A news release from the Dept. of Public Health, (pdf file) sent through the Humoldt County e-mail list, reminds us of the dangers of eating wild mushrooms. You won't catch me gathering the wild ones, although I've known guys with the Humboldt Mycological Society that knew the mushrooms quite well. One guy, Eric Olsen, a probation officer with Humboldt Probation, knew all the mushrooms and their scientific names. He had me impressed and I'd trust his judgment.
On the other hand, I recall hitchhiking north from Eureka after I first moved here. A bunch of what I'd call fellow hippies picked me up. Pleasant enough folks, but as we stopped along the way one guy felt the need to take a taste of every mushroom he found and, being Fall, they were abundant. He'd just take a little nibble of each one. I knew then that even a small bite could be dangerous. I expressed my concerns to him but he'd have none of it. He said he was just tasting a little piece. I was glad to get out of that van. The guy seemed fine last I saw him. I didn't want to be involved if the guy started spazzing out from mushroom poisoning. Ugh!