Science still has not provided an answer to that question. In a typical DMT experience, a user may experience lots of rapidly fluctuating emotions, Thayer said, including love, fear, joy, anxiety and euphoria. There can be a “dissolving of the sense of self,” and, of course, hallucinations involving self-transforming machine elves.

“The hallucinations vary widely, but usually involve geometric patterns, vivid colors and contact with ‘entities,'” Thayer says. “People describe these entities as distinct, autonomous beings that typically present with some kind of message.”

There’s no clear-cut description for what the DMT entities actually look like, but they’re called “machine elves” or “clockwork elves” because McKenna described them that way. He called them ‘self-transforming elf machines,’ which is where the now-famous term ‘DMT machine elves’ comes from.

By using the term “machine elves,” Terence McKenna’s tales created terminology that has been widely adopted by those who have tripped in his footsteps and described these visuals in the same way that he did.

“These entities take on many forms,” says Thayer, “including animals, insects, angels, demons, family members, jesters, aliens, lights, spirits, fairies and amorphous beings.”

It may seem like it would be scary or one might not be emotionally prepared to encounter these entities on a DMT trip, and Thayer says it’s not uncommon for human beings to experience fear, but “the most common emotions people experience are joy, love and trust.”

What’s especially unusual about the DMT machine elves is the fact that lots of people report seeing the same kinds of incidents and visions in which these beings occurred.

“There is no clear scientific explanation for it,” says Thayer, but one theory is that this is simply what the conscious mind experiences in the presence of DMT.

Spiritualists posit that DMT opens the mind to new dimensions of reality, granting us access to the beings that exist there. Encounters with DMT entities are very similar to those reported by people who have had near-death and alien abduction experiences.

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