BLACK LIGHT: PERSPECTIVES ON MYSTERIOUS PHENOMENA (#8)

Chapter 7

How Much Is Too Much?

As much as I’d like to pretend that I’m some Fearless Researcher In Search of the Truth, well, I’m not.

   There are of course those who came before, such as John Keel, Jacques Vallee (to use obvious examples), who were genuinely threatened by parties unknown.  Keel was put upon by the IRS, whose agent Keel physically ejected from his messy apartment.  If only I’d been there. . . .

   Right.  And what would I have done?  That’s easy.  “John,” I would’ve whispered, “tell me what to do.”

   Keel probably would’ve said: “God, you’re useless.  Just zip your lip.”

   He’d have been right.  It’s easy to dismiss the efforts of UFO/Paranormal investigators (meaning those who actually sought and met with witnesses to the unknown) from earlier days.  Why?  I don’t know.  The world was different, at least in America, and people were allowed to express anger in a way we can barely imagine.  Try doing that now at any job interview.  They’ll call the heat on you.

   We all have our special shelf—or shelves—laden with books we vow to forever keep.  What we often forget is what their authors were subjected to in a world seething with Communist paranoia.  I’ll go further.  The FBI made no bones that they were curious indeed about certain writers.  Especially anyone like Ginsberg, Burroughs, etc.  The Beat writers. Those who were not writing about anomalous phenomena.  Let’s face it, the feds were worried about the Beats introducing youth culture to drugs and free-thinking (even though the feds, whether he knew it or not,  used Timothy Leary and others in order to turn on  precious American youths to LSD).

   Apparently the U.S. government had not read Aldous (Brave New World) Huxley’s thoughts on mescaline (a compound derived from peyote cactus).  No, we had to tell them.  Sure as hell they listened, because early into the 1950s MK-ULTRA (dare I speak of it) came up with a list of compounds, many known for centuries to South American shaman and others, capable of putting human consciousness into a very precarious, vulnerable state.

   Much later, Terrance McKenna and brother Dennis traveled to South America and partook of a handful of alkaloids (hallucinogens), and tripped their asses off.  In the same way Keel, Vallee and others flipped the intellectual bird at Authority, so did the McKennas.  Bear with me.

   You may have read of more recent experiments with the hallucinogen DMT and its apparent ability to reproduce the so-called alien abduction experience.  I have not taken DMT, but will admit to “experimenting” with LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin mushrooms.  Good.  Now the NSA knows that.  I don’t care, since they know all else, and I no longer partake of these substances.  Having one’s ass scared shitless ensures this, thank you.

   What I find fascinating is this.  Beyond film-maker Ken Russell creating the mind-blowing (to this day) Altered States (please seek out the book—his first!—by Paddy Chayefsy), is that there exists the ability to reproduce this same effect electronically.  Or, more accurately, by way of electromagnetic technology.  This does not require “implants,” simply a brief-case sized generator of certain signals.  This is not secret.  Until you try and describe it to your friends.  Then, of course, you are what our British friends call a “nutter.”

   Yes, I am afraid to tell you that I ingested (ground up in vanilla ice-cream) seeds of the simple Morning Glory.  At the age of 42, you’d think I would’ve known better, but I didn’t.  What resulted was an absolute nightmare I somehow felt ego-bound enough to write down: “Gazing out window into back yard . . . in the pine trees between our house  and neighbor… horrible cob-webbed figures laughing . . .rat faces with snapping teeth and dead white eyes.”

    All I’m saying is (in the words of Aleister Crowley), do what thou will.  Just don’t do it.  One thing the McKennas left out of their very scientific study was (if you’ve watched Altered States) is that encountering the primal self = encountering primal terror.  Take it from me:  you’re better served by reading about it.

   I mean this.  I don’t give a damn what your job is, you are not prepared to be stripped down to an animal-like terror.

   If there are covert groups using these substances against us, and why would they, given the new quantum possibilities, we are powerless.  What really bothers me is why?  The primal experience of confronting the Other has been among us for thousands of years.  Whether the Other originates from without or within, it does seem to be real.  It has genuine affect, what we would call telepathy, precognition, telekinesis.  It’s hard to nail down whether something you read in a book from 1975 about a Brazilian shaman tossing stones across a field, using his mind, is real or what we want to be real.

   I’m not bigoted enough to say it isn’t.  But I do think our natural, vegetable world might very well send out chemical messengers, and, terrifying as they might be, point toward human evolution for those who can bear it.

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