In early 2017 I was in a hard place. I was in a failing relationship, I wasn’t sure of where I wanted my career to go and I was at my wits end with life. I was 330 pounds and drinking like a viking. I was suffering from depression and in retrospect, I was borderline suicidal. I wasn’t actively thinking about taking my life, but when I look in the mirror in the morning I’d think, “If I did it, how’d I do it?”
Thank god one of the qualities I didn’t appreciate about myself at the time was procrastination or I may not have made it.
Back then, I was guest co-hosting a college radio show in Hamilton, Ontario with a local punk rock club promoter named Lou Molinaro and a well known Canadian comedian named Manolis Zontanos.
Manolis had recently introduced me to the idea of microdosing mushrooms to improve mental health. If you know Manolis, you wouldn’t exactly think he’d be the guy you take mental health advice from. Not that he’s not amazing, but his attitude towards life seemed lackadaisical to say the least. He’s the epitome of a surfer dude turned comedian, but a legend amongst his peers.
Manolis has a natural humility that I admire greatly. Over the course of the show we became good friends live on the air to the listeners dismay. I couldn’t get enough of the guy. He’s one of the funniest human beings I have ever met. He once told us on air that he got stopped at the border when the border agent asked, “Country of origin?” Manolis heard “Country of oranges?” and must have thought it was a declaration quiz or something because he replied with a question of his own, “Florida?.” In fairness, I understand that High Times readers and border cops aren’t usually golf buddies, but this would be confusing as Florida isn’t a country and nowhere near the Canadian border.
We’d fuck around so much on that show I started to get complaints amd rightfully so. I’d get Manolis so riled up that he’d Footloose through the Radio Stations office halls. As funny and energetic as that dude could be, his best work always seemed to focus around his 90 year old Dad and how his father struggled with technology and his Dad’s unique views on life. It showed a side of Manolis that was honest, hardworking and humble, much like the stories he would tell about his Dad. You could see his father’s unconditional love for Manolis carry over to how helped new comics in the Canadian comedy scene. From an outsider’s perspective, it seemed rare to see a stand-up prop other comics up before him in such a competitive field.
How I Learned About DMT
A few months down the road, my career had started to take a turn for the better but I was still depressed; however, I didn’t really know it at the time. I had found a path to my dream job with cannabis industry leaders like Clint Younge, who to this day still pushes to improve cannabis legislation in Canada, but I was having a hard time looking in the mirror. Through running cannabis industry events, I befriended a musician, trucker, hippie dude I sarcastically nicknamed Jesse Christ. This nickname was aptly given due to his appearance, gentle demeanor and his spiritual essence. Jesse Christ was in recovery for cocaine and would always tell me to try DMT. He’d talk about DMT any chance he had. I kind of thought he was crazy but I loved being around him. Jesse would tell me a bit of the basic lore around DMT but I never really paid much attention. I remember him mentioning some people would see beings, and that some go to different dimensions.
Jesse also claimed it was the drug that flooded the human brain when we died and it was the scientific explanation for people having angelic near death experiences. Admittedly, with my state of mind at the time, this had me intrigued. However, I remained skeptical. A lot of acid dealers in the day told me I’d see smurfs running around my house and that unfortunately never panned out. I was pessimistic to say the least and I didn’t really buy the spiritual side of DMT that had also seemed to empower Jesse. I had little patience for “spiritualism”.
I grew up playing in atheist punk bands that scoffed at the idea of mystical forces. As I grew older, my anger towards religion dulled, but I remained pragmatic about an afterlife to say the least. In my mind there was no light at the end of any tunnel, there was no guide over the River Styx, and I could for sure bluff my way past any of St. Peter’s interrogations. After all, I was a punk. I could sneak past the bouncer into any party.
While we were still on the air ruining Lou’s radio show Manolis and I had gone off the rails yet again as I was discussing Jesse and the DMT. Manolis responded that Joe Rogen (long before he became so polarizing) spoke about DMT on his podcast and that he too heard it sent you to another dimension. Lou just spun records and ignored us.
I decided to look further into DMT and started listening to some Joe Rogan. I really wasn’t familiar with him as I just knew him from News Radio and that he got fired from TV for feeding people horse cum or something. There was definitely good content on the subject there, I wasn’t getting the information I desired.
I visited https://www.erowid.org, a donation based educational site where drug users share their experiences in an effort to “document the complex relationship between humans and psychoactives”. There I learned that DMT naturally occurred in many plants, like mimosa, or could also be replicated in a lab. Most of all I learned that it wouldn’t kill me and it was deemed “safe” by the site.
Dimethyltryptamine or DMT is a hallucinogenic tryptamine drug. Sometimes referred to as Dimitri, the drug produces effects similar to those of psychedelics, like LSD and magic mushrooms. DMT is also the active ingredient in Ayahuasca. Rudimentary speaking for the sake of this article, think of DMT as the THC to Ayahuasca’s cannabis.
How I Did the DMT (Which Saved My Life)
There’s a lot of ways to do DMT, but the pros will tell you not to burn it directly. Decarboxylation, like cannabis, should still be considered when taking raw DMT. Some people prefer vape pens, but “gassing” DMT at a lower temperature would seem to be the most effective method if the user’s goal is to achieve a “breakthrough” experience.
I had decided to go for it. I had recently moved into a new house with my partner at the time and Manolis and I had continued to grow close. He had become dependable and a thoughtful friend when I was going through a rough time. I called up Manolis and told him that Jesse Christ had hooked me up with raw DMT and a little “how to” kit. At the time, Manolis didn’t know he’d also be doing DMT for the first time that day.
In the kit was:
- One Glass bulbed crack or “rose pipe”
- One small butane lighter
- One gram of DMT
.The instructions were as follows:
- Put .2 of a gram of DMT in the bulb of the rose pipe. A little goes a long way.
- Light the butane lighter and hold it two inches below the pipe.
- Do not put the flame directly on the glass pipe.
- As the DMT begins to gas it will swirl around the bowl.
- Wait until the pipe is completely full and remove heat.
- Inhale from the pipe three times. Each time holding the vapor in as long as possible.
- Make sure to be seated.
- Write down your experience post.
I recently caught up with Manolis to revisit this experience. We picked up where we left off not having spoken much in a few months. When I asked about the experience he said laughing, “You called me up and said you were just going to do it.” He continued over the phone, “So I drove down to make sure you didn’t do it by yourself. It was like 3:00pm on a Wednesday, dude.” Manolis explained in a tone that was both loving and expressive to the situation. “I wasn’t supposed to do DMT that day.” he contuned, “I was supposed to be doing an open mic set later that night.”
That’s just who Manolis is. The kind guy who’ll bring you an extension cord to help you fix your new house, or make sure you don’t die while depressed and taking high powered psychedelics that zap you across the universe. If they don’t kill you, he just might do them too.
Manolis arrived and we had decided to document the experience. I later learned he had saved video footage of the experience on a private youtube link. I hadn’t watched the original footage since 2017, and even then, I was so uncomfortable with my weight, I don’t think I could ever finish the 10 minute ordeal. However, revisiting the footage was cathartic to say the least. A friend mentioned I look like a completely different person and I realized I was. The person in the video was about to change forever.
Watch my first DMT Trip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgFOWlzs2uE
Watch Manolis Zontanos’ first DMT trip here:
Needless to say, Manolis and I both got blasted to what we felt was another dimension. The DMT began working almost immediately post inhalation.
As the DMT took hold, I described it tasting like “mothballs” and continued to try to narrate my experience as it happened. Little did I know, the ancient shapes, Kaleidoscope hallways, grids,and even locations were all experiences that hundreds if not thousands of other people had also had.
After a viewing of the video, a friend mentioned that I looked like a completely different person. At first I felt it might be because I’ve aged in five years and lost some weight, but then I realized that I actually was a different person. My experience, like so many others, was earth shattering, profound and profoundly confusing.
Excerpts from My Unedited DMT Dream Journal
In the footage, I stop narrating my experience to Manolis and I can be heard saying, “Hi” or “Hey” to something. This is the moment I met the fabled “DMT beings”. However, in my journal I describe the adventure in great detail.
“I went through a kaleidoscope hall of crazy geometrical shapes, sounds, a lot of colors, kind of like a psychedelic poster you may find in a head shop. I then went through what seemed like a green grid, similar to Tron.
I ended up in a pitch black room, other than very little thin green and red lines, which seemed to dance and make geometrical shapes, they seemed to float in the background. “
Upon rewatching the video my body language indicates that I’m not scared, or taken aback, but almost comfortable when greeting what some people consider inter-dimensional entities. In the journal, I continue to describe the encounter in detail,
“I was greeted by two “beings who felt like representatives of this place. They were kind of dressed like clowns or something, with pointy hats, and striped garb. Their faces had very little detail, similar to pantomime masks you might find at a theater. One was male, one was female (presumably). There was children’s laughter, or giggling in the background. It sounds terrifying but it wasn’t.”
At this time in the video, I’m sitting with my eyes closed, silent, and you see me reach out for something a few times. In my journal I describe a moment similar.
“The “representatives” of this place knew I was there, and the female offered me to take her hand, she seemed to shape-shift and my hand passed through hers. I opened my eyes briefly then went back in. She seemed to be inviting me to a tunnel or place that was filled with windows or doorways to memories and dreams alike. As if they were categorized and I could just hop back in. I heard her say “Come on”.
It’s important to remember that wherever DMT takes you, most users describe the DMT realm as a place where time moves differently. Similar to a dream. In this space, you also feel lucid. In the journal I describe that in this other realm, moments feel like hours. I continued to write.
“I felt like I could have asked them (the beings) to take me anywhere. I asked if that was the case and they said yes, they could even take me to a memory with my deceased father, which shocked me as I watched her bounce or dance away.”
This moment in that realm was hard for me to share. Could these creatures really take me to meet my Dad who died almost 30 years prior. Was this drug making me insane?
When I got back from my trip, the DMT took about thirty minutes to completely wear off. The entire experience was under an hour. When the visuals wore off, I looked up DMT beings. This is where I discovered Terrence McKenna. Famed psychonaut, a term used for psychedelic explorers, and illustrator of a picture that to this day blows my mind. A picture of a being he had illustrated described as a “Machine Elf”.
There they were. The beings I met in a realm that felt more real than this one. I couldn’t grasp why a professor decades prior saw the exact same shape shifting entity that I did. It was a thing I’d never seen before. I had no previous reference point. Why was his recollection almost identical to mine? What the fuck was going on?
How I Processed the Trip
After a few days, Manolis and I were still trying to process what we had experienced. Manolis had had a very similar experience he described as, “going to a different dimension that felt way realer than here.” Manolis also met “beings”, which left him with some mild paranoia, “I feel when you fuck with it, the way we did, now they now they know that we know that they’re there. I feel like I’m being watched but I always knew I was being watched.”
However, I was becoming haunted if not obsessed.
I had no information about the level of these encounters prior. I couldn’t shake that the weird creatures weren’t necessarily just in my imagination. The similarities in encounters fascinated me.
At the time I felt skeptics couldn’t possibly understand. I honestly felt like I had went to another dimension. I still didn’t believe in a “God”, but I was now entirely open to the idea that there may be other dimensions our conscious could travel to.
I had become obsessed with what I had experienced and wanted to experience it again. I had so many questions. I had read somewhere that DMT could be found in every living thing, and found more people sharing similar experiences online.
My original DMT Journal was dated May 17, 2017, and by June 5th, I’d already done the drug 5 more times. I had continued to keep notes but started sounding more and more like an obsessed architect.
“Since my first experience in May I have tried DMT 5 more times. At this point, I have read a lot about other people’s experiences who were similar to mine. If someone has had different experiences, I’ll stop listening or reading immediately to make my next experience less corrupt by suggestion.
After several failed attempts, I eventually recreated my original circumstances, and figured it was the best way for me to break through.
“This time around, the re-creation worked. I smoked about .1 of a gram, took three huge pulls and again, was blasted off. I hit the kaleidoscope almost immediately. I felt my body twitching and shaking. It was scary at first. The kaleidoscope quickly turned into a checkered box, there were a ton of clowns, peeking in at me, some were scary, some even looked horrifying, peaking at me from behind checkered walls and out of boxes. The place constantly moved, but I was definitely in this jack in the box apparatus. None of these clowns were the beings I met before. I was there though. It was extremely vivid. I could still feel my body shaking or being uncomfortable in my chair when an arm came around my chest from behind, hugged me and said, “You’re okay, you’re okay”. I instantly felt better. I thought maybe the arm was the girl representative who had reached out to me before, but I can’t be certain.”
My journal’s began to get more detailed the more times I went in. I began seeing more entities and locations, I would later verify on the internet as hallucinations other DMT users had shared.
“I started to hear loons in the distance and nature sounds. Then I heard an owl. Clear as a bell I heard an owl. At this point, the jack in the box was to my right, and I was sort of floating next to it staring out into a purple cosmos. It was beautiful. Tons of dancing stars and lights. It was very euphoric. Then a glowing pink cloud butterfly appeared before me and in a puff of smoke, showed itself in a humanoid form. She had a calming, loving and motherly vibe. She then puffed back into a cloud and flew off into the purple cosmos.”
The owl hooting was nonstop and I was still floating as if tethered somehow to the jack in the box, like an astronaut to a ship kind of. If I looked to my right, the jack in the box vessel was there and still rapidly changing; inviting me to go in. To my left I saw the owl fly out of a picturesque earth like nature setting, over mountains, and into the DMT Realm or cosmos. The owl was huge. Flying through space with purpose towards a destination which wasn’t at this time revealed to me. I asked if I should go with it, but nothing responded.”
At that time, I was beamed back. I immediately realized I was still under the DMT’s influence and I wanted to go back in. So I smoked another three massive hauls and held in the vapor for as long as I could.
Right before I took off, I hit play on my music.
This time I was beamed back way faster. I immediately heard the frequency in my ears change and was hurdled through the “Tron Grid”.
This time I felt I had a better understanding of what the grid was. It seemed to function as a gateway, tunnel or vessel that brings someone to where they need, or are supposed to be. This time, I met the same representatives as my first experience.
“I could see them more vividly, the male anyway. He had more of a human face then the last time, the female was still more of a presence. I could feel the light being from my previous trip’s presence too, but she didn’t appear in humanoid form again. I think I saw her fly away in purple butterfly form. They were all so happy to see me. They said “Hey, Ben” very lovingly. I replied “Hey, guys”.
They then commented on the music. I asked if they liked it and they said they loved it, even though it was a bit tacky. They danced and flipped around and offered me to join them. Then, for some reason I asked them “if I was one of them?” this made the male stop and said, “You could be” as he lifted his arm to present to me a kingdom or place off in the distance. It was the same purple cosmos sky as before, and it felt like that may be where the owl I saw previously was and it felt like it was where I came from. Like, I just had to go back there. The kingdom was a silhouette, surrounded by silhouette mountains with a white warm light coming from the Center. “
It was around this time, I had realized that in this place, you can’t lie to yourself. I’m this place, you’re Freudian Ego and ID are incapacitated, and the lucid being who is experiencing a new universe, has been given the terrifying gift of not being able to lie to themselves for the first time in their life.
The “Representatives” then addressed my anxiety, and told me to put all of my energy into the one thing I love, and that I’m spreading myself too thin, which is the cause of my anxiousness. They then told me to be good to my wife, as she loves me unconditionally. They said to say hi to my friend who was waiting in the room, and told me only a certain type of person can see them in this realm.”
How the Trip Saved My Life
At the time, I was convinced more than ever that the DMT realm existed. I still feel it exists, but I believed in Santa until I was eleven.
The conversation I had about anxiety and the people around me with DMT Beings was the catalyst to saving my life, and how this psychedelic changed me profoundly.
When a person is in this state, myself included, they’re stripped of their Freudian Ego & Id. You’re zapped to what countless people describe as a dimension that feels like home. In this state I had to look at myself as a whole. No lies. No justifications.
When discussing the experience with Manolis he said, ”I feel like I know I’m going to see him. DMT definitely made the world, not as important as before. IT made me not get so wound up about nothing.”
This sentiment hit a real cord with me.
What I had dragged Manolis into was something that he already had, humility. DMT taught me that being pragmatic, or self riotous, or self righteous people were a waste of time. We know nothing.
These experiments or experiences allowed an atheist to consider that there may be something else out there, and that there was a universal irony to life. There was a punchline at the end of it all.
If speculators are correct, and DMT is the drug that floods your brain when you die, then there’s a cosmic joke left out of most scripture. The joke is that at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what anyone believes. When it’s time to meet your maker, the joke is that you’re your own Saint Peter. Or the guide across the River Styx.
The ultimate irony of life is that we qualify ourselves on what others think, but it’s really about what you think of yourself.
At this point, I don’t have beliefs because in this day and age they’re a vehicle for mandatory self explanation. I prefer the term I coined “idea jams.”
I don’t know if any of the big religions are accurate, in my heart of hearts, I don’t think anyone has quite nailed it.
What I like to think is that if there is an afterlife and guys like Jesse and Manolis are right, then perhaps the DMT is nothing more than a conduit to what they feel is an answer.
However, what changed me profoundly, what DMT taught me, was that life, the experience of life is subjective, and that the joke’s on us.
If we qualify ourselves at the end of day, and advance us to the next level is something I hold dear and is what I think happens.
However, the punk in me that detests hippie bullshit reminds me that whether DMT is the gateway to another realm or not, this high powered Psychedelic, if it is in fact the drug that floods your brain when you die, resolves the user in a state that makes you evaluate yourself in a way no other drug, in my experience has.
Imagine, if it isn’t a gateway, and this shit is just some wild shit that makes us under-evolved monkeys see machine elves, imagine that your last thought in existence was; you’re a real piece of shit kid. Then worm food.
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