The Sacred Mushroom
July 18, 2008 9:35 PM   Subscribe

One Step Beyond - The Sacred Mushroom. A 1961 episode of One Step Beyond investigates whether or not psilocybin mushrooms can give you extra-sensory perception. Part 2, Part 3. [Via Neurophilosophy]
posted by homunculus (27 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
One Step Beyond!
posted by homunculus at 9:36 PM on July 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

Interesting to see that pop-sci "documentaries" have been bullshit since the black and white days.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:06 PM on July 18, 2008

Good footage even though it's presented as sensational fluff. Andrea Puharich's ( seen in this video) book The Sacred Mushroom ( not related to this video) , is pretty interesting but from what I understand, he basically fabricated the story. He's also bad at reading his lines on this episode of One Step Beyond.

But yeah, the mushrooms do induce telepathic and otherwise "paranormal" phenomenon. No question about that.
posted by Liquidwolf at 11:25 PM on July 18, 2008

No, they cannot.
posted by Falconetti at 11:33 PM on July 18, 2008

Yes, they can.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:05 AM on July 19, 2008

Yes, they can.

See? you knew I'd say that.
posted by OrangeDrink at 12:26 AM on July 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

ESP, you say? Why that's sheer Madness!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:41 AM on July 19, 2008

Ugh. I haven't looked at it, but I *know* that first post by homunculus is gonna be the same clip. What a maroon...
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:45 AM on July 19, 2008

The only thing more ridiculous/amusing than this is McKenna's theory that mushroom spores came from space and were a way of carrying an alien communication to us, not unlike the Pioneer plaques.

Telepathy is nonsense, and good thing too. if it was real and a way was found to show everybody how to use the ability the human race would be wiped out in a week.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 5:08 AM on July 19, 2008

Oh, awesome...this post reminded me that I actually bought a series set of this show for like five bucks or something at Best Buy a couple years ago, because it was cheap and it looked insane, but then never watched any of it. I may have to fix that now.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:45 AM on July 19, 2008

i was hoping this might explain an interesting experience i had while scuba diving on psilocybin in hawaii. below 60 feet, i was able to hear what seemed like dozens of telephone conversations that i was able to selectively listen to. none were familiar or very interesting, just random chatter about mundane things. above 60 feet i could only hear the sound of my own breathing. i did hear a whale call on that dive, which was felt as much as heard. regrettably, that was the only whale call i've ever experienced, and i regret not hearing one without the drug.
posted by kitchenrat at 6:51 AM on July 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

there's a fish there's a rock don't die. on mushrooms. wow.
posted by joecacti at 6:58 AM on July 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

scuba diving on psilocybin in hawaii.

Ten tons of awesome right there.
posted by Wolof at 7:02 AM on July 19, 2008

scuba diving on psilocybin

I'm very big on better living through chemistry but I think you're nuts.

Scuba diving is quite dangerous; moreover, it's one of the few sports where you can't just stop and wait it out if something goes wrong; and your life depends on following a lot of very specific rules and correctly interpreting various numerical and qualitative observations.

And a lot of the deaths in scuba are horrifying and you can also cripple yourself in various ways with the bends.

Stick to Butthole Surfers concerts or other controlled environments.

As for the original post, I'm certainly no stranger to the idea that you can get new skills, observations or insights through psychedelics and I've experienced it myself. However, the requirement for objective proof of your subjective insights is even greater if you're in an abnormal state of consciousness. There's not the slightest proof in what I saw of the (fun) documentary of the existence of telepathy.

Don't let this down your trip: if you do find yourself on acid and 30 fathoms down, relax and go with it, and remember your training. If you think you're telepathically communing with people, dolphins or even abalone(*), have fun, take care of yourself, and if you can think of some way to capture objective evidence of it, so much the better. Things can be "true" and still not be "objectively provable" (or even "objectively true to other people" for that matter...)

(* - I paid more than I've paid for any piece of sashimi last night for "emperor abalone" and I don't even like abalone. But the waitress was very persuasive and she was right.)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:09 AM on July 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

I've always *wanted* to believe in extrasensory abilities (telekinesis, telepathy, et al). But...I can't quite make myself believe. For one thing, if we stipulate that telepathy does occur, by what means is the data transferred? Tachyons? Neutrinos? Radio frequencies? And what organ do we have that projects or receives such things? None, which is why I cannot believe such a thing is possible. If there is some organ in our brain that allows us to receive or transmit signals of some kind to/from other beings (aside from our voices), we haven't found it yet, nor is there any indication or evidence that such a thing exists.

That said, I have had some truly weird coincidences happen that, because of timing, felt as if I had predicted them precognitively. Yet, our lives are long and full of actions and activities, so the odds that there would be *some* mighty strange coincidences in a person's life is entirely understandable.

One thing that *almost* made me believe in such things is that my foster mother, in the course of about 16 months, said a few times, "I haven't heard from my sister in Canada in a while, wonder how she's doing," or something like that, and within an hour or two, her sister would call. This happened at least three or four times in that 16-month span of time. The reason for this, I think now, is that they were close sisters, and thought in the same way, about a lot of things; they were very "in tune" with each other -- when one would think it'd been a while since they'd heard from the other, the other was probably thinking the same thing, and eventually one of them would call the other.

When someone can come in under carefully controlled conditions and tell a tester, one at a time, what each card is in a shuffled deck of 52 cards, without ever seeing them, then I will reassess. I don't see that ever happening though.
posted by jamstigator at 8:50 AM on July 19, 2008

Ugh. I haven't looked at it, but I *know* that first post by homunculus is gonna be the same clip. What a maroon...

Great minds think alike!
posted by homunculus at 9:07 AM on July 19, 2008

The problem with this type of thing with hallucinogens is that they basically destroy your ability to determine cause and effect. My favorite personal example of this was when I put my car key into the passenger side of my car and turned it in a 7/11 parking lot, and the car next to me started at up at the same time. It seriously took me a while to figure out that I hadn't started that car up.

Plus, once we were listening to a Bill Hicks album and watching a Minds Eye Video (hello, late 90s!) and all of us SWORE that it synched up... like Bill Hicks mentioned flying while there were birds on the screen, etc.

Anyway, point being that anybody tripping really has no idea if they thought of something before it happened or during or afterwards.
posted by empath at 9:08 AM on July 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

i was hoping this might explain an interesting experience i had while scuba diving on psilocybin in hawaii

...Grant Morrison? Is that you?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:15 AM on July 19, 2008

"So I'm repelling down Mount Vesuvius when suddenly I slip, and I start to fall. Just falling, ahh ahh, I'll never forget the terror. When suddenly I realize "Holy shit, Hansel, haven't you been smoking Peyote for six straight days, and couldn't some of this maybe be in your head?"


"And it was. I was totally fine. I've never even been to Mount Vesuvius."

- Hansel
posted by nosila at 11:28 AM on July 19, 2008

In Search Of... White Castle.
posted by stavrogin at 11:39 AM on July 19, 2008

When someone can come in under carefully controlled conditions and tell a tester, one at a time, what each card is in a shuffled deck of 52 cards, without ever seeing them, then I will reassess. I don't see that ever happening though.

That's pretty harsh - I'd settle for someone being able to do better than chance all the time under carefully controlled conditions as you say.

For example, if someone were able to guess the suit of at least 15 out of 52 cards, and they could do it every time, then after 30 repetitions, I'd have to confess that they had a special power: the chances of guessing 15 out of 52 suits right is less than 50%, so if you do it 30 times in a row, the change he's just lucky is less than one in two to the thirtieth or less than one in ten billion.

The point is that there isn't even anyone who can do that, repeatably. All you can say is that in some runs, they seem to do better than chance, and they seem to do better than chance overall. That's just not convincing to anyone skeptical. A shame, I'd be happier if some sort of ESP did exist I think (not that I want people to know exactly what I'm thinking but actually I wouldn't mind that much, I don't have that many secrets compared to what would come out if telepathy did suddenly spring up :-D)

Imagine what the world would be life if we instantly became telepathic! Frankly, I think after the first couple of billion casualties, the world would be a much better place. It might be worth it.

It might not be so bad if it were gradual, if people became slowly incapable of lying and started to understand others better - I think a bunch of psychopaths would be outed, people would realize that most other people are just trying to get by and are incited into hatred of each other by a small psychopath community for their own profit.

If it started today, fifty years from now we might be living in an earthly paradise.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:40 PM on July 19, 2008

I'd always pegged the Amazing Psychic Powers part of a mushroom trip to the short-term memory. I mean, there you are, sitting happily in your candy-coated living room wonderland, and the window's open and there's a little breeze coming in. You think "Gee, maybe I should close the window" and suddenly your friend turns and says "No, it's too hot, we'd better keep it open."

And then you get slightly worried because wait a minute, how did she know you were thinking about the window? If you bother to press the issue, it of course turns out that you had spoken your thoughts aloud but, thanks to the short-term memory, you lost that connection and your perception of the events went straight from your thought to your friend's response. See? It all makes sense now! Nobody's really psychic! (or are they?) Oh, what a laugh that was on us! But the explanation was simple all along!

Trying to explain why everybody on the television looks like you, on the other hand...
posted by Spatch at 5:34 AM on July 20, 2008

"Those are called 'thoughts', they're supposed to be INSIDE your head."

--said to me once while I was babbling about something while tripping. Fucked me up for hours after that.
posted by empath at 7:18 AM on July 21, 2008

« Older Vanhacking   |   Guinness World Records Podcast Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments