You are here

'Dave' from True Hallucinations - The Experiment at La Chorrera (1977)

Primary tabs

123.55 MiB000
This torrent has no flags.

Dave, of "True Hallucinations"
Recorded casually in South America in 1977. Experiment at La Chorera as told by "Dave."

Audio Cassette rip converted to FLAC.


The La Chorrera journey has taken on somewhat legendary proportions over the decades, but a brief summary may be in order. In 1971 Terence McKenna, unpublished and unknown, found himself with a non-descript Berkeley degree in shamanism and no clear prospects for the future. He'd been in on the hippie seeker trail to the East, dabbled in spiritual work in India, collected butterflies in Indonesia, taught English in Japan, and was -- according to a comment made much later -- "wanted by Interpol". A friend's suggestion to go down to the Amazon to look for aboriginal drugs suddenly seemed attractive, and a small travelling party was assembled, including Terence's younger brother Dennis (21 at the time). The McKennas had lost their mother not long before, an event which brings a subtle undertone of melancholy to the True Hallucinations storyline.

After an ardous journey via plane, river-boat and a 110-mile walk through the Colombian jungle, the destination is reached; a small village/mission deep in the Amazon basin near the Peruvian border, completely cut off from the world. McKenna's obvious rapport with the rain forest helps create a vivid, arresting picture of the environment they pass through, and the often strange characters they meet. The atmosphere is thick, and there is an underlying tension that slowly mounts. Except for an idea to examine a few loose ends in the works of ethnobotanists such as Richard Evans-Schultes, the purpose of the expedition appears to have been a quest for adventure, and this would soon present itself.

The McKenna brothers had come looking for yage (ayahuasca) and the obscure hallucinogenic admixture okojee, but upon arrival at La Chorrera, the focus rapidly shifted. A pasture near the village was full of psilocybe mushrooms, and a steady intake of these powerful agents had a profound effect on the small party of Americans. Dennis McKenna, who is in many ways the main character of True Hallucinations, was particularly affected. After several days with mushrooms and increasingly odd behavior, he had developed a theory on how the psilocybin, combined with the harmaline in an ayahuasca brew provided by friendly tribesmen, could effect a permanently altered state of consciousness, which would allow for direct readouts from DNA, and change the course of human history. This theory, which also informs the aforementioned The Invisble Landscape, is described in great technical detail on the audio tapes and makes for a somewhat awkward clash with the poetic rainforest descriptions that surrounds it.

Dennis & Terence McKenna, 1975 As tensions within the expedition mount, "the experiment at La Chorrera" is performed, and an increasingly dissociated Dennis McKenna proclaims it a success. Brother Terence is unsure of what exactly has passed, but the following two weeks finds Dennis in a schizophrenia-like state of withdrawal and delphic utterances, while a bewildered but somehow euphoric Terence discovers that he no longer needs any sleep, and spends his days and nights listening to his brother, and thinking. The I-Ching reinterpretation described above emanates during this strange period, as do a lot of other novel ideas that McKenna later would propagate. As the days pass, Dennis McKenna slowly returns to a more conventional frame of mind, and not long after, the group leaves La Chorrera to return to civilisation.