I was stoned – and fighting weakly, as it seemed that a gang of demons were struggling to gain full control of my mind! I had eaten some “magic mushrooms” that night with the intent of connecting with my animal “spirit guide.” Would it be a hawk or an eagle? What hidden wisdom would I discover? After eating the mushrooms, I had followed my impulses and driven out to a swamp out in the county, and taken a walk through the boggy woods. As I walked, the drug began taking a stronger hold, and so would the “animal spirit” sensation. Not a soaring hawk, or any other romantic notion, but I began to feel like a skulking wolf on the prowl. It was as if some other personality were settling in around my own like fog onto a smoking candle! Leaving the swamp, I began to drive back to town. Somebody I recognized was out hitchhiking, and I pulled over to give him a ride. As soon as I did, this strange personality started to close in on me. Under my seat was a long butcher's knife from my food service job, and I was getting this strong, other-worldly, urge to kill this man for food!
Looking back, it is still frightening to think of how that might have ended, with the sheriff's office trying to figure how a car had left the road with the grisly remains of a full-on knife fight in the front seat. Looking back, at the time, I saw that man a day or two later. I didn't tell him what had been going on with me, but he said that he had been aware of a really evil presence in my car that night. I had devolved into an odd kind of scavenger, always on the lookout for the next thrill, and all the time seeing myself as one of the “religious” kind of beatnik as I read the books that were popular on the religious scene of the day –books on meditation, Chinese philosophy, and, until the swamp incident, something that was being sold as a Native American spirituality. “Organic” psychedelics, mystical music, occultic mysteries, and dangers like death and prison all combined to form what I felt was my “religion.”