Horse Whisperer author Nicholas Evans fighting for life after eating Mushrooms

By Maximo906 · Sep 2, 2008 · ·
  1. Maximo906

    from www "dot" dailyrecord "dot" co "dot" uk

    I tried to post the link but I don't have 10 posts yet

    THE millionaire author of The Horse Whisperer is fighting for life after eating poisonous mushrooms on a Scots holiday.
    Nicholas Evans's wife, her clan chief brother and his wife were also poisoned by the lethal Destroying Angel mushrooms. All four victims were desperately ill last night but Nicholas was in the worst condition and was on adialysis machine.

    Friends are frantic with worry about Nicholas, 58, whose book was turned into a hit movie by Robert Redford.
    A source close to the family said: "They had absolutely no idea how dangerous these mushrooms were."
    The poisoning happened as dad-of-four Nicholas and wife Charlotte enjoyed a holiday on the 12,000-acre Moray estate of Charlotte's brother, Sir Alastair Gordon-Cumming.

    The victims picked the mushrooms on a woodland walk and ate them later. People who eat Destroying Angels usually suffer liver and kidney failure.
    A family friend said: "They have picked mushrooms in the woods before and simply thought these were the safe ones.
    "The family are normally very careful about picking them. I don't know where exactly they picked the fungi but it shows how easily this can happen to anyone.

    "The big worry is that others could make the same mistake with the same disastrous consequences."
    Nicholas and Charlotte, 50, a successful singer-songwriter who has written for the Sugababes, were taken to Dr Gray's hospital in Elgin with Sir Alastair, the 54-year-old chief of the Clan Cumming, and his wife Lady Louise, 46.

    The victims were later transferred to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. All were very seriously ill but stable last night.
    Destroying Angels can easily be mistaken for edible mushrooms but are among the most poisonous fungi in Europe. As little as half a mushroom can kill.

    Nicholas and his relatives fell ill last Monday after picking the Destroying Angels on Sir Alastair's Altyre estate, which lies between Forres and Grantown-on-Spey.

    It can take up to 24 hours for the symptoms of poisoning to show, and by then the victims' organs have absorbed the mushroom toxins.
    Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, cramps, delirium and convulsions.
    The poison has no antidote but treatment has improved in recent years. Doctors give victims massive doses of penicillin and pump fluid into their bodies and dialysis is used in the most serious cases.
    Destroying Angels, or amanita virosa, are from the same family as the lethal Death Cap mushroom.
    They are very similar to edible puff balls and can also be mistaken for field mushrooms.

    Sources say a huge crop of mushrooms has grown on the Altyre estate this year, helped by the wet summer.
    After Nicholas and his relatives became ill, samples were collected from the woods and sent to Glasgow University and the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh for analysis.
    Nicholas was struggling with s65,000 of debt when Robert Redford bought the film rights for his half-written debut novel for an unprecedented s3million in 1995.

    The movie of The Horse Whisperer, starring Redford, Kristin Scott Thomas and a 13-year-old Scarlett Johansson, was released in 1998.
    It earned a Golden Globe nomination for best drama and a best director nomination for Redford.

    Nicholas's book also became a staggering success. It has sold more than 15million copies worldwide, topped the bestseller lists in 20 countries and been translated into 36 languages.
    Worcestershire-born Nicholas got a first-class law degree at Oxford and worked as a journalist on ITV's Weekend World and The South Bank Show before becoming an author.

    He got the idea for The Horse Whisperer from a blacksmith who told him about people with the mysterious gift of healing traumatised horses.
    While he was working on the book, Nicholas was told he had a cancerous mole on his stomach.

    Doctors removed it before the cancer cells could penetrate his skin. Nicholas, who had lost his mother to cancer, said the incident made him appreciate how important it was to make the most of life.
    Nicholas has written three other novels, The Loop, The Smoke Jumper and The Divide, which was inspired by the break-up of his first marriage.
    He had three children during his first marriage and he and Charlotte, his second wife, have an eight-year-old son, Finlay. They live in London and also own a14th-century mansion in Devon.
    Charlotte wrote Soul Sound, which was a hit for Sugababes in 2001. She released her own album, Mind Walking, two years ago.
    Sir Alastair became chief of the clan Cumming, or Comyn, six years ago.
    The Comyns are directly descended from William the Conqueror. One of Sir Alastair's ancestors, John Comyn, known as The Red Comyn, was killed by Robert the Bruce in 1306 as the Comyn and Bruce families battled for supremacy in Scotland.

    Sir Alastair and Lady Louise have three children, William, 15, Sophie 13, and Kit 10.

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  1. Coconut
    They certainly are in trouble. I'm a little confused, however. The European Destroying Angel (Amanita virosa) isn't exactly difficult to identify. Their closest lookalike in my opinion is the Death Cap (Amanita phalloides) which is also deadly poisonous.

    "A family friend said: "They have picked mushrooms in the woods before and simply thought these were the safe ones."

    "They are very similar to edible puff balls and can also be mistaken for field mushrooms."

    Mistaking this mushroom for edible ones such as the button, field or horse mushrooms would require ignorance of the characteristics of Amanitas. These mushrooms have dark spores and no volva, for example. Cutting the mushroom open should remove any ambiguity as to whether it is a puff ball or not.
  2. Nature Boy
    Were they looking for mushrooms to eat as a meal or were they looking to go on a psychedelic trip? Liberty caps are fairly distinguishable from their poisonous counterparts.
  3. chillinwill
  4. Lunar Loops
    According to The Times, it was not a mushroom of the amanita family at all, but was Cortinarius Speciosissimus.

    Here is the article in full (article link):

    Horse Whisperer author, Nicholas Evans, poisoned by wild mushrooms

    Charlene Sweeney

    The author of the best-selling novel The Horse Whisperer is seriously ill after eating poisonous mushrooms while on holiday in the Highlands.
    Nicholas Evans, 58, his wife Charlotte, her brother Sir Alistair Gordon-Cumming, 54, and his wife Lady Louise, 46, consumed Cortinarius Speciosissimus, a rare species, which can cause renal failure.
    All four are in hospital, where they have received dialysis and other kidney treatment, but a family friend has said they are mobile and in “a positive frame of mind”.
    Mr Evans and his family ate the mushrooms on Saturday August 23 after picking them during a woodland stroll through the Altyre Estate, near Forres. The 12,000-acre estate is owned by Sir Alistair, who is chief of the Clan Cumming.
    After falling ill two days later on the Bank Holiday Monday, they were taken to Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin. The two men were transferred to a renal unit at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary the following day and their wives were moved last Wednesday.
    Mr Evans’s London-based representative AP Watt, confirmed that he had been poisoned, but claimed he and his relatives were recovering.
    A statement said: “They have been given dialysis and other forms of treatment to support
    their kidney function and have responded well.
    “A family friend who visited them this weekend said they were all walking about and were in a cheerful and positive frame of mind
    “They are all extremely grateful for the rapid and effective intervention provided by the National Health Service.”
    There are about 10,000 species of mushroom found in Britain and Cortinarius Speciosissimus is known to be one of the most deadly. Found mostly in Scotland, where it grows in conifer woods, it causes damage to the liver, kidneys and spinal cord. As other members of the Cortinarius family are also dangerous none are recommended for human consumption.
    Foraging for mushrooms has become increasingly popular in Scotland, where sought-after varieties such as chanterelles are in plentiful supply.
    Joanna Blythman, the leading food writer, urged caution following the incident but said there was no reason for people to stop picking wild mushrooms as long as they were well informed.
    “Collecting mushrooms to eat is a perfectly reasonable thing to do,” Ms Blythman, author of The Food We Eat, said. “On the whole it is not a dangerous thing to do.
    “My advice would be that unless you are a trained botanist, stick to clear groups that are safe to eat. One is chanterelles, which have a very distinctive appearance and aroma, girolles, and the cep family.”
    Mr Evans was struggling with £65,000 of debt when Robert Redford bought the film rights for his unfinished debut novel, The Horse Whisperer, for a record £3 million in 1995. When the adaptation, starring Redford and Kristin Scott-Thomas was released three years later it was nominated for a Golden Globe nomination for best drama and it earned a best director nomination for the Hollywood star.
    The success of the film also boosted the book, which sold 15 million copies around the world.
    Mr Evans, who has published three other novels, The Loop, The Smoke Jumper and The Divide, has already beaten skin cancer.
    He has three children from his first marriage and a son with Charlotte, his second wife. Mrs Evans is an established song-writer who wrote a hit record for pop group The Sugababes.
    Sir Alastair became chief of the Clan Cumming or Comyn six years ago. The Comyns are directly descended from William the Conqueror and another ancestor, John Comyn – known as the Red Comyn – was killed by Robert the Bruce in 1306 as the two sides battled to rule over Scotland. Sir Alastair and Lady Louise have three children.
  5. Coconut
    That makes much more sense. I was thinking that anyone who mistakes an Amanita for something else shouldn't be out picking mushrooms in the first place.

    Cortinarius speciosissimus is also known as Cortinarius rubellus or the Deadly webcap.
  6. enquirewithin
    Has Evan's no common sense? Still, if he had eaten Destroying Angels, he would probably be dead.
  7. Maximo906
    I know this is off topic, but I watched a movie recently called "Shrooms" A group of people go off into the woods to find mushrooms to trip on but one of them accidently eats a poisonous one ( I can't remember if it was called Destroying angels or Death's Head) She ends up hallucinating that ghosts are killing all of them ( I know, unrealistic) But i just mention it because of the type of shrooms she ate.
  8. Panthers007

    When small, the all-white A. Virosa can be confused with the all white Calvatia Gigantia - a choice, edible puffball. For those not familiar in proper identification techniques, the results are often tragic.

    Know what you are doing before you open your mouth. When in doubt - Throw it out!

    "There are old mushroom hunters. And there are brave mushroom hunters. But there are no old, brave mushroom hunters."
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