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The Maelstrom
Ketamine, 25I-NBOMe & 25C-NBOMe
Citation:   Man from Chan-Chan. "The Maelstrom: An Experience with Ketamine, 25I-NBOMe & 25C-NBOMe (exp99222)". Erowid.org. Apr 22, 2013. erowid.org/exp/99222

200 mg insufflated Ketamine (powder / crystals)
  1200 ug insufflated 25I-NBOMe (powder / crystals)
  800 ug insufflated 25C-NBOMe (powder / crystals)

I'd like to relate quite a profound experience I had yesterday.

Over my long years of experimentation, I'm pretty experienced with the whole panoply of psychedelics. I consider myself well-grounded and confident exploring hyperspace in all it's forms.

I'd recently began exploring 25i-Nbome & 25c-Nbome. I had some good blotter tabs from a trusted source, and my buccal experiences (of each individually) were pleasing and encouraged me to push further on. So insufflation beckoned. The first issue was how to get the substances out of the blotter and into powder form. The 25i was at 1200 mcg, and the 25c at 800 mcg. I figured any extraction would not be 100% efficient, so I felt extracting one whole tab of each would yield enough for a good trip in combination. As handling ~2 mg of material was likely to provide a challenge, I hit upon the inspired/reckless idea of combining some ketamine with the solution, to provide a more manageable substrate… My 'aim' was to progress from a nice vibrant K-hole into a focussed hyperspace, mediated by the dissociative effects of the K. Surely I can't be the only person in the world who thinks like this sometimes?!

So, to about 1 tablespoon of room temperature vodka, in a small jar, I added 1 tab each of 25i & 25c. Capped the jar, agitated it periodically, and left it to stand on a warm radiator for about 2 hours. I used tweezers to fold and squeeze the tabs out before discarding them, and then added my 'usual' holing dose of 200 mg Ketamine (again, from a good known source). This dissolved easily, and I tipped the solution out into a saucer to evaporate, back on the radiator.

This was good to go after a further hour. It was just after lunch, a cold bright day, and a nice view of the garden lay beyond our large windows. I had the house to myself for the next 6 hours or so [I always prefer tripping alone, and have never felt the need or inclination for a sitter, but that's just me]. I set up a playlist in iTunes, over Airport to my hi-fi. All was good, and I hoovered up the whole amount of powder in two fat lines, and settled back on the couch under a blanket.

To be honest, I struggle to recall any details of the hole, other than it was very pleasant and felt great. I doubt it was substantially affected by the additives, and have the feeling they were really only just kicking as the hole drew towards a conclusion, so synergy was limited up to that point. As I came out of the hole, with some good breaths like a diver surfacing, it rapidly became apparent that I wasn't in Kansas anymore.

My surroundings seemed essentially the same whether my eyes were closed or open. I could still make out the forms of things and the room and views around me, and in retrospect, this was probably a result of the post-K afterglow/sedation, which kept me reasonably relaxed and in simple awe of things, and the fact that the Nbomes hadn't quite reached full intensity. But a short while afterwards, it felt like my brain had a Hiroshima moment, a blinding whiteness, which faded to reveal that everything - and I mean every single fucking atom I could see - was plastered around me in a swirling 2D fractal soup. Absolutely no depth or perspective to anything, my outstretched hand was like a big pink cactus 'painted into' the background beyond, like Van Gogh himself was working directly across my retina in a frenzied blur. This was when I first felt a shuddering sense of panic, struggling to place myself in time, space or context.

I wondered if this was how flies see the world through their compound eyes? Millions of tiny lenses, refracting everything into neat, swirling diamond-shaped pixels

Looking back, and not having prior experience of it, I realise this was what 'ego death' actually was. Not a death as such, with some imaginary demon 'killing you' but a complete unravelling of all the many strands which make up 'me/I'. I struggled to recall what I had done, where I actually was, and how I was going to proceed. The possibility that this 2D 'Paper Mario' world of boiling fractal diamonds was now going to be my home for who knows how long was really quite hellish.

I grabbed my phone, but it was simply a blue blob. I could no more make out an icon than I could normally see the nucleus of an atom in a piece of cheese. The landline handset was similarly 'useless'. The music seemed to have gotten 'stuck', impossible since it was just a streaming file, but I had to turn it off. I couldn't use my phone to control the source, so I stabbed wildly at the invisible black buttons on my black amplifier, until silence appeared. This was great for a few seconds, but then I felt I needed something more soothing, but at that point I realised I had no chance of negotiating any technical processes. I felt a pang of anguish that this was how we people of today will end our lives, impotently flailing at buttons we can no longer see or understand, nothing working anymore, left all alone in silence. I'd cut all my ropes, and now had no means of climbing out of the void I was in.

I began to speak, calling myself by my name (a first) saying 'Pull yourself together man, this is where you are, and you need to get through it'. My voice was the one sensory input which was vaguely normal, and that helped a lot. It seemed to take about 15 minutes to move 2 yards from one seat to another, feeling my way blindly as I did so. I took some deep breaths, and the pangs of isolation and self-pity eased a little.

I craved to be outdoors, to hit the 'natural reset' but I got as far as the door and thought 'I can't go out there, if the neighbours see me, it will be game over.' I longed for a hug or a friendly voice, but because of the phone issues I knew this was an impossibility, which hurt a lot. I remembered I had locked the cat in the next room prior to my experience. I went to let her in, and I heard the sound of her, but she was just a invisible painterly blur amongst the many others as she shot into the room, miaowing (cats always know when you're up to stuff, in my experience).

Looking back, I'm annoyed I didn't make more constructive use of my first 'ego death', but in truth, I think the first experience of it is so overwhelming, bordering on terrifying, that unless you've consciously planned what to do in that event, and meditated accordingly, you're over the falls without so much as a barrel to protect you before you know it. To have every frame of reference cut abruptly away, and my inner voice/co-pilot struggling to even speak, was profoundly isolating and unsettling. I definitely wondered if I had gone too far, done some irreversible damage, and/or become permanently insane. At no point did I cry, but I felt I easily could have done. I felt I had lost lots of important things, and might not get them back.

I'd noticed the empathogenic qualities of 25i before (25c, not nearly so much), it seemed to enable forgotten memories to surface in a vague, but warm and non-threatening way, but now these memories were only of what I was, and it was by no means clear that I would easily get back to that state, and that made me feel sad, and somewhat stupid.

I'd also noticed the 'time-stretching' powers of 25i previously. It seemed to distort time, to allow more thoughts/images to unravel and be processed. This was fine with music playing, acting as a metronome, but in silence, it was beginning to feel quite disturbing. I wondered more than once whether time would actually come to a complete stop, and I'd be trapped in a single insane moment for ever. The idea of my girlfriend coming home in 4 hours time seemed like several millennia away.

I resolved to try and get some music on. First I tried the radio next door, but that was the news, and all I got was 'Police are looking. Police are looking. Police are looking' a fragment of a report chopped up and reverbed to death (thanks 25c! The audio distortion is a peculiar characteristic of that one…)

Groping wildly around my hifi, I managed to hit play on the CD deck (no idea what was loaded) and after what seemed about 6 fucking months, I stumbled across the correct button on the amp to allow sound to issue forth. Turned out to be Matthew Dear 'Body Language' mix, a great, deep set, but some uncomfortably vivid, slurpy, sexy, bodily noises in there. They would have to do.

I had by now managed to locate the cat, although she seemed reluctant to get close to me. I tried to get in a lotus position, but couldn't quite, so sat cross-legged and looked out to the garden and sky. For the first time in what was probably 2+ hours (since emerging from the hole) I got the first glimmer that maybe, just maybe, things might be starting to slow down. I could get more thoughts together, I felt 'I' was slowly starting to return to the situation. I wanted to celebrate with a cigarette, but that wouldn't be possible. I couldn't go outside, and we can't smoke indoors (lease etc), besides, I certainly didn't trust myself to operate fire yet. I settled on a drink, with a pee first.

Going upstairs, I felt 'the elves' were with me, saying I'd be OK, they'd stick right alongside me, although this was not without a hint of menace. Trying to aim for the bowl was next to futile, I blindly threw some towels on the floor to minimise the inevitable.

Pouring a drink, I had no idea whether it was a thimble or a bucket of vodka I'd got into the glass, even though I crouched down to eyeball it. The taste was familiar, and comforting, like the first signpost on the road back from Nowhere to Here.

More breathing, more pacing, more things coming back into focus, but the phones still useless. I felt like a diver who had been tipped into the breaking surf by a coral reef. Although initially blind and completely disorientated, at least I had a hand-hold now, and I could start to see what was actually swirling around me. Some perspective was returning to things, and the sinister flatness of everything was receding.

I'd say it was close to the 4 hour mark before I could finally, just about, text my girlfriend to say I couldn't wait to see her. That felt like a big, and long overdue accomplishment.

She got back about T+5h, and everything was still very much alive, but manageable, and I could interact fairly normally with her, as I began to explain the day's events.

The evening settled in, and I was finally ready to go to bed about 2 am, where I slept a very very deep and blissful sleep.


1. Of a heck of a lot of experiences, this one stands out as my 'Fear & Loathing' one. Would I try the exact same combo again? No way. The experience of being delivered into the Nbome space, from the K-hole, 'on rails' was profoundly unsettling.

2. I wonder whether pre-dosing with a therapeutic dose of MDMA (~100mg) might have helped ease the integration on the Nbome experience, and lessened the anxiety.

3. Although I wouldn't recreate the same initial combo, I would consider using methoxetamine (MXE) as a base. This does integrate the Nbome experience well, in my (and others') experience. I could imagine mixing 100mg of MXE with 1 tab of each, and then consuming 50mg of the resulting product (so half total Nbome load). That might be about right for me to have a very rich experience, with the option to bump it up further if necessary.

4. Thanks to 25i's fairly 'mechanical' mode of action, this episode was largely uncolored by 'malign feelings' that can sometimes arise on DMT or LSD. I didn't feel there was any intelligence, friendly, hostile or other at work, and this was a major relief in hindsight, given the overall intensity of the experience. Such anxiety as I experienced was solely as a result of aspects of my consciousness being 'cleanly' obliterated, for a period.

5. My fears about the efficiency of the extraction process were clearly unfounded. I definitely felt I was on the receiving end of the full 2mg Nbome compounds.

6. I took a Valium once (unconnected to psychedelic adventures) and loathed it, so I don't even have any benzos in the house, and wouldn't have been able to find them safely even if I had. If somebody had appeared to offer me one at the peak, would I have taken it? Possibly, although I still feel they are best reserved for catastrophic/delusional episodes (which I have until now avoided, mercifully) so I think I would have still preferred to ride it out, rather than bail, but it's the closest I have come to wishing I had a 'Stop' button.

7. Trying to cross the bridge from 'fun/recreational' trips into 'profound' experiences needs more preparation on my part.

8. An old-fashioned cassette deck pre-loaded with an ambient tape would make a useful back-up for when the shiny-shiny stuff becomes an unreachable abstraction.

Exp Year: 2013ExpID: 99222
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: 40
Published: Apr 22, 2013Views: 30,185
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Ketamine (31), 25C-NBOMe (540), 25I-NBOMe (542) : Alone (16), Overdose (29), Difficult Experiences (5), Combinations (3)

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