Artist’s representation of machine elves. Photo Credit: flickr/Bob Smerecki Art.
Users of DMT report seeing otherworldly entities which many describe as machine elves, otherwise known as clockwork or DMT elves. People note common characteristics among their encounters, such as constantly–changing geometric patterns and playful natures.
With their experiences sharing common themes, wild ideas have popped up in order to explain their existence. In fact, the conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones, has said that the machine elves are aliens controlling world leaders from the shadows. But what exactly are these elves?
Origin of Machine Elves
According to TrueSelf, around the 1970s, the ethnobotanist Terrence McKenna coined the term “machine elves” after meeting with them while using N, N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT). DMT is a powerful type of psychedelic found naturally in various plants. It can be made into brews like ayahuasca, smoked, or vaped.
These creatures get their monikers from their different characteristics. But, as McKenna described, they don’t necessarily look mechanical. In fact, he described them as colorful faberge eggs or jeweled basketballs that vibrated.
One reason for this name is the language that they communicate in. According to Ranker, in a lecture, McKenna described their language as consisting of egg-shaped machines made of ceramics and liquid crystal gels. Since then, the term has become popular to describe the DMT caused hallucinations.
However, McKenna once theorized that the elves may not be hallucination at all, but are actually humans from the distant future:
“I mean if you take the content of the experience seriously and say, ‘I am apparently in contact with diminutive English-speaking creatures of some sort,’ well then, they have got to be either intelligent beings from another part of the universe, or humans from some extraordinarily advanced future world where human beings are now made of language and are only two and a half feet tall, so I would put it rather far in the future.”
As one website dedicated to psychedelic culture, Reality Sandwich, reports, Indigenous tribes of the Amazon have also seen machine elves. In his journey in studying DMT, McKenna had visited the Witoto tribe with reports of ayahuasca and beings they called “little men.” Using a herbal brew with DMT, the shamans have been able to communicate with the elves and receive knowledge.
Defining Machine Elves
In one study conducted by Dr. Rick Strassman, roughly 50% of participants taking DMT were able to see these machine elves, reports DMT Times. Generally, DMT users characterize machine elves as childish and short creatures.
Many believe that they are from another dimension. In one study from the Journal of Psychopharmacology, researchers surveyed 2,561 people for their experiences with using DMT. Researchers conducted the survey anonymously online and recruited people from different online platforms.
The participants were then given questions to describe their encounters with their entities. Results showed that participants commonly used a number of labels to describe these: 60% using guide, 43% using spirit, 39% using alien, and 31% using helper. Many of these encounters were positive to the user with around 1%-5% reporting negative results.
Seeing with DMT
AI-generated image of machine elves. Post from @redideo on Instagram.
As DMT is one of the strongest and fastest-acting psychedelics, it only takes roughly 15 minutes to take effect and whisk users away to an unfamiliar world. In order to see these elves, however, one may need to take a certain amount of it. According to Reality Sandwich, there are light, regular, and strong doses.
Light doses are less than 20 mg, providing a type of body high and some mild visual effects from patterns, intense colors and ringing in the ears. Regular doses are from 20 to 40 mg, giving hallucinations of a wormhole with geometric patterns. Strong doses are above 40 mg and are known as the breakthrough point to begin meeting entities. This breakthrough dosage may also vary for those who use DMT frequently.
One user Lee Blink explained meeting these creatures his first DMT experience as such on his website Dumpster Archeology:
“I just knew that humanity was there in that honeycomb with me, millions of tiny holes with souls gestating for who knows how long. I couldn’t see any other people, but I saw THEM. Two of THEM. […] My self transforming machine elves were busy doing something important and I watched as if I was looking at another person in the room. They were definitely not ME, but entities as real as a coworker or a friend. Suddenly one looked over and realized it was being watched. The Machine Elf got closer to my honeycomb space, watching me with no eyes, just feeling. “Why is this one awake?” It asked.”
Science Behind Machine Elves
While there are doubts about whether machine elves truly exist or if it is some strange interaction with the human mind, it still remains a curiosity to psychonauts and scientists to explore. In his article, The Case Against DMT Elves, author James Kent proposed that DMT causes jarring visual patterns when bound to a specific human serotonin receptor. The patterns then combine with images from dreams to create these encounters.
Perhaps these experiences are chemically-induced hallucinations, or maybe there are gateways to other dimensions. But if these entities are real, what exactly is their purpose for meeting people? For now, only speculations can be made about the reason. Perhaps one day, the mystery will be unraveled.