The history of the Penis Envy mushroom is probably one of the most talked about, but often confused, origin stories of all of the varieties of Psilocybe cubensis. For many years, the go-to article for explaining how Penis Envy emerged was published in Vice in 2009, by journalist-turned-psychedelic-scientist Hamilton Morris. However, in a podcast published on Morris’ own Patreon in June 2021, he admits to having been deliberately misled by the infamous mycologist John Allen (aka Mushroom John, of Psilocybe allenii fame), along with much hearsay found on various fungal forums.
Morris’ close-to-the-truth story from 2009 is a blend of a range of cult figures and folklore from the mushroom community and roughly proceeds as follows: In the early 1970s, Terrence Mckenna found a huge wild patch of Psilocybe cubensis growing deep in the Columbian Amazon. Though magic mushrooms had recently been made illegal, the spores were not (as is the case in most US states today), so Terrence took several spore prints back to his home in Colorado. One of these prints found its way to Steven Pollock, the medical doctor turned psychedelic mushroom enthusiast, who spent several years isolating the mushrooms to produce the Penis Envy variety—before Pollock’s mysterious murder in 1981.