Psilocybin mushrooms, more commonly known as magic mushrooms, are a group mushrooms that grow in the wild which have similar effects to LSD when consumed. Psilocybin is the psychoactive chemical in the mushrooms. There are many types of psilocybin mushrooms, psilocybe semilanceata being the one most often consumed for recreational drug use. There are other species of mushrooms, not containing psilocybin but still containing psychoactive substances, which are often called magic mushrooms. The most frequently quoted of these is amanita muscaria which is highly poisonous and potentially deadly. Appearance-wise, psilocybin mushrooms look similar to normal mushrooms, and amanita muscaria mushrooms are spotted red and white.
And it certainly is not supposed to do that at such high temperatures. Marzari, who predicted the phenomenon at almost the same time as Chen, was therefore fairly confident that it would prove valid. Even so, he was less certain that second sound would be seen at the foreseen high temperatures. “If you had asked me to bet my mortgage on the existence of this effect, I would have said yes,” Marzari says. “But the question is always does it happen at 100 Kelvin, 20 Kelvin or 0.1 Kelvin?” Duncan’s experiment found the effect at 120 Kelvin—more than 10 times higher than previous measurements. “Nobody ever thought that you would actually be able to do this at such high temperatures,” says Venkatesh Narayanamurti, a research professor of technology and public policy at Harvard University who was not involved in the study. “In that sense, it breaks some conventional wisdom.”
And for the most part, it does not. Second sound was first detected in liquid helium 75 years ago and later seen within three solids. “All indications early on were that this was something that would really be confined to very few materials and only at very low temperatures,” Nelson says. As such, scientists thought they had hit the end of the road. “It wasn’t super clear what [second sound] could be apart from a scientific statement,” says Nicola Marzari, a materials scientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, in Lausanne, who was not involved in this study. “So, the entire field went dormant for many years.”
Sensations and feelings change much more dramatically than the physical signs. The user may feel several different emotions at once or swing rapidly from one emotion to another. If taken in a large enough dose, the drug produces delusions and visual hallucinations. The user’s sense of time and self changes. Sensations may seem to cross over, giving the user the feeling of hearing colours and seeing sounds. These changes can be frightening and can cause panic.
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