Marijuana is a safe drug. I’m not trying to dispute that. I’m not going to lecture you on the dangers of smoking pot. Just let this story serve as a warning: make sure you know where you weed comes from before smoking it.

It was 2006 and I had just finished my last year of college. However, it was summer and there were still about three months left on the lease to my house. Most of my housemates had moved out with the exception of Steve, my best friend at the time, who was taking a summer class. Coincidentally, we were both regular pot smokers and got high almost every day.

I had gotten a call from Sanjay, my usual dealer, early one morning. Apparently he was skipping town and had some premium bud he was trying to get rid of. He called it “El Diablo” or some bullshit street name like that and said he’d sell it to me cheap. I was considering waking Steve and bringing him along, but I remembered he had class that morning. When I arrived at my dealer’s place, almost everything was packed up, as you’d expect from someone who’s moving, and there was about a half ounce of weed in a Ziploc bag on his coffee table.

“Hey bro,” I greeted him.

“Thanks for taking this off my hands. Nobody seemed interested,” he replied. There was a slight quiver in his voice, but I didn’t think anything of it at the time.

As I examined the bag it looked like any other variety of bud, but it seemed to be covered in really dark red hairs; much darker than I’d ever seen before.

“I’ve never heard of this variety. Where’d you find it?” I asked.

“My supplier claims it was taken from a police evidence locker after some raid in New Mexico. That’s all I know. Now are we going to play twenty questions, or are you going to buy it?” I was a bit taken aback by his irritated tone as he’s usually one of the most laid back guys you’ll ever meet.

“Um... sure.” He named his price and I paid him, rather surprised that it was so cheap. His bizarre demeanor should have tipped me off that something was amiss, but I was just excited to get home and light up.

Back in my living room (with cartoons blaring on the TV, as was part of my smoking ritual), I rolled a fat joint, lit up, and took an enormous hit. The smoke was a bit less harsh that usual, but nothing out of the ordinary. A couple more hits and I was feeling pretty good. It was a good high, but nothing unusual. I was a tad disappointed, but it wasn’t a big deal.

As I was sitting there watching Patrick say something stupid to SpongeBob, the munchies hit. Big time. I glanced at the clock and noticed it was about 9 am, which was when the dollar store opened. I decided to walk over there and pick up some cheap snacks (hey, I was a poor college student). I was strolling down the sidewalk, listening to some mellow tunes on my iPod when I passed a strange looking guy.

He was a relatively normal college-aged guy, but he had a really bizarre look on his face. It’s hard to describe, but it was somewhat… accusatory. What made it even more bizarre was that his eyes were really red, as though all the blood vessels had burst. And he maintained eye contact with me as we passed. I suddenly felt creeped out. What the fuck was his problem? I thought. I eventually rationalized it as the paranoia associated with being high as I arrived at my destination.

After gathering up some cheap, off-brand chips and candy I approached the checkout line. That feeling of paranoia started to creep up on me again, so I kept my eyes down as the cashier rang up my stuff and I swiped my card. She didn’t seem to be giving the customary greeting and small talk, but once again I rationalized that she probably just hated her crappy job. As she handed me my receipt, I looked up at her briefly and jumped.

She had the exact same look as the guy I passed earlier. Her eyes were narrow, unblinking, and completely red. She was staring at me as if I were some disgusting piece of human trash. I was starting to get freaked out. I snatched my receipt and walked out as quickly as I could. Against my better judgment, I turned my head back as I passed through the automatic door only to see that she was still staring!

I started walking back to my place as briskly as I could, trying to keep my eyes on the ground the whole time. This is crazy, I thought. I’m just paranoid from the weed. It’s all in my head. I just need to calm down. After convincing myself it was just the weed, I decided to glance at the next person I passed. To this day, I regret that decision.

The man in the suit walking past me had a look of pure contempt radiating from his blood red eyes. His gaze was like a laser piercing my skull and bisecting my brain. I was starting to panic. About a meter or so behind him was a middle aged woman pushing a stroller. Never in my life had I seen such scorn as I did in her narrow, crimson eyes. However, I began to lose my grip on sanity when I looked in the stroller.

The child wasn’t even a year old. It was dressed in blue overalls and a white shirt covered in cartoonish airplanes, holding some kind of rubber toy. Never before had I seen a look of such pure, unadulterated hate as I did on the face of this child. This infant, who for all intents and purposes shouldn’t even be developed enough to contort its face into such a twisted expression, was giving me a look of such intense loathing that it shook me to my very core.

Its lips were curled up into a vicious snarl and its eyes were not only the deepest shade of crimson I had ever seen, but they actually seemed to be crying tears of blood. It was as if its hatred for me was so intense, it was leaking out from behind its rage swathed visage. I had never been more terrified in my life.

At that point I dropped my bag and broke into a run. I didn’t care how I looked to passers-by. I just needed to get home. My surroundings were a blur as a bolted down the sidewalk, but even in my peripheral vision I could see those horrible, contemptuous red eyes staring at me as I passed.

After running for what seemed like an hour, I finally made it to my front door. Once inside, I quickly slammed the door and locked all the locks. I leaned against the door and slid to the floor, panting. I stumbled over to the couch and laid down, too terrified to do anything else. I suddenly realized how high I felt. Never in all my years of smoking marijuana had I felt as stoned as I did at that moment. I assumed the weed was laced with something, but I didn’t really care. I just wanted the trip to end.

I then heard a door open in the hallway. Oh my god, I thought. Steve. No, not Steve too. Not my best friend. Please, not him. My heart was pounding so heavily I thought I was having a heart attack. I held my breath as I heard his footsteps coming down the hall. If whatever affected those people got Steve too, I was afraid I’d have a total mental breakdown.

The relief I felt when I saw his smiling face was unbelievable. No bloodshot eyes, no hateful expression, no bloody tears. Just my closest college friend. My friend who I’d partied with for the past four years. My friend who made sure I got home safely when I drank too much. My friend who would laugh at old, crappy kung fu movies with me. I’d never been so glad to see anyone in my whole life.

“Sup bro,” as was his usual greeting. “Dude, you look high as FUCK! What have you been smoking?”

“Got it...from Sanjay,” I managed to spit out, pointing at the bag on the coffee table. I was still recovering from what had just happened.

He opened the bag and took a whiff. “Damn! This shit smells good. I’m gonna have to try some when I get back from class.”

“N-no. Having a…bad trip,” I said. I wouldn’t wish what I went through on my worst enemy, much less my best friend.

“Yeah, I can definitely tell. You don’t look so good. Let me get you some water.” He came back from the kitchen with a tall glass of water, half of which I managed to spill down my shirt as I gulped it down. I was starting to feel a little better though.

“Listen bro, you’re going to be fine. Just relax. I’ve gotta go to class, but I’ll be back in about an hour and we can get some lunch. I promise you’ll feel better after that.”

“No! Don’t go outside!” I shouted.

“Dude, calm down. Everything’s going to be fine. You’re just tripping right now.”

“They’re watching me. Those horrible faces!” I realize now how incoherent I sounded, but not everything you say makes perfect sense when you’re high.

“Nobody’s watching you, bro. The weed is just making you paranoid. Here, I’ll put on some music. It’ll help you relax.” Steve went over to his computer to pick out an album. He’s probably right, I thought. It’s just an unusually bad trip. It has to be.

I always feel like somebody’s watching meeeeee…” suddenly came blasting out of the stereo. I nearly fell off the couch in a panic. I looked over to see Steve cracking up.

“You son of a bitch!” I yelled. He and I shared the same sense of humor and honestly, I would have done the same thing were I in his position, but now was not the time. I never liked that song anyway.

“Sorry, I couldn’t resist,” he said with a huge grin on his face. “But seriously, I’ll put on some Isis. That’ll help you ride this out.” He was right. I closed my eyes and let the music carry me away. I started picturing myself swimming through the ocean with a pod of dolphins. I was already starting to feel better. This whole thing will be over soon, I thought. Suddenly, Steve’s voice brought me back to reality.

“…the fuck?” I heard him say. I opened my eyes to see him gazing out the window. “What are all these people doing on our lawn?” Oh God. Oh God, no! I thought. I got up off the couch and slowly peered out the window.

To my horror, I saw about twenty to thirty people standing in front of the house. I could pick out our neighbors, the cute girl who lives across the street who I was too shy to talk to, and the super friendly mail man.

Also among them was the man in the suit, the mother with her baby, and even the cashier from the dollar store still wearing her work vest. Every single one of them staring into the window contemptuously; tiny scarlet rivers flowing from the pupil-less, crimson orbs that now occupied their eye sockets.

“Oh no…” I managed to choke out. I could feel the panic rising in my chest. My head was spinning.

“What the hell is wrong with their eyes?” Steve asked.

This can’t be happening. He can’t be seeing it too. He didn’t smoke anything. This can’t be happening! THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING! My mind was racing.

“I’m going to see what they want” he said as he reached for the doorknob.

I grabbed his shoulder. “Please, don’t go out there. I... I know I’m really high and probably having a bad trip, but please just trust me. I’ve never been so sure about anything in my life,” I stammered.

“I know what you’re going through. I’ve had really bad trips before, but everything is fine. I just need to find out what’s going on. Someone may need help.” He was already outside before my fear-addled brain could formulate a response.

I looked on in horror. He approached the closest person, a man wearing a football jersey, and started to say something. Almost as soon as the first syllable escaped his lips, the mob descended on him. They began to pile on top of him, grabbing at him, tearing at his flesh. I was paralyzed with fear, unable to help my friend.

I watched helplessly as nails tore into his stomach flesh. Hands reached inside and pulled out blood soaked intestines. He shrieked has a hand gripped his trachea and ripped it from his throat. His ribcage cracked under the weight of so many bodies on top of him. His limbs were ripped from his body. Eyes pulled from their sockets. It was the single most horrible sight I have ever seen. I relive that moment in my nightmares to this day. Perhaps it’s my punishment for allowing this to happen.

It was over in a matter of seconds. My best friend was little more than a pool of blood, bones, and organs strewn about our lawn, barely recognizable as once being a human. The crowd suddenly stood up and continued to stare at me. Their hands and clothes stained with Steve’s blood. This is it. It’s my turn.

They’re coming for me. To my utter shock, they simply dispersed. The neighbors returned to their houses. The mailman went back to delivering mail. The cute girl when back inside her house across the street. It was as if nothing had happened. As if they hadn’t just murdered Steve in the most brutal way imaginable. I was dumbfounded.

I soon snapped out of my daze and called 911. I didn’t go into detail about what happened. I knew they wouldn’t believe me sober, much less stoned out of my mind. I immediately grabbed the bag of weed and flushed it down the toilet. I didn’t know how, but I knew the weed somehow caused this and I wanted to make sure no one ever smoked it again.

The police took me in for questions, as I expected. They could tell I was high on something, but there were no drugs in the house so they couldn’t charge me with anything. I described to them what I witnessed, minus the red eyes and bloody tears (the idea that a random mob would just kill someone and go about their business was unbelievable enough.) They eventually released me once it was determined there was nothing to connect me to Steve’s death.

I found out later that they investigated those I was able to identify from the mob (neighbors, mail man, cashier, etc.) and found no physical evidence connecting any of them to the murder. No blood stains. No skin under their fingernails. No clothing fibers. Absolutely nothing. The only thing that connected them was the fact that they had no memory from about 9am that morning until shortly after Steve was murdered.

Feeling responsible for what happened to Steve, I was too ashamed to attend his funeral. I knew that his horrible death was meant for me, and I couldn’t bring myself to face his grieving parents.

I tried my best to find any information on a strain of weed called “El Diablo,” but nothing substantial turned up. However, I did find a brief article in a New Mexico newspaper mentioning a large amount of marijuana seized during a raid on the compound of a cult in the Chihuahuan desert. Apparently the cult was involved in a series of ritual murders.

If you take anything away from this, please, for the sake of yourself, your friends, and your loved ones, make sure you get your marijuana from a reputable source. And if you every come in contact with anything called “El Diablo”, dispose of it immediately and break off contact with whoever has it. Don’t make the same mistake I did.