“Despite the numerous and suggestive reports, the identity of psychoactive boletes remains a mycological mystery. In this presentation, the history of psychoactive bolete reports is compiled together, our scant sum of knowledge on the topic is summarized, and future directions for research are suggested.”
Bryn was born and raised in Duluth, MN, where he first developed his passion for mushrooms as a high school student. He received his B.A. from Macalester College (St. Paul, MN) in 2000 and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 2007. From 2010-2016 he worked as a senior scientist and Head of Mycology at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London, UK. He is currently the Curator of Mycology at the Natural History Museum of Utah and an Associate Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Utah. Bryn is a systematic mycologist with extensive experience using field, laboratory and collections-based research, to understand fungal biodiversity and plant- and animal-fungus symbioses, and their significance to ecosystem functionality and human welfare.
Reports of Psychoactive Boletes
For more than half a century, the existence of certain species of mushrooms in the family Boletaceae (“boletes”) possessing psychoactive properties has been rumored, with independent ethnographic reports emerging from Papúa New Guinea and China. In both cases, local inhabitants describe consuming a type of bolete mushroom, followed by the occurrence of various hallucinations, generally characterized by a perception of being surrounded by an abundance of colorful, diminutive creatures – clinically referred to as “Lilliputian Hallucinations”. Despite the numerous and suggestive reports, the identity of psychoactive boletes remains a mycological mystery. To this date, no rigorous scientific studies have been performed that conclusively reveal the taxonomic identity or active chemical constituents of this unstudied group of psychoactive mushrooms. In this presentation, the history of psychoactive bolete reports is compiled together, our scant sum of knowledge on the topic is summarized, and future directions for research are suggested.