The mycologist Alan Rockefeller relates an alternative version of the story that sees Pollock and Lincoff in the pasture “smoking a doob,” which Pollock drops and then finds resting at the base of a new mushroom species. Lincoff insists that this version is apocryphal.
It wasn’t until 1981 that the first artificially grown morel was harvested. Ronald Ower, a graduate student at San Francisco State University, achieved a breakthrough when he treated the sclerotia of the yellow morel with a compound developed by Paul Stamets for growing psilocybian mushrooms. It required an additional five years of experimentation, cultivation, and “ascus stroking” before he could file a patent for his technique, but Ower never lived to see his work revolutionize the industry with grow kits and a lucrative contract from Domino’s Pizza: he was murdered in a robbery three months before his patent was granted, his mangled body found in a park and identifiable only by the keys to his sclerotium lab and a gold maxillary central incisor.
Gray-market corporations generally do a poor job of maintaining detailed financial records. David Tatelman, founder of Hidden Creek’s closest rival, Homestead Book Company, of Seattle, estimated Homestead’s average yearly grow-kit revenue to be $275,000 during Pollock’s heyday, which would put Hidden Creek in the lead by a large margin.
Such lofty ambitions could easily be dismissed as delusional if it weren’t for the fact that Pollock was a brilliant and dedicated scientist; his colleague Kenneth Blum recalled to High Times Pollock’s “drive to achieve medical greatness in a very traditional sense. Had Steve worn a tie, had short hair, worked under a government grant at Harvard, and sold prescriptions to suburbanites, he would still be alive today.”
Until recently, psychedelics weren’t believed to address any somatic disorders—they generally exert their therapeutic effect after a single administration, and what exactly they do is difficult to quantify, varying enormously from person to person. In short, they stand in stark opposition to everything that has traditionally characterized an FDA approvable pharmaceutical. Whereas early research often suggested relatively flimsy benefits, such as reducing the duration of the common cold or increasing the expectoration of mucus, recent research has found serotonergic psychedelics to act as potent anti-inflammatory agents and as stimulators of hippocampal neurogenesis. Psilocybin is an alkaloid that bears strong resemblance to the neurotransmitter serotonin, and so exerts its primary pharmacological effect on multiple subtypes of serotonin receptors. It is through such receptors that psilocybin both prevents cluster headaches and induces its psychedelic effects. Although it has many commonalities with such psychedelics as mescaline and LSD, in recent years it has come to the forefront of medical research because of its high potency and the comparatively short duration of its effects.
Though Hancock vividly remembers snowfall, not a single flake was recorded in Blanco or Bexar County for the entirety of 1981, and it seems likely that her memory owes to the hors d’oeuvres.
In actuality, no reward was ever offered by Walter Pollock, who refused to so much as pay for his son’s gravestone.
Michael Forbes denied the rumors that Archie Lee Johnson owed Pollock money, repeatedly emphasizing to me that Pollock was a Jew.
Although this claim could not be corroborated, Pollock’s profile, because of his books, grow-kit factory, and prescription-drug racket, was high enough that he very well could have drawn Perot’s ire. In the month preceding Ronald Reagan’s inauguration, Perot was seen rabidly proselytizing for the “Texans’ War on Drugs,” brandishing a bottle of concentrated marijuana smoke before rapt audiences, providing bodyguards for cooperative snitches, pushing to allow wiretaps of suspected drug users, and promising nothing but the direst of consequences for “pill-pushing doctors.”
Johnson was indeed not questioned in the police report, despite his being mentioned as a suspect in multiple statements from Pollock’s associates. Detectives did subpoena Pollock’s phone records, but only obtained the call log for the month up to January 27, four days before the murder.
Nothing Baker and Dietzmann supposedly said to Lyssy involved information kept secret by police, and Lyssy’s deviations from public reports are either false or cannot be corroborated.
Polygraphy is largely pseudoscience, though the technique was considered valid at the time.
For Michael Forbes, the central piece of evidence was not inside the office but directly outside: located on the right of the exterior surface of the door there should have been a doorknob, yet on the night of the murder the knob was nowhere to be found. Forbes has spent the better part of thirty years polishing this theory until it shines with a singular importance. The crime-scene photographs clearly depict an empty hole, the product of a knob and spindle avulsed entirely from the door. But the true significance was lost on journalists: they mistook the door’s knoblessness, caused by the emergency medical personnel who bludgeoned their way into the crime scene with a tire iron, for an indication of forced entry by Pollock’s killers, whom they imagined “prying open the door and breaking off the knob” or “ripping the knob off the front door” (at their most circumspect, they simply noted that the knob was “missing”). Yet Pollock never locked his door while working. On the off chance that Pollock had locked his door, removing the knob wouldn’t have facilitated entry—the door was visibly outfitted with a dead bolt. Forbes has no doubt the knob was intact when the murderers entered, and suggests that the door was deknobbed in a final coup de théâtre, staging the forced entry that so many mistook as fact. But were the actors in this crime in fact actors? Was the medical stage of Pollock’s office, with its ostentatiously displayed controlled-substance-dispensary permits and prop examination table, the scene of a premeditated contract killing organized by metastagers to appear as the disorganized crime of deranged Quaalude addicts?
Though the Dutch government did mandate the destruction of all remaining mushrooms, on this occasion no fire was employed. The Truffle Brothers recall that disposing of their stock was “the easy part,” with psychomycophiles lining up around their farm ready to consume every last specimen they had to offer.