Citation: Jean Whisrulgso. "Provence on Acid: An Experience with LSD (exp90892)". Erowid.org. Nov 20, 2013. erowid.org/exp/90892
| T+ 11:00
Here is some background information, I'm an organist and leader of two obscure music ensembles, one baroque and the other renaissance. I say this because lysergide (LSD) allows me to drop all my learnings and typical outlook and experience music from the standpoint of somebody who knows nothing about the technical and academic side of music. The music is experienced fresh. My first languages are Occitan and French but for this website I'm using my knowledge of English so consider this if I write anything grammatically awful!
Okay, I drink somewhat, maybe a litre of 50% alcohol a fortnight but this varies, usually less. I am an old fashioned Gaul after all! I spend a lot of time attempting to discover new kinds of drinks. I have tried opium, ketamine (which doesn't affect me for some reason...it was cut with many things I suppose) and cocaine, though I've never done any speed-balling or anything like that. I was meaning to try LSD for a very long time before I finally made enough contacts to get some. I planned this first trip in a place I feel very comfortable in, the coast of Provence. I brought my friend, René, to keep an eye on me just in case. I swallowed four drops and sat on a bench with my friend in the wonderful atmosphere of the south of France with the beautiful sea and sky ahead of us. It was noon.
I had never taken a psychedelic before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Honestly I was expecting to see visual hallucinations, so for about one and a half hours we sat in front of the ocean. At this point I was getting pretty angry because I certainly wasn't seeing anything interesting going on, I thought I might have been dealt something else rather than LSD. The whole environment looked and felt exactly the same, however I was getting this excitement growing in my chest and this caused me to worry if it was actually LSD I took. Looking back on this, I can say I felt we were only sitting down for fifteen minutes. We started to walk along the sunny Provence seafront since René said he had to meet a government guy. Now I can definitely see some strange things going on, depending on where I look, the coast changes its proportions. It becomes quite enjoyable walking, though I was still not convinced it was LSD yet...it could have been heat stroke since it was 35 degrees.
I can understand why people say you can relive your childhood with this chemical, everything seems colourful, interesting and new. Even though we were in the present, it seemed like we were walking through a nostalgic dream sequence and we ended up in a coffee shop. At this point I at once experienced very many different perspectives of the room, each one sliding into the other and this was the moment I indeed knew it was acid I swallowed. Though I was holding up fine, René kindly reassured me nonetheless. The experience of walking around at this point was a kind of non-drunk intoxication as was when walking to the coffee shop. Great distances flew by as when one has drunk, but this was novel as I had few, if any negative effects to do with alcohol. In fact, to compare this to being intoxicated with alcohol, I would say that alcohol is more of a 'soft' intoxication because, even when severely drunk, one is still safe in one's hard universe. With LSD I think it's harder intoxication because your universe will become unstable.
In the bathroom, with the angular strange-shaped room and mirrors, the experience was extremely strange. I could have toyed with the perspectives of the room, the mirror reflection of myself or the viewpoint of my hands in the sink being cleansed by water for hours, but I didn't want René to worry. All the while this was going on, I still was having this constant flow of energy flowing from the area of my heart.
Anyway, upon leaving the coffee shop, we walked into the city centre and it was a fairly busy day. When we walked along the pavement, it was like standing on a conveyor belt being whisked along, all the while inspecting and reviewing each person's strange and very unique face. The drug was causing people's faces to exaggerate their proportions in realistic ways to produce very diverse and, later, rather frightening visages.
Eventually we sat down in a pleasing area and I had a panoramic view of the entire park. I felt like...where I would normally have one computer monitor in front of me, here I had three. Almost like a fisheye lens, I could see an awful lot. I forgot to mention again, earlier from walking to the coffee shop to the park, I was strongly aware of this orientation device. I was experiencing something which in ordinary consciousness was obscured and ignored. While walking along, I had an extremely strong feeling of that I was walking along a small globe, although never quite walking all the way round to reach the original point. This feeling somehow coexisted with the ordinary experience of going from A to B. Anyway, here, at the park, I had a small fantasy, looking at the way the statues co-existed with the trees and birdlife, of a world where greenery in much of every city was a normal way of life and humans couldn't survive without excesses of it. After this daydream passed, I realised I could focus on different branches of various trees all at once, whereas normally one could only focus on one. And this felt truly real, as with all aspects of this trip, for in this case, I could focus on one small bird on the nearest tree, and at the same time see a nest holding onto a branch quite a bit further away, among other things. However at this particular point in time, the sun was lessening its heat and there were many insects, so we moved on.
René had an appointment with an administrative body and so I remained in the waiting room. How long I remained there was a mystery and I will certainly quiz him for this. In my mind it could have been anywhere between 15 minutes and an hour and 15 minutes. During this experience I tested and probed my new-found abilities. I examined the floor, which were wooden floorboards. I tried to force the texture of them to move and so it did! It all ended up slinking towards the side of the room like a snake or a stream while more of the same emerged from the other side of the room.
I examined my right hand. This was incredible and I am familiar this is a very common thing people tripping do, but honestly, wow. First of all I could change the depth of field willingly. I adjusted my eyes to take the depth of field to the shallowest level, so the background was beautifully blurry and my hand was in extremely good focus. I felt as if I had a neurological upgrade to my brain or something, it was unbelievable. Previous to this first trip, I was lusting after cameras and lenses which could take wonderful, very aesthetically pleasing photos, but now, I was viewing things which only some kind of brain-screen-print could save. All the while since my trip began, I have had a stream of somewhat pleasurable energy coming from my chest, I want to make this part important and I will later come back to it. Anyway, back to my hand...I could look very closely into the inside of my hand, my palm, and see blood vessels and such things but I wasn't too interested in the workings of my hand and instead tried to see how many guises it could assume.
Now looking onto the outside of my hand, I could make it seem many things, by shifting it slightly this way and that. I could make it seem like a reptilian, menacing, threatening-looking instrument. In this way I feel like I was regressing back into prior evolutions somewhat, as my hand ended up looking like it could pierce and slash a wild boar. All the while it looked extremely realistic, in the sense that I can easily imagine people taking these visions seriously while not aware of the drug's effects. A more unsuspecting or simple minded person would be frightened, I'm sure. Now, moving it a different way, it looks very different. Feminine, even seductive...I decided to check my phone.
My iPhone was absolutely amazing like this. I felt like I was using a device fifty years before it's time. The text and objects shaked and danced, what have you, and moved around casually. The background looked more like a three dimensional animation. The physical dimensions of the phone changed proportions depending on how hard I squeezed it from the sides. Anyway, my companion was back and off we went.
It must have been 4:30 or something by this time but this was a complete mystery to me as I felt we had been around two hours after consuming the LSD rather than four and a half.
At this point I would remind the reader of the chest energy business. While walking, this became a kind of life energy. Perhaps this will creep some readers out but for some reason my automatic breathing ended up breathing out quite slowly and only when it became obvious to me I needed to inhale I breathed in again and this was immensely pleasurable. This will sound weird I'm sure, but breathing in and out was giving a very unique pleasure, I felt I revitalised my body with each breath and I felt like a kind of living wave as we slipped through crowds of people on the pavement.
Eventually we reached the seafront again and I had a good view of the coast. Strangely, and kind of deliciously, it looked like a kind of moving (over-the-top) HDR photo.
At this point, we walked through inspecting various roller-coaster rides. This at the time reminded me of the scene in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas where the two main characters go into that carnival. Like in that film, it ended up becoming a bit nightmarish, especially when René insisted on going on this massive swing type ride that swings from left to right. I pleaded with him not to go on it, but he wouldn't have any of it and bought two tickets. By this time I was panicking a bit, which I certainly would be under sober circumstances anyway. At this point I was about five hours into the trip. The indifferent man who seemed very disenchanted with life strapped us to this massive machine and up we slowly went. We were slowly being risen into the air and I was just hoping the experience would be over calmly and quickly. I was wrong and I am reliving the experience just typing this because the event has ingrained itself on my mind so completely.
In case I haven't helped you reader visualise the situation well enough, the contraption had us higher than 90 degrees on one side and it would basically drop us and we would swing forwards and backwards until it ran out of energy. However, at this point, I thought it would drop with far less weight and momentum for some reason.
The feeling of when it dropped...I will never forget it. The force pulling and pushing on me when I was thrown down had me completely under the impression I was strapped to a massive malfunctioning machine that was going to pull me right into the ground and kill me. My helpless body alongside my legs visibly dangling out of the clamp I was half-enclosed in was pulled so hard this way and that by forces outside of my control, I had what one might call a little spiritual experience, though it was only a few 'real world' seconds. I was experiencing two things. First was that, while in the waiting room, I was a predator, yet now, I was a helpless lamb being thrown extremely hard this way and that. Secondly, my friend betrayed me and sentenced me to death.
We had not even swung to the other side until now and now I had a new urgent problem. The ground and the main body of the machine was now coming towards us at what felt like terminal velocity. Aside from thoughts of impending doom, I also had enough time to fit in my mind how ridiculous all those adverts for '3d' televisions and things were. After making the first full swing, it was naturally immeasurably more realistic, exciting and crazy than what 3d, HDR and whatever TVs or glasses could dream of doing. Each time I swung towards the ground again it was a billion times what I could have imagined the character from 2001: a space odyssey experienced at the end, for example.
I mean, I've always hated that gimmicky modern 3D film crap from the beginning, but this gives me the knowledge to laugh at it all the more.
Anyway, after this immediate experience comes to an end, we slowly walk away from this area. I was experiencing the relief of surviving what felt like a brush with death, having a lion ripping my guts out, and also seeing what those adverts for 3D really want you to imagine. Besides I still kinda had the feeling my friend brought me up to the gallows to be hung and put a board beneath the trap door at the last moment. By the way, while on that contraption, he claimed I was looking dead ahead the whole time, apparently not the usual reaction.
Though I had survived this event, this quickly degraded into rocky trip territory. The sounds of people talking and shouting, often in different languages, Arab or something, put me on edge. Everybody had extremely caricatured faces. Continuing the line of energy from my heart, I now felt like a racing vehicle with petrol running through my veins. There was also a mixture of acid in my breath which reminded me of nitros.
I also had another 'spiritual moment' where, although it feels everybody else on their trips say they feel they had connected with the whole world, I felt very profoundly alone. Far more so than even usually. At the time I felt the only thing I could feel as I walked were my lungs and heart connected by rubber tubes to my brain and this was extremely unsettling. I had this line of thought running in my head that although sometimes we may be the masterminds and the people in control, when I was dropped on that machine I was being swatted like a fly. I felt extremely depressed as a new revelation came upon me that everyone is alone in this world, and though I'm not usually that keen on dualism, I strangely felt that everybody had a kind of small, strained soul connected to their body. This was just a eerie feeling.
Waiting for the bus to go home was the continuation of this nightmare. This was the 6 hour mark. It's rush hour so after seeing my good friend off I get in an extremely crowded bus and because I'm quick, I get a seat. If there were elderly I would have given it up but there weren't any, surprisingly.
I was wearing sunglasses where people couldn't see my eyes, so this gave me free reign to inspect the people on the bus. I did place special importance on making sure I didn't lose my phone that was in my pocket because on LSD, my mind searches for something to focus on and this can mean I temporarily lose sight of things that would normally be more-so in the foreground. But anyway, these people's faces were grotesque! On the whole, I'm indifferent to people's appearances but I was stuck on a tight bus of monsters. Everybody seemed to be half squinting, leaving their mouth agape, spitting everywhere when they talk etc.
The ride seemed to take forever. After exiting the bus, my left hand started clamping together. Once again, aware of the drug's temporary effects I didn't stress any more unnecessarily...but seriously, the left side (from the back) of my left hand was collapsing into a claw.
When I got home, I had to act natural in front of my roommate who's one of those types who are strongly 'anti drugs' but drink alcohol, smoke, drink much caffeine and swallow pharmaceuticals constantly. But at least they had dinner ready for me, which was nice. It was stew. By the way, going out of my way to act normal on LSD is possible but a huge, massive pain in the ass and brings me into more negative territory.
I was starving and I tried not to look at the pieces of meat in the rice I was eating, as I did for a few seconds and then it started to squirm as if it were alive. Another strange thing about LSD is that although I was completely satisfying my hunger and thirst, I could barely take any pleasure from this decent, hearty food. It felt like I was throwing coal into a steam engine, which is really terrible because I cannot stand people who wolf down food without tasting it. But it couldn't be helped.
I also did the other typical LSD thing of looking at my eye on the mirror next to a light source and honestly, I could have done it all day, it was fascinating. The image was impossibly sharp in my brain and it was no illusion. It was as if in normal life my body was at 100%, but under LSD it focused my resources and whatever I focused on drove that function to 160%.
I went into my office, which has my computer system and a quite tall upright piano.
This was about seven o'clock. The next fifteen minutes were where I experienced a ++++ Shulgin Scale moment or the closest thing I have experienced to it. My computer was on at this point and I was only reclining in my office chair with no music or anything, gazing at my background, which was one of my photos from the Austrian countryside. At this point I felt several portals to other worlds open up on both far sides of my vision and above also. The right side had a view on the train tracks of some place I didn't recognise, perhaps somewhere in Eastern Europe. The left side was the view into the street out of an apartment bathroom in Barcelona (I've been to Barcelona, but not that bathroom) and the portal above me went straight to the sunny sky, with a few cumulus clouds. It was now dark outside.
For a few moments I stayed like this, just relishing the moment of having views to some places elsewhere.
After a minute or two I went over to my piano. I was intensely curious to see what it would be like to play at the peak of a trip. I began Beethoven's op.111, his final piano sonata (a piece I'm somewhat renowned for performing in connoisseur circles) and it was an extraordinary experience, almost unsurprisingly at this point. Even though I was not on the pipe organ, I still felt as if I was. After performing in a church, an upright piano like this would usually feel small to me but today it may as well have been the largest organ ever built. I became the villain who plays the organ alone in his castle. The keys of the piano assembled themselves on the piano to snarl at me and grimace. Somehow playing the piano had become extremely perverse. After four minutes my mind couldn't handle the concentration any more and I made an impromptu end to the private performance.
At this point I wanted to return to normal sober life. Lysergide is a drug that pushed and manipulated my body intensely but at this point I wanted the relief of being able to relax a moment rather than be forced into remaining in hyper mode. Thankfully I only had about an hour left so I closed my eyes and listened to music until I went back to baseline and it was beautiful to go back to normal. Also, LSD forced me to hear the music differently. My focus turned to the background parts, counter melodies and things that are obscured in the texture. Also the distortion of MP3 files became obvious, though not repellent.
Also, while coming down I thought of how different LSD actually is as opposed to how it's portrayed in the media. On television and in the public consciousness its a drug that makes you see rainbows and unicorns and mushrooms and things like this. To me, however, it's a weapon that lets me hone my mind on whatever I want to do, and experience life in an alternative fashion.
Okay, so I ingested the four drops of LSD at noon and the trip was certainly over by 8pm. However for hours afterwards, there remained a cold, hard metallic taste on my tongue and in my being. This acid after-effect remained quite unpleasant, between 11pm and midnight I drank 50cl of armagnac though this seemed to take very little effect on me and the sharpness of the acid after-taste practically defeated it. Typically I would have expected to be able to sleep at two o'clock, though on this night my mind just couldn't rest and I only managed to finally fall when the light began to come into the house.
The next day I was generally too exhausted to reflect but I felt something life changing had happened the previous day.
A few days later I read about the Holonomic Brain Theory, which fit into my new world-view perfectly. Before taking lysergide, I had a pretty good idea that reality was an environment created in the brain manufactured from incoming stimuli and therefore possibly false but I still couldn't bring myself to handle that completely. 'If I can touch or hold another person, surely they are there and that's it' is what my common sense tells me. But when I took LSD, reality and my usual consciousness really did change. It isn't a drug I had to work with to get any effect of reality change. It changed my reality and this temporary reality will be just as real as the one we experience on a day to day basis, at least that's what I believe. Since then I have taken LSD several times and it consistently allows me to make real my outlook that everything I experience, normal life and all, is just an illusion, since I can, with LSD, get a somewhat different, equally realistic reality. I believe this fits perfectly with the HBT which in effect says that actual existence is a whirlpool of waves and the mind interprets the signals to make the hard reality and clearly LSD can make this hard reality radically alternative.
My family are neurotic Catholics who would say that there is reality and LSD throws me into a world of illusions, though I'm sure that would begin to question things if they utilised this chemical too.
LSD has changed my life because, while I would believe that reality and appearances are unimportant in theory, it was too difficult to really believe it practically. Now I do believe it wholeheartedly, because a tiny amount of lysergide can make my brain organise a new reality just like that, so how can what the typical reality be so important?
So that is my experience with LSD, I will probably continue to use it every few weeks or so, for recreational reasons. After-all, it can be a very fun drug if I use it intelligently. I've utilised it on several days out immersed in nature and also during concerts to approach the music differently and my audience are often left intensely pensive after these performances.
The final line I will leave is, If you want sheer pleasure, take your opium or heroin with all its associated risks, but if you want intellectual pleasure and new insight, though no overwhelming pleasure is guaranteed, consider LSD.
~Jean Whisrulgso (a pseudonym...though readers I am there with you in spirit!)
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