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Journey out of the Universe
The house was new to me and I purposefully decided not to explore it until things were really moving. It was an old weatherboard house and was mostly dark and cold. The living room was small but it had a crackling fire burning in the fire place which cast flickering shadows on the peeling paint walls. There was several candles burning on the mantle piece above the fire place and the six of use ceremoniously downed our dried mushies at "T minus 0 minutes" (around 8:00 pm)
I had brought my video player over and a "Trippatronics" tape which I had created by editing bits from hundreds of MTV video clips together along with exerts from various computer graphics documentaries. Sid put one of his CD's into the CD player in the adjoining room. It was something by "The Art Of Noise." I found myself seated in a large beanbag facing the fire, with the TV on my right at 90 degrees to my field of vision. I wasn't too interested in being able to see the screen since I had watched it countless times before whilst tripping.
Someone looked at a clock and announced that it was 8:10 pm, I quickly calculated that things would be settling back to normal at around 1:00am in the morning.
We all sat around, not saying much. The couple that owned the house were not that well known to me so I was a little concerned about tripping with them, but not too much.
Ten minutes later at 8:20 I noticed something jump out from the TV screen and sail through the air towards Melony, she seemed not to notice. Ah Haaar. The trip begins. I usually notice the onset before everyone else so I wasn't too worried about seeing things this early.
At this stage I decided that I needed to take a leak, so I got up to go in search of the toilet. The kitchen was to my right and from there I could glimpse the toilet door open through the adjoining laundry. I wandered through the laundry, feeling myself move into level 1. Once I was in the toilet I reached level 2. I closed my eyes for a second to check. First there was nothing, then a couple of seconds later the familiar two dimensional patterns appeared. Opening my eyes revealed that the toilet was already beginning to expand. The dimensions of the little room had suddenly doubled. I quickly relieved myself as I pondered the rapidity at which the trip was advancing.
Back in the lounge I sat in the beanbag again.
BANG! Things started getting really WEIRD!
The fire became an animated city, Buildings and Cars could be clearly seen shimmering within the flames. Highways of tiny vehicles made their way along the grains of the logs. Several of participants began to "piss themselves laughing" at various things and I joined in, laughing so hard all else became invisible. I noticed that each time I laughed, the trip became more and more intense, although whilst laughing, I could perceive nothing. Sid and Mel were really getting into laughing. Mick and Carol, wandered out the back door of their house, conceivably to investigate the garden. Sid and Tim wandered to the lounge where the stereo was playing. Mel seemed still infected with hilarious laughing and giggling, she amused herself by watching some of the video. I was very quickly moving into deeper and deeper realms of strangeness. The beanbag vanished and became an incredibly comfortable wicker chair and I was just pondering how comfortable the headrest was when I realised that I had placed my hands behind my head and it was them supporting my head not the imaginary chair. At this stage I launched into uncontrollable shivering. "God it was cold" it seemed that the temperature had dropped by at least five degrees. I had to keep stopping myself from tensing my entire body against the cold. My jaw was chattering mercilessly and I wished that these amphetamine- like effects did not occur with psychoactive drugs. Eventually they faded and vanished.
I was deep into Level 4 at this stage, time had ceased to have any meaning. I watched holes open up and close in the floorboards. The room kept expanding and shrinking and the fire became a swirling blue vortex into which images from the TV were being sucked. I closed my eyes. And the image remained, it actually got clearer, so I opened my eyes again. No difference! I closed my eyes and held my hands in front of my face. I could see them lift up in front of me, but they were strangely warped and I could see the fire through them.
Carol came back into the room and curled up into a ball in front of the fire. A few of the others wandered in and out of the room making various comments and then igniting more of the infectious laughter. I was busy laughing uproariously and observing the universe splinter and shatter with each cycle of the laughter. It seemed as though the energy released from the laughing caused my vision to fracture and fragment.
I noticed that Carol was in a strange mood, she seemed almost angry and upset about all the laughing, she remained motionless and dark beside the fire. Mel broke into another fit of helpless laugher which gradually sounded stranger and stranger. Carol took this moment to exclaim aggressively to her "Are you all right!!!" "Are you quite right there!!!" This seemed to quiet Mel down a bit, but she seemed to draw in upon herself like a frightened rabbit.
The music was weird and unrecognisable. Sid had only intended on letting the first two tracks play before the CD was changed, but no one had remembered to change it. Suddenly things started changing.
Mel seemed to be getting into trouble. Her eyes had widened in fright and horror and she was making exclamations like "Oh no!, NO!" and starting to shout with horror. Something was wrong. Simultaneously my own universe jumped and flickered into new heights of weirdness. Things were morphing uncontrollably now. It became very difficult to work out what I was actually looking at. I kept thinking "Damn! my eyes have stopped working." Mel became more and more disturbed. Something in me started to realise she was launching into a bad trip, and this something decided that the most obvious answer was to change the music. I stood up. Or I tried to. My legs leaped to the standing position, but they had become detached from the rest of my body which was still resting in the bean bag. I looked at my legs in surprise. I could clearly see the backs of my legs and the top of each of them ended in a stump. Slowly the rest of my body floated up and came to rest in its usual position. My legs did not seem to re-attach properly and as I walked out of the room, they seemed to be a couple of steps ahead of me. I found the door into the lounge room and moved into the darker room, I saw Tim seated by the stereo, at least I think it was Tim. The only way to describe what my eyes saw is to compare it to the scene in Lawnmower Man where one of the protagonists had broken up into tiny marble sized pieces which were buzzing around like flies and formed the approximate shape of the body. Tim's eyes were separate from his body and I could see air gaps around them and I could see the chair through him. The chair itself had broken up into pieces, some of which were protruding through Tim. The vision was too bizarre, so I looked away to increase my chances of coping.
Mel had started screaming by this point, the screams got louder and more frequent, until it reached the stage where she was continually screaming her lungs out. It sounded like someone was "Axe Murdering" her. I listened for a moment to the screams and the sheer horror contained within them. The fear and horror became real and tangible. It solidified as a material object, some sort of mental snake which started slithering towards the centre of my being. I shuddered and purposely distracted my line of thinking into the practical. Part of me started to realise that the Police were going to be called. Another part of me remembered that I was going to change the music. Finally I reached the point in space where the CD player was supposed to be, but when I looked in the direction I thought it existed, my eyes had started refusing to work again. The masses of swirling colours and shapes and perspectives that I saw was definitely not a CD player. With great concentration I managed to get the CD player to coalesce into a Level 4 image and I bent down toward it in order to change the CD. Halfway to the CD player the universe ceased to exist.....
There remains almost no way in which I can describe what happened at this point other than to say that I had reached Level 5. Everything changed and became unrecognisable. When I say Everything, I do not just mean objects and people and self, but The Universe Itself became undone. There was no-longer anything in the ordinary sense. It was like being in an amazingly comfortable chair, but not existing at the same time. Vision, Smell, Hearing and Taste all became meaningless. They did not just disappear, but they ceased to have ever existed. Time melted into nothingness. I did not perceive time, but looking back later I can say that the subjective experience must have lasted literally years. There was no point of reference, I could no longer distinguish anything even slightly recognisable, although something somewhere could contemplate a great many somethings. It was not me. It was not anything like thought or perception. It was not anything which could be described. It is extremely difficult to even remember much about it but to say that it was so different to anything that it defies explanation!
Woah, suddenly I was back, and I was still in the act of bending down towards the strange mess of colours I thought must be the CD player. I wondered who I was and why I was there. I struggled with remembering, but I could not make sense of it. I had no idea about anything. I knew I was tripping but that was about it. Whose house was I in? Who am I tripping with. Did I drive here or did someone else. What was happening. I really had no idea. This somehow disturbed me. But not too much. I recognised a Tim-like entity swimming around in my vision and exclaimed to it, "What's Happening?" and I meant it from the depths of my soul.
Tim didn't seem to know either. The CD player pattern made itself obvious again and I realised that I was changing the music. My hand was still reaching for the CD player. Another thought occurred to me. "What do I do when I get there?" I could barely see the damn thing, how am I going to operate it? At this point I turned to Tim for help. "I need to change the Music," "Why?" Tim was enjoying it thoroughly and had not yet noticed the trauma in the next room. I explained the situation to the weird looking floating creature somehow, and between the two of us It only took about "6" hours to manage to change it. The CD player was new to both of us. It seemed to have way too many light and numbers. The buttons had something marked on them, but we were beyond being able to read. We resorted to randomly pushing buttons until the required result was achieved.
The new CD was some classical guitar (Vivaldi) But after a few minutes it became apparent that this was not going to help. Mel continued screaming at the top of her lungs.
At this stage, her boyfriend Sid had found her and was trying to comfort her. I was convinced that another change to the music might help. I ended up changing the CD again, several eternities later, to "White Winds" by Andreas Vollenweider, this seemed to have the desired effect after a while. Mel seemed to be responding to Sid's efforts at bringing her back to stable grounds. She related afterwards that she had completely lost track of reality to such a degree that she was afraid that she was going mad. All the normal anchors of reality had vanished one by one until there was nothing recognisable left. She became horrified that she was going to remain there forever. Sid told me later that he was watching her face, and slowly the expression on it would change and start to become distant, if he didn't immediately say something to her that she could grip with her mind, then she would withdraw and start screaming. Once she had reached this point, no amount of talking or touching could get through to her.
My trip was still getting stronger, part of me was still worried that the neighbours were going to call the police, and another part of me was completely unconcerned and was in fact enjoying itself immensely. By this stage my body had disappeared, I no longer had any sensation of comfort/discomfort my eyesight was beginning to malfunction again. I could no-longer see anything of meaning. One moment I would be looking at something, then it would dissolve into a mass of swirling colours. The rooms of the house were beginning to move around and merge with each other. I decided that I needed a glass of water, so some part of me got up and went to the kitchen, leaving the other part sitting up against an electric oil heater. Moving through the halls of the house was completely weird. Parts of the walls, arches and ceiling protruded down into the hallway and passed through my body as I walked along. At one stage I walked through a wall and felt it open up and then coalesce behind me. Once in the kitchen part of me filled a glass, then I split into two again, one staying in the kitchen, the other walking back to the first body. I was now in three places at once. One in the kitchen, one in the hall, holding the glass, and the other sitting with Tim in the lounge. From this point onwards I again moved into Level 5 for some 3 hours of real time (I think!)
Tim said something to me and I raised my eyebrow, it detached and floated off behind my head, I went to look at it out of the corner of my eye, but the eye came away from my head and floated off towards the eyebrow. Weird. I flicked my tongue around inside my mouth, and my head seemed to detach itself above my jaw, my tongue flopped helplessly about on top of the throat and lower jaw like a fish out of water. My upper head continued floating upwards and slowly bobbed around so that I could look down my own throat. My body looked like the lower half of a decapitated buddha sitting in lotus position up against the heater.
After a while I stood up next to the heater and drifted in and out of the universe. For most of the time I had no Idea that I was standing. Mel was still breaking out into fits of screaming occasionally and at times I was so completely out of reality that I had to ask Tim, "What's happening?" I had no idea who or where I was, only that something was happening, the details of which I was unsure! He seemed to be in a similar state and responded with a shrug which separated his body into about twenty more pieces.
Level 5 became the dominant state, with momentary flashes of Level 4, where suddenly the Universe would flicker back into view for a moment and I would realise that I was standing up or sitting down or more importantly, that I existed.
Slowly the flashes of Level 4 became longer and longer. Tim said to me that He thought things were getting more normal. I replied that I didn't think they were (I didn't want them to) Eventually I had to concede, but I told him that we wouldn't be back to normal until at least 1:00am, he then replied that it was in fact 1:10am. Whoah!!!
Things gradually became more and more normal as I sank into the familiar morphy land of Level 4, then I dramatically dropped to Level 3. The drop was so sudden, that I exclaimed, "What happened? Something has changed!"
The final stages of the trip were long and slow. Mel had found reality again, although she and Sid looked completely drained. To my trippy eyes they looked as if they had aged ninety years, their faces were long and drawn and Sid's face looked like something out of the trenches in Pink Floyd's "The Wall."
Once we were down far enough, we drove home. The car journey, as usual, was interesting and I was glad it was the middle of the night and I didn't have to cope with any traffic.
I have noticed, that the various types of trips coincide with the levels I have described to a reasonably high degree. The jumps between these levels are usually distinct and obvious and when I have consumed a dose which is close to the boundaries of one of the Level transition states, the resultant trip is not a gradual merging of the two states, but more like a ping-pong jumping between the two states. The "Flashover" point is quite obvious with a striking change in the observed reality.
Most of the trips I have experienced have been clearly at one particular level and in one instance I consumed an amount of weak dried mushroom (just the stems), the result of which was no noticeable effect. After a couple of hours had elapsed with no effect, I consumed a further amount (approximately 1/10th of the original dose) at which point I was propelled into Level 1. (ie I had consumed enough to cross the Level 0 - Level 1 boundary)
To me this is proof of the existence of a threshold effect. It also coincides with a number of recipients of "weak" paper trips reporting that they did nothing, whist others having the same dose reported getting Level 1 or 2 phenomena. It would seem that for the former recipients that their jump to level one dose is somewhat higher than for the latter.
On other occasions I have noticed that (for me) the difference between 1.6 and 2.0 grams of freshly dried mushrooms produces no discernible difference, but that 2.1 launches me into a Level 2 trip. In the first instance, the extra 0.4 grams was effectively wasted.
I hope this information is of interest. I have tried to remain as detached as possible, and have consulted many FOAF's for their opinions on my "Level" theories, most agree, but of course this type of evaluation can only be subjective.