True Hallucinations by Terence McKenna

This was a very frustrating book to read because I wanted to know more about the day to day existence in the jungle. Two brothers Terence and Dennis are in the remote jungle of South America in 1971 and they have taken a mixture of plants in a brew. The brew keeps them tripping for about two weeks. During this time Terence worries his younger brother Dennis will be permanently insane. Dennis came down and is now perfectly sane, but Terence continued to be obsessed with strange hallucinations and weird ideas about all human beings one and a quasi religious experience. The book will be at the point of being very interesting when it talks about what they did and saw and the plants they took, then without warning it will segue into a bizarre philosophy that grows more and more tiresome to endure. At first I listened with some interest to the theory, but it went on and on becoming more confusing and was mentally impossible to follow without some kind of intense study. Maybe some diagrams or flowcharts would have helped to explain it? The take away point is experiment with plants and not man made drugs, but be very careful about how much you take and what you take or else risk being rendered insane. Dennis even threw away his glasses in the jungle believing he would not need them. It could be quite possible to die of misadventure in the jungle after taking plants to the point in which there is no concern for any danger. Terence claimed that he did not sleep for at least 9 days in which he was looking after his brother, hoping he would recover. I don’t know if he really was sleeping as just did not remember it or if the plant drugs were keeping him awake, but its possible brain damage set in. Terence does see a UFO which looks to him like a classical flying saucer. If you go on Youtube you can listen to clips of Terence and Dennis talking. Dennis is fully recovered and he is coherent, but Terence is babbling nonsense. The book is a sad commentary to the risks of over indulgence. Unfortunately, Terence died of brain cancer in 2000, and it seems possible that this contributed to his delusional state. Maybe if he had survived he would have recovered, but maybe he would have gotten worse. He seemed like he was happy enough and not suffering, but his life basically ended and was devoted to pursuing these hallucinations. I am not even going to make a judgement to say they are true or real or false. But, even they were true there was no point in continuing to focus on them. I don’t know if he had a choice at that point. The aliens had a message for humans about being one with the universe and they were using plants to convey this message. That is one a small part of a hugely complicated theory involving things like random throws of sticks.

2 thoughts on “True Hallucinations by Terence McKenna

  1. Yes, the story is a true one. It’s not a novel. I believe everything he said really happened, but not the philosophy, I wished for more details on the situation. For example what happens after they are airlifted is not detailed. The narrative is also muddled by the philosophy. I had to go back and listen several times to figure it out. I used the audible edition, so I can’t cite page references.


  2. I know the headline says “True Hallucinations,” but it was only when I got about 2/3 through that I realized that this is in fact a true story.

    I’ve done a little bit of side research and this is one book I would really be interested to read, thanks for the review!


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