Sex, Drugs and Weirdness.

As I’ve been antisocial in general for quite some time and honestly missed the guy, I finally hung out with my friend, Moe. I had just had my profound psilocybin experience the previous night but wasn’t prepared to say too much about it, as I had not had the time to process it to any length, but as we hung out and shot the shit in my apartment much of what we spoke of seemed to resonate with my trip.
I did tell him about taking shrooms, but as he didn’t ask, I failed to dispense with all the details. I told him I had just one more item on my drug bucket list — and I didn’t even have to name the substance.

“DMT,” he said. He didn’t even phrase it as a question.

He still had my book, DMT: The Spirit Molecule, which I desperately wanted to read again, too. My interest in the drug is due to its associations with the pineal gland, which is believed to manufacture DMT, perhaps playing a role in altered states such as dreaming, Near Death Experiences and, so some believe, alien abduction experiences.

Repeatedly over the course of my experiences there has been the repeating theme of Ajna, or the third eye, which corresponds to the pineal gland. I feel pressure there when I’ve meditated, had experiences involving it during my “astral projections,” and it has cropped up continuously in my spontaneous artwork. It is also associated with a sense of direction, which I certainly lack, and sleep cycles, and mine are almost always out of whack — so I’ve occasionally entertained the possibility that I have a malfunctioning pineal. To learn that it might be associated with DMT only served to increase my curiosity, and perhaps the aforementioned hypothesis.

My curiosity is whether the drug would replicate my “astral projection” experiences (which may have been a form of lucid dreaming, for all I know) or even my alien abduction experiences. Though I truly believe the alien experiences were physical ones, experimenting with DMT may prove otherwise. In any case, I need to know.

I also mentioned to Moe how both my acid trip and most recent shroom experience seemed imbued with sexual energy. In my life I’ve noticed a correspondence between sexual energy and certain seemingly paranormal experiences, so perhaps that explains the synchronicities that occurred in the days to follow. One occurred after I’d gotten the shrooms, I believe, but before I had taken them. This was when an article of mine which I’d written some time ago involving shrooms was quoted on another forum. Other coincidences occurred in the days that followed. On Facebook, I saw two posts within a few minutes, one by Anti-Media and one by Cyanide & Happiness, both involving magic mushrooms. Then, at 5 AM on April 10th, as I checked for videos below the porn I was watching, I saw a porno starring a woman going by the name of Lila — a word, meaning “play,” that I had written several times during my trip.

When I mentioned to Moe the sexual nature of the trips, he immediately asked me how long it’s been. I confessed that it has been my longest stretch since I first got laid in October of 1999: seven long, non-fucking years.

“Don’t make it a decade, man.”

Word.

Constantly I circle back to two things I need to do to improve my life. The easiest to confess is needing to get my unambitious ass in a better job by the time I’m forty, which will be this November. I’ve spent most of my life in shit jobs and over fourteen years in the fast food joint in which I am currently wading and wasting my life away in. If I’m going to be miserable, I might as well be making more money in the process.

Needing to get laid is a bit more difficult to admit, though I suspect it is at least as obvious. I kept telling myself I was happy being single and settled on the fact that it should stay that way. I no longer wanted that war of impulses waging in my head: I wouldn’t make a good boyfriend, had no interest in being a husband, and didn’t think I was responsible and mature enough to be a father. I didn’t like how awkward and self-conscious I felt when I began anything approximating an active pursuit of a female of the species, and typically as soon as I get in a relationship I feel trapped and want to be alone again. So given that context, not getting laid made sense: no chance of getting tricked into the delusion of love again, no pain when it ended, no chance of accidentally impregnating a girl. It seemed to be the safest, most logical route.

Despite that, I did find that I missed having a girlfriend. Sex is certainly a big part of it, and that reason alone would certainly not justify any attempt with a girl, but there were other things I missed. The closeness, the intimacy, the way being in a relationship with a girl I truly cared for made me feel more human somehow, more connected to the world, more real, even. It was an entirely different state of consciousness. Indeed, women were in many ways like an addictive drug, at least when I allowed myself to get close.

To me, though, all of that sounded just slightly less shallow and selfish than wanting a girlfriend for the sole purposes of securing sex. Or was I, as my friend Abbey once accused me, merely trying to rationalize away my humanity? Was all this just natural and I was being silly and immature fighting these impulses? It suddenly seemed as if that aforementioned internal war was still raging in me after all…

Though he is likely to debate the point, Moe has always had a way with women — and women had a way of emotionally scarring him. As similar as him and I were, as much as he seemed to be a brother from another mother, he had a degree of confidence and machismo I never really had. Occasionally I was jealous of it; I always admired it. His guidance in this endeavor, should I elect to go forward with it, would certainly be of great benefit.

He said that sometime in the near future we should go to a bar in town and maybe I could pick up a girl; though I said I probably would drink little to nothing at all, I was willing to give it a try.

Long ago I had noticed that when I didn’t get laid, everything became sexualized. It became a default metaphor for things. My jokes often referenced things of a sexual nature. Jung was right: what is repressed rather than properly expressed is projected. There seemed to be no escaping it.

So I might as well face it and deal with it.

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The Ritual.

“Metaphor for a missing moment.
Pull me into your perfect circle.
One womb, one shape, one resolve.
Liberate this will to release us all.”
— A Perfect Circle, Orestes.

In the days that followed the shroom trip, I found myself constantly reflecting on the incident that occurred in the bathroom, where I found myself in another space, surrounded by a circle of “spirits” seemingly headed by a taller, female being with whom I communicated. The way I found myself on the ground with all of them arranged around me like a living Stonehenge was curious. I remember the figures surrounding me were humanoid if not human, but no details such as their faces or clothing have survived. I’m uncertain as to whether that was the case during the experience or only the effects of the amnesia.

The conversation I had with the tall, slender woman looming before and above me felt like a conversation with an actual person, too. She gave off this strong vibe that seemed psychic as well as sexual: an intense but controlled energy. She seemed very accepting of me and I really felt a sort of bond with her, which is not to say that I knew her or felt as if I had been to that place before.

There was no anarchy of thoughts and perceptions, unlike the craziness that followed that point in the trip, however — quite the contrary. What I did remember suggested an incredibly stable, coherent and real experience, it was only that I was unable to recall the experience in totality.

It felt like a ritual of some kind. It was as if I had been summoned, evoked, conjured up by those “spirits” much as some of those practicing magick in our world are said to do with respect to them. As utterly insane as it sounds, that idea really intrigues me.

I’ve asked two women I know, one a Pagan and the other who is a close friend of a Pagan, hoping they might shed some light on whether this actually seemed like a ritual or — perhaps more likely — it was just some weirdness my brain cooked up, but so far, no insights.

Still, it seemed so very fucking real, and the small amount of writing I dedicated to the experience just didn’t seem to do it justice. There was simply no way I could capture it in words like an insect in amber, there was just no hope of doing it justice in verbal translation. I want to do research, wrap my head around it more tightly, but have no idea where to begin.

On Memory Issues With Strange Experiences.

The most unusual experiences of my life were ones that occurred when I was stone cold sober, though they certainly share certain qualities with my psychedelic experiences. In each category, the most frustrating obstacles deal with memory and translation.

Memory is problematic enough by nature and it doesn’t help matters that it is truly all we ever know of experience. Sorry, my dear Buddhists, but we know of no Here and Now. We are always living in the past. There is a time delay between when our bodies receive stimuli and when we experience it, a fact that I think Sam Harris has exemplified pretty well.

As he has explained, when I extend my arm to touch something the signals clearly have a longer journey to the brain than, say, when something brushes my nose — yet if I take my own finger and boop my own nose, I seem to experience both my finger touching my nose and my nose being touched by my finger in tandem. No apparent delay. How? Well, my brain waits until it has all relevant data before providing me with my perceptual experience.

Our immediate perceptual experience, then, is sensory memory, and so we are always living in the past.

On top of that there is the possibility that every time we remember something we are in actuality recalling our former memory of it. In other words, with every subsequent occasion in which we recall something it decreases in accuracy. This may not be the only way in which we can remember, of course — there may be ways in which that root, sensory memory can be directly accessed and it is only that this memory-of-a-memory chain is simply more economical and becomes a sort of default as a consequence — but without knowing how to switch gears or at least differentiate between them, we’re still left with the problem. We’re still left to rely on our increasingly inaccurate memories and often trust them too blindly.

In some instances, however, we aren’t even granted what ultimately constitutes false memories but are instead left with hazy recollections or, worse, no memory at all, save for perhaps remembering that there was something profound that has been forgotten. The easiest example is transitioning from the state of dreaming to awakening — or the similar experience of transitioning from being high on a psychedelic to being sober.

Why are carrying over those memories so damned difficult, however? Part of the issue, I suppose, is that in these cases we have to rely on memory greatly, even entirely, because leaving the state of dreams or the psychedelic-saturated sensory landscape takes away the environment (or the state-dependent perceptions of our environment) that would otherwise assist us in triggering any associated memories.

It may also be a translation problem, which is to say it may not only be that the memories themselves are state-specific but that the manner in which we were feeling, thinking and perceiving while dreaming or while under the influence of a psychedelic may be so distinct from our typical, awakened, sober mode of consciousness that they are lost in translation.

On the shroom trip some things seemed so clear, so self-evident in that state, but later seemed frustratingly out of reach. I get the sense sometimes that these experiences are allergic to language — much as is the case in my unusual sober experiences. It even seems at times that the experience becomes even more confusing as a result of my attempts to understand it.

Monica’s Rut.

As I walk in the door to begin my shift, a young coworker is changing the trash, and as I go to throw away my coffee her eyes meet my own and she tells me she’s upset. Naturally, I ask her why, and she responds by telling me I should look at Monica’s face.

Monica is a shift manager and a rather unique woman, to say the very least. Though I’ve never been good at judging age, she has three daughters and a few grandchildren. Her life has been riddled with drug use, criminality and prison time, and she’s currently a pill-popper (and snorter), often engages in heavy drinking and on occasion cocaine — which used to be her drug of choice, though, as she has told me on a few occasions, she gave it up long ago. When I asked her how she managed, she told me, quite blatantly, that she just began using other drugs.

While a hard worker, her work patterns are inherently chaotic; she is a dedicated multitasker who is not very good at multitasking. She often sings songs at high volume, typically ones she has created on her own, and is known for her dancing and for mishearing what others say as something far more absurd and perverted — often amusing, but not when you’re attempting to have a serious conversation with her.

She has a live-in boyfriend, Chuck, who is out of work because he hurt his back; he’s addicted to pain pills. She supports him entirely, and as a token of his appreciation, he consistently steals money and drugs from her. They’ve gotten into mutual fist fights that also involve breaking furniture, biting and pulling each other across the floor by the hair.

So when my coworker told me that I should just look at Monica’s face, that was really all I need to hear.

As I walk behind the counter on the way to clock in, I say hello to Monica and take a look at her face: black and blue like rotting fruit, the bill of her cap pulled to the side to hide her shiner in the shadows. I turn away and walk to the touch-screen in the back to clock in. When I go back up front to change trash, I ask her the question I’ve asked two or three times before.

“What the fuck happened?”

Chuck and her got into another fight, she explains. He ran out of pills, went into withdrawals, borrowed money from a friend, got drunk, beat the shit out of her and subsequently attempted to smother her with a pillow — and she tells me all of this in that “shit happens” sort of way that at once blows my mind, enrages me and plunges me into the depths of depression.

This time, though, she refused to fight back, she tells me, as if this is a heavy leaf she’s turning and the clouds are parting now and it’s all rainbows, cheesecake and blowjobs. I tell her that what she needs to do is to get the fuck away from him, and when one of her beautiful daughters — the one out of the three I honestly really like, as she’s an intriguing cocktail: compassionate badass — comes in and goes up to the counter later on in my shift, I beg her to convince her mother to leave.

This isn’t the first time I’ve expressed this to her. I more or less said this the last time she came in, which was the last time her face looked like this thanks to Chuck.

In a conversation between the three of us later as we’re all standing outside in the cold, Ohio rain, Monica proceeds to provide the usual excuses as to why she can’t just up and leave or kick him out. How if he catches her in the process of moving or she tries to kick him out or she calls the police that he’ll start wailing on her again, even kill her. I feel the pain of her daughter as she says all this. I tell Monica she should save up money and buy some muscle to protect her in the process, or get him sent to jail for a day or two as she, with some help, can throw her belongings into a U-Haul and get the bloody fuck out of dodge.

She won’t. I know she won’t. Her life is filled to the brim with physical abuse, psychological manipulation, and wide-ranging drug use. This is the only way she knows and as horrible as the path any of us may be on, at some level we all seem to fear change.

I grew up differently. Though it appears very unAmerican of me, its true: I was never physically or sexually abused as a child and my parents never divorced. There was no drug use in my family save for the occasional alcohol and my maternal uncle, who used to smoke. Only as I grew older did I discover that what to me was normal was, in fact, rather atypical.

The kind of lives — childhood and adulthood — many if not most of the people I’ve encountered in my life have lived and are living, especially in this cesspool of a town I work in, are depressing and enraging, to say the least. I can’t seem to do a damn thing but listen to the stories, offer suggestions, and try not to be a hypocrite and fall into the same traps.

I stopped drinking, but I still smoke cigarettes, cannabis, and take the occasional muscle relaxer or psychedelic. I’m not judging her, I just worry about her. But its none of my business, and maybe I become too emotionally involved with people. Give too many shits. Put myself in a position that’s not really my place.

Maybe I just need to leave this job, get out of this town, and never look back.

Aliens, UFOs and Abnormal Psychology.

Dismissing myself as crazy has been my convenient go-to, a default triggered when my strange experiences and their apparent implications become too overwhelming. When this surreal aspect of my life comes to face the giggle factor, meets the laughter curtain and exceeds my boggle threshold, the barrier beyond which I am no longer able to suspend disbelief, I endure a sort of nausea of the mind so intense that I, for a time, submit to it. Declaring myself crazy by no means makes me feel better — to the contrary, I always feel worse — but condemning myself in this fashion requires less energy than continuing my efforts to actually understand my experiences. The issue is that once I get beyond the emotional devastation of labeling myself crazy and subject this self-diagnosis to analysis I ultimately come to realize it really doesn’t constitute a diagnosis at all. “Crazy” is just a buzzword, dismissive in spirit and entirely devoid of true explanation.

So early on, back in high school, I found myself trying to identify a more specific self-diagnosis by reading through books on psychology, even an Abnormal Psychology college textbook I got from a friend. I didn’t know whether to be relieved or terrified when I found that no single condition I read about seemed to cover the crazy shit that I had been experiencing. No umbrella terms appeared to be available. When I began seeing a psychologist shortly thereafter, and one that I had quickly developed a respect for, I explained how I had tried diagnosing myself and failed, as no disorder seemed to encompass it all. In my memory, he retorted, stating that I was wrong, and when I pressed him he fumbled and mentioned schizophrenia. The fact that he immediately seemed to backpedal when he saw my reaction only made my terror increase. The moment hung with me and I fell back on it when the weirdness weighed me down. At one point I remember finding a page on the net that described traits of the schizophrenic and the schizoid personality that seemed to fit me perfectly.  I scotch taped it to my bedroom door.

In 2002, when I came back to him after an intense cluster of experiences and casually acknowledged in our session that I was fully aware that I was schizophrenic, he immediately asked me, with a skeptical look on his face, who it was that had given me that diagnosis. When I stated that it had been him, he was emphatic that this could not have been the case. After explaining to me that the term schizophrenia was essentially a dumping ground for what may turn out to be various disorders, he took on this proposed diagnosis directly.

“If you’re a schizophrenic,” he told me, “you’re certainly a highly-functioning one.”

I found the notion that I, a twenty-something living at home yet again and working fast food, could be described as “highly functioning” by any measure to be ludicrous, but he was, after all, the goddamned professional. Though he predicted that I had particular abnormalities in certain regions of my brain and called my experiences “perceptual anomalies,” he never gave me a diagnosis.

For a time, specifically after reading Dr. Marlene Steinberg’s book, The Stranger in the Mirror: Dissociation — The Hidden Epidemic, I also explored the notion that I might suffer from a dissociative disorder, perhaps even Dissociative Identity Disorder. Without doubt I experience what has been labeled dissociative symptoms. In addition, my memories and experiences may in part be due to some alternate personality or “alter” and there appears to be evidence of its beginnings in my childhood. My initial rush of memories and the flashbacks that followed might represent a previously compartmentalized sector of my mind, one belonging to this alter, colliding with my conscious personality and merging. My experience with the ideomotor response in my use of the Ouija board, in my spontaneous artwork and writing, as well as during the hypnosis session, all may have represented the alter gaining slow and localized control over my body. The entity I encountered during my “astral projections” might be one manifestation of an alternate personality or alter as well — perhaps after sharing previously isolated memories the separate aspects of mind we have governed over blended further, giving rise to shared lucid dreams I took to be “astral projections.” Maybe the incidents between June and August of 1995, climaxing in the incident at the java juicer, represented transient periods where the alter took control of my body entirely.  

The issue is that this degree of dissociation is typically associated with intense physical and psychological trauma. On the surface, at least, this presents itself to me as an utterly insane proposition. As I imagine is the case with anyone, I have my share of complaints and grievances with respect to how I grew up. My mother favored my sisters over me and I had endless power-struggles with her over the course of my childhood. It hurt and enraged me, and I continue in my attempts to deal with those issues. Even so, I recognize that I was one lucky little asshole. My parents never physically abused us kids. I was certainly never sexually abused. Our harshest punishments as children, which I faced often enough, involved either staring at a corner for a length of time measured by my mother’s oven timer or being under “room arrest,” confined to my bedroom until further notice. Without doubt this nonviolent discipline is what made the abuse I witnessed at Jimmy’s house all the more traumatizing — and indeed, that was all certainly traumatizing from the position of a witness as well, but that it might provide the fuel for alien encounters seemed far more ludicrous to me than the thought that, well, I might have legitimately had alien encounters.

It isn’t just trauma and mental disorders that can allegedly produce these alien encounters, however. People have linked alien abduction experiences with various drugs such as Salvia Divinorum, Ketamine, and psilocybin, but most often DMT. All are classified as psychedelics, I believe, aside from ketamine, which is a dissociative, but unless you’re willing to concede that each of these chemicals constitute different rabbit holes leading to the same parallel universe, all are psychedelic in the true sense of the term, which is to say that they are “mind-revealing.” In other words, these drugs draw back the egoic curtain and let you take a peek beyond the veil of mundane consciousness, bringing you can deal more directly with the more subliminal aspects of the mind — just as psychosis can.

Some believe sleep paralysis alone can produce the abduction experience, which I find ridiculous for several reasons. Even among the popularized abduction cases one can see that bedrooms are not the only place encounters occur and that often enough the people involved are not asleep at the time of the event. They might be fishing or driving, for instance, and be among others who are taken along with them. In addition, I have had sleep paralysis myself and the earliest such experience is the succubus experience mentioned early in the book. Even at the time of the experience I did not interpret it as an alien breaking into my dark room, crawling atop my bed, straddling my immobilized body and proceeding to dry-hump rape me. Instead, I assumed it was a disembodied entity doing something analogous or — more likely, I supposed — this was all a hallucinatory experience brought on by one-part sleep deprivation and one-part prescription medication.

So I have explored the Psychological Hypothesis (PH), which alleges that while it may require activation through trauma, drugs, mental disorders or the peculiar circumstance in which your mind wakes up before your body does, the abduction experience is purely a product of human psychology. There is no external intelligence at work here, only my own. It’s all in my head. A related school of thought I explored posits what I’ll call the Psi Hypothesis (PsiH), and it attempts to compensate for the failure of the PH to account for physical evidence by bringing parapsychology into the fold — specifically, the psi capabilities of the human mind.

My train of thought ultimately ran along this track: if one finds the PH absurd and instead accepts abductions as nuts-and-bolts physical experiences, these physical experiences require you to accept the existence of paranormal phenomena. It is simply a given. After all, a cursory glance at abduction reports should make it clear that telepathy and moving through walls, for instance, is by no means rare in abduction events. To the contrary, paranormal phenomena is pretty fucking standard — and not just during these events, either, but in the wake of them. There is the matter of the “paranormal afterglow” that manifests in my life during these experiences, and while some investigators fail to mention them, personal reports from abductees reveal that I am by no means alone. Others also experience spontaneous telepathic experiences, poltergeist activity, vivid dreams that seem like awakening in a parallel reality, odd coincidences and other strange events.

As this paranormal afterglow runs the full spectrum of psi, stretches on indiscriminately into the gamut of the strange, it seems natural to wonder if the aliens themselves, rather than extraterrestrials, might just be another manifestation. In other words, it could very well still be that the phenomenon is purely psychological at the roots, that it is governed by compartmentalized aspects of my mind that influence me subliminally, that this is truly my conspiracy against myself. Maybe it also branched out into physicality utilizing psi abilities, however: powers which for whatever convenient reason I cannot wield consciously.
This would by necessity be a form of poltergeist. In this view, the phenomenon of poltergeists is explained as a living individual who is experiencing recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis; the psychokinetic activity is the result of subconscious and involuntary acting-out of the focus individual.

For a clearer picture of how this might work we might first turn to a series of parapsychological experiments that have been conducted since 1972. These experiments sought to demonstrate that the display of psi phenomena often attributed to deceased individuals could manifest without them, and so such phenomena were not necessarily evidence for life after death. In the beginning, which in this case was 1972, there was Philip Aylesford, the child of eight members of the Toronto Society for Psychical Research. He was a fictional character they developed with an elaborate backstory regarding his birth, life, and eventual death. They collectively meditated on him before attempting to communicate with him in the style of a Spiritualist seance. Participants reported not only communications but manifestations — they not only saw and heard things, in other words, but poltergeist phenomena also manifested. Other groups conducted similar experiments, reporting that they had successfully created and then conjured Lilith, a World War II French Canadian spy, Sebastian, an alchemist from medieval times and finally Axel, who was from the future.

As expected, results of these experiments were disputed — as were the tales regarding the more extreme manifestation of what has typically been called the tulpa in Western culture and which is also variously known as an egregore or a thought-form. It is often conceived as an imaginary entity that achieves, through ritual intent of its creator, a physical manifestation — according to some, an intentional and advanced rendition of your typical poltergeist.

Though the notion is reasonably dispersed across the collective consciousness at this point, methinks, the only alleged personal account I have come across is the one told by Alexandra David-Neel. In her journey through Tibet, she became interested in tulpas. Having elected to make one herself, she decided on a friendly, pudgy monk, and was eventually able to visualize him as a hallucination in her visual field. Over time the hallucination gained clarity, and eventually she found it indistinguishable from a living, breathing, physical being.

The frightening aspect of her little experiment soon became apparent, however, when the monk began appearing when she hadn’t conjured it, and then began behaving in ways it had not been programmed by her to behave. The monk also seemed to be losing weight and had taken on a distinctly malicious appearance. Nothing was as shocking, however, as when an individual she knew, who knew nothing of her practices, began questioning her about the stranger that had been meandering about in her tent. She reports that it took half a year, but she was eventually able to abolish the creature through other Tibetan techniques.

Though in both of these cases the entities were intentionally generated, in both cases they reportedly also exceed their programming and seemed to take on a life of their own, independent of the conscious aspect of the mind: essentially, a spiritual form of artificial intelligence. It also fits the profile of a dissociative identity state, an alternate personality. They are essentially intentionally-generated alters that can manifest physically.

An interesting aspect of the Philip experiment was that none of the eight involved were gifted psychically. Nonetheless, they were apparently capable of creating and programming a spiritual entity that could communicate in a way that was consistent with that personality and, most important and amazing of all, producing psychokinetic effects. David-Neel seemed to be at least moderately gifted psychically and have some degree of discipline as well; despite being a lone individual, she was able to produce a creature that could be seen by her and others. The entity was also able to become independent of its creators, functioning autonomously. Naturally, this might lead one to wonder what kind of effects a large group of psychically-gifted individuals might be capable of producing.

All the people I know that have had experiences similar to mine seem to have no knowledge of the UFO or abduction phenomenon beyond the superficial reports that the media regurgitates every now and then. Despite this, correlations between our narratives are plentiful right down to unanticipated details. From the way one friend described the shadows of the beings from outside her tent during a formative experience while camping as a child to the way another friend described the manner in which one of the creatures in his encounter ran, there are correlations even in the details littering our experience that I cannot in good conscience deny. This extends to many of those of whom I have read and read about in blogs, articles and books and seen through interviews and documentaries. Could the answer really be that our collective unconscious is conspiring against us, utilizing telepathy to share a narrative and RSPK to bring that narrative to life?

Despite finding the concepts of both the PH and PsiH fascinating, I have, in the end, always choked in my attempts to swallow. Those who have posited that poltergeist activity is the unconscious product of an individual note the similarities in individuals around which the alleged recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis (RSPK) manifests. In cases of alien abduction, on the other hand, it is clear that these experiences are shared by people from all walks of life, people all across the spectrum — racial, religious, cultural, class, education — as well as people of wildly different constitutions who react to these shared experiences in very individual ways. This sounds less like a psychological disorder — with or without psi effects — and more like an actual, nuts-and-bolts experience.

Polishing Ajna.

Jonas and Elizabeth come over between eight and nine in the evening. I had woken up from my post-third-shift slumber a few hours before, drank some coffee, relaxed, taken a shit and a shower and waited while trying not to think, think, think.

Elizabeth was wearing all black save for her tie-dye hippie socks. It had been awhile since I had seen Jonas, and his hair had grown and taken on a look that reminded me of the traditional style of the eighties. Kind of like Luke in Star Wars: A New Hope. I met them at the side entrance to my building and Elizabeth led the way up three flights of stairs and along the short stroll to the door to my one-bedroom apartment, where we all sat down in the front room in front of my laptop monitor. I had set up the papasan by the computer for myself, as I knew it would be the most comfortable thing for me to sit on during the experience.

Jonas has some initial difficulties cutting one of the tabs in two, finally succeeding by use of the X-Acto knife I typically use to clean out my bowl. Using their tweezers, he then places a whole tab on her tongue, one of the halves on his own.

This was happening. I felt wary. Did I want to do this? Me, I always said I’d never do this. Then he picks up the other half with the tweezers and extends it towards me.

Shit. This is the moment of truth.

I’m nervous, not entirely ready, and in my hesitation he accidentally drops it. Though this would be unfortunate in the event it could not be found, I was thankful for the moment of reflection it permitted me. We look around for it on the carpet between us all as I try and build up some courage. Eventually one of them finds that it had fallen into my shoe. With the tweezers, he plucks it from my sole and places it on my open sketch pad. With diminishing reluctance I go for the tweezers but Elizabeth says it would probably be easier to just lick it off my sketch pad. It seems a weird way to go and that typically works for me, so I do it. I feel mildly apprehensive after doing so, but curiosity of what may be to come quickly takes dominance.

We smoke a bowl, a cigarette each, and I try to keep it under my tongue, eventually realizing that it is gone. That I must have swallowed it. They tell me not to worry.

As I did not take notes during the experience, I cannot be sure of the exact sequence of all events, though particular events in and of themselves are certainly vivid. It began while we were watching Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.

If I were to do this, I had decided some time ago, I had to watch Cosmos, most of all episode 13, “Unafraid of the Dark,” which was particularly visually stunning in its depiction of supernovas. Elizabeth also insisted we watch episode 5, “Hiding in the Light,” mainly due to the portion regarding soundwaves. It was still on Netflix, thankfully, and so we watched “Hiding in the Light” first.

At some point as we were watching it I suddenly feel as if certain parts of my brain light up, blasting me into this heightened awareness. My vision was crisp. I felt this intensity in my body. I felt a sense of euphoria with a side of anxiety.

As time went on I experienced periods of sudden, incredible and sturdy focus — which would be strange enough if it did not seem as if I could focus on several points simultaneously. Psychological absorption was at an all-time high. Fantasy seemed more like a parallel world I had equal access to alongside sensory reality; shifting between them was akin to changing channels or switching stations. In time I came to be very, very absorbed in what we were watching on my laptop.For other, brief periods — at least once, to be sure — I became tangled in a web of divergent attention and high-speed thoughts, achieving a height of frustrating confusion before wriggling myself out of it and coming back into focus.

To my left I could see my bedroom door, opened just a crack, and the light bleeding through kept catching my attention, fucking with me. I finally had to get up and open the door. Then I kept thinking I was seeing the lights and shadows from the bathroom, accessible through my bedroom, move as if something was there. At one point, I thought I saw something small and white run from the bathroom into the darkness at the other side of my room. None of it frightened me for more than a second, after which I realized it was just my imagination and laughed at myself in response.

When I was talking with Elizabeth and Jonas sometimes I would catch the laptop monitor out of the corner of my eye, convinced for a moment that something was playing on it, like a movie or something, but there was merely a motionless visual on the screen. It kept fucking with me in a fashion similar to crack in bedroom doorway.

In our conversation before taking the acid, they told me I should eat first and if I needed to poop, I should do it beforehand, because it was rather disconcerting under the influence of this chemical. They also told me that pissing was kind of strange, but I knew I would be unable to avoid that one — in general, I tend to take in a lot of fluid: water, coffee, iced tea, booze. This equals pissing like a race horse.

When I inevitably had to get up to pee, Elizabeth suggested I look at myself in the mirror. Piddling itself was a perplexing experience indeed. I felt high up, incredibly tall and skinny, and it seemed as though my dick way, way down there was pissing into a teeny-tiny toilet. After I went to the sink and washed and dried my hands, I looked up, into the mirror, focusing on my eyes. My face seemed to morph around my point of focus, though not into anything discernible. My vision brightened, everything seemed white and yellow. I was transfixed for a while, but eventually returned to the front room and sat in my comfy nest.

Over the entire course of the evening, I had only one fully-scale visual hallucination. As I was watching the bedroom door (which I had absentmindedly closed again when returning from pissing and skrying) this little transparent ball with a long, tadpole tail swam in a slow, wavelike fashion across my field of vision. It was like an oversize, slow-mo air-sperm.

Getting up, I opened the door again.

More subjective strangeness took place than sensory, hallucinatory phenomena. For instance, at times I felt that while I was inside my body I was not entirely attached to it. I often felt as if I was residing in my body in positions that I ordinarily did not. Typically I feel as though my consciousness resides inside my head, for instance, but for a period I felt as though I was hanging out in the chest area.

So we watched the two episodes of Cosmos. The segment on sound waves was astounding, though I got the feeling that it was not the “full experience” Elizabeth had experienced herself when she watched it on acid. When we got to the episode on supernovas, I must have been at or near my peak. More than just the beautiful explosions of dying stars, there was the journey through space in general that drug me in, embraced me. I even said to them, “Twelve hours of just that. Just journeying through the stars. I would love it.” In retrospect it reminded me of those dreams I had as a kid, just soaring through the stars at fantastic speed, alone in the vast, silent beauty of space.

At some point the journey ended as the camera pulled out from space into Neil deGrasse Tyson’s star-spore, dandelion-seed-shaped Spaceship of the Imagination through one of the windows — which initially looked to me like the gigantic, slanted, almond eye of your typical Gray alien. No one else seemed to make that connection. I don’t know if I felt sad to be alone or thankful for my isolated association.

After the two episodes, we watched Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, where I came to confront the Cheshire Cat, another symbol from my past. After we began coming down and had tired of conversation, we turned back to Netflix and watched the first two or three episodes of American Dad, which I had never seen before. I noticed that I was more prone to laughter, at times ridiculous laughter. While I felt in most cases the laughter was appropriate, it was far, far more amusing than it would have been had I been sober, or even stoned out of my mind on Mary Jane. I was laughing so hard there were tears in my eyes.

It was morning when we finally came entirely down. They slept on the couch in the living room and I closed my bedroom door and lay in my bed. My body was so comfortable. There was no tossing, no turning. My body was relaxed, vibrating, though my mind was still acute. They had given me half a pill of a muscle relaxer, and it finally kicked in.

When I awoke, to my disappointment, I didn’t remember any dreams, though I did recall that I had some that I would have found interesting.

Avenge, Balance.

Talk me down
from pumping lead
into the brain.

Too dramatic.
I’m such a pussy.
Probably just chase pills
with cheap booze

with the highest alcohol
content, smoke
a cigarette after a stupid poem

written high, drunk,
nicotine-fueled, supported
by the residual caffeine.

See? I need your help.
I have this bullet:
is the name on it him,
or could it be me?

Aren’t you dizzy enough yet?

Get down. Spread out. Man up 
and hone in on the target.
Now: avenge, balance.

Blast that motherfucker
till he’s lost
in space and out of time.

God and Other Drugs.

It was the end of the work shift and I was outside, hiding in my car, having a smoke, looking through my beat-to-shit iPhone at the wall of walls called Facebook when I thought I saw something. A picture of an ex-coworker who I like to think of as a friend, too. I scrolled my way back up to find my suspicions confirmed: it was Doris in a hospital bed beside two smiling faces.

It’s been awhile since I have talked with her and I wondered what had happened. I didn’t bother reading the comments below the photo, I just messaged her and asked what had happened, why she was in a hospital bed, and she responded back in, well, rather garbled fashion.

Was it because they had her drugged? Or was it just her poor spelling? I felt like an ass for asking myself that question, but there you have it. Poor spelling is better than the maze of verbal chaos that autocorrect delivers, so in any case, it could be worse.

Throughout a series of messages back and fourth I learned that she had overdosed on the heroine she had evidently taken up using since she had broken up with her girlfriend, died twice on the table and was currently in recovery. I told her that I was glad she was alive, to please be strong and get better, that she should take better care of herself because she’s fucking worth it, and all the other lame things you find yourself saying through text to somebody regarding some horribly fucked up circumstance they have just been through.

And I glossed over when she explained to me that there “had to be a reason” — a reason that she had died twice and was still alive, that is. I glossed over it in a single message. That was all it took.

Perhaps coincidentally and for no real reason at all, that was precisely the point when she stopped returning messages. Or perhaps she remembered I was an atheist and knew I had intentionally dodged her roundabout suggestion that she was still alive because “god has a plan” for her.

What did she expect, and what else could I have done? I’m not going to lie to her but I respect her enough to not try and vigorously rub the truth in her face given what is likely to be her still-fragile emotional condition.

I still think that getting off drugs and “finding god” is not the accomplishment so many seem to think it is. It’s just a lullaby they tell themselves to sleep through life.

But she’s alive.

Lubrication for the Spinning Cycles.

When I drink alcohol, when I take a hit of weed, I put up with momentary discomfort for later, longer-term gain.

Still, the nature of the two certainly differ.

With alcohol, it may taste horrible going down and (given you achieve reckless consumption) absolutely horrible coming back up or in the very least give you a sluggish sort of headachy hangover, but during that in-betwixt state, man, you’re going to be feeling rockin’, you know?

Still, either end of that sucks. Poison in, chunks out.

Or, in the case of weed, it tastes good coming in but makes you cough as it barrels back out of your mouth a few seconds later as a plume of smoke. Shortly thereafter you just feel rockin’, so you jerk off to get your rocks off and have incredible results. To celebrate, you take an endorphin-infused, post-masturbatory nap.

You wake up in a hangover called comfortably numb and hungry, wash your hands, get something to eat — which, whatever it is, tastes delicious — and watch a bit of a movie, take your Prosac and Buspar and commit, at long last, to perhaps a few hours of dead-to-the-world sleep.

You sleep. Sleep safe and sound like a dead baby log. Then you need to wake up to get ready for work: a zombie rising from his plaid-skinned grave, in a state conducive to his fear-elected undead vocation.

Still always and forever Back to Start it seems, yes — but lived up at every end in the very least, put to bed with a redeeming climax every single, solitary time around.

Nightly burnouts to ensure a cloud of comfy at dawn. Lubrication for the spinning cycles. That was all this was.

Be it with booze or green, you are just oiling up for eternity.

Varnishing the Pole Beneath a False Flag.

“So that’s it?”

The thought was my own, though it emerged from a state of mind far removed from my typical. It was the weekend before last. Looking down in the dimly lit bedroom at the mess I had just launched into an old pair of boxers after masturbating myself to orgasm while on mushrooms, the thought seemed like a perfectly natural reaction.

I mean: really? This was it? This was the Big Fucking Deal?

Sure, you’re scratching an instinctive itch and all and it feels good getting that nagging need to go away, if only for a short period, but was this really worth all the fuss, all the time invested in sexual fantasies, all the endless clicking of porn links leading you down a seductive vortex of debauchery, desperately trying to find the right video to release the hostages to?

Not really, I must confess to shroom-me. Sometimes I feel a lot like a dog circling and sniffing across a huge yard of beautiful, green grass, being all finicky about precisely where he is to drop just another poo.

It really is pointless. Just do it already, you know? Drop your load and let’s go. You are not actually fucking anybody, and if scratching the itch is all that matters, dig in your nails like an eager little masochist and let’s get on with the program here. Do what you do and get on with the bigger and better things.

Why the build-up, the emphasis, the need for perfection or to up the ante, and all for a comparatively short-lived state of riding the jollies before left to saturate in the ever-transient peace that came with exhale of mental dead air in the wake?

I must confess that I have come to wonder if it is the orgasm that drives me so much as the calm that follows. Only then can I finally relax and just enjoy life. I piss, wash my hands, and then typically make something to eat and watch a documentary, a movie, or the rare television show that currently has me hooked. I’m sure to soak up the joy, feel the weight lifted off my shoulders, saturate in that light and floaty feeling that comes after that discharge of tension, as it is never long until it all tightens up and comes crashing down again. Typically it’s a matter of hours, and usually by then I’ve finally fallen asleep.

So I guess no, that’s not it. It goes deeper after all.

Of course, I also got the feeling that mushroom-me was referring to the fantasy I had engaged in before finally working it out of me. Her, the redhead — was that all you want from her, to have her star in some fantasy that has become your default grand finale of the evening?

At a rational level, yes, for I know well that if you go long enough without getting laid then you begin to confuse the voice of your heart with the yearnings of your penis. You confuse cock and cockles, you know? The body has to coerce consciousness to serve the body’s needs, it would seem, and if you cold shoulder the usual alarms your dick launches a false flag operation. It’s the dick’s only option given that I have failed to heed the direct and most primal kind of call. It has to make me think this desire stems from the highest aspects of nature. Its not just that I want to squeeze out my Twinki’s cream filling in her ol’ skin-clam — shucks no, that would be so beneath me — but there must be some emotional, even spiritual yearning for her which only expresses it through the penis.

No. My feelings for her are false flag feelings. I will use the thought of her as an object of masturbation if I must, but I refuse to use her as an object. To do so would essentially be to transform sex into a mere extension of masturbation anyway. She would be but a prop, and I refuse to treat a person like that. My body is just lying to me, and until I do fuck it will continue, until I do fuck I won’t be able to see clearly in terms of higher things when it comes to another.

You ascend the pyramid of Maslow’s Hierarchy one step at a time or you’re just asking for trouble.

But yes, shroom-me, it’s gotten pathetic. So pathetic.