I had a job for a few years in the Air Sea
Recue Team on the small island where I live, Jersey
, in the south of the English channel
. I was the guy who'd bungee
down from the helicopter to help out with boat wrecks, injuries, all that kind of thing.
Anyhow, it was back in 1998 when all of this happened, and the story I tell you is true. However, all I experienced personally was the final result; all the rest was cobbled
together from what was found on the boat, and from the distorted memories
of Joseph Banks.
He'd been in and out of jail
for several years on various drugs
charges, but the police
thought in recent months he'd turned away from that lark
. Not so. Late September 98 he picked up a veritable poopload
of magic mushrooms
from the south coast of England
, in a largish one man boat supplied by his employers, and started out for Jersey
knowing what he was doing; he was from a well off background, and had sailed many times when he was younger.
Not long after he left he encountered the largest storm
on record in the English Channel
. From the state of the boat when I arrived, I'd say he'd run right through the worst part possible. But apparently he'd survived, relatively unharmed
, and his boat, although all instruments
, sails and engines were useless, was still afloat.
he'd had onboard wouldn't have lasted longer than a day, he had only what he'd brought from the mainland. Joseph has reported, in rare moments of lucidity
, that for the next three days he starved, and it would still be two weeks before we even knew of his presence. So, crippled
by hunger, he did all that he could to survive: He started eating the 'shrooms
The first day of this it seems he got through fine, even starting to enjoy himself, having set up a crude way to distill
pure water from sea water to drink. Day two, tripping
slightly worse, he started to hallucinate
badly. He still screams and cries about the things he saw, but not I nor any doctors can get out of him what they were. They think it was this second day, and the next four days of the same that drove him completely insane
For three days after this he did not eat again, haunted by those hallucinations
. But on the fourth, only a few days before we rescued him, he gave in to hunger and started eating them again. This time, his mind already twisted and insane, his hallucinations were completely focussed onto one theme. All around him, taunting him, tickling him, poking him, shouting and jeering, multiple incarnations of the same man: The Pilsbury
For the three days till he was rescued he sat rocking and clutching at his head, trying to block out the giggle
s and screwing up his eyes to keep out the vision of the fat doughy daemon, stopping only to stuff a few mushrooms
into his mouth.
3rd October 1998, I was called out early in the morning; someone had spotted a wrecked ship drifting towards the island
, and thought they saw movement aboard. I jumped into the back of the helicopter
and it flew straight out to the scene. Nervous
, as I always got doing this, I was lowered down to the deck, where I broke open the doors and saw Joseph Banks cowering
in the corner, shivering.
He turned his eyes up to me, dribbling
and crying, and said in a cracked and broken voice:
"I see bread people.."