San José State University
Thayer Watkins
Silicon Valley,
Tornado Alley
& the Gateway
to the Rockies

Santa and his Wingless Flying Reindeer:
Their Nature and Origin

In a recent tour of an ethnological open air museum in Lithuanian our group came upon the bright red mushroom with white spots shown below. Take special note of the particular shade of red. It is a surprisingly strange color to come upon in nature yet a very familiar color to civilization. More on this later.

Here is an example with a more symmetric pattern of white spots.

Our guide did not know a whole lot about this type of mushroom. She said it was poisonous and some native people spread it around to kill flies. I knew its name is fly agaric and used that name to find more about it on the internet. It is also known by the name amanita muscaria.

Although it is poisonous it takes quite a bit to harm a person and some natives in Northeast Europe consume it for its hallucinogenic effects.

The reindeer herders of the North found, by some mysterious process, that if reindeer are fed the red mushrooms their urine contains none of the poison but retains the hallucinogenics. Thus by drinking the urine of reindeer who have fed on the red mushrooms the reindeer herders can have dramatics experiences without ingesting the poison of the red mushrooms. It is thus no surprise that stories of flying wingless reindeer should arise from those experiences.

Furthermore the users would be led to attribute the experiences as gifts from the Spirit of the Red Mushrooms and give him some human form. His attire would be of the distinctive red color of the mushroom with its white trim.

Those distinctive colors are of course those of Santa Claus.

Like Santa Claus the Spirit of the Red Mushrooms could bestow gifts of marvelous experiences to one and all without limit.

Thus the elements of a bizarre pagan drug ritual were modified into a fantasy and adopted by the Christian world even though they have absolutely no connection with Christianity.

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