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This book, which covers Visions and hallucinations, explains what causes them and summarises how many hallucinations have been caused by each event or activity. It also provides specific help with questions people have asked us, such as ‘Is my medication giving me hallucinations?’.

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Observations placeholder

Ether butterflies



Type of Spiritual Experience

Perception recall

Number of hallucinations: 1


All sorts of experiences as the dosage increased

A description of the experience

Butterflies – Ether by R Duke EROWID

[Erowid Warning: The “water extraction” method is ineffective in separating diethyl ether from the volatile hydrocarbon liquids/gases in “starter fluid”. Our understanding of the literature is that there is no such thing as safe use of volatile hydrocarbon gases: their psychoactive effects are inseparable from nerve and organ damage.]

Let me just start out by saying that I do not like to get 'fucked up'. I have a strong interest in conciousness expansion, and my past experiences with drugs are weed, DXM, and various pills. I have never tripped, I have only been speeded up and slowed down and dissociated. So I wanted to see what madness would ensue after huffing some diethyl ether. I got a can of starting fluid from the gas station down the street and proceeded to separate the ether by pouring water into a glass with the starting fluid. I drained off the bottom layer and splashed some onto a rag.

I was laying on a couch on my front porch. The first huff burned my nose horribly, so I doubled over the rag and anticipated the effects. The first signs of the ether came on by means of a strong dizziness and a numb tounge. My body was quite numb, but I could still easily reach over to dip the rag in the ether glass. As I descended further into my binge, I noticed a strong humming noise coming from the streetlights (which were purple and swirling) and the sky turned pink and seemed very close, so close I could touch it.

Then the psychological effects started. I flashed back to when I was anesthesized for surgery when I was eight years old. I wasn't on my front porch anymore, I was laying in the Operating Room with my mother beside me holding my hand. And I saw a creature in the distance, not unlike a butterfly. It had big eyes that took up its whole head and made a happy chirping noise. I noticed that it was getting closer, and the closer it got the louder the chirping was. My vision was also completely obliterated except for a black and white strobing effect.

At the precise moment that my butterfly chirped, I …..took a deep breath. Everything was gone and I was laying on my front porch again in complete silence. I hadn't taken a breath in about two minutes, and I think the vision was a result of oxygen deprivation.

 This was the most profound experience in my life, and I haven't tried ether again since then.

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Inhaling volatiles and gases