Zoologist, media consultant, and science writer, Dr Karl Shuker is also one of the best known cryptozoologists in the world. Author of such seminal works as Mystery Cats of the World (1989), The Lost Ark: New and Rediscovered Animals of the 20th Century (1993; greatly expanded in 2012 as The Encyclopaedia of New and Rediscovered Animals), In Search of Prehistoric Survivors (1995), and more recently Extraordinary Animals Revisited (2007), Dr Shuker's Casebook (2008), Karl Shuker's Alien Zoo: From the Pages of Fortean Times (2010), Cats of Magic, Mythology, and Mystery (2012), and Mirabilis: A Carnival of Cryptozoology and Unnatural History (2013), his many fans have been badgering him to join the blogosphere for years. The CFZ Blog Network is proud to have finally persuaded him to do so.

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Sunday, 26 December 2010


My mystifying mushrooms batique picture from Indonesia (Dr Karl Shuker)

In July of this year (2010), I posted on my Facebook wall this photo of a very eyecatching but also very extraordinary framed Indonesian (Balinese?) batique (aka batik) picture that I purchased from a friend a few years ago for the princely sum of £1, and I asked for opinions as to what its bizarre image of mushrooms emerging from a human head represents. The most commonly-voiced notion was that it is meant to personify some form of psychedelic, magic mushroom-induced hallucination – as opposed to my own suggestion that it portrays a colony of were-mushrooms assuming human form!

Seriously, though, its mystifying image is so intriguing and captivating, albeit in a somewhat macabre way – the framed picture currently hangs in the breakfast room at home and always attracts interest and comments from visitors – that I would definitely like to learn as much as I can concerning it.

So if you are reading this and can offer any thoughts or information, please post whatever you can here. Looking forward to reading them!


  1. Gong have played out there and this looks similar to a pothead pixie 'bananamoon' head.

    You could ask on the Gong forum, who knows. Nice painting though.

  2. Thanks for the info, Dave, I'll check it out. Meanwhile, I checked for any similar batique/batik images on Google without success, but when I checked eBay today I found a very similar unframed Javan batik picture, which the seller refers to as 'magic mushrooms'. Check it out at:
    Judging from its price, I clearly had a bargain when I paid just £1 for mine, which is even framed too!

  3. Well, from an Anthropological perspective, the study of enthenogenic fungi is one of my areas of specialization. Not only is the common cow's-dung mushroom of India used as a hallucinogen and the practice diffused from India throughout Southern Asia, there are specific signs of cultic mushroom use in parts of Indonesia, including Bali, including New Guinea. And having the fungi growing out of the head in artwork is a common expression for using the fungi ritually to promote visions for shamanic purposes, another good example being in Mexico and the Mayan lands.
    Best Wishes, Dale D.