Blue Mushrooms

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The genus Lentinus Azuri is a species of relatively rare parasitic woodland fungi, usually found growing in damp, shaded woodland. Unlike many species of brightly-patterned mushroom, they are both edible and mildly nutritious - if one can stomach the massive dose of potent hallucinogens contained within. Unsurprisingly, a wealth of New Age pseudoscience surrounds these mushrooms, and the fungi themselves have enjoyed a modicum of media attention in recent years after the unpleasant mass suicide of a backwoods religious sect that used them in its ceremonies, but the world mostly considers them yet another species of magic mushroom burned by hippies too poor or too moral for hard drugs.

The hallucinogens contained within the mushrooms themselves appear to be fairly easily extracted and isolated in concentrated form. They are massively potent - as was spectacularly proven during an FBI raid of a chemistry lab, where a simple dropped test tube released enough intoxicating fumes to have the entire building seeing giant purple singing spiders (if only it had merely been that, say Speculation...) for over 36 hours. The hallucinations and waking dreams experienced by those inhaling the fumes are remarkably intense, usually leaving the victims conscious but so detached from reality no-one could consider them responsible for their actions. Motor control appears unimpaired, but most senses appear completely dulled by a hallucinogenic haze that can last for days.

Rather more bizarrely, some of the documented cases in recent history provide evidence of groups under the influence of such fumes all sharing a single hallucination, going far beyond mere mass hysteria in detail and corroboration. Serious clinical trials have yet to be held (the very concept of lending credence to New Age beliefs has slowed the process considerably), but Speculation believe there may be a grain of truth to the claims. They note the proviso, however, that any correlation between mushroom highs and reality may be mere after-the-fact association – interpreting hallucinations as meaning-laden visions is a rather well-entrenched human past-time, after all.

Rather more worryingly, a large number of the "insights" apparently gained during hallucinogen-induced trances tend to be of a disturbingly occult or spiritual nature - and we're not talking nirvana here. Speculation has mobilised more than one Occult Containment Squad to a fume-release site to find the place crawling with hellspawn, and rumour hath it that FLEET Intel have begun treating reports from blue mushroom junkies as serious infernal intelligence.

So far all efforts to date to obtain a viable sample of these mysterious fungi have been frustrated, but this is not in itself a cause for concern – by all accounts the mushrooms grow wild, so stumbling across one is likely to be a matter of luck. Mutterings in the ranks of disappearing or even mobile mushroom growths that actively avoid efforts to locate them have all been roundly dismissed by Fortean Zoology, who employ several agents in the field permanently hunting for them. Such difficulties aside, the Board at large remain extremely interested – after all, St John the Divine of Patmos was well-known for his "funny mushroom" habit, and he went on to write that well-known text, the Book of Revelations...

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