Citation: Mr. Responsible. "Even when All is Good, All Can Go Wrong: An Experience with Mushrooms (exp65165)". Erowid.org. Jun 8, 2009. erowid.org/exp/65165
This story serves as entertainment purposes and I always have fun telling it and writing it out. But closely pay attention to our mistakes and what you can learn from them.
I'm sure you are all familiar with the common recommendation given to novice psychedelic users: 'Set and Setting will play the strongest role in determining your trip.' Well on a cold late-winter night this year a few of my close friends and I had an experience that only serves to strengthen those words. However, this case was unusual in that we HAD planned a perfect setting. We HAD an excellent mindset going into this journey. Everything was perfect. We had planned this experience out so thoroughly that nothing could possibly go wrong, as well as back up plans and alternative activities. I also will mention that it was my first time trying a strong psychedelic substance, as well as that of my friend R. My other friends K, J, and C had already tried mushrooms, but still we were all relatively inexperienced. It didn't matter however - we knew nothing could go wrong.
R had the house to himself, as well did I (parents were out of town). Our plan was to consume a fairly solid dosage of freshly-purchased dried psilocybin mushrooms at R's house, in a warm, comfortable environment. We would then wait for the very first effects to take hold and see how we liked them, and if we wanted to we could make the 20 minute trek up to my house where we would have a comfortable space to sit, listen to music on surround sound speakers in the basement, or just sit in the backyard and look at the stars. Remember, no parents were in town for the next few days, we had two houses to ourselves, and extremely open and prepared mindsets. We were being as mature and prepared as we possibly could. Nothing could go wrong, right? Wrong.
As my friends weighed out doses, I sat in a kitchen chair at R's house and felt quite excited/anxious. Like a feeling you get before you are supposed to perform in front of a huge audience. You know you will do fine and they will love you, but you still get the anxious shakes. Do you still want to go out and perform? Of course! K planned to do the lowest dose, at 3 grams. C and myself were to ingest 3.5, and R and J 4 each. We had some left but we figured we should leave those until we understand what the experience is like. Still, 3.5 grams is no small dose, especially when confronted with a terrible situation we were about to be presented!
So, C, K, J, R, and myself sat around R's kitchen table with our little piles of sweet-smelling fungus in front of us. I remember it was after the first bite, I really just knew I was in for something! After 15 minutes or so we had all finished and we went down to the basement to sit in comfort before we decided what to do. At this point I was still kind of anxious but even more excited now that I knew I was in for something special!
Suddenly, as I was gently rocking in a chair, I looked at the carpet and it seemed... carpety! It was amazing, every little fiber just seemed to jump out, but absolutely nothing else was different. About a minute later, however, I looked at these shiny tiles near the basement door, and they were marvellously shiny! Every little crystal just shimmered! I looked around and nothing really seemed too weird, just a little... a peculiar feeling I suppose. We quickly decided that this was very interesting and a walk outside would be spectacular!
When I stepped out the door I had just gotten over how beautiful the tiles on the floor were when I saw the moon. It was just SO clear, hung there in the sky. The black trees silhouetted against the white light of the moon were the blackest black I'd ever seen. The sky was a dark, smooth, azure. Remember it was chilly, as it was March, but the cold only served to intensify the clarity that I was seeing! I looked at my watch - 7:45pm. We had eaten the mushrooms at about 7:20 and finished at just after 7:30. This night was going to be amazing!
We walked out onto the driveway of R's house. The night was dark and getting moreso, but the white railing adjacent to his house was so white! Also the whites of my friends' eyes were so vibrant! By now I could feel a different feeling in my mind - it wasn't just the bright colours anymore, but I still did love it! Every one of us was giggling and enjoying themselves as we strolled along the road towards my house. I was amazed that I was feeling these great things after a mere 3 or 4 minutes after I first saw the shimmer of the carpet in the basement.
After another 5 minutes or so we came to our first small intersection. We live in the suburbs in a tucked away part of the city, on the edge of the mountains. Forest is always close by, and cars at this intersection are fairly few and far between. However, one came down the road and we made sure we all stayed back, as we knew our judgements of space weren't as accurate as earlier. As it drove past us the headlights created a huge streak across my vision and the car made an unusual echoey purring sound as it flew past. We cautiously stepped off the curb and across the street, walking faster now because of how chilly the air was. Right then, I looked at the pavement and saw, amazing enough, slight hexagonal shapes all over the road. It was amazing! I thought 'How can that be, the pavement is put into place in perfect hexagons?' It was weird, because the pavement actually looked as though it was poured in shapes, but really my mind was just casting an almost-invisible 'net' over the ground which made it seem that way.
All-of-a-sudden, I had the urge to urinate really badly. I went into a tiny forest that was on our route and went, but it felt so different. To actually see and feel the liquid leaving me felt indescribably weird! It was almost uncomfortable, and even after I was done I felt like I still had to go, but I ignored the feeling.
We crossed a huge playing field with sports-lights on and glaring down at us. It was then that I got my first minor pang of confusion. We were walking along the West side of the field but my mind suddenly flashed at me: 'YOU ARE ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE FIELD!' I looked up, confused, and every direction looked the same! It kind of freaked me out but once I realized where we were (in about 2 seconds) and saw that everybody was still having a great time, it seemed sort of funny instead of scary. Right then C said that he felt sick. We had read to expect some nausea, so we didn't worry. We sat down in a baseball dugout and decided what to do: C didn't want to continue - he just wanted to stay, but we knew that we were getting more messed by the minute and we had to make it to my house soon! K agreed to stay with C while J, R, and myself continued to my house (still more than a kilometre away), and they would follow when C felt better. This was our first mistake: always stay together!
As R, J and myself continued over the grass field, the grass just appeared to move like an ocean! I giggled at the thought and my laugh had a huge echo on it that made it sound extremely eerie and scary. We continued walking up a long, straight road. The night was fully dark now, just the orange buzz of the streetlights creating dark shadows over everything. Walking up the road we had a great time! Our voices sounded metallic and echoey, our thought patterns were very weird, but still controllable, and we were discussing how we were feeling and how we hoped C was ok. By now it was probably around 8:00 and we knew we were still getting deeper (I prefer this word to 'higher', as psychedelics don't generally bring on a 'high'. Deeper sounds more accurate). The confusion was starting to take hold and we were having momentary flashes of forgetting exactly where we were and where we were going. Luckily, we were only a couple minutes away from my house.
After this point it gets extremely hazy, but I will do my best. I suppose we staggered up to my garage door, which I opened with ease using a keypad. I managed to find the hidden key for getting into the house, and slid it into its location in the door. I turned the lock, and pushed open the door...
BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.
To quote the movie 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' - There is no describing the terror that I felt.
In all seriousness, I'm surprised I didn't just faint right there in front of R and J. I instantly recognized that beeping as the sound of my house's alarm system. In my excitedness to get to R's earlier, I had forgotten to disarm the alarm system, and, in doing so, turned our entire night upside down. In any other circumstance I would have simply turned it off using the code, but this time was different. My subconscious memory of the code just decided to disappear conveniently as I heard the beeping.
I stared at these unfamiliar forms that were supposedly called 'numbers'. My hand traced familiar patterns over the keyboard but when I moved it the tracers made it appear as though I had 4 or 5 hands, all pushing different buttons. As my heart raced and my mind turned to mush, I looked at R and J, who looked back at me with looks of pure horror. I saw my dog standing there wondering what the hell was going on. I looked back at the keyboard, which now appeared to have twice as many buttons as before, and all the numbers changing place with one another. I remembered what seemed to be a thousand combinations that had the same numbers in them. Any of which might be helpful if I could even recognize the significance of numbers and their shapes in the first place. I thought I was going to die.
R yelled at me, 'What the fuck do we do!?'
'Run' I said. I knew there was no other option. We couldn't stay here or everybody would know. If we just ran to a place where we could stay all night until we sober up we could just say we didn't know what happened. We could pretend it was a false alarm! I don't remember much about the next 4 or 5 minutes but I know that we ran. We ran across the street and into the woods. It doesn't sound like a good idea but my house is on a cul-de-sac on the edge of civilization, with 3 ways forest and 1 way a road. The police would come up the road - we couldn't go there. We ran more. We ran and ran in the forest until we were probably about 200 feet or more in, and up a hill. I know from other sources that the alarm was set off at 8:12pm. It had been about 50 minutes since we ate the mushrooms. We still weren't even close to peaking.
As I looked back at the lights of my street, I saw a giant tic-tac-toe board of blue and red diamonds take over my open-eye vision. Every little shape seemed so pointy and angry with me. The entire fucking world was pissed off at me, including myself. All of our minds were racing, thinking of what we could do, however we were unable to communicate effectively with each other and whatever we said just turned out in a bunch of random words that would make no sense to a sober person, let alone another person on shrooms. Luckily we were good friends, as our friendship was tested to the limits. We verbally fought over what to do, who to call, what to say if we are caught, how we weren't trying to harm anything, etc, etc. We decided to sit down in a circle and just sit. Just sit. Close our eyes. Just sit.
'FUCK man you have NO idea what I'm seeing,' was the common thing to say after a few minutes of silence. Each one of us was going through our own little hell, full of angry and violent kaleidoscopic visions, complete with ridiculous feelings and time distortion in the most maximum sense. I looked at my watch but couldn't comprehend a single piece of information it was giving me. Every number looked like a squiggle, the same as the last one and next one. It was damn cold now (as I would later find out, it was below -1 C, and we were just in jeans and light jackets).
Suddenly, J's phone rang. It was his brother, phoning to ask some information about a video game. That brought some calm back into the circle by knowing that there actually was a world out there somewhere that was calm, sane, and organized.
Owls were hooting everywhere. Every little noise we thought were police dogs coming to find us. We figured if we were caught it would be better to be caught with nothing on us so we threw our tiny amount of leftover shrooms into the darkness. We sat in silence, shivering and watching these terrible whirls of colour. I remember at one point seeing little mushroom-men in giant circles in high pitched voices taunting me 'It's all your fault! It's all your fault!' Like I said before, there is no way of putting the horror into words.
We suddenly realized we had to warn C and K, who must be nearing my house by now! We phoned them but all of us were far too messed up to understand what the other guy was trying to say. We somehow got the point across to NOT go to my house, and they seemed mad, which we REALLY didn't need at that point in time, but it's completely understandable.
We sat in silence in our little circle, fingers so numb from the cold that we couldn't feel them, while tripping so hard that reality was just a far off idea. I was too scared to cry or do anything at this point. After what seemed like hours of hanging our heads in our lap, R and J wanted to leave for some reason. I tried to say that we should stay until we were sober and then figure out what to do, but they would not hear it. We were all cold and couldn't leave, but we had to. We had nowhere to go now.
Again I thought I was going to die, possibly from the cold or fear or anything! R jumped up and I physically grabbed onto him to hold him down. He batted my hand away and started running towards the light. I knew I should stay with him so I ran as well. I remember not taking my eyes off the light. I stepped knee deep in zero degree water, sprinting through bushes and branches towards the light. Finally we appeared overlooking my neighbourhood. Every house appeared to have a face just glaring at me with such anger that I wanted to apologize to the world. We went between two houses and stumbled onto the street.
I must have looked a mess! Hair all messy, scratched up from branches, feet and legs soaking wet in icy water and pupils the size of dimes with tears in the sides of my eyes! We ran up my street, thankfully noticing nothing different about my house. I ran into the unheated garage, where we sat, still tripping intensely, for a while (I was afraid to open the door incase the alarm had been reset after being turned off). At least now we were in a safe place, albeit still damn near -2 C and now soaking wet. After a long time R and J decided to leave to go back to R's and meet with C and K. I decided to stay and confront anything that happened here. After the garage door closed, I was stuck in pitch black, all alone with my thoughts and tears. I know I cried for a while because my face was sticky when I woke up.
I woke up. I looked around. I was in my garage. My feet were icy cold and wet. I was cold. But I was sober. I must have fallen asleep. Could it all have been a terrible dream? I could hear my dog's feet on the floor inside. Still, I was afraid to open the door. I looked at my watch: 11:24pm. Oh my God. It had only been about 4 hours, but I felt like I had lived an entire lifetime in that short span. I got up and looked around after turning on the light. Objects were still slightly distorted, but my thinking was fully back to normal and for all intensive purposes I was sober. I picked up my phone - two new messages. One was from the alarm company. Dammit! This ruled out the possibility of it being a dream! All it said was that the alarm was set off, the police were notified, and if you need more information, call us back. I was so relieved! The second message was from family members who had come to turn it off. They reported no damage and nothing was noticeably different with the house. I realized that we could pull it off! We could say it was a false alarm! I phoned R and it turns out they had all met back at his house, and were happy to hear from me. We were all OK and that was what mattered most, but I also explained to them the situation. We agreed to keep it quiet, which is also why I've waited to post this here.
After I thought I could handle it, I pushed open the door and went inside. The alarm beeped, but I simply looked at it and pressed the right code instantly. The long beeeeep of the off signal was the biggest relief I have ever had in my life. I went inside, phoned my relatives to say it was all ok, and that I was back home. I went on msn, unable to talk with anybody because they wouldn't understand what I had just been through. I had a hot, relaxing shower, then while I could still sense some minor distortions I went into the basement and lay under a warm blanket and listened to my favorite band: Pink Floyd. Finally, after being to hell and back, it was over.
At no point in time during this story were any of us in any real danger. I knew where we were in a general sense the entire time, and, although cold, it wasn't cold enough to be dangerous (although we thought so at the time). I have since tripped on mushrooms once, but a smaller dose, and found it to be enlightening. I would definately recommend the psychedelic experience to one who is prepared, however, using this story as an example:
Plan out every single little detail of the trip!!! Even extremely insignificant things can be blown out of proportion when your mind is in an altered state. Always be prepared! Please! Know what you are getting into, and know that it's all going to be ok!
Most of all, have fun and learn something from it!
The bond between the few of us who were there that night has grown so strong since then and it will always be something that we can point to when testing the strength of our friendship.
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