Willy Myco and Philly Golden Teacher have racked up a fair amount of notoriety in the psychedelic community for their educational videos geared toward teaching would-be trippers how to grow and synthesize their own psychedelics.
This matters to you, dear reader and presumed drug enthusiast, because growing shrooms is really damn hard. Most people can figure out how to grow an ounce or two using Google (or High Times articles) but a majority of people find it far too complicated at first glance and most processes involved with psychedelic production are much easier to understand with visual aids. Being as it were that a lot of people would prefer to consume their drugs without engaging in some sweaty, parking lot exchange with a dude named Indigo, a lot of folks would be shit out of luck if it weren’t for people like Willy and Philly.
These guys are really putting their money where their mouths are in the sense of taking big legal and personal risks to advance the science of psychedelic production and educating the masses on how to safely replicate the processes for themselves. They both hide their identities in different ways. Willy wears a face mask in his videos and PGT has yet to show his face or reveal what his voice sounds like. Their channels and messages are not associated with one another but they have each amassed an impressive following and each contributed crucial information about psychedelics directly to the people who need it.
High Times caught up with Willy and Philly both together and individually to talk shop about psychedelic culture and their efforts to preserve, promote and advance it.
Willy is, I shit you not, a Harvard graduate with degrees and qualifications out the wazoo who walked away from a quarter-million dollar salary at a big-name pharmaceutical company to make his educational YouTube and Patreon videos. The videos span from DIY shroom growing techniques to how LSD is synthesized and more. He now pays his bills almost entirely through YouTube and Patreon, thanks to his organically grown community which he refers to as the “trip team family” or TTF.
“I ain’t shit without you guys,” Willy said. “Without that community behind me, supporting me and being there for me, then I wouldn’t be able to do it.”
The TTF is hard to quantify but according to Willy it ranges anywhere from 70 to 120,000 people. They have a private Discord server that is genuinely a positive place to explore with super friendly people, all of whom are stoked to help other budding mycologists and psychedelic enthusiasts on their individual journeys.
Not only that, but these cats throw one hell of a party by the sound of things. Willy puts on this big event every year called “Trip-A-Ween” where they basically fry balls on world-class psychedelics and do fun shit like rent out an entire amusement park or live large in Costa Rica for a week. They spare no expense and talk about it like it’s a big family reunion.
As a Patreon supporter and member of the TTF discord, I won’t reveal much of what I’ve seen in there for obvious reasons but I will note that right before I started writing this article, a big member of the TTF community who goes by the alias Watr was arrested and had their children taken away from them for allegedly distributing psychedelics. Inside of a week, Willy had a sweatshirt made up and started an in-house fundraiser to raise money and bring Watr back home to his kids. Willy has also personally given thousands of dollars out of his own pocket to finance medical treatment for some supporters of his who needed help.
Willy is currently in the process of buying a house in Puerto Rico where he will be setting up a cannabis grow to provide employment for the people living there, not to mention hosting a podcast, likely throwing more shroom parties and providing mycology/cannabis cultivation classes to impoverished Puerto Ricans. Willy told High Times his ultimate goal is to preserve the legacy of the people who came before him.
“I want to see people be able to support their families and build their empires off of psychedelics, I want to be able to see people flourish and do well—the people that actually deserve it, and are doing it for the right reasons,” Willy said. “I don’t want that culture to be gone. I don’t want it just to become a machine like cannabis has become. It’s an industry now. It’s a big thing. Before, when it was underground, it was about the members of the community and the people who actually put in the work to preserve it. And then once it became an industry, it just became about money. It was no longer about community.”
Philly Golden Teacher
Philly is a bit more elusive than Willy but his videos are very detailed and dive deep into the art of shroom growing. Whereas Willy’s videos encompass all psychedelics, Philly strictly focuses on mycology and mushroom cultivation. He’s a prolifically paranoid man (for VERY good reason) who used a voice modulator when speaking to High Times.
“I’m scared. I’m scared to put myself out there,” Philly said. “That fear really puts me into anxiety mode.”
Philly didn’t tell me many specifics about himself other than he tries to blend into society as much as possible to avoid detection. He works a 9-5 at a call center and spends his off-time working on advanced mycology projects, one of which is attempting to crossbreed psychedelic mushrooms to make a new “strain.” Strain is in quotes because it’s even less accurate when used to refer to mushrooms than how it’s commonly used for cannabis but for our purposes, strain is fine.
“You have to understand crossbreeding is a lot more complex than putting two different mycelium together on a plate and having them go ‘here, kiss.’ You have to isolate a single spore to be able to do it at a microscopic level. It’s hard to do that; it’s hard to verify that without a microscope so people don’t get into crossbreeding unless you can afford a microscope to put the work behind to do it,” Philly said.
The thing with mushroom growing is that much like cannabis, a fair amount of the legwork on figuring out how to do it properly is pioneered by guys like Philly, who lives in constant fear of federal police raids at worst and losing his YouTube account at best.
“I have to really be careful what I put out on there,” Philly said. “I’m trying to steer things forwards, just trying to to drive things to Patreon because I can’t really rely on YouTube.”
Philly told High Times he’s particularly excited about mushroom lineage cards he and his wife have been working on with information about the breeders and history behind the different “strains” of psychedelic mushrooms.
“We basically went full Pokemon,” Philly said.
Both PGT and Willy expressed parallel views to High Times on how psychedelics should be used or looked at going forward. They both hammered home two distinct points multiple times over:
- Psychedelics can be used as medicine but should more so be looked at as tools.
- Decriminalization instead of legalization.
“I’m more comfortable with decriminalization than legalization,” Willy said. “I don’t think people should go to jail or be charged for cultivating their own medicine, whether that’s mushrooms or extracting DMT or cultivating cannabis, whatever the case may be. People should be able to do it freely. But, legalization brings a whole nother slew of problems: oversaturation, stepping on the toes of all the cultivators that have been doing this for a long time. You have companies that have millions of dollars of backing and you just can’t compete with that.”