Crazy About Mushrooms


Anna holding shaggy parasols.
Anna Mchugh

Mushroom Documentary

What do the poisoned Emperor Claudius, the Aztec storm deity Quetzacotl and a 5,500 year old Ice Man have in common? They were all crazy about mushrooms! For thousands of years, people the world over have cherished mushrooms as food, medicine and a gateway to the divine. Why do some people love mushrooms? What can we learn from them? "Crazy About Mushrooms" is a radio documentary and educational project that explores these questions.

The radio documentary was produced by journalist and mycophile (mushroom-lover) Anna McHugh. Funded by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and supported by KVMR-FM in Nevada City, CA, McHugh traveled the United States speaking with mushroom luminaries from all over and bringing their stories, and the story of the mysterious mushroom, to light.

Listen to the finished documentary here!

Anna is also working on a companion book and maintains a blog about Kingdom Fungi, and the human encounter with mushrooms. Anna also regularly presents at nature centers, festivals, conferences and other educational venues, sharing her knowledge about the fungal ecology and culinary mushroom cultivation. Check back on this website for updates, follow the project on Kickstarter and Facebook, or contact us to support the project!

Can Oyster Mushrooms Clean Up Oil Spills?

Paul Stamets of Fungi Perfecti invited me to record his research on oil-digesting mushroom mycelium in Washington State's Puget Sound. Stamets has been cultivating and researching mushrooms for over 30 years, and discovered that the common oyster mushroom can break down and digest oil, and are able to restore life to contaminated soil in as few as 6 weeks!

Listen in on Paul Stamets as he explains his newest experiment using oil-eating oyster mushrooms: the mycoboom! Much like an oil containment boom in design, Stamets's mycoboom is designed to trap, consume and neutralize oil slicks in the Gulf of Mexico!

Interview of Paul Stamets

Recorded June 2010 by Anna McHugh