Your Brain on Mescaline

In the early 1950s, German photographer Leif Geiges created a series of abstract images in order to try to portray "exactly what the mescaline subject sees and hears during the course of his artificial psychosis" — as Newsweek put it, which ran his images in its Feb 23, 1953 issue. This was before mescaline was made illegal, back when psychiatrists still believed that the experience of taking mescaline approximated the mental state of a schizophrenic and therefore could be of great experimental value.

As for the mescaline imagery itself, Newsweek explained:

On taking mescaline, first there is nausea, but this is soon followed by a derangement of the brain centers of sight and sound, which causes a constant stream of scenes of incredible beauty, color, grandeur, and variety. The contents of the hallucinations always jibe with past experiences; they are wish-fulfilling fantasies (an air pilot sees mechanical dream cities; an ex-archeologist, mythological people and monsters). The form most frequently perceived is a tapestry, such as a wall-paper pattern that breaks into grotesque shapes. Other familiar forms are (1) lattice work of checkerboards, (2) spirals, (3) tunnels, funnels, alleys, and cones. The mescaline action begins 30 minutes after taking and lasts from ten to twelve hours.

"Wallpaper patterns come to life, change to demoniac caricatures, threaten immediate destruction"

"Bright spirals turn to music, sounds to colored designs"

"Time stands still as golden cobwebs burst into flights of song"

"dazzling crystals grow, interweave, melt away, and reappear"

"limbs sway on a revolving floor"

"enchanted eyes probe the corridor's fateful secret"

"life in a dream world"
     Posted By: Alex - Tue Sep 18, 2012
     Category: Dreams and Nightmares | Drugs | Psychedelic | Photography and Photographers | Science | 1950s | Brain | Mental Health and Insanity

This shows a burning need for more happy sh1t!
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 09/18/12 at 09:07 AM
My Mescaline experiences were more like Yellow Submarine, colors and happiness patterns in nature, years before I ever saw the film.
Posted by Patrick Edmondson on 09/18/12 at 09:24 AM
The "(1) lattice work of checkerboards, (2) spirals, (3) tunnels, funnels, alleys, and cones" are also commonly experienced with a high fever, and may relate to abnormal stimulation of the retina / optic nerve / visual cortex, as these are patterns which the human eye is hard-wired to detect. The detection relates to the physical wiring of the cells in the retina, which are connected radially away from the fovea, with wiring patterns engineered to detect straight lines, with differential discrimination connections to detect differences between adjacent lines, which gives rise to the 'cobweb' patterns.
Posted by tadchem on 09/18/12 at 10:08 AM
That's one hell of a coin toss. Nausea and then a 12 hour trip that has a 50/50 chance of being terrifying. No thanks!
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 09/18/12 at 10:50 AM
Oh, patty, where's your sense of adventure?
Posted by KDP on 09/18/12 at 12:26 PM
The older I get the less I have one sweetie.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 09/18/12 at 03:04 PM
hmmmmm ... maybe I will find some under the tongue blotter "acid" for this weekend when we are all together Patty .. or at least some home made peyote mushroom pizzas :gulp:
Posted by BrokeDad in Midwest US on 09/18/12 at 05:08 PM
Sorry sweetie, not for me, some fruity, dark rum drinks are mind altering enough.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 09/18/12 at 05:38 PM
Interesting -- all the subjects of the experiments were women. Or maybe this was only the photogenic subjects.
Posted by Harvey on 09/18/12 at 07:39 PM
Lovely hallucinogens. Modern society is scared of them because of the horror stories perpetrated by the propaganda of the 60s, yet plenty of people get themselves into a horrible "trip" on alcohol (room spinning, being sick, hangover, plus the other social disturbances) and that is fine. What a stupid world we live in.
Posted by dumbledoor on 09/19/12 at 03:49 AM
Dumbledoor, I couldn't agree more! 😜
Posted by Stephanie on 09/19/12 at 02:48 PM
I've known hundreds of "experienced" people and most tried all the varieties like fine wines only a lot less so, every few years or yearly when life demanded a reset on how they wanted to perceive the world. Most hallucinogenics dump your own bodies built up DMT into the brain all at once, or mimics it, just like childbirth. A lot of "not dopers" just enjoy low amounts of mushrooms to experiment. It chemically/connectively changes you, usually for the better. It is an attractive nuisance that has life and death aspects. In my life, one person close enough to know, went LSD insane. Yep- the full blown schizophrenic break with nasty voices talking at him forever. It is a leap of faith as the term acid test was pretty exact for that more intense drug.
Posted by John on 03/29/13 at 12:09 PM
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