Clairvoyance drugs of 1932

Want to see in the future? The April, 1932 issue of Modern Mechanix had the magic clairvoyance drug you'd been seeking:
A SOUTH AMERICAN plant called Yage is believed by natives to have the magical property of enabling the drinker to see great distances or through obstacles. Before the drinker falls asleep everything seems to be filled with hazy bluish rings. As the stupor deepens the sleeper sees vivid visions of things or people known to be somewhere else. This is the reason the drug is supposed to cause clairvoyance.
Drug Said to Cause Clairvoyance (Apr, 1932)


  1. They’re talking about Ayahuasca, which I understand is some powerful mojo, but unlikely to ultimately induce clairvoyance.

  2. If it was true, can you imagine the implications of having a bad trip? I mean, it would ruin your optimism for years…

  3. It is ayahuasca and is used freely in ceremonies of “Santo Daime” in Brazil.

    Unless you want a fraking bad trip involving hallucinations, convulsions and vomiting wildly, I don’t recommend it.

  4. I have Russian joke:
    What is difference between Optimist and Pessimist?
    Optimist does not have all informations yet.

  5. I agree with CBARRETO, from what I’ve heard, the extreme purging that comes before the hallucinations is definitely not worth it. I’ve heard it referred to as “being turned inside out”.

    “Before the drinker falls asleep”, from the article makes it sound so easy and quaint.

  6. Why no mention of the ability to walk through walls? Secondary to seeing the future, sure, but a novel experience nonetheless!
    Somewhere I read an account of travelers who were turned on to a similar substance, only one of their guides chewed the plant and then spit out the active material, absorbing into his own body most of whatever it is that makes one violently ill. The guests then drank what had been spit out, and were able to experience the ‘trip’ without getting so sick. That’s hospitality, for sure.

  7. @cbarreto.

    My roommate recently went to a Santo Dime cult to try some of their ayahuasca. She said that it was the worst experience of her life and that she doesn’t recommend it to anyone.

  8. For all that it’s a “natural” high, ayahuasca can be pretty dangerous depending on what other medications you happen to be on. People taking blood pressure medication or antidepressants should avoid it like the plague. Not that the ayahuasca advocates really warn you about this.

  9. having smoked DMT a few times, I can say positively that the claims of clairvoyance are true. I returned from one trip (only lasts a few minutes) knowing all sorts of things about several people in the room that I hadn’t know before, told to me by a crystal elf.

  10. I have a friend that used Ayahuasca in a Santo Daime’s religious gathering or something like that. I was invited but could not go, I was busy. He said it was extremely disturbing, very strong, but also that it was incredible and mind-boggling, veru shamanistic, personal revelations and all sort of things, but no future seeing.
    Oh, and some people do have the embarassing purging thing, but not everyone. In fact, you have to take all sorts of precautious measures beforehand, advised by them, regarding food, sleep, drinks, etc. If you fail to meet those conditions, you might have an unpleasant surprise when your body purges those things.
    But if you’re going, it might be a good idea to take some extra pair of pants with you, just to be sure!
    I plan on going someday!

  11. there’s no mystery about the chemistry,plenty on the web about what to eat/not to eat beforehand and why things happen the way they do. Any who want to do homework first can. I suppose some prefer the “pure” experience of no preconceptions at all. I’d have to be much younger to do that.

  12. @cbarreto

    not all of us puked the first time out. Like all hallucinogens very dependent on setting and mental state. And as others have said a little advice on what food and drugs to avoid before hand can have a huge effect. Don’t think I would’ve enjoyed it at a Santo Daime church. Have you actually imbibed?

  13. I fonce ired up a pea of DMT when I was tripping. Pretty dumb. Glad it only lasted a few minutes. I don’t think I could have taken being a eucalyptus tree much longer.

  14. Yes, Yage refers to B. caapi and possibly any number of secondary additives, often containing DMT. B. caapi itself does not contain DMT but it is an MAO inhibitor, hence the proscriptions against mixing with certain foods, drinks, meds.

    The active ingredients of B. caapi are mainly harmala & harmaline (see also Syrian Rue). When harmaline was originally isolated it was called telepathine due to numerous accounts of clairvoyent experiences. The harmaline MAOI allows ingested DMT to pass through the gut and to the CNS. Normally, the DMT would be destroyed by MAO and not be active. As an aside, it’s interesting to consider how indigenous tribes were able to sift through the jungle and determine this fairly complex pharmacology.

    The full brew w/ DMT is indeed *very* powerful and almost unmatched in the amount of mythopoetic information that it seems to deliver. The experience is also of interest in that it produces very consistent visions of snakes, large cats, and jungles across users from many diverse cultures. Ie. it seems to act as a key to certain archetypes associated with the deep jungle.

    As with all psychedelics, its certainly not for anybody and much care should be given to set & setting to ensure a safe passage. The curanderos of the amazon say that they are taught protective songs by the spirit of the yaje, which they sing to guide their journeys through the trip.

    It should be noted that Santo Daime is a post-colonial religion that overlays traditional Christian/Catholic symbolism on top of the native ayahuasca experience.

  15. Minor but important correction to my last post:

    “As with all psychedelics, its certainly not for *everybody* and much care should be given to set & setting to ensure a safe passage.”

  16. A friend of mine who claimed to have done the Yage ceremony called it “The Jaguar.” He claimed the big cat usually came with the experience.

  17. It seems they were interpreting the indigenous peoples’ description of ayahuasca-induced experiences through the lens of spiritualism and mediumistic phenomenon – convenient frames of reference for the time.

  18. Of course they used the lens of spiritualism – it is not a recreational drug – it is used in spiritual ceremonies.

  19. By spiritualism I meant specifically the popular movement dating to the late 19th century – mediums communicating with the dead and entering into clairvoyant trances in the manner of Edward Cayce. This meaning for spiritualism is distinct from the contemporary meaning.

    It just helps understand how they interpreted these descriptions back then.

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