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Image retrieved from on September 19th, 2014.

On the late Nicholas Saunders' website,, he actively encouraged users to send in their experiences, good and bad, while on Ecstasy. The counterculture guru and Neal's Yard founder also authored some of the best books about the drug, including Ecstasty and the Dance Culture, E for Ecstasy, and Ecstasy Reconsidered. Tragically, he was killed in an auto crash in South Africa in 1998, aged 60. But before he died, he managed to catalog numerous magical MDMA moments, including this one from “V” about her first experience on E and her relationship with her boyfriend, “S”:
”The night that we took E, I was feeling very stressed out and in a bad mood. I had told my older brother and his wife what I was planning to do, and they had some very harsh criticisms to offer, as they felt that it was dangerous ...S had previously tried LSD and mushrooms, and both times the experience turned out to be undesirable. He struggled with family issues—the death of his father and non-closeness to any one in his family. It was very difficult to see him ride through the emotional roller coaster. So the night we took E, I had all these thoughts in my mind. I downed the pill in frustration and anger on a completely empty stomach. When the effect started to hit me, I felt very queasy and uncomfortable. I went down in the basement to me alone and try to sort out my feelings. Everything was going wrong at this point. As a depressive person normally, I rode out these negative feelings rather than try to turn them around.
”S came downstairs to talk to me, he was very concerned about my well being. I didn't want to go out, but he convinced me that everything would be OK, and that he would not leave my side...In the car ride, I was shivering, cold and silent. I sat in the passenger seat next to S with our friends in the back. They were having a long conversation between them in the back seat, which allowed S to focus on me. He held my hand and assured me things would be OK. His smiles and confidence helped tremendously, but I still felt sick in the stomach.
”That's when S pulled out some soft electronic music—Orbital. He talked to the group about marriage between E and house music, and persuaded them to give the music a listen. The music came on strong and overwhelmed me at first. It was the most beautiful language in the world to listen to. It spoke to me in ways no words could. It touched my heart in a way that I had never experienced before. For the first time, I truly began to appreciate S's love for this type of music.
”As the music played on, I found my self more relaxed than ever. I glanced over at S, who still held my hand firmly, and stared deeply into his eyes.
I realized how much in love with him I was. He had saved me from the downward spiral I had been on. I began to talk at great length, expressing my gratitude. He was very happy to see me in such good spirits. He told me that I was the one who had changed myself, that all change comes from within...From that point on, I didn't want the night to end.
”The rest of the night was glorious. I grew extremely close to S, and we are still together to this day. I learned so much from the experience about myself that I am unable to express. Whenever I feel down, I put on that Orbital track, and instantly I am transported back to that magical time. The music is therapy for my soul—the best drug I could ever take, and I never want it to end. I wonder if I would have ever figured all this out without that little pill that changed my life forever?”

pp. 36, 37 of The Incredibly Strange History of Ecstasy by Tim Pilcher (2008)

Nicholas Saunders