Forgotten stories: Prison Quire Horror in Eastern Germany after WWII: A Dutch Documentary by Bert Vos (EO) (unfortunately in Dutch)

reunie koor

De ellende van de Tweede Wereldoorlog is nog maar net voorbij als de Russen het oosten van Duitsland – met harde hand – verbouwen tot een communistische dictatuur. Wie niet luistert of zich verdacht gedraagt, belandt zonder pardon in een strafgevangenis. Eén van de meest angstaanjagende gevangenissen uit die tijd staat in het plaatsje Bautzen, niet ver van de grens met Tsjechië. Uitgerekend daar belanden drie jongens van amper achttien en twintig jaar oud. In Paradijs in de hel vertellen Bodo Skrobek, Siegfried Rau en Detlev Nahmmacher hun angstige verhaal over de arrestatie, nachtelijke verhoren en de door marteling verkregen ‘bekentenissen’. Alledrie krijgen 25 jaar, zogenaamd wegens spionage, deelname aan een illegale groep en een ‘anti-Sovjethetze’.

Kerkkoor

Samen met EO-documentairemaker Bert Vos gaan Skrobek en Rau terug naar de plek des onheil, waar honger en terreur aan de orde van de dag waren, maar waar ook een wonder gebeurde. Temidden van meedogenloze bewakers, hoge hekken, stervende medegevangenen en overvolle cellen krijgt de politiek correcte voorganger Pfarrer Mund toestemming een kerkkoor te beginnen. En zo kan midden in die hel een klein paradijs ontstaan, volstrekt tegen de eigen logica van het strikt atheïstische gevangenisregime in. Ook als in 1950 de Volkspolizei van de kersverse DDR de leiding over de gevangenis van de Russen overneemt, verandert dit niet.
En zo ontstaat er in Bautzen niet alleen een hecht koor van goedgeschoolde zangers, maar trekken de vaak emotionele kerkdiensten steeds meer gevangenen én bewakers! Het neemt zelfs zulke vormen aan dat de leden in een aparte geïsoleerde cel worden gestopt om verdere ‘christelijke besmetting’ te voorkomen. Maar een verbod op de diensten komt er gek genoeg niet – niet meteen. Ruim vijf jaar mag het koor geestelijke liederen, psalmen, cantates en motetten zingen in de gevangeniskerk, tot er in 1956 toch een verbod komt op de sterk evangeliserende activiteiten.

Vriendschap

Skrobek en Rau staan dik vijftig jaar later opnieuw voor de poort voor een confrontatie met de hel van Bautzen. In de documentaire zie je hun ontroering bij het weerzien van de gevangeniskerk, maar ook hun afkeer als ze opnieuw in de oude koorcel staan. Deze plek, waar ze met vijftig man in een cel van acht bij zeven meter zaten, tekende hun leven. Hier werden ze vernederd en leden ze honger, maar vonden ze God ook.
Alle koorleden kregen later amnestie van de DDR-regering. Het gros van de groep vluchtte naar het vrije West-Duitsland, terwijl een aantal bewust achter het IJzeren Gordijn bleef wonen; zes van hen werden er zelfs predikant. In de gevangenis lukte het verklikkers niet om te infiltreren in de groep en eenmaal buiten de muren van het gevang bleef de hechte onderlinge band bestaan. De mannen van het koor, nu tachtigers, werden vrienden voor het leven. Ze ontmoeten elkaar nog ieder jaar om bij te praten, hun vriendschap te bevestigen en – hoe kan het ook anders – samen te zingen.

http://www.eo.nl/programma/tzaljemaargebeuren/2005-2006/page/Paradijs_in_de_hel/episode.esp?episode=9636768#reaction9820928

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bautzen

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Fascinating!: Account of an experiment with hallucinogenic mushrooms by scientist

magicmushrooms

It is not often that you meet a person that fascinates you immediately. I met this young person on a flight home. We started to talk about the book he was reading. It was about an ancient Aztec, or was it Mayan, people that used hallucinogens for different purposes. We talked about his job, he does research on how medicins can be administered in a more effective and targeted way by using a different material for the capsules. I wanted to know why he was so interested in subject of hallucinogens. He told me that he saw them as a different way to ‘heal the mind’. For him the hallucinogens had proven to be more effective than psychotherapy in dealing with some psychological issues he had previously. He offered to send me a detailed account of one of his experiments with hallucinogenic mushrooms. I read it, and was amazed. Not ever having tried anything myself I found it highly interesting to learn what effect hallucinogens can have on a human brain. And how these effects can be positive as well as negative. It seemed like quite a rational and objective view on something that is a taboo in public speaking. I put this story here for all of you who have done experiments before, to compare your experiences with, but not in the least for those like myself, who like to know how it could possibly feel to do such a thing (and please note: this is by no means meant to encourage people to try, it is only meant to share experiences). And also note that these goods have a wide range of effects on different people, not all of them pleasant. It can even have different effects on the same people at different times, so IF you were planning on trying anything, please be very careful and don’t even try to do anything in an unknown environment, with people you do not know, or when you feel unstable. I’ll stop boring you to death and just share Pyro’s story with you:

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drawing on drugs

“Regression

Few experiences in life have the raw strength to change your view on life, namely that of the perception of your inner workings. Many people look for understanding of the self, possibly as a way to cope with the turbidity of existence. As to summarize my intentions for these experiments, was the exploration of my unconscious mind and see whether it was possible to find out what the underlying motives are of my actions. A myriad of methods have been used as means to achieve this goal, such as psychotherapy, meditation, fasting, rhythmic drumming and inebriation by a whole variety of drugs. My quest led me quickly to psychedelic drugs, as the most intense, powerful and accessible method to learn more about myself.

In general, psychedelic compounds elicit stimulation of the cognitive system by changing neuronal firing frequency. This causes alteration in the perception of reality, the visual system, causes the ego to dissolve and unconscious material to surface into the conscious mind, which offers great potential for deep reflection of biographical material.

Ego dissolution is essential and probably the most important property caused, by psychedelic drug inebriation, for the surfacing of unconscious material. The perception of ego, gained by me through the experimentation with psychedelic drugs, is as follows: ego can be seen as a sort of filter with controlling properties, it filters the traffic of unconscious information into the conscious and has a tight grip on conscious mental processes.

I have been experimenting with various psychedelic drugs for several years. The compounds tried have been various phytochemical tryptamines, synthetic tryptamines and synthetic phenetylamines. Of the compounds tried several have left lasting positive impressions on me, such as psilocybin, 2C-T7, 2C-P and 4-AcO-DIPT. Experimentation with these compounds has helped to shape my personality and perception of reality into what it is.

This particular experiment was planned to be a high dose experience with psilocybin, as in oral ingestion of 70 grams fresh Psilocybe Cubensis mushrooms of the Costa Rican strain.

The average dose of Psilocybe mushrooms is about 35 grams fresh, thus the amount to be ingested is double the average dose. The motivation to try the double dose has been inspired by the accounts of an intellectual mushroom researcher by the name of Terence Mckenna.

mushroomsclass-a-drugs

I have read many of his books and listened too many of his lectures on his theories of psilocybe inebriation. Based on his research he came to the conclusion that the best way to experiment with psilocybe mushrooms is to ingest a high dose, alone and in silent darkness.

His notion of high dose was 6 grams of dried mushrooms which he deliberately called a heroic dose, for few people will consciously consume such a quantity.

70 grams of dry Psilocybe mushrooms are the equivalent of 6 dry grams, thus this experiment follows the heroic dose “guideline”. The mushrooms were eaten on an empty stomach at 1900, which took about fifteen minutes to eat the whole amount. Before the trip started I wanted to go outside and get some fresh air. It was quite cold outside and already dark, I decided to go for a walk in a nearby park. Fifteen minutes into the walk I realized that I was seeing my surroundings very clear, like the innervation of leaves on shrubs meters away. It is known, from scientific study, that psilocybin causes better sight and edge detection in low doses and at the onset of the psychoactive effects in higher doses. I realized that it would be wise to hurry back home before the effects would hit me in full force. Caution is essential when experimenting with high doses, for the onset and intensity of the effects are hard to predict.

At 30 minutes following ingestion I came back home, went straight to my room, shut down the computer, dimmed the lights and put on a black face mask as to be in total darkness.

Geometrical hallucinations started within minutes after putting on the face mask and slowly gained in intensity. The passage of time was impossible to track, though usual the perception of time slows quite dramatically in psilocybin inebriation.

After some time, geometrical hallucinations became visions of abstract places and wild associations on various topics were circling my mind. The exact order of events after this point is hard to recall, even though the content is quite clear.

Regression into my past became the most pronounced aspect of the trip. At this point the experiences came in waves where at the top I was fully experiencing a part of my past, moving deeper with every succeeding wave. In between the waves I was sober enough to get a little breather and prepare for the next wave which was rising in intensity and amplitude.

alice in wonderland

In my regression into childhood I came across a younger me, as if looking in a mirror, at the age of 8. My face, well the mental image of the old me, had a face distorted with anger, and the whole emotional baggage left from that time came over me. I experienced that rage fully, and realized that that was the murderous rage which I feared for some reason for years.

The enraged me was a relic from a very nasty experience at about age 8, where some guy broke the glass in the front door with a metal pipe and screamed that he wanted to kill my father. I remember from that time that I wanted to throw boiling water over the guy at the door from the balcony but was not capable of doing so and thus called the cops instead.

When this wave was over its peak, slowly going down, the face of the child changed from a highly enraged to a natural expression.

The next wave led me to an even younger me at age 5 or 6, when I had an operation at the hospital. Now I experienced my past self in total primordial fear, even to the point which I could call maddening. I went through the experience step by step from the time when I was left in a hospital room by my father, then left to wait while crying and in panic. After the waiting period of several hours I was led into the operation room which looked very scary, everything was clean and shiny with the detestable smell of disinfectants. In my fear I was crying, screaming and kicking with my legs and arm, there were several people that had to hold me down on the operating table in order to give me the anaesthetic after which everything turned dark.

There was not much time between the last wave and the new one, in which I found myself floating in the air with a teddy bear. There was barbed wire slowly coming from below, engulfing my teddy bear and me. When the barbed wire was fully intertwined with my teddy and me it abruptly compressed with a twisting motion, which allowed me to experience my own death. I was cut into many pieces and felt that I was dispersed all over the place even though the removed parts were still somehow in contact. After a while of this, the cut pieces started to move together and I felt that I was molded into myself, with a very positive emotional state. This experience was more abstract then the others and it is not fully clear to me whether these are the real emotional leftovers from a childhood or perhaps an infant traumatic experience. There is the possibility that this is the perception of the experience of falling on the edge of a glass table, at age 2, resulting in a 4 cm cut on brow going toward my temple. I was rushed to the hospital to get stitched up and perhaps this whole experience was interpreted by my infantile mind as something wildly abstract.

barbed wire teddy bear

The reliving of these three traumatic experiences released massive amounts of pent up energy and in a way was very relieving even though a very hard and emotionally disturbing. At this point still somewhat in shock after the death\rebirth experience I felt an incredible force pulling me out of my body. It was frightening, I never experienced something of this sort in any of my psychedelic experiments and in my fear I quickly checked my pulse and found out that it was beating with what at the time seemed as normal bpm. Quickly thereafter another jolt of energy came and pulled me out of my body into a full out of body experience. I saw some claw like things take my (for lack of a better word)”soul”, out of my body into this gargantuan place which was bathed in some sort of radiant yellow light. There was a sense of ecstasy and total inner peace, while moving to a brightly burning white light source.

This last experience is the most abstract of things experienced that night and perhaps impossible to tell whether or not this has something to do with the regression into childhood or something else. I just realized that this could be a possible reliving of the birth trauma as argued by a psychiatrist called Stanislav Grof. I was born with the umbilical cord twisted around my throat. Perhaps the moment of birth was perceived by the baby me as something which I experienced in this trip.

The experimentation with high dose psychedelic compounds is really intense and definitely not for people who are mentally unstable or fear the upwelling of unpleasant biographical material. I take the experience as a process which needs completion and therefore I try not to interfere with the flow of material. This is probably why I have reached the state of death rebirth and possibly even the birth trauma experience with relative ease. It is maybe a bit quick to fully interpret the content of this intense trip, though I definitely feel that I have resolved many of my personal demons. The pent up energy has been released and now I can integrate the experience into my conscious understanding. I now know that I am a person with deep emotional scars, but with the knowledge gained by this experiment I can slowly work on myself to resolve all psychological traumas which must be still alive within me.

07- pyro

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More information:

http://www.dancesafe.org/documents/druginfo/mushrooms.php

http://www.drugs-plaza.com/

http://www.thegooddrugsguide.com/mushrooms/index.htm

http://www.drugabusehelp.com/drugs/mushrooms/

http://searching4alpha.wordpress.com/2008/07/07/medical-mojo/