True Hallucinations: Being an Account of the Author's Extraordinary Adventures in the Devil's Paradise

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9780062505453: True Hallucinations: Being an Account of the Author's Extraordinary Adventures in the Devil's Paradise

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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About the Author:

Terrence McKenna has spent twenty-five years exploring "the ethnopharmacology of spiritual transformation" and is a specialist in the ethnomedicine of the Amazon basin. He is coauthor, with his brother Dennis, of The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching, and the author of Food of the Gods.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Readers of Food of the Gods (1992) will recall McKenna's diverting claim that the ingestion in ancient times of hallucinogenic mushrooms spurred human consciousness into wakefulness and sophistication. Here, this consummate storyteller tells of his first life-changing encounter with magic mushrooms, in 1971 in the Colombian Amazon. Veteran of the Berkeley riots of the 1960's and of a self- imposed exile in India and Indonesia--during which he smoked pot, studied alternative religions, collected butterflies, and steered clear of the FBI--McKenna was inspired in 1971 to journey to La Chorrera, Colombia, in search of the psychedelic brew ayahuasca and any plants containing the hallucinogenic drug DMT. Joined by his devoted 18-year-old brother, Dennis, and by several other Americans, McKenna reached the Putumayo River only to be sidetracked by a chance ingestion of some magic mushrooms growing in a field. One mushroom led to another, and soon the wildly philosophizing Dennis had devised an experiment to determine whether the production of a cicada-like noise could bind the wisdom of the mushroom with his own DNA. The local Indians may have laughed as the Americans stumbled through the rain forest chasing flying saucers and talking to themselves, but McKenna's newfound conviction that the mushroom showed the way to higher consciousness determined the very uneven course of his future life and career. Now, 20 years later--on the brink of divorce from a woman the mushroom told him was his destiny, and pressed to earn money for their two kids--McKenna relates his journey of psychedelic self- discovery and study with refreshing candor, humor, and occasional rue. All of which makes this, if hardly a convincing scientific treatise (``My dear young friend, these ideas are not even fallacious,'' said Gunther Stent, a molecular geneticist at Berkeley), certainly a captivating, all-too-human tale. Here's one man who proudly--even passionately--inhaled. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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