Something Is Growing Down There
by Melanie Strong
I dream of fungus.
My dreams see me in the in the dark labyrinth of the underground, deep in its secret cortex. The body of the beast spreads out for thousands and thousands of miles. Its network spreads itself across the entire earth.
Fungus DNA more closely resembles animal DNA than plant. Some sources cite at least a 50% similarity between fungi and human genetic makeup.
Something is growing down there.
The largest and oldest creature in the world is a fungus that is the size of 1665 football fields.
In my dreams, I can hear the fungal thoughts. I attribute this to the overwhelming amount of spores seeping in through every space of my body. The entity is calm, peaceful and patient. It is not malicious but still planning our demise.
In the same way that it sucks the water away from the tree roots, killing them so that other species may flourish, it will infect us and destroy us to allow the return of the natural order.
Fungi are classified as their own distinct kingdom, totally separate from plants and animals in their cellular structure, their reproduction and their feeding habits. While animals and plants have two classified sexual genders fungi have no gender, only mating types. Fungi do not use photosynthesis to obtain food but instead act as scavengers or parasites. Feeding on decomposing or sometimes living organisms, fungi ingest their nutrients by excreting enzymes into their food source.
Fungi exist as molds, yeasts and mushrooms as well as morels, rusts and a whole bunch of other adorable names. We commonly think of mushrooms when we think of fungus but fungi live all around us: in our homes, on our food, on our skin and in our bodies.
Fungi travel as tiny spores which are genetic clones of their parent. They take hold and grow tiny threads called hyphae which function as scary feeding tubes. In large numbers, hyphae form mycelium. In this structure, fungi are among the largest organisms on earth. Malheur National Forest in Oregon is home to the most impressive creature, which spans an estimated 8.9 square kilometres (5.5 square miles) or 2000 acres. Conservative estimates place its age at 2400 years but it could be as old as 7200.
It is hungry. It adapts, it destroys. In the dank recesses of the tangled maze I can feel its need. It is not mindless in its desire, but relentless and ruthless.
Aside from the expected soil nutrients, insects and various discarded remains, fungi have been known to consume asbestos, jet fuel, plastics and resins (including CDs), men’s faces, the MIR space station and radiation from Chernoybl.
They are parasitic. The terrifying Cordyceps fungus takes total control of its victims and forces them to their death in order to continue its own life cycle. What if this fungus becomes transmittable to humans? One astute gentleman says:
So what if this fungus moved onto humans? What if there was infact [sic] a whole range of sub species of fungus that turned not only humans but turned the whole place into a veriable zombie apocalypse scenario? Now your going to ask yourself “well why the frick would it be a zombie apocalypse” and I’d awnser [sic] “because it’s better then a non zombie apocalypse”.
Fungi normally found in decaying trees have also been found living in humans. To reiterate, a man lost his face when a strain of fungus invaded his nasal passage. We already live in a world where yeast infections take over our bowels, our genitals and our skin. Fungi live and thrive all over us and we don’t even notice. “Before panicking, it’s worth remembering that even while you’re reading this you’re probably breathing in some fungal spores,” says the same site that also told me about wood-loving macrofungi living in some poor unsuspecting people.
The benefits of Psilocybin mushrooms aside (John Cage, Jefferson Airplane and that time I looked at fractals for six straight hours), fungi are responsible for innumerable allergies, illnesses and deaths (it even killed a man gardening). It only tempts us with its visions of fluid realities and its chewiness in sushi. There is something called a slime mold and it can do this to you. The X-Files had it right.
Mold will cover everything. The waters will ferment. Toadstools will spring up while we sleep. The mushroom cloud that destroys us will not be atomic.
“End of the Day” – Beck (mp3)
“Ending Song” – Keren Ann (mp3)
“How’s It Gonna End” – Tom Waits (mp3)
Melanie Strong is the senior contributor to This Recording. She forms part of the Canadian contingent and is doing her best to keep the area immediately surrounding her free of spores. She writes at Assholes, Binge and Purge and Our Hell.
“Evil Urges” – My Morning Jacket (mp3)
“Evil is Coming” – Broadcast (mp3)
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