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The Hasheesh Eater is an autobiographical book by Fitz Hugh Ludlow first published in 1857 that describes Ludlow’s bizarre hallucinations and philosophical flights of fancy while he was using a canna. Written in 1857 this is the granddaddy and discounting Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas probably best written book about the hallucinogenic experience You may think that hashish is one of the milder hallucinogens but not when eaten in the uantities that Fitz Hugh Ludlow consumed His trips were so overwhelming it s a marvel he could write about them at all especially in such detail But then Fitzhugh was no ordinary mortal having written well before Einstein a little throw away article on the relationship of matter to energy as well as other scholarly works and short stories and having been a medical student as well as passing the bar to be a lawyer He also wrote Union College s school song still used to this day So the uestion is Would Fitzhugh have contributed far if he hadn t gotten completely caught up in drugs or conversely Did drugs contribute to Fitzhugh s genius This book contains trips than autobiography but his evaluation of the effects they had on him changes as the book goes on At first he feels isolated and afraid of being found out Ha What means this sudden thrill A shock as of some unimagined vital force shoots without warning through my entire frame leaping to my fingers ends piercing my brain startling me till I almost spring from my chair I could not doubt it I was in the power of the hasheesh influence My first emotion was one of uncontrollable terror a sense of getting something which I had not bargained for That moment I would have given all I had or hoped to have to be as I was three hours beforeBy the middle of the book he is finding hashish to be a pathway to God I am borne aloft upon the glory of sound I float in a trance among the burning choir of the seraphim But as I am melting through the purification of that sublime ecstasy in oneness with the Deity himself one by one those pealing lyres faint away and as the last throb dies down along the measureless ether visionless arms swiftly as lightning carry me far into the profound and set me down before another portalIn 1966 I had a similar experience dropping acid and felt I had seen things I shouldn t see till I die By the end of the book Fitzhugh is trying to make sense of it all referencing philosophers and religious texts He finally concludes With a ethereal organization the necessity for dividing our perception into the five or six modes now known may utterly pass away and the full harmony of all ualities capable of teaching or delighting us may flow in at once to ravish the soul In the cases which I have mentioned hasheesh had nearly perfected this etherealization already Yet hasheesh must be forborne we have no right to succeed to the inheritance till we come of age In our longing for that spiritual majority which is to invest us with our title we may stay ourselves on prophecies as well as patienceHe of course did not forebear and eventually came to curse the drug He died at age 34 of consumption and opium addiction begging his public to see his story as a cautionary tale and authorities to treat drug addiction as an illness

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The Hasheesh Eater Being Passages from the Life of a Pythagorean Subterranean Lives

Of Beauty Truth and Good than she now gains through the chinks of her cell” but he concludes with a warning “Ho there pass by; I have tried this way; it leads at last into poisonous wildernesses?. This book teetered between tedium and hilarity On one hand Ludlow s florid descriptions of his fantasias while on hashish were as purple lush and wild as could be imagined It was also hilarious to note how the annoying things about getting high on marijuana dry mouth paranoia high suggestibility know no historical bounds Ludlow was possibly the most irritating stoner friend ever as he was wont to call up his buddies at 4AM when too much hashish made him think the devil was about to destroy God Funny to read about though On the other his long digressions into the awesomeness of alma mater songs and Niagara Falls tried my patience Probably the most poignant part for me was reading about his struggles with uitting his habit and trying to work a straight job without the cushion of hasheesh Oh the horrors

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Bis extract It is Ludlow’s best known bookIn The Hasheesh Eater Ludlow describes the cannabis user as one who is reaching for “the soul’s capacity for a broader being deeper insight grander views. The progress of my narration will be in the order of time I shall begin with my first experiment of the use of hasheesh an experiment made simply from the promptings of curiosity it will then be my endeavor to detail the gradual change of my motive for its employment from the desire of research to the fascinated longing for its weird and immeasurable ecstasy I shall relate how that ecstasy by degrees became daily and flecked with shadows of immeasurable pain but still in this dual existence assumed a character increasingly apocalyptic of utterly unpreconceived provinces of mental action In the next succeeding stage of my experience torture save at rareintervals will have swallowed up happiness altogether without abating in the least the fascination of the habit In the next andfinal one will be beheld my instantaneous abandonment of the indulgence the cause which led to it and the discipline of suffering which attended the self denial The aim of this relation is not merely sthetic nor scientific though throughout it there be no stopping to moralize it is my earnest desire that it may teem with suggestions of a lesson without which humanity can learn nothing in the schools It is this the soul withers and sinks from its growth toward the true end of its being beneath the dominance of any sensual indulgence The chain of its bondage may for a long time continue to be golden many a day may pass before the fetters gall yet all the while there is going on a slow and insidious consumption of its native strength and when at last captivity becomes a pain it may awake to discover in inconceivable terror that the very forces of disenthralment have perished out of its reach


10 thoughts on “The Hasheesh Eater Being Passages from the Life of a Pythagorean Subterranean Lives

  1. says:

    Written in 1857 this is the granddaddy and discounting Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas probably best written book about the hallucin

  2. says:

    You know that guy you've met at parties who just discovered mushrooms and is really really keen on telling everybody how spiritual and interconnected and alive he felt on his first drug trip? Well imagine that guy had a poet's tongue

  3. says:

    If reading overwhelmed and hyperbolic descriptions of the psychedelic experience is your cup of tea you really can't go wrong here

  4. says:

    The progress of my narration will be in the order of time I shall begin with my first experiment of the use of hasheesh an experiment made simply from the promptings of curiosity; it will then be my endeavor to

  5. says:

    “I recommend the Annotated Hasheesh Eater edited by David Gross Ludlow is outrageously erudite sprinkling his drug tale with references to Hindu mythology ancient Chinese folk medicine and tenth century Welsh royalty Gross turns what could be maddening into a pleasure by providing helpful notations that expl

  6. says:

    Our American Deuincey Fitz Hugh Ludlow is lurid and much hallucinatory in his writings Great stuff

  7. says:

    There is nothing else like this book Wild read that is confusing to follow at times

  8. says:

    This book teetered between tedium and hilarity On one hand Ludlow's florid descriptions of his fantasias while on hashish

  9. says:

    Mr Ludlow spent his time acuiring potent over the counter hasheesh from the local apothecary reading extracurricular amounts of oriental ancient literature and mathematics and tripping his balls outThe book that resulted from these activities consists of fantastic descriptions of his visions and apparently deep thoughts

  10. says:

    American romanticist account of the world through hasheesh trips; useful time period study as well as one of the first famous American drug literature books Currently reading for a project