The Weird Naturalism of the Brothers McKenna

Esoteric Media and the Experiment at La Chorrera


  • Erik Davis Rice University



New Age, Entheogenic Esotericism, Terence McKenna, media


When Terence McKenna and his brother Dennis performed the so-called “Experiment at La Chorrera” in Columbia in 1971, they staged what became one of the most legendary and storied trip tales in contemporary psychedelic culture. This paper diagrams the matrix of Jungian alchemy, Marshall McLuhan, and science fiction that underpinned the protocols and conceptual apparatus of the Experiment. These ideas are tied to McKenna’s early unpublished text Crypto-Rap, which is briefly summarized as an example of “weird naturalism.” In essence, it is argued that Terence and Dennis McKenna “esotericized” media theory into an occult apparatus of resonance, sympathy, and apocalyptic ontology.

Author Biography

Erik Davis, Rice University

Erik Davis, Ph.D. is a journalist and researcher. Among other productions, he is the author of books such as TechGnosis, The Visionary State, and Nomad Codes


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How to Cite

Davis, E. (2017). The Weird Naturalism of the Brothers McKenna: Esoteric Media and the Experiment at La Chorrera. International Journal for the Study of New Religions, 7(2), 175–198.