Fifth Estate # 56, June 19-July 1, 1968

photo, Dr. Eugene Schoenfeld speaking at Community Arts Auditorium, May 28, 1969
Dr. Eugene Schoenfeld speaking at Community Arts Auditorium, May 28, 1969 at a benefit for Open City. Photo: Alan Gotkin.

QUESTION: Last weekend my boyfriend and I were picking mushrooms in the woods and found some funny yellow ones with long stems. Could these have been hallucinigenic mushrooms?

ANSWER: Before you go tripping off in the woods again, you should realize that only experts should try to distinguish between edible mushrooms and poisonous toadstools. Toadstools (Amanita muscaria, A. verna, A. Phalloides, A. Brunnescens) may give a kind of trip but collapse and even death may follow. Amanita muscaria has a sudden (1 to 2 hours) onset of action and causes confusion, excitement, thirst, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, wheezing, salivation, slow pulse, tremors, weakness, collapse and perhaps death. Amanita phalloides, brunnescens and verna have a delayed onset of action (12 to 24 hours) and cause confusion, depression, headache, convulsions, coma, nausea, vomiting, bloody vomitus and stools, jaundice, reduced flow of urine and fluid in the lungs.

So-called “magic mushrooms” or teonanacatl (“flesh of God”) are grown in Mexico and used for religious and psychic purposes by descendants of the Aztecs. Curanderas (witch doctors) dispense the mushroom Psilocybe Mexicana which -causes body image changes and visions when ingested in suitable quantities.

The Swiss Chemist Hoffman (who first synthesized LSD) isolated the active ingredient of the “magic mushrooms,” psilocybin, in 1958.

QUESTION: Every now and then I meet a girl who uses Emko vaginal foam to prevent pregnancy. It seems to do the job alright (I think) but there is one thing which really is annoying—the taste! Why does Emko taste so bad? I sampled one or two other brands and they’re no better. What do you suggest?

ANSWER: Your complaint is quite common and I’m sure the Emko Company would be interested in your comments. Write to them at 7912 Manchester Avenue, St. Louis, Mo. 63143. “Give them a tongue-lashing.” (Secy’s note.)

QUESTION: My husband is of the nervous type. Often his skin is very itchy. However, the big problem is that immediately following intercourse his balls itch so much that he cannot stand it. Is there anything that you can suggest to alleviate this problem?

ANSWER: Scratch? Another possibility is – that you have a yeast infection or other condition causing irritation to your spouse. In any case both you and your husband should be examined to determine- whether there is a physical “cause for this problem.

Here’s some news from another underground weekly, the AMA news. Its April 29th issue reports the results of the Illinois State Medical Society’s National Symposium on Psychedelic Drugs and Marijuana in Chicago. Acting commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, George Gaffney said, “the laws that we have had aroused bitterness in some quarters.”

Donald Miller, chief counsel for the F.B.N. called marijuana a “harmful and dangerous substance.” He added that “We now have 60,000 marijuana users in the United States…

Boston attorney Joseph S. Oteri said, “This business of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics being interested only in apprehending the seller is so much garbage. Whenever they make raids, they bring along the local police so they can arrest the users.”

Duke Fisher, M.D., of the UCLA Neuro-Psychiatric Institute, reported that individuals “who have a significant dependency on marijuana and use it chronically tell of a decrease of sexual drive and interest.”

Only a sinister drug like marijuana could transform its users into crazed sex fiends while at the same time rendering them impotent.