DMT is a psychedelic tryptamine found in ayahuasca, as well as inside most mammalian bodies. (Intriguingly, one researcher believes that near-death experiences are triggered by a flood of DMT being released from the pineal gland at the time of death.) Many people who take DMT report similar experiences with alien and/or magical entities, which noted psychedelic fancier and ethnobotanist Terence McKenna dubbed "machine elves."
Is reality being controlled by "machine elves?"
Terence McKenna's DMT hallucinations live on
McKenna believed that taking DMT allowed the user to punch through our reality, into the place where our reality is made. "There's a whole bunch of entities waiting on the other side," McKenna said. And everything is being created by the machine elves: tiny, self-reproducing, fractal beings who can sing matter into shape. Their "marvelous singing makes intricate toys out of the air and their own continually transforming body geometries."
Machine elves also pass their knowledge directly to any traveler who enters their realm. Very directly; McKenna said that they "jump into your body and then they jump back out again," and this is how they communicate ideas and thoughts to the visitor.
The theory of machine elves has captured many aspects of the popular imagination. Some people have made the connection to similar legends in other cultures. The concept of small powerful beings is a nearly universal one, from the eponymous elves and pixies of fairytale England to the songlines of aboriginal cultures in Australia.
Others - including most notably Alex Jones - have latched on to the machine elves as an explanation for all conspiracy theories. The conspiracy theory to end all conspiracy theories, in other words, and the true source of the Illuminati. Jones apparently believes that the machine elves are the ones silently whispering into the ears of those in power, telling them what to do (and whom to kill).
From an external perspective, it seems likely that this phenomena is due to a combination of priming (where the user sees what they have been coached to see) and pareidolia (the brain's overwhelming urge to find pattern in noise, particularly in spotting human faces in collections of random shapes).
Even McKenna, in his original report about the machine elves, mentions their similarity to the Munchkins in the film version of the Wizard of Oz. People describing the machine elves tend to use psychedelic mandalas with fractal elements and bright colors, like the image at the top of this post. It seems likely that the machine elves are just an artifact of a common psychedelic hallucination, but who can really say for sure?