Name That Trauma :: Reader Jan on a Book Featuring a Frightening Fungi

Dear Kindertrauma,

I love your page! I discovered it, when I was searching for one of my deepest Kindertraumas with “The Peanut Butter Incident“!

Probably you will not able to help me, as I grew up in Germany, but this Kindertrauma is haunting me for years, so it’s worth a shot and probably the book was translated to German anyway!

I am looking for a book of horror stories for children, I read in the ’80s. Especially one story I cannot forget. It’s about a man who somehow enters an abandoned ship which is covered by a strange grey mushroom. On deck he also notices huge piles of the plant. One day he discovers a small spot on his finger where the mushroom started to grow on him. He cuts the spot on his finger, but the next day it regrew even bigger. The guy has got nothing to eat so eventually he starts eating the mushroom. At the end of the story his whole body is covered with the mushroom and he starts to realize that the huge piles on the boat used to be humans.

All I remember of the other stories is one about a guy who is an aspiring assassin, who is tricked into switching bodies with an old man. All stories where really scary and I would like to hold that book in my hands once again. I guess it was crucial to my deep obsession with horror related stuff.

Thank you so much and keep up the good work,


UNK SEZ: Jan, I’m glad you found us! I may not be able to identify the exact anthology you’re looking for but hopefully I can narrow your search! If I’m not jumping to conclusions, I’m suspecting the mushroom short story is WILLIAM HOPE HODGSON‘s THE VOICE IN THE NIGHT. It’s the same tale that inspired the Japanese film MATANGO which is known as ATTACK OF THE MUSHROOM PEOPLE here in the states. You can read the story HERE! I hope it’s the right one and that you are one step closer to your trauma-treasure!

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9 years ago

Yes! That is the story I was looking for. You rock so hard 😀 Thank you very much! Now I just need to figure out which collection of short stories this was in 🙂