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Observations placeholder

Stead, William - part 06 - In the woods watching a drowning boy



Type of Spiritual Experience

Perception recall

Number of hallucinations: 1


[Erowid Warning: Our understanding of the literature is that there is no such thing as safe use of volatile solvents, aerosols and other street inhalants : their psychoactive effects are inseparable from nerve and organ damage. We have chosen to include these reports to help document the real world use of inhalants, but their inclusion is not intended to imply that they are anything but dangerous.]


The first experience could have been a perception recall of a past life as there is an emotional connection, but it could also have been another lesson - his composer telling him he was out of his depth and figuratively speaking drowning - killing himself


A description of the experience

At home I was beginning to run into problems. It had been noticed the amount of clothing in my wardrobe had increased since arrival. This became difficult to explain away. Stupidly I gave the denim jacket, with the glue stains to Pam for washing. She went off her head. To manage this problem I made a point of keeping out of the house as much as possible. With a tense atmosphere now in place it caused an unhappiness from within that became a standard feature. To take my mind of the oppressive situation I would quite often get hold of some glue, and go into the woods. On one of these days something happened a little out of the ordinary.

I was now taking more caution than ever, to reduce any chance of being caught. My walks into the forest were deeper that before, to keep unwelcome eyes away. It became very hot towards the end of that summer, and this day proved no exception finding it quite humid, deep within the woods. Sitting down on a clump of earth, slightly higher than the ground I made a start. This part of the forest was thickly planted, with nothing else in sight. It seemed very much the same all around that area. I soon became aware of something happening to me whilst looking around the terrain, as it changed. With my eyes open I was visualising another type of woodland.

This appeared very different to the place my physical body occupied, just but a few seconds ago. The trees were thinner and more openly spaced, also the ground was of a different structure. Accompanying this became an overbearing desire not to move from my seated position. This created a strong emotional response that obliged me to remain in that spot. I complied knowing the choice was a free one. It became so strange that to describe the situation with mere words is an inadequacy. At this point my body had not moved. Turning my head slowly, I began witnessing an alternate landscape, to anything, which should have been there. My eyes were looking around the area in which the physical body inhabited, but saw nothing they should have. Even the feel to land was different.

To one side on a downhill stretch it became possible to see a fast flowing river. This had a concrete wall along either of the banks within my line of vision that must have been installed to prevent erosion. My initial sighting of this had began to its right, and following the path downward to the left just over half way I could see a boy looking into the water. He appeared to be in some distress. The clothing on his body was not from this time, it being a tweed suit with Knickerbockers trousers. As an estimate I would say it came from the 1920 period. The cause of his anxiety concerned another boy who had fallen in the water. He was battling against impossible odds, and the efforts proved futile. The currant was very strong and carried him down the river, with his friend chasing in the hope he may be of some assistance.

They departed from the field of vision, and I was left watching an empty landscape once again. Shortly afterwards my normal sight returned, and all that remained concerned an atmosphere which could almost be touched. It left me in awe. I put the bag on the ground, and walked away. I knew this sequence of events witnessed through other eyes, but, did not understand why this should be so. The setting, its river and the boys were familiar. From the point of conception it offered more than being a spectator, it became interlocked with my identity, or part of some unknown aspect within my personality. It left me feeling disturbed on the return journey home. This being the first occasion since using glue it had caused any emotion of that nature to surface. I tried making sense of these events, and couldn't. It was by no stretch of the imagination a normal experience of the kind associated within the standard format. The purpose seemed different, almost a revelation. In describing it, I must stress the importance of feeling, with the emotional upsurge becoming significant. It took me to a new level in terms of involvement, which befitted the occasion.

The source of the experience

Stead, William

Concepts, symbols and science items


Past life


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Inhaling volatiles and gases



extracted from EROWID experience vaults