Meeting with Aldous Huxley

In the mid-1950s, two books by Aldous Huxley appeared, The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell, dealing with inebriated states produced by hallucinogenic drugs. The alterations of sensory perceptions and consciousness, which the author experienced in a self-experiment with mescaline, are skillfully described in these books. The mescaline experiment was a visionary experience for Huxley. He saw objects in a new light they disclosed their inherent, deep, timeless existence, which remains...

Decision Regarding LSD 25 and Other Hallucinogenic Substances

More than twenty years have elapsed since the discovery by Albert Hofmann of LSD 25 in the SANdOz Laboratories. Whereas the . fundamental importance of this discovery may be assessed by its impact on the development of modern psychiatric research, it must be recognized that it placed a heavy burden of responsibility on SANDOZ, the owner of this product. The finding of a new chemical with outstanding biological properties, apart from the scientific success implied by its synthesis, is usually...

Ride through the Sierra Mazateca

On 26 September 1962, my wife and I accordingly flew to Mexico City, where we met Gordon Wasson. He had made all the necessary preparations for the expedition, so that in two days we had already set out on the next leg of the journey to the south. Mrs. Irmgard Weitlaner Johnson, (widow of Jean B. Johnson, a pioneer of the ethnographic study of the Mexican magic mushrooms, killed in the Allied landing in North Africa) had joined us. Her father, Robert J. Weitlaner, had emigrated to Mexico from...

The Sacred Mushroom Teonancatl

Late in 1956 a notice in the daily paper caught my interest. Among some Indians in southern Mexico, American researchers had discovered mushrooms that were eaten in religious ceremonies and that produced an inebriated condition accompanied by hallucinations. Since, outside of the mescaline cactus found also in Mexico, no other drug was known at the time that, like LSD, produced hallucinations, I would have liked to establish contact with these researchers, in order to learn details about these...

Psilocybin and Psilocin

With the help of this reliable test on human subjects, the active principle could be isolated, concentrated, and transformed into a chemically pure state by means of the newest separation methods. Two new substances, which I named psilocybin and psilocin, were thereby obtained in the form of colorless crystals. These results were published in March 1958 in the journal Experientia, in collaboration with Professor Heim and with my colleagues Dr. A. Brack and Dr. H. Kobel, who had provided greater...

The Magic Morning Glory Ololiuhqui

After we had managed to solve the riddle of the sacred mushroom teonanacatl in a relatively short time, I also became interested in the problem of another Mexican magic drug not yet chemically elucidated, ololiuhqui. Ololiuhqui is the Aztec name for the seeds of certain climbing plants (Convolvulaceae) that, like the mescaline cactuspeyotl and the teonanacatl mushrooms, were used in pre-Columbian times by the Aztecs and neighboring people in religious ceremonies and magical healing practices....

Nonmedical Use of LSD

This joy at having fathered LSD was tarnished after more than ten years of uninterrupted scientific research and medicinal use when LSD was swept up in the huge wave of an inebriant mania that began to spread over the Western world, above all the United States, at the end of the 1950s. It was strange how rapidly LSD adopted its new role as inebriant and, for a time, became the number-one inebriating drug, at least as far as publicity was concerned. The more its use as an inebriant was...