An Outbreak of Fear and Paranoia in the Psychedelic Mushroom Community

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I recently put my foot in it. I stepped, as they say, on a hornet’s nest. All hell broke loose and verbal fury was loosed upon me. Here’s what happened.

Some months ago, a chap called Jan Irvin, who runs Gnostic Media, put out a request for funds to help him pursue a project concerned with unveiling a sinister Elite/CIA/NWO conspiracy. Mind you, this was not just any old sinister Elite/CIA/NWO conspiracy. This one involved, allegedly, a vast labyrinthine PSYOPS involving psychedelic mushrooms, Gordon Wasson, Aldous Huxley, The Esalen Institute, Teilhard De Chardin, 2012 eschatology, Alan Watts, Terence McKenna, and all manner of other psychedelic spokesmen and counter-culture luminaries. The gist of it is that the whole hippy psychedelic movement was stage managed by the CIA/Elite/NWO and that the malign manipulations of these ultra-powerful puppet masters stretch back further even than Albert Hofmann’s infamous LSD trip bicycle ride (Irvin even thinks Hofmann’s bicycle trip was a “fabrication” and “BS”). Thus, Irvin is attempting nothing less than a total rewrite of psychedelic history. Believe me, with everything being bent into an infernal conspiracy shape, it’s scary bad trip stuff. Of course, one might simply dismiss all this as the lunatic fringe, yet Irvin is backed and supported by numerous fans and supporters. Indeed, he has already managed to raise 3,000 bucks to fund this latest work.

What originally got me involved were Irvin’s insinuations about Gordon Wasson. Recall that Wasson was the ethnomycological scholar who published a groundbreaking article about psilocybin mushrooms in Life magazine in 1957. This article was just as significant as Aldous Huxley’s 1954 book The Doors of Perception in sparking the West’s interest in psychedelics. Wasson was instrumental in channeling the psilocybin mushroom’s mind expanding influence from the backwaters of Mexico to the very heart of the West. If you have ever experienced “magic mushrooms,” then you have Gordon Wasson to thank — at least in part.

Now, the conventional view of Wasson is that there was indeed a connection with dodgy mischief-makers — in this case the thin-tied, shade-wearing CIA. But this connection was minor and indirect. The conventional view, which has been well documented, is that the CIA got an agent to infiltrate one of Wasson’s mushroom hunting trips to Mexico. Here is what I wrote about it in my book The Psilocybin Solution:

“In his book The Search for the ‘Manchurian Candidate,’ John Marks tells us of the CIA’s covert involvement with our hero Wasson. In its relentless and arguably psychotic search for ever-more effective weaponry, the CIA had, by the 1950s, initiated a massive twenty-five million dollar long-term program called MKULTRA. True to its suspicious-sounding name, Project MKULTRA involved finding chemical and biological materials for use in “mind kontrol” and other psychological unpleasantries. Despite the morally questionable nature of such an unsavory federal project, its dogmatic pursuit meant that it was soon to pick up on rumors of sacred Mexican mushrooms. After learning of Wasson’s 1955 experiences with the mushroom, an unscrupulous chemist named James Moore immediately began to work undercover for the conspiratorial agency. Presumably dollars changed hands surreptitiously. At any rate, in 1956, Moore craftily wrote to Wasson informing him that he knew of a foundation willing to finance another Mexican trip in order that he and Wasson bring back some of the legendary mushrooms. Moore innocently claimed that, as a chemist, he simply wanted to study the chemical structure of the mushroom’s active constituents. The foundation was the CIA-backed Geschwickter Fund for Medical Research, and they were offering a two-thousand dollar grant. Would Wasson be interested?

Understandably, Wasson took the bait, and so it came to pass that the CIA’s secret quest for the sacred mushroom became Subproject 58 of the MKULTRA program, possibly representing the most crass approach to psilocybin to date. It was as if the CIA were lobbing stones at angels. Fittingly, it transpired that the double-dealing Moore was well out of his comfort zone in Mexico and loathed the entire episode. Wasson later recalled that Moore had absolutely no empathy for what was going on. Whereas Wasson was sensitive to the customs of the native Mexican Indians and respectful of their cultural beliefs about the mushroom, Moore was there merely as a CIA pawn.

Once again, all those who were in Wasson’s party took part in a mushroom ceremony hosted by the shaman Maria Sabina, though it was Moore alone who had a bad experience. Despite this, Moore was still able to bring back some of the fungi to the United States in the hope of isolating the active ingredient. Thankfully, however, he was beaten in his pharmaceutical pursuit by Roger Heim, an eminent French mycologist and coworker of Wasson, who managed to grow a supply of the mushroom from spore prints that he had taken in Mexico. Heim sent his newly cultivated samples to Albert Hofmann of Sandoz Laboratories in Switzerland, and it was Hofmann, a highly distinguished chemist who had originally synthesized LSD, who, in 1958, first isolated and then named the entheogenic alkaloid within the mushroom. Psilocybin was thus officially born, a name devoid of the weaponry connotations the CIA would invariably have conferred upon the substance had they successfully isolated it first.”

The thing to bear in mind is that Wasson did not know that he was being duped by the CIA. It is also worth driving home the point that all these events took place during the paranoid anti-Communist McCarthyism Cold War era of the 1950s, when the CIA had an active interest in mind control drugs for use in espionage. However, things never worked out that well for the CIA, as psilocybin cannot be used as a mind control “truth drug.” As users will know, psychedelic drugs are more like de-conditioning agents that can make one challenge orthodoxy and cultural control structures. Indeed, that is probably one principal reason why psilocybin has been demonized and illegalized by the authorities. If you wish to control someone and extract information, or get them to do your dirty espionage work or whatever, then the psilocybin mushroom is not a tool for your arsenal.

Despite this long accepted story in which the CIA briefly tried to subvert the psilocybin mushroom, Irvin has been asserting, in no uncertain terms, that Wasson was not duped at all, but was an actual CIA agent himself, and part of a cunning and elaborate “Elite” conspiracy. Irvin even tries to tie in Wasson with the assassination of JFK. And this is but the tip of his conspiratorial thesis!

It was the attack on Wasson’s reputation that first roused my attention. I came across Irvin’s project overview and appeal for funding many months ago via Facebook and thought it was nuts. I decided not to look further — in the same way that I stay away from certain other ‘far out’ ideas that are rife on the Internet these days and which zip around Facebook and the like.

Then, through the independent efforts of some new contacts (chiefly Jonny Enoch), I found myself being asked to go on 3Fourteen Radio, which is part of the popular Red Ice Radio network. Not being a follower of Red Ice, I knew very little about them (as Jonny Enoch has pointed out on a recent video, I am more interested in studying natural history than conspiracy theories). In any case, I went on their show not simply to have a go at Irvin, but to talk about my own work (books, films, music). However, given that Red Ice had recently interviewed Irvin about his Wasson-based conspiracy ideas, I mentioned that I would listen to his interview and comment upon it when they interviewed me. For some reason, I felt I had to do that. But I left listening to Irvin’s two hour interview till the night before my own interview because I sensed that it would “work me up,” and thus wanted to delay being subjected to it for as long as possible.

I should here point out that having read most of Gordon Wasson’s books (including the esteemed Mushrooms, Russia and History along with The Wondrous Mushroom: Mycolatry in Mesoamerica) whilst researching for my psilocybin book, I had developed a deep respect for Wasson. I was always particularly impressed with his literary skills and his passion for all things “psilocybinetic.” Regardless of the fact that Wasson was originally a bigwig banker, he was a dedicated scholar of psilocybin history. I particularly admired him because he presented the psilocybin mushroom to the West in such a reverent and passionate way — and this includes his vivid descriptions of psilocybin induced visions. It was as if fate had chosen Wasson to spread word of psilocybin because he would undertake such an auspicious task with the due care and attention that it deserved. Here is a typical example of his vivid prose concerning the nature of the psilocybin experience:

“As your body lies there in its sleeping bag, your soul is free, loses all sense of time, alert as it never was before, living an eternity in a night, seeing infinity in a grain of sand. What you have seen and heard is cut as with a burin into your memory, never to be effaced. At last you know what the ineffable is and what ecstasy means…. The bemushroomed person is poised in space, a disembodied eye, invisible, incorporeal, seeing but not seen. In truth, he is the five senses disembodied, all of them keyed to the height of sensitivity and awareness, all of them blending into one another most strangely, until the person, utterly passive, becomes a pure receptor, infinitely delicate, of sensations.”

Back to this Red Ice interview involving Irvin. The night before my audio date with Red Ice, I finally listened to Irvin’s two hour interview (at the time of writing, it is here: http://youtu.be/E-XcsdXto7w). What he said had a decidedly frictional impact upon my psyche, as I suspected it would). I certainly didn’t buy into his ideas. I smelled that something was not quite right, not right at all. I checked a few web pages and a few video interviews, but I did not check out his full Wasson conspiracy essay (which is very long and very detailed). Basically, my BS detector alarm had gone off, so I saw little point in working through that essay (at least at that juncture).

It seems to me that a man’s legacy is the work he leaves behind. Wasson’s chief legacy is his books and articles about psychedelic mushrooms, in particular psilocybin mushrooms. If you read his books, you get a feel for the man, a sense of the intent behind the words. So when someone starts making slurs about the character of someone you rate, you obviously take notice and may feel obliged to stand up for their honor (for want of a better word). The reader should also note that in the aforementioned interview, Irvin also intimated that philosopher Alan Watts had a ‘handler’ and was, like Wasson, linked to this huge NWO/Elite conspiracy. Anyone who is familiar with Watts’ talks and videos will know this is a Pythonesque assertion.

So then…. a tad “worked up,” I went on the radio show (currently here: http://youtu.be/-XvBj4Bwea4). Some way into the interview, I made my feelings known about what Irvin had said in his two hour interview. I used a few expletives (but carefully placed I thought). As far as I recall, I did not direct those expletives at Irvin’s person, but rather at his intent and his research conclusions. In any case, the following week was like the Blitz. It was crazy. So much was written — Facebook and forum threads longer than time itself. Hate mail and hate messages of the most foul and vicious kind were sent to me and even started showing up on my Youtube videos. The shit had well and truly hit the fan. Apart from swearing every which way and making threats at people, Irvin even transcribed a fair whack of my interview and created a web page dedicated to highlighting my apparently lying fallacious mind (at the time of writing, it is here: http://www.gnosticmedia.com/into-the-mind-of-simon-g-powell-a-study-in-fallacious-logic/).

I have now, finally, read Irvin’s essay on Wasson (at the time of writing, it is here: http://www.gnosticmedia.com/magic-mushrooms-and-the-psychedelic-revolution-beginning-a-new-history-or-the-secret-history-of-magic-mushrooms-by-jan-irvin-144-2/). Here is a brief quote typifying his rhetoric in this essay: “We’ve seen a cover?up of a mind control and propaganda campaign regarding mushrooms and the field of ethnomycology that reaches to the highest levels of the U.S. government, intelligence, and  banking, and may tie directly into MK?ULTRA. We’ve also seen a concerted effort to cover up the origins of one of America’s wealthiest banking families — the Morgans. We’ve seen ties to the American fascists. And what’s worse, we’ve uncovered a possible cover?up of a conspiracy to commit the murder of a U.S. president — John F. Kennedy.”

That is pretty sensational stuff! Who on earth would have thunk it? I will not reply to every detail of the essay (or his Red Ice interview). That would take forever as Irvin covers so much ground and invokes so many, many names (apparently he spent five or more years developing these conspiracy ideas). The error of Irvin’s reasoning process can be traced to the unwarranted conclusions he draws. It is my opinion that this is the crux of the matter. In other words, Irvin promotes guilt by association. Because Wasson knew a certain person, and because that person knew someone else, and because that person did something really bad, then Wasson must have been in on it.

For instance, Irvin makes the point that Wasson knew George De Mohrenschildt, who himself knew Lee Harvey Oswald. Yet that does not mean Wasson was conspiratorially involved in the assassination of JFK (as Irvin repeatedly alludes). How many commissions and hearings were there concerning the assassination of JFK? How many investigators looked into it? Heaps and heaps — investigating the JFK assassination was an industry unto itself! Yet, as far as I know, Wasson was never called in to testify or account for himself or whatever. Certainly, he was never arrested and put on trial, and his name is not usually mentioned in significant connection with the JFK assassination. So what if Wasson’s phone number was in De Mohrenschildt’s notebook? There were probably hundreds of names in there. Both he and Wasson were bigwigs, knew one another, and moved in similar circles (Wasson was a high ranking banker). But if we play the guilt by association game, we can, of course, go ‘aha!’ and condemn Wasson. It would be akin to condemning Irvin himself for some heinous crime simply because of an email he got from someone, or because a link could be made between him and an associate who committed some crime. Guilt by association is a dangerous game to play.

Here is another pertinent retort to Irvin, this time addressing Irvin’s interpretation of a certain letter that he read out during his Red Ice interview. Let me quote from Tommy Decentralized, whose contrary interpretations of this letter were deleted by Irvin on Irvin’s website. Tommy writes:

“Jan Irvin read a letter on Red Ice radio that, allegedly, is a letter by George Kennan to Gordon Wasson, from April, 1953. It appears the letter sent to Wasson by Kennan, is Kennan rejecting an offer to be recruited into the CIA. Irvin assumes Wasson must be a high level CIA agent for knowing about the CIA’s recruitment efforts. The reality, however, is that Wasson, Allen Dulles [another guilt-by-association figure mentioned in the letter], and Kennan, were all friends. They had worked together previously via The Ford Foundation — which used grants for Russian students to come to the US to study, a focus being on the liberal arts. By 1953, however, Kennan wrote new strategies concerning the containment of communism. Kennan had a “change of heart” by the time that letter was sent. Kennan no longer felt that a secret intelligence was needed, and that it would be better to talk with Russia and China. He also felt that communism could be contained by promoting education and capitalism to neighboring and third world countries. Kennan was made head of the Free Russia Fund that focused on exchange students with Russia. Kennan also felt that the US should support anti-communist countries as well and that there was no need for the CIA. In my opinion it was these new strategies for the containment of communism that Kennan proposed to congress, that Kennan was referring to in the letter that Jan read. It doesn’t make sense that Kennan would work indirectly for the CIA, because by 1953, when the letter was sent, Kennan opposed the existence of the CIA. Kennan also regretted many of the talks he had given and papers he had previously written that were being misconstrued in the Cold War conduct. Therefore I feel Jan Irvin’s speculation that the letter meant Kennan would secretly work for the CIA is false.”

In other words, Irvin draws unfounded inferences from this letter, yet makes those unfounded inferences seem real, for he states outright in the interview that Wasson was an agent for the CIA. Repeating such unwarranted allegations to listeners who may know little about Wasson, Kennan, and all the other names dropped by Irvin, might well make those listeners simply take Irvin at his word. An endless stream of names, letters, documents, connections, and citations — it all sounds terribly convincing and so it must be true!

On a similar note, much is made by Irvin concerning the Century Club in New York (see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Century_Association). According to Irvin, this club was a ‘front’ for the CIA, a place where the CIA/Elite could conspire about mind control and world domination. Again, Irvin asserts this outright as if it were an established fact. Yet there is no conclusive evidence for this allegation at all. Over 100 years old and still going strong, the secretary there apparently sent Irvin a list of historical Club members, and this showed that many of them were members of the Office of Strategic Services (the OSS was a WW2 intelligence gathering organization). So what? The Century Club was for high powered New York socialites. Movers and shakers. Given that governmental organizations and secret services have thousands and thousands of staff, many of them are likely to be members of exclusive clubs. But just because someone was once in the OSS does not make them a sinister conspirational miscreant who graduated to the CIA.

And even if there were lots of CIA people at the Century Club, what of it? They had to hang out somewhere. It should also be borne in mind that back in the paranoid Cold War days of the 1950s, the CIA might well have been deemed an asset by the general public. If CIA agents were working behind the scenes to stop the dreaded Communist threat, many Americans would have thought of them as patriotic heroes as opposed to the way we may think of CIA agents today. In any case, one could doubtless find a way to link a randomly chosen Century Club member to, say, the arms industry. Or to Nazi Germany. Or to pharmaceutical giants. Or to Middle Eastern oil barons. Or right wing Fundamentalist Christians. Or any dodgy group or person that you care to think of. It means very little. Unless you are intent on making it mean something by way of guilt by association.

For the record, and from reviewing Irvin’s copious work, I don’t doubt that Wasson mingled with CIA people and other intelligence operatives. I guess he must have, as they moved in similar circles. As stated, the Cold War and the socio-political climate was different in the 1950s. People in positions of power and influence would have been talking about the relationship between the USA and the Soviet Union. Wasson may even have openly discussed his visionary mushroom encounters with CIA people. But, from direct experience, he would have well known that psilocybin would not be any good as a “truth serum” for espionage purposes. So when Irvin reckons that the aforementioned CIA infiltration of one of Wasson’s trips to Mexico was but a red herring to act as a cover and throw off future investigators, and that Wasson was James Moore’s superior at the CIA. Irvin is actually bending over backwards trying to fit everything together (like forcing jigsaw pieces into a spurious pattern). If the CIA wanted to get their hands on the active ingredient of the mushroom, there was no need for convoluted cloak and dagger operations and double bluffs and such. Just send a man out to infiltrate Wasson’s mushroom hunting party (as happened) and then bring back some mushroom samples. And if that fails to deliver up the active ingredient, then go straight to Sandoz after Sandoz has managed to isolate it. Pretty straightforward really. No need for twisted double bluffs to foil people fifty years hence.

There is also the question of the material Irvin garnered from both the Century Club and the CIA archives and which he uses to build his case. Is this lax security or what? Are we to conclude that the slick shenanigans of the Elite/CIA/NWO have been defeated by the Freedom of Information Act and/or obliging Club secretaries that are only too willing to photocopy personal letters dealing (allegedly) with shifty covert CIA operations? After apparently masterminding the entire psychedelic movement (as Irvin claims), are the Elite/CIA really that weak and stupid that they forgot to shred personal letters and documents? Did Wasson miss the CIA lesson on how to cover his trail? Or do these tracks, trails and clues exist only in Irvin’s mind? In fact, one could equally play Irvin at his own game and argue that the big stack of documents that the CIA and the Century Club allowed Irvin easy access to were, in actuality, fake and purposefully designed to confuse him, thereby throwing him off the real trail. After all, if history is little more than Illuminati-orchestrated mind control as Irvin believes, why would he himself be immune from its omnipotent, sinister influence? Maybe he himself is being played.

Another indication that all is not what it seems is the letter Irvin wrote to the Gordon Wasson Archives at Harvard asking for access to the material held there. The Harvard curators asked about the nature of his research and Irvin told them, in candid detail, what his aims were. Irvin wrote:

“I’m especially interested in missives that would show Wasson to have intentionally created the psychedelic movement via his ties to [Henry] Luce through the CFR and Century and the head of the CIA.”

Given the curious nature of Irvin’s request, it is perhaps understandable that the Harvard curators wanted nothing whatsoever to do with him, and thus they flatly denied him access. Here is what Irvin says about this unsurprising brick wall reaction:

“Of course this was the response I was expecting I’d get. Myself and several professors interested in investigating this matter had discussed this topic and how I should proceed. If I were granted access to the archives, then great, I’d be able to verify a handful of the other, less important materials. If, on the other hand I was denied access, then I’d just publish their refusal to grant access and bring attention to the issue. In fact, publishing their notice of refusal to grant access is almost better than giving me access, as it shows a probability that there is a concerted effort to keep people out of the Wasson archives if they aren’t likely to perpetuate the Wassonian legends and myths.”

This is telling. It sounds like Irvin orchestrated the block against him in order to support his unfounded conspiracy ideas. Yet, if Irvin had just played the game and said he was doing basic biographical research (or gotten someone else to approach Harvard), he could have gotten access to Wasson’s personal documents with ease and could then have found more evidence to blow open Wasson’s alleged secret CIA operations! If Irvin really, really cared for the truth, and really, really thought people in the psychedelic community were being hoodwinked, he would have said anything to access those records that he apparently believes to be so important. Yet he didn’t, did he? He approached Harvard in such a way that he knew they would block him.

Things become even more odd. To support his allegations, Irvin has made use of “Brain software,” which allows a user to show how everything is connected. To be sure about it, the issue here is the interconnectedness of people and organizations, something that Irvin is nigh on obsessed with (he has an impressive memory for names and associations). It is precisely these connections and associations that constitute Irvin’s finger of guilt. Yet, just because there are connections between people and organizations, does not mean that sinister Illuminati conspiracies are afoot. I am here reminded of the movie Six Degrees of Separation, where the viewer learns that everyone is connected to everyone via other people. Indeed, I wonder if Irvin has ever considered exploring “Brain” connections with himself at the centre, or with controversial mushroom author John Allegro at the centre? If one were really intent on making conspiracy connections, the results might prove interesting.

Another point to make is that Irvin and his followers repeatedly invoke the Trivium, an ancient psychological system designed to facilitate knowledge acquisition and effective reason. The Trivium is wielded like a powerful amulet by Irvin’s followers (some critics have called it a “fetish”). The assumption is that those who do not use the Trivium cannot see as clearly (i.e. see the big mind control conspiracies) as those, like Irvin and his followers, who do use it. In fact, as Tommy Decentralized has pointed out (before Irvin once again deleted his posts), the Trivium can rightly be used to debunk conspiracy theories! And, as Irvin has pointed out elsewhere, the Trivium can even be used to mislead people.

At the end of the day, what everything really boils down is interpretation. I have heard Irvin speak of the so-called “grammar” of the Trivium (the who, what, where and when) as being akin to bricks. And that once the bricks have been established, a house can be built. But the truth, it seems to me, is that Irvin is building something according to the dictates of his imagination as opposed to revealing an objectively existing building. This is to say that he takes all these bricks (people, places, associations — the who, what, where and when) and then builds a vast conspiratorial architecture that is not actually there at all. So it is not an objective house of bricks that Irvin has constructed, but rather a paranoid house of cards.

All this suggests that Irvin is using his beloved Trivium in an erroneous manner. Here is an astonishing quote of Irvin’s from his two hour Red Ice interview: “Anybody who tells you that logic goes first is a sophist and is trying to trick you.” Say what? Anybody who does not use the Trivium and applies their own brand of logic and common sense when making a judgment about an issue is out to trick others? That contention sounds mighty paranoid and elitist to me!

If I am correct about all this (and I should point out that I have told Irvin that I will issue a public apology if his conspiracy ideas about Wasson, Alan Watts, McKenna, et al, turn out to be true beyond all reasonable doubt), then what we have here is an outbreak of conspiracy-based paranoia, hitherto more usually found in other areas of the socio-collective psyche. In point of fact, Irvin’s take on reality is remarkably similar in kind to the scurrilous, fear-mongering paranoia whipped up by Lyndon LaRouche (check out LaRouche’s sordid nuttiness on Wikipedia). The danger with paranoia is that it promotes an atmosphere of fear and mistrust. The psilocybin mushroom then becomes clouded and muddied. People may miss the point. And what is the point? The point is the actual psilocybin mushroom itself, the very fungal organism lauded and spread by Wasson over half a century ago and later cultured and further spread by McKenna. It is the potential ability of the psilocybin mushroom to empower an individual and boost their consciousness that is the key thing we are in danger of missing amidst all this fear-mongering. The virtuous effects of psilocybin (particularly their eco-psychological effects) is what the psychedelic community should be promoting, not fear and mistrust. Hence, the psychedelic community is obliged to make a stand on this issue. But that’s just my opinion. Make of it what you will.

To conclude, I offer a germane quote from Jonathan Ott concerning the capacity of psilocybin to afford ecological/biospherical sensitivity. In Pharmacotheon Ott writes:

“I firmly believe that the contemporary spiritual use of entheogenic drugs is one of humankind’s brightest hopes for overcoming the ecological crisis with which we threaten the biosphere and jeopardize our own survival, for Homo sapiens is close to the head of the list of endangered species. We need to recapture the mysterium tremendum of the unio mystica, the millennial awe our ancestors felt in the divine presence, in the sublime majesty of our marvelous Universe, in the entheogenic “bemushroomed” state the sage Gordon Wasson described.”

NOTE — this essay dealt chiefly with Irvin’s take on Wasson. Examining his most recent video where he repeatedly calls Terence McKenna a “wilful idiot,” and where he makes disturbing allegations against the Esalen Institute, Alan Watts, Aldous Huxley, and others, needs to be dealt with by someone else. Indeed, I have, by now, really had enough of all this. Thus, in the Comments section below, I expect others involved in the recent heated debates to step in and make their opinions known (at the time of writing, that most recent video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3b9OvRAKfzw&feature=share&list=UU_lvvd3d3K7NgLtWstl6YNg)

ADDITIONAL — thanks to Joe Rogan, Tommy Decentralized, Jonny Enoch, and those others who offered me words of support when things were getting really heated.

ADDENDUM (10/10/12) — The author I quoted from at the start of the essay – namely John Marks (author of The Search for the Manchurian Candidate) – was, I assume, the man who first found out about the CIA guy who infiltrated Wasson’s 1958 trip to Mexico. I have just discovered that there is a Wiki page about him here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_D._Marks

It occurred to me that if anyone could have found out about whether or not Wasson was indeed a CIA spy, then it would be this John Marks fellow. Indeed, as Wiki states: “Marks’ award-winning 1979 book The Search for the Manchurian Candidate describes a wide range of CIA activities during the Cold War, including unethical drug experiments in the context of a mind-control and chemical interrogation research program. The book is based on 15,000 pages of CIA documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and many interviews, including those with retired members of the psychological division of the CIA, and the book describes some of the work of psychologists in this effort with a whole chapter on the Personality Assessment System.”

That sounds like much more extensive research than Irvin undertook. Yet no evidence, as far as I recall, that Wasson was a CIA agent.

Finally, Andrew Rutajit has been in touch and stated that it was a “fantastic article” and that he was in “full support” of me. Andrew once worked with Irvin at Gnostic Media and they are also co-authors. Andrew also requested that he would like his name to be added to those, mentioned above, who have been supporting me.

Image by AJC1, courtesy of Creative Commons license. 

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This recipe provides step by step directions on how you can make mushroom chocolates with the necessary ingredients. Read to learn more!

Why Do People Use Psilocybin? New Johns Hopkins Study
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicines has just published a new study on psychoactive effects of psilocybin. Read here to learn more.

How-To Lemon Tek: Ultimate Guide and Recipe
This master guide will teach you how to lemon tek, preventing the onset of negative effects after consuming psilocybin. Read to learn more!

How to Intensify a Mushroom Trip
Learn about techniques like Lemon tekking, or discover the right time to consume cannabis if you are looking to intensify a mushroom trip.

How to Grow Magic Mushrooms: Step-by-Step
This step-by-step guide will show you how to grow magic mushrooms at home. Read this guide before trying it on your own.

How to Dry Magic Mushrooms: Best Practices
Read to learn more about specifics for the best practices on how to dry magic mushrooms after harvesting season.

How to Buy Psilocybin Spores
Interested in psilocybin mushrooms? We’ll walk you through all you need to know to obtain mushroom spores. Nosh on this delish How To guide.

Hippie Flipping: When Shrooms and Molly Meet
What is it, what does it feel like, and how long does it last? Explore the mechanics of hippie flipping and how to safely experiment.

Having Sex on Shrooms: Good or Bad Idea?
Is having sex on shrooms a good idea or an accident waiting to happen? Find out in our guide to sex on magic mushrooms.

Gold Cap Shrooms Guide: Spores, Effects, Identification
Read this guide to learn more about the different characteristics of gold cap mushrooms, and how they differ from other psilocybin species.

Guide to Cooking with Magic Mushrooms
From cookies to smoothies and sandwiches, we cover various methods of cooking with magic mushrooms for the ultimate snack.

2020 Election: The Decriminalize Psilocybin Movement
Are you curious if mushrooms will follow in marijuana’s footsteps? Read to learn about how the U.S. is moving to decriminalize psilocybin.

Oregon’s Initiative to Legalize Mushrooms | Initiative Petition 34
Oregon continues to push ahead with their initiative to legalize Psilocybin in 2020. The measure received its official title and now needs signatures.

Canada Approves Psilocybin Treatment for Terminally-Ill Cancer Patients
Canada’s Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu approved the use of psilocybin to help ease anxiety and depression of four terminal cancer patients.

Mapping the DMT Experience
With only firsthand experiences to share, how can we fully map the DMT experience? Let’s explore what we know about this powerful psychedelic.

Guide to Machine Elves and Other DMT Entities
This guide discusses machine elves, clockwork elves, and other common DMT entities that people experience during a DMT trip.

Is the DMT Experience a Hallucination? 
What if the DMT realm was the real world, and our everyday lives were merely a game we had chosen to play?

How to Store DMT
Not sure how to store DMT? Read this piece to learn the best practices and elements of advice to keep your stuff fresh.

What Does 5-MeO-DMT Show Us About Consciousness?
How does our brain differentiate between what’s real and what’s not? Read to learn what can 5-MeO-DMT show us about consciousness.

How to Smoke DMT: Processes Explained
There are many ways to smoke DMT and we’ve outlined some of the best processes to consider before embarking on your journey.

How to Ground After DMT
Knowing what to expect from a DMT comedown can help you integrate the experience to gain as much value as possible from your journey.

How To Get DMT
What kind of plants contain DMT? Are there other ways to access this psychedelic? Read on to learn more about how to get DMT.

How DMT is Made: Everything You Need to Know
Ever wonder how to make DMT? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how DMT is made.

Having Sex on DMT: What You Need to Know
Have you ever wondered about sex on DMT? Learn how the God Molecule can influence your intimate experiences.

Does the Human Brain Make DMT? 
With scientific evidence showing us DMT in the brain, what can we conclude it is there for? Read on to learn more.

How to Use DMT Vape Pens
Read to learn all about DMT vape pens including: what to know when vaping, what to expect when purchasing a DMT cartridge, and vaping safely.

DMT Resources
This article is a comprehensive DMT resource providing extensive information from studies, books, documentaries, and more. Check it out!

Differentiating DMT and Near-Death Experiences
Some say there are similarities between a DMT trip and death. Read our guide on differentiating DMT and near-death experiences to find out.

DMT Research from 1956 to the Edge of Time
From a representative sample of a suitably psychedelic crowd, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who couldn’t tell you all about Albert Hofmann’s enchanted bicycle ride after swallowing what turned out to be a massive dose of LSD. Far fewer, however, could tell you much about the world’s first DMT trip.

The Ultimate Guide to DMT Pricing
Check out our ultimate guide on DMT pricing to learn what to expect when purchasing DMT for your first time.

DMT Milking | Reality Sandwich
Indigenous cultures have used 5-MeO-DMT for centuries. With the surge in demand for psychedelic toad milk, is DMT Milking harming the frogs?

Why Does DMT Pervade Nature?
With the presence of DMT in nature everywhere – including human brains – why does it continue to baffle science?

DMT Substance Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to DMT has everything you want to know about this powerful psychedelic referred to as “the spirit molecule”.

DMT for Depression: Paving the Way for New Medicine
We’ve been waiting for an effective depression treatment. Studies show DMT for depression works even for treatment resistant patients.

Beating Addiction with DMT
Psychedelics have been studied for their help overcoming addiction. Read how DMT is helping addicts beat their substance abuse issues.

DMT Extraction: Behind the Scientific Process
Take a look at DMT extraction and the scientific process involved. Learn all you need to know including procedures and safety.

Microdosing DMT & Common Dosages Explained
Microdosing, though imperceivable, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing DMT.

DMT Art: A Look Behind Visionary Creations
An entire genre of artwork is inspired by psychedelic trips with DMT. Read to learn about the entities and visions behind DMT art.

Changa vs. DMT: What You Need to Know
While similar (changa contains DMT), each drug has its own unique effect and feeling. Let’s compare and contrast changa vs DMT.

5-MeO-DMT Guide: Effects, Benefits, Safety, and Legality
5-Meo-DMT comes from the Sonora Desert toad. Here is everything you want to know about 5-Meo-DMT and how it compares to 4-AcO-DMT.

4-AcO-DMT Guide: Benefits, Effects, Safety, and Legality
This guide tells you everything about 4 AcO DMT & 5 MeO DMT, that belong to the tryptamine class, and are similar but slightly different to DMT.

How Much Does LSD Cost? When shopping around for that magical psychedelic substance, there can be many uncertainties when new to buying LSD. You may be wondering how much does LSD cost? In this article, we will discuss what to expect when purchasing LSD on the black market, what forms LSD is sold in, and the standard breakdown of buying LSD in quantity.   Navy Use of LSD on the Dark Web The dark web is increasingly popular for purchasing illegal substances. The US Navy has now noticed this trend with their staff. Read to learn more.   Having Sex on LSD: What You Need to Know Can you have sex on LSD? Read our guide to learn everything about sex on acid, from lowered inhibitions to LSD users quotes on sex while tripping.   A Drug That Switches off an LSD Trip A pharmaceutical company is developing an “off-switch” drug for an LSD trip, in the case that a bad trip can happen. Some would say there is no such thing.   Queen of Hearts: An Interview with Liz Elliot on Tim Leary and LSD The history of psychedelia, particularly the British experience, has been almost totally written by men. Of the women involved, especially those who were in the thick of it, little has been written either by or about them. A notable exception is Liz Elliot.   LSD Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety LSD, Lysergic acid diethylamide, or just acid is one of the most important psychedelics ever discovered. What did history teach us?   Microdosing LSD & Common Dosage Explained Microdosing, though imperceivable, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing LSD.   LSD Resources Curious to learn more about LSD? This guide includes comprehensive LSD resources containing books, studies and more.   LSD as a Spiritual Aid There is common consent that the evolution of mankind is paralleled by the increase and expansion of consciousness. From the described process of how consciousness originates and develops, it becomes evident that its growth depends on its faculty of perception. Therefore every means of improving this faculty should be used.   Legendary LSD Blotter Art: A Hidden Craftsmanship Have you ever heard of LSD blotter art? Explore the trippy world of LSD art and some of the top artists of LSD blotter art.   LSD and Exercise: Does it Work? LSD and exercise? Learn why high-performing athletes are taking hits of LSD to improve their overall potential.   Jan Bastiaans Treated Holocaust Survivors with LSD Dutch psychiatrist, Jan Bastiaans administered LSD-assisted therapy to survivors of the Holocaust. A true war hero and pioneer of psychedelic-therapy.   LSD and Spiritual Awakening I give thanks for LSD, which provided the opening that led me to India in 1971 and brought me to Neem Karoli Baba, known as Maharajji. Maharajji is described by the Indians as a “knower of hearts.”   How LSD is Made: Everything You Need to Know Ever wonder how to make LSD? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how LSD is made.   How to Store LSD: Best Practices Learn the best way to store LSD, including the proper temperature and conditions to maximize how long LSD lasts when stored.   Bicycle Day: The Discovery of LSD Every year on April 19th, psychonauts join forces to celebrate Bicycle Day. Learn about the famous day when Albert Hoffman first discovered the effects of LSD.   Cary Grant: A Hollywood Legend On LSD Cary Grant was a famous actor during the 1930’s-60’s But did you know Grant experimented with LSD? Read our guide to learn more.   Albert Hofmann: LSD — My Problem Child Learn about Albert Hofmann and his discovery of LSD, along with the story of Bicycle Day and why it marks a historic milestone.   Babies are High: What Does LSD Do To Your Brain What do LSD and babies have in common? Researchers at the Imperial College in London discover that an adult’s brain on LSD looks like a baby’s brain.   1P LSD: Effects, Benefits, Safety Explained 1P LSD is an analogue of LSD and homologue of ALD-25. Here is everything you want to know about 1P LSD and how it compares to LSD.   Francis Crick, DNA & LSD Type ‘Francis Crick LSD’ into Google, and the result will be 30,000 links. Many sites claim that Crick (one of the two men responsible for discovering the structure of DNA), was either under the influence of LSD at the time of his revelation or used the drug to help with his thought processes during his research. Is this true?   What Happens If You Overdose on LSD? A recent article presented three individuals who overdosed on LSD. Though the experience was unpleasant, the outcomes were remarkably positive.

The Ayahuasca Experience
Ayahuasca is both a medicine and a visionary aid. You can employ ayahuasca for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual repair, and you can engage with the power of ayahuasca for deeper insight and realization. If you consider attainment of knowledge in the broadest perspective, you can say that at all times, ayahuasca heals.

 

Trippy Talk: Meet Ayahuasca with Sitaramaya Sita and PlantTeachers
Sitaramaya Sita is a spiritual herbalist, pusangera, and plant wisdom practitioner formally trained in the Shipibo ayahuasca tradition.

 

The Therapeutic Value of Ayahuasca
My best description of the impact of ayahuasca is that it’s a rocket boost to psychospiritual growth and unfolding, my professional specialty during my thirty-five years of private practice.

 

Microdosing Ayahuasca: Common Dosage Explained
What is ayahuasca made of and what is considered a microdose? Explore insights with an experienced Peruvian brewmaster and learn more about this practice.

 

Ayahuasca Makes Neuron Babies in Your Brain
Researchers from Beckley/Sant Pau Research Program have shared the latest findings in their study on the effects of ayahuasca on neurogenesis.

 

The Fatimiya Sufi Order and Ayahuasca
In this interview, the founder of the Fatimiya Sufi Order,  N. Wahid Azal, discusses the history and uses of plant medicines in Islamic and pre-Islamic mystery schools.

 

Consideration Ayahuasca for Treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Research indicates that ayahuasca mimics mechanisms of currently accepted treatments for PTSD. In order to understand the implications of ayahuasca treatment, we need to understand how PTSD develops.

 

Brainwaves on Ayahuasca: A Waking Dream State
In a study researchers shared discoveries showing ingredients found in Ayahuasca impact the brainwaves causing a “waking dream” state.

 

Cannabis and Ayahuasca: Mixing Entheogenic Plants
Cannabis and Ayahuasca: most people believe they shouldn’t be mixed. Read this personal experience peppered with thoughts from a pro cannabis Peruvian Shaman.

 

Ayahuasca Retreat 101: Everything You Need to Know to Brave the Brew
Ayahuasca has been known to be a powerful medicinal substance for millennia. However, until recently, it was only found in the jungle. Word of its deeply healing and cleansing properties has begun to spread across the world as many modern, Western individuals are seeking spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical well-being. More ayahuasca retreat centers are emerging in the Amazon and worldwide to meet the demand.

 

Ayahuasca Helps with Grief
A new study published in psychopharmacology found that ayahuasca helped those suffering from the loss of a loved one up to a year after treatment.

 

Ayahuasca Benefits: Clinical Improvements for Six Months
Ayahuasca benefits can last six months according to studies. Read here to learn about the clinical improvements from drinking the brew.

 

Ayahuasca Culture: Indigenous, Western, And The Future
Ayahuasca has been use for generations in the Amazon. With the rise of retreats and the brew leaving the rainforest how is ayahuasca culture changing?

 

Ayahuasca Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
The Amazonian brew, Ayahuasca has a long history and wide use. Read our guide to learn all about the tea from its beginnings up to modern-day interest.

 

Ayahuasca and the Godhead: An Interview with Wahid Azal of the Fatimiya Sufi Order
Wahid Azal, a Sufi mystic of The Fatimiya Sufi Order and an Islamic scholar, talks about entheogens, Sufism, mythology, and metaphysics.

 

Ayahuasca and the Feminine: Women’s Roles, Healing, Retreats, and More
Ayahuasca is lovingly called “grandmother” or “mother” by many. Just how feminine is the brew? Read to learn all about women and ayahuasca.

What Is the Standard of Care for Ketamine Treatments?
Ketamine therapy is on the rise in light of its powerful results for treatment-resistant depression. But, what is the current standard of care for ketamine? Read to find out.

What Is Dissociation and How Does Ketamine Create It?
Dissociation can take on multiple forms. So, what is dissociation like and how does ketamine create it? Read to find out.

Having Sex on Ketamine: Getting Physical on a Dissociative
Curious about what it could feel like to have sex on a dissociate? Find out all the answers in our guide to sex on ketamine.

Special K: The Party Drug
Special K refers to Ketamine when used recreationally. Learn the trends as well as safety information around this substance.

Kitty Flipping: When Ketamine and Molly Meet
What is it, what does it feel like, and how long does it last? Read to explore the mechanics of kitty flipping.

Ketamine vs. Esketamine: 3 Important Differences Explained
Ketamine and esketamine are used to treat depression. But what’s the difference between them? Read to learn which one is right for you: ketamine vs. esketamine.

Guide to Ketamine Treatments: Understanding the New Approach
Ketamine is becoming more popular as more people are seeing its benefits. Is ketamine a fit? Read our guide for all you need to know about ketamine treatments.

Ketamine Treatment for Eating Disorders
Ketamine is becoming a promising treatment for various mental health conditions. Read to learn how individuals can use ketamine treatment for eating disorders.

Ketamine Resources, Studies, and Trusted Information
Curious to learn more about ketamine? This guide includes comprehensive ketamine resources containing books, studies and more.

Ketamine Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to ketamine has everything you need to know about this “dissociative anesthetic” and how it is being studied for depression treatment.

Ketamine for Depression: A Mental Health Breakthrough
While antidepressants work for some, many others find no relief. Read to learn about the therapeutic uses of ketamine for depression.

Ketamine for Addiction: Treatments Offering Hope
New treatments are offering hope to individuals suffering from addiction diseases. Read to learn how ketamine for addiction is providing breakthrough results.

Microdosing Ketamine & Common Dosages Explained
Microdosing, though imperceivable, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing ketamine.

How to Ease a Ketamine Comedown
Knowing what to expect when you come down from ketamine can help integrate the experience to gain as much value as possible.

How to Store Ketamine: Best Practices
Learn the best ways how to store ketamine, including the proper temperature and conditions to maximize how long ketamine lasts when stored.

How To Buy Ketamine: Is There Legal Ketamine Online?
Learn exactly where it’s legal to buy ketamine, and if it’s possible to purchase legal ketamine on the internet.

How Long Does Ketamine Stay in Your System?
How long does ketamine stay in your system? Are there lasting effects on your body? Read to discover the answers!

How Ketamine is Made: Everything You Need to Know
Ever wonder how to make Ketamine? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how Ketamine is made.

Colorado on Ketamine: First Responders Waiver Programs
Fallout continues after Elijah McClain. Despite opposing recommendations from some city council, Colorado State Health panel recommends the continued use of ketamine by medics for those demonstrating “excited delirium” or “extreme agitation”.

Types of Ketamine: Learn the Differences & Uses for Each
Learn about the different types of ketamine and what they are used for—and what type might be right for you. Read now to find out!

Kitty Flipping: When Ketamine and Molly Meet
What is it, what does it feel like, and how long does it last? Read to explore the mechanics of kitty flipping.

MDMA & Ecstasy Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to MDMA has everything you want to know about Ecstasy from how it was developed in 1912 to why it’s being studied today.

How To Get the Most out of Taking MDMA as a Couple
Taking MDMA as a couple can lead to exciting experiences. Read here to learn how to get the most of of this love drug in your relationship.

Common MDMA Dosage & Microdosing Explained
Microdosing, though imperceivable, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing MDMA.

Having Sex on MDMA: What You Need to Know
MDMA is known as the love drug… Read our guide to learn all about sex on MDMA and why it is beginning to makes its way into couple’s therapy.

How MDMA is Made: Common Procedures Explained
Ever wonder how to make MDMA? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how MDMA is made.

Hippie Flipping: When Shrooms and Molly Meet
What is it, what does it feel like, and how long does it last? Explore the mechanics of hippie flipping and how to safely experiment.

How Cocaine is Made: Common Procedures Explained
Ever wonder how to make cocaine? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how cocaine is made.

A Christmas Sweater with Santa and Cocaine
This week, Walmart came under fire for a “Let it Snow” Christmas sweater depicting Santa with lines of cocaine. Columbia is not merry about it.

Ultimate Cocaine Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
This guide covers what you need to know about Cocaine, including common effects and uses, legality, safety precautions and top trends today.

NEWS: An FDA-Approved Cocaine Nasal Spray
The FDA approved a cocaine nasal spray called Numbrino, which has raised suspicions that the pharmaceutical company, Lannett Company Inc., paid off the FDA..

The Ultimate Guide to Cannabis Bioavailability
What is bioavailability and how can it affect the overall efficacy of a psychedelic substance? Read to learn more.

Cannabis Research Explains Sociability Behaviors
New research by Dr. Giovanni Marsicano shows social behavioral changes occur as a result of less energy available to the neurons. Read here to learn more.

The Cannabis Shaman
If recreational and medical use of marijuana is becoming accepted, can the spiritual use as well? Experiential journalist Rak Razam interviews Hamilton Souther, founder of the 420 Cannabis Shamanism movement…

Cannabis Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to Cannabis has everything you want to know about this popular substances that has psychedelic properties.

Cannabis and Ayahuasca: Mixing Entheogenic Plants
Cannabis and Ayahuasca: most people believe they shouldn’t be mixed. Read this personal experience peppered with thoughts from a procannabis Peruvian Shaman.

CBD-Rich Cannabis Versus Single-Molecule CBD
A ground-breaking study has documented the superior therapeutic properties of whole plant Cannabis extract as compared to synthetic cannabidiol (CBD), challenging the medical-industrial complex’s notion that “crude” botanical preparations are less effective than single-molecule compounds.

Cannabis Has Always Been a Medicine
Modern science has already confirmed the efficacy of cannabis for most uses described in the ancient medical texts, but prohibitionists still claim that medical cannabis is “just a ruse.”

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