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Observations placeholder

Cash, Johnny – Goes out of body from amphetamine and barbiturate withdrawal



Type of Spiritual Experience

Out of body

Number of hallucinations: 1


A description of the experience

Cash – the Autobiography of Johnny Cash

During the following days I moved through withdrawal to recovery. I retreated to the house I'd just bought on Old Hickory Lake and at first lived in just one room, one of the big, circular rooms overlooking the lake. June and her mother and father formed a circle of faith around me, caring for me and insulating me from the outside world, particularly the people, some of them close friends, who'd been doing drugs with me. June contacted Dr Nat Winston, the Commissioner for Public Health of the State of Tennessee, on my behalf, and Nat came to the house every day, holding my feet to the fire and giving me vital support.

At first it was very hard for me. To illustrate, in Man in Black, I described a phenomenon that began on my third night home, when I was finally able to get to sleep at about three in the morning, and continued for about ten days.

It was the same nightmare every night, and it affected my stomach - I suppose because the stomach was where the pills had landed, exploded, and done their work. I'd be lying in bed on my back or curled up on my side. The cramps would come and go, and I'd roll over, doze off, and go to sleep.

Then all of a sudden a glass ball would begin to expand in my stomach. My eyes were closed, but I could see it. It would grow to the size of a baseball, a volleyball, then a basketball. And about the time I felt that ball was twice the size of a basketball, it lifted me up off the bed.

I was in a strange state, half-asleep and half-awake. I couldn't open my eyes, and I couldn't close them. It lifted me off the bed to the ceiling, and when it would go through the roof, the glass ball would explode and tiny, infinitesimal slivers of glass would go out into my bloodstream from my stomach. I could feel the pieces of glass being pumped through my heart into the veins of my arms, my legs, my feet, my neck, and my brain, and some of them would come out the pores of my skin.

Then I'd float back down through the ceiling onto my bed and wake up.

I'd turn over on my side for a while, unable to sleep. Then I'd lie on my back, doze off, get almost asleep - and the same nightmare would come again.

I never imagined a hole in the roof. I just went right through it without an opening ... I wanted to scream, but I couldn't.

I also noted that as well as the glass coming out of my skin and the corners of my eyes, I had the old problem of splinters, briars, and thorns in my flesh, and sometimes worms.

Eventually - slowly, with relapses and setbacks - I regained my strength and sanity and I rebuilt my connection to God. By November 11th, 1967 I was able to face an audience again, performing straight for the first time in more than a decade at the high school in Hendersonville, my new hometown.

I was terrified before I went on, but surprised, almost shocked, to discover that the stage without drugs was not the frightening place I'd imagined it to be. I was relaxed that night. I joked with the audience between numbers. I amazed myself.

What happened then was even more startling. Vivian divorced me and June and I got married on March 1st 1968.

The source of the experience

Cash, Johnny

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps