Citation: Psychonaut 420. "Talking Pillows: An Experience with Brugmansia (exp37029)". Erowid.org. May 5, 2006. erowid.org/exp/37029
After previous experiences with similar anticholinergenic deleriants like; Benedryl, Dramamine, and DXM combined with Dramamine, I stupidly dove head-first into an irresponsible, impulsive, and almost fatal experience with the ancient and long respected, delirium… Brugmansia (Tree Datura).
In late 2003 I moved to Fort Lauderdale from NJ, for about a year. When I first moved into the apartment I met someone who knew of several “belladonna trees” growing around the nearby neighborhoods. Several times when we were bored we used to take long hikes all over the area trying to find this plant, never with any success. It wasn’t uncommon if we walked 3 hours or longer during our hikes. After about a month we gave up, assuming that the trees were dug up and no longer around, even though there is a major road in the area called Datura Street.
Later on that year I met S. and randomly asked upon meeting her if she had seen or knew where there was Datura growing in the area. S. grew up in the area and was overall familiar with the neighborhoods. Without skipping a beat S. replied with an exact location of an “angel trumpet tree” growing in front of a small church. Ecstatic, I told her to take a walk with me and show me where this plant was, remembering how much time me and my other friend wasted walking around Fort Lauderdale aimlessly trying to find this strangely compelling plant. I was broke, bored, and tired of sitting in my stifling, apartment with no air or electricity. So me, S. and “Loser” who was currently staying at my apartment, took a hike to find this elusive tree. Times were rough then and I was about to be evicted from my apartment, thanks to a former roommate/best friend; “Dickhead” who stole a shit load of rent money from me to support his own heroin addiction, and ”Loser” who I let stay with me that had no job. Ultimately, I was not in a good state of mind and had no business taking an extremely powerful and potentially deadly delirium.
I was dangerously impulsive, and I could have easily killed myself that night. The three of us finally approached the church, and sure enough there was this massive tree standing strong, embracing the church, clutching it, almost like it had been guarding the church for years, despite its age-old association with the devil. For years I have been into psychedelics and I usually don’t approach an opportunity like this so irresponsibly, but being as depressed as I was, but yet almost mesmerized and overjoyed to find this plant growing only a couple of blocks away from my apartment, I ran up to the tree and filled a couple of shopping bags with plant material. I madly shoved handfuls of leaves and flowers into my mouth munching on the bitter hallucinogenic salad, knowing I could possibly die that night. I don’t know what I was thinking because I knew in the back of my head that this was going to be just like all of those awful experiences with Dramamine and Benedryl, but some weird unconscious drive to self destruction came to play.
Somehow seeing the actual plant right in front of me, with its alluring radiance, peculiar smell and an aura of forbidden knowledge gave me a feeling like it would be different in someway. It was as though I was temporarily blinded of my familiarity with the reports online about natural tropane alkaloids as they were usually described to be slightly more out-of-control, sinister, and unnerving than experiences written about over-the-counter drugs like Dramamine that mimic some of the familiar effects produced by belladonna and Datura.
It was late at night, after we filled up a few shopping bags with flowers and leaves we power-walked back to the apartment complex. Broward county pigs tend to stop and search people randomly for no reason at nighttime so they can put them in jail and get money for arresting someone. We made it a point to get back as soon as possible. I did not want to be caught with bags full of suspicious leaves, and have to spend a night in prison tripping on Datura. Familiar with how tropane alkaloids act on the body I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it back standing upright. Nothing too amazing happened on the walk home. I don’t remember this, but S. told me that when we got close to the apartments “Loser” pointed at a cactus and yelled “look San Pedro cactus.” and as a reflex I reached out and grabbed the cactus, then let go realizing my hand was full of cactus needles and it wasn’t a San Pedro cactus. I know towards the end of the journey back home I started becoming really wobbly and had trouble walking straight. The body high was very similar to being drunk, with no physical discomfort yet.
I remember during this period the buzz was actually quite pleasant. After awhile the hot, stale, summer night air started feeling like fluid sliding over me as I walked.
Instead of going into my apartment me, S. and “Loser” went to the pool area and swam for awhile. It was around this time I had noticed I was starting to feel the effects getting ready to come on strong. My dizziness started feeling like it was about to lift off. The adrenaline and anxiety seemed to be gradually increasing as my heart pumped the now intoxicating blood thru my veins. I started feeling less and less comfortable and safe to being outside and in the pool. It was about an hour after I ate the plants by then. At that time I suggested to “Loser” to come inside the apartment. He had eaten a fair amount also, so I advised him to head inside and lay down because I knew it was going to hit both of us very soono. Once again I clarify the apartment had no air conditioning or electricity anymore because of my former roommate “Dickhead” taking all that money from me, so the inside of the apartment was brutal.
The air was hot, stagnant, and two of the three couches were leather so when you lay down on them it sticks to your skin. Needless to say the surroundings were very uncomfortable not to mention we had no lights except for a few candles. Not a suitable setting for tripping. I did not want to be caught outside acting stupid in front of one of the neighbors or have “Loser” be arrested or tied up, talking to the hallucinations that may manifest to him in the parking lot. Sometime between the time I decided to walk from the pool to the apartment I found myself laying flat on the ground halfway outside with only my head and arms in the apartment, talking to “Dickhead’s” Aunt from NJ. At this point this “femme fatal” has succeeded in knocking me on my ass into an imaginary realm where nothing is what it seems.
Apparently I got up the steps when all of a sudden the force of the vertigo hit me like a shot of heroin, disabling me and making me think I was in NJ. I’m pretty sure one or two of my other friends came over, at that time. To this day I haven’t fully figured out who was there and who wasn’t. I blacked out several times during the peak and my memory from this point on is very choppy. Off and on all night long I found myself on the floor or leaning over the back of the day bed in the front room with everyone, either smoking a non-existent cigarette or having slurred, senseless conversations with friends back in Jersey on my cell phone, only to realize I wasn’t holding anything. This was when the effects of the brugmansia had taken full force on my body. Despite my endless conversations with imaginary people, I had lost control of my tongue so when I spoke it was like I had overdosed on that anti-anxiety medication Haldol.
Although it was nowhere near as bad as a Haldol overdose, it was still almost impossible to communicate with the real world and I felt like I had down-syndrome. At points I had to force myself up against the nauseating gravity that had my body held in a lying position, to take a trip to the bathroom. This was always annoying because I had to pee, what seemed like every other minute. This was very physically challenging for a reality challenged individual. Every time I had to get up I could feel the weight of gravity try to push me back in place. It was a fight against vertigo and the effects of the plant were kicking my ass. These feelings of extreme vertigo always reminded me of times when I was a kid and would try to stick my head or arms out against the force of gravity when I rode the Gravitron on the boardwalk. When I got up on my feet I would wobble around for the first few steps until I could finally grab onto a wall or something and shuffle my way to the bathroom.
Once I got into the bathroom immediately I noticed the repulsive stench of the dark room. The humidity from the shower area mixed with the heat and the foul moisture evaporating from the toilet area, and overall feeling of nastiness, cottonmouth, and the lack of control of my body, made these walks very unpleasant. I often had to crouch over the toilet cause for some reason, it was like my prostate was swollen or something and it was a real effort just to relieve myself, despite how badly I had to go. Every time I would leave the main room to go to the bathroom I would have some of the most confusing full-blown auditory and visual hallucinations. At times I wasn’t aware that these were hallucinations unless it was too bizarre to be possible, but even then I sometimes fell for it, thinking it was real. The only way to distinguish what’s real and what isn’t, is to touch it. If my hand goes thru it or it moves back as I reach for it then its not real.
I noticed that sometimes these hallucinations actually cover real things so I can’t see them. Like onetime, I tried to reach for the doorknob to get out of a room and I would reach for a fake one underneath the real one that would be covered by a dark spot. This started a very annoying cycle of events that took me until the middle of the following day to get out of.
One of the times I had to go to the bathroom I remember I had to relight one of the candles. Immediately after I relit the candle, I slide back down to the floor next to the toilet from the sickening and nauseating force of gravity. While I struggled to relieve myself, wobbling back and forth, kneeling, pants-down, next to the toilet, Loser and S. came in and started talking to me. This seemed really weird, considering I was half naked and in the process of peeing but whatever they were saying to me seemed real and coherent enough that I continued talking to them for about 15 mins. This is a perfect example of a eerily familiar dream logic that often supported my psychotic behavior at the time. As I started to stand upright and pull my pants up, a black cat ran from the hallway into the bathroom jumped over my feet and into the shower. I remember telling them what I just saw and both of them started laughing at me and told me I was crazy and just hallucinating. Turns out both of them were hallucinations. After the fake S. and Loser left the room and I remember seeing a shadowy glass of water by the sink.
I somehow thought that I might have left it in the bathroom earlier to relieve my cotton mouth. I grabbed the glass of water and was about to drink it but was soon as the water hit my tongue I realized I had grabbed a plastic bottle of isopropyl alcohol. My mouth was on fire and I put my mouth to the sink and tried to flush the toxic, fiery taste out of my mouth. I stumbled back into the other room collapsed onto the leather couch into S.’s lap and snuggled into her body mumbling nonsense. I blacked out for the rest of the night.
I woke up still tripping and stumbled to the bedroom and saw Dickhead snoring loudly in my bed. It was morning and everything was bright, and took-on a dirty, yellowish, pee-color. My pupils were still completely dilated and the light hurt my eyes. The large 290 lb guy who was sleeping in my bed seemed too real to be a hallucination. I even went and leaned over the bed right by his face to see if he was real. I could feel his breath blowing in my face as he snored very loudly. Something about the way his chest moved in and out as he breathed, seemed like it faded into the next position almost like a movement trail from acid. Almost opaque, with a fluid-like pattern moving over his body like the how the walls had looked the night before made this seem a little suspicious. I walked around the bed to check again. Dickhead no longer stayed at my apartment and even though we were not really speaking at the time it wasn’t uncommon for him to hang out at my apartment when other people were around, since we shared some of the same group of friends.
Something told me it still didn’t make any sense that he would be sleeping in my bed. I wasn’t even sure that I had remember seeing him there at all that night. I left the room still baffled and confused, I passed out again and blacked out for an hour or so.
Loser had left supposedly to go to the library and look for jobs and S. walked out of the bedroom and came into the kitchen to get a drink of water then passed out in the front room by me on one of the couches. At one point I asked her why Dickhead was sleeping in my bed and what he was even doing in my apartment. S. told me he wasn’t at the apartment at any time that night and she was sleeping in my bed all night. S. is 16, medium height, skinny, and she does not resemble Dickhead in anyway shape or form.
After Loser left S. decided to go to the library. She was very concerned for me and asked me if I would be ok to be alone in the apartment. At some point in that morning after Loser left, she told me for about 6 minutes I was walking in circles in the bedroom with my hands clenched in my hair yelling repeatedly “MAKE IT STOP!” I told her I would be ok and that it would probably be best for me to be by myself, while I ride out the tail-end of the trip.
I was alone in the house and I told myself that from this point on if I see or talk to anyone it couldn’t be possibly real so it was obviously a hallucination. I even chain-locked the front door to further prove this theory. Well the hallucinations continued to proceed throughout the morning and like always despite my attempts to stay in reality the dream logic always made holes in my lucidity throughout the trip. For the rest of the morning I found myself falling into a frustrating and annoying thought-loop.
Typically almost every 15-20 minutes I would hear the door slam open, and hear Loser yell from the other room; “Matt… Matt.. You home? I’m back.” I would come into the front room and see him standing in front of the door. As I continued talking to him his voice would fade out until only his lips would be moving with no sound coming out. Then gradually he would slowly fade into the background and dissipate. At this point I starting becoming coherent enough that this repetitive illusion started becoming more and more disturbing and annoying. I could speak clearly now without my tongue getting in the way but I was not completely coherent. My sentences were often choppy and I stuttered a lot, when I spoke.
Another clockwise disturbance that came about every 10-15 mins was that I would be holding the cell phone talking to a friend in NJ while I laid on my bed. Every time I noticed I had no cell phone in my hand, I would still hear my friend’s gargled voice continue to talk to me. For some reason, (again the dream logic) I would always respond back and tell her “ I’m sorry but you’re not real and I have to go now. Bye” Then the voice would stop. After that I would think I was talking to S. who would be sitting next to me on the bed and she would vaporize as soon as I looked over at her or touched her.
These 3 hallucinations continued for a few hours until the real S. came back. Other common hallucinations consisted of bugs crawling single lined on the walls, weird sounds echoing from the other room or gargled alien conversations in my head. Occasionally I would think I was somewhere in New Jersey talking to someone when I had my eyes closed, or I would see one of my friends standing in the corner of the room silently mouthing words and vaporizing after a few seconds. The most bizarre and probably one of the last major hallucinations that occurred that morning was also in my bedroom on the bed opposite of me.
Sitting on the bed I had a Dawn of the Dead pillow and a Freddy Krueger Pillow. Well for some reason at some point I had a whole conversation with these pillows. S.’s voice came out of the Dawn of the Dead pillow and Loser’s voice came out of the Freddy Krueger pillow. I talked back and forth with them for a minute or so until I realized I was talking to a bunch of pillows and no one was there. I asked these pillow entities if they were Archons from and different dimension and if they could talk to me about themselves. As soon as I asked them those questions they assumed their normal inanimate position and stopped talking to me. I politely said, “This is crazy, I’m talking to a bunch of pillows. You aren’t responding, so, I’m sorry but I can’t talk to you anymore, this isn’t a one-way conversation. Good bye.
After that, the hallucinations started to fade and I eventually fell into a weird easily disturbed twilight sleep. I did not feel normal for the rest of the day and my pupils remained dilated for a couple of days. I stayed inside during the daytime because anytime I tried to open the door to go outside all I would see is white and was basically blinded by the sun. Overall I don’t think I will ever repeat this experience. I went back and filled my refrigerator full of leaves and pink trumpets a few days later, and tripped again on a much lower dose. The trip was not anywhere near as visural as the first and much more uncomfortable with almos no hallucinations.
The physical effect dominated the trip and the entire time I felt like I was going to die. Personally I consider an experience with Datura as “post graduate work” for psychonauts as Jim Dekorne once wrote.
I do not regret this experience by any means because of the profound and sometimes amazing things this plant has shown me but I doubt I will ever do it again. Experiencing the effects of this plant is no joke, and as Carlos Castaneda once wrote “to tame the devil’s weed into an ally is one of the most difficult tasks I know…”
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