A rough draft of a commissioned article
Psychedelics and the UFO/ET experience
Bill Hicks often referenced, onstage and off, his greatest UFO experience. Whilst taking a ‘heroic dose’ of psychopsilocybin mushrooms with friends, both he and his friend (Kevin Booth) encountered a UFO and met the occupants. In his book ‘Bill Hicks: Agent of Evolution’, Kevin details how through this shared experience, they come to believe that through the use of such psychedelics, such alien entities were contactable, in fact they believed such entities were constantly around, accessible if one was prepared to make the journey through dimensions. Kevin details how they prepared for this experience through yoga, diet and clearing of the mind. As they relaxed, whilst under the influence of the psychopsilocybin mushrooms, they became aware they were somehow now on a UFO. Inside, the craft was shaped like a conch shell, and as they walked down the ramp towards a circle of light they became aware of the occupants of the craft. Whilst in the presence of these entities they became aware, more through realisation than anything else, that such barriers to time travel and non-verbal communication such as telepathy were all in the mind. After leaving the craft they felt that they were connected through the collective consciousness to hundreds if not thousands of people, who were also wanting to share that connection and communicate. According to Kevin, it was the most important event of Bill’s life.
Bill was heavily influenced by the writings of Terence McKenna who believed that the way to save humanity was by opening up human consciousness through the use of psychedelic substances. McKenna also believed that UFO experiences were accessible through the use of such psychedelic substances. Whilst controversial for many reasons, especially with the more ‘nuts and bolts’ UFOlogists, there is a large body of evidence that points to such experiences being extremely commonplace. McKenna claimed that “In psilocybin and the tryptamine hallucinogens we actually have a state of mind that is very similar to the state of mind reported to accompany the UFO contact…” McKenna was referencing the sense of connection, the telepathic experiences and the awareness of what other entities were feeling or experiencing, as reported by many UFO experiencers. It seemed through UFO/ET contact experiences, the amount of non-verbal communication dramatically increased which is consistent with what many psychedelic experiencers also report experiencing when under the influence of such compounds.
McKenna wasn’t alone in his beliefs about using psychedelic substances to access other realms. Timothy Leary, the other great psychedelic proponent, believed that ETs were less literal or ‘nuts and bolts’, and viewed them as more of a mental, spiritual and interdimensional phenomena. He also found it unlikely that ETs would travel such vast interstellar distances solely by craft. Leary believed that due to humanities inability to blend the physical and paraphysical worlds that ET is more likely to be experienced in the physical world. He believed that due to the limitations of our minds, man cannot access places where time, space and matter are manipulated, which is the frame of reference more common with ETs and ET encounters. McKenna agreed this point and believed that through the psychedelic experience, the human mind could become the UFO and travel the great distances of the universe at the speed of thought. Many UFO experiencers have noted how time has been distorted and have experienced periods of missing time. Such experiencers have reported floating through walls with ETs highlighting that the manipulation of matter is commonplace for ET. It is this frame of reference, beyond what we normally experience as our conscious frame of reference, that Leary believed was accessible through psychedelic substances.
Further research appeared to echo McKenna and Leary’s beliefs. Dr. Rick Strassman, author of ‘DMT: The Spirit Molecule’ also described repeated encounter with alien-like beings whilst experimenting on volunteers with Di-Methyl Tryptamine (DMT). During five years of research, Strassman administered 400 doses of DMT to 60 volunteers, and over half of the volunteers reported experiences where they encountered or interacted with non-human beings. One participant reported: “I felt like I was in an alien laboratory, in a hospital bed like this… A sort of landing bay, or recovery area. There were beings… They had a space ready for me. They weren’t as surprised as I was. It was incredibly un-psychedelic. I was able to pay attention to detail. There was one main creature, and he seemed to be behind it all, overseeing everything. The others were orderlies, or dis-orderlies. They activated a sexual circuit, and I was flushed with an amazing orgasmic energy. A goofy chart popped up like an X-ray in a cartoon, and a yellow illumination indicated that the corresponding system, or series of systems, were fine. They were checking my instruments, testing things. When I was coming out, I couldn’t help but think ‘aliens’. I am so disappointed I didn’t talk to them. I was confused and in awe. I knew that they were preparing me for something. Somehow we had a mission. They had things to show me. But they were waiting for me to acquaint myself with the environment and movement and language of this space.”
Many under the influence of DMT have experienced alien abduction type experiences yet have not physically left the room they were in. Many have also exhibited the physical phenomena associated with alleged physical alien abductions such as small scars and scoop marks. This interaction between the realms that DMT appears to give access to and the physical dimension is no surprise to many experienced psychedelic adventurers. Conversely there are those who claim to be alien abductees and have experienced something akin to a psychic abduction. In the book ‘Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind’, the author (C.D. Bryan) details a case where a woman is psychically abducted whilst in the presence of UFO researchers. The abductee recalled a typical abduction scenario, as if she had been taken out of her body rather than physically present. For the researchers they witnessed the experiencer seemingly faint, yet she was able to describe verbally all that was happening to her. Are we to assume that the psychic plane that both the DMT experiencer and the psychic abductee are encountering are in fact one in the same?
The comparisons between the entities encountered via DMT are extremely similar, not only in appearance but also in behaviour as those in more traditional alien abduction type scenarios. One volunteer reported encountering insectoid type beings who ‘consumed’ his feelings. The observance of emotions by aliens during abduction experiences is a very common theme reported by abductees. Many DMT experiencers also reported medical type examinations, the imparting of important information and warnings relating to the state of the world/environment, which again is commonplace for those who allege they have been abducted by aliens. The appearance of the stereotypical Grey type aliens was also a commonplace report by many DMT experiencers.
It isn’t only under the influence of DMT or psychopsilocybin mushrooms that such encounters have been documented. Ayahuasca experiencers also report meeting alien-like entities. Graham Hancock, in his book ‘Supernatural’, described meeting Grey type beings whilst experimenting with the South American psychedelic brew. He also noted that not only had many people reported similar beings also but that many of the supernatural beings drawn by indigenous cultures looked identical to the drawings of Grey type aliens. Hancock believes that the archetypal Grey alien as witnessed in alien abduction scenarios and the spirit-beings encountered by shamans and Ayahuasca experiencers were one in the same.
It is not difficult to see where the two realms of the ‘traditional’ UFO/ET experience and that of psychedelically induced UFO/ET experience overlap. Both exhibit the manipulation of matter, the distortion of local time and the amplification of emotions, telepathy and learning experiences to name but a few. Whilst for many the UFO is a purely physical reality, there is no doubting aspects of the experience that are very much beyond our consensual everyday reality.
However, there have been many criticisms to the theory that such psychedelic substances can enable such UFO/ET experiences. Most of the recent criticism has been levelled at Strassman’s work, inasmuch as the participants knew what they were letting themselves in for so the expectation of some revelatory experience was in fact one of the main reasons as to why such revelatory experiences occurred. Many scientists bemoaned the fact that many of the theories in Strassman’s book failed to explain proposed relationships between meditation, the pineal gland and DMT. Other criticisms have come from the UFO/ET community itself. To theorise that many abductees are people who naturally produce too much DMT has annoyed many UFO researchers (and abductees) who only see abduction experiences as purely physical events and not something manifested within the mind. Also, the criticism that the objectivity of such psychedelic participants is questionable due to the fact that they are under the influence of powerful psychedelic compounds, is hard to shake. If we accept that UFO/ET experiences are valid under the influence of psychedelic substances, then all the unicorns, weird creatures and melting walls that are witnessed under such substances have to be accepted as valid too. However you view the issue of participant objectivity, the fact remains that such UFO/ET experiences occur so often with psychedelic experiencers, that there must be more to it than a statistical anomaly or wishful tripping.
Stanislav Grof, another psychedelic pioneer, explained that the issue of physical reality versus psychedelic reality has been boiled down to a simplistic dichotomy. Namely that “real material events involving extraterrestrial spacecraft and alien visitors from another part of the physical universe versus hallucinations of the psychotic person.” McKenna was in agreement, he stated that “… I think what’s being missed is that a whole dimension of communication is being ruled inadmissible as evidence simply because it doesn’t conform to the epistemological biases of the people who are asking the question”.
Grof believed that discoveries in theoretical physics and quantum mechanics have “dramatically changed the understanding of the physical universe and the relationship between consciousness and matter.” Grof went on to state that while the research into the physical reality of UFOs was extremely valid, he felt that physical research was not enough and having a greater understanding of the non-physical aspects was the missing key to fully understanding the UFO phenomena. The late John Mack, former Head of Psychiatry at Harvard University, saw that our current understanding of the nature of reality was not suitable to fully understand the UFO/ET phenomena. Mack felt that the behaviour of ETs and their craft was so alien to us (no pun intended) that our reality does not necessarily apply to their reality and that to fully understand ‘them’ we needed to place ourselves in an altered state of reality. He went on to say that expansion of our minds, not just our technology, was required to make that leap in understanding other realities and their occupants
Further research is evidently the key, but research into such psychedelic substances is uncommon. For many years such psychedelic research was banned in the United States plus there has been very little interest within the scientific community as to research in that area. The esteemed medical journal The Lancet reported in 2012 that a renaissance in research into psychedelic substances was finally taking place, with many researchers now feeling unbound by the politics of the drugs debate. Research is now taking place into the use of psychedelic substances to combat depression, personality disorders and other diverse conditions such as epilepsy and even looking at the nature of consciousness itself. What this research will tell us about consciousness is uncertain, but hopefully it may shine a little light towards just what are minds are capable of once we free it from earthbound fetters and discover just what is in/out there.