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Around The Sun: Magic Mushrooms

Steve Harrison eats magic mushrooms, and survives a nightmare.

...I will dare to make more mistakes. I will relax and limber up. I will be sillier than I have ever been thus far. I will take fewer things seriously. I will take more chances, climb more mountains, swim more rivers, eat more ice cream and less beans. I will have more actual problems, and less imaginary ones.

Thus far I have been one of those people who has lived sensibly and sanely hour after hour, day after day. Yes, I've had my moments, but from now on I am going to have more of them instead of living so many years ahead of each day. Until now I have been one of those people who has never gone anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat and a parachute. From now on I will travel lighter and faster than I ever have in the past.

For the rest of my life I will go to more unfamiliar places, sing more songs, play more games, ride more merry-go-rounds, pick more daisies and kiss more babies...

My first drug experience had been LSD. My second was opium. After that, smoking hash was a disappointment. However magic mushrooms were terrific. They induced some wild hallucinations. Not only that, they were free. All you had to do to get them was take a walk in the countryside, identify the correct kind of mushrooms, pick them, then dry them out and eat them.

We spent many a psychedelic weekend hunting for these little treasures. The problem was that magic mushroom looked a whole lot like a lot of other mushrooms, and some of those could be very, very poisonous.

After collecting our mushrooms we dried them out in an airing cupboard, the warmest place in the house. Then we swallowed them by the handful. They were never as effective as LSD, but they could give you quite a change of reality. On one particularl evening they almost permanently changed my reality. I decided to take a magic mushroom trip on my own. I liked to be social with drugs, but this particular evening I was alone in the house and wanted to get a little crazy.

I grabbed a handful of dried mushrooms and slowly chewed before swallowing them. I recall that they tasted a little acidic. I remember thinking that the mushrooms were no good, that they were not having an effect on me. Instead of the usual euphoria I began to feel woozy and decided to lay down for a while.

While lying on my bed I started to cramp. I couldn't move. I was paralysed from the waist down. I knew I was in trouble. My stomach was churning and the paralysis was spreading. The mushrooms I had eaten were definitely not the right kind. I decided that I had poisoned myself.

I lay on my bed for an eternity. Einstein said that time is relative. I was beginning to realise what he meant. My pulse slowed to a crawl. I clearly heard every beat of my heart. I could feel blood pulsing in my head and ears. I wasn’t stoned or tripping. I was poisoned. I needed to throw up, to get those mushrooms out of my system.

There was an old clock on the wall. I watched as the second hand dragged itself round the ivory face, a snail with nowhere to go. Eternity was drawing me into its timelessness. They say that while you are dying every event in your life passes before your inner eye. That was happening to me, and I seemed to be getting very close to recent events.

Somehow I mustered enough energy to fall out of bed onto the floor. I dragged myself along the floor to the toilet, and proceeded with the ghastly task.

I awoke the next morning still clutching the toilet bowl, glad to be alive.

Then I vowed to be careful in future about what I ate.

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