Psylocybe Fanaticus: an Interview

Published in Soft Secrets no 63, January 1996 (Soft Secrets, postbox 51200, 1007 EE Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Psylocybe Fanaticus about growing mushrooms:

He is a 49 year old jazz and rhythm and blues lead guitarist. In the sixties he lived in the hippie-neighbourhood Haight Ashbury (San Francisco). Psilocybe Fanaticus is the author of the best psilo-growing technique so far. In this issue of Soft Secrets the answer on the question how he became a needle-phreak.

"In 1977 I bought Dr. Stephen H. Pollack's book Magic Mushroom Cultivation. He described the cultivation in jars with sterilized brown rice. It worked the first time because I lucked out. The compost also worked great the first two times but the next several attempts resulted in contamination. I knew that brown rice was the stuff, but there were problems with it. Rice is sticky, it doesn't allow the mycelium to breath and gets easily contaminated. Mushrooms need space to move. There is no room in a glob of grain, no matter how carefully it is prepared. The rice powder/vermiculite-mix is much more airy. The stickiness is not a real problem anymore, because you don't have to shake the jars. But the technique still could be improved. When you transfer mycelium from agar to grain, there is a big risk to contaminate the jars. So I wondered if it was possible to put the spores directly on the substrate. Unfortunately, spores sprout poorly or not at all when you scrap a print above a jar, because they dry out. But with a syringe I was able to inject a solution of spores in sterilized water deep into the moist substrate. The finishing touch was the layer of dry vermiculite on top of it, so there is only a very slight chance of contamination left. The result was better than in my wildest dreams. And it became almost perfect when I got the idea of the automatic grow chamber. Now the mushrooms grow almost without attention."

What do you think about your collegue-pioneers, like Terence McKenna and Paul Stamets?

"I don't know much of Terence McKenna, but I heard that he advocates drinking DXM syrup (a delirium high) and talking to aliens. He is into the New Age movement and embraces the "new paradigm shift" a.k.a. pseudo-science. I am bored with these people that talk about an experience that can't be described.

Paul Stamets is the acknowledged guru of mushroom cultivation. He got into the whole realm by publishing his first book Psilocybe mushrooms and their allies back in 1978. But because of his successful and reputable business Fungi Perfecti, he won't talk about magic mushrooms with anyone. He only writes about them. It irritates me to no end, but then I can completely understand his position. First, his rule protects his family. And secondly, it keeps the air around his lab and business free of the controversy of magic mushrooms for they are illegal in this country. If you want to grow edible mushrooms commercially, he will set you up for a big fee. Anyway, that's business. I go for micro-cultivation for far less dollars."

But don't you wanna get rich? Dutch growers are mainly in it for the money.

"I used to sell mushrooms many years ago. But the mark up is to small for it. The profit margin is too small. Once and a while I sold a few grams for $ 10..."

Yes, that's what all cultivators are saying: "It is not a product of commercial interest". But meanwhile they sell tons a year of wet mushrooms for about a guilder for a gram. In the Netherlands alone that is. In your country the prices are even higher.

"Yes, but people would rather buy good bud than fungus. They don't trip everyday, so you need a relatively big circle of customers. In this country, this is very risky. You can be sent to prison for years for the sale of this fungi."

Still your method is very usable for mass-production. Starting with just one syringe, you can have hundreds of kilograms of wet mushrooms after just three months. That's worth a lot of cash, and some people are always willing to take a risk for that.

"If you have a greenhouse with proper humidity and temperature controls, thousands of jars and many employees you are right. That's how exponential growth works. Mushrooms ain't no plants! But what would you do with such an amount of mushrooms? Don't forget your customers can make fifty syringes out of just one cap and each of those syringes can inoculate at least ten jars -- and yield up to a pound wet in six weeks time. Psilocybe cubensis is the easiest mushroom to cultivate, so you have an over-production in no time. And because the market is small, some home cultivators can easily supply lots of devotees. If that happens, and the PF TEK can be the cause of it, the prices will drop to a level which is not interesting enough for large-scale cultivation."

How does a psychonaut survive the War On some Drugs?

"With nonviolent guerilla-techniques. Not with just one nation-wide underground organization for distribution and a few large scale cultivators. That's a piece of cake for the narcs. No, you need ten thousands of practically invisible home cultivators. The PF TEK is especially designed for them. You don't need a laboratory or even a pressure cooker anymore. All you need is a small aquarium and a few jars and simple supplies and of course a properly prepared spore syringe."

And how do you survive?

"By going no further than the sale of syringes. That is not against the law, because spores contain no prohibited substances. By doing so, I have also more time for hobbies like jamming and smoking fine herb."

I mean how do you make a living? You advocate a rather uncommon form of capitalism. You have almost no advertising- budget. You make yourself obsolete. In fact, you support rival and ripoff companies!

"That's simple. Since last November I have a large ad in High Times magazine that has international readership. At Internet news discussion groups and web sites there exists a lot of talk about Psylocybe Fanaticus and the PF TEK. I reach multitudes of potential customers. The syringes sell themselves. The PF TEK is a science paper: everybody can use it or publish their own version of it and to make and distribute syringes. But my rule concerning PF TEK is that I should always be given credit as the author. I feel that artist should always be given their due credit for their creativity even if they rarely get their due rewards. And plus, my strain should be credited to PF since I am the one who is distributing it. It is a fabulous genotype -- a fast fruiting Amazonian (thick white stems, tenaciously attached to the substrate and large specimens on grain - potent). To ensure my authorship, I copyrighted the PF TEK with the library of congress in 1991."

Pheeewww...'I am the best, the cheapest and the most potent'. A classic example of Dope Dealers Dialect. That's what I thought a half year ago. That may be the case, but there is one thing which makes him different. He is right, try it yourself!

Rene Rikkelman

Psylocybe Fanaticus
Seattle USA

Syringe $ 10.00
PF TEK $ 10.00
S&H +$ 10.00

StartKit $ 30.00

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