Life on Distant Hill Blog ... Amanita muscaria
The 'Have No Fear’ Mushroom
The Yellow-orange Fly Agaric, Amanita muscaria var. formosa, is common in the woods at Distant Hill. It is somewhat poisonous and hallucinogenic when consumed by humans, but not deadly like some species of Amanita. The toxins affect the part of the brain that is responsible for fear, turning off the fear emotion. Viking Berserkers , who had a reputation for fierceness, are said to have ingested this mushroom prior to battle.
According to Wikepedia, it's called the fly agaric because residents of a number of European countries used it as an insecticide to control flies. Albertus Magnus was the first to record it in his work 'De vegetabilibus' sometime before 1256. Small pieces of the mushroom are placed in milk to attract flies and they become inebriated and crash into walls and die.