Famous, enchanting and highly toxic. Fly agaric is the home of fairies and magical creatures and a lover of birch woodland (where it helps trees by transferring nutrients into their roots). If eaten it can cause hallucinations and psychotic reactions. As such, this fungi has been linked with the wild, fearless fighting style of Viking Beserkers.
Today, the word ‘berserk’ is used to describe anyone in an irrational, agitated state of mind who cannot or does not control his or her actions. The meaning of the word originates with the Viking Beserkers, the fierce warriors who were known for battling in an uncontrollable, trance-like fury, and were alleged to be able to perform seemingly impossible super-human feats of strength. They would howl and growl like beasts, froth at the mouth, and launch an attack in a fit of frenzy.
The fury of the berserkers would start with chills and teeth chattering and give way to a purpling of the face, as they literally became ‘hot-headed’, and culminating in a great, uncontrollable rage. They would bite into their shields and gnaw at their skin before launching into battle, indiscriminately injuring, maiming and killing anything in their path.
Visit sweden fishing and birding in the land of the Vikings!