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True Hallucinations

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  1,866 ratings  ·  94 reviews
Like a lovely psychedelic sophist, McKenna recounts his adventures with psychoactive plants in the Amazon Basin. Either a profoundly psychotic episode or a galvanizing glimpse into the true nature of time & mind, McKenna is a spellbinding storyteller, providing plenty of down-to-earth reasons for preserving the planet.
1 The Call of the Secret
2 Into the Devil's P
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 22nd 1994 by HarperOne (NYC) (first published 1993)
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4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,866 ratings  ·  94 reviews

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May 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Acquired this after reading the first parts of Tao Lin's Trip: Psychedelics, Alienation, and Change about McKenna and knowing a bit about him from "The Spirit Molecule," a Netflix documentary about DMT. The day I finished Tao's book, this arrived, as well as a 1100-page ARC I've been looking forward to reading for two years, something I assumed I'd start reading as soon as I removed it from the mailer. But first I decided I'd take a look at this Terence McKenna book -- and then I read like 50 pa ...more
Jul 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Terence McKenna is an odd duck. He's one of the most wonderfully verbose non-fiction writers I've ever read. His ramblings are a strange and beautiful combination of extraordinary scientific and metaphysical esoterica with rich and compelling metaphors and genuine, unadorned soul-baring. True Hallucinations was highly entertaining and thought provoking, despite its weak and ambiguous final few chapters.

True Hallucinations is the surreal account of the bizarre adventures of Terence McKenna, his b
Jan 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Besides being a brilliant orator, philosopher, mathematician, and social analyst, Terence shows he can write non-fiction in a manner that captures the reader's imagination and takes one on a journey to the edge of known civilization. I listened to the book on tape and Terence did the reading - which was excellent. I highly recommend people find as many Terence Mckenna audio files of his talks regarding society, time, hallucinogenics, and his intriguing theory derived from the I Ching. Also, he h ...more
Jun 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
Well... the journey is interesting. But I'm going to go out there and say it: this guy is nuts. The ampersand is holy and there are UFOs and James Joyce was reincarnated in a chicken and you can see back in time if you think of his brother's name and say "please." He has these profound theories about the world, but it's after doing a crazy amount of mushrooms and hallucinogenic jungle drugs. What he really needed was a separate, sober party to say, 'Um, Terrence? That's not actually a UFO, that' ...more
Aug 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have to admit that I really enjoyed this book. Am I getting old and yearn for the carefree days of my youth when experimentation with mushrooms was exciting and new? Perhaps.

My impression is that McKenna was presenting his ideas as possibilities, not absolutes. Being able to translate what the author says into something that's agreeable with your own sensibilities is necessary if you are to get the most from True Hallucinations. If you expect McKenna to speak directly to you in a manner that w
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is far-out, man. I was having multi-hued Castaneda flashbacks. Reading this account of the search for the ultimate mushroom trip—which would connect the author to ancient wisdom drawn from the planet’s roots and first brought to Earth by UFO (an oversimplification, of course)—is like watching ‘My Dinner with Andre’ and having only Andre talk. McKenna is an entertaining writer but I was often lost in the cosmic goo of his sentences. I had the same reaction to some of Robert Graves’ ‘The Whit ...more
Erik Graff
Jan 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: McKenna fans & psychonauts
Recommended to Erik by: Michael Miley
Shelves: biography
This is, more than anything, an autobiographical account focusing on the genesis and development of the author's ideas regarding time.

I've long liked McKenna, primarily as an inspired speaker, recordings of him being a delight to listen to. Also, as someone more experienced with altered states induced by psychtropics, I must needs respect his opinions. One opinion in particular, however, has perplexed me since first encountering it, viz. the 'time-wave zero' business and the weight he put on th
Mar 01, 2017 rated it did not like it
This is about a journey the author took with his brother and some friends in South America in 1971, seeking hallucinogenic mushrooms as part of an experiment, I guess he thinks to find the answer to life, the universe, and everything? It was actually just a hippie steeped in superstition and hallucination, camping with some buddies and getting high. It talks about hyperspace, UFOs, some magical harmonic that is in tune with the universe, and astrology. He seems to think this counts as science.

Eivind Lindbråten
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Meget snodig bok fra Terrence McKenna. Etter å ha lest denne forstår man faktisk at McKenna har blitt mer konservativ med årene, utrolig nok. Men fascinerende som alltid å høre han legge ut om sine ville opplevelser og teorier – en psykedelisk reise i seg selv. Anbefaler denne på lydbok, hvor det er lagt inn mye merkelig musikk, effekter og mellomspor, som får deg til å klø deg litt i hodet.
Michael Miley
Apr 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A classic of psychedelic drug literature. More later
The Other plays with us and approaches us through the imagination and then a critical juncture is reached. To go beyond this juncture requires abandonment of old and ingrained habits of thinking and seeing. At that moment the world turns lazily inside out and what was hidden is revealed: a magical modality, a different mental landscape than one has ever known, and the landscape becomes real. This is the realm of the cosmic giggle. UFOs, elves, and the teeming pantheons of all religions are the d
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nf
A million stars. <3
Kjell De Mars
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
The author narrates with compelling eloquence some of his most profound experiences with shamanic substances that have been the basis for all of his later work on the subject. I agree that the theories seem very far out on the fringes of what is to be taken serious, a lot of the times actually, but Terence emphasizes his awareness of this and encourages the reader to take on a skeptical a stance towards his theories as they can, because, after all, "A good idea is not fragile and can withstand a ...more
Dec 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Essentially billed as a recollection of the La Chorrera experiment, with a brief explanation of Terence’s Timewave theory, True Hallucinations is an impressive piece of work. It is definitely the clearest writing of Terence’s that I have sampled so far.

After the death of his mother in 1971, Terence, his brother Dennis, and three friends found themselves in the Colombian Amazon in search of oo-koo-hé, a psychoactive plant concoction containing DMT. At Dennis’ insistence, Terence and one of their
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
I'm a fan of McKenna and his psilocybin-inspired ramblings, but this book made me think the dude was just completely out of his mind. Wouldn't recommend.
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I've been a fan of McKenna since first encountering his online lectures and YouTube videos.

Here is a witty voice that very matter-of-factly describes and espouses his experiences and extrapolations via the world of psychedelics and hallucinogens. He does so with a wry sense of humor and great prose, although he does, at times, become a bit verbose in using his vast collection of esoteric scientific vernacular.

There were times that it felt like nonsensical information overload.

Other than this se
Jan 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Mesmerizing, bizare, surreal account of the adventures of Terrence McKenna, his brother Dennis, and a small band of friends on there wild ride of exotic experience and scientific inquiry. Exploring the Amazon Basin in search of mythical shamanic hallucinogens to discover the missing link in the development of human conciousness and language. Time Wave Theory, and many other fascinating hypothosis are communicated and studied as they experiment on themselves ingesting mushrooms found in the Amazo ...more
Sep 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Excellent as a McKenna's propaedeutic book. The story itself is very amusing (I especially love the chapter where he writes about a specific wild adventure he experienced with a friend while in Kathmandu, when he had an OOBE orbiting the planet), written in an exquisite style, as if weaving a rich tapestry of words. He's very self-conscious in every single word. Either fiction or fact, it's quite an experience if you're reading him for the first time, like I was, back in 2004.
Michael Lankford
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
I appreciate his storytelling and experiences as such but there is a lot of woo, pseudoscience, and plain nonsense within this book which was unnecessary.
Terrance McKenna has always been a prolific name in the field of psychedelic studies and the of entheogens. This story/tale of intrigue proves that fact even more.

The time is 1971 and a group of rag tag explorers set out to find an infamous compound that has only successfully documented at the time once, from a tribe of natives(Witoto) called Oo-Koo-He. A DMT resin wrapped in the ashes of burned trees, the ashes acting as MAO-inhibitors creating a similar trip to ayahuasca. They travel to the M
Dennis Veirum
Having finished my first McKenna book, and indeed after having already acquired into the mysteries of consciousness and the ancients, I truly came to realise how far ahead of our modern inquiry he really was.
As probably the most iconic psychonaut still to date, McKenna is the kind of writer who you will either perceive as utterly brilliant or simply nuts.
To my mind, not only was he ahead of his time - his standing experience and thereof deepened understanding of "the other" was sublime and poli
Igor Packo
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
I enjoy reading about other people's drug experience and theories, but this book felt like just too much. It started with some history about Terrence, his brother and the rest of the group. Their plan for the big Amazonian adventure and upcoming "scientifical breakthrough" ... which didn't come. Most of it was just rambling about pseudoscience and them tripping their balls off. I felt like the author himself got lost and too deep in his thoughts and imaginaries which he tried to present as "the ...more
Ryan Jensen
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you are at all interested in listening to a hyper-intelligent, super-insane, paranoid schizophrenic ramble on and on about doing a load of drugs and going insane, then this is the book for you.

This is a book about a group of friends who go into the amazon and do a massive load of psychedelic drugs. They talk about communicating with UFOs, achieving telepathy, and canceling electron-spin-resonances to trigger molecules inside their brains to become super-conducting and fuse with their neural D
Patrick Barker
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
McKenna is a man after my own heart. He relentlessly explores the boundaries of philosophy and science without regard for convention. While he may go a bit far at times, his accounts of their journey into the Amazon formed a bridge in my mind between so many disciplines I couldn't help but be engaged. Somewhere in the middle of lunacy, genius, friend, teacher, and explorer he stands unique in the world. He and his brothers detailed scientific explanations of things most would never dare to try a ...more
Steve Wilson
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bordering-on-delusional zaniness aside, this book offered a fun vicarious ride through the experiences of a philosophical seeker. Personally, I would never have followed McKenna on one of his Amazonian expeditions. Fortunately for the readers, we can be armchair psychonauts and take in his mythic prose from the safety of our own homes. McKenna might not have been the world’s most fastidious scientist, but he was an excellent weaver of tales. It’s a shame he has passed on before his time. His bro ...more
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Real story about expedition to Amazon basin which took place in 1971 rapidly turned into a curiosity-driven quest for the ultimate truths of time and life... and the message has been received, because "Half the time you think your thinking, you're actually listening."
William Burroughs does it better without feigning to be interested in science.
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A true psychedelic journey through plant medicine, anthropology, hallucinations, reverberations through space and time, eschatology, and what it means to lose one’s mind.
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Terence Mckenna's voice will be heard in your mind while he explores the inner amazon. This journey if one of the most intriguing and weird journey's you will make in non-fiction.
Mac Hull
May 30, 2018 rated it liked it
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Terence Kemp McKenna was a writer, philosopher, psychonaut and ethnobotanist. He was noted for his knowledge of the use of psychedelic, plant-based entheogens, and subjects ranging from shamanism, the theoretical origins of human consciousness, and his concept of novelty theory.
“Our self discoveries make us each a microcosm of the larger pattern of history. The inertia of introspection leads toward recollection, for only through memory is the past recaptured and understood. In the fact of experiencing and making the present, we are all actors.” 30 likes
“When we look within ourselves with psilocybin, we discover that we do not have to look outward toward the futile promise of life that circles distant stars in order to still our cosmic loneliness. We should look within; the paths of the heart lead to nearby universes full of life and affection for humanity.” 11 likes
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