The Old Man is the deistic life-force of the universe, usually experienced during the darker, more introspective sections of woodland mushroom trips. He lives underneath the earth and usually appears as the giant head of a craggy, dirt-covered old hermit. He usually forms the core of the entire earth and, in more extreme cases, the figurative fabric of the entire universe. When he appears as a concrete being, he usually shields himself from view with approx. 6 feet of leaves and soil. His “appearance” is heralded by bursts of hysterical, hoarse laughter that echo repeatedly inside the brain of vision-seekers that hear it for several lifetimes. He does not always manifest himself in a physical form, but is a powerful spirit, capable of inducing a wide range of emotions and physical sensations in those whom he makes aware of his presence. The most common reported side effects of exposure to the Old Man have been fear, self-loathing, despair, overpowering awareness of one’s own mortality and physical sensations of melting, becoming a leafman, etc. Victims of the Old Man’s waves of “croni Deluezian weltschmerz” (Oneida Guru, circa 1976) often experience a memorable religious conversion following exposure.
The first reported sighting of the Old Man (and his harbinger the Shitmonster) occurred in the Root Glen surrounding Hamilton College in the early summer of 2008. He alerted a young trip victim, convinced that he was inhabiting the body of Harrison Ford during the filming of Raiders of the Lost Ark, to his presence by creating a sea of broken bottles on the ground, strewn atop a pile of dead leaves. This omen caused the tripper (male, anon.) to believe that the Old Man was laughing at the world from underneath the forest while getting drunk on bottled beer. The threat posed by the Old Man convinced the tripper (“Harrison Ford”) that he needed to guide his traveling party out of the forest immediately so that they would not be compelled to sit on something he called “the Eternal Log of Sadness” for eternity. “Ford” indicated that this was a rotten, fungi-covered log in a dark corner of one of the Glen’s deepest ravines, and announced that the Log was an optical illusion created by the Old Man, designed to cause their traveling party to lose hope in their ability to escape the forest, remain rational and moral human beings and accomplish anything in their lives.
The Old Man became a part of the Hamilton College community’s cultural imagination and a notable internet meme as a result of a reference “Harrison Ford” made to him in his Facebook profile, under the Religious Views section.