DMT has been consumed throughout history and into prehistory by indigenous peoples, especially in South America, where it is consumed during shamanic rituals and called ayahuasca. This is done by combining plant material that contains it with a monoamine oxide inhibitor, a special chemical that allows the drug to avoid digestion by the stomach and reach the bloodstream. Evidence of DMT consumption by indigenous peoples in South America stretches back to at least 2130 BC. A pipe made from puma bone of that age was tested positive for the substance. Smoking it would give the users visions and feelings that they associated with magical sources, putting them into contact with “spirits” they could consult on matters of plants, disease, etc.
Some of the most unusual psychedelic trip reports come from users of DMT, who report “revolving quadrate vortices,” conversations with intelligent alien-type creatures, and so on. These reports are unusual because of their intensity and the sensation of meeting intelligent beings, which is reminiscent of what happens to many people each night in dreams.
Though the scientific investigation of the effects of the drug has been limited, cognitive science may be able to learn more about the human brain by seeing how it changes its operation in response to tryptamines. Spiritualists may be inclined to believe that the beings that people “meet” under the influence may actually exist on parallel planes, which has introduced alternate religious belief systems or world-views based on the experience