Mushrooms - P. semilanceata & Cigarettes
Citation: owened. "Cosmically Awful Trainwreck of a Trip: An Experience with Mushrooms - P. semilanceata & Cigarettes (exp83609)". Erowid.org. Jul 27, 2010. erowid.org/exp/83609
For a few months in fall 2007 I was living on a farm in Cornwall (specifically about 5 mi. north of Penzance) as part of the WWOOF program. One Saturday my host took me on a tour of the farm and surrounding hills. At one point she stopped and pointed out some small, brown mushrooms in the grass. 'Those are magic mushrooms, you know,' she said (they were, specifically, Psilocybe semilanceata). 'I probably shouldn't have told you that.' I laughed it off, but made a mental note: this was obviously too good an opportunity to pass up. I read a bit about dosage on wikipedia, and somehow was left with the impression that 80-100 mushrooms was a normal dose. (I say 'somehow' because that particular gem is no longer on the wikipedia entry for psilocybin, if indeed it ever was. Friends I've talked with after the fact suggested that this was orders of magnitude more than I should have taken. At the time I just figured that you needed to eat more if they were fresh because they're mostly water.)
Thus armed, I went into the fields that evening and gathered exactly 100 of the little guys. I tried to dry them in the oven on a very low setting, but they started to cook anyway and smelled awful, so I took them back out. Before going to bed I ate about twenty of them, just to see if it was something I'd be able to handle. I didn't really feel any differently, but had the extraordinarily vivid image placed in my head of a young girl sitting on the deck of a ship, draped with fishing nets and mouthing something I couldn't understand. It was a little disturbing, for sure, but I slept well and woke up the next morning ready for anything.
My plan was to hike from the farm to St. Ives (it's about an hour or so by bike so I assumed it was a reasonable goal for an entire Sunday). I set out around ten or eleven in the morning, eating half the mushrooms before I left. I ate the rest on the way, a grand total of 80 or so fresh mushrooms. They tasted pretty bad but that earthy, musky fungus taste is one I've acquired, so I didn't mind too much. I had reached Zennor about an hour after that when they hit me like a ton of bricks.
I'd been yawning a lot, and thinking about what bullshit this psilocybin business was. The yawning wasn't connected to any kind of tiredness, but it was compulsive and consistent and it's not exactly the kind of magical experience I'd expect from magic mushrooms. All of a sudden I noticed how interesting the hedges on either side of the road were: the gorse, in particular, was endlessly fascinating. Staring at it, I started to imagine that I was looking down on a miniature conifer forest, and the thought made me smile. I sat down on a rock at the edge of town (calling Zennor a 'town' is probably being generous: its main street is what we Americans would call the access road of the coast highway, and its area probably totals four or five city blocks) to read for a bit before getting a bite of lunch and heading for St. Ives. I was reading 'The Dice Man' by Luke Reinhart (highly, highly recommended, btw--among the best books I've ever read), and the reading was a spiritual experience. It was just the synchronicity of being at the right place, at the right time, on the right drug, and it was amazing. I couldn't put the book down, and I was grinning and grinning, and smoking like a chimney--each cigarette seemed to be just as enjoyable as the one that preceded it. I finally felt like going into town and eating something, so I put the book away and headed into Zennor.
Then everything went a bit Pete Tong, if you'll pardon the Britishism. Everyone was milling around because church had just let out, and I felt both a bit self-conscious and slightly ashamed to be wandering around a sleepy little town like this in my debauched state. I felt as though I was poisoning the purity of their lives, although on some level I realized that they probably didn't even realize I was American--wacked out on psychedelics. I was gawking at a family of ducks wandering up and down the street--this is just not something you see in Texas--when a strange voice caught my ear; a horrible, horrible little voice, scratchy and small and mean-sounding. I listened but couldn't comprehend a word of what I heard, and realized that the voice was speaking backwards. At this point the bottom of my stomach pretty much fell out, because there is almost nothing in the world--certainly no sound--as upsetting and disturbing to me as the human voice reversed. It sounded like the voice was coming from my own head, but when I turned around I saw two old women conversing in this odd backwards-speak. (Later, when I was more lucid, I realized that I was probably just misinterpreting their incomprehensibly thick Cornish accent) I decided that I needed to leave. Not just to leave but to go home; I'd lost all interest in walking to St. Ives. As I left Zennor the clouds rolled in, and everything just kind of deadened.
The walk back was maybe two hours, maybe a bit more, but it felt like eternity. I hate hearing about other people's drug anecdotes so I won't drag it out, but trust me that it was literally the worst I've ever felt in my entire life. These are the highlights:
- feeling the slightly oppressive weight of a black crown on my head.
- trying to read some more to clear my head and finding that I'd forgotten how to read.
- noticing that animals no longer seemed to shy away from me; seeing (?) a rabbit hop right up to me and past me. realizing it was because I was dead to the world, and the rabbit felt sorry for me.
- realizing with sober clarity that I was now irreversibly insane, and wondering how I could live the rest of my life in such state.
- realizing too that my entire life had been leading up to this point like a monumentally sick joke at my expense.
- being concerned that if given the means--a knife, for example, or razorblades, both of which were back at the farm--my body would kill itself, even though my mind wasn't totally convinced.
- seeing a passing car with a family in it and thinking about flagging them down, telling them 'I've taken some drugs and I'm freaking out, please help me.' realizing that i was now too far gone, and that it would do no good. thinking that by entering into their lives I would only inflict my own pain on them.
- being on the verge of tears thinking about how I would ever tell my parents that I'd become a schizophrenic, and how they would respond. that was the only time I ever came close to crying--the rest of the time, I was in such a dark evil place that tears seemed laughably inappropriate.
- smoking. a LOT--at least for me. like a whole pack of Gauloises, almost. this was the only (sort of) good thing about the whole experience: that smoking never lost any of its pleasure.
I finally made it home and lay down on my bed. I closed my eyes and just let the black feelings wash over me, and decided I'd wait until evening to tell my host that I'd permanently fucked my brain after taking mushrooms. surprisingly, within the hour the awful blackness turned into awful black waves, which themselves washed over me at longer and longer intervals and for shorter and shorter periods. by dinner time I actually felt almost normal, albeit shaken to the core by what had just happened.
In hindsight, eating 80 mushrooms at once was probably a stupid idea. I'm still not sure what the correct dose is for fresh mushrooms, but I imagine it's a bit lower. For me, this bad trip soured me on any type of hallucinogen--in fact, the first time I took acid, about six months or so later, I was very upset by the extent to which it felt like being on mushrooms. I think in hindsight I can understand: I'm a very introverted person, and my mushroom trip was horrible to the extent that I felt utterly cut off from the universe around me, as if I was being denied a connection extended to every other creature in Creation. A year later, I was listening to a story on NPR about a music critic who was diagnosed with Asperger's late in life: he described a similar experience with acid, which was comforting to me.
I admit full responsibility for the badness of my trip, while affirming that I will probably never ever take mushrooms (or acid, or salvia, or...) ever again.
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