Citation: nowolfcanknow. "People Are Strange: An Experience with LSD & Cannabis (exp115410)". Erowid.org. May 4, 2021. erowid.org/exp/115410
This experience was nearly 10 years ago now and I've always wanted to write about it. I'm extremely nostalgic about this experience, as I've thought it about it just about every day since and it changed my perceptions of the world forever.
I, nowolfcanknow, male, English, 22 at the time, took acid in my friends flat. For over 24 hours I was more unsober (not a word, run with it) than I'd ever been (and it still holds the #1 spot) in my life.
It started when I got a text off my friend, for the purposes of this I'll call them Chris, one night that simply said "Hold tight, got some acid. Wanna do it with me?". I still have that message saved in an old phone I've lost the charger for.
Now I'd been wanting to do it for years and I so jumped at the chance, I texted back in the affirmative and we set the date for a couple of weeks later. The setting would be a house warming party at the flat in town that he was moving into, owned by another friends father who is a huge hippie.
The setting. A large front room, with a window at one end, amazing art on the walls, two comfy sofas, a bean bag and a semi broken CRT TV. We hooked my laptop up some speakers. There was a standard ceiling light in there, and also a really bright and hot red light. We decided that we would trust in my music folder and shuffle. There were two of us doing acid and smoking weed, and about 7 others who were drinking and smoking.
We dropped around 19:00 and the anxious wait began. Would it work? What would it feel like if it did? What if it didn't work? Would either of us freak out if we had a "bad trip"? What even constitutes a bad trip anyway?
We talked our way through the anxiety, each had a spliff and relaxed.
It took about an hour for me to feel any different and as I've indicated, I was high anyway. Truth be told I resigned myself to the fact that the acid was a bunk and it hadn't worked and just accepted it, a little disappointed. But I had an 8th of really good skunk and a beer that a friend offered me.
Then it started. And it hit me like a tonne of bricks. I could not believe what I was feeling.
At first I just felt a tingly feeling somewhere in my midriff that travelled throughout my body. I looked at my hands, they looked interesting. Then I was struck by a feeling that I don't know if I'd ever felt before: I felt powerful.
I was struck by a feeling that I don't know if I'd ever felt before: I felt powerful.
I looked over at Chris while this was going on and he looked up at the same time. We simply nodded at each other, acknowledging that yes, we were both feeling "something".
The powerful feeling was joined by joy. Joy that made me laugh out loud. I couldn't believe how happy I felt. It reminded me a lot of the come up to ecstasy, only much more intense. If this was all acid was, I was content. I felt incredible.
Then I looked up and in the general direction of the red light that we'd forgotten to turn off. The red light was pulsing, and the light spread out over a corner of the room, along the walls. All I could see was red, but not just 'standard' red, by that I mean the red you'd see in a traffic light or the hated red of a Manchester United home shirt. I could see a whole spectrum of red, shades that I didn't know even existed. These red colours dominated my vision and eventually I had to look away. I laughed a little at this, and accepted that yes, things had changed now.
Then I noticed the walls. They were breathing? Pulsing? They were definitely moving. In the years since I've often thought about those walls and what I was seeing. I think I was seeing the atoms of the solid wall, and they were vibrating, as atoms are wont to do. At this point I just laughed again and another friend, who was decidedly NOT on acid, asked if I was ok. I simply nodded and said "You wouldn't understand mate". I cringe as I recall that. But I don't think anyone who hasn't done LSD or another hallucinogen could understand. The fucking walls, and I'd always taken walls for granted, were alive and there was nothing I could do about it. There was nothing I wanted to do about it either, it was fascinating watching them do their thing.
While I was looking at the walls, I suddenly became aware of music again. I had kinda tuned out whatever was playing, enraptured by the sight of things. But now I heard music again, and as it was my music folder that was being played (on WinAmp I believe) it was music that I liked. The song that was playing when I first became aware of the music was an Interpol song, Pioneer to the Falls. I love that song when I'm normal. I don't really have the words to describe how it felt to hear it at that moment. But I'll try.
The guitar was very sharp and it cut through all the conversation in the room. All I could really hear was the guitar and the bass, I didn't really hear the drums until a few second later. If you've heard the song you might understand, the guitar is very important to the overall sound and it has a very distinct sound to it, all Interpol songs have the same kinda sound. Kinda like Joy Division guitar sounds.That Post-punk tone, whatever. Sorry, I'm really shit at talking about music, I wish I'd paid more attention in music class and not played cards so often during the lessons.
The guitar and the bass merged into one sound, and then the singer started singing. At this point things went to another level. And not just this little experience I was having with the music. EVERYTHING shot up a level. I'll post the opening of the lyrics from this song, because they're quite significant to me: "Show me the dirtpile. And I will pray. That the soul can take three stowaways". I related to this and in my head I tried to break it down into what it MEANT. I don't know what the writer intended, but it was clear to me that the dirt pile was the Earth, and the stowaways were the parts of the mind, the id, ego and superego. I'd always been interested in psychology (and in subsequent years psychology would take over my life, as I entered therapy and underwent Compassion Focussed Therapy and Cognitive Analytical Therapy) so I thought I knew what that meant at that time.
That song eventually ended. It felt like it went on forever though, and I was fine with that. It's a really good song. Throughout the rest of the recollection I'll mostly be mentioning songs and lyrics, because music is the primary thing that I remember from the trip. It was that powerful. But I'll try not to focus on that too much as I know music is so subjective.
Now at this point I'd say things were out of control. I looked at one of the pieces of art on the walls and became incredibly aware that it was framed and covered in glass. I think if I were going to have a "bad trip" this was the point that it would have happened. I thought the art was trapped and couldn't get out. Now at the time I didn't think about art that much, even when I was reading my beloved comic books (I'll come back to them later to use them as a metaphor), the art was a vehicle for the writing. But in later years I became very interested in art, and now, in 2021, it's my primary hobby and way of relaxing and even communicating ideas that I have.
But that art was trapped on the wall in a glass prison and all I knew was that I didn't like it. I'd read enough to know that at this point I had a choice. I could either accept this, or I could change my setting. Now at this point another friend of ours who was there suggested we go out on the roof as a group. We all agreed and out we went.
It was pretty cold, but I had a hoodie on so I didn't really notice. I know that walking felt decidedly strange, but I felt like I could walk for hours and hours and not get tired. Luckily for me I didn't have to walk far, and the roof area was pretty small. Enough size for all of us to gather in two little groups. As we went out on the roof I decided I would stick next to Chris, as I was a little worried that he would wander off and fall off the roof. That lasted a couple of seconds, as after a few moments (could have been seconds, could have been hours) I looked up.
The stars were strange. There were dim suns in the sky surrounded by a red dot, and that dot was circling the centre sun and leaving a tracer. They looked exactly our representation of atoms in secondary school science textbooks. I had never, and still haven't, seen anything more fascinating than the stars on acid. I couldn't look away, and I'll never forget that sight. I'll be on my deathbed and I'll still be thinking about the stars on that night.
I could still hear music at this point. One song I remember from our time on the roof was a drum and bass song by Netsky, and because of what followed I suspect (give me a break, it's been nearly ten years) it was Secret Agent. Now when I'm sober I love this song enough. In this altered state it effected me in ways I didn't think were real, I didn't really believe in hallucinations, not the kind I was about to experience. Secret Agent is a very "videogamey" sounding song, I've often described it as being a lost Sonic the Hedgehog level song. Now at this point, I thought I was in a videogame.
Behind and to the left of the building there are some trees. I looked at those trees, managing to tear my eyes from the stars, and they looked like they were from a videogame. They were very dark (it was probably about 22:00 by now), but oddly pixellated and distorted. If you've ever played the original MediEvil (as it's since been remade) from 1998 the you'll know exactly what those trees looked like to me. Think the forest in that game and you're dead on. This was the moment that I fully accepted that yes, I was tripping balls, and by God I liked it. This was what I wanted when I decided to take acid. I wanted to hallucinate, and wow was I hallucinating at this point
I looked to the right at the block of flats that were poking above the building (they're across the road from the building) and they were BATHED in multi coloured light. I most vividly remember an orange and a yellow, but there was this green and Manchester City blue there too. The flats looked inviting, and let me assure you in the cold light of day they're anything but.
We went back inside at some point, and a bunch of the friends left at this point, whittling us down to just 4 or 5, and a song that I didn't want to listen to was starting. It was a hip hop song, I can't remember which one but I'm certain it was a Wu-Tang Clan song. Chris grabbed me and asked me to change it. I agreed with this course of action as I don't think it would have been a pleasant experience. The Wu-Tang (though they are for the children) are too violent, too on top, for this experience. I went over to the laptop and after a few hilarious seconds searching for the digital button I hit shuffle and something else came on. But at this point I became aware that I could choose any song I wanted.
Before the night I had wrote down a list of songs I wanted to listen to on acid. I had that list in my pocket and I found it at that point. I took it out and looked at the list, it wasn't very long, about 20 different songs, and I asked Chris if I could start choosing songs rather than letting shuffle decide for us. He agreed, and then I went back to the laptop (for some reason I went across the room to ask him in a hushed voice, as if I were conspiring murder or something and didn't want to be overheard) and after another few moments I found the song of choice: Black Mountain Side by Led Zeppellin.
It was at this point that one of my friends decided that he wanted to play a videogame, and luckily someone had bought their PlayStation 2 over and hooked it up. I was fine with this, so was Chris, so were the other people in the room. The chosen game was Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.
Now that's my favourite game of all time. And I was hyped to see it be played. I was hyped to see the cutscenes and see if I could still follow them. I was helpful to, lets call him Robert, and pointed out a ration location at one point, at which Chris asked how I could possibly remember that right now. I don't know how I remembered it. I doubt I could have told you my own name at that point (about 4 hours after dropping the acid). But I knew where that ration was, and I still know where it is.
In MGS2 you get a tranquillizer gun and can use it to knock the enemies out. At the conclusion of the opening of the game, what's known amongst fans and even in game as the Tanker section, you have to sneak into the hold of the tanker, and there are rows of enemies. If you knock one out with the M9, they fall asleep standing up. But if you knock them all out with the gun (so they're all alseep standing up) and then run up to them and knock them out with your hands, by doing the punch punch kick combo, they fall down into one another. One after another.
Robert did this trick, I'm not kidding, at least ten times in a row. At first it was funny. Maybe more funny than anything I had seen at that point in my life Then it quickly became annoying. Like really annoying. It felt like how it feels to have a house fly in a room with an open window. My favourite part of the game up to that point was right around the corner, maybe 3 minutes of gameplay away, but he refused to progress. He simply did this trick over and over and over again. I begged him to stop but he simply laughed.
The non-acid people left at some point and we were left alone. We had two couches all to ourselves. At one point I found myself lying on top of one of them, on the bit that sticks up and I remember being blissfully comfortable. I remember Chris had these dissolvable vitamin C tablets that you drop in water. I had one and disaster struck, I knocked it over and the liquid spilt everywhere on the floow. We simply flipped the rug over. And he was kind enough to prepare another one for me. It tasted delicious, revitalisng even.
Now in the kitchen of this flat there was a plant (and still is, I believe). After going in to fetch some water I became enraptured with this plant. It was sp green, so alive with energy. The leaves of the plant merged into one mass and I could see the vines of the plant. They looked so strong. I started talking to the plant, soothing it as best I could as I felt like I was disturbing it, like how you come across a cat that you don't own but still want to pet. Chris came into the kitchen and asked who I was talking to. I just pointed at the plant. Chris looked at that thing longer than I did.
Now I decided to ask Chris if HE wanted to choose a song. He agreed, but asked if I could do the labour of putting it on. I don't remember which song it was, but he picked a mewithoutYou song. Now at the point they weren't my favourite band on the planet yet, repeat listenings over the years have since turned them into such. I decided to just put one of their albums on as it would be easier and more satisfying to do than picking one song. The album was called Catch For us the Foxes. I remember reading the title and understanding it for the first time. The fox is a metaphor for a person. We're the fox.
MewithoutYou are a very religious (or perhaps spiritual) band. Their lyrics primarily deal with God and faith, and the struggle of keeping faith in a faithless world. Now Chris was the one who introduced them to me when we lived together. The song that I first heard is the first song on that album, it's called January 1979. At this point I urge you to open ip YouTube or Spotify or something and listen to it, because this was the point that things got truly profound. For me at least. Up to this point acid was a great laugh. It was as trippy as they came. But now it seemed I turned inward and truly started thinking.
"January 1979, I heard a terrible crash (and I couldn't help but laugh). My ear pressed against the past like a glass on a wall in of a house in a photograph My forehead no longer sweet. With holy kisses. Worthy of your fiery lips. I was floating in a peaceful sea Rescued by a sinking ship".
Now even when I'm sober I find this set of lyrics deep and meaningful. At that point on acid I felt I understood them. It's about birth, in my opinion. The terrible crash is being born into this world. The peaceful sea is the amniotic sac. The sinking ship is the mother.
Now as I said, at this point things became more profound to me. The whole night and experience took on a philosophical tint. I thought about being born, I thought about my parents (and at the time I did my utmost not to think about either of them,having let down my mother by failing at university, and still being estranged from my father) and how they had made me.I started wondering where my soul was (and by this point I accepted that yes, I was a soul. I was simply inhabiting a body) or at least my awareness was before I was born. Nowhere, is the answer. I started thinking about death, and felt strangely comforted by the idea of becoming nothing once more.
The powerful feeling from earlier took over my being again. This strange feeling of confidence is the one thing from my LSD experience that I wish I could replicate on a daily basis. I'm not a very confident person at all. But on acid I felt like Alexander the Great. I felt like I could accomplish anything. The hallucinations were fun, but that confidence was addictive, and truth be told I don't think I've ever felt more free or in control of my life than that night.
The album continued, and eventually ended. By this point it must have been deep in the early spring morning (I didn't mention what time of year this was all happening did I? Well I'm reasonably sure it was late spring) as the sun was rising. We decided to venture out onto the roof again.
We lay down outside on the roof (a strange decision as it's fucking filthy out there) but both of us were beyond caring about a little dirt. Before I did I grabbed a brush that was out there and sweeped up a bit. We had bought Chris' iPod outside and some portable speakers.
Out there on that roof I properly listened to The Beatles for the first time in my life. And it's true what they say, there's parts of those songs that you can't hear unless you're on acid. I distincly remember Strawberry Fields Forever and Help!. We also listened to blink-182, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, a little more mewithoutYou and Moby. We were simply lying beneath the warm sun, singing and laughing like loons.
Eventually we went back inside, and I asked Chris when this would end. Now I wasn't tired at this point, in fact I wouldn't get truly tired until the next morning (and remember, we're now on another day. At least 12 hours have passed since we dropped the tabs), and I was what I'd term a drug veteran at this point, well used to the rigours of drugs like MDMA or ketamine, where I'll stay up far longer than I'm aware of. He said he didn't know, but had been told the acid that we had taken was strong enough for 24 hours worth of tripping. That was find for me, except for one detail, it was the weekend (now... Saturday? We took it Friday night) and I was due in for work experience on the Monday. Suffice to say I called in sick that day.
At this point in my story I'd like to thank you for sticking with me. I know the music thing is annoying to read through. Hell, the whole thing is annoying, especially if you haven't taken LSD yourself.
Back inside I went back to my laptop to change the music, and I chose Another Chance by Roger Sanchez. Chris suggested we watch some wrestling, as he had a DVD and we were both wrestling afficionados (in fact it's probably one of the reasons we became friends in the first place). Here's a tip for any wrestling fans who take LSD. DO NOT WATCH WRESTLING. Especially WrestleMania X-Seven. It's terrifying, it's uncomfortable to watch, and it's utterly baffling. We made it through maybe one match before we decided that watching anything wasn't really going to happen.
So we talked. We talked about everything and anything that came to mind. I confessed some of the things I had been thinking to myself about, and he responded in kind. We both agreed that we were now aware of connections between small things around us. We talked about the setting of the trip, and how lucky we were to have such a place to do the drug in. We laughed a lot.
Hanging from the window was a crystal. I saw this crystal at one point and was enraptured, I beckoned Chris over to look at it and we stood there for at least half an hour looking at it. It seemed infinite, and it was reflecting light in multiple colours. I tapped it and it started moving, and the light went with it. I can still see that crystal now if I close my eyes, and I'm grateful that it was there.
Now I'm a huge Star Wars fan, and I have been my entire life. And it just occurred to me that you might be one too. I mentioned small connections just now and I don't really know a better way to describe what I mean than to say this: THE FORCE IS REAL. It surrounds us, it binds the universe together. What you do matters.
I'm gonna wrap this up soon as it could become repetitive, as there's at least another days worth of similar experiences. When I said 24 hour acid I meant it, and remember, we each took two hits.
On the Sunday night Chris eventually announced to me that he had to go home. He was tired (and so was I. Exhausted really. If you've ever heard I'm So Tired by Fugazi you'd get how tired I felt at that point). Now you've gotta remember, I don't live there. He does, but he wasn't fully moved in yet. I was scared by this information, scared for the first time since I noticed that painting trapped on the wall. It must have shown in my face as he quickly moved to assure me that I could stay the night there, just to try and leave before his housemates got there in the afternoon on the Monday (the same Monday I was due to start my work experience in a charity shop) but as I knew the other guy, it didn't really matter if I was still there when they got there. Just that it would be optimal if I weren't, as they were moving in that day. Chris called a taxi, and asked if I would go outside with him to wait for it to arrive. I agreed of course (and truth be told I wanted a look at that block of flts from earlier in the cold evening) and out we went, me standing in the doorway to stop the door closing. The taxi arrived, and off he went to his childhood home.
So there I was. Alone. Still tripping balls, but now with an element of tiredness to contend with. I decided that I would leave the next day before the friend got there and managed to set an alarm on my phone for that function, one that would give me plenty of sleep but still get me out of there long before they got there.
Alone now, I relaxed and listened to some of the music on that list I mentioned. And you know what every acid user says about music, how you perceive it differently? That happened on another level than it had earlier. I sang along to every word that I knew. I cried a little when certain songs came on.
Eventually I went to bed, taking my laptop with me to put Planet Earth on. It took a long time for me to fall asleep, but sleep I did. And I got out of there before they arrived.
The next day was extremely peaceful. I tried writing down my thoughts but couldn't get them out. I simply thought about things, and that was enough.
Thanks for reading.
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