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Mental Ascension

The Best and Worst Thing I've Ever Done


My third experience with mushrooms proved to be far more intense than either of the first two. About three years ago a friend of mine convinced me to take a couple caps of fresh mushrooms, and the results were about a level 3 trip involving furniture morphing into faces and conversing with me. I waited a long time before my girlfriend, let's call her “L”, wanted a similar experience. We started with 3.5 grams of dried mushrooms. Expecting to get a level 3 trip, we were unfortunately disappointed with what amounted to a level 1 trip. Our visuals had minor distortions where everything looked like a stage prop. We both concluded that mushrooms, at low levels, did what we assumed marijuana would do before we ever got high.

This all lead up to the freight train of a trip that crashed through my head. Since 3.5 grams did almost nothing, we decided that our supplier's mushrooms were very weak and that we would need to double our consumption. With 7 grams each in hand, we set aside a night to partake with no plans the next day. Unbeknownst to us was that our friend who supplied the mushrooms, after being advised that his stuff was weak, found another source. These 7 grams would proceed to absolutely wreck both of us.

Stage 1:

We started by chewing the awful tasting mushrooms into a paste, and washing that paste down with orange juice. I don't know whether this amplified anything, but we decided to give it a shot in order to prevent another letdown. After 15 minutes of enduring the awful taste, we put the new 'Alice in Wonderland' on the television and kicked back to enjoy. It only took approximately 20 minutes for my first visuals to appear. The intense colors from the movie started to bleed out onto the surrounding furniture, and I kept staring at these smudges above the fireplace where candle-holders once were placed. The smudges started to pulse and the boards that lined the wall began to swell and shrink as though the apartment was coming alive. I couldn't help but refuse to watch the movie as my environment became far more entertaining. I had read about how clocks will appear to melt, and for the first time I experienced that visual. The numbers and the hands started to slowly drip down the face of the clock onto the wall.

Only about 45 minutes in at this point, opposed to the nearly two hours it took to obtain visuals during my first trip, I could tell I was in for something far stronger. Reminding myself that this was only a manifestation of the mushrooms interacting with my brain, I started to internally panic about the potential effects of such a high dosage.

Stage 2:

Panic is probably the worst thing that can creep into your head as you spiral deep into a level 5 mushroom trip. The rest of the movie went by quickly. Forcing myself to continue watching led to a great deal of confusion and a massive amount of laughter. Both L and I couldn't contain ourselves at how absurd the movie seemed. We were certain that Tim Burton created the movie only for people tripping on mushrooms. It was just as the movie concluded, while the credits started rolling, that the trip kicked up to 11. The best way to classify this portion of the trip is “pure confusion”.

Odd things started to happen that I had never experienced before. I would look down at the bottle of Powerade on the floor that I had been drinking and suddenly my whole body would feel covered in moisture and my mouth felt filled with water. I had this odd mental connection with L where I could look into her eyes and the warm colors in the room would swell and I felt absolute shared love. She started to ask odd questions (since she was tripping as well) such as “what is time?”, “didn't I just take a test?”, and “I have a sister?”. At the very moment she would ask each, I would look at the melting clock, see my backpack, or start to visualize the sofa turning into my family members. This further led me to the belief that as I acquired some visual cue she would inherently voice a question on the topic. I was positive that we had a telepathic connection.

As I continued to look around the room, almost in a circular pattern, her questions seemed to repeat themselves and at a quickening pace. I found myself very disoriented and becoming concerned for my safety when from time to time she would inject a statement like “oh no, I don't like this” and “I think we might have made a mistake”. At one point she even attempted to use her phone to call for help, but both of us seemed completely dumbfounded as to what a phone was. As the panic increased and the questions continued to spiral I found myself being drawn towards her by some odd force as though we were merging into one being.

This is when my mind started to flood with some rather intense and crazy thoughts completely separate from L's. I was absolutely positive that this was the process of death, but I was inventing theories as to how at a rapid pace. Each theory would enter my head for a short period of time, be replaced by the next, and eventually come full circle. It was dizzying how quickly my mind was jumping between these thoughts. The cyclical nature of this death made me believe the big bang was collapsing back into a single atom and that, if I held on, it would ricochet back to normalcy at any moment. Another idea I had was that the door to outside was a portal to my parents where, if I could just open it, there would be safety. Unfortunately every time I would walk to the door the handle would melt away, leaving me helpless. Another theory was that I was dying because I took “drugs” and that “drugs are bad, and therefore I'm being punished”. That drugs were a trap set by the devil to weed out the weak and plunge them into hell.

To further explain these theories I should first note that I am very much agnostic and have absolutely no faith in a higher power. This trip opened me up more to the possibility of otherwise though as the grand concluding theory, the one that beat the others out and consumed my mind for a few hours, was that in the process of taking these mushrooms I had hurt myself while hallucinating. I believed that the mushrooms were still showing me the apartment, but in reality I was laying there dying, and that I had no ability to save myself. I started to hear helicopter blades outside of the apartment, which led to the next stage.

Stage 3:

At this point I have no idea how long I had been tripping since time was no longer a reality. I had also lost touch with where L was or how she was doing. For this portion of the trip I believed that I was dead, that I had been judged, and that I was in hell. My mind wandered back to the story of Sisyphus who was punished by having to roll a boulder up a hill for eternity. I felt as though I was trapped in an odd loop of thought that I could never escape. Things continued to get more and more awkward as I started to feel as though I was coming out of my body. I remember realizing that my arms and legs had twisted up into a pretzel shape as I tried to maneuver through the living room of the apartment (when in reality L told me I was just standing in random places staring at nothing).

My mind was operating like a redlining turbocharged race car. I would look at a light switch and realize the Vietnam war, or see a chair and understand event horizons. It's hard to describe, but it was as though the world and all events through time were folding into my plane of existence, still in a cyclical pattern, and that I was being forced to live them all for eternity.

Stage 4:

Things took a very quick shift from this gloomy reality. I had found my way back to the sofa and, once sitting on it, the lighting changed. The whole room turned black with these little green dots floating around the walls like a laser show. I noticed that I had lost track of L and started to hear her crying and vomiting in the bathroom, about 20 feet away, just past the fireplace. Despite my intense concern for her well being, I also noticed some kind of dark presence inside of the fireplace that was breathing heavily and waiting for me to try and pass it. These visuals, while scary as hell, were also gorgeous to behold. I built up the courage to race across the room and check on L, and when I opened the bathroom door, everything inside was absolutely normal. Having just busted in on her using the toilet, she quickly yelled at me and I closed the door. I scanned the living room to find that all of the visual alterations were gone. Still believing I was dead and in hell, the normalcy of my surroundings surprised me. I started to search for answers.

Stage 5:

L came out of the bathroom moments later walking very vigorously while speaking a language that didn't sound English. It probably was, but I wasn't hearing it as such. What struck me as the oddest part was that, on occasion, she would reverse her direction and walk backwards over the same path speaking the same twisted words in reverse as well. I followed her into the bedroom where everything changed to a very uplifting feeling. My answer had come: this was death, I had gone to hell, passed through the gauntlet, and ascended to a heaven-like state. I became intensely aware of the universe in that the reality of heaven was a place where you felt at home, with the person you care for the most, being completely free from daily burdens and able to ponder all things for eternity. L was my Eve and we were destined to live forever in this apartment with our suddenly-glowing-green cat.

I could almost breathe in the energy and relief from this revelation. All of the stresses from my former life were melting away, and I was content to be there with the one I loved. The best visuals of the entire trip happened during this stage as I noticed I could control my environment as though L and I were god-like spirits capable of shaping our surroundings. It felt like the portion of Inception where the spent an eternity building and destroying worlds. The bed had moved into the center of the room (away from the wall it normally sat beside), and the other furniture in the room continued to dance around us. Very rich colors shaded every corner of the room in a very unique and constantly changing way. I looked at the ceiling, noticing the small bumps looked like faces, which took on a life of their own as they erupted into flames.

Stage 6:

Coming down was intensely odd in its own way. As I laid in bed with L, days and nights passed (as measured by the room becoming very dark or very light). The crazy visuals had subsided, but L was continuing to act in the very curious manner I described before. She would get up when the room filled with light, leave the room, only to return when it got dark and rest again. This repeated three times before the room lit once more and she stayed put. I woke her up and asked her what was going on, to which she responded “go to sleep already”. Suddenly I noticed there was not a single element of my surroundings that was surreal. I got up, searched the apartment, looked out the front door, and realized that it had all been the mushrooms. I wasn't dead! While one would expect this to be great news, I had come to terms with my outcome, so suddenly being thrown back into reality was rather startling. I sat on the sofa, noting that it was 9 AM and that I hadn't slept through the whole experience, and sat contemplating what had just occurred.


To this day the trip fills me with mixed emotions. It was spiritual, eye-opening, and really hammered home the importance of L in my life. On the other hand, I've never been so terrified and I've had flashbacks of the more disturbing portions of the trip ever since. I believe that it was worth experiencing. It was almost a trial-by-fire of the human mind, a roller coaster ride of emotions, that left me better prepared to answer the bigger questions in life. My agnostic beliefs were really put to the test as now I'm not 100% certain of anything. It's unfortunate that these positive outcomes came with such a traumatizing few hours. I guess few things worth doing are ever easy.

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