Today is not Bicycle Day (April 19), the day in 1943 when Albert Hofmann deliberately ingested lysergic acid diethylamide and rode his bicycle home to relax and recover.
Albert Hofmann had attended the University of Zürich and graduated in 1929 with a doctorate in medicinal chemistry. Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, Switzerland hired him for a program that was developing methods for synthesizing compounds found in medicinal plants. It was there that Hofmann stumbled upon LSD-25 (the 25th such derivative tested) in 1938.
He put it aside for five years until on April 16, 1943. On that day Hoffman accidentally consumed LSD-25. Hofmann experienced unusual sensations and hallucinations.
In his notes, he related the experience: "Last Friday, April 16, 1943, I was forced to interrupt my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and proceed home, being affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant, intoxicated-like condition characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors. After some two hours this condition faded away."
He came to the conclusion that it could be of significant use in psychiatric treatment and spent years investigating LSD’s hallucinogenic properties. He disapproved of the casual recreational use of LSD.
Hofmann did believe that in addition to LSD's possible psychiatric uses, it could also be used in spiritual contexts. He proposed those ideas in his book LSD, mein Sorgenkind (LSD: My Problem Child, 1980).
The following is a brief video where he discusses his surprise at discovering an alternate reality in which the world transmits through our senses (acting like an aerial) and our consciousness acts like a TV screen.
Hofmann died of a heart attack on April 29, 2008
Jason Falkner performed the instrumental cover of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds heard over this entry. (YouTube link)