WASSON, R. Gordon

WASSON, Robert Gordon. Great Falls, Montana 22.9.1898 — Danbury CT 26.12.1986. U.S. “Ethnomycologist”. From 1928 worked in banks. For a while also worked for C.I.A. (1956). In 1979 living in Dunbury, Connecticut. Married 1927 Valentina Pavlovna Guercken (1901–1958), who participated in their ethnomycological studies. In 1957 they made the hallusinogenic use of mushrooms famous and thus destroyed the traditional Mazatec society in Mexico. Wasson wrote much about ethnobotany, mycology and anthropology, often as private publications. His famous Soma hypothesis was criticised i.al. by Brough and given a death-blow by H. Falk. His last project was an attempt to show mushroom use in the Eleusine mysteries.

Publications: Soma, divine mushroom of immortality. Ethno-mycological studies no. 1. 14+382 p. 23 pl. N.Y. 1968; “Soma: comments inspired by Professor Kuiper’s Review”, IIJ 12:4, 1970, 286-298; “The Soma of the Rig Veda: What was it?”, JAOS 91, 1971, 169-187, 10 pl.

Soma and the Fly Agaric. Mr. Wasson’s Rejoinder to Professor Brough. Ethno-mycological studies 2. 58 p. Cambridge 1972.

– “The Last Meal of the Buddha”, JAOS 102, 1982, 591-603.

Much unrelated to India.

Sources: Wikipedia with photo and further details about his studies.

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