Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
Unknown Immortals In the City of Success
Pim, Herbert Moore. (1917)
Dublin: The Talbot Press
Description: Hardcover, viii + 96 pages.
Contents: Preface, 11 short character sketches.
Note: This book is included because of the chapter "Monsieur Among the Mushrooms," which may indicate knowledge of psychoactive mushrooms in early twentieth century Ireland. The chapter originally appeared under the pseudonym A. Newman [a new man?] in The Irish Ecclesiastical Record, (1915, Jan.-June) Vol. 9, pages 586-603. The earlier edition includes numerous footnotes which are omitted in the book version.
Excerpt(s): The amount of work which has gone to the making of this book could hardly be imagined. It suffices to say that I was at work upon Monsieur Among the Mushrooms at intervals for over four years. The original of Monsieur Among the Mushrooms is alive and prosperous. He is a perfectly amazing person, a man of considerable fortune, who has, I believe, been detained in an asylum on several occasions. He has the most powerful intellect whose action I have ever experienced. He conducts a large business during the day-time: but he may be discovered at four or five o'clock in the morning, pouring forth a stream of brilliance, and holding men in the cold street against their will. His brain works with such rapidity that he has constructed a language of his own, by means of which only the absolutely essential thought is presented to the hearer. I have seen calm men whipped into fury when they found themselves simply swept intellectually off their feet in argument with my model. ...
. . . In Monsieur I have drawn him exactly as he exists, save in the matter of the physical description. Apart from that fact, there is nothing exaggerated; and the debate between Monsieur and the members of committee is almost as true as a description of such a debate could be. There you see my model and his method. (pages 2-4)
And who shall smile as he contemplates the dismay with which Monsieur discovered his cul-de-sac? There it lay at his feet, a displeasing and unashamed destroyer of theories. There, with its corpse-like head and hideously human pinkness beneath; the growth of an hour that would spurn the centuries; a puff-ball paradox; the flower that blooms in darkness, and turns the pallor of death to the daylight, and the pink of health to the verdure through which it obtrudes itself!
And as, for Monsieur, all things in nature, with one exception, obeyed the laws of harmony and reflection, that one exception must be more powerful than all nature. So it was that among the mushrooms Monsieur believed he might find that for which as a philosopher he sought. ...
There was the world itself to be considered. For presently it put its claw into its own stomach, where Monsieur and his disciples were digesting wisdom, and demanded to know the reason for an aesthetic appreciation of a commodity interesting only for its commercial value. And Monsieur, dragged into daylight, expostulating vigorously, and infuriated at the incongruity of his attire, the reverse side of which was shaded in harmony with the Belfast atmosphere at that particular season, could hardly be considered a happy exponent of the transcendental. How indeed should ravings and grumblings and half-expressed anathemas, strung as beads upon a thread of truth, which was to lead men safely from their present intellectual labyrinth, seem in any sort different from the wisdom of those whom the world had, ex abundanti cautela, set aside in strong houses? (pages 40-43)
… "The season of my departure shall be near; and my time of detention must be per-suaded to shorten itself," Monsieur mut-tered. And aloud: "I desire a bag in which to store those puff-balls that have reached maturity."
A bag was brought to him. It remained to be seen if there was sufficient of that which was to deliver him. …
... The unwearied attentions of the philo-sopher had somewhat reduced the num-ber of dust-globes. And as the days passed, Monsieur found himself in posses-sion of much powder; until at length he considered that he might be contented with what his bag contained. Then it was that he strayed, with the bag in his arms, towards the boundary wall; and presently he wrenched a great cake of fungus from the arms of a low-built sycamore, and with a swing, tossed it over the wall. A vigorous oath might be offered as evidence that it struck a watcher in the outer world; but that is unimportant. The fact upon which it becomes necessary to concen-trate our attention is that a scaling ladder was suddenly shot over the wall, and lowered at Monsieur's feet. And when the slowly-working wits of the keepers had digested the objective reality of this apparition, Monsieur was already almost out of reach. And when they darted forward to claim the calves of his legs, the very sky seemed to split, and the sand of some celestial desert to descend upon them. Also there was something in this dust which appeared to penetrate their souls, and make pity, for a time, one of their emotions; so that when they struggled from the stupor of sympathy, Monsieur was already upon his feet in the outer world1 waving an empty bag as the ritualists of the "ring" are wont to wave the towels of triumph
1 I have documents in my possession which are evidence regarding Monsieur's conduct and investigations after he regained his freedom. He lived for some time under the protection of the keeper of a plant nursery. who had become so enthusiastic a believer in the doctrine of the Mushroom that he painted his glass houses with a black light excluding fluid. and cultivated the mushroom reverently. A primitive worship had already developed when Monsieur was restored to his followers. I have reason to believe that he prepared to encourage this. and. in some respects to modify it.
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This compilation by Thomas B. Roberts & Paula Jo Hruby, © 1995-2003 CSP