Mushrooms - P. semilanceata
Citation: Frying Vee. "It's Stuart!: An Experience with Mushrooms - P. semilanceata (exp32759)". Erowid.org. Mar 2, 2007. erowid.org/exp/32759
In 1988 my good friend Pete and I had discussed how we wanted to trip, and that autumn we went out in search of some Liberty Caps in the local park and playing fields. We managed to find about 100 and kept them safe to dry out whilst we waited for a convenient time to take them.
We planned it one Saturday night when we had arranged to go out in a group of about ten people with our girlfriends. We had a normal evening drinking beer, but towards the end of the it somebody suggested that we all go on to the local Indian restaurant when the pub closed. Pete and I declined the offer but suggested that the girls go on and enjoy the meal whilst we had our own special meal :).
At about 10.50pm I reached into my pocket for the small spice tin which contained 100 dried liberty caps. Neither of us had any trouble eating a handful of the liberty caps each whilst sitting in the pub, despite the earthy flavour and small amounts of grit that I hadn't washed off. We washed them down with more beer and waited for about twenty-five minutes, when Pete suggested that it was time to walk back to his house. We said our goodbyes, told the girls to amuse themselves and not to come back too early, and set off.
This being my first time, I felt quite scared to walk out into the unknown. I'd walked the high street many times at this time of night, but I sensed thast this time was going to be different. I felt a mix of anticipation and worry; when would the trip hit me, would I walk into traffic, what if someone started a fight with us, etc. As we got moving, the first half of the journey was just the same as usual, past the burger joints and the taxi rank with the crowds of other young people milling around. We both felt excited and managed to get three-quarters of the way down the high street without saying anything silly to anyone passing the opposite direction. My main relief was getting past the most obvious danger point, a pub with a reputation for random acts of violence. I needn't have worried - everything was fine and it was just about this point that things started to get interesting.
As I was already buzzing with a mix of anxiety and anticipation, I probably didn't realise the waves of euphoria that were hitting me from the shrooms. But I began to notice that the street lights and the ones on the fronts of the shops had taken on a much more vibrant look, and that this ordinary street had started to look like a special place. I felt at one with this environment, but also strangely detached, as if nothing could get to us. Despite the fact that we both displayed silly grins, we made it back to Pete's without incident. The trip had started to hit us on our short journey, but we still had enough control to hold back any effects and look as normal as possible. Well, I think so, anyway :)
Pete's house is small, about 15 feet from a busy road that adjoins the high street and opposite another busy pub, but once inside we could have been anywhere. Once the door shut we gave each other a wide-eyed smile to remind ourselves that from now on it was just us and that we were in a cocoon where we felt safe. I think the effects of the beer helped us to relax and enjoy the mushrooms taking over our minds, which happened pretty quickly once we were inside his house and would have been about 35-40 minutes after we'd eaten the shrooms.
Within a few minutes we had abandoned all sense of ego and were both aimlessly running around his front room doing nothing much apart from enjoying the speed at which everything seemed to be moving. Standing, sitting, walking, picking up objects, moving from one side of the room to another were all to be enjoyed afresh in the state we were in. I had rushes of brilliant insight - thoughts, images, sensations, surged through my brain at what appeared to be lightning speed and with astonishing clarity. At this point I retracted into my own trip but joined Pete again when he managed to get it together to put some music on.
I was stopped in my tracks, astonished at how clear and three-dimensional the sound was. We both play in bands and I mix and produce music, but the clarity of this music was better than anything else I had ever heard. I wanted to dissect every beat and note that I heard that evening. We gave that particular song (something by The Psychedelic Furs, iirc) at least ten or twenty plays before we got bored and decided to do something else.
Pete decided to try the television and switched it on. It was more difficult to deal with an audio/visual feast because of the concentration required, but we both managed and sat open-mouthed watching simple things like adverts and trailers. The adverts became works of art, every different picture was worth looking at but disappeared too quickly for us to enjoy them. Pete became very interested in a trailer which was played out every fifteen minutes for re-runs of 'The Prisoner' with its 'I am not a number, I am a free man' tagline and the brass music that goes with it.
Once he had pointed this out we both became fascinated by it. The trailer showed Patrick MacGoohan driving down the sands at Portmeirion in a Lotus Seven being chased by a large inflatable ball which seemed on one hand as absurd as it does in real life, but on another slightly worrying. It was almost as if being chased by a big ball was a real possibility, but unlikely to happen to either of us and therefore worth laughing at. This was great - we had apparently managed to keep a sense of logic in our trips whilst enjoying the positive side. The Prisoner trailer is still the most vivid recollection of this trip - whenever the music started we both started yelling, laughing, and pointing at the TV in anticipation of the car and ball scene!
Our fascination with the TV may have lasted about an hour, but was eventually interrupted by a shrill noise which made us look up. It seemed alien to us, and we tried to work out where it was coming from. After what must have been about 30 seconds we both realised that the noise was Pete's telephone. He somehow remembered how to work it and beckoned me to be quiet, as I must have been making a lot of noise in response to the invasive noise. He picked up the handset, put it to his ear, looked intently at the phone and then at me and told me it was Stuart, one of the party who had gone for a meal.
Pete seemed quite amazed at how this device contained Stuart's voice, and called me over to have a go. I distinctly remember hearing the voice and screaming 'It's Stuart' and then bursting into hysterical laughter at the power of this device, which also switched Pete out of his serious state and made him start laughing again. This was the point when I realised that other people existed and brought me partly back to reality. Since we'd been in Pete's house it had been just me and Pete as two halves of one very trippy person. This must have been two hours into the trip, and Pete managed to negotiate the delay of the return of our girlfriends with Stu, who in turn must have realised that we were in no state to have company yet!
When the girls returned, I was still quite euphoric and the next challenge was to get me home in a taxi. This turned up, my gf got in, and somehow so did I. I remember having been told to 'act normally', and I tried, but the sensory feast didn't really help. As we slid along the high street, the lights that I'd seen earlier were dancing and shimmering, with tracers and all sorts of sparkly effects. and I felt I had to point them out to my unimpressed gf. This must have been about 1.30am - two and a half hours after we'd eaten the shrooms.
We eventually got indoors and I was still enjoying the trip. In fact, the best part of it was during this phase when I was on my own. She went to bed but I stayed up to enjoy as much as I could of the remainder of the trip. At this point I was aware how late it was and that I had to be quiet. I did lots of things to amuse myself. Again the television featured and I found a late-night programme where the presenter appeared to me to be a chicken. He was annoying me by sitting and talking when I wanted music and a visual feast.
I remember writing a diatribe about this 'chickeny man, peck peck peck' in a diary I kept for writing song lyrics. I then went to the bathroom, where I found lots of little colourful bottles of shampoo, cleanser, conditioner and lined them all up on the bathroom scales which amused me greatly. My next stop was the spare room, where my keyboard setup was ready for use. I got it together to put on a pair of headphones, patch up a sound and start the sequencer recording. The simple string pad of the Roland MT32 was so lush and interesting to my ears that I played a dischord (two notes next to each other) for about two minutes and listened to the way that the notes beat against each other.
As I held this note, I shut my eyes and had visualisations of stripes of blues and reds in wave-like formations, each with a row of little balls slowly moving along from right to left. The balls alternated with various words, none of which I can recall. When this became too heady, I opened my eyes to find my hand resting on random groups of keys, which gave me more interesting and dischordant notes. These sounded so organic that I felt I was inside the music. As a musician I would usually avoid dischords, but these didn't bother me, even though I was holding down five consecutive keys.
Finally, I attached a microphone to the sampler and said the word 'mushrooms' into it. I now plugged my headphones into the sampler and listened back to the word being repeated at different pitches, both singly and in unison. This had me giggling quietly to myself. I was sufficiently in touch with reality to save the sequenced material to disk and record the whole 'symphony' to tape the next day, when it didn't sound nearly as good. I still have the tape to remind me of the trip!
I went to bed and must have fallen asleep instantly. When I awoke in the morning I had memories of the extraordinary events of last night in my head. My gf found the 'train' of bottles in the bathroom and thought it was funny, and then I remembered that I had to go and pick up the car, which I'd left in the town the night before. I went out at about 9am, and being Sunday everywhere was quiet. I remember thinking 'is this all real?' as there were still slight visual effects from the mushrooms making things seem slightly sparkly and different.
I was asked the time by a woman and found it difficult to remember what I had to do to answer her (look at my watch, tell her the time). I wanted to tell everyone 'this is all fake' and to 'examine the real world behind it' but there wasn't anyone to tell, and my reserve had slid back up again to prevent me from doing do. Once I'd walked the three miles to the town I felt sufficiently back to reality to get in the car and drive home.
This may all have happened a long time ago, but most of it is still very clear and was a positive mind-changing experience for me. It showed me that there were possibly other ways to view the world around us, and I've found that very useful when things have been getting me down. I haven't been in the position to repeat the experience with the same conditions since then, but Pete and I have recently discussed doing it again now that we're older and our children aren't of an age that would make it difficult to find the time to do it. Pete had done mushrooms before this, but never had a trip as good as this one and it's possible that the environmental factors (safe place, trusted friend) made this one so good.
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