Citation: tngrn. "Almost Exclusively Visual: A Night of Zebras: An Experience with 2,6-Dibromomescaline (exp109137)". Erowid.org. Dec 3, 2017. erowid.org/exp/109137
Set & setting
So there was this local meeting of psychedelic aficionados that I had already attended several times before. I had gotten to know the people there to some extent, so even though I would not have described them as friends just yet, I felt quite comfortable and at ease in the atmosphere of the evening. Somehow, a chance appeared to partake in an experiment with 2,6-dibromomescaline. Keen on taking a role of an inquirer into the realms of lesser known psychedelics, I accepted the invitation. The only information that was given about the material was that it lasted about 5 to 6 hours, and that it was rather visual. Which was fine with me.
To a slight detriment of this report, I decided not to take any written notes during the experiment, as I deemed that carrying my notepad around would be too much of a hassle and would steer my focus away from the experience (or perhaps I was just plain lazy). In any case, I am now, on the afternoon of the next day, writing down the whole report from memory, hoping to get it finished before any delicate details vanish into oblivion. Quite expectedly, then, the time marks in the following text are neither plentiful nor exceptionally accurate.
The substance came in the form of a white, beautifully crystalline powder that was dissolved in hot water and distributed between the participants. Each of us received a dose of 50 mg.
I was given a cup with about 100 mL of the liquid. I decided to drink it plain, without adding juice or anything else that would cover the taste. The solution was slightly bitter, which I did not mind at all. Shortly after consuming it, I felt the parts of my tongue and throat that came into contact with the substance become slightly irritated – it was a lightly burning sensation with a bit of tingling mixed in. At first, I became cautious, paying close attention to any signs of possible allergic reaction, but when I failed to detect anything serious after a while, I reckoned that it was just a passing sensation that would subside within minutes. This turned out to be exactly the case.
The effects took almost exactly three quarters of an hour to show up. The first indication of something going on was a vague sense of a change in the visual field: a barely noticeable swarming or something to that effect. After a few minutes, I ventured out into the garden to make a short phone call, and while I was talking, I noticed quite pronounced tracers. It was dark outside; I was looking at a lighted window of a neighbour's house and when I moved my eyes, a glowing trail would whisk across my visual field. What surprised me, though, was that the trail did not follow the apparent travel direction of the window; rather, it moved in exactly the opposite way: if at first the window was on one side of my visual field, and I moved my eyes so that it was on the other side afterwards, the glowing trail would start at the final position and shoot over towards the initial position.
The visual effects were developing quickly. Within minutes, everything was leaving trails behind when I looked around, and some strange sort of edge effects appeared, that would, as it turned out, persist throughout the experience. When my eyes skipped from object to object, each edge left some kind of a shadow - or line - or ripples behind it for a moment. At the time, I was unable to pinpoint what exactly this effect was, but at least three things were clear: that the after-images were strictly black and white, that the visual field quickly became quite cluttered with all these after-images, and that one constantly makes one hell of a lot of eye movements. Every little shift of the gaze resulted in a huge pile of after-images stacking upon each other and then slowly disappearing.
I went back inside. Until this point, the effect was almost exclusively visual. There was no body load to speak of; rational thinking was intact, so was the ego, and there was no enhancement of emotions whatsoever. Over the course of about half an hour, a warm feeling developed in my body, a feeling that I hoped would unfold into at least a tiny bit of empathy enhancement, or perhaps physical euphoria, or at least some plain old joy. But it did not. It just stayed there and slowly dissipated during the next hour or two.
I turned my attention towards the visuals. There was no arguing that the effect was spectacular; I remember commenting several times on how amazed I was about this material being so exclusively visual. The whole place we were in took on a quite unhealthy colour: the reds, oranges and yellows were desaturated, which took much of the usual appeal from them. In fact, most of the colours were desaturated, and none looked particularly good. The white walls attained a slightly greenish tinge, drawing associations of the stifling atmosphere of a hospital (especially the ones built in the 1960s or 70s - ever wondered how on earth they came to find such a particularly nauseous shade of green?). Looking down, my hands were of a reddish hue that did not agree at all well with the greenish surroundings. The only enhancement, if we can call it so, was in the blacks. Everything that was black - was as black as coal. In a mine. At night. With eyes shut. Really, totally, completely black. My black backpack that had been tucked away in a corner was so intensely black that it lost nearly all of the texture; and it consumed light so thoroughly that it might just as well have been a hole in the space-time continuum, with absolutely nothing on the other side.
The before mentioned edge effects were even more pronounced in the lit interior of the house. One particular object that triggered them more than anything else was a tall Dracaena plant - the kind with long, thin, spiky leaves that shoot out from a common centre. It seemed that the numerous leaf edges (there was definitely something about the edges!) on that plant resulted in, again - shadows - lines - ripples - what was it, really? - as I moved my eyes over it. It made the plant look sharp, unpleasant and slightly hostile.
Although one might think, considering all that was said above, that the visuals were on the unnerving side, I was not at all uneasy about them. They were not exactly beautiful, true; but they were definitely interesting and I was fully recognizing them for what they were. It was akin to visiting an art gallery with paintings from a period, or a movement, that one can't quite connect with.
The conversation between the attendees (both those participating in the psychedelic experiment and those not) had meanwhile turned to sharing feelings about having children, being a parent etc. I usually find it difficult to discuss intimate topics, even with people that I have known for a long time. This occasion was no exception. My rational thoughts were almost unaffected, the ego intact, the barriers in place.
My rational thoughts were almost unaffected, the ego intact, the barriers in place.
The drug was not making it any easier for me. Almost on the contrary: I had trouble connecting emotionally to what people were saying. I heard them talking, I understood what they said, recognized the significance of their words, realized they put an important and deep part of themselves into it - but still I felt that a proper emotional response on my side was somehow lacking. It was as if I was standing at a distance. Nevertheless, I found the topic interesting. I even tried participating in the discussion, but it did not go very well: in my eyes, all my contributions to the discussion seemed rather insignificant and dull. There was no sparkle in what I was saying. Realizing this, I decided not force it, but rather to resort to being a silent observer. This role fit with me much better.
I moved out into the garden again, and sat down to a table with other people. As I knew by now that trying to engage in a discussion would not turn out well, I quietly sat there and listened to whatever the others were conversing about. The darkness outside made the visuals less prominent and I noticed that if I kept my gaze fixed on a single spot, they would vanish altogether. Several times, while becoming absorbed in the discussion held at the table, I found myself completely forgetting that I was under the influence, only to be reminded about it in a burst of edgy black-and-white ripples when I finally moved my eyes again. At one point, I amused myself by holding a tea mug and slowly moving it side to side: its edge left tracers behind, but not the glowing type that I had seen earlier, but rather a series of discrete images, as if I was moving the mug under a stroboscopic light.
A peculiar viewpoint shift also occurred to me a few times: while not paying attention, I would slowly start to perceive the people around me as adults in their forties, then I would suddenly snap back into the reality of them being much younger (most of them were in their twenties).
Cannabis joints were passed around from time to time; the scent was delightful and I was very much tempted to take a few puffs - just to add some warmth to the experience. But I ultimately decided against it, wanting to experience the substance as it was.
I tried pecking on some food, but was only mildly successful. The food itself was tasty, I could also chew it with no problems; but swallowing was another thing. This inability to eat was quite expected, though: for me, it is a common occurrence with psychedelics.
The effects were showing no signs of waning yet, only the warmth within the body was gone. Some people left, and the rest of us sat down on a couch and talked for the next two hours. No significant changes were perceived during this period, although I felt the effects start to diminish slowly. The colours were still off, the edges were still edgy, and I was still unable to pinpoint what exactly made them such. But, as it turns out, I was about to resolve this question shortly.
By this time, I decided to leave as well. I thanked the hosts, greeted the remaining guests, wished everyone a good night, mounted my bicycle, and rode off into the night.
And at that point - to my great surprise - the visuals exploded. Now that I was on the bike, my surroundings were rapidly moving, but bright objects were relatively scarce; and when one of them triggered the visuals, they were seen in greater clarity than ever before. Suddenly, I realized what it was that I was seeing around the edges of objects for the whole evening: they were zebra-like patterns, stripes of black and white, now clearly visible upon the face of the darkness. The zebra patterns surrounded each and every edge, as long as it was not standing still relative to my field of vision. Close to an edge, the stripes were narrow and aligned in parallel with it. As the distance to the edge increased, the stripes became wider and their width and alignment less regular. In the spaces between the edges, there were pools of concentric black and white stripes. In some respect, the patterns were not at all unlike interference fringes. I was amazed. They were everywhere. Around the bicycle's handlebars. In the bushes beside the road. Between the wires on the power lines. And they were so perfectly clear.
Finally, it dawned on me why the Dracaena plant seemed so hostile earlier in the evening. The sheer multitude of its leaves gave me plenty of edges to see the zebra patterns around; and I probably subconsciously interpreted the striped pattern as a warning signal (just as it is a warning signal in bees and wasps).
The ride home was filled with amusement, wonder, and zebras.
When I stepped into my apartment, I knew that I was home by the feeling, the sounds, and the familiar smell. However, visually, I could not really identify it with the place I usually live in. There was still that sickly greenish cast over everything, including my face in the mirror. I decided to leave most of the lights off to spare me this sight. I listened to some music and danced for a bit; it was pleasant, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Finally, I headed off to bed. With this much visuals still present, I half-expected to be unable to fall asleep for at least an hour, but fortunately, it was not so. I fell asleep almost immediately.
I woke up in the morning with a mild headache and feeling worn out, probably due to not sleeping long enough. I no longer felt as if I was under the influence, but for the next two hours or so, I kept wondering whether the colours were still a bit off. Whatever it was, it cleared up until the afternoon, and I was left with only the slight headache, and the sleepiness. Both of which I knew, fortunately, how to resolve easily.
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