by Dr Gonzo
I have seen many things whilst high & here I list & examine them with a clear & open mind.
|Reality is not neat, not obvious [and] not what you expect...C.S.Lewis.
Almost my entire adult life has been spent exploring the other side...the realms of the unknown. And these forays into non-reality became more than just a drug trip.
I'm sure there are those who will scoff at my stories and deem me a flunked out junkie with a vivid imagination. And in all honesty, I couldn't dispute this, after all, that is exactly what I was...but looking back, I do wonder what, if anything, some of my hallucinations meant.
The question I would often ask myself was, when does the hallucination end and reality begin? Or visa versa? I mean, it's easy to tell now (now that I am no longer a drug abuser), but in reality, it's not so easy to define exactly what reality is. At first glance, reality looks, feels and acts as we expect, but dig a little deeper and the line between the reality we know and another more mysterious one becomes blurred.
Science was my friend...my rock I could cling to when things got funky...but science didn't have the answers I was looking for and for some, there are no sensible answers to what they have experienced.
We have all heard the saying diamonds are a girl's best friend, but for a fringe dweller like myself, who often didn't know up from down, denial is the bling I bring when things begin to go ping...and so, taking something completely illogical and calling it a weather balloon.
Unless there is more than one person having the same hallucination, then 95% (or more) of what we see as ‘out of this world', will turn out to be mundane and explainable, because the alternative is just too far fetched...or is it?
I'm sure most have heard of Dynamo (English magician extraordinaire). He does these cute little magic tricks...or so he says. An illusion is not reality...unless you are standing there watching the impossible become possible. Then, the lines blur...but only for a short time (because he doesn't hang around long after the trick is done...I'm guessing in case someone wants an explanation). I have no idea how the tricks he performs work and the truth is, I have only seen him on TV and that's not the same as seeing someone live but still...he looks pretty convincing. My point being, if you can't trust what you are seeing with your own eyes, then what can you trust?
Here I list some of the strange things I have seen or heard under the influence. And I know...anyone who is stupid enough to put chemicals into their body deserves to be left feeling confused and wondering what just happened, but the irony is, the two strangest incidents happened when I was completely sober.
There is a theory, it’s not my theory but I am coming around to it...that drugs somehow dissolve barriers, which for reasons unknown, have been put up so we can’t see things that don’t exist (not a typo). The gateway becomes clear and sometimes, there they are. We call them ghosts...I wonder what they call us?
We don’t like that which cannot be pigeonholed. Things people see, feel, hear and sense, yet are unable to study. When we see something unorthodox, denial immediately tells us it was a (insert something logical here), but we don’t always forget, or truly believe it was explainable...at least, I don't.
Humans NEED answers. Not for ourselves of course (because we know what we saw), but for those, we stupidly tell about it later (such as here). After all, our inability to keep a lid on things that could cause raised eyebrows and quiet murmurs just out of earshot, is programmed into our DNA. So, we have to tell someone, hoping against hope for some understanding or reassurance, and even if all they have to offer is more logic, would be better than pretending it never happened...but the hard part is, how to explain what we saw was not real, but not, not real.
I've changed my arrogant attitude towards things I cannot explain (and so, not deal with) and a more open mind is a better way to go about life anyway. So, if I am lucky enough to experience something unusual (for want of a better word), denial won't camouflage it by strategically positioning a more reasonable explanation in its place, hoping it will go away and never happen again. At least then, I would be in a position to make a call based on my own judgement, rather than what I preconceive as acceptable by others.
I have theories, some are my own, some are not, but strange things have been going on for millennia and I am not the first person to question science, religion or even reality. It seems nobody but whack jobs and drug fiends are willing to accept what we (whack jobs and drug fiends) see, and therefore think, could be real.
Parallel universes? Theoretically possible, even likely, according to some in the field of science. I think....not parallel like train tracks, but more like river beds, ebbing and flowing and sometimes coming into contact with each other. Then, we see ghosts...not the dead from the past but real. At least, they would be to them, just as we are to us, but to each other, ghosts...BOO!
Spirits? Just like the bottled kind, I am not really on board with. The dead hanging around to watch us do the dishes or whatever else, still sounds unlikely to me, but there have been some odd things take place in the last few years which has me questioning...what would I know?
These are true events (except one...and I explain later). Reality or tripping? Honestly, mostly tripping...but I have an open mind now and we do live in a world we have yet to fully understand.
It all began for me around the age of sixteen. I had been a heavy pot smoker for the previous two years and my two older friends and I would drive out to a dirt road a few kilometres from our homes and enter an area of bushland known as ‘Dead Horse’ (for obvious reasons) to smoke pot, away from parents and (hopefully) police.
One night the three of us were at 'Dead Horse' and I was very stoned. I knew this by the blue, red and green coloured lights I was seeing all across the night sky...millions of them. Their colour was intense, predominantly blue and unlike the stars that were set out randomly, were set out perfectly adjacent to their neighbours, configured with remarkable order.
I offhandedly mentioned to my friends to look up and see the blue lights and one of them said, in the most matter of fact way, “Blue Light Syndrome.”
Like that was all the explanation required. I thought, these guys know way more than I do and so, accepted my condition. It wasn’t until later that they laughed at my naivety and told me they had just made it up, and there were no blue lights.
Once again, I accepted the diagnosis from the panel of experts, and got on with life, searching for the odd and the strange. Funny thing was, I had no idea what it was I was seeing that night until a few years later when I finally recognised what they were...pixels...and considering I didn’t even know what pixels were back then, I have wondered about this ever since...and the best I can come up with is...I was seeing the screen they watch us on.
At age seventeen, I met some people who sniffed glue. I had never done it before and went with them to a granny flat behind one of my new friends' parent's house, all armed with tubes of Contact Cement and a sandwich bag to press the contents of the tube into, so vapours are released at a much higher rate. We sat around a coffee table on chairs and not knowing how much to inhale, I placed my mouth and nose to the bag, sealed it with my hand and took a large breath in. Suddenly, everything froze, no one in the room was moving and I myself was unable to do anything but fall to my left from the chair in super slow motion...a foul taste in my mouth, which I later associated with death. I hit the floor and bounced, then bounced again as everything slowed to a stop.
A few seconds later I heard a voice...I think it was my own and I said, “Well Neil...that's number one.”
I came to with a jerk and looked around me. The room was empty and there in front of me was the bag with the glue...dried and hard as a rock. I left and never saw any of them again. I have always wondered what those words meant? Had I died? Breathing in too much of the toxic vapours and that was why they left. My first life and death experience....with perhaps more to come during the course of my lives and deaths.
A few years later my best friend and I were at a party on a Saturday night and as we were leaving I noticed a car that had the keys in the ignition. I said to Jim we should take it, but he didn't want to. I called him a name implying he was a sook and he finally agreed. As we drove, he was quiet and never said a word during the five or ten minutes we had been on the road but then, he leaned over and grabbed my seat belt, pulled it down and clicked it into place. The strange thing was he didn't put his own on and only a few minutes later I lost control of the vehicle, sliding sideways across the lane going the other direction before rolling many times...Jim died and I lived and if not for the seat belt, I'm sure I would have died too...random act? Or was it his turn to go in this life and perhaps in some other life he lived and I died?
I took LSD once in my early youth and swore I would never do it again. The things I saw were not in the slightest bit real or for that matter entertaining, and it was a huge disappointment (sorry Timothy Leary). It felt like my skin was sweating pus and I was growing thick whiskers from my chin, and I feel no want to experience it again.
It's in darkness that most hallucinations occur for me. Darkness with a slight amount of light, such as a candle with its flickering flame, can cause someone who is under the influence to see things that are implausible.
Some things we see while high are pleasant...some not so, but in my experience, most of my hallucinations have been fairly benign...although, I did see something special one night in the 1990s and it blew my mind.
I was living with my girlfriend at the time, and we liked to take large doses of MDMA, or as it is more commonly known, Ecstasy. I must admit it was me who liked to overdo it, not to the point of death of course, but as close to it as I could get without flat-lining for more than a few minutes...before the Narcan came and spoiled the party. (n.b. I do realise Narcan is an antidote for opium type drugs and X is not one of those...but I couldn't resist adding it to the story, even if it is technically implausible and the only part that is completely untrue).
We were in our bedroom, the lights were off except for one small candle burning on my side table. The ceiling was stucco and had a rough texture like if you touched it, it would hurt your hand. We were laying on our bed...I was sitting in an upright position with my back to the headboard and she was laying next to me facing me, her arm crocked so her hand held up her head as we spoke. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something up near the ceiling in the left-hand corner at the far end of the room. My girlfriend saw me paying attention to something but couldn’t see what it was.
I was trying to figure it out when it began taking shape, growing in size and spinning like a top. Colours appeared inside of it, and it was like watching Christmas lights that were caught in a propeller, only upright. I was amazed as a small tornado of coloured lights, in red, blue and green took shape, hovering up in the far corner of the room...and it was beautiful. It twirled faster and faster until the lights became a blur, drifting slowly and gracefully towards us and as it got closer, growing in size to around twelve inches high and five inches wide at the top. All the while, my girlfriend was watching me, and when it was about eight inches away from my face (I remember her telling me I was beginning to go cross-eyed) it stopped, hovering for a few moments before it took off like a rocket to my right and was gone.
For me, this was the experience to top them all and there was one thing which I thought was significant...the colours blue-green and red. Why always those three? The same three that are used in television screens. I have a theory...I have two floaters in my vision that usually only appear in bright light and look like small hairs. They dance when I try to focus on them...just out of my centre of vision in the peripheral and they may play a part in some of these things I see.
‘The people’ in my peripheral vision are not real, of that, I am certain because they can’t be that fast. So, when I suddenly spin my head to see what they are up to, they are gone. They have been the mainstay of hallucinations for me...the bread and butter of the drug tripper for as long as I can remember.
Back in the day, we would go to the pharmacy and buy Avil Motion Sickness Tablets and eat a whole pack at once. Then, as the night wore on, ‘the people’ would be jumping behind cars, lamp posts and whatever was in the corner of my vision. I did however use them to my advantage...so, when I have been seeing ‘the people’ more than usual, I knew it was time to take a break and get some counselling.
There’s something about trees...they have such a majestic stance. They are strong, yet flexible and bend if winds are high. And it's not only the oxygen they give us, or stability to the soil which makes them special because at night when under the influence, I would see the shapes of the branches and the foliage manifest into demons and monsters. It’s lucky for me I don’t believe in these creatures but still...I never climb trees at night, just in case.
A lot of straight people think that we druggie types are tripping out because we are high, which is, in a general sense, true. But there comes an element in the process...a bi-product so to speak, that enhances the hallucinogenic effects tenfold and that is sleep deprivation. Taking stimulants would keep me awake for up to four days and nights depending on the amount and quality of the drugs I was using...and this is the point where even the most outrageous drug taker must consider the positives and the negatives of going another day.
I believe it is important to push the boundaries, but to use when receptor sights are already washed over...when Dopamine, Serotonin and many other important compounds essential for a positive effect are depleted...where you might as well take your drugs and throw them out the window. For some, it becomes ego-driven, or as I like to call it...Wanker's Paradise.
When I was clubbing a century ago, we would come home and continue taking drugs. In fact, we upped the ante and would combine different drugs for enhanced effects. Now, when doing this, there needs to be active awareness...like a designated driver, where one or two would not go the whole nine yards and keep an eye on those who were. There are certain drugs which should never be mixed with any other, and the main one is alcohol...and if alcohol is mixed with sedatives, tranquillisers or opiates (and the list goes on) expect a bad reaction...to wake up or not wake up, depending on if you are in the hospital or the morgue.
It is best in these situations to know what you are dealing with and ease in with small amounts until you know what sort of reaction you are getting on the day. I would use simple short-acting drugs to mix with my MDMA...Nitrous Oxide mixed with Amyl Nitrate can be fun, as can Ketamine (carefully). I went to heaven once and almost spoke to God...now there’s a hallucination for you.
A friend of mine and his girlfriend broke up and she was in need of a place to stay. I offered my spare room temporarily and she came and stayed four nights. On the third night, we were in my room, she was sitting on the floor and I was sitting on my bed. All was well and nothing was out of the ordinary (except for the fact we had been awake since she arrived and I had the bright idea to take MDMA...to which she countered by daring to double drop...best idea ever).
At around 1.00 am she suddenly goes into a trance-like state...staring off into the distance towards a cupboard. Then, without her eyes leaving what had caught her attention she said, “They’re here.”
I played along, thinking she was joking around and I said to her, “Who’s here?”
I got off the bed and went and sat, cross-legged as she was, in front and to the side of her.
She shook her head dismissively, so I said, “Who are they?”
Her head turned towards me and I will never forget that look...pure hatred and contempt...then she said, “You know nothing about what is really going on in the world do you?”
When she spoke those words, I was dumbfounded, because the voice I was hearing did not belong to this girl...It was the voice of a male...deep, guttural and spat contempt my way.
She then looked down towards her lap, her eyes urging me to follow and when I did I saw two hands resting in her lap. Her left hand was just as you would expect, but her right was like nothing I have ever seen before. It was larger than a normal human hand, about half again as big, and the skin covering it was thin (I could make out the skeleton underneath), paper-like with raised serrations or scales on just the back of the hand behind the top knuckles. It was brownish-green to purple in colour and instead of three joints in the long thin fingers, there were four...with opposing thumbs (seems the hand is universally designed by functional necessity).
When I saw this I recoiled with shock and clambered back up onto my bed.
I screamed at her, “What the fuck was that, Aimee?”
And with that, she came back from her trance and her right hand looked normal again.
She refused to say much about it but she had mentioned there were three of them and told me one’s name. I remember it was a strange name, and one I had never heard before...but to this day I cannot remember it…yes we were high, and yes we had not slept in three days, but that has to go down as one of the most realistic and in my face hallucinations I have ever seen...and I didn't realise more was to come before Aimee would leave and I would never see her again.
And, I am still questioning...how did she know to look down the way she did and guide my attention towards MY hallucination? How did she know what the hallucination was to be and when?
The next night I was in bed and she was outside having a cigarette and talking to her new guy on her cell. I rolled over and must have fallen asleep. I hadn’t been asleep long when I felt something or someone heavy pinning me down. Terrified, I fought as if my life depended on it, kicking both my legs into the air in my desperation to break free...once, twice but still I was held down. Then, on my third attempt, I kicked and landed on my bedroom floor. If that was a hallucination, then it was the most frightening I have ever experienced.
There was something I thought wasn't right...the first two times I kicked my legs up, I remained exactly where I lay but then, on the third attempt, I flew off the bed, almost like I had been released.
And with the soon to be released report by the US Government to do with UFO's, it may now not seem so ridiculous...if interstellar travel is within their grasp then the ability to mascaraed as a human would be a cakewalk. So, she might actually be extra-terrestrial...or we were completely off our brains and imagined the whole thing.
One night, I walked into my room and there on the floor was a huge spider...a Tarantula and in the dim light it was brown and hairy. My logic kicked in (Tarantulas are not native to Australia) and with no fear of spiders, I made my way towards it slowly. Then, when I was only a few feet away it changed right in front of my eyes into a thick brown rubber band.
Not all hallucinations are visual. In fact, I have had a lot more audio than visual. Hearing music where there is none...phones ringing and people talking when nobody is there.
I am used to it and can normally tell the difference, although the first time I heard music, it was a track by Timmy Trumpet and even now, I can't listen to it. My neighbour at the time was out in his garden and we spoke over the fence. I could still hear music playing and at that stage had no idea it wasn't real. I thought there was a party going on somewhere in the distance and I asked him if he could hear music and when I got 'the look' I realised I was hallucinating and lamely tried to make a joke of it before slinking away nervously.
Late one night I heard my ex arrive with our two children. I watched through the keyhole in my door as they spoke with my mum for a few minutes. The ex left and the kids went to bed. I was way too wasted to deal with them on the night but in the morning I went to say hi...and they weren’t there...I had hallucinated the whole thing.
When my father passed away around four years ago, he had been living in a nursing home for a couple of years. In the first few months he was there, he escaped twice. The first time making it all the way home and the second time they caught him in the car park outside the facility. The third time he escaped, he wasn’t ever going back. The entire time he was there, all he wanted to do was come home, and in the months after he died, I was starting to believe that is exactly what he did.
A handwritten letter arrived, addressed to him, four weeks after he was gone. I opened it and it was from a real estate agent thanking my father for the nice conversation they had on the phone on a date two weeks previous. I thought, what a rotten thing to do...to make up a story like that...so I called the guy for an explanation. He told me he keeps records of all the cold calls he does...making notes, so if ever the person calls back, he has some history...I assume so he can act as if they are old friends.
I asked about the conversation and he gets his diary...then begins giving me details of a conversation with someone he thought was my father.
It was then I told him, “My dad had been dead for two weeks when you say you spoke to him.”
He then told me he would call me back that evening and I thought, sure you will. But he did call back and he was adamant. I heard no deception on his part and I believe he believed what he was saying. I checked the phone number he dialled and realistically, I am the only person who could have spoken to him (other than the ghost of my father).
I know for a fact it wasn’t me...because first of all, I have no patience or want to entertain cold calls from real estate agents looking to list our home. The agent, reading from his notes, said whoever it was he was speaking to told him the house wasn’t for sale yet, but perhaps in a few months, it might be. Which settled it for me, as I would never...not in a million years, say that. He knew which football team my dad supported, which made the whole thing a mystery...but that’s all, just a mystery.
My dad’s nickname at his work was ‘Road Runner’ because he always walked fast...and I began to hear footsteps outside my bedroom at night, going up and down the hall….thump thump thump...fast.
Again...a mystery but not a ghost story because at night, sound travels and low frequency even further. The footsteps continued night after night and then something that freaked me out. I had an old DVD player in my room. I didn't use it anymore but it was still plugged into the mains power and the red standby light was on.
I was sitting on my bed when suddenly the DVD player turns on...the red light turned to blue. I thought that’s weird and went and manually turned it off. A couple of minutes later it turns on again and I thought I knew what was happening...the remote must have had something on top of it and was pushing the on/off button, so I went to turn it off with the remote...no batteries.
I manually turned it off again and said, “Dad, this is not funny, please stop you are scaring me.”
And from that night on, everything went back to normal, I haven't heard any footsteps and nothing strange has happened since.
My Mum had a small poodle cross called Molly. One day we suspect she had a stroke and we had to have her put down. I buried her in our back yard and we got on with life. About a week later, I was eating my breakfast, it was a rainy day and suddenly I smelled wet dog, as sure as I am writing this...one moment there was no smell, then suddenly, there it was...it lingered for less than a minute and then it was gone.
These last two entries are not drug-induced psychosis or hallucinations...they happened...and although far from proving anything, have certainly got my attention.
I have one more before I wrap up this short story/experience. One night, I was in my room in total darkness and wasted when in the corner of the room I spot a figure. She was glowing faintly...a young girl around nine or ten and she wore clothes which looked old fashioned or maybe Amish.
I was staring at this figure (I knew it wasn’t real and wasn’t the least bit afraid, in fact, I was rather enjoying it). It was like she noticed that I was seeing her...that we were seeing each other and it was then she made her way over to me and stood right in front of me. I could make out her facial features and I was beginning to wonder. She tried to speak, mouthing words I couldn’t hear. At that point, I reached out to touch her, and as I did this, she did the same...and our hands flowed through each other. It was at this point I could see her frustration and she walked over to a spot next to my bed, jumped into some hole or vortex and disappeared.
I looked up and there, in exactly the same place I first noticed the girl, was another one, only it was a young man in his early twenties, wearing similar style clothing to the girl who had just left and he too made his way over to me. He began to speak but I heard nothing. He was not happy and by his actions and the way he looked I could tell he wasn’t hanging around. He then walked over to the same spot where the girl had disappeared, jumped and was gone.
Do I believe in ghosts? The simple answer is I don’t...but just because I don’t believe, doesn't mean they are not real. I now have a more open-minded approach to all things mysterious and although I know most are just figments of my imagination, I like the thought of one day seeing something which cannot be explained.