Short question:

which hormones should high contagious fungi spores produce to make their human host spread the joy and infection (by hugging and kisses) on early stages of infection, and become paranoid, irritable and bloodthirsty or suicidal lunatic on later stages of infection?

Long story:

Few hundred crazied eco activists (called druids) tries to fully wipe Victorian England level tech civilization - lets call them Atlantis Confederation - which is located on Europe sized archipelago with one major city spreading 400km on shore of some internal sea, and lot of small, rural settlements on this and other islands.

Islands are joined by bridges, with steam train and ferries travelling from one place to other, and, it can took ~ 1 week to cross Atlantis Confederation from shore to shore by train. So, majority of terrain of Atlantis Confederation is like rural area, where you can pass by 3-4 towns during single day walk.

Crazied eco activists uses biologically engineered (with some handwavium) fungus spore as their main weapon, and their own bodies as vessel for this.

In body of eco activist, fungus slowly breeds, maintaining save (for eco activist) level of toxins and only manifesting in strange dark spots on skin. But, on same time, this fungus maintains high level of virulence, so if you, for example, hug eco activist, you will be 90% infected. Also eco activists has lot of bottles with concentrated fungi solution, they can spill it in potable water sources like wells, water towers, even beer kegs. Its worth notice, that, fungi survives in beer or wine, but, of course, is killed by boiling water like majority of fungi.

First stage of infection - usually nothing happens, in few rare cases there is fever, headache, insomnia, hallucinations, but, in general, its hard to detect. After few hours, you start to spread infection like eco activists. Its worth notice, that infected person regains some reasoning, so there is 1-2 people per 10.000 who will try to lock themselves to stop spreading infection, and probably 1-2 totally immune per 100.000.

Second stage of infection - is irrational manic joy, you want to kiss, hug and befriend with anybody, you look like happy drunkard. With happy smile, blank face, clumsy movements. And, on same time, you spread infection with every touch and kiss. On this level, you have drunk person grade mind, you can recall friends, can talk and do things, but, much worse than sober or healthy person. Most important, you don't look dangerous. Eco activists has mystical ability to sing chants for Forgotten Gods to prolong 1st and 2nd stages of nearby infected for extra few hours, but if they stop, next stage occurs in less than few minutes.

After some time (depends on infected condition - at least 24 hours), 3rd stage of infection starts. Terrible hallucinations occurs, depression, paranoia, pain comes. Infected either panics and jump from rooftop while running from their imaginary "friends" or cut away their leg, because this appendage is plotting to kill them, or they fire bullet into their head to silence voices or stop headache. Also, lot of infected kill each other, because they start to be both easy irritable and paranoid. Some "lucky" infected, can roam for months as savage beasts killing everybody they can, like "28 days later" turbo zombies, but with animal level intelligence enough to eat something to stop hunger, and carry and use clubs as weapons to protect themselves and prolong 3rd stage of infection. Its worth notice, infected spread disease too, but less efficient.

For the luck of eco activists, and peril of Atlantis Confederation citizens, they have Harvest Day festival - approx one week of gluttony, drinking and raving, with nearly 99% of people celebrating - even convicts in prisons are granted some buzz. So, with celebration happening, people are unlikely to notice something weird happening. See it like mix of Christmas, Black Friday, Woodstock and Octoberfest.

Even if you break in Count Victors manor, who, as Major of South Bayguard town, has high tech Telephone device with direct wire connection to nearliest military fort with 52th Her Majesty Yellow Sharpshooters division, or you even manage to dial Her Majesty Telefonimeister (very noble and important person who answers phone calls for Her Majesty), and scream something like "our beer is poisoned, people are killing each other!!!", they will advice you to go to sleep and stop drinking for today.

So, question is:

which hormones should this fungi release (or make it human host release) on each level of infection? 1st phase of manic joy is mandatory. 2nd stage - it can either be primal rage, paranoia, hallucinations - probably variants of "fight or flight" behaviour.

Some background:

Probably, its not related to question, but it can give few insights how this fungi can alter behaviour. Probably, 1st latent stage, 2nd manic stage, and 3nd lunatic stage is not the deadliest combination.

Because in plot it will be used like this: Few groups of eco activists hijacked trains in one day before Harvest Day Festival started, and then, they travel as roaming circus performers (because Guild of Railroad workers has vacation and no trains going), they arrive in city, and lure pretty ones to become good bait and carriers on 2nd stage of infection, and physically fit or capable ones as eliminators on 3rd stage of infection. On the same time, they try to poison all drinkable water and food supply they can. After few hours of roaming circus performance, they gather chosen infected on 2nd stage, and travel with them by train to other town. They repeat it until all population they can reach is infected. Consider eco activists has few times more bottled fungi solution they calculated they should require. They have good planning, and Atlantis Confederation has good railroads, so its possible every town with more than 1000 people in it has few infected roaming streets for middle of Harvest Day Festival celebration. And, Eco activists do not plan to return from this mission.

UPD:, as mentioned by @Wrzlprmft, i'm aware of Ophiocordyceps_unilateralis - real world fungus making zombies from ants, but human is not an ant.

And i'm aware of Clickers and Cordyceps from The Last of Us game, but i want infected to be much more human and look much less dangerous, to make my setting less boring compared to any other zombie apocalypses ones.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ omg just misread the title as: "How zombi fungue WALKS?" $\endgroup$
    – J. Doe
    Dec 5, 2019 at 11:53
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Just checking that you are aware of real-life zombie fungi controlling ants $\endgroup$
    – Wrzlprmft
    Dec 5, 2019 at 14:31
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    $\begingroup$ I think if anyone knows the answer they had better keep quiet... :o) $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    Dec 5, 2019 at 14:37
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    $\begingroup$ Are you dead set on it being a fungus? You might be able to achieve something similar with a modified version of the rabies virus. It would produce some of the symptoms you're describing, allow people to carry it in their bodies and infect others before succumbing. Theoretically they could use their saliva or blood to infect food or water supplies. Depending on how much handwavium you want to apply you could even have the druids have a cure that they use on themselves before reinfecting themselves to extend their infected period. $\endgroup$
    – Dugan
    Dec 5, 2019 at 16:27
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    $\begingroup$ It sounds like Neuro Syphilis meet the Cordyceps fungi. Cordyceps can go cross-species and who knows, maybe one could infect humans. Would help explain some of your roof jumpers; using their final moments of sanity to fight of control of the parasite that drove them up to the rooftop to reproduce in the first place, their only possible defiance against the parasite being throwing themselves off the roof, potential for traumatic Trifidesque scenes there. Not sure about them attacking each other if Cordyceps really is our comparison, unless you just blame the subsequent brain damage. $\endgroup$ Dec 5, 2019 at 21:12

1 Answer 1


Short answer : Hormones and Chemicals Linked with our Emotion

Everything you need should be found in that link, including any information you need to fine tune your description of the effects .. find the hormones most closely associated with effect you want then adjust your expectations of the pathology & symptoms to match their effects.

Here's a Google search that should get you other appropriate links to read.


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