Penis Envy Mushroom History
The history of penis envy mushroom is often confused: origin stories of all the varieties of psiloycbe cubensis, seem to be straight forward. The go-to article for explaining how penis envy emerged was published in Vice in 2009, by journalist-turned-psychedelic-scientist, Hamilton Morris.
However, he later admitted to being deliberately misled by the infamous mycologist John Allen (aka Mushroom John, of psilocybe allenii fame),
The real story goes like this:
In the early 1970s, Terrence McKenna found a huge wild patch of psilocybe cubensis
growing in the Columbian Amazon. And although magic mushrooms had recently been made illegal, the spores were not, so McKenna took a few spore prints back to his home. One of the spore prints found its way to Steven Pollock
, the medical doctor turned psychedelic mushroom enthusiast, who spent several years isolating the mushrooms to produce Penis Envy – before Pollock’s mysterious murder in 1981.
But the 2009 iteration of the story ends with Pollock, found dead with a Penis Envy mushroom clutched in his hand, leading investigators to find a single Penis Envy spore print from Pollock’s phallic experiments (labeled only “penis”).
These spores made their way to Rich Gee, a Washington-based mycologist, who kept the variety alive. Rich Gee ultimately proved almost impossible to track down, and wasn’t heard of after that for many years.
What a story, right?
This story gives Pollock the receiving credit and Richard Gee just care-took the variety.
But the plot thickens
In 2021 Rich Gee came out of his reclusive lifestyle with two incredibly rare books on magic mushroom cultivation. The first, How To Identify and Grow Psilocybin Mushrooms
, was written by Gee and his friend Jules Stevens, and published in 1977.
The second sole-authored book, Cubensis Aquarium Gardening
was published in 1995 where you can view the first recorded photograph of the then-unnamed Penis Envy mushroom.
Gee claims the original spores that gave rise to Penis Envy were from the original Terrence McKenna Amazonian collection
. The spores actually passed hands a few times to get into Gee’s possession.