Tag Archives: LSD

Albert Hofmann Changed Things

Albert Hofmann Changed Things

April 16, 1943




Albert Hofmann Changed Things


Albert Hofmann Changed Things

Not April 19


Today is not April 19, aka Bicycle Day, the day in 1943 when Albert Hofmann deliberately ingested lysergic acid diethylamide and decided to ride his bicycle home to relax and recover.


Albert Hofmann Changed Things

Albert Hofmann


Albert Hofmann was born on January 11, 1906 in Baden, Switzerland. He 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.


Albert Hofmann Changed Things

Set aside


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.

Albert Hofmann Changed Things

Problem Child


Albert Hofmann Changed Things


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.



Albert Hofmann Changed Things

Long legacy


Hofmann died of a heart attack on April 29, 2008, but even today, the idea of using LSD as more than a recreational compound–using it for therapeutic use–is still a  fringe part of scientific research.


[Jason Falkner performed the instrumental cover of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds heard over this entry. (YouTube link)]


Albert Hofmann Changed Things
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Military Kool Aid Acid Tests

Military Kool Aid Acid Tests

MKULTRA

The current hit Netflix series Stranger Things may seem like another interesting fictional suggestion that there are secret government secret programs unleash terror upon peaceful law-abiding citizens, but MKULTRA was an actual program.

Army Kool Aid Acid Tests

Military Kool Aid Acid Tests

MKULTRA

When it came to drug experimentation, the Feds were no slouches. The CIA program had it’s secret and illegal MKULTRA program that went on from 1953 to 1964. It tested subjects at over 80 institutions, many of which were fronts funded by the government and filtered to schools, private hospitals and even a jails. (Army Acid Test).

It had existed under previous names such as Project Bluebird and Project Artichoke. One MKULTA’s goals was to develop a robot-like assassin, a real-life “Manchurian Candidate.”

On one level, the drug program hoped to achieve a simple drug protocol to effortlessly get Soviet spies to “spill their guts.” The means toward that end were typically illegal.

Director of Central Intelligence, Admiral Stansfield M. Turner, wrote a letter to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence which that Committee released in 1977. In it Turner wrote that:

…the following types of activities were undertaken:

A. Possible additional cases of drugs being tested on American citizens, without their knowledge.

B. Research was undertaken on surreptitious methods of administering drugs.

C. Some of the persons chosen for experimentation were drug addicts or alcoholics.

D. Research into the development of a knockout or “K” drug was performed in conjunction with research being done to develop pain killers for advanced cancer patients, and tests on such patients were carried out.

E. There is a possibility of an improper payment to a private institution.

Military Kool Aid Acid Tests

Volunteers

When our government needs experimental subjects, an easy pool of “volunteers” would be, of course, our Armed services.

From the looks of things it was an unqualified success as long as the goal was for the soldiers to have some fun and ignore orders. Here is a US Army film of its 1963 experiment. One soldier, James Stanley, sued government afterward saying the drug caused his marriage to fail. In 1987 the Supreme Court ruled against him (Ruling Reopens Wound for Bitter Ex-soldier), but in 1991, Stanley finally succeeded. (U.S. Backs Payment for Soldier in LSD Tests)

Military Kool Aid Acid Tests

Fall in

The CIA destroyed most of the documents relating to the project in 1973.

November 27, 1964: the British did their own experiment as part of research into how the drug might affect military operations. From the Imperial War Museum’s description of the filmed summary: Introductory title places trial in context of recent research to discover chemical agents able to incapacitate enemy forces but with negligible risk of fatal casualties. … One Marine in state of distress is comforted by nurse, while others smile and laugh hysterically, one attempting to cut down a tree with his spade, and another climbing the tree. … After exercise Marines rest in bed in Porton ward … One very distressed Marine is held by duffel coated doctor and scientist, muttering “I am not going to die.”  

Military Kool Aid Acid Tests

Ironic Acid Tests

Military Kool Aid Acid Tests

November 27, 1965: Ken Kesey began his acid tests. Not documented as such, it may have included the first performance by The Grateful Dead, known as The Warlocks. Held in Soquel, it was a small semi-public event advertised only at the local Hip Pocket underground bookstore.

Military Kool Aid Acid Tests
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Timothy Francis Leary

Timothy Francis Leary

October 22, 1930 — May 31, 1996leary.1

When hearing the name Timothy Leary a person’s next thought will likely be LSD. Though his life began far from researching the possible use of LSD and other psychedelic substances in treating mental illnesses, his (and then Richard Alpert) Harvard Psilocybin Project forever connected him to those three letters.

Timothy Francis Leary

Pre project

Leary was born in Springfield, Massachusetts and was a happily rebellious student at all levels.

In high school he wrote controversial articles for the school newspaper.

The College of the Holy Cross dismissed him for repeated rule infractions.

From Holy Cross, he went to, of all places, the West Point Military Academy where, not surprisingly, he continued to ignore rules. Within a few months, the Academy’s Honor Committee asked him to leave, but he chose to remain. The Academy silenced him, that is, no one spoke to him, shunned him, ignored him.

Leary remained until the Academy revised its decision and Leary left.

Timothy Francis Leary

Meets Psychology and the Army

His next academic stop was the University of Alabama  in 1941 where he first began his studies in psychology.  Broken rules again led to expulsion.

The Army drafted him in 1943 and while in the service, he continued his education as his various postings, all of which were state-side.

While in the Army, he married Marianne Busch and they married in 1945.

Timothy Francis Leary

Doctorate

After leaving the Army with an honorable discharge, Leary continued his education at various institution at various levels. He eventually received his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1950.

The rest of the 60s was an uneasy time for Leary. His wife committed suicide in 1955 and he began to raise his son and daughter alone while teaching at various institutions. He had academic success in terms of his reputation.

He became part of the Harvard faculty in 1959. In 1960, he and Richard Alpert (now Ram Dass) began to explore the effects of psychotropic substances on the human mind via their Harvard Psilocybin Project.  At the time, neither LSD nor psilocybin were illegal.

Because of the research’s methods (for example, Leary and Alpert were sometimes under the influence while doing their research), “Leary and Alpert’s colleagues challenged the scientific merit of their research, as well as the seemingly cavalier attitude with which it was carried out (e.g. poorly controlled conditions, non-random selection of subjects).  Editorials printed in the Harvard Crimson accused Alpert and Leary of not merely researching psychotropic drugs but actively promoting their recreational use. (Harvard site)

By the spring of 1963, Harvard dismissed both Leary and Alpert.

Timothy Francis Leary

Millbrook, NY 1963 – 1967

Timothy Francis Leary

The wealthy heirs Peggy, Billy, and Tommy Hitchcock found Leary’s work interesting and offered him a mansion in Millbrook, NY. There Leary and Alpert continued their unorthodox research under the aegis of the Castalia Foundation.

It was at this same period that California’s Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters had also began their exploration of the psychedelic state. While strict researchers criticized Leary and Alpert’s methods as unscientific, the Pranksters had no scientific aims to begin with. Theirs was a recreational use that had mind expansion as a wonderful side effect.

The the two coasts met at the half-way point of the Pranksters famous bus ride across the US in 1964. Because of the two groups difference in approach, the meeting was brief and not nearly the historic uniting one might have expected.

They agreed amicably agreeing to disagree.

Timothy Francis Leary

Leary spreads his gospel

In the mid-60s, Leary began touring colleges during which he spoke of starting one’s own religion. (pamphlet), but it was at the January 14, 1967 Human Be-In that Leary spoke his famous phrase–Turn on, tune in, drop out.”

Timothy Francis Leary

Legal encounters

Leary regularly had drug-related run ins with authorities.

  • December 20, 1965, police arrested Leary for possession of marijuana and on March 11, 1966,  the court sentenced him to d to 30 years in prison, fined him $30,000, and ordered him to undergo psychiatric treatment. He appealed the case on the basis that the Marihuana Tax Act was unconstitutional.  On May 19, 1969, The US Supreme Court concurred with Leary in Leary v. United States, declared the Marihuana Tax Act unconstitutional, thus overturning his 1965 conviction
  • December 26, 1968, Leary was arrested again in Laguna Beach, California, this time for the possession of two marijuana “roaches.” On January 21, 1970, the Courts gave Leary  a 10-year sentence for this 1968 offense, with a further 10 added later while in custody for a prior arrest in 1965, for a total of 20 years to be served consecutively. He escaped in September 1970 from the low-security prison in which he was held. The anarchist group the Weathermen helped his get out of the country and Leary fled to Algeria. He later went to Switzerland where in 1972, at the behest of US Attorney General John Mitchell, the Swiss government imprisoned Leary for a month, but refused to extradite him.
  • In 1972, the US government succeeded in arresting Leary while he was on a US airline in Afghanistan. Upon his return to the US, California authorities put him in solitary confinement in Folsom Prison.  Leary continued his writings while in prison. California Governor Jerry Brown released Leary on April 21, 1976.
Timothy Francis Leary

End story

Timothy Francis Leary

End story

Timothy Francis Leary

After prison, Leary lessened his proselytizing of if not his personal use of psychoactive drugs.  In the 80s he said that computers would be the LSD of the 90s and said to “turn on, boot up, and jack in.”

That phrase remains in obscurity.

His life took on a semi-religious, albeit unorthodox, tone. yet in 1992 he said that he’d always considered himself a pagan.

Leary died on may 31, 1996 from prostate cancer.

Timothy Francis Leary
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