Last Words: Why the fuck are you reading 'Shrooms 101,' an article we published five years ago

At any given moment, there are anywhere between 5 and 20 people reading an article we published almost 5 years ago called “Shrooms 101: a beginner’s guide to magic mushrooms.”

It’s The Ubyssey’s top article almost every single week. It frequently gets over 10,000 views per week, according to our analytics. It’s catapulted Science to become the second most-read section at our paper, and it often beats out some of our most important and scandalous breaking news stories.

The numbers don’t lie. And they spell shrooms.

As we write this article on Saturday, April 3 at 12:15 p.m., 12 people are reading the article. On a Saturday at noon. This is the time that people are usually eating lunch or going for a nice afternoon walk.

12 people were reading this article on a Saturday afternoon.
12 people were reading this article on a Saturday afternoon. Sam Smart

So what is this article?

This article is a very basic guide to what shrooms are and how they affect your brain. That’s it. It’s about 600 words long, it doesn’t have an accompanying photo, it doesn’t go that in depth and again, it was published five years ago.

So why are so many people reading this article? How are people finding it?

The majority of readers are coming from a search engine. When looking at analytics for the past 30 minutes of page views, 48 people clicked on the article and the vast majority came from Google. And as of 12:39 p.m. on April 3, all 15 readers appear to be coming from the United States.

I know this map looks weird, but I couldn't adjust it. Thanks, Google Analytics.
I know this map looks weird, but I couldn't adjust it. Thanks, Google Analytics. Sam Smart

The search engine optimization keywords for the article on the backend are simple. Shrooms, magic mushrooms, tripping balls, UBC. So why does it come up as the first or second result on Google when you search “How to do shrooms”?

The other top result with that Google search is a Leafly article about preparing for a shrooms trip for the first time. Leafly is a much more well-known website by the many cannabis partakers out there that might want to venture into another hallucinogenic drug.

Even weirder, when you use DuckDuckGo, which is a search engine that doesn’t use any tracking or personalized curation to provide search results, the article shows up on the first page.

We have so many questions. We need answers. Why are so many people reading our shrooms article at any given time? Will this article result in even more people reading it?

The thought of this article plagues The Ubyssey’s editorial board and staff weekly. We constantly reference the article’s infamy. It takes up so much mental real estate among current and past Ubyssey writers and editors.

By all means, keep reading the article if it helps you or makes you happy. Just know that we see you, we know what you’re doing and it haunts us.

While you’re at it, maybe read another article? We publish other good stuff too.