Gradually I became aware of a strange sensation in my stomach, a sort of buzzing vibration that grew slowly in intensity. It was not at all unpleasant, and I knew at once it was the mushrooms. Over the next ten minutes this unusual feeling became stronger, filling my abdomen. Then it began to invade the rest of my body, pushing outward through the muscles to the extremities. I was distinctly aware of a subtle but powerful energy vibrating through the musculature of my whole body. It made me feel warm and strong. As it reached my head, my senses sharpened, and I found myself admiring qualities of the wet pasture I had ignored until then. The green of the grass was of glowing intensity, highlighted by tones of brown and red. The smell of the earth and rain was overpowerin. I had no desire to move. If the ground had been dry, I would have stretched out and rolled on the grass.
Our little group slowly drew together. Obviously, we were all feeling the effects of the mushrooms. We moved slowly and gracefully, swinging our arms and laughing at each other. The laughter seemed to bubble up from inside, and the sound of it echoed inside my chest. I was also very conscious of the taste of mushrooms. It was as strong as if fresh in my mouth but was diffused through my whole body. I felt the taste in my muscles.
The rain picked up in intensity. Clearly we could not stay out in the field much longer. It was late afternoon and turning colder. Slowly we wended our way out of the pasture, across the fence, and up a steep bank to the car. I curled up in a corner of the back seat as we started to move. It was an hours drive south along the caost to Greg and Susan's house.
The mushroom energy continued to course around my body. And now it began to pull me away from ordinary awareness into a realm that bordered on sleep but was not sleep. It was an effort to maintain awareness of the car and my fellow passengers, let alone the scenery outside. Instead, I closed my eyes and began to see visions that were somewhere between images in the mind's eye and actual movies projected on the inside of my eyelids. At first there were shadowy patterns that tended to multiply themselves in infinite regressions, but these soon resolved themselves into very clear images of mushrooms. The mushrooms that appeared to me were of one type, not Liberty Caps. They grew in clustered bunches, the stipes arising from a common point, and lacked the Liberty Cap's distinct peak. They also seemed fleshier and bigger. I had never seen them before. Bunches of these visionary mushrooms appeared out of nowhere, springing up at odd angles, swirling and receding. They occupied my attention completely.
"Are you all right?" someone in the front seat asked.
"Yes, I'm seeing mushrooms." I opened my eyes for a moment, surprised by the brightness of the outside light. I closed them quickly and was instanly back in the comfortable night world of visions. I felt sorry for the driver and other front-seat riders who were attending to the road and could not watch the interior show.
We arrived at the house without difficulty just as it was growing dark.
"Are you still seeing mushrooms?" Greg asked me.
I closed my eyes to make sure. "Yes, they're still there."
"A number of people who eat these things see mushrooms," Greg said.
"The ones I'm seeing aren't the ones we ate. I wonder if I'll ever meet up with them."
I told Greg and Susan that Liberty Caps more than lived up to my expectations and thanked them for introducing me to them. Hallowe'en seemed an especially fitting day on which to meet them.
It was now a stormy Hallowe'en night, and a long ride through the mountains lay between us and Eugene. The visions were subsiding, and I volunteered to drive. It took some concentration to follow the tortuous road through the rain, but we arrived home without incident. I could still feel the vibrational energy in my muscles, though it was fading rapidly. About six hours after I had eaten the mushrooms, I was back to normal, feeling tired. I fell asleep and awoke the next morning refreshed and ready to leave Oregon for the south.
I did not return to the state until April. When I got back I made an effort to find out more about Liberty Caps and eventually got in touch with Jerry, the Oregon state student who had introduced Greg and Susan to the mushrooms. Jerry gave me much useful information about them. He said they appeared to be a species called Psilocybe semilanceata, that like all Psilocybes they had purplish brown spores, and like all psychoactive Psilocybes they tended to stain blue on handling or drying, although less so than other varieties.(I had seen no tinges of blue on the ones I ate.) Jerry said further that they appeared only after the Autumn Equinox and continued to grow until the Winter Solstice, despite low temperatures. Their range extended from the California border north into British Columbia, from the ocean east to the crest of the coastal mountains. Of the active species he had tried, Jerry said Liberty Caps were his favourites.
I have found reference to this species in one European handbook and in no American one. The European book called Psilocybe semilanceata a poisonous species. And, no doubt, persons who ate it unawares, without the proper set, would interpret the dramatic changes as mushroom poisoning.