Tripping Balls at Old Sturbridge Village

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Originally posted on here.

I had my first truly intense, ritual psychedelic experience at the age of 15 with a few friends on a Wednesday afternoon after getting home from school. Our vehicle of choice was LSD. I personally consumed three hits of the “silver shards” as it was labeled and told a friend about said consumption on the bus ride home.

He burst out laughing and exclaimed, I hope you have nothing important to do for the next 15 hours or so! While I had taken the drug once prior, it was a very light, barely noticeable intoxication that was more similar to a marijuana high.

This experience would prove to be one of the most life-changing and profound spiritual experiences of my life…

My friends and I, all very excited to see what would come of this experience, had recently begun our personal psychedelic experiences and  had been getting feedback from other psychonauts in the school who all shared the same opinion of this particular variety of chemical. This was the real deal and you were most certainly in for a ride was the general message.

On the way home, while riding the bus, my friends and I who had consumed the paper tablets together, discussed how we could truly maximize the experience and “make it special”. One of my friends suggested going to Old Sturbridge Village, which was less than a half mile from my house.

“OSV” is a living history museum located in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, the town where I grew up. A description from their website:

“Groups visiting Old Sturbridge Village will be immersed in a re-created early 19th-century rural New England community. Costumed interpreters demonstrate life in the early 1800s in more than 40 buildings, gardens and working farms.”

The idea behind my friends request to go to this place while tripping balls in the hope that by doing so, we may effectively catalyze the experience of actually traveling back in time. A kind of psychedelic “Dr. Who” experience if you will…

When we got off the bus at my house, we dropped off our belongings inside and then left to go to the village. On the way there, the psychoactive kicked in heavily although primarily in bodily sensation at first, everything did take on a kind of “we are living inside of a painting” picturesque quality to it.

By the time we had reached the massive parking lot near the entrance of the museum, I collapsed into a kind of cross legged sitting position staring dumbfounded at the asphalt pavement of the parking lot.

The flat black top of the parking lot transformed before my eyes in what I can only describe as a sea of living, breathing, jewel encrusted, nautilus shell,  Buddhist temples…

These writhing domes of celestial beauty completely covered the entirety of the parking lot. Staring for a moment, my friends lifted me up and implored me to “act normal”.

I did my best…

While each of my friends were having an experience of their own and none of us particularly wanted to go to the front entrance and attempt to speak to the woman behind the glass to buy tickets, we decided to enter through the gift shop and then hop the fence in the herb garden which rested to the back of the shop.

Passing through the gift shop felt as if we we had been underwater. The hardwood floors, bright lighting and white walls of the shop made for some strange visual elements, all of the various items for sale in the store would bulge or shrink in size while changing texture and colors. Some of the other patrons voices seemed very loud or very quiet.

It sounded as if they were making animal noises rather than speaking human language. To say we had entered some complex on the border of the spirit realm was a huge understatement.

Once we got back outside we stood before the beautiful herb garden which was filled with various types of herbs, flowers and trees. It was intoxicating to walk through the garden smelling the combined scents of so many herbs which of course, resulted in some intense visual manifestations of the combined smell.

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When we reached the back of the Garden, we jumped over the small white picket fence which was adjacent to the exit of the village. Once on the other side of the fence we all had a sort of mutual “ok now what, wait, maybe we should go home” telepathic transmission.

Of course, we decided to push ahead and continue traveling through time, something which now seemed to be far more of daunting task than first considered.

Once we got further into the park and noticed the other patrons and their family’s walking around, it was very hard not assume that everyone knew we were out of our minds even though, obviously that was not the case.

Furthering the complexity of the situation, one of my friends pointed out that a security guard was following us. He was trailing fairly far behind us but seemed to notice us and be aware there was something off about our presence, most likely being that we were not wearing the required visitor badges.

This security guard seemed to pop up everywhere we went that day, but he never said anything to us…

After walking through the old village common area we entered another garden that was adjacent to a lake, at the edge of woods by the water, there was a large gazebo with kudzu vines wrapped around it and large pine trees on both sides.

gardenthing

“Well, this looks like a good place to try to gain some sense of reality” we all thought in mutual silence.

Sitting in the gazebo, we all had become aware that psychedelic drugs opened your mind to an invisible and beautiful world. One of which seemed to be filled with what some of us perceived as the imagination gone astray and what others would commonly refer to as “spirits”.

Everything was alive and breathing, the myriad of eyes which seemed to follow us wherever we went was more than a little unnerving but also quite undoubtedly profound and amazing at the same time.

At one point, we walked into a giant open field and it very  much felt like I was inside a Claude Monet painting. The wind blew and I saw the face of wind spirits blowing clouds across the sky. It would be a few years later, but when I discovered the flamarian woodcutting, it always reminded me of this particular moment, the emotional quality of the wood cutting and that memory of mine evoke the exact same response.

As the day wore on, I began to wonder if this would ever stop, I moved back and forth between the idea that while this was an experience that was indeed so very beautiful, the possibility of it never ending was a terrible thing to consider.

Looking at the fractal universes swirling below my feet at one point, I felt a bit lost. I had gone looking for hallucinations and I most certainly found them. It was in this moment I first realized that magic was real and I was witnessing it in action on some level.

This moment in time far predates my foray into becoming a practicing magician and at the time I was a devout, albeit liberal Christian. The idea that I had somehow walked into the realm of the witch scarred the hell out of me…

At least until it eventually wore off.

Looking back at the experience I can honestly say it was one of the most intense and also unintentional psychedelic rituals I have ever entered into. We most certainly did not go back in time that day, we transcended time itself and got a real good look at the nature of the spirit realm.

Despite all of its horror in light of the understanding that there are most certainly neutral, good and bad entities out there, this would only be the beginning of my psychedelic explorations.

While I no longer use the particular substance mentioned in this post, the experiences I have had with it are most certainly some of the most important spiritual experiences I have ever had and the knowledge I have been able to bring back from said experiences, largely informs my magical practice today.

Julian Crane

Julian Crane

Musician at Jabooda and Dubious Monk's Synchronicity Project
Author, Wizard, Social Media Professional, Musician, Foodie, Occultist, Husband.
Julian Crane

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