Citation: Mikey. "Wonder and Terror: An Experience with Mushrooms & Cannabis (exp60907)". Erowid.org. Nov 16, 2007. erowid.org/exp/60907
It was a Monday night in February, President's Day to be exact. I had had an interestingly intense weekend so far, so I was looking forward to maybe staying in for the night and getting some sleep. The night before, I had stayed up late doing DXM with my friend S, and I was considerably wiped out from the experience. Even so, when my friend E called and invited me to a small get-together at her house, I decided that there would be little harm in going. After all, I had spent the day napping and was feeling fresh and fine by the time she called. So I made my way to her house, made introductions, and had a couple glasses of wine. So far, it seemed to be just another little party in my little college town.
I began talking to J and T, two acquaintances of mine, about my strange experience with DXM the night before, itís closed-eye visuals, time distortion, and what not. They asked if I liked it and I told them I did, and at this J asked if I had ever done mushrooms before. I told him no, but Iíve been curious about it for quite some time. He grinned at this, said he had about 1/8th of mushrooms left at his house, and offered to trip-sit for me if I was up for it. I instantly told him that I was, and as the party wound down, J, T, and I left and started walking the blocks to his apartment.
In retrospect, this may not have been the best idea. It had been a long weekend, I was tired, slightly tipsy from the wine, and a bit burnt out from the drugs I had been doing all weekend. Even as I considered these things, something in my gut told me that if I didnít do it now while the opportunity presented itself, Iíd lose my nerve and miss out on the experience altogether. So I decided to go through with it.
When we got to Jís place, he went to his room and brought back a bag of wrinkly, dried mushrooms with blue bruises on them. ďIt turns out thereís a little bit more than an eighth, so the rest of it can go to you,Ē he said to T. T had said earlier that he didnít really like the mushroom trip, but heíd go for it anyway. After T had eaten a couple stems, he passed the bag to me, and I began to eat. Even though mushrooms are one of my favorite foods, I expected these to taste horrible. I had heard from many people that they do, so I was surprised to find that I actually liked the taste of them. Similar to shitake, but with a slightly bitter yet not unpleasant aftertaste. They would easily go well in a risotto or on a pizza. But I digress. As I ate, J and T called a friend to acquire some weed, and we began the walk to his apartment. As we walked there, J told me about the first time he did mushrooms, how beautiful the experience was, and how much I would enjoy it. I smiled, said I was nervous but excited, and waited anxiously for the effects to kick in. We arrived at Xís house, were invited in, and sat down to smoke and talk.
The time passed by, and I started feeling odd, like my cheeks were colder than normal. I took this to mean that the trip was coming on, and I was about to see exactly what these little fungi could do. I stopped participating in the conversation and started focusing my attention on different things around the room, the hardwood floors, the posters and tapestries on the walls, and the brightly colored couches my friends and I were sitting on. Things didnít seem to be too different, but my body was telling me that something was definitely about to happen. A few minutes went by, and my eyes started itching. I rubbed them for a few seconds, and noticed that as my hand fell away from my face it had a trail behind it, as if I was waving it in front of a computer screen. I felt my eyes open wide, and I waved my hand in front of my face for a few seconds, and noticed that J was looking at me and grinning. He gave me the thumbs up and continued his conversation with the other guys there. I began looking around again and noticed that the bright, multicolored couch I was sitting on was breathing. I was both amazed and ecstatic, and couldnít wait to go out into the night to explore. J, T and I soon left to do just that.
As we walked into the night, J exclaimed, ďWelcome to the real world!Ē and I looked around. The naked branches of the trees were splitting off into infinite fractal patterns, fading to normal, and doing it all over again. Evergreen shrubs that looked softer than cats seemed to wave to me. Cracks in the sidewalk looked infinitely deep and complex. The streetlights were beautiful beacons in the night. I was filled with an overwhelming sense of wonder and amazement unlike anything Iíd ever felt before.
ďItís like Iíve stepped into a dream.Ē I said quietly.
ďYou have stepped into a dream!Ē said T. ďLetís check this dream out!Ē
We began walking around, moving closer and closer to the college campus. I passed a brick building and pulled bricks out, watching them slide back into the building. I saw a plastic bag floating in the wind and laughed hysterically. Trees seemed to be made up of thousands of little creatures as the textures of the bark took on an almost human appearance. I swung from trees, giddy as a child on a new playground, and ran around as the dream world got more and more intense. After a while, J suggested we go to the store. I was a little apprehensive, but he said that it would give me some great insights. So I agreed.
As we made our way into a grocery store, I began to feel more and more tense. I looked around the store, wondering why people would ever go to these garish, ugly, unnatural things to get food. As J bought an orange, I looked at the magazines on the counter in amused disgust. Everything looked so fake. I couldnít help but feel sorry for people who had never experienced something as real as camping in the wilderness, people who lived vicariously through magazines, through TV, through the internet, without ever actually experiencing life. We left the store and walked along the river, and I couldnít stop talking to my two companions about how I never wanted to be satisfied with living vicariously through the media ever again. They agreed as we walked along the river that passes through our town.
Eventually, our exploring had to end. T said he was very tired, and I agreed. I was getting cold from walking around outside so much, and since we were close to my apartment, I decided it would be best if I retired to my room to ponder life and go through the rest of this trip alone. I thanked J for the wonderful time and headed home. I was quite happy.
As I opened my door, however, my happiness soon changed to anxiety. I hadnít cleaned the apartment in a long time, and my roommate never cleans the apartment at all, so the place was absolutely filthy. I made my way to my room, trying to ignore how anxious I was about the state of the apartment and how much I resented my roommate for not doing his part to keep the place clean. As I got to my room, however, these feelings only increased, my room was in a sorry condition as well. My laundry was all over the floor, there was garbage scattered around. Add to that that it was about time to change the litter in my ratsí cage, and my room seemed like a wasteland. I decided I couldnít change the cage in the state I was in. Even though it was 2 hours after I had eaten the mushrooms, I was still coming up. I did however change the water in the cage and let the rats out so that they could play for a while.
I donít know if it was because I hadnít changed the cage in a while or if I felt guilty about not playing with them as much as I used to, but the rats looked extremely sickly and skeletal. It was about this time that my anxiety turned to a throbbing fear. After changing the water, I put them back in the cage and tried to calm myself down, telling myself that I was on a drug, that I had nothing to worry about. I had taken off my shirt in an effort to get more comfortable. However, I began to look at my skin and I was horrified, it was pulsating from normal to a sick, withered, wrinkly state much like the skin of a raisin. I decided to go to the bathroom, relieve myself, and go straight to bed. I was peaking pretty hard right about then, and when I went into the bathroom, I caught sight of myself in the mirror. I looked as unhealthy and skeletal as my rats had earlier, and my pupils seemed to take up the entire space of my eyes. I looked strung out and, even worse, completely insane. And thatís when I went from being afraid to being terrified.
I needed to get out of that apartment, back into the natural wonderland that I had experienced earlier. So I threw on some warm clothes and made it outside again. But the beckoning trees that once looked inviting now looked threatening. The wind spoke an endless stream of rapid-fire nonsense syllables as it blew. I decided that I needed to face the apartment or I would surely die in this wilderness.
I went back inside, turning off all the lights as I went, not wanting to see the chaos and mess that was my own life. I crawled into bed, nearly sobbing with fear, and closed my eyes, hoping for it to end soon. After my eyes were shut, I was flooded with rainbow-colored visions. Sometimes I would see animals that looked like they were drawn by ancient people on cave walls. I felt myself spreading out, and I knew then that I was going to experience ego death. For some reason, this one small though brought me out of fear, and I felt more calm and comfortable than I ever have on any sedative.
I laughed at myself and the hilarity of my fear, but knew that the mushrooms had taught me something valuable: I needed to clean up my life. Not just my apartment, but many other aspects of my life as well. I need to take care of things that needed to be done without putting them off until they became overwhelming, and I needed to take better care of myself. With this thought, I felt myself slip away and become one with everything, my rats, my roommate, the trees outside, fear, wonder, and everything in between. Then I fell asleep.
The next day I woke up and immediately cleaned my room and started working on the rest of the apartment. I didnít talk to many people that day, only when I picked up my car from Eís house, and didnít speak once of my experience. I reflected on how beautiful the world really is, even without fractal visuals and beckoning trees. I realized that even though the mushrooms brought me to a level of terror that Iíd only experienced during the most intense of panic attacks, they had shown me much, and taught me to look at the world with wonder. I will definitely consult these fungi again, but next time will be done with more preparation and appreciation for what they can show me.
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