Enlightenment or Death by Entheogenic Mushrooms?

An interesting topic as there seems to be a lot of theories.
Husky
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu May 19, 2011 6:04 am

Enlightenment or Death by Entheogenic Mushrooms?

Postby Husky » Fri Nov 28, 2014 7:09 am

Death by Mushrooms?
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picked and photographed by Chris. Amanita muscaria is red one with white dots just left of center.
IMG_7069 (640x359).jpg (198.76 KiB) Viewed 11246 times


There has been much speculation about why Chris Mccandless eventually died in the bus. Jon Krakauer assigned blame to potato seeds which were photographed by Chris and mentioned in his journal. Ron Lamothe asserts that Chris simply wasn’t eating enough to sustain himself. Ron Hamilton recently threw in his ODAP poisoning theory.
Personally, I think it was a combination of factors. Starting with slow starvation and possibly giardia from the local water. We could add other parasites from the various birds and small mammals he ingested. And the potato seed apparently could have had an effect. I’d like to add another rather obvious idea which I’m surprised has not been mentioned. Along with the other wild plants Chris was gathering were a lot of mushrooms. In the picture Chris took of his mushroom stash there appears to me to be at least one amanita muscaria (it’s the reddish one with white dots just left of center) which are known to be both psychoactive and poisonous- occassionally even lethal.

I’m no expert on mushrooms but I have a friend who is a botanist so I sent him that picture. He sent it to another friend who is an expert. Gary Laursen, Phd. Director, High Latitude Mycological Research Institute, LLC. Wrote that…

“ This picture is quite 'cluttered' and out of focus, but I can see the suspect A. muscaria var. persicina or A. m. var. regalis, with THREE toxins, two of which are known to cause serious gastrointestinal upset and malaise. I also see Calchiporus piperatus, a very 'spicy' orange bolete, Leccinum cf. atrostipitatum, another bad actor have black stipe scabers, and then a whole host of russulas and other assorted species I cannot ID from this photo. I really do hope your friend is getting ID assistance of his fungi before ingestion, or he could end up in the hospital; albeit, edibility differences are noted given one's own personal biochemistry.”

Dr. Laursen later commented on the nutritional value of mushrooms,

“There is too little caloric value in eating mushrooms, but there is important micro-mineral nutrients of value along with amino acids, protein, and chitin-based non digestible ruff-age. Had he eaten the Leccinum, more so than the Amanita, I suspect he might have been violently sick for 18-24 hrs. and lost appetite for several recovering days.”

Wikipedia has a lot of info about these mushrooms- both the toxic effects of amanita muscaria and its entheogenic uses. There are also pictures of them. It’s good reading…

“Depending on habitat and the amount ingested per body weight, effects can range from nausea and twitching to drowsiness, cholinergic crisis-like effects (low blood pressure, sweating and salivation), auditory and visual distortions, mood changes, euphoria, relaxation, ataxia, and loss of equilibrium."

“In cases of serious poisoning the mushroom causes delirium, somewhat similar in effect to anticholinergic poisoning (such as that caused by Datura stramonium), characterised by bouts of marked agitation with confusion, hallucinations, and irritability followed by periods of central nervous system depression. Seizures and coma may also occur in severe poisonings.”

“The effect is highly variable between individuals, with similar doses potentially causing quite different reactions. Some people suffering intoxication have exhibited headaches up to ten hours afterwards. Retrograde amnesia and somnolence can result following recovery.”

And with reference to Leccinum, a type of boletas mushroom, Wikipedia says,

“They have generally been presumed to be edible for the most part, but there are reports of poisoning after eating as yet unidentified members of the genus in North America, even after thorough cooking. The orange- to red-capped species, including L. insigne, are suspected. Species of Leccinum often cause nausea when consumed raw.”

Amanita muscaria has quite a long history of use in a religious, shamanic, or spiritual context.

“In 1968, R. Gordon Wasson proposed that A. muscaria was the Soma talked about in the Rig Veda of India...”

“The notion that Vikings used A. muscaria to produce their berserker rages was first suggested by the Swedish professor Samuel Ödmann in 1784.”

“Philologist, archeologist, and Dead Sea Scrolls scholar John Marco Allegro postulated that early Christian theology was derived from a fertility cult revolving around the entheogenic consumption of A. muscaria…”

The mind altering and toxic effects of amanita muscaria are well established and can be very severe. The bad effects of Leccinum Boletas are less well known. But the Leccinum looks very similar and is easy to confuse with the commonly eaten King Boletas. All 3 varieties grow around the bus area.

On day 89 of Chris’s journal he reports food that he has gathered and presumably eaten. “Woodpecker, frog, many mushrooms.” On day 90 he writes the largest entry in the entire journal- the word “DREAM”. He draws a circle around it and adds arrows pointing back up to the words “many mushrooms”. Under DREAM he writes “under the belt, under the foot” along with other words I cannot decipher. Then on day 91 he writes “2nd dream”.

Just 3 days later he complains that he is “extremely weak, fault of potato seed, much trouble just to stand up, starving, great jeopardy.” Was he continuing to eat large quantities of possibly toxic mushrooms after convincing himself that it was the potato seed that was poisoning him? After all, he seemed to know he was starving. It takes a lot of time and energy to pick berries and hunt for small animals. But when weather conditions are right hundreds of mushrooms can suddenly become available. And while they may not be very nutritious they certainly will act like “comfort food” and fill your stomach.

Ironically, Chris does not mention fish. There are a few grayling in the Sushana River at some times of the summer. And about 25 miles downstream, where the Sushana runs into the larger Toklat River there is a summer run of thousands of king, chum and silver salmon. A healthy human can hook, shoot or literally chase fish down in the shallow water. Had Chris known this he could have imitated the food gathering preference used for thousands of years by the local natives of that area.

As an interesting aside, I’ve recently found in the Park records that on August 7th a helicopter flew two Rangers into the Sushana patrol cabin about 5 miles south of the bus. It’s possible that Chris might have heard that chopper if he was outside and the wind was right. Had he been prepared he could have lit a signal fire which the pilot would have investigated. But we’ll never know- on August 7, Day 102?, Chris wrote….nothing
Attachments
amanita muscaria fly agaric.jpg
The sometimes deadly amanita muscaria is in his picture
amanita muscaria fly agaric.jpg (60.58 KiB) Viewed 11234 times
Dream day.jpg
Eats mushrooms, notes Dreams, gets sick
Dream day.jpg (55.8 KiB) Viewed 11234 times
Here we are in the years
Where the showman shifts the gears
Lives become careers
Children cry in fear
Let us out of here! Neal Young

Don't let fear stand in the way.
There's nothing to it
but to do it! Husky

alexbatty
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Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2014 8:41 am

Re: Enlightenment or Death by Entheogenic Mushrooms?

Postby alexbatty » Tue Dec 30, 2014 8:45 am

chris mc candless died because he is an idiot.the weak and stupid will weed themselves out

Husky
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu May 19, 2011 6:04 am

Re: Enlightenment or Death by Entheogenic Mushrooms?

Postby Husky » Sat Feb 14, 2015 5:17 pm

I included pictures of the mushrooms in the posting above because I thought it would help other people avoid accidentally eating them. I don't know why the pictures are no longer visible. But it is easy to find a picture of amanita muscaria and the other mushrooms mentioned on wikipedia. The pictures taken by Chris are available in the book and dvd his family is selling...
titled "Back to the Wild".
Here we are in the years
Where the showman shifts the gears
Lives become careers
Children cry in fear
Let us out of here! Neal Young

Don't let fear stand in the way.
There's nothing to it
but to do it! Husky

Anewanddifferentsun
Posts: 63
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2011 4:57 am

Re: Enlightenment or Death by Entheogenic Mushrooms?

Postby Anewanddifferentsun » Sat Feb 21, 2015 3:10 am

Husky wrote:Death by Mushrooms?
IMG_7069 (640x359).jpg





“Depending on habitat and the amount ingested per body weight, effects can range from nausea and twitching to drowsiness, cholinergic crisis-like effects (low blood pressure, sweating and salivation), auditory and visual distortions, mood changes, euphoria, relaxation, ataxia, and loss of equilibrium."




Day 94: "Extremely weak ... much trouble just to stand up."
This raises important questions: did Krakauer see the photos of mushrooms that years later would be published in Back to the Wild? He certainly read the spare journal in the plant book. If he saw the mushroom photos before ITW was published, why did he not explore the possibility of mushroom poisoning? Husky easily had an expert review one of them. In seeing one of Chris's photos, Krakauer was willing (in his second theory) to speculate that mold grew on the seeds, but this curiosity stopped there. Why? The answer isn't good. He had a narrative to spin, and it had to have a dramatic effect, to show that McCandless wasn't as careless as so many Alaskans accused him of being. As Husky points out, it might have been a combination of many things that, combined with a tremendous caloric deficit, led to McCandless's death. He had a history of stressing his body (see the Colorado River/Sea of Cortez venture, in which he lost 25 pounds; see the tremendous loss of weight before he returned home for his freshman year at Emory; see his obsessive diet restricted mostly to rice and the current research indicating moderate to high levels of arsenic in many rice varieties; consider unclean water supplies). There was a definite pattern here and one that appears to be by design, whether for philosophical reasons or otherwise. His parents said they were always pulling Chris away from the proverbial ledge, a pull that began in his younger years and ended when they could no longer contain it.

Husky
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu May 19, 2011 6:04 am

Re: Enlightenment or Death by Entheogenic Mushrooms?

Postby Husky » Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:37 am

I think the Mccandless parents had granted Jon Krakauer access to all the photos and the journal before he started writing "Into the Wild". Doesn't Krakauer acknowledge in the book that he is using the pictures and the journal to piece together the narrative?

I suspect he read that line "fault of pot. seed" in the journal and latched onto that as a probable cause of death early on and then couldn't let it go. He probably saw the pictures of the mushrooms and certainly would have realized that mushrooms were part of Chris's diet and had read that mushrooms caused him to have "DREAMS". But perhaps Krakauer just didn't recognize the amanita muscaria sitting there in the middle of the pile. I probably looked at that picture 20 times before I recognized the amanita and only because they grow in my backyard every Fall. And I certainly didn't recognize the other two poisonous varieties which Dr. Laursen pointed out. It's ironic now that the only thing immediately visible in the backpack which Forsberg found in the bus was a bunch of mushrooms which he thinks were being stored there by voles.

The entheogenic properties of the mushrooms may partially explain the biggest remaining mystery in the Mccandless story-why Chris did not do more to effect a rescue. As I said in the former post there were aircraft in the area south of the bus on August 7th when Park Service rangers flew into the patrol cabin to repair damage done earlier in the Spring. And there were certainly other high flying aircraft visible to Chris which would have reported a signal fire. Yet, there was apparently no evidence that Chris had attemped to signal aircraft.

Did the entheogenic affect of the mushrooms help Chris to find a closer relationship with the spiritual world and accept his fate? According to wikipedia "an entheogen is a drug (or natural substance) that causes one to become inspired or to experience feelings of inspiration, often in a religious or "spiritual" manner." Amanita muscaria is suspected by some religious historians of being the source of the "Soma" described in the "Rigveda", a Hindu sacred text. Hindu spiritualists would consume copious amounts of the rendered liquid in an effort to obtain immortality. The Rigveda as translated by Ralph T.H. Griffith says that "We have drunk Soma and become immortal; we have attained the light, the Gods discovered."

In the final message written by Chris and featured in his last "selfie" photo he wrote "I have had a happy life and thank the lord. Goodbye and may god bless all!" Perhaps his enigmatic smile in that last photo indicates that he had, after all, "attained the light." I'd certainly like to think so...
Here we are in the years
Where the showman shifts the gears
Lives become careers
Children cry in fear
Let us out of here! Neal Young

Don't let fear stand in the way.
There's nothing to it
but to do it! Husky

Mikako
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2016 2:42 am
Location: Russia

Enlightenment or Death by Entheogenic Mushrooms

Postby Mikako » Sun Mar 06, 2016 6:24 pm

the eye of sauron, in Death Comes From On High have no spells, anyone now how to do the quest??


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