Some years back, I was browsing in Borders (that’s how far back this was!) and ran across DMT: The Spirit Molecule, by Rick Strassman, M.D. It’s a riveting read about Strassman’s five-year study at the University of New Mexico, where he administered 400 doses of DMT to 60 volunteers. Strassman’s research was the first new human studies with psychedelic drugs in the US in over 20 years. He was led to the study of DMT through earlier research on the pineal gland as a “potential locus for spiritual experiences.”
DMT is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound that is widespread throughout the plant kingdom, occurs in small amounts in mammals, including humans. From Wikipedia: “Structurally, DMT is analogous to the neurotransmitter serotonin, the hormone melatonin, and other psychedelic tryptamines. When ingested, DMT acts as a psychedelic drug. Depending on the dose and method of administration, its subjective effects can range from short-lived milder psychedelic states to powerful immersive experiences; these are often described as a total loss of connection to conventional reality with the encounter of ineffable alien realms. Indigenous Amazonian Amerindian cultures consume DMT as the primary psychoactive in ayahuasca, a shamanistic brew used for divinatory and healing purposes.”
Yet, no one really knows what DMT does or what its function is in humans. DMT levels elevate while we’re sleeping, so perhaps dreaming is part of what DMT facilitates.
Strassman believes that elevated levels of DMT in the brain might help to usher the soul into the body at birth and out of the body at death and my be responsible for spontaneous mystical experiences and NDEs. Many of his volunteers experienced different worlds, some that were downright bizarre, others that were peaceful, and still others that were structurally different from our three-dimensional world.
Strassman writes that when he was reviewing his notes for a chapter entitled, Contact Through the Veil, he was surprised at how many of the volunteers reported “making contact” with “them” or other beings. The volunteers described these other beings as entities, beings, aliens, guides, helpers. One man summarized his encounter with these beings in a way that sounds remarkably like what UFO abductees report: “During the experience, there is a sense of someone or something else, there taking control. It’s like you have to defend yourself against them, whoever they are…It’s like they have an agenda…”
He also heard stories about intrusive procedures these beings performed on the volunteers. Sound familiar?
Today I ran across an article by David Jay Brown, who writes for the Santa Cruz Patch and recently interviewed Strassman. In the interview, Brown asked Strassman if he thought there was an objective reality to the worlds visited by people when they’re under the influence of DMT, and if he thought that the entities so many people have encountered on DMT actually have an independent existence or not. Strassman’s reply is intriguing:
“I myself think so. My colleagues think I’ve gone woolly-brained over this, but I think it’s as good a working hypothesis as any other. I tried all other hypotheses with our volunteers, and with myself. The “this is your brain on drugs” model; the Freudian “this is your unconscious playing out repressed wishes and fears;” the Jungian “these are archetypal images symbolizing your unmet potential;” the “this is a dream;” etc.”
”Volunteers had powerful objections to all of these explanatory models–and they were a very sophisticated group of volunteers, with decades of psychotherapy, spiritual practice, and previous psychedelic experiences. I tried a thought-experiment, asking myself, “What if these were real worlds, and real entities? Where would they reside, and why would they care to interact with us?” This led me to some interesting speculations about parallel universes, dark matter, etc. All because we can’t prove these ideas right now (lacking the proper technology) doesn’t mean they should be dismissed out of hand as incorrect.”
Is it possible that contactees and abductees have elevated levels of DMT in their brains? Could that be one of the reasons certain people have these experiences? Wouldn’t this be something that is relatively easy to check?
Brown speculates that Strassman’s work could mark the beginning of a new scientific field, one that “systematically explores the possibility of communicating with higher dimensional entities, and this might prove to be a more fruitful endeavor for establishing extraterrestrial contact than the SETI project. What they may be able to teach us, we can only imagine.”
Suppose it turns out that contactees and abductees register larger amounts of DMT in their brains? Wouldn’t they be the natural ambassadors for contact? Just saying…