Miss Ottilia O'Leery

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The Poca Post is pleased to announce the issuance of a stamp honoring Miss Ottilia O'Leery.

Miss O'Leery lived in Bancroft-on-the-Poca from 1842 until her death in 1906.  Ottilia was an herbalist, and her studies led her to the study of gilled fungi.  In the Poca River Basin there is a commonly found mushroom known as the Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric).  This mushroom grows on old horse manure, and was used by stable managers to control the fly population.  Crumbled, the mushroom attracts flies in large numbers, however, upon contact with the mushroom, the flies drop dead.  They can often be removed by the shovel full.

Ottilia O'Leery seems to have discovered a way of extracting  most of the muscarine from the fungus.  She would ingest the remaining toadstool.  The traces of muscarine were apparently hallucinogenic, for Miss Ottilia O'Leery spent most of her days in a dazed revere commenting on the wonderful colors she, and she alone, saw.  Thus, Miss O'Leery anticipated by almost a century a fad that would preoccupy a generation yet to come.

This is an unusual issue in that every stamp in the pane is unique. The issue is 16 stamps in a 8.5" x 11" pane, in the denomination of 24 pu.

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