Citation: Mr. Myriad Sight. "The Gasoline Experiments of a Child: An Experience with Inhalants (Gasoline) (exp91070)". Erowid.org. Apr 13, 2012. erowid.org/exp/91070
Our understanding of the literature is that there is no such thing as safe recreational use of volatile solvents, aerosols and other street inhalants : their psychoactive effects are inseparable from nerve and organ damage. We have chosen to include these reports to help document the real world use of inhalants, but their inclusion is not intended to imply that they are anything but dangerous.]
The events that I'm going to describe took place back in 1992-1993, when I was 9-10 years old. I’m 27 years old now and I remember it all as if it had happened last week, since I’ve never stopped coming back to my memories of it as I grew up. Prior to the events, I had never taken any drug, not even alcohol, except tobacco, which I couldn't stand as I was sick every time I tried smoking a cigarette. These experiences were my first concrete encounter with both tripping and otherworldly sense perceptions, and I suppose I couldn’t have been more naive than I was at this very young age when I decided to go for it. I mean I was a kid, nothing more, nothing less. A pretty normal kid, I’d say, that is an only child with two loving parents who did their best to educate me. Retrospectively, it’s rather tempting to consider these experiences from my youth as what definitely catapulted my interest for non-ordinary states of mind.
My case is a classic story. As every other kid in my neighbourhood, I was doing some work at home for my parents, who would in return give me some money that I could do everything I wished with. One of my home “jobs” was, as you can imagine, cutting the grass with a mower. So I would do that once every week I guess. Then, one day, sitting in the kitchen with my father who has always been extremely anti-drug, he started to lecture me on something that I should never ever do. A colleague at work had told him that she had surprised her son sniffing gasoline to get high. My father made a point of how dangerous it was to do that because, he told me, her son had never been the same again. The thing is, the more he made it sound dramatically dangerous and the more I became curious. “But what does it really do?”, I asked him. “It makes you crazy and ruins your life”, he answered. “Have you ever tried it?” was my next question. “No” was his answer. He left it at that and considered the case as closed; he didn’t want to talk about it more than that. Well, this was more than enough to convince me that I should give it a try: after all, we had plenty of gasoline at home.
So when came the next grass-cutting session, I was pretty excited about it. As usual, I was alone in the garage and naturally, I had to fill the mower with gasoline, something I had done many times before without suspecting that I was handling a “drug”. I opened the gas tank and, not knowing how to do it or what I should be doing to get high, I put my nose in there and slowly breathed. My immediate reaction was a pleasant surprise to the effect that the smell wasn’t all that bad. At first nothing happened, but while I continued to breathe in and out, a pleasant feeling of looseness took me over and I stopped sniffing the gasoline as soon as it did. The feeling lasted for a few minutes and then I was back to normal. It’s hard to describe what kind of feeling it was, but it reminded me of a relaxing and slightly dreamy state of mind, during which I wouldn’t be “me” the way I usually felt what being me was. So I sniffed again, and again came this feeling, and again I removed my nose from the gasoline tank, and a few minutes later I was back to normal once more. It was that easy! The first few times I got high with gasoline, that’s about how far it went and, to be honest, I loved it. Every time the grass was getting too high, I’d more than gladly isolate myself in the garage and do the gasoline routine a couple of times and then I would be seen cutting the grass with a huge smile on my face, like any other happy kid of my age. Life was beautiful.
The thing is, as with everything else that I loved doing back then, after a while it became tempting to do more of it. In my case, “more” meant sniffing the gasoline for a longer time. As I said earlier on, my technique implied that as soon as I’d feel the effects of the gasoline taking over me, I would stop sniffing. So it was logical to think, even as a 9-10 years old kid, that would I not stop sniffing when the effects started to manifest, the experience would probably grow in intensity as a result. I had to try it and of course I did. As the feeling of looseness would come on, I’d do my best to keep sniffing even though the looser I became and the harder it was to concentrate on doing it right. That’s when I discovered, for the first time of my life, not only that hallucinating was possible, but also that there seemed to be another reality, beyond our everyday reality, which I could tap into when I sniffed the gasoline for long enough. I didn’t “know” it back then, but I was in fact, right there, discovering the possibility of non-ordinary states of mind.
What happened when I kept sniffing the gasoline was very strange indeed. I could never have even imagined it, although we all know kids to have a limitless imagination. To start with, the feeling of looseness would get much stronger and much more invasive of my whole body. Then I would more or less completely forget about my body as such, even about who and where I was, and my mind (or whatever you want to call it) would become my only reality. And inside this other reality, everything would become confusingly surreal to a certain degree, but also very amusing and downright weird. I mean, in this state of mind, everything was possible. For instance, I’d see people I knew and talk with them, or I’d be somewhere else doing things that I didn’t even know what they were, or I’d witness events that I had no idea about, or I’d hear strange sounds and see even stranger shapes, etc. Back in the day, the best way to explain to my friends how I felt in this state of mind was to compare it to a dream. I wasn’t in my garage anymore, I was in dreamy land. It would only last for a few minutes, maximum 5-10 minutes, and it seemed to me that I had no control over what would happen while I was in there. During the “coming back to normal” stage I’d gradually regain my normal sight, which would first make everything in the garage look like thousands of pixels. Then these pixels would be organised into the common sense reality I was used to and I’d slowly remember where I was in and that I had a body for that matter.
While the time spent in dreamy land was more than interesting to me, the coming back made the whole trip even more fascinating. I didn’t always remember what I had experienced in dreamy land, whereas I’d always clearly remember the coming back. For a couple of minutes after every trial, I’d feel confused about myself and about the reality I had been taught to take for granted. Where exactly was I going to and coming back from? How come no one among my friends had ever told me about this other dimension? Was this the craziness my dad had warned me about? Was I becoming mad now that I had experienced this? Or was he simply lying to me? He for sure hadn’t had the experience because he didn’t tell me about dreamy land. What was really happening to me when I’d leave both my body and the garage behind? It was impossible to find an answer to these questions (and I don’t think there’s a consensual answer even to this day), but thinking about it became part of my daily life. Since no one knew, I had to find my own answer.
With the curiosity of a child, I therefore started sniffing even more gasoline and did it even more often, perhaps with the idea that the more I’d experience this state of mind, the more I could understand it. Just to give you an example of the mindset I was in as a result of my gasoline experiments, I remember riding my bicycle with a close friend, looking at the sky and asking him right away, as if it was obvious, “what if everything we see right now is not real?” and “what if there is another reality hidden to us?” He had never tried gasoline and his reaction to my questions was complete indifference. I mean we were 10 years old so I suppose it was a perfectly normal reaction on his behalf. Anyway, I decided not to talk about my questions to others anymore, unless they had had the experience which, for me, had initiated these questions. By then I wasn’t only sniffing gasoline when the grass needed to be cut, but anytime I’d feel like doing it, meaning at least a couple of times a week. Soon enough, after at least a year of doing it on my own, I introduced another good friend of mine (same age) to my gasoline experiments and as he got the same results, we started doing it together. Don’t get me wrong, the trips themselves weren’t philosophical at all. It was all very naive. We’d have lots of fun waking up from dreamy land side by side, unaware of where we were coming back from and of what had just happened. I remember us laughing a lot during the transitional period from the other side in to common sense reality. Each time it felt like coming home from somewhere else that no one in our close neighbourhood had ever seen. It was our secret and we would never share it. But then what had to happen, finally happened, and on one particular occasion, with this friend of mine, I sniffed way too much gasoline.
We were in the garage and my parents weren’t home. We started our routine, each of us sniffing gasoline like dogs right until we’d get close to passing out. He did his thing and disappeared from my sight as I was sniffing. All I remember is that I wanted to sniff more gasoline than I had ever done before. I was determined to see how far I could go within dreamy land. I wasn’t alone doing it so I felt more secure about exploring much further than usual. What then happened is a mystery to me. Even to this day, I can’t really tell what truly happened, but the fact is that I woke up, more than 10-15 minutes later, with my t-shirt drenched in gasoline, as I had apparently spilled the gasoline tank all over myself and on the garage’s floor, before unconsciously walking to another spot which is where I woke up. As soon as I was back from dreamy land, I knew something wrong had happened and I knew I had inhaled too much. Don’t ask me how and why I knew it, it was more of an intuition than anything else. My trip had been much more intense than usual and I remember telling myself that I was more than lucky to be back in one piece. It was the first time that I didn’t wake up exactly where I had been before entering into the other side, and it was the first time that I wasn’t conscious enough to put the gasoline tank back on the floor before “it” started. So I most probably inhaled gasoline for as long as I could, until my arms weren’t able to properly hold the tank. I still don’t remember, to this day, what happened. I was seriously shaken, thinking that I could have drunk it or sniffed it until I died, without even being conscious of doing it. I realized that my fun drug had turned into a dangerous one, and strangely enough, it was the last time I ever did sniff gasoline. In other words, I made a complete u-turn.
For years I’d only have to remember that last gasoline trip to feel awkward inside with a bad taste in mouth. I became literally disgusted by the smell of gasoline. However, the results of my experiments were far more interesting to me, now that I had stopped sniffing gasoline, and that’s why I never forgot about this period of my life. I look at it as the birth of my awareness regarding psychedelism. I felt like I had to write this report because I’ve never been able to read something similar, even if I have tried to. The only gasoline sniffing reports that I could find related to adults and never to children. My aim is purely informational. Indeed, I didn’t write this report to promote the use of gasoline to get high, but I wanted the readers to know that like every other drug, gasoline is neither all evil nor all good. It is quite intriguing, to say the least, how a substance as common as gasoline could spontaneously produce kind of a psychedelic state of mind. With that said, I wouldn’t compare gasoline to any other of the classic psychedelics, but there was something about these experiments which opened my mind as a kid to the possible existence of other levels of reality and consciousness.
Later on in my life, I’ve learned that my father was right to some extent because sniffed gasoline can be highly toxic and even induce death. I’ve also learned, as a teenager, that dropping acid or eating mushrooms is much safer. So do not take this report as some sort of invitation to repeat my trials and errors. Nevertheless, keep in mind that I did sniff gasoline for 2 years at the age of 9 and 10, which means that I did it during quite an important developmental period of my early life, and I can assure you that it would be impossible for you to detect that, had we met in person. What I’m hinting at here is that recreational gasoline sniffing doesn’t make you crazy or stupid or fucked up for the rest of your life, something I have read many times online. And please, if you are a father or a mother and don’t want your child to ever try this, do not act like my father did, instead of which you simply should not mention gasoline sniffing.
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