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Oakwoods Cemetary and the Universe Beyond

I'm pretty sure that this was one of the most affirming experiences of my life, and as a father, that's a weighted statement.




I'm pretty sure that this was one of the most affirming experiences of my life, and as a father, that's a weighted statement. A friend of mine we call Pritch had found a connection here in Syracuse, and got ahold of a pound of mushrooms. He sold quite a bit, but in the end we all had about 6 grams worth to take. Those present were Pritch, Virginia, Banky, Dicky, Gooch, Freak, myself, and Nick. Nick was sober, there to make sure that while we explored the universe and other realities we also did not wander into a street to be pounded by a passing car, or arrested by Syracuse City Police.

We began the trip at about 7pm, and it was late summer at the time. My Banky, Dicky, and Pritch rented a house on Lancaster, a long street of student housing set on the University Hill, a few blocks from campus. The house had an octagonal room we called the 'War Room', and was genuinely a good place to be. However, we had no intentions of staying.

We measured out the six grams for each of us, and realized the bottom of the bag (which had harbored a pound) had a quarter-inch layer of loose spores there. Shake, if you will. We divided this up, and then proceeded to borrow an Indian man's teakettle who lived in the house next door. We all boiled our mushroom tea, drank it, and waited.

As most of you know doing mushrooms is, infact, poisoning yourself. I've never felt my stomach turn the way it did this night, but it turned hard. We all sat on the porch and waited to settle. Pritch had to throw up, but after he was very content.

We didn't wait long enough for the real effects to start, though. We began our walk almost immediately after everyone felt ready. The lot of us mowed along the sidewalks, passing the trees and the houses, talking excitedly about what was coming. I engaged, but also made a concious effort to stay inside myself. I knew this was going to be intense. I'd never taken near this ammount, and having taken a very small amount a few days earlier and experiencing fairly dramatic effects with the rest, was ultra excited. Everyone was in the same boat. This was going to be good. How good? Well, we'll get to that.

The first effects, a body buzz and accented pastel colors, started as we climbed a hill to a water tower set on a hill that overlooked downtown. The stars were out, the hill was all grass sloping a hundred yards or so down to a street corner. We could see the Carrier Dome, the University Campus, and a good part of the cityscape. The visuals began shortly after.

The first visual I witnessed was trails from Gooch as he took a short jog toward a tree. Yellow, orange, and bright green Those colors would be a repeating theme for me. That set of trails detonated into a myriad of others, wild and clear. Stars slowly began to move, to tremble, and pulse. The grass lifted up, and settled, as if breathing.

I became aware at that moment that I was seperating from the group, and I have to voice this very clearly. Everything I had heard and read on mushrooms at the time had suggested you lose yourself and become -part- of things. This was the opposite. I was turning inward, hard, and very sharply.

I could still at this point communicate the group. We shared thoughts, and things. Everything was vibrant, but subtly I was beginning to have a very personal experience.

We didn't linger long, but got up and moved. We walked to Oakwoods Cemetary, a massive cemetary a few blocks away from campus. Looming mausoleums, crypts, and graves that went into the 1800's. It was a remarkable idea, and to this day I don't know who decided to bring us there. I'm fairly sure it was Nick. My reality was already distorted.

The visuals were absolutely stunning as we entered, hanging trees had fingers instead of branches, and were touching and waving at me. Being here was remarkably calming, not upsetting. I had a momentary concern of walking with the dead while out of my mind, but it passed, and the green lawns and beautiful monuments to loved ones filled me with an overwhelming positive energy.

More visuals here, and I was beginning to come into the full understanding of how this was going to be. For the first time I witnessed surface distortion, the swelling and shrinking of objects and areas. The path beneath me bubbled, and then swam toward me, only to streak back. The grass rippled like a conveyor belt, and then slithered. Sometimes I felt like I was sinking, and I'd look down to see that I -was- sinking. The ground was bending beneath me, under my weight.

We passed monuments, graves. Came to a place to sit down. As we neared, Dicky said, "Look, there's Jesus. A green jesus." I turned, and I saw it too. To this day I'm not sure if it was a monument there that was distorted by the trip, or a figment of my mind, but what I saw that night was a perfect depiction of Jesus Christ standing serenely, hands outstretched as if to show he had ressurrected and there were infact holes in his palms, glowing a neon green.

I think this was the point I seperated from the group entirely, and went into another world inside my head. What I mean by that should be explained now, before we get into the insanity that this trip became. I recognized that I was tripping, and reality, but they were on planes. I could travel the planes. We'll call sober reality one plane. I could communicate with Nick (at times) on a functional level. Then, I would travel to another plane, and talk about romance with Virginia (Female) and Banky (male) who were dating. But I couldn't relate long. I would travel these planes in my mind.

And then, these planes faded, and I entered another world. Reality ceased to exist in that tangible way, and I felt I was travelling through things. Colors, substances, faces floated past me. I looked out and saw over the city, and saw the city welcome me. Buildings stretched toward me, refracting and then reaching, and I wanted to touch everything. I wanted to experience this trip to the fullest. I wanted to be free. And so, I let go.

Only I didn't splash into reality like it was made of colored water, I hit the ground. Not too hard, but firm. There was grass beneath my face, and while I felt it had liquified and crawled onto my skin, staining me green... I recognized I hadn't become a part of everything. Pritch and Virginia lifted me, everyone else asked if I was alright.

I remember telling them I was fine, that the visuals... the visuals. But I lost the words, nothing to explain. I was in a different reality than they were, they wouldn't understand. But they were content in that, and so was I.

Segway again, important one. This is when I discovered how good it is to have great friends. When you trust people, and feel that trust back, you don't get self-concious. Paranoia is what has ruined my former trips, and what seems to ruin a great deal of the trips I've read about. Trip with people you adore, not just respect and like, but adore. Trip with people who you relate to, and who you can talk with. Trip with people who are content that you're you.

Back to the experience, now.

This was all broken very suddenly by flashing lights. I remember vaguely the desire to go toward them, red and blue. But I heard people muttering, moving, shifting. Bodies were slipping into colors, fading with trees, dancing along headstones. Nick, some part of me shouted his name. Find Nick. I found him, and walked at his side, knowing somewhere that I wasn't in reality and Nick was. Nick was my guide in reality, while I wasn't in reality. We walked very quickly away from the lights at this time.

Those lights were the police. Nobody was arrested. We heard later that Dicky had crouched hidden in some headstones wrapped in a blanket he had brought. Gooch, who is the only one who would have done this, went toward the police and told them calmly that it was simply some kids tripping and everything was ok. Why he wasn't arrested nobody would understand, but at the time we were out of our minds. The group met up, well, most of us. Virginia and Banky had run home, Banky starting to have a bad experience.

Me? I walked with Nick, and we laughed about something I'm not sure I comprehended at the time let alone remembered now.

We reached the house and everyone shuffled inside. Virginia and Banky retreated to his room. Pritch, Nick and I sat on the couch infront of the TV. I remembered I wanted to drive home, to play with my X-Box and experience the games. I wanted to be a -PART- of the games. Inside the action. I wanted to make that reality. They wouldn't let me leave, and that's good. Yay for Nick, again.

Pritch put on The Wall.


Outside Dicky and Freak sat on the porch, and apparently Freak told Dicky "the colors are coming."

It's still one of our favorites quotes.

Inside, The Wall devoured my attention. Images I couldn't comprehend flashed on the screen, I feel that people talked to one another without really hearing the words. My mind turned, and the screen faded, the picture stretched out and dominated everything, became a multi-angled dwelling for me to roam in. And then there was nothing save stars, and images, flowers.

During the flower scene Gooch would mutter "what is this? sex?"

another classic quote.

But me? I faded from reality, I saw everything. My understanding of the world was at a high, I felt like a spider sitting on a web spun from life's truths. I could pluck each string as I saw fit, or tear it away and spin another. Showering visuals of star bursts, memories, and desires flitted through my mind. I saw Rome burning, and Boston Harbor during the revolution. I was everywhere, I was travelling, I was playing my strings and seeing this universe as I saw fit. I bent time, and then I destroyed it, declaring that time was false.

And then I woke up from it all, suddenly my eyes were open and everyone was stretched out in strange places. I looked over at Pritch and he seemed concious, I tried to speak to him.

"Hello." I said, a bit disorientated.
"Welcome back." he said, with a funny smile on his face.
"We all died tonight, and this reality is never going to be the same."
"Yeah," he said, in a way only he could. "It was -great-."

Our conversation didn't last much longer, I took a walk to the kitchen and grabbed some water, then came back. Reality was back, and I felt incredible. I didn't bother finding everyone else, but went home.

Later we still talk about it, and they plan to trip again. As a father I won't join them, but I think I'll share this write up of our encounter with them when they do. I'll tell them our story and see what they think, see if it helps them build on what we experienced.

Phytoextractum
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