blue, particularly after being handled.
This species occurs on the banks of streams and rivers and has been located thoughout the entire southern U.S.
I prefer to consume the cap (without preparation) as an organic creation. The mushroom produces a very comfortable high with extreme dilation of the pupils. Strong light should be avoided. The dried caps are better than the so-called 'organic' pills. The experience ranges from a grass-like high with similar physical feelings to strange electric pulsations and stong to mild body rushes. At its best (with a large enough dosage) intense hallucinations will be experienced. The color photographs in this book were taken on a cloudy day near New Orleans. The species have been collected everywhere, from northern California to southern Florida. With the climatic conditions described above, you can be sure the Ps. cubensis will be located in quantity following a rainy day. The others will be there as well. They grow everywhere.
The prepared compost must then be inoculated with some stage of the mushroom's life-cycle. This is usually done by composting horse-manure alone that has been enriched with malt-extract sugar. When this mixture has been shredded, composted and packed loosely into a wide-mouth jars, it is inoculated with parts of a fresh cap of the variety and strain preferred by the experimenter. The mycellium will then be observed to run, growing all through the manure. When it has completely permeated the compost the bulk is removed from the jar and dried. Small chunks of this spawn (as it is called) are inserted into the compost at regular intervals. They will begin to grow, and after a number of weeks will completely dominate the prepared mushroom-bed. The bed is then covered with a 1-inch layer of sterilized soil or acceptable substitute, and watered lightly now and again. The compost must not be flooded with water. This will kill the mycellium and ruin the compost. The casing will serve to hold all of the moisture that the compost will need and prevent the excess from sinking. The mushrooms will grow through the one-inch casing, gaining support from the top layer. The beds should be made about 12 inches deep in a container small enough to be handled easily. The traditional compost will last for 4 to 6 months with a yield of two or more pounds of mushrooms per-square-foot. Our text will outline a newly discovered and yet (commercially) unproved method for constructing a perpetual bed that will be self-regulating. Cultivation is an alternate to arrest for trespassing or a possession-of-psilocybin charge. The above is not sufficient for successful cultivation and the reader is referred to the bibliography.
When the novice has collected a specimen he should always consider the major identification points. This open-format identification sheet may prove helpful. Try reproducing it in your notebook to outline each species' characteristics.