I last took magic mushroom about 4 years ago. I was alone in Amsterdam in some shitty hotel room with no money, time on my hands and a whole two days to wait before I could get home and catch up with my friends who had got a flight before me. We had enjoyed an awesome short break in the country and when they had crept out early that morning for their flight, they had left behind a pack of cigarettes, a load of weed and papers and beers for me to enjoy in my own final days in the country before I too went home. ... and a fuck load of the magic mushrooms we had been too scared to take the night before.
Looking back, I don’t really know why I decided to film it, I thought it would be funny to see my crazy eyed self giggling at the ceiling and talking rubbish. Regardless, I had a camera with me from my sightseeing around the city, full of photos of me grinning and gawping my stoned little ass off. It was fortunately fully charged as I had plugged it in the night before and had a spare memory card that was totally empty. Figuring I had found a good way to pass the time, I put it onto video mode and then stuck it on the set of drawers in the corner of the room and then got down to business.
Anyone who has ever taken mushrooms will tell you that after you start taking them, the sensation comes on gradually – like a rising tide almost. I remember skinning up a joint and sticking on the tv and noticing simply that perspective was wrong. I remember thinking the beer was starting to taste a bit off... but I couldn’t tell you what point I was under it - just that it came on and it came on strong.
The hours flew by and the next thing I knew it was dark. I remembered odd bits, whispering to myself in the bathroom mirror. Touching the walls, touching my face, stumbling around the room like an idiot ... all the rest. I had giggled so hard my stomach was aching and really enjoyed the floating sensation whilst I watched children’s tv and talked with cartoon dogs that spoke Dutch.
Of all the supplies I have described earlier, just less than half was still remaining... it was dark, but not that late so I felt a dilemma... Now, there was no way I was going to take them back in my luggage, and there was no way I could throw them away either. With my time needing to be spent packing and getting my shit together the next day, I figured it was either take them now or leave them behind, so I skinned up a few more spliffs, opened a beer and got back on it.
This time though, it didn’t come on gradually, maybe it was just that I was topping up on the drugs, but as the shrooms came back on and the tightness in my brain reappeared, my memories just went like the flicking of a switch...
I woke up the next day four hours after I should have woken up, naked and in a pile of my own vomit and cigarette and roach ends. I felt like hell, my head hurt and my stomach ached... looking at the clock, I saw that my room needed to be checked out of in 20 minutes, so I stumbled to the shower, threw all my possessions into my suitcase and leaving behind a total bombsite of a room, made a bee line for the airport where I only just made got the place home.
I got home a total mess and crashed out hard when I got home. When it came to catching up with my friends, I spoke about the mushroom adventure – boasted even a bit to glorify how hardcore I was with my drugs and booze marathon whilst those pussies headed home – but although I spoke of recording it, I didn’t ever get round to watching the video from the camera that I recorded that day. When we were sharing the photos I found my friends didn’t really care about anything but the photos of our trip and I really didn’t feel like going through hours and hours of footage that was probably total shit.... So I ended up putting back the memory card of my trip with my friends back in the camera and leaving the spare one I had used simply as a spare in my camera case – which as I did not do much recording, I found I never used.
Time went by, and the Amsterdam trip became another great memory of me and my friends and our adventures as we grew up and eventually settled down.
The story would have ended there, had I not I dug my camera out this afternoon from tomorrows game and saw that my memory card in there was filled with stuff I really needed to go through and edit and that I couldn’t tape over. I looked for a spare and in the camera case found that same memory card that I had tossed to one side and I connected it to my computer to see what was on it, and if I could erase it.
It took me a long time to even work out what the hell it was, but as I had given a brief introduction at the start of the movie as I toasted the camera in the corner of the room with my beer and joint, it all came flooding back.... so I figured I would give myself a laugh by skimming through it before I deleted it forever.
The first drug binge was as fun as I remembered, I giggled lots and sat far too close to the television and had no sense of balance at all as I chain smoked cigarettes right down to the filters. I put a hat on and found myself staring at a bar of chocolate as I ate it, saying - to no one in particular- that it tasted “purple”. It was really funny to see my eyes like saucers and a big goofy grin on my face as I stroked the carpet and wallowed on my back as I sung nursery rhymes to the ceiling.
As the day wore on and it began to get dark, it was quite obvious when the drugs began to wear off too as observed me stop talking to myself and noted how I became a bit more lucid in how I moved and even how I looked at things. My pupils became smaller and soon I seemed my old self.
Watching it, I figured the show was over and I should stop watching the footage and just tape over, and I almost did – but then I remembered how my memory had faded out the second time, so I figured I would keep on watching just to see if my madness got any funnier and to retrace those lost hours that nearly cost me my flight home.
I wish a lot of things now, as I sit here writing this – that I hadn’t taken the drugs at all, that I hadn’t done a second batch, that I hadn’t recorded it, and truly wish I had turned it off right there and never watched what happened next
The second drugs binge started off as normal, although you could tell I was tired looking and less jovial and no doubt feeling a bit worn down from the first. As I crammed the mushroom into my mouth I seemed to be enjoying it a lot less, and the beer I choke down was more to wash it down than any sort of enjoyment from drinking it, even the weed seemed a chore.
The tv had changed from daytime children’s television to evening programs,and as the drugs came on I was a lot more disinterestedly flicking through them than I had been previously. I was a lot more restless too, and at points wandered off to the bathroom... at which point, I came back naked... almost seemingly oblivious of the fact - it gave me a bit of a laugh as I watched.
Things seemed to take an ugly turn with my mood, and I seemed to become increasingly agitated. Tossing the tv remote onto the carpet of the room, I accidentally knocked the channel finder off the bed, where it hit the carpet and changed to a non existent channel filled with interference and crackling.
I searched in vain for it, but being twisted on the mushrooms simply couldn’t find it as I vainly flailed my arm under the bed to find it. I became frustrated and stumbled back to the bathroom, where I must have spent some time, the only presence on the video being the occasional loud whisper.
The first time I noticed something was wrong, was when I returned to the room and I observed my nose was bleeding slightly. I didn’t think much of it – and still don’t - and mention it only to give a true account of events, but most probably the booze and even the drugs had no doubt thinned my blood considerably. As I stepped across the room, I slipped on a shoe that I had kicked off and fell to the floor.
This must have been when the mushrooms really started to kick in, as I simply couldn’t get back up. So after a bit of efforts, I crawled on the floor towards the view camera.
It was at that point that I paused suddenly and turned and looked back at the bathroom door that I had just come out of
“Who’s there?!” I called.
There was no answer except for the fizz and crackle of the static on the television.
“What?” I said, leaning back on my elbows as I looked back on my arms, a grin starting to appear before suddenly vanishing... and then suddenly I jolted upright, “No!”. And then again, more urgently, “NO!"
I waited a few seconds more, and then suddenly I threw myself drunkenly across the room, slamming the bathroom door shut with my body weight as I crashed against it.
“Stay in there!” I said, slurring, before coughing and turning away.
Crawling across the room and by the television, turning my head way so as not to look at it as I did so, I headed towards the furthest wall of the room. Dragging myself against it I pulled myself upright next to a picture frame on the wall and managed to stand.
I spent a good few minutes looking at it, my face really close to the glass, my fingers occasionally running over the landscape scene. I took it off the wall and carried it back to the television on uncertain feet, before placing it over the flickering screen by way of a satisfactory replacement for the lack of picture.
I sat on the bed, silently enjoying the scene with an expressionless face. Gently at first, I started to rock backwards and forwards with my legs crossed and my arms wrapped around myself. Still staring at the picture covering the screen and listening to the hiss of the static behind it, I rock back and forwards for a good ten minutes. At one point I start humming tunelessly.
Inevitably though, my attention was once again drawn to the bathroom door.
“Go away” I said quietly, under my breath , after staring at it for some time. Then again more loudly and with a brief air of panic I said again “GO AWAY!” and pulled the bed sheets around me.
It seems so mad now describing it – the person looks like me, but they do not move like me and they do not sound like me. That, matched with the lack of memory makes it quite unsettling to watch.
I continued to rock, but less gently and comfortably now – my body pushing to and fro like an angry piston. I moved faster and faster, at dizzying speeds, and then suddenly bolted upright and stared directly at the camera.
I did nothing for a while, and the room was still as I silently regarded it. My pupils were still oversized due to the drugs and I looked flushed and sweaty All of a sudden, I smile – not a nice smile, a cruel unpleasant smile and lunge clumsily for the camera.
The screen goes dark then, as I fumble with it in my hands. Suddenly it turns off.
When the camera comes back on, I am wrapped in a blanket and my nose is bleeding again. I am shivering and look scared. I am muttering indecipherably through chattering teeth and keep pulling the blankets tighter around me. I tip the camera around, and behind me the bathroom door sits open. The camera switches off suddenly, as suddenly as it came on.
The next shot, I am under the blankets of the bed. The whiteness around me is lit by the glow of the lamp. I am difficult to see, but move closer to the camera to just make out the petrified features on my face. My eyes are frenzied as I stare into the lens and repeat over and over.
Suddenly I am sick, choking up colored liquid all over the bed sheet, clumsily falling back as I try to catch it with my other hand. It slips between my fingers and cascades everywhere, all over me, all over the sheets.
With my hand fumbling around the lens, the camera goes black.
The camera comes back on and the room is black. I can make out only shadows in the pitch black room and my own deep breathing. The camera sounds like it is moving so it must be in my hands. Something rustles and my breath gets faster and more panicked until there is a crash. The camera then seemingly falls and hits something and once again goes black.
The final time the camera comes on, there is only blackness... There is nothing for a moment except that darkness, as deep and still as the abyss. It lasts for about a minute and a half. Turning the volume up, I realized that in the background you can hear snoring.
Suddenly, a tiny flashing red light appears. It twinkles over and over as it moves, shaking around the screen from top to bottom and then left to right at different speeds and angles, almost playfully slow at one moment, and then urgently swift the next.
There is a slight noise... so quiet that I only heard it with the volume louder when I turned it up to hear the snoring, and only properly made it out on full volume, where even the snores in the background sound too loud for comfort as you listen – it is something between a whisper and a rustle... and the camera goes out for the final time.
I watched all that footage this very afternoon. Now it is almost midnight and I haven’t moved. I am exhausted, but too scared to sleep... and even if I could, the thought of lying in the darkness fills me with terror.
I always knew I was a snorer - my girlfriend berates me for it all the time. But it took me a long time to work it out, but finally I figured it. The light was the flat battery light on my camera – the one that comes on at the front where the battery is low.
It took me a bit longer to work out the rest.
The reason it shows up on the tape in the darkness is because it is flashing in a mirror.
The only mirror in the hotel room was in the bathroom.