Citation: Dr. Eshner. "The First Bicycle Day?: An Experience with Peyote Extract (ID 42572)". Erowid.org. Apr 27, 2005. erowid.org/exp/42572
[Erowid Note: The following report was published in The British Medical Journal in 1896. The author, Dr. Eshner, was on the staff of Washington's Infirmary for Nervous Disease. Eshner describes what experienced when he took a total of 3.66 fluid drachms of an extract of peyote (equal to about 3.66 peyote buttons) on Memorial Day of 1896.
Dan Perrine has described this experience as the First 'Bicycle-Day' in reference to Albert Hofmann's first experience with LSD in 1943. This report accompanied an even longer report by S. Weir Mitchell
describing his experience with a similar extract.]
I found I could not keep at serious work; I felt some distraction, and lacked my usual mental concentration. I soon began to feel badly, lapsing into a condition of general malaise, with not a little prostration, and had to give up any attempt at work, however small. I found some comfort in lying down, and when my eyes closed I became conscious of a series of visual impressions, in most of which colour sensations were present. The pictures were characteristically kaleidoscopic, particularly as regards uniformity of arrangement. They changed frequently at times, like lantern pictures on a screen. The designs were Various; some were Oriental, with stars and crescents, and points of light interspersed; others were mosaic in arrangement; some were screen-like; some, fern-like; some showed chased figures. Neither the images nor the light were very vivid, although as a rule quite distinct. The intensity at times appeared related to the vigour with which the eyes were closed. At about 6.30 P.M. I arose and attempted to eat a little, but failed. Nausea was quite pronounced, and there was total loss of appetite. At no time did vomiting occur.
I then lay down for half or three-quarters of an hour, and the visions were repeated. I had intended going out in the evening, and, in the hope of gaining relief, I equipped myself for a bicycle ride, and started off, despite my langour and general depression. I made my way to the Park without the slightest difficulty, and at Girard Bridge met and spoke to an acquaintance, stopped under the bridge to view the Memorial Day illumination, and went on. I rode in all about eight miles, going down a fairly steep declivity with ease, and descending a longer and perhaps steeper declivity with almost equal ease. I perspired en route, not unduly, but perceptibly. I felt that my pupils must be dilated from the brilliancy of the light, with prismatic radiations and the large amount that entered my eyes. I think ocular accommodation may also have been affected, although the visual langour may have been only a part of the general langour Vision seemed not alert. I was in a state of placid indifference, free from enthusiasm, free from aspiration, without spontaneity. I imagine there was a little dryness of the secretions of the mouth and throat, because my voice appeared a little deeper and fuller than usual. I was scarcely conscious of ordinary movement, and felt as though I could scarcely make any extraordinary movement, although
I was conscious of the necessity of making the effort, and of the increased exertion necessary in mounting the hill of which I have spoken. In general, however, I seemed to go on by virtue of my own momentum. In a figurative way, I felt as if I were of the same density as the medium in which I floated, so that I would yield to slight external physical impulses. The feeling is one that I can best describe as muscular or motor anaesthesia. I was a little indifferent as to how I rode, yet not careless nor without a sense of responsibility, but I made little effort to avoid the rougher places, and appreciated very little jolting. I sustained my equilibrium perfectly, and was not compelled to dismount other than intentionally. I rode slowly down Broad Street by the side of a four-in-hand and listened with enjoyment to the strains of the trumpeter. I met a little messenger boy on a bicycle who made a ludicrous impression on me, and whom at his request I helped to a match without dismounting. I reached home about half-past nine, and called at the house of Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, and in his absence left a note for him. I was more fortunate in finding Dr. J. K. Mitchell at home, who noticed the deepening in my voice, dilatation of the pupils, some injection of the eyes, a little flushing of the face, increased knee-jerks and active muscle-jerks, a heart beat of 72, and, as he thought, some evident effort in speech. My own feeling was one of partial release of inhibition, of relaxation of restraint and of repression. The state was not a pleasurable, but rather a helpless one. I could write freely and with ease about what I had passed through and was passing through, and experienced a certain freedom and fluency of expression.
I sat up and read from about ten until half-past twelve, the visions returning whenever I closed my eyes. Now I was again able to see all sorts of new designs, fresco work, porcelain decorations, tapestry figures, intricate laces, parquetry, diagrams, various kinds of scroll work, etc. I endeavoured to picture an American flag but only partially succeeded after I had retired, and then my flag was furled. I saw coats of arms and shields and the like. All colours were represented. I looked especially for blue, as Dr. Mitchell had told me that he had seen all colours but blue, and I was successful. At one time I saw various shadows of green, and at another especially purples, violets, lilacs, etc. In none of the images were people or animals or other objects than designs represented.
As I read I was easily pleased. At this time I experienced a sense of nausea, with a suggestion of burning and weight in the umbilical region; but this was gone by the following morning.
Before going to bed I partook of a sandwich and some milk. I found the sense of taste benumbed. I was not able to fall asleep for some time. My sense of hearing seemed to be more receptive, but less acute. The condition might be described as an impairment of the auditory accommodation comparable to the corresponding ocular state. My breathing failed specially to attract my attention, but seemed shallow. I was conscious of pain on being pinched.
The night was a restless one, with some snatches of sleep of varying length, but I arose with ease at the usual hour, feeling not much the worse for my late experiences, and not at all sleepy. There remained a sense of fulness in the head, but no other reminder. I partook of my usual breakfast with ordinary relish. The preparation had a disagreeable nauseous taste, with suggestion of pungency (Mitchell, 1896).
Mitchell, S.W. (1896) Remarks on the effects of Anhelonium [sic] lewinii (the mescal button). British Medical Journal, 1625-1629.
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