Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Mindbomb, Part 4: The Leprechaun

One of my biggest influences is Graham Hancock, the pioneering British journalist and explorer. In my opinion, Hancock is a giant of our times and his influence on popular culture is as huge as it is unacknowledged. I attended his first talk on his latest masterwork, Supernatural, as New York's sublime Chapel of Sacred Mirrors. Being a Casteneda fan from way back in the day, I was captivated by the talk. Yet at the same time I was desperately hoping that people wouldn't use the book as motivation to go out and chug some ayahusca for themselves. I see that kind of activity as the equivalent of deep sea diving or Antarctic exploration- best left to the experts.

Many of the details in Hancock's talk struck a chord with me. When I was a kid I would get respiratory infections all of the time. As a result I would get terrifyingly high fevers, often peaking at 106ºF. As a result of that, I would often hallucinate. When I was 12, I got a particularly serious ear infection and was bedridden for over two weeks. Actually I was couch ridden- I was so weakened I couldn't walk up and down the stairs. If I wasn't so incredibly sick it would have been Paradise- nothing to do but lie around and read comics. I was a big Captain America fan at the time and was reading about three years worth of the title during that episode.

One night during this illness, I woke to a most peculiar tableau. A leprechaun was sitting on a rock in the middle of the living room and there was a thunder storm flashing in the adjacent room. I call him a leprechaun only because he was small and bearded and wearing archaic clothes and a rope belt. But he didn't seem cute and charming, he seemed scary as hell. He was shouting over the noise of the storm in a language I didn't understand, maybe Gaelic. And at some point the ceiling opened up and gold coins rained from the ceiling. The noise was unbearable and I passed out.

The thing is, that happened. It wasn't a dream- it all happened when I woke up and stopped when I passed out. I remember it better than yesterday. I was painfully awake at the time. There were no coins on the floor the next morning nor any burn marks on the floor or on the furniture in the dining room. But that doesn't mean the episode didn't have weight and mass and sound and sight and smell. It also doesn't mean that it wasn't extremely unpleasant either.

After Hancock's talk I waited in the receiving line and then told him that story. His face lit up and he nodded knowingly the entire time. He told me that my experience was basically identical to any number of the shamanic experiences he heard about in the field. He said that high fever seemed to throw the same filtering switch in the brain that hallucinogens did. I was gratified by his response, but at the same time I wondered how anyone could put themselves through that kind of thing voluntarily.

Still and all, I was captivated by Hancock's research. And as per usual, the more I heard about shamanism and its by-products the more I was reminded of Jack Kirby....

To Be Continued


  1. I was at that talk as well. He's a pretty fascinating guy...

  2. Just wanted to say that I too have had incredibly high fevers as a child, and had also hallucinated during those episodes. At the time they were quite vivid and incredibly real to me; the main recurring one was something about numbers and foreign letters falling through the ceiling of my room, attended by screeching and flashing colors.

    Being so young, I don't remember it as vividly anymore. More closer to my recollection though, are the LSD trips I had while a teenager. Some of the stuff that was going around in the 80s (Cartoon acid; Egyptian acid; Strawberry and Sunshine microdot) was incredibly potent. Well I had many frightening and few good experiences, but every time I hallucinated it was real and tangible and lucid - and I remember it today as well as any memory of the past.

    Truly, those who haven't hallucinated could never really understanding the basic premise of mystics and quantum adventures who constantly hark on the meme that reality is a state of mind. Until you change that reality - and forcefully - those words will always just be words.

  3. "the main recurring one was something about numbers and foreign letters falling through the ceiling of my room"

    Yeah, I had very similar ones- I remember giant chevrons attacking me.

    At the risk of sounding insane I still see this strange alphabet- which is very similar to the writing on the Kecksburg acorn- flash in front of my eyes when I'm lying in bed. It's constantly swirling and shifting and sort of dissipates when I try to focus on the individual letters. So obviously that part of my brain is still active.

    I'd like to recommend Terry's site to everyone if you haven't seen it. Click on his name and it will take you right there. I've gotten a lot of useful information there.

  4. Thanks for the plug! I'm a newcomer to your site, and your book (which sounds incredible) is on my list to get.

    Re: "At the risk of sounding insane..." Perhaps you are experiencing the same phenomenon described by those who get "flashbacks." Those with the latter affliction usually attribute it to the ingestion of LSD (and some as yet unidentified lingering effect) - but who knows. It could be that the hallucination itself triggers a real chemical change in the brain which is ready to be re-awakened at anytime.

  5. Cheers, Terry- I heard from our man Vyz today- he's talking about doing the show again. Keep your fingers crossed...

  6. perhaps the spirits choose you to do what you are doing now,showing people the secrets in life which most of us dont see.

  7. Christopher speaking of coins and "numbers and foreign letters" (which I suggest're interpretations of something ultimately uninterpretable)cascading from ceilings you might be interested in this piece I blogged on The Daily Grail:

    Ancient Neanderthal Sex Changing Artist-Scientists & Making Eve From The Rib Of Adam's Y Chromosome

  8. I had fever dreams as a kid, too, and waking hallucinations. Very terrifying dreams to do with the end of the earth, I being the only one left alive and realizing i was the cause of it all. A cosmic guilt, that as I woke turned to a kind of hellish, unbearable, but hard to explain, experience of life. Not really hallucinations like in visions, more like emotional, perceptional ones, you might say. I haven´t otherwise experienced any "regular"psychotic states in life but think of this as psychosis-like and actually the worst conscious experiences of my life.

    And, while certainly an effect of brain juices and psychology, I now see this as, though painful, simultaneously serving as some kind of early initiation function, a crack in the ego-egg of the world, helping me to see with doubt some basic premises often taken for granted in life.

    1. Hi, Chris. I just ran across this story for the first time today and was blown away by the similarity to my own fevered experience (also brought on by a childhood susceptibility to bronchial infections). While running a fever of around 105-106*, I got up from bed and saw a gnome like figure, dressed in faded green archaic clothes and wearing a conical hat, standing in the front room.

      I didn't have anything so dramatic as coins falling from the sky, but it was a life-altering experience none the less to lock eyes with a creature right out of legend. This all happened around the same time a few of my neighbors were claiming to have seen a silver barbell shaped UFO several times.

      Anyway, thanks for sharing this story of yours. I see from the comment section that I am far from alone in sharing a similar experience!

  9. Hello there! I saw your recent article on sittshow and then clicked the link to read this. I write as well, and have found the synchs between my worlds and the stuff that comes out in movies and tv to be incredible. I wonder have you read The Pistis Sophia? Would love to chat more about this kind of stuff with another writer. Thanks! ~A

  10. I had polio as a child, there was an outbreak of it in the UK in the late 50s.
    I was lucky it just left me with a slight limp and weakness on my left side but I was constantly suffering from feavers due to lung weakness for years after.
    I had some profound visionary experiences as a child, due to these fevers but when the fevers stopped the visionary experiences continued, intermittently and only stopped when I got into puberty. Then reappeared around age 16 but they were different and less intense. Ive been reading Rune Soup for ages and this blog on and off too, but its only now that ive come across this post. Thank you for posting your experiences and its fascinating to read the responses from others too.