Advice On How to Kill With A Slovak Mushroom

Photo: botlib.huh.harvard.edu

Photo: botlib.huh.harvard.edu

The authors R. Gordon Wasson and Valentina Pavlovna Wasson spent a great deal of time and effort investigating why some cultures (such as the husband’s American culture) loathed wild mushrooms, while other cultures (such as the wive’s Slavic culture) adored them.  Below is a bizarre piece of advice contained in their book Mushrooms, Russia, and History pointing out how hard it is to trace deaths by a specific kind of mushroom.

FOR  murderers there is only  one kind of mushroom worth considering: the amanita phalloides. Almost everyone who dies from mushrooms dies from it; and most of those who have eaten it have died from it. Even a small piece of the cap may kill a grown man. Specimens are easy to identify and easy to find in season – from August into October. Their poisonous virtue survives cooking, freezing, and drying.

The quote above is excerpted from the fantastic book Mushrooms, Russia, and History available here for purchase on Amazon (at quite an expensive price) or here (Volume 1 and Volume 2 both as PDF files) to be read free of charge.  I strongly recommend this book for those with an interest in a discussion of Slavic culture with an emphasis on Russia and also with discussion of European and world culture in general.

Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at www.52inSk.com.  He is from Chicago and spends most of his time travelling Europe and writing.  You can find more of his writing at www.AllanStevo.com.  If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email.  You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.