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Forget toads, these are witches' stools

Staff writer

We all know that April showers bring May flowers (which, in turn, bring pilgrims). But May showers, it seems, brings pilgrims of another nature, including a regular ring of mushrooms at Marion County Park and Lake that is, well, mushrooming in size this year.

“That fairy ring appears every year in the same spot,” Lake Superintendent Steve Hudson said, “but this is the biggest I’ve seen them, and there are a lot more of them. I think they’re more pronounced because of all the moisture.”

About 20 large toadstools nearly completed the fairy circle Tuesday.

Some toadstools were umbrella-shaped, others resembled big golf balls, and the tallest approached about 7 inches in height and had the circumference of a small saucer. The naturally-occurring ring had a 10-to-12 feet perimeter.

County extension agent Rickey Roberts said the ring should continue to grow until weather conditions dry out.

“Right now, the moist conditions are ideal for fungus,” he said. “They feed on organic matter.”

In cultures worldwide, pixie rings are found in folklore and myth. Legend has it that often are viewed as hazardous or dangerous places, but they can sometimes be linked with good fortune.

Various superstitions surround fairy rings, also known as pixie rings and socerers’ circles. Most often the myths involve fairies or other supernatural creatures dancing on the mushrooms.

Rings were also said to serve as portals between our world and the fairy realm. Tales warn of certain doom should one be foolish enough to stray into a fairy ring.

It also is believe that circles were formed by shooting stars or lightning strikes, or were the handwork of witches.

Last modified June 2, 2016

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