|It was the most important event in Bill’s life. It was the moment where all the
possibilities he believed in and had searched for became a reality. It’s seems like it was
something we were preparing for our whole lives. In a practical sense it was something
for which we spent weeks preparing. Yoga, meditation, sensory deprivation: we did it all.
We even did water yoga, where we floated in a pool wearing mask and snorkel doing
poses, floating and sinking and floating and sinking.
Bill and I and David, we were clearing our minds. That was the “preparation.” We didn’t
want our brains to be busy for what was about to happen. We didn’t know what was
going to happen, we just wanted to be calm and open so that we could participate fully in
the possibilities. We were mentally and spiritually aligning ourselves and we were
meticulous. Even watching our diet. No fast food. No junk food. Carrots. Not chili dogs.
As the day got closer, we went to a seminar where people were handing out literature on
the significance of the Harmonic Convergence. They were explaining how the planets
were going to align. They had astrologers. We got reading. Then, the morning of, we
drove out to the ranch in Fredericksburg, Bill, David, Riley, Epstein, and I.
Originally we were going to go to Enchanted Rock. Just north of the ranch, Enchanted
Rock is a massive granite batholith whose main dome rises some 300 feet over the
surrounding Texas terrain. The people indigenous to the area though it to be inhabited by
spirits. It was supposed to be one of the main sites, along with Mt. Shasta, California and
Uluru in the Australian Outback among others, for people wanting to congregate and
share the experience of whatever was about to be experienced.
But we had watched the local news and saw how many people were going out to
Enchanted Rock. All of the sudden it looked like Eyeore’s Birthday Party with a bunch of
middle class hippies going to hang out, take drugs, and bang drums. We reconsidered.
Fuck that. That’s the last place we want to go. Something about crowds, it increased by
several orders of magnitude the chances that someone would do something to ruin the
trip. We thought: If this is for real, we don’t need to be around all of these people. Let’s
go with what we know. Let’s just go to the ranch. We always have great trips there. If we
really are going to tap into other minds or something spiritual, then it can happen there.
We tried to synchronize everything. It was part of the ritual. We all took the exact same
amount of mushrooms at the exact same time. We even prepared them the same. We
broke the caps and stems up into small pieces and put them into identical bowls,
specifically my parents nice crystal. We usually timed our dosing to where we peaked
right as the sun went down. Not this time. Late summer in Texas, the sun still doesn’t go
down until after 8 o’clock We went early.
Part of the experience was that everyone else around the world was all supposed to be
logging on to the same metaphysical chat room at the same time. It was part of the mental
telepathy. Everything uniform, everybody in sync. Except of course Epstein breaks stride.
He had his own program. “I’ve got to read this passage from the Bible and this passage
from the Koran and do this yoga.” Epstein was playing with crystals and was getting
bogged down with his New Age trinkets. Riley waited for Epstein, we couldn’t. We had
done our prep work. Bill, David, and I took our mushrooms and walked down to the pond
at the ranch where we sat in a lotus position.
We took five grams. Five grams of dried mushrooms is a lot. If you wanted to punch a
hole through the fabric of space-time, five grams is good. But don’t try it yourself at
home or at my family’s ranch or any place unless you are ready and willing to cross the
We sat at the pond, the three of us, and focused in on each other’s energy. It wasn’t
uncommon for one of us to get up and wander away at some point. Bill and I had both
done this. David stayed seated by the pond.
Bill wandered over to me and said, “I want you to explain Einstein’s theory of relativity
to me. I want to be able to grasp it.” It was something that I had been reading about
before the Harmonic Convergence. And even though textbook explanations didn’t always
register with Bill, he wanted me to try to give him a technical “classroom” explanation.
So we walked circles around the pond. I spent some time trying to explain to him what I
understood, then went back and sat down in a space where there was a group of trees
facing the pond.
We sat back down and the next thing we knew, we opened our eyes and we shared this
UFO experience. From a descriptive standpoint, it’s almost ridiculous to talk about as
visually it did seem like something from a bad science fiction movie. Cheesy. Very “This
Island Earth.” On some level when something like this happens—whether it’s just in your
own mind or whether it’s actually happening—it might just trigger things already in your
brain that allow you to identify or relate to certain energies or entities.
The inside of the ship was like a conch shell. I walked down a circular ramp through a
hallway of light and headed toward a circle of light. The beings, they were glowing.
Again, describing how things looked starts to sound absurd, but they looked like Mr
Burns from The Simpsons, specifically in the episode where he emerges from the forest
looking like an alien. His eyes dilated and his body glowing green—the aliens were
lustrous like that.
Bill and I were both in the ship. He was asking questions like: “Why are you here? Why
is this happening?” I remember coming out with explanations of time travel and a firm
belief that the barriers to time travel and communication were all inside your mind.
Basically anything was possible. These beings were bridging the gap between belief and
non-belief. Between love and hate.
At the time I was thinking that my head conjured up this image just for me to see, then
Bill indicated to me he had seen and experienced the exact same thing. Immediately after
leaving the ship, we opened each other’s eyes. We said a few words:
Oh my God. Did you… ?
After that we realized that we were able to communicate completely telepathically. It was
way beyond just being able to make people laugh when tripping, like the experiences Bill
first had when he took mushrooms and went on stage to do comedy, times when he
thought he was reading the audience’s collective mind.
This was very specific. For the first time ever, Bill and I were able to say things and hear
each other back, able to ask questions and get answers. We had a perfectly normal
conversation without either one opening our mouths. We were perfectly in sync. It was
like a miracle. We communicated like this for a while. Neither of us saying anything.
We were snapped out of our place, for lack of a better term, when we heard footsteps
crunching on the granite pathway. We looked up to see Epstein walking towards us. “Are
you guys feeling anything? I’m not really getting off.” It was so funny. “Dude you
missed it,” Bill said.
“I just think mushrooms were a lot stringer back in the Sixties. I remember back in
Berkeley…” Epstein was one of those people. Epstein. I was late getting here. I had to
read a passage out of the Bible. I had to read a passage out of the Koran. I’ve got my
We were: “Oh my God. None of the matters. Let it go. Let it all go.”
I kept picking up Epstein’s crystals and clanking them together like I was trying to start a
fire, like they were pieces of flint. It was too easy and too fun to tease him. He opened
himself up to it. There were sparks flying off the crystals when I chipped them. “Stop
disrespecting the crystals.” And we would die laughing. “Dude, it’s just a rock. There is
nothing sacred about a rock.”
He was so cluttered up with all of this crap that he wasn’t seeing what we were seeing. It
was funny and tragic and sad at the same time. Jesus could have punched him in the face
and he would have missed it. Sometimes he was so preoccupied with living in the
moment that he was missing the moment. We were laughing at him, but we were also
thinking, “We have to get away from him.” We didn’t even mention the UFO. We didn’t
want to ruin the place where we were. We told him not to worry. It was all going to
happen. It was amazing. Enjoy it.
Then Bill and I walked back to the ranch house, just to get away from Epstein. It was still
light outside and we were still tripping balls when we sat down at a picnic bench in the
yard. We both crossed our arms on the table and put our heads down on our arms. We sat
there for what had to be 20 minutes or more telling each other jokes… without saying a
words. Again, it was back and forth. And it was telepathic. We were making each other
laugh like you can’t imagine.
And there was something unusual about the jokes. They had depth. They had several
levels of humor to them that we were able to share at once. It was like telling a sevenlayered
joke with one line. I remember we even joked about Epstein. We weren’t making
fun of him because he couldn’t do it., but we were also making fun of him because we
wished that he could be experiencing the same thing. We did it all without words.
That was only the start. It was still hot outside, so Bill and I went into the house to get
some water, then laid down on the floor in the living room. Suddenly we were tapping in
to other people’s voices.
Dude, do you get the feeling that we are meeting hundreds of people right
Oh my God, yes.
It went from being the two of us being able to communicate with each other, to us being
dialed into a network where now we were openly communication with hundreds,
thousands, maybe millions of minds at the same time. There was something identifiable
in it, like we could trace where they voices were coming from and who they were.
Everybody was sharing this moment because they wanted to. It seemed as real as the
words on this page. It was freeing. And it was unbelievable. We just laid on the floor and
stayed tapped into whatever we had tapped into.
On the come down we kept laughing our asses off. The communication started to slow
down, but we were still on when James Seggener showed up at the ranch. He was a
local kid that my dad hired to take care of the lawn at the ranch. German kid. Redneck.
Name on the belt. The whole bit.
In the 1800s, most of central Texas was originally settled by Czechs and Germans. And
the smaller towns really maintain a strong strains of that heritage. On top of that finding a
synagogue in some of those towns is like finding an Amish rock star. Does it even
happen? So he had to be a little put off to get accosted by Epstein; and Epstein must have
seemed like an alien to this kid.
Then he starts trying to explain to this kid how his crystals can help you travel through
time if you rubbing them together. Bill was on the ground howling. The kid looked more
confused and bewildered. It was all we could do to get out the words in English to tell
him to come back and mow and different day. But the scene was hitting funny on
multiple levels. Right down to the fact that it was the Jewish guy explaining the most
ridiculous concept to a German kid. It was perfect.
Epstein stayed Epstein the whole time.
I didn’t see anything. You guys saw spaceships?
Dude, they are all around us right now. There is one right behind you.
They are everywhere.
I don’t think mushrooms are as strong as they used to be.
Bill and I even joked telepathically about not wanting to become Epstein, about not
wanting to be the, “Well, the whatever was better when I was young.”
It was such a tranforming experience. Bill started talking about it from the stage. “Yeah,
we’re crackers. Join us later. As soon as you get away from the smell of diesel from your
buses, why don’t you come out to the pond and I’ll show you a fucking cow paddy that
turns into a mothership at will.”
And “I leave this show tonight and I get on the mothership and I go to the planet
Arcturus, where golden maidens with three heads line up on their knees.”
I think the crowds were confused by it. Was it a metaphor? Was it a joke? Where was the
punchline? But the first time he talked about it during a show, I was proud and amazed
but also a little bit embarrassed. Maybe it was something we should keep quiet. David,
even though he didn’t have the same experience, he was fully embarrassed. He was
against talking about it in public. But Daivd didn’t have the same experience that we did
that night. He was watching the stars when we boarded. Bill, of course, couldn’t shout it
loud enough from a mountain high enough.
People really didn’t know whether or not to believe him. Most people probably don’t.
Even so it’s enough to believe that Bill believed it. Bill believed everything. He wasn’t
the kind of person who would say, ‘Well, now I’m a Christian so I no longer believe in
reincarnation.” Multiple religious beliefs could coexist simultaneously. He was a
Christian and a Buddhist. Bill didn’t go through life adopting some beliefs at the expense
of others, but instead was open to things that came to him or came into his consciousness.
But the spaceship, that was the most important thing that ever happened to Bill. He saw
the “source of light that exists in all of us.” Later and he said, “God, I hope that was just
the first of many things just like that.”
The next time we tripped nothing close to the UFO or the telepathy experiences
happened. We were disappointed. It was probably the wrong frame of mind to be in,
trying to make it happen, wanting it to happen. Then Bill and I started joking, “I
remember back at the Harmonic Convergence when everything was really cosmic…” We
had to joke about it, we meant it and we were sounding like Epstein.
It was a right place, right time for that moment. I think Bill always thought he could get
somewhere else. This was the moment it was proved to him. It’s easy to point out the
obvious: You took 5 grams of mushrooms, of course you are going to see spaceships and
all kinds of other shit that doesn’t exist. That’s why they call them hallucinogens. They
That’s a valid argument. But we were taking hallucinogens to help boost consciousness.
It was more like a key opening a door. The door was there without the drugs. What the
mushrooms would do is they would allow two or more people to get in sync and open the
door together and walk through it together and experience what’s in the next room
But have you ever taken five grams of dried mushrooms? It’s not like taking a gram or
two and having a fun trip where you go dance with yourself to borderline arrhythmic
music featuring 30 minute 3-note guitar solos. Nor is it like taking acid and sitting in your
living room and watching your walls melt. Something happens when you take upwards of
about four dried grams. That experience wasn’t unique to us.
Bill referenced Terrance McKenna often from the stage when he talked about the UFO
experience. McKenna was once described as the Magellan of psychedelic head space. A
true child of the Sixties, after graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, he
spent time studying native Amazon plant life and hallucinogens, particularly as they
related to local shamanistic traditions.
McKenna had also developed interesting theories about the role that psilocybin played in
evolution. The oversimplified version is that the tendency to form dominance-based
hierarchies by primates was interrupted for about 100,000 years by the introduction of
psilocybin in the paleolithic diet. So organizational behavior in primates changed at the
same time that characteristics like language and esthetics also emerged. The overoversimplification
is that the course of evolution was drastically altered—from violent to
social—when monkeys started eating mushrooms.
In an essay in published in 2000, the same year he died, McKenna wrote: "We wouldn't
be here if it weren't for psychedelic drugs. In terms of the role of psilocybin in human
evolution on the grasslands of Africa, people not on drugs were behind the curve. The
fact is that, in terms of human evolution, people not on psychedelics are not fully
McKenna thought that tryptamine-based hallucinogens, such as those found magic
mushrooms, were a vehicle for communication with other forms of life across the
universe. He was particularly fascinated by a pronounced consistency of experience
among people ingesting large dosages—he referred to these, greater than three and a half
grams, as “heroic” (Bill often alluded to this term on stage, and often exceeded that
amount when taking mushrooms). People taking such large doses were, with noticeable
frequency, reporting that they were all going to a place, a realm, he described as
inhabited by entities he termed “self-transforming machine elves.”
The way these entities were perceived was based on the hallucinogen and the context it
which it was taken. For example, McKenna found that DMT, once extracted from plants,
purified and smoked, invariably resulted in the user having a UFO abduction experience.
And in these instances the “machine elves” were seen as aliens in flying saucers. Sounds
familiar. McKenna began to speculate about the universality of the hallucinogenic
experience, especially as it related to UFOs and other beings and entities.
Said McKenna: “If you take mushrooms you're climbing on board a starship manned by
every shaman who ever did it in front of you, and this is quite a crew, and they've really
pulled some stunts over the millenia, and it's all there, the tapes, to be played.”
So when Bill talked about mushrooms and evolving and UFOs he wasn’t joking. Okay,
he found a way to get a laugh out of it—“That’s why people in rural areas always see
UFOs, they are always tripping on mushrooms that the cows just shit out of their
butt”—but Bill wasn’t kidding when he talked about it from the stage.
At some point Bill had also found Daryl Anka. Anka was a total Valley-boy surfer. Equal
Jeffs Spicoli and Lebowski. But he would go into trances and channel Bashar, a male
member of a 5th dimensional civilization called the Essassani. Huh? Yeah, well this was
the gig. But Bashar supposedly came from 300 light years in the future; and the Essassani
civilization is theoretically based on unconditional love, ecstasy, fun, following your
excitement, and being completely non-judgmental.
There are sessions where you can actually pay to sit there and talk to Bashar through
Anka. People who are into this speak of Bashar’s profound understanding of reality and
his ability to process information rapidly. I understand that being non-judgmental is one
of the central tenets of the Essassani belief system, but it’s hard not to be slightly
skeptical that Bashar is so intelligent yet claims to come from 300 light years in the
future. Light years are a measure of distance, not time.
Maybe this escaped Bill, too. Maybe it’s unimportant. And what is important is the
message not the messenger. It was just the kind of thing that drew Bill in, and he had
several tapes from these question and answer sessions with Bashar.
The one that hit Bill hard was the one where Bashar talked about psychedelic drugs,
saying basically that they’re a tool, a key, a way to pull the veils away and see through
dimensions. But don’t ever use them as a crutch, the second you do, game over. Bill
connected what he got out of Bashar with the UFO experience. It was another affirmation
that what happened wasn’t unusual in the sense that it wasn’t something that other people
hadn’t found evidence for.
If you take five grams of mushrooms and you experience something like what we did that
night, it is real. The drugs weren’t the cause in the sense that it didn’t happen, except for
what we hallucinated. The mushrooms just allowed us to cross the threshold and see what
we were allowed to see. There was plenty out there to suggest that this was not
unexpected. That this might be what was waiting on the other side of the threshold.
But the notion of using drugs as a crutch, that also resonated with Bill, and it wasn’t too
long after the Harmonic Convergence that he got it into his mind, “God, I want to go
sober, I have to go sober.”
But he wasn’t done yet. Bill had to bottom out. It’s analogous to someone trying to force
a smoker to quit by giving him cartons of cigarettes to smoke. They have to smoke them
all at once and put enough nicotine in their body to poison it until they are puking, until
they are puking up blood. It has to become such a miserable experience that you un-ring
the bell. It couldn’t have been a conscious effort, but while Bill was suffering, he hadn’t
quite made it to Hell yet, hadn’t purposely hit the bottom. He would.
Bill knew that he needed to get sober. And not the kind of half-hearted self-loathing
sobriety that lasted a couple of days only to fail spectacularly. It was common knowledge
in the clubs that if you hired Bill Hicks you were hiring a drunk, and there were better
than even money odds that he would go off. You no longer had a comedian on stage but
an irate drunk who was pissing off the clientele that bought the drinks which kept you in
business. So from a career standpoint, it became apparent that he needed to turn things
around. There were a few things in the wind—a HBO special and a management deal—in
spite of himself he was somehow getting to a position where he had things to lose.
But the first major catalyst was the UFO experience on the Harmonic Convergence. Bill
believed that he had direct communication with another intelligent life form that was
trying to show him what the future could be like. And the future was all about love, light
and acceptance. The drugs we took were not to be used as a crutch, and when you used
them like that, you lost the whole point of it. And that’s the exact reason why we
originally got into it.
Agent of Evolution