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In NetHack, hallucination is a status-impairing property that will cause you to perceive objects and monsters in a distorted fashion. Hallucination shows up on the status line as a status effect saying "Hallu".


Any objects will be seen as continually changing items of any class, so a pick-axe may be seen as a sack or dagger, but not as a monster. This perception changes every time the screen is updated, so even selecting the object and pressing ; to see what it is appearing as will change it to something else. Hallucinating will abuse wisdom.

The set of names chosen for monsters while hallucinating includes a selection of rather funny creatures, which will never be generated in the game. These include Barney the Dinosaur, King Kong, the Luggage, and the Mother-in-Law, as well as The Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal among others. The same applies for any mention of gold or zorkmids.

Similarly, hallucination replaces standard messages with funny ones, such as "Welcome to experience level 4. You hear the studio audience applaud!" and "You are getting the munchies." Despite these funny names and messages, hallucination shouldn't be taken lightly. Being unable to distinguish a peaceful monster from a foe, or a weak hostile monster from a serious threat, can quickly prove fatal.

Monsters cannot hallucinate; if caught in a black light's explosion, they will be confused instead.[1]


There are a few ways to hallucinate:

  • eat the corpse of or a tin of yellow mold or violet fungus, or any monster with a stunning attack (lasts 200 turns)
  • be subject to the explosion of a black light (lasts 10d12 turns)
  • quaff a potion of hallucination (lasts 300–499 turns for blessed, 600–799 turns for uncursed, 900–1099 turns for cursed potion)
  • have a crystal ball zap your mind (15 chance, lasts 1–100 turns; otherwise may cause other ill effects)
  • apply a cursed unicorn horn (16 chance, lasts 1–100 turns; otherwise causes other ill effects)
  • be caught by a container trap with a "cloud of <color> gas" (unless the container trap is harmless, there is 326 chance of this effect, lasts 16–20 turns; otherwise may cause other ill effects)
    • <color> is replaced with either ultraviolet, infrared, bluish-orange, reddish-green, dark white, light black, sky blue-pink, salty, sweet, sour, bitter, striped, spiral, swirly, plaid, checkered, argyle, paisley, blotchy, guernsey-spotted, polka-dotted, square, round, triangular, cabernet, sangria, fuchsia, wisteria, lemon-lime, strawberry-banana, peppermint, romantic, or incandescent.

If you are already hallucinating, your hallucinating period increases by this number of turns.

Hallucination can be cured by:


One of the most dangerous things about hallucination is that it conceals the actual appearance of a monster and its peaceful or tame status. An easy mistake is to start hallucinating in a melee situation and lose track of which monster is your pet (easy to do when every monster appears to change every turn) and accidentally kill it. If you have quaffed a potion of hallucination and have no way of curing yourself, it is wise to leave your pet behind and stay away from large concentrations of peaceful monsters. Do not try to explore Minetown, and stay out of the Gnomish Mines if the dwarves or gnomes are peaceful.

Don't bother trying to engrave anything while hallucinating—you almost certainly won't manage to engrave what you intended to.

It is easy to avoid most causes of hallucination with the exception of an exploding black light. If you are aware of the light's approach (e.g. through see invisible, monster detection or noticing your pet fighting something invisible), you can blindfold yourself so that the explosion has no effect. Failing that, hallucination from a black light only lasts for approximately 100 turns, so you can shut yourself in a room and wait it out.

Once you have a noncursed unicorn horn, hallucination is trivial to cure. In addition to the cures listed above, wielding Grayswandir makes you hallucination-resistant, but is not a cure: For each turn that you're wielding Grayswandir, the effects of hallucination are negated. Un-wielding the sword will cause you to begin (or resume) suffering the effects, and wielding it again will toggle the effects back off. If you're wielding Grayswandir when hallucination wears off, you receive the message "Your vision seems to flatten for a moment but is normal now."

Identifying items and monsters

It is a Bad Idea to eat an unidentified tin while hallucinating. Your perception of the smell will be affected, and you might eat meat of your race without realizing it. Spinach is still identified normally (except to distort the color of cursed spinach), and cockatrice meat always "smells like chicken" when hallucinating as of 3.6.0,[2] but all other contents cannot be identified. You may also wish to refrain from quaffing unidentified potions unless you have a safe way of curing hallucination.

Items on the square the player is currently standing on are not subject to hallucinogenic effects. If you kill a hallucinogen-distorted monster and step onto the square containing its corpse, the corpse will be accurately identified. This holds for other objects as well; items in the user's inventory are also not subject to the effects. Also, the hero's sense of taste is not distorted, so the hero is able to accurately identify what is in a tin by eating it—but as noted above, you may hallucinate the wrong smell before eating it.

A stethoscope, while misidentifying the monster type, will correctly identify its attributes. Thus, it can be useful to determine if a monster is tame or peaceful before attacking. You can also identify your pet—or at least that a creature is a cat or dog—by chatting to it. Its response will be normal for its type.


Hallucination has a few strange benefits, and among them is the odd effect of protecting against the touch of death attack: Instead of dying, you "have an out of body experience." It does not protect against Death's special deadly touch attack. As of 3.6.0, hallucination has a 34 chance of protecting you from any gaze attack,[3] including floating eyes' paralyzing passive attack.[4]


In SLASH'EM, hallucination also distorts items you are standing on and your inventory, which makes it a crippling disability; however, it is still only a minor problem in the eyes of your deity. It is therefore essential to avoid quaffing a potion of hallucination without a cure, and to remember the inventory letter of your unicorn horn or other remedy.

Eating a mushroom or a pink pill can cause hallucination, and applying a medical kit can cure it.

Hallucination can also be moderately useful as a way to bless item without breaking atheist conduct: asking a shopkeeper to uncurse an item while hallucinating has a chance of blessing it instead.


This page may need to be updated for the current version of NetHack.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.6.4. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-364}} tag to the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.