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Worst Case Scenario

First, Let me assure you that I am a very experienced "psyconaut".

First, Let me assure you that I am a very experienced "psyconaut". Over the last 20+ years I have had well over, well lets just say lots of experiences with various psyco-active substances with just about as many different results. Some good and some not so good. Some euphoric and some tense. Some enlightening and some just depressing. But nothing I ever did even comes close to this one. This isn't your average trip report as if any level 5 experience could be called average. In fact, its not so much about a trip itself as it is about a series of events that may or may not have happened. I'm not sure this should be classified as a true level 5 experience. But it was an experience of the most profound kind, one that has change my life and the way I view the world and everything in it. This story is going to be long so please bear with me if you will and let me try to explain, then you can be the judge.

It was any old Tuesday evening; I finished for the most part whatever household chores needed to be done. I made dinner, helped the kids with their homework then got them off to bed. My wife had left for work a few hours earlier and I had the house to myself for the night. It was only about 10pm and I had been thinking about doing this all day so after a not so long debate with myself:) I decided to go ahead and do a few grams of some really nice PES Hawaiian I had stashed for just such an occasion. It wasn't too much, What I would call a nice "thinking" dose, about 4 grams. I blended them up in some OJ and drank them down. I took a walk around the house, checked the locks and the kids. Everything was cool so I put on some music and lay down on the bed in the spare bedroom that I like to hang out in when I do this. As I could feel it coming on I was looking up at the ceiling I could see the plant hanger above the bed. The newly sprouted morning glories where leaning towards the east facing window ready to grab dawns first light. That was the last intact memory I had of anything that happened before well..., what happened.

My next memory is me on all fours, heaving violently in the middle of the floor. More violent than I had ever experienced. It was more than just normal vomiting. It was more a convulsion with spasms and contractions that lasted for what seemed like hours though I can not say how long it lasted. I remember my face lying on the floor in what seemed to be a river of vomit unable to move as if in some state of paralysis. My nose was clogged with mucus and I was having trouble breathing. The pain was absolutely excruciating and the convulsions just seemed to go on and on without letting up.

I don't remember leaving that room but somehow I made it to the bathroom in our bedroom. I was lying on the floor crying and sobbing, praying that it would stop, as I just couldn't bear anymore. The pain was incredible and the convulsive contractions in my abdomen just would not stop. Slipping In and out of consciousness, as it seemed, I vaguely remember some nightmarish visions of a horrible struggle. It seemed timeless and everlasting, a never-ending battle on some far away battlefield. A battle that would never be won but could never end. At some point I made it to my feet and looked around in the bedroom. It was dark, the only light coming from the bathroom. I strained to look to see if my wife was there. I called out to her, but she did not answer. I was feeling somewhat desperate by now. I didn't know what had happened. Everything seemed very strange. I didn't know what time or day it was and I couldn't be sure where I was or even who I was for sure. Mucus continued to run from my nose and breathing was becoming more difficult as if my airway was being closed off. Now at about this point something happened but I didn't remember enough of it until a little later to comprehend its meaning, rather interpret its meaning would be more accurate perhaps, so I'll get back to that a little later.

The next thing I know I'm coming too, curled up on the bathroom floor. Shivering and sweating at the same time. I was drenched in sweat. I made it to my feet and put my head in the sink. I was sticking my fingers down my throat to try and force water down. My mouth was totally parched and the glands in my throat where so swollen that I could not swallow. Breathing was still a little difficult. Somehow I managed to get some water down and began to take grasp of reality again. I suddenly discovered I was naked but could not remember taking off my clothes or why I did so. A horrible feeling of dread came over me. I knew then that something horrible had happened. That feeling of dread I could never describe. I couldn't remember anything. Slowly I began to recall a few events then suddenly I had this horrible feeling that something happened to the kids. Something about one of them in particular (I'll call him J, he's 8) made me feel especially uneasy. Still somewhat in a delirium and naked I walked past his bedroom that he shares with his older brother (I'll call him E). I glanced inside afraid to look but it seemed quiet and I saw no sign of anything to cause immediate alarm so I walked down the hall to the living room. When I got there I found the dining room table moved over to one side of the room and all the chairs knocked over. Even worse the youngest boy 2 (I'll call him S) was out and had climbed on top of the table trying to get an apple from the kitchen counter. He must have waked sometime during the night I'm thinking and got out of bed. God only knows how long he'd been out wondering around but he seemed ok so I moved on to the next problem. I knew then I needed to get my wife home to help me sort out what happened. I tried dialing the phone but couldn't remember the cell number in fact at some point I even lost the phone under the bed and could not find it. I needed help, so I grabbed a towel and wrapped it best I could around me and went to wake my oldest son(11) E. He looked at me quite strangely and could tell immediately that some thing was very wrong. I told him that it was an emergency and that I needed him to get his mom on the phone and tell her to get home quick. He's a good kid and quick thinker in a pinch so I knew I could count on him. I told him I lost the phone and after some discussion as to what course of action to take he decided to email her a message on the cell. Great thinking I tell him and he proceeded to do so. Suddenly he stops to ask if I tried the phone in the bedroom(the other line) and I feeling really stupid and not knowing how to explain myself, could only say I forgot about it. He managed to do what I could not and got his mom on the phone. She works only a few blocks away so she would be home in about 5 minutes. It seemed forever for her to get there and all the time I was thinking of J. I was very worried about J and was afraid to wake him if I could. That horrible thought that I might not be able to wake him came over me and I couldn't remember why which made it even worse. I just knew J was or is in danger.

Finally she arrived and I began telling her what I could. Something horrible has happened but I can’t remember anything. The first thing she needed to do was to go check J. I told her. I think I may have hurt him or something bad may have happened to him and that she needed to talk to him. She immediately went to his bedside and woke him up. He was groggy but coherent enough to answer her questions. He apparently slept through the entire night and had no idea that anything happened at all. I felt very relieved he was ok but rather foolish and puzzled by my seemingly unfounded fears. Over the next couple hours I settled down and did what I could to piece the night together. Between about 10pm and 4am something happened like never before. Only fragments of time could be accounted for. What happened and why, I had to know. That night as far as I could figure must have been caused by something I had done. Was it contaminates in the shrooms? Where some of the shrooms way more potent than I had anticipated. One too many shots of bourbon? Nothing seemed to add up. I've done shrooms from the same batch with no problems at all. I've done much more on previous occasions with nowhere near that effect. Something different happened this time but I could not remember.

As I'm lying on the living room floor trying to piece the night together and telling my wife(G) as much as I could remember I began to recall a facet of the events that transpired. Now this is the part that I said I would tell you about later. This is also the point at which I would call this a level 5 trip if not beyond. I am for the most part very skeptical of stories of this nature but now I have one of my own. I'm standing just outside the bathroom door in our bedroom and I'm looking for G. I remember this horrible feeling of finality overcoming me. I think I was not as much looking for help but to say goodbye. I suddenly feel very, very alone. My room doesn't seem as my room. A pain shoots though my left arm. I grab my arm and think to myself "oh fuck, this is how it will end". Those probably are not exact words, as I don't believe at that time I was actually thinking in terms of words but the thoughts were along those lines. Now, if I was not in cardiac arrest it was surely some sort of severe pulmonary distress. What ever it was it was not good. I believe it was at that time I collapsed on the bathroom floor for the last time. I can recall a vision of myself lying curled up on a cold "marble" slab with like spotlights shining down on me. Nearby were a few broken pillars of Roman or Greek design(classic huh?). All around me was infinite darkness. Somewhere in the darkness I could hear voices but couldn't make out enough to understand what they were saying. They seemed like whispers echoing in eternity. I was dead or very near it. It seemed as if I could have been there for a thousand years but that would be putting measure to something quite immeasurable. The next thing I know I'm being plopped on the ground like a wet rag. Like I described to my wife that night, I felt as if I had been given birth to, by a Giraffe! If you've ever seen a giraffe giving birth you would know what I mean. That’s when I started coming to and the rest I've told you. Remembering and/or understanding that experience would have at any other time been life affirming and rejuvenating even. But this time, voids remained that meaning couldn't bridge.

The rest of the night was somewhat uneventful. The only thing that comes to mind, around 5am or so after things settled down J called out from his room. We ran to his room. He said he woke up and saw a spider crawling up the wall just above his head. Well we saw nothing when we got to him so I said don't worry. I retrieved a bottle of insecticide sprayed behind his bed where he said it went. I told him he could sleep in our bed that night since there was so little of it left (the night that is) and it seemed of little consequence.

As day light broke I walked around to survey any damage that may have occurred. The room where I heaved what seemed like gallons had only a few spots of barely anything. Just a little oj with a couple chunks of shrooms. The pants I wore that night had been tossed aside here but still I can not remember removing them or why. I was getting very tired it was about 9am or so I laid back down on the bed where it all seemed to start from. I was becoming more aware of the multiple contusions that were inflicted that night. My head, knees and elbows were all bruised. There was one curious wound on my foot I could not explain and passed it off as a rug burn. Just a small scrape on the knuckle of my big toe. As the morning pressed on I drifted off into an uneasy sleep. I saw in my twilight state a white glowing mushroom. It had a mouth with rows of razor sharp pointed teeth lashing out at whatever strayed to near. I'm thinking to myself that this isn't over yet as I fall off into an all to familiar nightmare. The rest of that day I sat around thinking trying to understand the night before. I felt very drained and every joint in my body ached like never before. My diaphragm was so sore I dared not cough as I thought I would just die from the pain. I felt hungry which I took as a good sign but eating was difficult because my throat was still swollen and sore. I went to bed early that night and again had dreams of dread.

As the next couple days dragged on I could think of little else but that night. It was becoming somewhat of an obsession. Never in all my days had I ever blacked out like that. Especially under the influence of a "psychedelic". I have always retained near perfect memory of the events and often recorded them in a journal afterward. This thing is going to haunt me till I figure it out if that's even possible, I think to myself. I decided then that I would take the family to go visit my mother and grandparents for the weekend. It would be good to get out of the house for a while and I had some personal business to attend to anyway. Nothing of too much significance happened there except that I really began to notice that this feeling of fatigue was still hanging on. Now at Grandmas house its three meals a day, early to bed and early to rise. I thought I should have caught up on my sleep and rest after three days of that but still I felt tired, unable to find any kind of spark of enthusiasm about anything. One other thing that bothered me was when I was going to bed that first night there and as I was taking off my shoes I commented to G that, the rug burn was still oozing (5 days now) and a strange smell was coming from my foot (or feet as I thought then). Ok that might not be all too unusual:) but I had on clean socks and almost new shoes. I had noticed it before but I was wearing work shoes and didn't think much of it and I was sure the ooze would stop soon. We returned Monday night and I felt good for having gone for the visit but glad to be home(enough goodness and Christian family values for now:) ). That night the uneasiness came back as before and I spent another restless night.

Well, Tuesday arrived and a week has now passed. I know no more now than I did last week. It quite literally was driving me nuts. Tonight I am going to face this thing. I wait till the kids are asleep. G is in bed watching a movie. I feel better knowing she will be home this time cause I'm not sure what to expect. I tell her what I am doing so she will keep an ear perked. I've never been scared of these mushrooms before but I have to say I am now. I figure its time to saddle up and ride off to confront what ever demons I must to end this nightmare. I didn't completely do this with the belief that I would solve anything but more with the thought that to have a good experience again might help set me back on the right track. I reach deep into the stash and pulled out a very cautious 4 grams of some equadors. These are IMO a little milder and more forgiving than the PES. It also would help to rule out the contamination theory since they were completely separate at all times. I make my usual oj shake and down they go. I wait around watching TV for about an hour or so and then I go back to the bedroom for a think sesh. Now I know that most of you that have hung on for this long probably picked up on the clues that had been staring me in the face all week. But for those as blind as myself and still willing to listen I'll tell the rest of this story. As I'm lying there on that very bed and out of nowhere I think ENVENOMATION! I see a spider and then lots of spiders as I lie there with my eyes closed. I suddenly don't want to have my eyes closed any more as the feeling is very creepy. I hate spiders! I have had nightmares about spiders before and I would rather be buried in a pit of snakes than have an encounter with a spider. That being said, I start thinking, is this possible? A spider bit me? Where? When? How? Then I as if in a dream recall a vague memory of some creepy spider. I seem to be trying to kill it. It’s in the hallway just out side the boy’s bedroom. I'm clawing at the ground fighting to get the spider before I am completely incapacitated. I can hardly move and I'm gasping and reaching to kill this creepy spider. I have a faint recollection of the baby chasing after it and laughing at the thing. I push him away and I remember no more. HOLY SHIT! Now I know why I was so worried about J! It wasn't that I did something! That creepy fucking spider was heading straight for him and I can do nothing to help him. I don't remember every piece of that but enough fragments to figure that it happened something like that. My God it’s coming back to me. The absolute horror of it all. Now I know why I took off my pants. I must have saw it, felt it or thought I felt it crawling up my leg or in my pants. They were loose fitting shorts so it would have been easy for it to happen. Still I don't remember doing that but it is easy to assume that's why I did. Suddenly I thought of the boys asleep in their room. I know its been a week and the spider has probably long since moved on by now if I didn't get it with the spray that night, but why take a chance like that. And Oh yeah, remember J waking up to see the spider that night! What on earth made him wake up to see that? Something more than I can understand is at work here I believe. Anyway I get them up and move them to the couch in the living room for the night and tell them what I had remembered. They both readily agreed that the couch was a good idea and I assured them I would tear their room apart and spray the next day(as I did). I asked them if they had any memories of that night that could help me remember more. J didn't remember anything more than the spider he saw but E said that he thought he heard a scream and that he may have dreamed something about me being on top of the table with a jar. He sleep walks a lot and if he heard some commotion he may have been in that state and got up and see something like that though I'll admit that's sketchy at best. That might explain the table being moved and the chairs tipped over if I had been chasing a spider under the table. As for the scream I can assure you without doubt that if I felt getting bit and saw the spider or even if I just saw the spider crawling on me, in my pants or what have you I would have let out a holler something fierce. Especially in my condition at the time. Being in that state does not increase my appreciation for arachnids of any kind. Now I am sitting in the living room talking to the boys about that creepy spider and I still cant figure out where it bit me. Where's the bite mark? Surely it would still be visible. I'm feeling around the back of my neck. I take off my shirt and look up my pants leg but no real mark. Then like a brick out of hell it hits me square on the head. MY TOE, that oozing wound! That strange smell. At that very moment a clap of thunder from a thunderstorm that just blew in rattled the windows, it was eerie, kind of like a sign from above that I solved the puzzle. No shit, it really happened like that, No dramatics, just the facts. That sealed the case for me. It wasn't something I did or did wrong. It was some damn creepy spider that bit me. It seems to be just coincidence that it happened when I decided to shroom that night. I felt somewhat absolved of any misdoing and in a sense vindicated as I have always been so careful with doses, contams and whatnot, and experienced enough not to do something so stupid to screw me up like that. That night had really shaken my confidence in many ways and three weeks later I'm still not over it completely.

The next question was what kind of spider would do that? Researching franticly the next day I figured it must have been a brown recluse one of only two known spiders to be poisonous to humans in the US. Black widows being the other. I have seen both here at the house so I know they're here. For many reasons I need not list, I eliminated the black widow as the suspect spider and settled on the fast, brown spider that I kind of remember and that J could kind of Identify. The bite mark also indicated a recluse, red, swollen, slow healing, oozing and cratered. I didn't see any reference to the peculiar smell however, humm, go figure:) I'll have to look further into that. I found that in only ten percent of the cases where venom was actually injected by the recluse did the wound go into necrosis. After 8 days my wound finally stopped oozing and began to heal. Guess I can count myself lucky to avoid skin grafts and/or amputations. I also found that in only rare cases did the recluse venom produce any symptomatic reactions like I had. The symptoms described in those cases seemed to fit well enough to describe my encounter, nausea, vomiting, convulsions, pain, trouble breathing etc.. It was also noted that in those rare cases that stimulants of any kind should not be used in treatment of such cases. Did the mushrooms some how act as a catalyst to intensify and/or speed up the reaction. I'm sure when the use of stimulants was mentioned that it referred to amphetamines and related substances, neither of which I had done. Could the mushrooms have acted as a stimulant in a case like this? The questions go on and on and I still have a long way to go in truly understanding how and why it all happened the way it did.

Now the moment I'm sure all you who have stuck it out this long have been waiting for, My brief(yeah-right) summarization and parting remarks. As best I can piece together a brown recluse spider bit me in the spare bed room as I laid there trying to enjoy a night of light shrooming. A closer examination of the wound later revealed a vein running through the center. I have theorized that providing the spider’s fangs were able to penetrate far enough, the venom may have entered my blood stream directly producing the fast onset and severity of the symptoms. I may never know whether the mushrooms played any role for better or worse in the course of events but will continue to search for the answers. One of the scariest aspects of the ordeal is it seems that I must have been conscious and moving around doing something during at least some of the periods of lost time. What I was thinking, doing or feeling I still cant not remember and probably never will. As for my near death experience, I want to believe it happened. That perhaps I have been put back here for a reason, a task yet to accomplish maybe, I just don't know. The impact of the event real or imagined leaves me with much to consider. As for the spider and any other spiders that reside within the boundaries of my realm, I have been systematically moving every piece of furniture and anything movable leaving behind a blanket of insecticide toxic enough to lay to waste any creature bearing an exoskeleton and armed with six legs or more. Its spider genocide. I seem to have developed a case of arachnophobia:o And finally the saddest part yet that further demonstrates the deep impact of the event. As time passed and I came to grips with the situation(so I thought) I dipped into the stash again. This time going for a 5 to 6 gram blend of various types with the largest portion being my favorite PES Hawaiian. I went to my favorite spot again, turned on the lava lamp, laid down with some music and let it happen. It was fine at first, but as I traveled deeper I came to a place that I feared I might find. A very dark place that seemed to draw out the feelings of dread and fear I felt that night with the spider. When I closed my eyes all I could see was spiders, thousands of them crawling up their sickly webs after me. The shrooms seem to have triggered a panic response. The bright "sparkle" turned dark and sinister. The feelings were very reminiscent of some rather "tense" experiences in my distant past. I sat around and talked with my wife for about an hour or so and brought myself down. It seemed to me that one of the things I liked to do so much might be ruined for who knows how long by that creepy spider. I've decided to wait a long while(a relative term)before trying again. Perhaps a new setting will be needed. It has also left behind some emotional scares. Some personality fragmentation and loss of confidence. Nothing to serious just kind of a nagging strange feeling inside. I remain determined to overcome the events and emerge stronger for having done so. Well, There you have it, My Worst Case Scenario, A trip with a creepy spider.

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