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On LSD

On LSD

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Published by Hal Shurtleff

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Published by: Hal Shurtleff on Jan 15, 2012
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02/08/2013

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ON
L.S.D.
Har
vard,
Hallucinations,
And
Hippies
Gary
Allen
isaLosAngelesjournalist
who
hascoveredfor
AMER
ICAN
OPIN
IO
N
suchaffairsastheWattsinsurrection, thepro-VietcongprotestsatBerkeley, andtheDelanograpestrike.Heis
now
employed
~
n
thepreparationoffilm stripsoncurrentaffairs
-t
helatestbeing
ShowBizintheStreets.
Mr.Allenhas justfinishedhisfirstbook,
CommunistRevolutionintheStreets,
whichwillbereleasedbyWesternIslandsonJuly fourth.AgraduateofStanfordUni versity,GaryAllenismarriedandthe proudfatherofthreeyoungchildren.
FR
OM
THEH
AL
LS
ofSproulatBerke lytothedoorsoffHarvard'sSquare, tensofthousandsofyoungAmericans areseekingtopassthe"acidtest" aritualinvolvingtheingestionofa curiousdrugknownasL.
SD
.Thetest ispromotedasarideintoecstasyby variousslickmagazines,curiousprofes sorsofthehallucinogeniccults,New Leftists,andhippies.
Th
osewhofailoftenwindupinamentalhospital; thosewhopassbecometheresidentpsy chedelicweirdosofalandofthelotus eatersthatevenUlysseswouldconsider incredible.AdministratorsatPrinceton,Rad cliffe,Michigan,UC.L.A.,Oregon schoolsalloverthecountry-arework ingfranticallytokeep
dru
gscandalsfromhittingtheheadlinesastheprob lemofnarcoticsswitchesfromalast resortofthepovertystrickentothefad ofthevanguardofpro-Vietcong,free sex,Marxist,hippie-generation"intellec tuals"whocomeprimarilyfromupper middleclassbackgrounds.Usingdrugs
JUN
E,1967
tofleefromrealityisnotnew,ofcourse, butwherethecustombecomeswide spread,civilizationwithers.Witnessthe opiumdensofChinawhereforcen turiesmenhaveusedthepoppytoescape intoaworldofhallucinationsand dreams.
Opium
smoking,earlyencour agedinChinabyEuropeanstofoster acquiescencetotheirimperialinterests, neverbecamefrightfullypopularin America;
but
itmaybethatthe
1960's
willgiverisetoaterriblecounterpartas
L.SD.
becomestheopiateof
Amer
icanyouth.Ah,anewterrortoviewwithalarm. Butwhat,Brother
Extr
emists,isthis L.SD.?
Th
edrugwasfirstcompoundedin 1938,anditshallucinogenicqualitiesdis coveredaccidentallyinthelaboratories ofSandozChemicalWorksofSwitzer landin1944whenabiochemistnamed Albert
Ha
uffmanbyc
han
ceinhaledaparticleofthe
L.SD
.-25withwhich hewasworking.
Int
riguedbythere sultanthallucinations,hetrieditagain withthesameconsequences.From1944
to
theearly1960'sthedrugwasexperi mentedwithasahallucinogeninlab oratoriesandmentalinstitutionsunder controlledconditions.Butintheearly Sixtiesitspopularingestionbegantobe promotedbyradicalelementsofthe
Ne
wLeftandthe
L.SD
.Revolutionhadbe
gun
.
I
THE
NA
MEL.S.D.isanabbreviation foritscomponent,lysergicaciddiethyl amide.
It
issopotentthatdosagesare measuredinmicrograms-millionths
17
 
ofagram.Anormaldoseof250microgramsisbarelyvisibletothenakedeyeandisone-hundredtimeslighterthanapostagestamp.
The
drug
isusuallytakenorally,generallybyswallowingasugarcubeoranimalcrackersaturatedwith
L.SD.
powderdissolvedinalcohol.
The
hippiestellmethatattheirparties"acid"(thecommontermfor
L.SD.
amongthe
New
Left)issometimesevenmixedwiththepunch,andthatthe
drug
maybe"skinpopped"(takenintravenously).Asessionwith
L.SD
.isknownastakinga"trip,"andthepushersupplyingthe"acid"iscalleda"travelagent."Itrequiresthirtytoforty-fiveminutesforL.S.D.totakeeffect,andatripgenerallylastsaboutsixteenhours.Immediatelyafteringestion,manyuserssmokemarijuana,claimingthatthecombinationofthetwoproducesagreater"high"andabigger"kick."Adherentstothe
drug
cultclaimthatwhen
L.SD.
takeseffecttheybegintoseevividcolors,thattimeseemstostop,thatmusicmayhave"scent,"orthattheymayevenbeabletoseethenotesofmusictheyhearbeingplayedonaphonograph.Sounds,theyclaim,maytakeoncolor,fixedobjectsmayseemtomove,flowersopenandclose,
and
thewallsmayappeartobreathe.Manygettheimpressionthattheyareoutsidetheirownbodyinaself-inducedschizophreniathatoftenleadstofeelingsoftormentandparanoia.One
L.SD.
cultistunderitsinfluencetriedto
jump
fromabridge,believinghis
mind
and
body
to
beseparateand
that
his
mind
wouldliveonevenifhisbodyshoulddie.Anothertriedtoleapfromahighcliffintotheocean,thinkingthesurfbelowagreatsilkscarfonwhichhewantedtorest.Suchreactionsarenotuncommon.
TheL.SD.
afficionadoswithwhomwetalkedexplainedthatona"badtrip"itisnotunusualtobelievethemselvesinHell,pursuedbyhideousmonsters.
One
beardedcreaturetoldusthatunder
18
itsinfluencehesawthefleshfallingoffhisskeleton.Aftertaking
L.SD.
ahighschoolgirlinCaliforniacutherwristswhenshelookedintoamirror
and
sawherfacebeginningtodissolve.
This
winter,in
New
York,ayoungladyundertheinfluenceof
L.SD.
andthinkingherselfabird,triedtoflyfromahighbridge;anotherflappedherwaytodeathfromasixth-storyManhattanapartmentwindow.
The
weekafterChristmasontheCornellcampusalonethereweresevensuicideattempts,threesuccessful:
L.SD.
wasbeingsuppliedtostudentsbyahomosexualwhoisafullprofessorofsociology.Psychologistsreportthata"badtrip"cancausetemporaryorpermanentpsychosisandcanoccurwithone'sfirstexperiencewiththe
drug
ortheonehundredth.As
L.SD.
istasteless,colorless,andodorless,practicaljokershavebeenknowntogiveittootherswithouttheirknowledgeandtherearecasesinwhichtheresultantshock,anxiety,andpanichasdrivensuchpeopleinsaneortocommitsuicide.
If
someeveningwhilevisitingfriendsyouarewatching
Huntley
andBrinkley'spsychedelicversionofthenewswithouthavingturnedonthetelevisonset,youcanprobablyassumethatyourhostessisahippieversionofLucretiaBorgia.Aspsychiatricwardsinourlargecities,andespeciallythosenearuniversities,havebecomeincreasinglyfloodedwithwhatthehippiescall"badtrippers,"recordsofirrationalconductwhileundertheinfluenceof
L.SD.
havemountedtothepointwheretheycouldfillafatvolumewithhorrorstoriesrivalingthoseofEdgarAllanPoe.TypicalwasthearrestoftwomeninHollywoodlastyearwho,undertheinfluenceof
L.SD.,
werefoundinaparkeatinggrassandbark.InbelovedBerkeleyayoung"acidhead,"believinghimselftobeanairplane,flappedhiswingsandleapedfromaninth-storywindow-with,wemightadd,painfullylittle
AMERICANOPINION
 
success.InMayof
1966
BobbyBaker'sbrother,Charles,tried
L.SD
.andwasshortlythereafterarrestedwhenhewas f
ound
nudeinatree.InDecemberof 1966aprofessorofEnglishatVillanova Universityachievedsodelightfula "high"on
L.SD
.thathetooremoved allofhisclothesandrannakedthrough thePhiladelphiastreets,pursuedbyhis scantilycladwifewhose
mind
hadalsobeen"expanded"bythe
drug
.OnFebruarytwenty-eighthoflastyearatwen ty-year-oldcollegestudentbecamepsy choticunder
L.SD
.
and
attempted
to
breakintothepilot'scompartmentdur inganairbornefli
ght;
heattackedthestewardesswhenshetriedtostophim, butwasfinallysubdued.InJanuaryof 1967,fourteenagersundertheinfluence of
L.SD.
werearrestedinHermosa Beach,nearLosAngeles,aftertheircar rammedahousekillingathree-year oldchild.
The
policechiefsaidthedriverseemedtobeinatranceandkepttry ingtoclimbthewallofhisjailcell screaming,
"I'm
agrahamcrackeroops,myarmcrumbledoff...."
Wh
atcanbetheattractionofadrug thatproducessuchfrighteningconse quences?Oneyounghippielivingin HarvardSquareexplainedthat"you've gottogooutofyourmindtocometo yoursenses."Heshrugged,flickeda pieceoflintfromhisgreen,orange,and purple-floweredblouse,adjustedhis mauvetieandadded,"It'skindamys tical,man."Mostofthesecreatures claimtheirtripsaremystical,religious experiencesandcontendthattheyfind atruer,deeper,moreauthenticselfasa resultofhavingtakenthe
L.SD
.Asone hippieexplained:"Youseetherealyou strippedofalltheshamthatweallput onin
our
everydaylife.NowIunder standmyselfanddon'tw
ant
tobeapartofit."Suchmembersofthe
L.SD.
cultseemtofeeltheybelong
to
averysuperiorsocialgroup,oneabovethe crushingconformityofthecompetitive world,andtheylookdownonthernun-
JUNE
,1967
daneexistenceofordinarypeoplewhohavenotexperiencedtheeffectofthe "consciousexpanding"hallucinogen.
The
cultistswhomweinterviewed stressedthattheyareaestheticsand claimedthat
L.SD.
issomekindof brainvitaminwhichenhancescreative abilityinthearts.Theyeitherridiculedthedangersattendant
to
taking
L.SD.
asbeingnon-existentorscoffedthat thesewerethechancesonemusttake "toreallyfindlife."
Our
que
stionsconcerningthelong-termeffectsofpour ingacidonone'sbrainalmostalways elicitedtheresponsethattheH-bomb mayblowtheworldupanyway;and, sowhat.
The
hallucinogen-orientedhip piesconsiderthemselvestobenotonly culturallysuperior
but
deeplyintellectual.OneImet-ahairy-leggedfemale inamini-skirt-satinadirtycorner ofanapartmentnearHarvardreading a
WonderWoman
comicbook...she claimedtohavean
I.Q.
of150andbraggedthatshehaddroppedoutof Radcliffewhen
the
wondersof
L.SD.
hadopenedhermind"toreallife."
The
caliberofthetypicalsyllogismsamong the
L.SD
.cognoscentiisillustratedby one'sanswertomyquestionconcerning theactualandpotentialdangersofthe drug."Man,"hesaid,"youcanget killedwalkingacrossthestreet,you know."IhadspentaweekinBoston; Isaid,"Iknow." "Acidheads,"Iwasassured,aremys ticsfleeingtherealityofaworldwith whichtheydonotwishtocope.
This
istrueinthesensethattheysimply rejectreasonasaprocessforproblem solving.Manyofthemhaveadoptedthe trappingsofthe
Hindu
religionandsurroundtheirdenswithmysticshrines whichtheytellmetheycontemplate whileona
"tr
ip."Becauseoftheir kookiemysticism,andtheirairofsupe riority,beingadmittedtoacovenof
L.SD
.-gulpinghippiesissimilartojoin ingafraternityorsorority-onlythe boola-boolaisdifferent.
They
evenhave
19

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