Friday, 15 April 2016

"Mushrooms make you immortal”—& Other Mushroom Myths

Artist extraordinaire James Grasdal is putting the finishing touches on the 13th book in the Superman Duffy comic series—MYTHCONCEPTIONS. Which, you may have guessed has a little something to do with common “myths.” I love myths! So for this year’s A to Z Blogging Challenge, I’m going to “bust” as many of them as I can—every day (except Sundays) on the blog, throughout April.

Not familiar with the A to Z Challenge? Get the details here, and then hang on, because I’m about to blow your mind with my myth-inspired posts. P.S. Comment on the blogs throughout the month for a chance to WIN a complete set of the Superman Duffy comics, including lucky #13, MYTHCONCEPTIONS.
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MYTH: Mushrooms make you immortal.
Sounds ridiculous, I know, but in ancient Egypt, mushrooms were a rare delicacy. 

Mushrooms were associated with immortality, and so only royalty could consume them. Clearly there are no “immortal” Egyptians running around, but the people of Egypt aren’t the only ones to believe that these umbrella-shaped fungi have magical properties of some kind.

In no particular order, here are some outrageous mushroom myths I found. (Seriously, I can’t believe people think this stuff is real!)

MYTH: Gather mushrooms on a full moon or they will be poisonous.
Dude! The moon is supposedly responsible for SO MANY THINGS! But turning regular mushrooms poisonous is not one of them. There are tons of different kinds of mushrooms, and before you pick ANY of them, make sure you’re 100% positive on the type—regardless of what day of the month you gather them.

MYTH: Mushroom rings are where the Fae come to dance after a rainstorm.
Many people in Great Britain definitely think this, but in other countries, it’s believed that if you enter a mushroom ring, you’ll fall asleep for hundreds of years, or worse, be whisked off to an unknown land, never to return. Look, I don’t have any scientific evidence of this, but come on…this is obviously a myth. 

MYTH: Santa Claus’ red and white suit originated from the colours of a mushroom species.
If you’ve read any books with fairies in them, you’ve seen the Fly Agaric mushroom—distinctive by it’s red and white colour pattern. In the books, a gnome or fairy is perched on the top of the mushroom. It’s true that this type of mushroom is associated with the Yule season, but this site offers a much better reason for the colour of Santa’s suit—and it has nothing to do with mushrooms.

MYTH: Mushrooms growing in an apple orchard are always edible.
I refer back to my earlier response and remind you to ALWAYS have a trusting adult confirm a mushroom’s safety before picking them—regardless of where they are growing. Apples are delicious, but they definitely don’t have the power to make poisonous mushrooms safe for eating.

My sister isn’t a big mushroom eater—something about how they grow—but I love them. And Canada is a huge producer of mushrooms, about 105 MILLION kilograms a year. Twelve per cent of that is grown in the Prairies. That’s a lot of mushrooms! Nom nom nom.

Whoot! We made it to the half-way mark of the #AtoZChallenge. Gotta jet—but I’ll see you tomorrow for the final post of the week, the letter “N.” Right?

~ Chase Superman Duffy

P.S. Comment on this post, or share it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for a chance to WIN a complete set of the Superman Duffy comics. A winner will be chosen at random on May 1.

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