Encounters with supernatural entities due to the effects of drugs
Summary of what is known about supernatural apparitions associated with drug use.
Throughout history, encounters with supernatural entities have been described, whether gods, aliens or beings from other worlds and dimensions.
Such encounters are a key element in all religions, with historically recorded cases such as St. Teresa of Jesus, but to what extent is modern pharmacology capable of explaining these events?
In the following, we will see what are, in general, the characteristics of encounters with supernatural entities through the effects of drugsdiscovering the concrete case of the recently more studied in depth ayahuasca.
What do we know about encounters with supernatural entities due to the effects of drugs?
Throughout history, there have been many people who have claimed to have had near-death experiences or encounters with supernatural entities. Some of the most remarkable cases are the mystic-religious experiences of Saint Teresa of Jesus, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, among many others. We do not know exactly if they took some kind of drug, but what is certain is that these types of experiences have been related to the consumption of certain narcotics.
Recently, the effects of the active compound of ayahuasca, N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a psychoactive serotonin, have been investigated.a serotonergic psychoactive substance that is responsible for the fact that this indigenous beverage lives up to its Quechua name, "the rope of the spirits". In the culture where it comes from, it is believed that taking ayahuasca causes the soul to free itself from its corporeal chains, leaving the body and traveling to other worlds.
What does ayahuasca do?
While the type of paranormal the type of paranormal effects induced by this drug are practically the same whether it is consumed one way or the other, its duration and peak varies.its duration and peak varies. If consumed orally, that is, in the form of the traditional indigenous drink, its effect can last up to hours. On the other hand, if consumed by inhaled or intravenous route, its effect is much faster and shorter, having its peak after 5 minutes and lasting half an hour.
It is curious to know that the active component of ayahuasca, DMT, has been found in the brain of mammals, and the human brain is no exception.. It is for this reason that the possibility has been raised that this substance is the one behind the dreams and, since it has hallucinogenic effects, it has been related to the experiences of alien abductions and other supernatural events, such as near-death experiences. Even though this hypothesis exists, it has also been shown that endogenous DMT concentrations are very low, too small to cause a psychotic condition.
Among the most common and striking effects of ayahuasca, attributed to DMT, we have all kinds of paranormal experiences, especially related to encounters with supernatural entities. Among them we have the encounter with celestial beings, such as gods or their emissaries, science fiction beings such as aliens or monsters and mythological creatures, depending on what the individual believes or what is part of their beliefs, both religious and more paranormal.
Attempts have been made to see to what extent suggestion could be behind seeing one or another type of supernatural being after the consumption of ayahuasca. Surprisingly, and according to several investigations in which people who have ever consumed this substance have been asked, there are few who dare to try it with the clear intention of meeting a special being. In most cases the person had planned to try it to find out what it feels like.
This is striking, given that it seems that encounters with supernatural entities associated with the consumption of ayahuasca are not, for the most part, the result of prior suggestion coupled with any psychedelic .. There is something about DMT that makes you see things, regardless of what the person believes.
What are these hallucinogenic experiences like?
In the specific case of ayahuasca, the supernatural encounters after its consumption are emotionally intense. In most cases, those who experience them see them as something that leaves no one indifferent, and they are combined with multisensory sensations. are combined with multisensory sensations, with extrasensory perceptions and striking visual effects.. Olfactory and taste perceptions may also appear, as if smelling and tasting something real.
In most cases, after consuming ayahuasca, it is the supernatural entity who initiates the encounter. It speaks to the consumer and may appear as a celestial being, coming from another world or dimension, such as gods, aliens or even elves. In most cases the entity is conscious and benevolent, with sacred powers and intentions, capable even of "interacting" with the real world, in peace and love, and with the intention of entrusting it with a mission. In very few cases does this entity have evil intentions.
The encounters are perceived as more real than reality itself, something that affects the person's belief system and even his or her conception of the world in which he or she lives. and even his or her conception of the world in which he or she had lived until that moment. In most cases, the ayahuasca experience is lived as the most important event in the person's life, so strong that it has come to change his life. There are many cases of convinced atheists who, after trying this indigenous concoction, joined a religion. After the effects of the drug have worn off, many believe that the entity they met with is real, and continues to exist.
Based on all that has been explained, it is not surprising that, from a more scientific and modern point of view, the possibility is being raised that great religious revelations, such as those of St. Teresa of Jesus, were the product of the effects of DMT. the possibility that great religious revelations, such as those of St. Teresa of Jesus, were the result of the effects of DMT.. It is difficult to imagine that this mystic saint consumed ayahuasca, given that the concoction was first described by Europeans in texts no older than 1637, and she lived from 1515-1582.
However, given her mystical revelations and those of other "enlightened" people, both of the time and more modern, several questions arise: could she have had a particularly high endogenous DMT? Did she consume anything that contained it? What happened in her brain to make her see and hear what she saw and heard? Of course, his mystical experiences and those of many more saints and not-so-saints must have a pharmacochemical explanation... or do these supernatural entities really visit us?
- Dean, J., Liu, T., Huff, S. et al (2019). Biosynthesis and Extracellular Concentrations of N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) in Mammalian Brain. Sci Rep 9, 9333. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-45812-w
- Timmermann, C. , Roseman, L., Williams, L., Erritzoe, D. , Martial, C. , Cassol, H., Laureys, S., Nutt, D. y Carhart-Harris, R. (2018). DMT Models the Near-Death Experience. Front. Psychol., 9.
- Nichols D. E. (2018). N,N-dimethyltryptamine and the pineal gland: Separating fact from myth. Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England), 32(1), 30–36. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269881117736919
- Davis, A. K., Clifton, J. M., Weaver, E. G., Hurwitz, E. S., Johnson, M. W., & Griffiths, R. R. (2020). Survey of entity encounter experiences occasioned by inhaled N,N-dimethyltryptamine: Phenomenology, interpretation, and enduring effects. Journal of Psychopharmacology. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269881120916143