Osmond, Dr Humphry - A negative adrenochrome experience
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Humphrey Osmond [ from Introduction of The Witnesses – Thomas Hennell]
I had 5 mgm of adrenochrome this time because we thought it was probably deteriorating. I saw only a few visual patterns with my eyes closed. I had the feeling that there was something wonderful waiting to be seen but somehow I couldn’t see it. However, in the outside world everything seemed sharper and the Van Gogh was three dimensional.
I began to feel that I was losing touch with everything. My sister telephoned and although I am usually glad to hear her voice, I couldn’t feel any warmth or happiness. I watched a group of patients dancing, and although I enjoy watching dancing with the envious interest of one who is clumsy on his feet, I didn’t have a flicker of feeling.
As we drove back to Abe’s house a pedestrian walked across the road in front of us. I thought we might run him down, and watched with detached curiosity. I had no concern for the victim. We did not knock him down.
I began to wonder whether I was a person any more and to think that I might be a plant or a stone. As my feeling for these inanimate objects increased, my feeling for and my interest in humans diminished. I felt indifferent towards humans and had to curb myself from making unpleasant personal remarks about them. I had no inclination to say more or less than I observed. If I was asked if I liked a picture, I said what I felt and disregarded the owner’s feelings. I did not wish to talk and found it more comfortable to gaze at the floor or a lamp. Time seemed to be of no importance.
I slept well that night and awoke feeling lively, but although I had to attend a meeting that morning, I did not hurry myself. Eventually I had to be more or less dragged out of the house by Abe. I had to get my car from a garage where it was being repaired. There was some trouble about finding it in the garage; when at last I was seated in the driver’s seat, I realised that I couldn’t drive it through traffic, although quite able to do so usually. I did not, however, feel anxious or distressed by this but persuaded the garage proprietor to drive me to my destination. I would, I believe have normally found this a humiliating situation. I did not feel humiliated.
I attended the scientific meeting, and during it I wrote this note ‘Dear Abe, this damn stuff is still working. The odd thing is that stress brings it on after about 15 minutes. I have this ‘glass wall, other side of the barrier’ feeling. It is fluctuant, almost intangible, but I know it is there. It wasn’t there three quarters of an hour ago; the stress was the minor one of getting the car. I have a feeling that I don’t know anyone here; absurd but unpleasant. Also some slight ideas of reference arising from my sensation of oddness. I have just begun to wonder if my hands are writing this; crazy of course’.
I fluctuated for the rest of the day. While being driven home by my psychologist colleague, Mr B Stefaniuk, I discovered that I could not relate distance and time. I would see a vehicle far away on the long, straight prairie roads, but would be uncertain whether we might not be about to collide with it. We had coffee at a wayside halt and here I became disturbed by the covert glances of a sinister looking man. I could not be sure whether he was really doing this or not. I went out to look at two wrecked cars which had been brought in to a nearby garage. I became deeply preoccupied with them and the fate of their occupants. I could only tear myself away from them with an effort. I seemed in some way to be involved in them.
Later in the day when I reached home the telephone rang. I took no notice of it and allowed it to ring itself out. Normally, no matter how tired I am, I respond to it. By the morning of 19/10/52 I felt that I was my usual self again