Not Everyone Gets Machine Elves: The Nature of Discarnate Entities and Their Interactions with DMT Users
Jennifer A. Lyke
Stockton University, Galloway, NJ, USA
Encounters with entities are one of the defining characteristics of the DMT “breakthrough” experience. Several authors have described general categories of entities that are frequently encountered under the influence of hallucinogens (e.g., Luke, 2011; Shanon, 2002) and Terence McKenna popularized the “self-transforming machine elves” as one of the hallmarks specifically associated with DMT (McKenna, 1982). However, to date there are few empirical investigations of the characteristics of DMT entities or their interactions with DMT users. Accordingly, this study investigated the frequency with which DMT users experience various categories of entities and the nature of the interactions users have with these entities during the drug experience.
Content analysis was performed on 149 trip reports posted from 2006 through 2015 on Erowid.com by DMT users (90% male, average age 24.6) in order to characterize users’ descriptions of the entities as well as the nature of their interactions with them. Entities were defined as elements of the experience that appeared to the DMT user to possess independent awareness. Seventy-five percent of reports included a description of at least one form of entity and 37% described more than one entity. There were a total of 180 experiences of entities reported. The general categories of entities that emerged were poorly defined or formless beings (29%); humanoid beings (22%); divine beings (10%); aliens (8%), elves and fairies (7%); animals (6%); geometric objects or machines (6%); voices (4%); faces (4%); and miscellaneous entities that did not fit into the other categories (3%).
The gender of the entities also emerged as an important characteristic as it was specifically mentioned in 24% of the descriptions of entities. Male participants were significantly more likely to report the gender of entities than were female participants, and entities whose gender was specified were significantly more likely to be female than male.
The general nature of the participants’ interactions with the entities was also explored. The categories of interactions that emerged were showing/teaching/guidance (25%), no interaction (10%), hostility (10%), warmth or love (9%), welcome/excitement (9%), reassurance or encouragement (8%), neutrality or observation (7%), play or entertainment (4%), power or control (3%), sexuality (3%), unclear interactions (3%), questioning (3%), reminding (2%), and miscellaneous interactions that did not fit into the other categories (2%).
To investigate whether there were any systematic relationships between entity categories and the nature of interactions, the five most common entity categories were evaluated in terms of their association with the five most common categories of interaction. No systematic relationship emerged for any category of entity. Similarly, there was no significant pattern of interaction category for entities that were specifically identified as female C2.
These results indicate that the most commonly experienced, well-defined entities are humanoid and that the most frequent category of interaction involves showing, teaching, or guidance. However, there is no significant relationship between entity category and the nature of the interaction. The results will be compared to previous research on DMT entities, entities encountered using other psychedelic drugs, and entities experienced in alien abduction experiences, near death experiences, and mental mediumship. Limitations of the research design will be discussed along with psychological and psychophysiological interpretations of the results.
Recorded at the Society for Scientific Exploration Conference in Boulder, Colorado 2016.
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Published on November 22, 2018