TV & Movies

After Cocaine Bear, These True Stories Of Animals On Drugs Need To Be Told

Thanks to HBO’s “The Last of Us,” mushrooms are having a bit of a moment right now. Of course, fungi can do so much more than burrow into your brain and turn you into a ravenous zombie. Certain varieties can also make you hallucinate, feel euphoric, and gain a greater appreciation of EDM.

As such, it makes sense that humans aren’t the only ones who take advantage of the chill vibes. Many animals, but particularly reindeer, have been known to consume mushrooms that make them act all loopy. Specifically, reindeer are big fans of the fly agaric mushroom, which can be toxic to humans, but they can eat it to their heart’s content, making them behave drunkenly and make weird noises. In fact, some scholars believe the connection between reindeer and mushrooms led to the myth of Santa’s flying reindeer. While speaking with NPR, biology professor Donald Pfister spoke about a book from R. Gordon Wasson who notes how shamans in Siberia would consume mushrooms for their hallucinogenic properties. Reindeer would eat them, too, so the theory goes that the shamans believed reindeer acting erratically were flying, adding to the mythos of Santa.

There’s no way to definitively prove that’s where the myth came from, but the idea could make for a hilarious adult animated comedy in the vein of “Sausage Party.” Just think of a Christmas movie where all of Santa’s reindeer have to get super high in order to pull the sleigh. All you have to do is cast Seth Rogen as Rudolph and you’re off to the (reindeer) races. Plus, it could help normalize psychedelic use during a time when medical professionals are experimenting with mushrooms in therapies to help with PTSD and depression. A stupid movie could do a lot of good, like how the world got introduced to Charlize Theron in “Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest.”

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