Scientists Surveyed Over 2000 DMT Users About Their Encounters With “Aliens” While Tripping


By Mayukh Saha / Truth Theory

DMT is a powerful psychedelic drug and can conjure powerful visions. It is an endogenous chemical and is currently a Schedule I drug in the States.

When administered in low doses, it can make people see fractal patterns and distortions in the physical environment, but it gets stranger with higher doses.


When people experience “breakthroughs” through DMT  (N, N-Dimethyltryptamine) they sometimes encounter entities, including ‘elves’ that seem to exist in a plane of reality separate from ours.

The form and nature of these beings vary but one thing is constant people rank these encounters among the most enriching experiences of their lives. Such experiences change their beliefs about God, the afterlife, and even reality.

A survey was conducted in 2020 which provided some information about these encounters. The survey was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology and included responses from 2,561 adults about their most memorable encounter with a being after inhaling DMT. Most of the respondents had used this drug more than a dozen times. The survey did not include experiences in which people consumed other drugs along with DMT and did not include experiences with ayahuasca. Ayahuasca is a brew that contains DMT.

The Results Of The DMT Survey

These encounters with the “entities” produced an emotional response for 99% of the respondents. They felt emotions like trust, joy, love, kindness, and friendship. 58% of the respondents stated that the ‘beings’ had an emotional response too, a positive one in most cases.

These encounters felt more “real” than reality, itself and were true for 81% of the respondents. One respondent wrote: “There was an indescribably powerful notion that this dimension in which the entity and I convened was infinitely more “real” than the consensus reality I usually inhabit. It felt truer than anything else I’d ever experienced.” 

Most respondents said that the being was not mere hallucinations. Around three-quarters of the people stated that they believed that the being was real but existed in a different reality.

Around two-thirds of the people said that they received some kind of “a message, mission, task, or insight” from the entity.

Some messages were strangely practical. One respondent said the beings revealed the location of a Zippo lighter that had been missing (it was buried deep in a couch, go figure). There was also the respondent who said a being “was teaching me the rules/regulations of the NFL.”

These encounters were usually followed by long-lasting changes in their beliefs. About one-quarter of respondents said they were atheists before the encounter, but only 10 percent said they were after.

“Additionally, approximately one-third (36%) of respondents reported that before the encounter their belief system included a belief in ultimate reality, higher power, God, or universal divinity, but a significantly larger percentage (58%) of respondents reported this belief system after the encounter.”

The study also mentioned that DMT encounters had a lot in common with near-death experiences, which produced the same changes in personal beliefs.

Thoughts On The DMT Elves

Terence McKenna, an American ethnobotanist, believed that these DMT entities were real. He often talked about his experiences with “machine elves” that he saw on DMT: 

“I sank to the floor. I [experienced] this hallucination of tumbling forward into these fractal geometric spaces made of light and then I found myself in the equivalent of the Pope’s private chapel and there were insect elf machines proffering strange little tablets with strange writing on them, and I was aghast, completely appalled, because [in] a matter of seconds… my entire expectation of the nature of the world was just being shredded in front of me. I’ve never actually gotten over it.

These self-transforming machine elf creatures were speaking in a colored language that condensed into rotating machines that were like Fabergé eggs but crafted out of luminescent superconducting ceramics and liquid crystal gels. All this stuff was just so weird and so alien and so un-English-able that it was a complete shock — I mean, the literal turning inside out of [my] intellectual universe!”

He believed that these entities existed in an alternate reality that form a “raging universe of active intelligence that is transhuman, hyperdimensional, and extremely alien.” 

The indigenous people of the Amazon have used ayahuasca in their religious ceremonies. The Jibaro people of Ecuador believed that ayahuasca allowed regular folk to talk directly to the Gods. The 19th-century Ecuadorian geographer Villavicencio wrote of other Amazonian shamans who used ahaysuca (known as the “vine of the dead”) to contact spirits and foresee enemy battle plans.

The question still remains, why do so many people encounter different entities?

There are skeptics who propose an answer to this and that is, people expect to encounter these entities. Their brain imagines these beings after they have researched for DMT, to look for a rare and intense drug, and stumbled across McKenna’s machine elf idea.


Another explanation comes from a 2004 DoseNation article by James Kent, the author of “Psychedelic Information Theory — Shamanism in the Age of Reason”. Kent argued that “humans across all cultures have alien and heavenly archetypes embedded in their subconscious, and psychedelic tryptamines can access the archetypes with a high level of success.”

The question remains, if the DMT entities are just hallucinations, or are they real conscious beings? 

In the survey, 60 percent of participants said their encounter with DMT beings “produced a desirable alteration in their conception of reality whereas only 1% indicated an undesirable alteration in their conception of reality.”

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