Mushrooms - P. semilanceata
Citation: Holfield. "Quirky Hallucinations: An Experience with Mushrooms - P. semilanceata (exp48562)". Erowid.org. May 30, 2007. erowid.org/exp/48562
This report was originally published in 2007 under the author name "Daedelus", changed to "Holfield" on July 20 2021. An Addendum was also added July 26 2021.
I discovered 'magic mushrooms' when I was living in the UK in 1980. Much earlier, I had tested LSD maybe 10 times, and had a lot of very unpleasant experiences…I later realised this was because I was uncertain what I intended doing with my life, and I had parents who expected far too much of me. I was anxious, more than I realised at age 17. I was more interested in 'reality research' (using the chemical keys which seem to have been left lying about by a kind, humorous Universal spirit!) than in proving myself academically, and this didn't fit their view of what a dutiful eldest son should be doing.
I was a teenager in the 60's, saw Hendrix live at Woburn Abbey on his return from recording Electric Ladyland in the USA, and took some of the original 'Operation Julie' LSD several times.
So, by 1980, I had left LSD 11 years back down the timeline, and had learned a lot about myself and the world. I was no longer an adolescent, under the scrutiny of a high achieving academician father, I had become a lot calmer and more accepting of myself, my strengths and weaknesses, and had also developed a worldview which was essentially humanist, with some eastern mystical and Buddhistic elements.
And, I got on great with girls! Isn't libido wonderful! (I'm sure it helps)
I had, from age 11, noticed something very interesting about so called reality, which was, more than any other single external factor, to shape my life…I had started having what were quite clearly precognitive flashes and dreams.
It started when I was 11 and at school outside the UK. It was an all boys boarding school, and the authorities relied heavily on the use of corporal punishment. This was something which seemed often to be prescribed with very little justice, and often with no connection at all with what we might have been doing! So, I noticed, I would have the strong presentiment on say, Tuesday, that I would be going to be caned on the next day!
I would strenuously try to avoid getting into a situation likely to result in a caning, but on Wednesday evening, while we were all doing homework, the master in charge said 'I'm going down to the main building, I'll be about 10 minutes'…I recall this incident very clearly…he came back, and said 'Right, if the people who were responsible for all that noise don't own up within 5 minutes, I'm caning the lot of you!'
And he did. Although no one had been making any particular noise at all…Most amusing…this happened 3 or 4 times, and was responsible for making me take notice of something which by normal thinking, isn't possible.
In later years, I had very clear and increasingly frequent examples of obviously precognitive dreams, which I learned to distinguish from 'ordinary dreams'; I would always tell someone I had just had a precognitive dream on waking, and they would very often be there to experience the dream events occurring later that day. The events would normally be sufficiently unusual and detailed that it was a clear effect, not coincidence or wishful thinking on my part.
This has actually been very useful in my life, and I've been tested with extremely positive results in a well known University Parapsychology lab.
Don't let PSICOP persuade you these effects are not real! They have their own agenda! Instead, read JW Dunne's book, 'An Experiment with Time'.
There is even a website on this book now…
Anyway, 1980 was just a year after my Lab Parapsychology experience, and also just after I'd broken up with a girl I had been living with for 4 years… I was not in the best state emotionally, but feeling much more positive than I had been six months earlier, and dating again!!
On this particular summers afternoon, a bunch of us had decided to go into the University city, to see 'Last Tango in Paris' at a small cinema.
We were going in an open car I owned, but as I had for some reason taken these liberty caps, I asked someone else to drive.
I sat in the passenger seat, with two or three others behind us, and as the steel blue Triumph Vitesse convertible wafted its way from the little village where we all lived in two adjoining cottages, I gazed at the passing scenery, and felt the mushrooms starting to take effect…my arm gently waving in languid circles in the balmy, scented summer air…fingers combing the ripples of clear, sparkling air…what? 'Yes, it's clear, perfumed, sparkling and so, so CLEAR…look around you…!'
Somewhere, distant, but somehow also close, I became aware of the drumbeat underlying the superficial surface of visual everyday reality…I sensed the enormity of mind in the Universe, the connections, so strongly felt in this condition, but how strange that we have to live our lives as individuals in this competitive, consumer frenzy, when just a handful of mushrooms away is this secret world of beauty, colour and understanding of the way things REALLY are…mind, expanding, substance…
This sudden, mystical contemplative and visionary state was alternating with something like my normal state of mind, with a frequency of maybe five minutes, though it's hard for me to be sure of the time lapse after so much time has passed...
I would find myself 'back in the car' and be able to smile at my friends and even talk normally…then I'd look at the surroundings and be away again…at one point, I saw a roundabout in the road, and as we passed around it, I saw tulips and daffodils at least 15 feet high burst out of the ground, and reach their full, impossible height in less than a second, to hang, heads flopping to a standstill as drops of crystal clear water sprayed off them, sparking in the sunlight…then, within seconds, I saw a couple of people, again ridiculously and impossibly large and tall, with huge beaming faces emitting glorious golden light....and I KNEW these were hallucinations, at the time, but I also felt they were a part of a reality which is normally hidden behind the veil of the reduced consciousness which we use to cope in the everyday reality we have created as a species.
We arrived in the city centre, a beautiful, medieval marketplace amongst ancient and spectacular buildings, and some modern monstrosities.
On getting out of the car, I noticed that the sky was filled with firework rockets, though it was daytime, and all the church bells were ringing wildly!! I thought 'Wow…first time I've had anything like this! These are hallucinations too!' But I felt as though I had been specially singled out for this experience.
Then, we came to the cinema. We had to queue with other people for several minutes, and eventually it was my turn to line up at the little hatch with its glass screen, with an open section at the bottom, and some poor person the other side asking me for my money!
I creased up, laughing uncontrollably, it seemed so completely ridiculous, why was I doing this? I had lost all desire to see the film anyway, but was also incapable of thinking about money, tickets and the rest…and the vision of this poor guy's patient, bemused face just cracked me up totally.
I reeled, hooting with laughter, out of the narrow tunnel-like passage, into a dogleg shaped pedestrian walkway forming a right angle along two sides of a department store, and crashed into the wall of the store opposite, a small boutique type shop.
Then I heard a voice, from above, which announced loudly, 'You challenged God, and won!' The voice was full of timbre, not unkind, not Jovian, just, incredibly, THERE!
Gobsmacked into silence, I looked at the people passing by, to see what they had made of this extraordinary announcement, but it seemed no-one had heard a thing!
I realised this had been 'for my ears only'.
I've been wondering what that one was all about ever since!
I did manage to get in to see the film though I couldn't make any sense of it, it seemed like a jumble of disconnected images and I couldn't follow any plot. Later, with my friends, we had a few drinks which I think calmed me down a bit, and as the evening finished, we went home with no further quirky hallucinations.
I decided psilocybin was my 'drug of choice', but have come to see it as a sacrament, in the sense Aldous Huxley meant in his writing on the subject of mescaline, and SOMA.
Leary makes a lot of sense on this as well.
Happy tripping, but remember, folks, SET AND SETTING!
And read John P. Allegro, 'The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross'
July 2021: Addendum
40 years after the event, I had come to consider certain other aspects, almost unmentioned at the time, as indicating something rather more interesting. In fact I was fully aware of this 'almost unmentioned aspect' as the events were unfolding, so maybe in 2005 I left it out due to not wanting to overload the report with superfluous detail.
What I'd like to add as addendum is the feeling I had at the time and since, that this appearance of fully formed, larger than life technicolour, moving 3-dimensional elements (the 15' tall stop-motion, timelapse effect flowers, with the truly Hollywoodian Hannah-Barbera "drops of crystal-clear water flicked off the heads" as they settled in position) was something totally new in my experience. I was aware of the somewhat 'cartoonish' aspect of the flower and 'the couple' visions, but this was all in line with my feeling that "the Universe has a sense of humour"....specially the 'dimension 5 creative intervention team'. It was like a knowing wink from The Obverse. I realised this at the time, as it was happening, it was a completely new order of 'hallucination', far from the usual distortion of the visual reality, the 'entoptic' showers of symbols and other well known effects found with hallucinogens.
The thing that struck me AT THE TIME was that it implied an overall feeling of intelligent oversight. Something had decided to inject this extraordinary visual material totally seamlessly into my consciousness stream in a way that was easily superior to any cinematic special effects team's work. It was 'more real than real'... the colours scintillated a sense that this was generated in, and sent by, some sort of witty little 'editing entity or team of editors' in a place or dimension that was definitely not this one. I'd not come across Terence McKenna at the time, but his description of the Salvia divinorum 'dimension' as being orthogonal to our own 4d reality might have been an appropriate choice of source. Somewhere parallel to our own reality, but more than capable of intervening, for its own mysterious reasons via our minds. A slightly pranky, but friendly and very welcome (and welcoming?) intervention.
I thought this as the first event, the flowers, unfolded. I now think the appearance of the facial- light emitting giant couple, man on the left woman to the right (his left) was longer after the flowers than I implied, though certainly less than 20 seconds. It was certainly after we had left the 'roundabout'. The couple were striding in our direction,across open land to our left and the sensation they projected was one of warmth and reassurance. I was aware that I was the only one of us able to see this... and being a realist (!) who had been working in the field of psychiatry for six years felt no urge to mention these visions to my friends, all themselves psychiatric workers.
I felt highly honoured to have been granted these amusing visuals, so completely unlike 'hallucinations' I'd previously experienced with any entheogens, but when we arrived at the medieval Market place in Cambridge to the tumult of a full civic firework display with additional wild church-bell carillon, I realised this was again something totally new in my experience... a full on, surround sound auditory intervention with added visuals, the rockets screaming across the summer sky to their individual terminal explosions.
This whole new event was also totally realistic, imbued with a sense of 'revelatory contact' in a warm, humorously supportive sense, and again I realised nobody with me was aware of anything out of the ordinary. I think none of the others had taken any mushrooms, but as I had been lucky enough to have been offered two giant Kilner jars of dried semilanceata, well compressed into the jars, back in January 1980, I was in the habit by mid-summer of using them quite frequently, often with others. But not, I think, this time....I'd taken them intending a nice pastoral contemplative excursion alone.
The Grand Finalé was the pure voice element as I rebounded off the wall of Joshua Taylor's department store building outside the Arts Cinema. I had never had this sort of voice message, audio manifestation at any time, and as it happened, I was convinced other people in the alley must have also heard it, but judging from their lack of reaction I concluded that it was for my ears only. There was no sensation of the voice as anything 'internally generated' though, it was exactly as though it was a normal voice from a first floor window....or "the sky"! So....The Mushroom Talked to Me?
In conclusion, the only possible time I "challenged God" was a decade earlier on LSD when I was 17, when I left normal reality astronomical units behind and part of me feels I may well have entered into some sort of communication with a Higher Reality.
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