Citation: Doctor Benway. "A Loud Sucking Sound...Stuck in a Whirlpool: An Experience with Mushrooms (exp16977)". Erowid.org. Jun 7, 2005. erowid.org/exp/16977
I was joining some friends at a Phil Lesh & Friends (ex Grateful Dead) concert at an outdoor amphitheatre on Long Island in the summer of 2002. I hadn't ingested psilocybin in roughly a year, and I had never done so in such a public setting. My previous experiences with the substance had always been intimate and safe, and yet even in the confines of a room or apartment my reactions had always been stronger than those of my peers. I don't know why I didn't consider these facts on this particular day. It was a mistake that I paid dearly for.
45 minutes before the music started my friends and I consumed our mushies. Mine were dry and powdery, and I washed them down with a large cup of water. I began to feel the visceral effects of my trip almost immediately, and long before my friends did. The initial feelings were normal for me; slight discomfort and angst, paired with an electric twinge of apprehension and excitement. The opening band was playing as we entered the venue, and the welcoming waves of music washed over me and made me smile. I was steadily progressing on my trip when we arrived at our seats, and I chose to stand up and dance while my friends awaited lift-off. The sun was setting over the water behind the stage and the music was warm and welcoming. Everything seemed to be going fine.
The opening band wrapped up after 30 minutes. Upon finishing, recorded music began to play from the speakers while the stage underwent its transformation for the next band. My comfort level began to slide the moment the members of the opening band set down their instruments. I felt as if the foothold upon which I was leaning my weight had splintered and I was suddenly losing my mental balance. While I was still in complete control of my faculties (both mental and physical), I could sense that the trajectory of my trip had shifted. I felt as if I had been caught by the outer currents of a whirlpool, and while the pace of my movement wasn't yet alarming, I knew that I was heading someplace I didnít want to be.
I started to panic and immediately went into emergency mode, sitting down in my seat and cradling my head in my hands. I reassured myself with the voice of an experienced traveler of the depths, but I was unable to accept what I had to say. My fate was sealed, and there was nothing I could do about it.
I was sliding into the fast-moving currents of the whirlpool of confusion. I desperately tried to grab a mental hold of something familiar - a book that I had read, a motivation for my future, or a relationship with a friend. Each time I caught hold of something familiar, the entity was immediately ripped from my grasp, and I continued to speed around, and around, and around. My mind was resetting itself to the beat of a slow metronome, and the period between resets was shrinking with every passing moment. My mental faculties resembled those of a goldfish, as their memories only maintain for seconds at a time. As soon as I would recognize where I was, my memory would reset, and I would have to teach myself the basics all over again. To make matters worse, the ever-shortening periods between resets continually shrunk the knowledge that I could remember. In the early stages of my confusion I would look around and remember that I was at a concert with friends, that I was living on the East Coast, was engaged in a job search, and that I was originally from Colorado, before my mind would reset and I would have to start over. Near the epicenter of my confusion I would be questioning why I was surrounded by people when my mind would reset, thus preventing me from making any progress whatsoever.
It was at this point that I lost my ability to use my mind entirely. For the next series of events I am forced to rely on the anecdotes of my friends who were sitting nearby. Throughout this episode I had been sitting in a seat with my face in my lap. My body gave way, and I drifted, face first, toward the row of seats in front of me, landing on a young couple listening to the music (which by this time had started up again). Two of my friends picked me up off the ground and sat me back in my chair. The friend who I had the strongest relationship with kneeled in front of me and began asking me questions. He quickly realized that I was incapable of speech, so he grabbed my hand and began to lead me out of the crowd. I blindly followed, thinking that he would probably take me to seek medical attention.
I was extremely weak leaving the venue and could barely hold my head off my chest. I requested to my friend that I sit down against a fence and rest. I sensed that the worst of my confusion was over; I felt as if I had been sucked into the epicenter and had been spit out the other side. I slowly backed away from the source of the swirling confusion, and my mental facilities strengthened at about the same rate as I had earlier lost them. After roughly 30 minutes leaning against the fence, my friend picked me off the ground and led me back to my seat.
During the return walk I felt fairly uncomfortable about returning to the concert. By this time I could understand what had earlier occurred and was well aware of the scene that I had made. The last thing I wanted was to cause another stir upon my reentry. My nervousness quickly disappeared when the waves of glorious music began to roll over me once again. It was as if I had accidentally been detoured from my original course in the early stages of my trip and had taken a poorly-charted, steep, and rocky short-cut to find my way back. I had come full circle, and was finally resting in the comfortable, euphoric, and highly energized state of mind that I had initially enjoyed at the very start of the concert.
The rest of my trip was composed of two aspects: 1) an intense visceral pull from the music, and 2) engrossing mental hallucinations. As I sucked the music in as strongly as I could muster, I became suddenly aware that I was standing in front of a board of spirits which had come to council me on my earlier stumble into confusion. I could not see the spirits but I could hear them clearly; in fact, their presence was so real that I didn't even need to pay them close attention. The spirits existed in another dimension, and seemed to be from a future time. They took turns explaining to me, in slow, methodical discourse, that a race of humans in another dimension had been buoyed by psychedelic experimentation and had evolved new mental capacities. They pointed out that these evolutionary advances were not spawned by genetic predestination, but had rather been induced by combinations of free-will exercises and psychedelic experimentation. They told me that I had been chosen to be one of their representatives in the earthly dimension, and that my order was to spur the evolutionary progression of my people as expeditiously as possible. It was my job to have my neighbors ready, with the necessary sets of faculties and mental tools, at the desired point in space-time.
They then explained that the state of confusion I had suffered earlier in the day had been a byproduct of a recalibration scheme, in which the spirits had adjusted my core frequency to allow my senses to overlap dimensions, thus rendering me more accessible to their calling. Throughout this conversation I questioned the voices constantly, and, at no effort of my own, I was always answered in a thorough and timely fashion.
The conversation between the spirits and myself ended when the music fell silent. I was in the final lap of my trip, and I felt both rested and bruised. I could sense that some of the outlying individuals in my party didn't know what to think of my spell of madness, but my senses were too overloaded to feel embarrassment. I returned home to my thoughts that evening, and Iíve hardly spoken about the event since.
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