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True Hallucinations: Being an Account of the…

True Hallucinations: Being an Account of the Author's Extraordinary…

by Terence McKenna

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386146,096 (3.92)1
In March 1971, Terence McKenna, his brother Dennis and a small gypsy-like band of friends set off for the Colombian Amazonas. Along the surreal way, they encounter a cast of remarkable characters - including a mushroom, a flying saucer, pirates from outer space, and James Joyce in the guise of poultry. One result of their adventures was McKenna's theory that psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in the stropharia cubensismushroom, is the missing link in the development of human consciousness and language...… (more)



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Terrence and Dennis McKenna take a crew of Merry Pranksters to the Colombian Amazon in order to seek out a possibly mythic hallucinogen used by shamans of the Witoto tribe. In a run-down remote mission town called La Chorrera they find instead a plethora of mushrooms growing from cow-flops, said mushrooms positively drenched in psylocybe. After eating these, smoking hash, and downing baanisterius caapi, Dennis McKenna turns into the Victor Frankenstein of psychonauts, and attempts to immanetize the eschaton by using vocal tonality modulation techniques to merge shroom DNA permanently into his own. After this experiment the McKenna brothers go a bit off the rails. Nora and James Joyce visit in the guise of chickens. UFOs form from clouds, rivers stand frozen, a voice in Terrence's head teaches him the workings of time. Dennis attempts to manifest a blue protoplasmic goo he thinks might be the lapis philosophorum.

In other words, things go a bit haywire.

The McKennas are fascinating cats because they are obviously hyper-educated geniuses, but are also burnt-to-a-crisp wastrels spawned in the '60s. If Terrence is telling the truth and he actually read Jung's Psychology and Alchemy at age 14, well, then his intellectual curiosity must be off the charts, including those charts he describes in this book, the ones which list all possible future and past events as a predictable waveform of novelty injections into the universe.

Many of the experiences Terrence describes I myself wrestled during a brief and lush psylocybe cyclotron ride in my early twenties. I never, however, quite felt manifest the alien intelligence he encounters, which claims galactical omnipresence. Vast neural networks of underground fungal strands never spoke to me personally--and if they exist as McKenna describes them they deemed me worthy only of scintillating light-shows and dripping wood grain patterns, not of messianic missions to usher in the final stage of human evolution. For some reason the idea of an omnipotent fungal entity reminded me of Karl Rove.

Part sci-fi novel, part hippie memoir, part manifesto for the New Shamanism--True Hallucinations is a lot of mind-bending fun crammed into a slim paperback. ( )
3 vote ggodfrey | Oct 13, 2006 |
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This mesmerizing, surreal account of the bizarre adventures of Terence McKenna, his brother Dennis, and a small band of their friends, is a wild ride of exotic experience and scientific inquiry. Exploring the Amazon Basin in search of mythical shamanic hallucinogens, they encounter a host of unusual characters -- including a mushroom, a flying saucer, pirate Mantids from outer space, an appearance by James and Nora Joyce in the guise of poultry, and translinguistic matter -- and discover the missing link in the development of human consciousness and language.
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