How Nitrous Oxide Inspired Early Psychedelic Literature

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The first documented case in a science journal of a trip on mushrooms was from England in 1799. We recount it here in more colorful language than the medical journal from back then (and a little bit of historical fiction). The original journal article was written by Dr. Brande, who witnessed the family accidentally tripping balls in London, and is attached at the end for those that can read the old English. Enjoy!

The Mushroom Trip of J.S. and Family According to Dr. Everard Brande

There once was a man named J.S., we’ll call him Jay. Jay went out to the park in his knickers or whatever they wore back then and started to gather mushrooms, as he often did, for a stew for the family. He chopped that shit up and put it in the stew and the family enjoyed a delicious morning breakfast with their tea.

Green Park in London, where J.S. picked the magic mushrooms (img: Dreamstime)

This time, though, the deliciousness of the stew turned out to be more than they bargained for. You see, Jay’s son Edward, who they called “fat Edward” because he was on the heftier side, took six cupfuls of stew, instead of the allotted four for all the children to have enough to get them through the day.

About 20 minutes after meal, Fat Edward’s mum scolded him passively, “uhh Edward, I thought you were on a diet.”

To which Edward, who was known to sulk and be self-conscious about weighty matters, did something unexpected: he laughed in his mother’s face, a frightful, salivating laugh that shook his whole fat body.

“Do not laugh at thy mum,” said 18-year-old Martha and punched Ed in the arm, to which he directed his spit laughter towards poor Martha.

“Father Jay, do something!” said mum, as Edward convulsed with laughter.

“Eddy,” Jay said, “Hey! Fatty!” Jay grabbed Edward’s arms and shook him, slapping him as only a father could when trying to regain control.

Jay stopped shaking and looked into Eddy’s eyes: his pupils almost covered the entire cornea which made him look like a boy possessed.

“Fuck. I think the boy is possessed, Mother,” Jay shouted, which caused a case of the dizzies.

Jay sat down in his tea chair to recover. He looked around as the world shook, turning this way and that, glancing at his family, who, little did he know, were in the same boat.

In that moment, he remembered: the mushrooms.

Shit. I poisoned my family,” thought Jay.

SHIT! I POISONED MY FAM!” Jay thought harder and got up in a thunderous motion, walking towards the door which kept moving further back as he walked towards it.

Finally, Jay reached the door and ran outside to call for help, only when he got to the garden gate, he looked at the tree that stretched all the way up to the sun across the street.

“Where. am. I?”

At that very moment, Dr. Everard Brande happened to walk by the odd scene of a man with mouth gaping pointing pointedly to the tree.

“Excuse me, sir. Might I be of assistance?” said Dr. Brande. The doctor looked at the strange man, whose pupils at this point were in the same condition as Edward’s.

Suddenly, a crash and a scream was heard from the house. Dr. Brande drew a frightful glance to Jay, who didn’t register anything other than the tree.

Dr. Brande left Jay where he was and walked towards the house. Once stepping in, he scanned the room. Edward was on the floor, laughing and doing something that looked like the dance of a seal, mum in a chair, pale and stoned. He came to the source of noise. Harriet, the 12-year-old, was speaking in tongues, or so it seemed, and screaming violently at everyone and everything.

Dr. Brande quickly got a glass of water and brought it to her.

“I will eat you alive,” she snarled at him, grabbing the water glass and throwing it as hard as she could at his face (which he dodged).

“Most interesting,” mumbled Dr. Brande.

The next few hours were filled with further scenes from the exorcist, fevers, screams and laughter from the great beyond, as well as moments of heavenly bliss for Jay’s family.

Dr. Brande feverishly took notes, ultimately deciding that the family was poisoned by a species of Agaric mushrooms.

He wrote an article, submitted it to the editors of the Medical and Physical Journal, and thought about where he could get himself some shrooms for his own breakfast stew.

The article is below and here