Citation: Valeria. "Nightmare: An Experience with Amanita pantherina (exp9574)". Erowid.org. Sep 23, 2001. erowid.org/exp/9574
I have found, over my 10 years of occasional drug use, that I prefer synthetic, chemically produced drugs over the natural type. This excludes marijuana, a drug I have always enjoyed over the years, but my favorites have always been the sort which are produced in a laboratory setting. However, I would like to recount an experience I had while under the influence of mushrooms, namely the Amanita pantherina
This was the only experience I have ever had with this type of mushroom, and never in all my years of living an alternative lifestyle have I ever met another person who has tripped on this type of amanita, save the person I experienced it with. I certainly would not consider it a good experience, it was rather the most horrific day of my entire life. I have had my share of 'horrific' experiences in life that had nothing to do with drugs, and I would choose any of them over the pantherina nightmare. Please forgive me if this account is much more general than one might prefer, for the monstrous size of this experience in my brain is very hard to break down into details that are able to be felt at an intensity which even comes close to the real thing, but I promise to do my best.
It all began on a spring day in 1996. I was house-sitting for the week for some friends who owned a large house high up in the mountains, in the woods, and far away from anything or anyone. I took with me my boyfriend at the time (now husband) and we had planned on mushroom hunting in the area as an attempt to make our time in the wilderness a bit more entertaining and memorable. We had purchased a book on psychedelic mushrooms with photos and the very day we arrived we went searching. We came upon only one type of mushroom, Amanita pantherina, but found many of them in the area. The following day we planned on taking our mushroom journey, and upon rising went out on the deck to fetch our little forest gems we had plucked from Mother Nature the day before.
We each chose two large mushrooms and began eating them, only to find that they were horrible tasting. J was able to suffer through eating them raw, while I blended mine up in some ice cream and drank them in liquid form, which still tasted horrible, but I managed. Expecting to trip within an hour or so, time turned into 2 and 3 hours after ingesting them with no effect, and we both thought they might have been the wrong kind of mushrooms. But about 4 hours after eating them, we both started to feel a little strange. J had been out on a walk when they kicked in, and I was alone in the house, but what we went through proved to be similar when we compared stories.
At first I started feeling a great amount of nervous energy, like I had taken a mass amount of caffeine or mild amphetamines. I felt very aggressive and restless, and from my perspective the world I was in began speeding at a faster rate than normal. This rush was not accompanied by a feeling of euphoria however, instead I felt annoyed and edgy and mentally uncomfortable. J had been gone a long time, so I went out in the car to look for him.
Driving while intoxicated, tripping, or extremely sleep deprived is dangerous and irresponsible because it endangers other people. Don't do it!]
Driving around on this dirt road, my feelings of speediness began to accelerate, and I started to notice that objects in my view, the trees, rocks, fences, cows, seemed to be projecting a very negative energy towards me. It was as if I was their enemy and I was suddenly able to feel the hatred they had for me. It seemed as if they were telepathically screaming at me, and this made me even more annoyed. When at last I found J, we drove around for a while, then decided to go back to the house. Roughly 6 hours had gone by since we ate the mushrooms. At this point, reality was slipping farther and farther away for both of us. The speedy feeling never ceased for either of us, in fact it increased rapidly as time passed, making life very uncomfortable to deal with along with everything else we were going through.
Inside my mind things had become very confusing and disorienting. My familiar and comfortable ways of thinking and perceiving the world were gone, and in its place were chaos and fear and thoughts that made no sense. Attempts of communication were fruitless for I was not able to make any sense to J. And all the time this terrible speeding going on inside my body and my mind, which manifested itself into things I was seeing and hearing and thinking. My world became like a fast forward, high speed film of traffic at night, with lights spinning along a winding road, each light blurring into the next and morphing into a long, blurry snake speeding through the darkness. I was not seeing visuals which resembled this, rather this is how my mind felt everything which was being sent through me. There were no visuals, only my brain finding pictures for the way I was feeling about how something looked or sounded or felt, and that image is what those pieces of reality became to me, in my mind. This was not a trip where reality is melted into fantasy and mind created fiction. It was reality of body and mind and perception, amplified a thousand times by terror. It was the feeling of unlearning all the trivial, basic tasks which every 4 year old knows. The inability to speak, read and comprehend. The sensation of utter ignorance where absolutely everything is unfamiliar, and fear takes over where familiarity disappeared. Fear was the main emphasis for me on this trip, it was nothing but negative thoughts and feelings and ideas. There was nothing fun or light about it.
J and I got out of the car and went into the house. At this point things were not as bad as described in the last paragraph, but quickly became so. We went into the bedroom and got on the bed, perhaps for sanctuary or comfort, I don't remember. It just seemed like the best place to be at the time. I sat there staring at a box of candles on a shelf above my view. The box read 'tea lights', and I read the word over and over, faster and faster, not able to stop myself from this process, and before too long, I realized I could no longer read the words. I was looking at it as if it were written in a foreign language, only I still knew that it was English and that I should be able to read it. So I ripped my eyes away from the box of candles and scanned the room to find another object with words. My eyes found a children’s poster on the wall of the alphabet, accompanied with a picture of each object representing that particular letter. I remembered for a moment that this was something familiar and simple, was aware that I could not read it, but moments passed and I was no longer in touch with my knowledge of the alphabet and was left with the residue of fear from my realization of ignorance, and the fear added itself to the thick, greasy smudges on my brain I collected, as each sense and perception became foreign and I became more and more confused and scared. J and I sat on the bed making feeble attempts at describing our experience to each other, as life began to spin into an existence more and more unreal and the feeling of fear took over even more. I began slipping deeper into myself, trying to escape what was happening to me, and then I found myself instantly lying down on the bed next to J, with the distinct feeling that time had passed without a memory thereof.
When I became aware of myself, things had only gotten worse. I no longer could feel my body. Not that I was numb, I very much was aware of my cardiovascular system speeding and banging inside of me like a factory spun out of control. But the way my brain was aware of my body and its perimeters and shape was completely distorted. In my vision I could see my body as it always had been, but my brain was telling me that it no longer existed, so I believed my brain and I accepted the fact that my body had become a line. A line, like a straight line one might draw on paper. This is how I felt. This is how my brain felt, and I had become a line. So I lay there as a line on top of the bedspread, and tried to communicate with J. He wasn't answering me but his eyes were open and he was looking around. I kept saying to him, 'just make a noise to tell me that you are okay', because I was starting to think I had lost him, and as I heard him answer me in some sort of grunt, I became aware of an invisible paper tube that ran from my mind to his, and that we had been communicating through it. We were not using our voices to communicate anymore, it was all telepathic. I don't know if we were in reality speaking telepathically, but it seems like we were. The tube ran from my brain to his, and from his brain to the brain of a girl huddled out in the woods under a tree who was tripping on the same mushrooms. That mental hallucination never grew into anything bigger than that idea, but I was always aware of some unknown girl in the woods who was telepathically tripping with us.
It was night, and my new focus was pointed at my internal organs, and how fast my heart was beating, and how fast and shallow we both were breathing. The fear took over in the form of the fear of death, and thoughts of dying overtook me in ways and depths unimaginable. I wanted to call the paramedics, but knew how far away they must be and that for sure we would die anyway. Grotesque images filled my mind of our bodies decaying there for the rest of the week until my friends returned home, and the images of what would happen after that. But eventually I got up to go down the hall to use the phone. When I got there, I couldn't figure out how to use the phone. I knew I needed to dial 911, but the phone made absolutely no sense to me. J came out to help, and he also could not figure it out. So we took this long journey up the stairs to another phone, stopping to try and figure out what things were and staring at the carpet and the wood in the house as if there were something about it we needed to understand. It must have taken us an hour to get up there, and I remember going back to the bedroom to lie down at least once because being up and moving was making my body pound faster and the drug feel more intense, and lying down seemed to lessen the discomfort a fraction. We got into an upstairs bedroom and got onto the bed. J ended up calling friends back in town and had a relatively coherent conversation about these mushrooms with one of his friends which tells me now that the trip was winding down. I then realized that I had vomited on the floor and J had to come over and stop me from playing in it with my fingers, something I hadn't even realized I was doing. After throwing up I felt a little better, and we went downstairs and I huddled on the couch in an upright fetal position for the remainder of the trip and when I was down enough where I was feeling myself again, I remained huddled there while I watched a children’s movie twice in a row to help me feel safe and normal again. I threw up a couple more times, though J never vomited once.
When we were both down, we went outside into the night and I lay down on the deck just to feel a literal sense of being grounded. I was never so happy to be in my right mind and to be able to recognize things as familiar and safe and comprehensible. We stayed up until dawn and slept through the next day, and I felt from then on as if I had overcome death. For years I was unable to eat any kind of mushroom at all, even became nauseated at the very smell of mushrooms, and I always described this experience as the time when I 'almost died'. I am not aware of the medical aspect of my condition during this trip, but mentally that is where I was, and the only word I can ever think of to describe it correctly is horror.
My husband doesn't tell me in detail what he went through, but he would tell me a while back that he would consider eating the same mushrooms again. Perhaps his trip was entirely different, it probably was. Or perhaps he is one of those individuals who enjoy terror and discomfort. Personally, I have had several 'bad trips' on LSD that were extremely intense and uncomfortable that I can say I would go through again, just from what I gained from the experience. But I gained nothing from the pantherina experience, only a memory of terror, and it is not something I would recommend to anyone, unless you like extreme fear that is only comprehended in experiencing it. I have not even touched upon the intensity of how awful it was for me because perhaps there aren't words to use that could possibly come close. But that is all relative.
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