Lilly, whose life has been well documented in hundreds of press interviews, some biographies, and his own books, says that he had his first vision at age seven. It was not well received. "Only saints have visions!" a sister scoffed, and few in his family believed him. Mystical experiences, he was told, were not spontaneously received by just anyone. Three years later, after achieving orgasm on his parent's "body shaker" (an antique exercise machine fitted with a vibrating belt), the boy collapsed on the floor into a state of "moist-eyed, wet-crotched post-orgasmic bliss." For him, it was a religious experience. But when his parents returned and found him slumped on the floor in front of the machine, they scolded him, and referred him to the family doctor and a Catholic priest. The experts told him that masturbation was a health hazard and mortal sin, too much of this "abuse" would eventually result in insanity. He did not understand why something so wonderful was associated with embarrassment and shame. The seeds of his scientific journey were sown, and he decided from there on out those ideas that conflict with experience must be abandoned. "If religion didn't agree with his own experience," Lilly deduced, "then religion itself must be wrong."