Every so often I come across an idea that’s so remarkable, so playful, so wildly improbable that it could almost be true.... and I have to take a deep dive down the rabbit hole. The "Stoned Ape Theory" is one such idea.
Essentially: Did the ancient consumption of psychedelic mushrooms actually rewire the brains of our hominid ancestors so they learned to talk and think symbolically?
The legendary psychonaut Terrence McKenna talked up this theory several decades ago, though as you’ll hear in our radio story, his younger brother Dennis claims that he first came up with the idea.
The history of magic mushrooms goes back to the Mesoamerican mushroom cults. Later, they were rediscovered by Gordon Wasson, who wrote about his own experiences in a lengthy article in Life magazine. That Western interest can be traced all the way to our own time, as a new generation of scientists studies psychedelic therapies that might treat depression, addiction, and trauma.
We had a lot of fun putting together an entire radio hour about mushrooms — and most of all, discovering the world of mushroom obsessives who travel around the world to find rare and tasty mushrooms. Some of them really believe that mushrooms can save the world.
Magic mushrooms go way back in human history. People have been eating them, and tripping, and even worshiping mushrooms for millennia. Some people even believe psychedelic mushrooms helped create human consciousness. We examine the "Stoned Ape Theory."
The Haida First Nation people in British Columbia have a myth about the origin of humanity coming from "Fungus Man." And that myth contains plenty of truth — we do owe our past and future existence on Earth to the kingdom of mushrooms.
Writer Eugenia Bone’s obsession with mushrooms began with her love of eating them and she goes to great lengths to hunt for mushrooms in the wild. She shares notes from her hunts for morels as well as three recipes for how to best enjoy fungal delicacies.
When Nikka Costa was ten, she was a pop sensation in Europe. In her 20s, she was Britney Spear’s opening act. But she’s left pop music behind and now she’s performing songs by some of the musicians she’s known, including Prince and Frank Sinatra.
Caryn McKechnie didn’t like high school, but now she’s a college senior working on her teaching certificate. She went back to her high school to interview her favorite teacher. And that teacher? He left the public schools altogether.
When it comes to crossing musical borders, hip hop artist Toni Blackman has crossed so many and traveled so far, she ended up at the US State Department as its first ever Hip Hop Ambassador. Here’s what she sounded like live in our studio.