My name is Zack. This passage describes my first substance-induced voyage into
the spiritual world.
I remember having what was considered a bad day. I was
still in an anti-smoking phase, and I didn't want tonight to turn into another
"let's get psyched to do drugs then bug out and do nothing" like smoking had
become. Only because my roommate, Eric, twisted my arm with much effort did I
agree to trip. He told me to say nothing to anyone, just show up on the
3rd floor (of our fraternity house) at 9:00.
We had a mixer with a
sorority that lived next door. (A mixer is the term coined when a fraternity
and sorority get together, share in a "theme", drink, give each other diseases,
etc. The sorority was alright, I guess, but I was not into the "greek
relations" thing. To me, a mixer was as pointless as a high school prom.
Anyway...) The big upcoming activity was not hyped up in advance. In fact,
NOBODY was talking about it. I didn't know who was in. The mixer began with an
outside barbeque around 6:30, and went on as if nothing were to happen.
this point in my life, I was completely filled with doubt. My school grades
were horrible, I was taking more classes than I was used to and it was starting
to weigh on me. I was a 5th-year senior, the fraternity was not doing well, and
I'd quit everything else I had been involved in to get my life in order.
Additionally, I had no idea what I was getting into with this drug, and I wasn't
sure all participants wanted me to be their friend. I felt lonely.
I opened the door to the 3rd floor. One of my fraternity brothers, Frank, whom
I'd argued with pretty bitterly earlier that day, smiled and said he hoped I
didn't hold a grudge against him. Another, John, was stirring a dark brown tea,
and explained to me that mushrooms are similar to weed or alcohol: they amplify
emotions. If you are a happy person, they will make you happy. This advice
helped later. Chuck walked from his room, and commented, "Oh, Zack's with us?"
in a noncommittal voice - not enthused that I was coming along, but not
objecting to it. Within the next 10 minutes, eight of us had assembled in
Chuck/Frank's room. Shortly after, eight teacups were distributed.
group was: Julio, John, Jim, Chuck, Frank, Vance, Eric, and Me. So far as I
know, only one person (Julio) had ever shroomed before. He partook once, and it
was a weak trip. The other seven of us were virgins. We sat in a circle, and
one-by-one, gave a toast. When each of us finished our toast, we drank a sip of
our tea. By the 8th toast, we finished. The best toast was Jim's, the last to
go. The rest of us praised our friendships, the upcoming night, or other
"feel-good" topics. Jim flatly stated, "To Drugs." By Jim's toast, we were
definitely having a good time.
Chuck had a delayed-action camera. We took a
picture of ourselves. We sat back down, and hung out for what seemed like the
entire night. We were much louder than when we drank. We were also more
At the end of the night, we all agreed the rest of the house was
going to be pissed at us for dissing the party. Our collective response would
be, "Oh well, at least we had fun." (The mixer sure wasn't) This wasn't too
intense like we'd been told, and Julio apologetically said, "I Don't know, guys,
I thought these were gonna be good." We got up to get ready for bed, someone
looked at his watch...
"GUYS, IT'S ONLY 10:30!!"
10:30!? The night's
just STARTING!! I quickly realized what kind of night this was going to be. I
braced myself for what was to come, for I knew how much fun these people were
capable of having, without any help of any legal or illegal drugs. On THIS
We exploded out of the room, ran down three flights of stairs, and
swarmed into our basement. It felt like a tunnel to another world. The only
analogy I can give is in the movie Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, when they
start at some point, go through a very cool-looking warp in a telephone booth,
and a new world opens up around them.
The secret service gang-tackling a
would-be presidential assassin could not have made a more dynamic entrance. As
soon as I got down there and breathed in, I felt the trip kick from Park to
Drive. I looked at my companions and some of their eyes spoke the same message.
This was great! A couple of people overloaded from too much stimulus and ran
outside; when they got there they shrieked in exstacy. I ran to them out of
curiosity..the outdoors were LOVELY! I stood with them for all of 3 seconds
before we instantly agreed we should regroup upstairs. This was WAY too much.
I ran upstairs, through the incubation room, and out onto the fire escape,
where I met Chuck and Vance. (Vance had never even smoked before, and now he's
one of the fun guys!) I sat with them, and we watched people walking around 3
stories below, telling stories of their classes and such, playing that charade
we all did every Friday night. So cool. Vance was nursing a gallon of O.J.,
and we passed it around. A giant tree was 40 feet in front of us. It came
alive. Ever consider that a tree could have intelligence? All those years it's
around collecting input...made a good topic. We were relaxed. I had a
disposable camera. I took our picture from an armslength...FLASH! "Hurry,
cover your eyes, there's a keg in the middle!"
I looked down and saw my
roommate Eric doing figure-8's on rollerblades. He has bladed across half the
countries in Europe before, so I was not too concerned. But then a non-tripping
fraternity brother ran up and tackled him, on the asphalt. Eric was
uncontrollably laughing. Adrenaline shot through my system. I had to help him!
Chuck really wanted me to stay. But I was a 2-liter bottle of soda being shaken
up. I couldn't stay. I had to release my energy.
I went to save Eric, but
he disappeared. I went looking for him. As it turns out, he got up, went into
traffic and started weaving around moving cars! The street was a residential,
fairly busy 2-lane highway. Myself, Jim, John, and I think Julio started
shrieking at him. He could've gotten himself killed! He came back with a
massive energy rush, saying the headlights were moving around. "That was SO
Very few brothers had tripped, or been around trippers, before. We
loved the confused looks on others' faces. Some were trying not to show their
annoyance at our being so anti-social. Some tried to join into our wavelength.
They didn't come close. One offered John and I a beer. "No thanks, we've had
enough." Five of us sat in a circle on the sidewalk; we created our own little
campfire. Some guy off the street walked up to John and asked if there were any
leftovers. This bugged him out...he promptly got a hat that covered his eyes.
Eric walked out and triumphantly offered me a cigarette. I rarely smoked
nicotine, but he was in such a good mood I couldn't turn him down. He lit a
match in front of my face. It was...oh, just try it sometime.
'gear-shifting' pattern continued all night. We were in a maze, and every
corner we turned became a new experience. There was a 'bubble of awareness'
around the 8 of us. The whites of our eyes shone a bit brighter. When one of
us saw another, we'd laugh and shout in an instant homecoming, reenergizing each
Much more than what I wrote happened during this peak time, but it
would be redundant to mention it all. The word that kept cycling through my
head was acceleration. If I had to use numbers, I'd say this was 1/3rd of all
that happened the first 30 minutes. I felt like a baseball player moving from
T-ball to the Major Leagues. We watched the everyone else's who were still
operating in T-ball mode. By now, the mixer became a "whoever happens to walk
by" party. At this point I began conversing with people.
I was never a
sociable person before. I'd had incredible conversations with some people, but
they were on rare occasions, late at night, and one-on-one. Aside from that, I
never caught on to the art of party/BS talk. That changed. The art of
conversation became so EASY...I could talk with anybody about anything. I could
lift people's emotions from being upset at their drunk roommate to loving this
night for all it was. In fact, all of us became sources of happiness. What was
a "college frat party" became an experience that had a utopian quality many
ambitous movies, even religious ceremonies, try to create.
After 15 minutes
of meeting just about every person there, I realized Eric had disappeared. Oh
NO!! He could be having a bad trip...I had to find him. I started asking
people I'd just met if they saw him recently. Nobody had. So I embarked on my
night's quest: to find my roommate.
So many things happened, and I remember
them all...Here are some of the more significant events:
- There was a
room with 3 heavy-duty blacklight fixtures, a few thousand glow-star stickers,
and a wall-sized mirror. (Dozens of plastic stars were also suspended from the
ceiling by thread, giving a 3-D effect) We visited this room a number of times.
- I went to the "incubation room", where Chuck and Frank were chilling. I
just missed a track on Dark Side of the Moon - Great Gig in the Sky - and wanted
to rewind the CD. "Hey Zack, just chill and stay here. The CD's on repeat."
"hmmm...OK!" So I waited until the album finished, looped back to the
beginning, and I stayed through Great Gig in the Sky. Their music is
so...flavorful. Others visited us, Chuck twirled a yellow whiffleball bat,
Frank played Pitfall '95 on his computer. We agreed that Chuck and Frank were
perfect roommates/friends/big-little for each other.
- Vance dragged me into
my room, turned out all the lights, and we sat in silence/darkness for a few
minutes. We just sat quietly, sipping orange juice. I got some deep thoughts
through my head during this time, sitting there. It was a pit stop; a
recharge. After a few minutes, our energy came back to Full. We got up and
continued the night.
- Eric was still gone. I couldn't find him ANYWHERE.
All night I told non-trippers, "Hey, this conversation is great, but I'm looking
for my roommate. I have something VERY important to tell him." Mostly, I said
this when I didn't feel like talking anymore.
- Julio and I went into the
stars room, which had other people. We were the two alive people in the room.
We jumpstarted that room into a kickin time. I think Julio left when people
started hooking up with each other. I stayed around, and after a few minutes,
most everyone was kissing somebody else. I think there were 6 or 7 coed couples
sitting together on beds, couches, beanbags, or the floor. (No non-coed
couples) I looked around and smiled.
- A freshman girl was drunk for her
first time. Member of the marching band. I had a great conversation with her,
in my room, and she snuggled on my bed. Wanted me to lay down with her. She
WAS cute. But I...didn't want to. It was just not right. (If you don't get
why, I won't explain) The door was closed, and 3 of her friends knocked,
wondering where she was. Easy to imagine their mindset when I opened the door.
But I wanted people to be happy. A couple of minutes later, we all were.
- All night, non-trippers were coming up to me saying, "I'm still looking for
your roommate! When I find him, I'll tell him you have an important message for
him!" I went along with it, this was fun!
- Some people were smoking weed. I
think one 'alive' person was with them. I didn't understand that. Shrooms had
the opposite effects of weed. Everything seemed so real, and I didn't want pot
to drag me down. I wasn't interested.
But 'the moment' came from a
week-old, half-eaten cheeseburger sitting on a dirty frying pan. Jim, John, and
I stood around it for several seconds explaining the signifigance of this burger
to a couple girls, ("Doesn't the sight of this just TURN YOU ON??!?" "No."
"Don't you want to spend the night in our rooms NOW!!!" "Yuk. No!" "I'm
surprised..." "...the inside of this burger isn't completely dried through..."
"..Yeah, really." "...Right, this is pretty fresh in OUR house..." "...hey,
let's dress it up with this old macaroni and cheese...." "oh, good call, yo,
here's some chili from the other day...") and things were getting out of hand.
Jim and I, very unnaturally, kept getting louder and building up the meaning of
this burger, and John, in the middle, was just laughing faster and faster, until
I said: "Y'know, I'm gonna take a bite of this sandwich." -CHOMP-
all three of us peaked. John and Jim immediately fell to the ground, bawling
their heads off. Others, even fellow fun-guys, saw all this and stood amazed.
I was trying hard to keep the food in my mouth...I was losing that battle; I
gave up. I spat the food out on the floor, and screamed at the top of my lungs,
"I HAVE TO FIND MY ROOMMATE!!" as I walked away. I briefly remembered there had
been girls with us. I glanced at them. They stood like statues. I was done
here - I walked down the stairs.
Sooo many things happened. I could write a
book about this night. (I have barely touched on anyone else's adventures
during the night) It was as if the 8 of us were the only people who were truly
alive, and this house was its own planet. I swore this was the most incredible
thing I'd ever experienced, and I would never do shrooms again because nothing
could match how awesome I felt tonight. I was flipping out of control on
several occasions because I was generating more energy than I could burn.
the (real) end of the night I ran into Eric, and it was as if we hadn't seen
each other in a year. We exchanged stories at well above the posted speed
limit. He got lost in some park with some girl, and ended up having to explain
why he was there to a cop. I think his mental toughness moved up a couple of
notches from this night.
At 5am, I went to a diner for breakfast with Frank,
Chuck, and one non-tripper. We were done 'tripping' for sure, but it was still
so much easier to read Frank and Chuck's wavelengths. By the crack of sunrise I
finally managed to feel like sleeping. I felt like I was lying down, on a field
after the Super Bowl, completely exhausted, with a new ring on my finger.
The snapshot of the 8 of us is, to this day and forever after,
immortalized. I will be able to mention this night, ten years from now, and all
of us will remember details.
This night was a gateway. Most of us have
tripped since. Many tried acid a month later. I just soaked myself in this
night for a long time. The common talk, afterwards, was that simmering the
shrooms into tea made them weaker, and this was a very weak trip. (If that was
a weak trip, then the thought of a strong trip made me shudder)
night, very occasionally, I have decided to trip again. I've "devirginized" at
least a half-dozen people, acting as their "guide" on their first trip. I love
being around tripping people; others often think I am tripping, even when I'm
After discussing this trip with other, more experienced psychonauts I
knew, I was confused by two things:
First: they concluded the shrooms must
have been laced with something, probably speed. We shouldn't have gotten that
hyper. I disagreed:
- Only four of the eight of us became hyperactive:
Myself, Eric, John and Jim accelerated, but Julio, Vance, Frank and Chuck were
much more mellow. Also, I also had some extended times of complete relaxation.
- I get like this every time I shroom (3 times since). I once sat still in a
moving van for 20 minutes while tripping, and I wanted to scream. That I
couldn't scream threw me into a bad trip and it took all my effort to fight the
drug down. (Somehow my mind 'aborted' that trip 90 minutes after I ingested,
and I was sober for the rest of the night) Those I've shroomed with don't
understand why I get so excited. (I do, but won't explain here)
Second: I had NO visuals. No trails (even when the match was lit in my
face), no morphing patterns on walls, no spectrum diffusing of lights, nothing.
And again, this has been true every trip since. (Although I do get "audials",
or sounds morphing into other sounds, coming from nowhere, etc.)
before this writing, I visited my old Fraternity house. I met a couple dozen
new faces, had a great time with them, and at one point I reflected that three
years ago, I would not have been so bold.
The personalities we carry are
usually influenced, not by a slow, steady course of events, but by single,
catalystic turning points that burn themselves into our memories forever. They
can be an award ceremony, a losing election moment, a breakthrough creative
effort, a philosophical conversation, a shocking discovery about your parents,
or any other powerful experience.
My first mushroom trip was such a turning
point for me. I doubt even any of my 'alive' companions realized the change I
was going through, but I would later gain a reputation as being "the one who can
talk to anybody about anything." (In the fraternity, in later jobs, music
bands, anywhere I'd go) I directly attribute this to that night.
a good, wholesome, first mushroom trip to anybody, provided they can find the
right conditions. I DO NOT EVER recommend anyone to trip while in the mental
mindset that I was in beforehand. But if you can find the right surroundings,
companions, music, toys, etc., you will realize new dimensions of awareness, not
to mention sore stomach muscles from laughing so damn much. That is the story
of my first trip, written down for the first time 2 1/2 years