History of LSD

Chemical Crusaders

In addition to a series of formal studies, Leary's group also held psychedelic sessions on their own outside the university. A clinical setting was rejected in favor of the comfortable surroundings of a private apartment where subjects could relax and listen to music by candlelight. Graduate students and selected individuals from the arts were invited to participate in these off-campus experiments, and the vast majority reported positive experiences. Anyone who wanted to take the voyage was...

The Hallucination Battlefield

While the CIA was interested in LSD primarily as an instrument of clandestine warfare, the United States Army pursued a more grandiose scheme. During the Cold War top-level military brass waxed enthusiastic over the prospect of a new kind of chemical weapon that would revolutionize combat. They imagined aircraft swooping over enemy territory releasing clouds of madness gas that would disorient people and dissolve their will to resist. This scenario appealed to those in the Pentagon who felt...

The Hard Sell

Despite criticisms of trip programming, Leary still saw advantages in working with a manual if a particular spiritual state could be consistently reproduced, there was a good chance the psychedelic movement would really take off. Hence the adoption of the The Tibetan Book of the Dead as the first LSD guidebook. Since the movement's only activism was the psychedelic session, the first step was to persuade people to take the drug. Leary aimed his message at those whose hearts and minds were still...

Psychosis or Gnosis

Therapeutic studies in the 1950S opened up new areas of investigation for a growing number of young psychiatrists. A particularly promising avenue of inquiry involved using LSD as a tool to explore the creative attributes of the mind. Dr. Oscar Janiger (the first person in the US to conduct a clinical investigation of DMT, or dimethyltryptamine, an extremely powerful short-acting psychedelic) noted that many of his patients reported vivid aesthetic perceptions frequently leading to a greater...

High Surrealism

After their expulsion from Harvard, Leary and Alpert were determined to carry out additional studies in the religious use of psychedelic drugs. They set up a grassroots nonprofit group called the International Federation for Internal Freedom (IFIF), whose ranks quickly swelled to three thousand dues-paying members. Local offices sprang up in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles. IFIF believed that everyone should be allowed to use mind-expanding chemicals because the internal freedom they provided...

Gathering Storm

There is the story of the Zen master who tells his student, Don't think of a carrot. Naturally a carrot is the first image that pops into the student's mind. So, too, the establishment media constantly decried LSD and warned in shrill tones of an epidemic of drug abuse sweeping the nation. The net effect of the immense publicity, even though much of it was negative, was to arouse intense interest and curiosity, leading to ever-widening patterns of use. For in an era of generational disaffection...

Magical Politics

The peace movement had reached a crossroads in the spring of 1967, after people took to the streets in unprecedented numbers all across the country to protest the war in Vietnam. Despite this tremendous outpouring of public sentiment President Johnson continued to escalate the war effort. American troop strength swelled to nearly a half-million, and young men were returning in body bags at a rate of five hundred a month. All of this was deeply disturbing to David Dellinger, director of the...

The Acid Brotherhood

Bringing the war back home the deeper resonance of the Weather motto returned to haunt the New Left. As millions of Americans took to the streets to protest the Vietnam debacle, the Defense Department was drawn ever more deeply into the problem of containing domestic violence. Military strategists recommended an array of bizarre weapons to quell civil unrest, including thepsychochemical incapacitating agent BZ, which had been utilized on a limited basis as a counterinsurgency device in...

Healing Acid

By the late 1950S, according to Robert Bernstein, former assistant surgeon general of the American army, perhaps by coincidence, LSD was almost simultaneously recognized by the army as a military threat and by certain segments of our US population as a means for self-fulfillment. What puzzling characteristics does LSD possess that give rise to such disparate and seemingly contradictory points of view How could the same drug be hailed as an unparalleled avenue to transcendental or visionary...

Midnight Climax

In a speech before the National Alumni Conference at Princeton University on April 10, 1953, newly appointed CIA director Allen Dulles lectured his audience on how sinister the battle for men's minds had become in Soviet hands. The human mind, Dulles warned, was a malleable tool, and the Red Menace had secretly developed brain perversion techniques. Some of these methods were so subtle and so abhorrent to our way of life that we have recoiled from facing up to them. Dulles continued, The minds...

Politics of the Bummer

The Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency convenes yet another round of hearings in Washington, DC, to deal with the growing LSD problem. Chairman Thomas Dodd, a conservative Democrat from Connecticut and a noted Communist hunter, speaks out against the use of psychedelic drugs. He dismisses consciousness expansion as an alibi for sheer kicks and proposes strict new laws aimed at the pseudo-intellectuals who advocate the use of drugs in search for some imaginary freedoms of the mind and...

Chapter Four Preaching LSD High Surrealism

It's only a matter of time O Leary, comments to reporter Bob Gaines, quoted in LSD Hollywood's Status-Symbol Drug. Light and free you let go B Laura Huxley, Oh Nobly Born in Huxley, Moksha, pp. 265-66. We lived out a myth B Hollingshead, p. 99. It hardly registered B Arthur Kleps, Millbrook, p. 51. Dr. Max facobson served as fFK's personal physician B Leary, Flashbacks, p. 200. LSD was fun B Paul Krassner, My First LSD Trip, in Paul Krassner, ed. The Best of the Realist, pp. 145 46. NASA...

Bibliography

Nearly 20,000 pages of once-classified government documents secured through the Freedom of Information Act provided the basic source material for the chapter on CIA and military drug experiments. Some of this information is discussed in The Search for the Manchmian Candidate by John Marks. His book offers a detailed analysis of the CIA's secret control projects. Two anthologies were particularly helpful in examining the scientific debate over LSD and the definition of its effects Psychedelics...

The Original Captain Trips

The stout crew-cut figure riding in the Rolls-Royce was a mystery to those who knew him. A spy by profession, he lived a life of intrigue and adventure befitting his chosen career. Born dirt poor in Kentucky, he served with the OSS during the Second World War and went on to make a fortune as a uranium entrepreneur. His prestigious government and business connections read like a Who's Who of the power elite in North America. His name was Captain Alfred M. Hubbard. His friends called him Cappy,...

Postscript Acid and After

Ronald Stark liked to brag to members of the Brotherhood that he had developed a new process for synthesizing LSD-25 of exceptional quality. But as was often the case with Stark, this was only a partial truth. Actually it was Stark's assistant in France, a young British chemist named Richard Kemp, who in 1970 discovered the cheap and easy method Stark took credit for. Kemp had been working for Stark in his French laboratories. Eventually they had a falling out, and Kemp left with his payoff 200...

Chapter Three Under The Mushroom Over The Rainbow Manna From Harvard

Luce encouraged his correspondents to collaborate with the CIA A Carl Bernstein, The CIA and the Media, Rolling Stone, October 20, 1977. Luce turned on a half dozen times B W.A. Swanberg, Luce and His Empire, p. 463 and Wilfred Sheed, Clare Boothe Luce, p. 125. Oh sure, we all took acid O Clare Boothe Luce, remarks on The Dick Cavett Show, April 9, 1982. We wouldn't want everyone doing too much B quoted in Abbie Hoffman, Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture, p. 73. We were nevermore awake A R....

Prisoner Of LSD

Timothy Leary was brimming with confidence as he strolled into an Orange County courtroom in February 1970. He predicted he would be acquitted of all charges stemming from his drug bust in Laguna Beach the previous winter. The trial lasted ten days. On the morning the case went to the jury, newspaper headlines in Orange County read, DRUG CRAZED HIPPIES SLAY MOTHER AND CHILDREN. An army medical officer named McDonald reported that a gang of longhairs descended upon his home and murdered his...

The Great LSD Conspiracy

While Leary was in the slammer, his erstwhile patron Billy Hitch-cock got tangled in a legal mess of his own making. It had taken almost four years for the government to gather enough evidence to indict the young Mellon heir for income tax evasion. He also faced charges stemming from stock market malpractice. A lengthy jail term seemed almost certain unless he struck a bargain with the authorities. He called Tim Scully, who had dropped out of the acid business a few years ago, and explained the...

The Great Summer Dropout

Nineteen sixty-seven was a year of stark contrasts. America's war against the Vietnamese had swollen into a disaster, provoking disgust and condemnation throughout the world. The black ghettos of Detroit and Newark exploded in the summer heat while Aretha Franklin belted out her anthem for women and oppressed minorities All I want is a little respect Yet it was also a moment of highflying and heretofore unimagined optimism as the youth movement reached a dazzling apogee. (Time magazine gave its...

Bitter Pill

Tim and Rosemary arrived in Algiers with great expectations. Panthers are the hope of the world, he wrote to Allen Ginsberg. How perfect that we were received here and protected by young Blacks. Algeria is perfect. Great political satori Socialism works here Eldridge is a genial genius. Brilliant Turned on too The Panthers were also enthusiastic. At a solidarity press conference, they announced that Dr. Leary is part of our movement, having previously been active among the sons and daughters of...

Chapter Ten What A Field Day For The Heat Prisoner of LSD

Drug Crazed Hippies Slay Mother and Children B Leary, Flashbacks, p. 288. using violent tactics which were light-years removed B quoted in Mairowitz, Soap Opera, p. 236. As the beast falls, a new culture of life arises ibid., p. 268. Somewhere in the nightmare of failure B Hunter Thompson, Freak Power in the Rockies, in Age of Paranoia, p. 171. the new depression B quoted in Robert Sam Anson, Gone Crazy and Back Again, p. 160. Subsequent revelations, however, topped any conspiracy theory B...

The Psychedelic Manual

Life at Millbrook had a mythic dimension that was nourished by a sense of having embarked upon a journey into unknown waters. Once they had eaten the apple of expanded consciousness, there was no going back. The umbilical cord that tied them to the world of the mundane was irretrievably sundered. Caught between a past that was no longer accessible and a future without precedent, they had only one option to plunge headlong into the moment, to ride the crest of the wave that was still building,...

The First Human BeIn

As the Love Pageant Rally drew to a close and the crowd began to drift away from the Panhandle, the organizers of the stoned festival exulted in their achievement. That same evening members of the Oracle group gathered at the home of Michael Bowen to consider their next step. Bowen was a key personality within the Oracle clique, and his studio served for a time as the office of the psychedelic tabloid. A painter with beatnik roots, he spent much of his time depicting third eyes and occult...

From Hip To Hippie Before The Deluge

The initial breeding ground for the large-scale use of psychedelics was the social and artistic fringe areas associated with the beat phenomenon. For some years prior to the emergence of LSD as a street drug, the number of people whose lives were influenced by psychedelics had been slowly building to a critical mass, until they became visible on both coasts as distinct communities. The most significant expression of the new psychedelic lifestyle was centered in the Haight-Ashbury district of...

Acid and the New Left

Kesey's scene was all the rage in the Bay Area. Among others, it attracted a number of people who were involved with the Free Speech Movement (FSM) that arose on the Berkeley campus of the University of California in the fall of 1964. This was a period of unbridled optimism and enthusiasm among student activists. The Cold War had finally thawed, and many were eager to flex their political muscle for a variety of issues civil rights, disarmament, university reform, and so forth. Nothing less...

Part One The Roots of Psychedelia

1 In The Beginning There Was Madness The Truth Seekers In the spring of 1942 General William Wild Bill Donovan, chief of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the CIA's wartime predecessor, assembled a half-dozen prestigious American scientists and asked them to undertake a top-secret research program. Their mission, Donovan explained, was to develop a speech-inducing drug for use in intelligence interrogations. He insisted that the need for such a weapon was so acute as to warrant any and...

Bad Moon Rising

It was awesome to behold a wide, sloping pasture paved with humanity, countless bodies nestled together in a swirl of dazzling colors. Close to a half million people had descended upon Max Yasgur's farm in August 1969 to attend the Woodstock music and arts fair. The three-day Aquarian Exposition was the greatest be-in of all, and a good many acid heavies came out of the woodwork to join the celebration. A full busload of Merry Pranksters, wildly attired in their Day-Glo costumes and American...

Laboratories of the State

When the CIA first became interested in LSD, only a handful of scientists in the United States were engaged in hallucinogenic drug research. At the time there was little private or public support for this relatively new field of experimental psychiatry, and no one had undertaken a systematic investigation of LSD. The CIA's mind control specialists sensed a golden opportunity in the making. With a sizable treasure chest at their disposal they were in a position to boost the careers of scientists...

The Crackdown

When LSD was first introduced to the United States in 1949, it was well received by the scientific community. Within less than a decade the drug had risen to a position of high standing among psychiatrists. LSD therapy was by no means a fad or a fly-by-night venture. More than one thousand clinical papers were written on the subject, discussing some forty thousand patients. Favorable results were reported when LSD was used to treat severely resistant psychiatric conditions, such as frigidity...

Chapter Eight Peaking In Babylon A Gathering Storm

a process whereby an individual casts off O Frank Zappa, album liner notes of Freak Out , 1966. No corporate leader can afford to ignore A David Rockefeller Bids Business Heed Disaffection Among Youth, New York Times, March 14, 1968. Four million North Americans are said to have tried acid B Richard Alpert and Dr. Sidney Cohen, LSD. If some of the subjects are drawn A William H. McClothlin, Long-lasting Effects of LSD on Certain Attitudes in Normals An Experimental Proposal, RAND Corporation...

Chapter Nine Season Of The Witch Armed Love

The school they attended was known as Hoover University A Jeff Cohen, Cril Payne Undercover for the FBI, LA. Weekly, December 28, 1979-January 3, 1980. Between lectures on the New Left, drug abuse, and FBI procedure ibid. the Yippies were infiltrated by an FBI agent named George Demmerle B Rubin, We Are Everywhere, pp. 142-43, 216-18. one out of six demonstrators at the Chicago Convention was an undercover operative A Todd Gitlin, Seizing History, Mother Jones, November 1983. Bob Pierson. a...