Podcast 261 – “The Definitive UFO Tape”


Guest speaker: Terence McKenna

Please Support Dennis McKenna’s Kickstarter Project:
The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss!


Books by Terence McKenna

The Missing Chapters of The Invisible Landscape
Chapter 20: The Oversoul as Saucer
Chapter 21: Open Ending


This is Tape Number 004 of the Paul Herbert Collection.

[NOTE: All quotations are by Terence McKenna.]

“In psilocybin and the tryptamine hallucinogens generally we actually have a state of mind that is very similar to the state of mind reported to accompany the UFO contact, and that these things could somehow be co-mapped, one onto the other”

“Involvement with these tryptamines as they accumulated in your system, you seem to acquire the ability to inhabit more than one world at once, as though superimposed over reality there was a super-reality, a hyper dimensional world where information was accessible in magical ways.”

“History is just this froth of artifact production that has appeared in the last ten to fifteen thousand years. It spread across the planet very quickly. But that mind in man just goes back and back into the darkness.”

“The extraterrestrial is the human over soul in its general and particulate expression on the planet. . . . The over soul is some kind of field that is generated by human beings, but that is not under the control of any institution, any government, and religion. It is actually the most intelligent thing on the planet, and it regulates human culture through the release of ideas out of eternity and into the continuum of history.”

“The myths that are building are like the Messianic myths that preceded the appearance of Christ.”

Terence McKenna“I think that science has betrayed human destiny to some degree. And that we are led to the brink of star-flight, but we’re also led to the brink of thermonuclear holocaust.”

“The political conclusion to be drawn is to preserve your freedom of thought by deconditioning yourself to the flying saucer religion before it happens.”

“I think that the flying saucer experience is tremendously powerful. And that it really is somehow linked to the psychedelic experience in a way that perhaps will not be understood for some time.”

“Well, see what I’m saying is if we would intelligently examine these dimensions that the psychedelic drugs make available, we could as it were get in touch with the over soul and leave the era when man is disciplined by flying saucers and messiahs and progress is halted for millennia at a stretch just because people can’t evolve their ethics and their technology at the same rate of speed.”

“The modern epistemological methods are just not up to dealing with an elf, with chattering, elf-infested spaces. I mean, we have a word for those spaces, we call it schizophrenia and slam the door. But, you know, these dimensions have been with us since ten thousand times longer than Freud. And people just have to come to terms with them.”

“The discs which haunt the skys of Earth indicate that the unconscious cannot be kept waiting forever. These things are going to have to be dealt with.”

“The imagination is the golden pathway to everywhere.”

“But I think what’s being missed is that a whole dimension of communication is being ruled inadmissible as evidence simply because it doesn’t conform to the epistemological biases of the people who are asking the question. And that is all these voices in the head that guide shamans, that obsess lunatics, that make poetry, and in other words the muse. The muse is real. . . . Well one could talk endlessly about this subject, I suppose, but until it’s resolved all of man’s epistemological dealings with reality will be haunted by this faint spookiness, which can’t be gotten rid of.”

“You see what is happening and why the psychedelic experience is so important is because information is loose on Planet Three. Some kind of very strange thing is going on.”

“What is unusual about Earth is that language, literally, has become alive. It has infested matter. It is replicating and defining and building itself. And it is in us.””

“The over mind. The fact that there is a level of hierarchical control being exerted by the human species as a whole. That the destiny of man is not in the hands of governments and corporations and Communist Party apparatchiks. It is in the hands of a weirdly democratic, amebic-like, hyper-intelligent super organism, which is called Everybody.”

“And the reality of this informational creature is seen more clearly. It’s an organism. We are having a symbiotic relationship with an organism made of information. And this is what psychedelics reinforces, I think very strongly. It’s in the psychedelic dimension that you finally can key in to the voice of the organism and say, “Hey, what’s happening?” And then it explains to you that things are not as you took them to be at all. And that there is in fact layer, and layer, and layer upon interlocking meaning. And that there’s very little else other than that. And that the imagination is the true ground of being. And that there is a dimension, parallel to time, outside of time that is accessible to you as much as you want it, to the degree that you can decondition yourself from the history-bound cognitive systems that have carried you to that point. This is why it has always been said of psychedelics that they were sociological catalysts.”

“What it comes down to is trying to have faith that man is good, because what’s happening is that whatever man is, man is taking control of the definition of being human.”

“Man is going to become a mirror of his deepest aspirations, and the question then becomes, “What are man’s deepest aspirations?’”

“Death is both a historical and individual phenomenon about which we as monkeys have great anxiety. But what the psychedelic experience seems to be pointing out is that actually the reductionist view of death has missed the point, and that there is something more. It isn’t simple extinction. That the universe does not build up such complex forms as ourselves without conserving them in some astonishing and surprising way that is perhaps related some way to the intuitions that we have from the psychedelic experience.”


PCs – Right click, select option
Macs – Ctrl-Click, select option

Books by Terence McKenna

Posted in Consciousness, Culture, Death, DMT, Erik Davis, Evolution, Extraterrestial, Future, Imagination, Psychedelics, Religion, Science & Technology, Terence McKenna (mp3).


  1. Earth Barely Alive

    by the time she was a Two-legged two
    sara’ already knew why she had to be Three
    swati’ was the Stone who had not to be shown
    the Fire in its’ pattern was there to be known
    and sara’swati’ was the Wise young Owl
    who could See from the Tree
    Earth barely alive

    and the Moon was just right and the time in the Night
    had arrived had arrived
    Earth barely alive
    for the Three to be One and change into The Wolf
    and cry out in the Dark with a mournful howl
    and cry out in the Dark with a how how how
    why why why
    who who who

    and Three held the Soul of the Earth inside
    and Three knew now they would no longer hide
    the Old and the Cold were mean mean mean
    Oh! my my my

    so the Fangs of the Wolf and the Wise of the Owl
    and the Fire in the Stone with a sigh from the Wind
    grew grew grew
    and there was nothing that they could do do do
    to stop the frenzy the feeding the pleading!
    Oh! die die die

    and the pleasant surprise
    they could feel feel feel
    as they looked in the Eye of the Eye in the Sky
    it was real real real

    and not a Dream at all

  2. Geogaddi,

    Are you suggesting that the “2nd book” that is referred to at the beginning of the talk may have been an early edition (or something like this) of ‘True Hallucinations?’ He seems to refer to it as ‘Down to Earth: Psilocybin & UFOs.’ I had a funny thought that perhaps he was talking about ‘Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide,’ but didn’t want to give away the real title, since it had been written pseudonymously, and it was probably only known in limited circles that he had written it. It certainly contains an introduction connecting the mushroom to the UFO. If there is some other book out there that was published by McKenna at this point, I would love to find it.

    Also, Geogaddi, you seem to know a lot about McKenna’s early days. I am currently writing an article (and starting a Masters thesis) in which the early years of McKenna are very central. I would be much obliged if you would be open to contact me for some informal discussion: kaw71@humboldt.edu

    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: That’s an interesting thought about Terence’s first two books, and I think you may be correct. As you will hear in podcast 267 and others, Terence eventually admitted to authroring “Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide” with his brother Dennis. Their pen names for that book were O.T. Oss & O.N. Oeric. The copy I have is the revised edition from 1986, but I see that the current edition was published in 1993. Originally it was published in 1976, and my guess is that the UFO material you mention was only in the first edition, because I don’t see it in the newer one. … Maybe it’ll turn up on the Web one day.

    If you are looking for something original to say about Terence McKenna, this might be an interesting place to start, e.g. Did he try to distance himself from some of his earlier positions. … Thanks for pointing this out Geogaddi.]

    LINK TO THE BOOK: http://astore.amazon.com/matrixmasterscom/detail/0932551068/186-7155505-1766028

  3. Listened to this tape for a second time yesterday, I really love when he talks about “next steps”: that we’re not ready for a science yet, but what we need is journals and travel diaries from explorers; that the best approach would be to give intelligent people drugs with no expectations, just let them try and figure out the whole experience and share their thoughts and experiences with others (or words to that effect, I’m paraphrasing here).

    Lorenzo, you’re my hero!

  4. Wow what a blast from the past! Terrence sure seems to be tapping the “main vein of sprung verse” in this one, I reckon he could rave on about UFO’s and the imagination forever if it wasn’t for testing the patience of the people listening. What a poet he was, his very words are intoxicating…

    Interesting that Terrence is very specific regarding the “transformation of man into a space faring race on a biological scale being the great even that history is about”. It seems he became less sure of this escape into outer space in his later years, hinting that space travel may mean escaping into the imagination or “inner-space”. As someone who works in the space industry and has a keen interest in the psychedelic experience, I hope it is both!

  5. This is an absolute gem! A wonderful discussion of profound ideas that Terence also highlights be reading enigmatic poems by Yeates.

    In 1982 Terence had already been working on the manuscript for what eventually became True Hallucinations. It was around 1983 that Terence collaborated with Faustin Bray and Brian Wallace of Sound Photosynthesis to record this manuscript. The entire theme of the original True Hallucinations – which is archived as an incredible 9 hour audiobook that is complete with original music and sound effects – was UFOs. The first sentence in the original version is “At the present moment the UFO is a complete mystery”. The last words are “humanity and the UFO are one”. The book Terence references in this 1982 lecture is undoubtedly True Hallucinations – which includes the missing chapters in the Sound Photosynthesis audiobook. I just got this on CD. It as an absolute must-listen for McKenna enthusiasts!

    Thanks Lorenzo. Great work. I am donating $100 for The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss by Dennis McKenna.

  6. Smoked a nice dube of Jack Herer this afternoon and
    scribbled the following;
    We hold these truths to be self-evident:
    We are what’s going on and we know how to do it.
    Money, government and territoriality are obsolete.
    There is only space. Space expands faster and faster
    because it is continuously becoming more of itself.
    The cosmos cycles through in a continuous way.
    Cycling through at continuously infinite speed.
    The thinner material space becomes the more immaterial
    space manifests-dark matter/energy. Complement.
    A balance.
    Material and immaterial are the ultimate balance.

    If you have to have a plan you aren’t
    knowing where you are going or what’s going on.

    Homo Sapiens Sapiens

    No rights reserved,

    p.s. The Great Crescendo

  7. Also, forgot to thank you for putting the link to Dennis’ Kickstarter Project up, definitely pledged for that. For those new to Kickstarter, I recommend checking it out!

  8. Thanks for the another podcast, Lorenzo! I’ve only recently discovered the Salon, and over the last 2 months have been making my way through the archives (Taking a break to listen to The Genesis Generation, great novel!). This McKenna talk will join me on a short road trip tomorrow, looking forward to torturing my passenger with it!

    Peace & Joy.

  9. Incredible! Thanks, Lorenzo.

    The gulping water thing always just made me want to drink some water. Some folks are a bit more fragile I guess. 😉 That was funny!

    @ feedbackart – You make some great points.

    Although I’m nearly certain that is not Kat in the background…different voice…and she was more in agreement with Terence than the interviewer in this talk is.

    I also tend to see things more like Terence did with the UFO phenom. Even in the most sober of circumstances I have seen things that are physical, but not of the so-called “rational” world. Remember Terence’s description of his encounter in the jungle? It was real, solid, he was sober, lucid, but the “thing” was seen to be the end-cap of vacuum cleaner! 🙂

    No matter how much we seem to think we have a grasp on the so-called “real” world, all that we perceive is the simple accumulation of thousands of generations of built-up, primitive visual language. We can not see more than the human race has seen, EXCEPT under the influence of psychedelics (or similar mind state) or in the presence of the “other” – what has been called, the “UFO”.

    You say, “I believe this theory breaks down when one has had multiple encounters with the physical unidentified flying object and when viewed completely sober and still within the rational mind. What does that say about legitimate video footage seen by thousands if not more who did not witness it first hand?”

    I am curious: What “legitimate video footage” are you referring to? How was it *legitimized*? Who legitimized it? And how was THAT person qualified to do such a thing? Are they at Harvard or UCLA or Cambridge? Are they physicists who publish regularly in scientific journals? Videos fiction is becoming more “real” looking than reality these days. There are some incredibly well-done fakes out there. And the ability to use CG is expanding exponentially with improved technology.

    Also, I tend to feel that Terence’s theory is simply *confirmed* by the fact that some people have multiple experiences. It is only my opinion, but logically, that would say more about the multi-contactee (about their ability to see the “other”) than it does the phenomenon of UFO sightings, as conventionally portrayed. I’m not saying they aren’t seeing incredible, even supernatural events, I just don’t think that they are flying craft from some other world out in space. Just my opinion.

    At least in Terence’s talks, he explains pretty clearly that these encounters may be much MORE strange than the traditional notion of UFO’s. It is simply that the meme of “UFO” is so ingrained in popular culture that the mind of the observer of these events has no choice but to map that more conventional notion OVER what is actually occurring.

    Recall that the Caribbean Indians when faced with Spanish ships for the first time were unable to actually SEE these invaders anchored out off their coast. They had never been exposed to such phenomenal objects. Yes, they saw a vague image of “something” and there were definitely ripples in the water. But it took a shaman to walk out on the beach to see and then relate what was really going on. Then, *suddenly* the whole tribe could see that these were in fact large sailing vessels, with men aboard.

    Even when they landed, some Spanish rode horses. The Indians had never seen horses before and thought that the rider and the horse were ONE animal. 🙂

    Finally, I think you are right on when saying this, “I think it has to do with a choice of what to believe, and when the person confronts that choice…”

    We only have what we already know, to create an explanation for new things out of. And I agree with you that Terence was likely not 100% correct (which he never claimed anyway). But, he was on to something with the theory that there IS an “other” tenant in building, and that we are slowly waking up to exactly who/what that “other” is.

    Again, all of this is only my view. I certainly am not trying to be confrontational or a pain in the ass. 😀 I admit that you *could* right. Or, maybe we both are somehow. It is a great thing that we brothers and sisters can discuss these things openly and in such a friendly way, and doubly so, that Lorenzo does the hard work of presenting a forum for such discussion. 🙂 Peace…

  10. I was going to suggest that the unidentified female voice belongs to Laura Lee of the Laura Lee Show but the previous commenter seems more authoritative.

    [LORENZO’s take on this: I don’t think it is Kat, myself. Maybe someone who was there will hear this one day and fill us in.]

  11. The voice from most of the questions at the beginning sounds like Terence’s wife Kat. (They must have had a great babysitter) She makes some very valid points to raise the awareness of the listener: things which Terence for one reason or another leaves out of his monologues/answers. Great complements between the two, for a great talk. Also the sound quality from the oldest archived record of Terence on the PsySalon is great! Terence must’ve pulled the microphone to the side of his chin or throat when drinking water, and you can hear much of that during the other public speaking engagements on the Salon. Funny comment in the letter you described at the beginning.:-) They’d have a hard time in a vine ceremony with all the other body noises for sure,,, all night! The “pay attention” and “do not give way to astonishment” phenomena within the DMT space and the alarm dictated by the quick transition leads me to think that Terence had not had too much experience with it by this stage in 1982 because he keeps referring to the sight of the spinning discs as the point at which rational mind breaks down and there is no explanation for what is being viewed/experienced. Thus the interception from either the future of mankind or a rational explanation being given for the other worldly contact being established within the Psilocybe space, “to the degree that you can decondition yourself from the history-bound cognitive systems that have carried you to that point.” I believe this theory breaks down when one has had multiple encounters with the physical unidentified flying object and when viewed completely sober and still within the rational mind. What does that say about legitimate video footage seen by thousands if not more who did not witness it first hand? I think it has to do with a choice of what to believe, and when the person confronts that choice, rather than the point at which the rational mind break down. We would have tons of faithful religious folks who had all seen a UFO just because of their devotion to the irrational, if Terence were 100% correct.

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