Folio — From the July 2013 issue

Blood Spore

Of murder and mushrooms

( 2 of 17 )

The tape, heavy with hiss and wow and flutter, was as Davis described, a forty-five-minute conversation between two men: one who appears to be a police officer from Castle Hills, Texas, named Wayne Merchant, the other a self-described “burglar” whose name is unclear. Officer Merchant joins The Burglar in a diner where cheerful muzak unwinds on the radio, dishes clatter, and a cash register rings and the drawer shoots open. Unbeknownst to Officer Merchant, he is being recorded. The Burglar is distressed because he has been “fingered” for the “bull moose job” and “shooting up a guy.” He is facing serious “federal time.” It can be inferred that The Burglar knows much of the Castle Hills PD personally and is acting as an informant in the pursuit of a reduced sentence. The two discuss their involvement in an array of crimes, both petty and violent, before the conversation turns to the unsolved murder of Pollock.

the burglar:  Ahrite, there’s one more thing that I don’t know how it got brought up, imma tell you what I heard. I heard on the street that you did it.

wayne merchant: I did what?

burglar:  Pollock’s death.

merchant:  Whose death

burglar:  Pollock — that mushroom doctor.

merchant:  I don’t even know the son of bitch, I don’t even know where he lived.

burglar:  They got — they claim — that I did it, that I went in and killed him, robbed him and killed him for two hundred thousand cash, and killed him.

merchant:  Hmmmmm.

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  • Peter Mork

    You are overlooking the shinola dude. If there are extinct shrooms or scrotums or whatever they are growing in the BK parking lot in San Cootch, maybe that means Whoppers are the grow medium everyone is horning for. Bodacious imps!

    Also I’m pretty sure this guy Bob knows more than he is saying. You NEED to check this out!

  • Stephen O’Malley

    Great article

  • purps

    TL;DR summary: I got my hands on a tape that ended up being irrelevant b/c the case had already been solved (but not prosecuted). Now watch as I fill my word count w/ things I learned about psychedelic mushrooms.

  • M Reilly

    Whatever Hamilton Morris is, he clearly isn’t a journalist or a writer. Harper’s is hurting its reputation by continuing to publish his shoddy work.

  • Milkshake Man

    Worthless bs article. Pollock didn’t ‘[grow] psychedelic mushrooms on Purina Dog Chow’, Paul Stamets is not the delusional messianic figure you describe, and on and on and on. Typical yellow journalism. And, your radio piece was even more cringe worthy. Really. You should be ashamed.

    • Hamilton Morris

      Pollock most certainly did grow mushrooms on Purina dog chow, it’s described on page 26 of his book “Magic Mushroom Cultivation”. I’m not sure why you would find that objectionable as DFA or “dog food agar” is widely used in both licit and illicit mushroom cultivation. Also I never said Stamets was delusional, I think he’s brilliant.

  • April

    It feels so good to read actual journalism. Thank you so much. I will think of Pollock (only happy thoughts) next time I have his fabulous truffles.

  • Chris Tharp

    Great article. Takes me back to those couple of years in my early 20′s when I learned to identify Psilocybin mushrooms. Spent many hours combing lawns, fields and forests for Psilocybe semilanceanta, Psilocbye cyanescens, and Psilocybe stunzi. Despite much searching I never could find Psilocybe baeocystis,though, which were said to be the most potent ones in the Pacific Northwest. Glad to know it wasn’t just me.

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