This will be a recounting of some my various experiences with LSD. I don’t doubt that at least some of you have some experience with it as well. This is not in any way definitive and the descriptions and opinions given here are mine personally. I do not claim to have any special knowledge beyond my own experiences. There’s not really any tie in to libertarianism or politics and any moral to the story will be left to the reader.
As a kid, I was exposed to acid more than a few times. I think my first trip was at the age of thirteen. We had a connection in Santa Barbara, where we would buy “Mr. Natural” blotter acid. I think we paid $150.00 for a sheet of 100. We would sell it for 3 bucks a hit. Usually, we made our money back and had plenty to take ourselves and give a bunch away. It was really good acid. I made it a habit to take some every few months, about 3-4 times a year. It was a lot of fun for the first few years.
Acid is said to have the ability to cause hallucinations. Most people think of hallucinations as imaginary people/objects that don’t really exist, but appear real. That’s not the way it worked for me, at least at first.
It was more like a slight tweaking of things that were really there. For instance, once, I watched a candle burning while tripping. My mom had antique wooden coca-cola crates nailed to the wall as knick-knack shelves. She had a number of candles in them. I lit one and became entranced by the flame. It looked so cool that I lit all of them. I looked intensely at one in particular. I began to feel as if I could throttle the burning of it and then accelerate it by sheer force of will. I concentrated really hard and it actually seemed like the candle began to burn faster. I was overjoyed that I could do this. I then tried to slow it down. I felt like it was harder to slow it down and it took more concentration.
This whole time, my brother was with me, but I had completely forgotten that. So, I poured on the throttle and really increased the burn rate hard. Then I tried to slow it back down but it wouldn’t stop. I got kind of scared that it would burn the whole world down. I put all of my life force into stopping it, but it just wouldn’t slow down. I was filled with regret that I had sped it up so much. I was starting to feel frantic about it when my mom came in the room yelling at me.
Apparently, as I was deeply engaged in this exercise, the other candles had burned all the way down to crates and then the crates had burned into the wall and the room was filled with smoke. I have no idea what my brother was thinking. My mom got us out of there and called the fire dept, who then extinguished the fire. It kind of snapped me out my trip.
Anyway, that’s more along the lines of how hallucinations worked for me. Not so much seeing things, but more like thinking and feeling things about what was actually there.
Well, the vast majority of my acid trips happened in laid back Ventura County, where the living was slower and simpler. These early trips were fun and I enjoyed them immensely. I only had two trips in Los Angeles and both of them turned out really badly for me. It turned out, in my case anyway, that given a messed up enough starting point, hallucinations in the literal sense can and do happen.
I moved to L.A. specifically to party extra hard. I actively sought out drugs and parties and imbibed as much as possible. Being 15 years old and broke, it took some effort. At times, I’d have to settle for what was there, rather than what I wanted. What was there was a lot of speed.
I never took speed before this time. I had taken downers and everything I used was more in that direction. In the valley at that time, there were crosstops or whites and black beauties all over the place. They were super cheap and very common. When one couldn’t find anything better, they were always there to fill in. I found myself taking them with some regularity.
Too much regularity, it turns out. I would only sort of sleep for a couple of hours a day. Looking back, I’m pretty sure the speed was responsible for my rapid deterioration and much of the trouble I got into that year. At any rate, it was during this period of regular use of stimulants that I had my two bad acid trips. This taught me that your current state of mind was a strong influence on how your trip would turn out.
The first bad trip I ever had was centered around fire, again. I don’t really count the above story as a bad trip, because I never had any real freakout. This time I freaked out pretty bad. There was guy in our crowd who had a car. Most of us didn’t, so he was a good friend to have. He had a 1970 Ford Country Squire wagon. It was beat up pretty bad. His name was Jeffrey. He was, well, strange.
Most of us were fairly normal stoner types. Jeffrey was a punk rocker. He was also much older. He cultivated a sorta film noir look. He wore slacks with suspenders, patent leather shoes and often a thirties looking hat. Basically he wore vintage business attire without the jacket. He kind of looked like a skinny Richard Nixon. It was a stark contrast to the jeans/concert shirts/pendeltons/long hair the rest of us wore. His Ford had the huge array of punk rock stickers all over it that was common among punk rockers at the time. White lettering on black background. Sort of the onion-on-the-belt of the era. He was a cool guy and we hung out with him, despite our differences.
This night, there was a bonfire party at the beach. A group of about three of us wanted to go, and we had to hustle up a ride. Jeffrey showed up and we all piled into the wagon. I had spent the week prior taking a lot of crosstops and barely sleeping. So, off we went.
The party was at a place called “Zero’s” beach. Now, it’s a state beach with a parking lot and official staff. Back then it was just a small dirt road off of PCH which led to a series of clearings along the beach’s edge. People would drive down and have gatherings and bonfires in each of the clearings. It was very difficult to find because the entrance was just a 20 foot wide break in the brush on the coast highway.
For whatever reason, this party ended up being huge. There was multiple bonfires and lots of people. The very first thing we did was drop some acid. Now, maybe it was purely because of the speed use before, or maybe it was because this acid was a different formula than the Mr. Natural I was used to, but it hit me totally different than ever before.
There were, as I said, numerous fires. I was drinking Mickey’s big mouths too, so I got a little wilder than would be advised. There was an actual car driven out onto the sand and set afire. It was a lot of fire! Me and my friend Marvin ( the same one from the last story) started playing with the fires. Of course we went way too far and got burned, melted our shoes and pissed a bunch of people off.
At one point we were fencing with burning sticks of wood. It was a lot of fun, but we clearly got way too crazy with it. Eventually, Jeffrey decided it was best we leave, and since he seemed more responsible and he had the car, we agreed and we all left to go home. It was on the ride home that things turned bad for me.
First, let me say that Jeffrey’s car probably hadn’t been washed in quite some time. The windows had a haze that showed drips from every time they’d been wet. It was almost as dark as tinting, it was that bad. Our route back to the valley was through Topanga canyon. Topanga Canyon is a really cool winding mountain road with a rich counterculture history. It’s about 15 miles from the beach to the freeway in the valley, all twisty and through dense brush and trees.
As we started up the hill, I started feeling kind of, well, off. Remember, in those days there were no designated drivers. It was whoever was least fucked up. Jeffrey had taken the same acid we had and he was tripping just as hard.
I think the first kernel of paranoia was the smell. I noticed a strong smell of burnt..everything. I had forgotten all about the fire/party. I just knew everything smelled charcoal-y. I looked out the window and it had that look that bongs get with all the resin and blackening and smoke. I started feeling kind of hot, like I was sweating. Then, I noticed a number of other vehicles flying past us. We were passed maybe 5 times in quick succession. Later, I realized this was because Jeffrey was tripping and probably driving 10 miles an hour, but right then, I starting suspecting that these drivers knew something we didn’t.
I started putting the pieces together. I smelled fire everywhere. The windows were all covered in smoky looking resin. People in other cars seemed to be fleeing rapidly. I was feeling hot and sweaty. I became convinced that we were crawling casually into a massive forest fire. I assumed everyone else was too stoned to realize it. My brain had forgotten the real reasons for all of these factors and was creating it’s own narrative which seemed to be leading us slowly to our certain demise. I was freaking the fuck out!
I began demanding that we get the hell out of there. The other people in the car were trying to calm me down, but I thought it was just because they were too stoned to understand. I got progressively more adamant. We have to get the hell out of the canyon, NOW! It was a really long and terrifying ride. Everyone else was patiently trying to calm me down and explaining why I was smelling burning and why there was no fire. I had so deeply immersed myself in the fire theme that I was inconsolable. Finally I got back home and the whole thing was behind me. It was the first bad trip I ever had. The next one would be much, much worse.
The second bad trip was more of a patchwork quilt of paranoid delusions. I had had a few minor bad trips between these two big ones and they worked their way into the last one. All of the little things that had freaked me out to a smaller degree seemed to bubble up to the forefront of my mind on this one night. It was horrific at the time, and not until after did I realize just how out of touch with reality I had become.
On a typical day of this year, I would go out to the local hangout (for us, a 7-11) and try and find some people to party with. That’s how this day started. I first ran into Marvin, who had a couple of hits of acid. We dropped some and then looked for our pot dealer to buy a dimebag. The dealer was named Jimmy, but we all called him Jimmy the Weasel, because he’d try and scam us constantly. We finally found him and bought a bag of weed.
We hooked up with a couple of more people who had some beer and we all shared our stash. We needed a place to party without getting hassled by the man. I had an ex-girlfriend named Nikki who lived just down the street from the seven-eleven this story began at, and we decided to go see if she was home. I hadn’t seen her in a few weeks, so I wanted to say hello anyways. When we got to her apartment, the door was wide open. So, we all went in and started smoking and drinking. This was when it started turning into a nightmare.
After awhile, I had gotten kind of drunk and high. I needed to piss because of all the beer. So, I went to the bathroom. It was here that the first trigger got flipped. As I was peeing, I glanced over at the sink. There was various small spots of blood all over the counter. There was a single edge razor blade with blood on it. As I looked, the blood spots seemed to be getting bigger and bigger. It looked like a crime scene. Then, I walked through the bedroom to get back to my friends. On the bed, there was multiple piles of pills, like 10-12 piles, all sorted out and arranged. The idea of death just sorta slammed into my mind. It just felt like someone had died here. I realized that Nikki had tried to kill herself. It filled me with panic.
I went into the other room and tried to explain it to the others. They seemed completely unconcerned. I increased the urgency, winding myself up into a panic in the process. They didn’t understand, someone died here, likely Nikki. They asked if we should call the cops. That’s when I lost all memory of the events leading up to my being there. I couldn’t remember anything before seeing the blood. The death thoughts just erased that period of time from my mind, I guess. I started to think that maybe, just maybe, I had killed her. It was ridiculous to think, but my broken brain was wondering if that was what happened.
By then, the others had settled on calling the police to report the evidence of suicide. I became convinced they were trying to have me arrested for murder. They strongly urged me to stay there. The paranoia built up in me was pushing me to leave. I began frantically demanding that we leave the apartment. I had to leave and I had to leave now. My friends all thought I was way too out of it to be out in public, so they tried really hard to get me to stay. I thought they were trying to keep me there so the cops could bust me. It all just kept getting more and more intense. Finally, Marvin decided that he would take me to his house and I could ride out my bad trip there.
The trip to Marvin’s house became a massive ordeal. Once I had the paranoid delusions, they just kept getting worse and worse. It was exponential growth of fear and dread, and it led me to actually see things that weren’t there.
Marvin somehow stole a bicycle, a bmx type. The plan was we’d ride this bike to his house and I would lay low until the acid wore off. He was way smaller than me, so I had to do the pedaling. He rode on the handlebars. He lived about 5 miles east on Ventura Blvd, the main drag. I started riding down the sidewalks and trying to convince myself that everything was OK. Out of the corner of my eyes, I could see various strange things like broken windows and people just laying on the ground randomly. It seemed like a riot zone, kind of. It kept increasing in intensity.
Eventually, I started seeing blood and guts everywhere. I saw gory destruction, but it was all at the outer edge of my vision. When I looked directly ahead everything was fine. I felt like I was missing crucial details by not being able to look far enough to the sides. Like a car was coming right at me and I was going to get hit by it or something.
As an aside, I had previously had a minor bad trip which included me thinking I saw intercontinental ballistic missiles flying over L.A. I had also seen a huge group of roaches on the sidewalk as I walked. The missile thing freaked me out, so the next day I researched nuclear war. I collected a bunch of details as to what to expect. The primary one that mattered during this most recent bad trip was the fact that widespread panic and civil unrest could be expected. There was plenty more I learned about fallout patterns and what not, including that roaches were mostly impervious to radioactivity, but rioting was the one that hit during the bicycle trip.
I eventually came to the conclusion that the Russians had attacked when I had previously seen the missiles and this was the panic driven rioting we expected as a result. The whole world looked like a Black Sabbath album cover, but only at the edge where I had to struggle to make it out. The whole nightmare was building in intensity.
After maybe a mile of this, I started crashing the bicycle. I probably crashed 3 or 4 times. These crashes were relatively minor. As a result of the crashes, we both got scraped up some. The scrapes caused some bleeding. In my freaked out mind, the sight of actual blood begat the delusion of much, much more blood basically everywhere. It’s like the “mountain out of a molehill” saying. The tiniest hint got magnified into a terrifying tidal wave of blood. Marvin decided we should go up the hill and travel that way. The Blvd was too populous. So we went up and then headed east again. Eventually, we turned down the hill. It was about this time that I had the strongest hallucination yet.
I heard a loud bang. It sounded like a gunshot. I looked down and clear as day, I saw a massive entrance wound in the middle of my chest. I was certain I had been shot. I was riding the bicycle with Marvin on the handlebars at the time. We were going downhill at a good clip. I thought to myself, well, I’ve been shot and when people get shot they fall. So, I fell. Backwards, off the bicycle. With Marvin still riding on the handlebars. The bike kind of teetered and then tumbled into a ball with Marvin all wrapped around the wreckage. It was a pretty bad wreck and Marvin got chewed up fairly bad. After we got back up, there was no hole in my chest. There was however, even more blood all over. Dripping and leaving stains everywhere. Everything seemed bloody.
Well Marvin decided that we shouldn’t try riding the bike anymore, so we left it where it was and continued on foot. By now it was pretty late at night and thankfully, dark out. After what seemed like an eternity, we made it to Marvin’s house. Marvin lived in a big house, set back off the street quite a ways. There was a long driveway and an electric gate before you got the house. We got inside and things calmed down a bit. Marvin started trying to convince me that I was just having a bad trip and none of this stuff actually happened. I was kind of vacillating between accepting that and insisting that it all seemed so real.
Marvin started calling people and asking for advice on how to get somebody to come down off of an acid trip. We had to try and stay quiet because his parents were already asleep. So, he collected up a bunch of tips on de-tripping someone. The first thing he tried was having me drink a bunch of milk. He brought me a gallon jug. I tried to drink as much as possible as quickly as I could. I was still pretty frantic and shaking quite a bit, so I spilled a whole bunch of it. I was sitting in the dark on an orange velour couch. I spilled a huge amount of milk all over the couch.
After awhile, I noticed the milk stains and realized it looked like blood. Lots and lots of blood. I put two and two together and decided that the rioting had made it’s way to Marvin’s house and his parents had been killed. I panicked even more and just couldn’t stop freaking out. Obviously, the drinking milk plan had not worked.
The other suggestion was taking a cold shower. So I went into the bathroom and tried that bit of advice. I started the water and turned it all the way cold. It was comforting to have the lights on finally, and at first, I thought it would work. I rinsed all the blood (actual blood from all the bike wrecks) off and settled down a bit. I was feeling better.
Then, I started noticing that various sounds were creeping through the noise of the shower. I was alone and nobody could try and calm me, so I just had to work on staying calm myself. The noises kept increasing. They sounded like people being slaughtered. There was more and more of them. Blood curdling screams. It was getting pretty obvious to me that the whole house was filled with rioters killing Marvin and his parents. It just kept building until I couldn’t take it any more. I tried to escape, right through the glass shower stall!
It broke with a loud crash and cut me pretty badly, leading to…you guessed it, even more actual blood. Upon hearing the destruction of the shower stall, Marvin’s dad came rushing in. Apparently he had woken up and Marvin had explained to him that I was having a bad trip. He was pissed and started punching me and throwing me around. I deserved it, for smashing up his house and all, but I really felt like the riots had finally found me and I was doomed to die. After a good amount of beating and punching me he stopped and told Marvin to get me the hell out of there.
Marvin took me out to the garage and called my grandmother to come get me. We sat in the dark garage and watched for her at the gate. I kept imagining hordes of rioters storming it and attacking me. When my grandmother finally arrived, I thought she was one of the murderous rioters. I was way off the deep end.
Well, she drove me home and cleaned all the blood off of me and put me to bed. I was exhausted and didn’t have the energy to continue with the paranoia anymore, so I slept. I slept pretty much all day and woke up in the early evening. I went out to eat something and read the paper while I ate. There was a story about a drug addiction therapy program. I showed it to my grandmother and told her I think I need to do something like this. She said, “Nope, that won’t help you. You’re possessed by the devil and there’s no helping you!” Thanks, grandma!
That evening, I went around to the various places and checked to make sure it was all just a bad dream. There was all the evidence of my ex’s suicide attempt, some broken windows and general disarray here and there. There was a drunken bum who slept on the same bus bench I saw. Oh, and there was a wadded up BMX bike right where I “got shot” LOL. My ex actually had tried suicide. Well, she tried to make it look like she tried suicide. She went away to the funny farm for a long while after that. These events and imagined events all happened about two months before the previous story I submitted a while back.
This was the very last time I ever took acid. It was also the last time I ever took speed. I switched to mostly quaaludes and beer after that, which greatly increased the trouble I got into, but at least it messed with my mind a bit less.
I’m not sure if was able to convey how crazy the whole experience was for me, but I hope I got close. A mind is terrible thing to waste, and mine was wasted that night. This a large part of what drove me to abstain from all mind altering substances for 30 years. Keep in mind, this was just a small portion of my life. This was the tail end of my short lived drug habit. It turned out that reality was for people like me, who couldn’t handle drugs.
BTW, I learned that Los Angeles is in fact a decent target for nuclear annihilation. However, the fallout would likely be carried east by the prevailing winds, so the west coast would be the safest place in America to be. Roaches would be one of the few species that would be unscathed. Most food would contaminated. It would be best to stick with canned foods and possibly fish, as the mass of water and metal cans would prevent radioactivity from infecting the food. Mass is what prevents radioactive contamination. While there are few strategic targets in L.A., there are some (were in 1981 anyways) and the fact that’s it’s a well known population center might make it a target, regardless. This is the kind of shit we worried about in the early eighties (well, that and AIDS). There’s still a number of abandoned missile bases and air raid sirens around Los Angeles.
Abtw, I’m pretty sure Marvin was in and out of prison his whole life. Nikki, I ran into maybe ten years later and she was still the same crazy assed drama queen she was back then. My grandmother eventually got more senile and seemed to lose her nasty streak, slowly and not entirely. I went on to…well, that’s the other story.