Every hobby attracts its allotment of oddballs. Book hoarders, precision wood stackers, nudist mountaineers - they exist everywhere, maybe down the street. At first I thought mushrooming bottomed out with hand-waving, dreadlocked hippies. But then a friend sent me a recent Maclean's article that proved this wrong. There's a sub-subculture within the mushroom community that overlaps with UFO enthusiasts. They hold that the entire fungi kingdom is extraterrestrial, having arrived here through spores that survived the vacuum of space. (Remarkably, spores can.) Some even think mushrooms are sentient - though not in a way we can understand. Terrence McKenna was among this group. He thought hallucinogenic mushrooms were the means through which aliens opened cross-species communication. Then again, McKenna was also the most fervent 2012 doommonger. The mushrooms here, which may or may not be sentient, are aspen oyster mushrooms, pleurotus populinus.