(02/27/07 05:12 AM)
If this reported death is the one submitted by French toxicologist Dr. Alain Gerault, it was myself and and other members of the Usenet group bionet.mycology who received his initial translation (apparently one of his students was doing it for us). I must say up front that I am not a toxicologist. But having said that, I still believe I know enough about mushrooms and psilocin/psilocybin to have offered him a response that I believe might still be found in the Usenet archives. I believe Deja was doing them back then, but the thread is still available through Google.
To put it in simple terms, I have problems just with the basis of his finding. He showed that there were Psilocybe spores present at autopsy, and that he got sic k and died quite some time later after him and a few other friends went picking fresh mushrooms out of a field. The friends didn't die, and of other drugs consumed, I believe only alcohol was admitted to. But the symptoms reported do not look like a psilocin intoxication alone. I was not convinced, nor might I add, was Paul Stamets, who was posting there at the same time Alain forwarded me the English version. I should say however that this was my initial opinion on the matter, and one I have seen nothing that would convince me to change it. I have not spoken to Paul about it since that time, and he may have changed his mind based on some further clarification. I do not know and do not wish to indicate here that he now maintains that original position. I have since been told by an aquaintence who attended a NAMA-sponsored event down in the States, and this report was spoken about as though it had been accepted by their organization. If that is truly the position of Dr. Beug, (NAMA Toxicology Chair) then I must defer to his
opinion on the matter. But for myself, I am going to stick with my original opinion that until I see a more clear-cut, uncomplicated by the passage of a great deal of time before both death and autopsy , with many reasons for the "fudging" of the details by victims friends and the authorities from the medical and legal professions with an interest in how the man was handled prior to his winding on Dr. Gerault's table.
The safety of the genus and the drug(s) contained within have such a long history of use (certainly many thousands of years before recorded history even began) that the burden of proof must now rest on clear-cut, virtually clinical proof, rather than this one case, one with so many variables left unaccounted for.
After all, the more incredible the claim, the more unassailable the proof for it must be, and this report makes a claim that goes against millions upon millions of by people who are all still quite alive and claiming something quite different as a result of their own experiences with the mushroom. (And yes, perhaps speaking from the dead might be what it takes to convince me otherwise, but so mote it be).
Gary Williams (Myc0s)