“Yes, this is the normal reaction. Mushrooms seem to be harmless, but many species know that they are not. Because there are some fungi that they want not to kill but to control. Answer me: Where does LSD come from? It comes from ergot, a fungus, like psilocybin. Viruses can make us sick, but Mushrooms Can Change Our Brains,
is a fungus that infects insects. Suppose you infect an ant. It travels through its circulatory system to its brain and floods it with hallucinations, thus breaking the ant’s will. The fungus begins to dictate the insect’s behavior. It tells you where to go and what to do, like a puppet with puppets. There’s more: The fungus needs to eat in order to survive, so it begins to devour the host from within, replacing the ant’s flesh with its own. But he doesn’t let his victim die, no. He cares about keeping her alive.” At least, if we can call that life.
The words are not ours. Thus begins the series adaptation of ‘The Last of Us’, one of the most iconic video games of recent years. Also, a series that has been on everyone’s lips for weeks now. And it’s not for less because The approach (that twist to the zombie phenomenon) is very interesting, Even if it’s just to be “inspired by true events”.
real fact? Can mushrooms do this?
Not in humans, obviously: but we can say it’s inspired by nature. A priori, the premises of the series and the video game are not identical (for both scientific and plot reasons), but they are very similar. In the early 2000s, the BBC aired a documentary called ‘Planet Earth’ which discussed zombie ants. This was one of the elements that helped popularize Ophiocardyceps in the public imagination.
And yes, the fungus that causes the pandemic on ‘The Last of Us’ Driven by a family of 400 or 500 different species Parasitic fungus. especially, ophiocardiceps unilateral, A fungus that when ingested by ants grows until it reaches the brain and takes over the ant. These fungi manage to “drive” the victims towards certain plants where they will press their jaws against the stem and die. At that point, the fungus grows around them and they become dispersal of spores. To such an extent that they can easily wipe out entire colonies.
this is not the only case, snails that are attacked leucochloridium paradox They undergo a terrifying physical change that transforms their eyes and the parasite to control the body by exposing it to the sun and becoming easy prey for birds. It is thanks to him that, developing inside the bird and being expelled by the bird, it can repeat its life cycle.
As I say, there is more; But of course they are the most famous. And the ones most commonly used to talk about the ‘science’ of zombies. Fortunately, when we talk about humans, things get more complicated, and We spent centuries thinking they could do whatever they wanted with us,
In mid-July 1518, a woman named Trofea stood in the middle of a Strasbourg street and began to dance. Without paying attention to reasons, without explaining anything: she danced, danced, danced non-stop, And what’s worse, it wasn’t just her. By the end of the week, 34 others had joined him, and by the end of the month, 400 people were dancing in town.
The Strasbourg dance epidemic killed about 15 people from heart attacks, seizures or simple exhaustion. 15 people a day. “There are dozens of medical notes, Sunday sermons, regional histories and municipal acts on the case,” but for centuries no one knew what really happened. neither there nor in Kolbig (Saxony) in 1021 where 18 people started dancing on Christmas Eve; neither in Erfurt in 1247, nor in Maastricht shortly thereafter. The entire 16th century is littered with cases in Switzerland, France, the Netherlands and the Holy Roman Empire.
The most rational theories always have a fungus as their point of view: ergot. At the time, this fungus contaminated rye very easily and caused the famous “ergotism” (or ‘St. Anthony’s fire’). As we explained a few years ago, since LSD is synthesized from ergotIt seems logical that an outbreak of ergotism could lead to an epidemic of this type.
The problem is that ergot chemicals can cause seizures and hallucinations, but it seems unlikely that they could make hundreds of people dance for days until their death. Furthermore, such “strange behavior epidemics” are not unique to the Middle Ages. On January 30, 1962, in a small town on Lake Tanganyika, three girls started laughing, and soon 95 boys from the same school were laughing. They did this for 16 days and caused an epidemic that resulted in over a thousand cases and fourteen school closures. In 1983 there was an epidemic of fainting in the West Bank that ended with 943 hospitalizations for no reason. Or rather, without finding any apparent reason.
Is a ‘zombie pandemic’ possible?
It is clear that no, there is no fungus capable of destroying the world and turning our lives into ‘The Last of Us’ scenarios. But if we think about it for a moment, the question is on the table: We don’t understand the extent to which those events happened… What if people were dancing, laughing, or fainting? Instead of giving to kill other people? And if he gives them his brains to eat? Could we be facing a real ‘zombie’ pandemic?
It seems like we’re moving away from the science of ‘The Last of Us,’ but it’s really not. We are getting closer to the realistic possibility of a freak event. Above all, because it affects one of the most idiosyncratic topics in contemporary medicine and psychology: what we might call “mass hysteria,” in the words of John Waller, professor of history at Michigan State University: how, whether there is A pandemic is involved, humans have enough mechanisms to go crazy, do weird things and carry on as if nothing had happened. Let’s get down to the really central thing about ‘The Last of Us’: how we face who we really are,