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Chemical Enlightenment

Line up for the scientific, psychedelic mystical tour

The comfortably furnished room in a corner of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore seems an unlikely setting for spiritual transcendence. Yet one after another, volunteers last year entered the living room–like space, reclined on the couch, swallowed a pill, and opened themselves to a profound mystical journey lasting several hours. For many of them, the mundane certainty of being a skin-bounded person with an individual existence melted away. In its place arose a sense of merging with an ultimate reality where all things exist in a sacred, unified realm. Participants felt intense joy, peacefulness, and love during these experiences. At times, though, some became fearful, dreading unseen dangers.

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