Acid Dreams: The CIA-FDA Connection: "Kesey"
Acid Dreams: The CIA-FDA Connection
The CIA-FDA Connection
Up until the early 1960s LSD studies had flourished without government restrictions and the CIA had sponsored numerous research projects to enhance its mind control capabilities. In 1962, however, the Technical Services Staff, which ran the MK-ULTRA program, began to orient its behavioral activities exclusively toward operations and away from peripheral long-range studies. This new strategy resulted in the withdrawal of support for many academics and private researchers. Extensive LSD testing was no longer a top priority for the MK-ULTRA crew, which had already learned enough about the drug to understand how it could best be applied in selected covert operations. While acid was still an important part of the cloak-and-dagger arsenal, by this time the CIA and the army had developed a series of superhallucinogens such as the highly touted BZ, which was thought to hold greater promise as a mind control weapon.
In 1962, Congress enacted new regulations which required that anyone who wanted to work with LSD had to receive special permission from the FDA. This was the first of a series of increasingly restrictive measures with respect to LSD research. But the CIA and the military were not inhibited by the new drug laws. A special clause in the regulatory policy allowed the FDA to issue "selective exemptions" that favored certain researchers. With this convenient loophole the FDA never attempted to oversee in-house pharmacological research conducted by the CIA and the military services. Secret arrangements were made whereby these organizations did not even have to file a formal "Claim for Exemption," or IND request. The FDA simply ignored all studies that were classified for reasons of national security, and CIA and military investigators were given free reign to conduct their covert experimentation. Apparently, in the eyes of the FDA, those seeking to develop hallucinogens as weapons were somehow more "sensitive to their scientific integrity and moral and ethical responsibilities" than independent researchers dedicated to exploring the therapeutic potential of LSD.
While aboveground research was being phased out, the CIA and the military continued to experiment with an ever more potent variety of hallucinogens. In effect, the policies of the regulatory agencies were themselves "regulated" by the unique requirements of these secret programs. As an official of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (of which the FDA was part) explained, "We are abdicating our statutory responsibi!ities in this area out of a desire to be courteous to the Department of Defense...rather than out of legal inability to handle classified materials." The same courtesy was proffered to the CIA. The FDA collaborated with the Agency in other ways as well. FDA personnel with special security clearances served as consultants for chemical warfare projects. Information concerning new developments in thc field of psychopharmacology was exchanged through confidential channels. The FDA also provided laboratory facilities and samples of new drugs that might prove useful to the CIA. In light of the FDA's relationship with the intelligence community, it is highly unlikely that a maior policy decision regarding LSD would have been made against the wishes of the CIA.
BZ Bombs Away
During the early 1960s Edgewood Arsenal, headquarters of the US Army Chemical Corps, received an average of four hundred chemical "rejects" every month from the maior American pharmaceutical firms. Rejects were drugs found to be commercially useless because of their undesirable side effects. Of course, undesirable side effects were precisely what the army was looking for.
It was from Hoffmann-La Roche in Nutley, New Jersey, that Edgewood Arsenal obtained its first sample of a drug called quinuclidinyl benzilate, or BZ for short. The army learned that BZ inhibits the production of a chemical substance that facilitates the transfer of messages along the nerve endings, thereby disrupting normal perceptual pattems. The effects generally lasted about three days, although symptoms--headaches, giddiness, disorientation, auditory and visual hallucinations, and maniacal behavior--could persist for as long as six weeks. "During the period of acute effects," noted an army doctor, "the person is completely out of touch with his environment."
Dr. Van Sim, who served as chief of the Clinical Research Division at Edgewood, made it a practice to try all new chemicals himself before testing them on volunteers. Sim said he sampled LSD "on several occasions." Did he enjoy getting high, or were his acid trips simply a patriotic duty? "It's not a matter of compulsiveness or wanting to be the first to try a material," Sim stated. "With my experience I am often able to change the design of future experiments.... This allows more comprehensive tests to be conducted later, with maximum effective usefulness of inexperienced volunteers. I'm trying to defeat the compound, and if I can, we don't have to drag out the tests at the expense of a lot of time and money." With BZ, Dr. Sim seems to have met his match. "It zonked me for three days. I kept falling down and the people at the lab assigned someone to follow me around with a mattress. I woke up from it after three days without a bruise." For his efforts Sim received the Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service and was cited for exposing himself to dangerous drugs "at the risk of grave personal injury."
According to Dr. Solomon Snyder, a leading psychopharmacologist at Johns Hopkins University, which conducted drug research for the Chemical Corps, "The army's testing of LSD was just a sideshow compared to its use of BZ." Clinical studies with EA-2277 (the code number for BZ) were initiated at Edgewood Arsenal in 1959 and continued until 1975. During this period an estimated twenty-eight hundred soldiers were exposed to the superhallucinogen. A number of military personnel have since come forward claiming that they were never the same after their encounter with BZ. Robert Bowen, a former air force enlisted man, felt disoriented for several weeks after his exposure. Bowen said the drug produced a temporary feeling of insanity but that he reacted less severely than other test subjects. One paratrooper lost all muscle control for a time and later seemed totally divorced from reality "The last time I saw him," said Bowen, "he was taking a shower in his uniform and smoking a cigar." During the early 1960s the CIA and the military began to phase out their in-house acid tests in favor of more powerful chemicals such as BZ, which became the army's standard incapacitating agent. By this time the superhallucinogen was ready for deployment in a grenade, a 750-pound cluster bomb, and at least one other large-scale bomb. In addition the army tested a number of other advanced BZ munitions, including mortar, artillery, and missile warheads. The superhallucinogen was later employed by American troops as a counterinsurgency weapon in Vietnam, and according to CIA documents there may be contingency plans to use the drug in the event of a major civilian insurrection. As Major General William Creasy warned shortly after he retired from the Army Chemical Corps, "We will use these things as we very well see fit, when we think it is in the best interest of the US and their allies."
An FBI Plot that Backfired
On October 21, 1967, seventy-five thousand protesters assembled at the Lincoln Memorial, including a sizable number of hippie types dressed in colorful costumes. The motley army of witches, warlocks, sorcerers, and long-haired bards who had come to celebrate the mystic revolution lent a carnival atmosphere to the demonstration. After a rousing prelude of speeches and songs, a large contingent crossed the Arlington Memorial Bridge into Virginia and raced toward the Pentagon, waving banners and shouting antiwar epithets. Some were high on acid when they stormed the grim ziggurat. They surrounded the entire building, dancing and hissing in unison, while soldiers stood guard at all five walls. Posters and slogans memorializing Che Guevara, the Latin revolutionary who had been killed in Bolivia a few weeks earlier, appeared on abutments, and a Viet Cong flag, blue and red with a gold star, fluttered in the breeze. And then the promised exorcism began.
"Out, demons, out!" boomed the voice of Ed Sanders, leader of a burlesque folk-rock ensemble called the Fugs, which provided musical edification for the antiwar constituency. On a flatbed truck in front of the high church of the military-industrial complex, the Fugs worked their "gene-shredding influence" on the crowd. Thousands shrieked their approval--"Out, out, out!"--and the stage was set for an ecstatic confrontation.
The demonstration had become a form of ritual theater, a preview of what politics would be like in the post-Haight-Ashbury era. As Norman Mailer wrote in The Armies of the Night, a best selling account of the march on the Pentagon, "Now, here, after several years of the blandest reports from the religious explorers of LSD, vague Tibetan lama goody-goodness auras of religiosity being the only publicly announced or even rumored fruit from all trips back from the buried Atlantis of LSD, now suddenly an entire generation of acid-heads seemed to have said goodbye to easy visions of heaven, no, now the witches were here, and rites of exorcism, and black terrors of the night...The hippies had gone from Tibet to Christ to the Middle Ages, now they were Revolutionary Alchemists." Despite their incantations and spells the protesters could not transmute the lead weight of the Pentagon into a golden vision in the sky. But it hardly mattered, for they were celebrating a new kind of activism, a style so authentically unique that it verged on the bizarre. "What possibly they shared," said Mailer, "was the unspoken happy confidence that politics had again become mysterious, had begun to partake of Mystery ...The new generation believed in technology more than any before it, but the generation also believed in LSD, in witches, in tribal knowledge, in orgy, and revolution. It had no respect whatsoever for the unassailable logic of the next step: belief was reserved for the revelatory mystery of the happening where you did not know what was going to happen next; that was what was good about it."
What happened next was not something anyone had expected--in fact, it might never have happened had it not been for the FBI, which attempted to disrupt the antiwar gathering upon learning of a plot to sky-bomb the Pentagon with ten thousand flowers. Peggy Hitchcock (the sister of William Mellon Hitchcock, owner of the Millbrook estate) gave Michael Bowen and friends money to purchase two hundred pounds of daisies for the occasion, but the plan never got off the ground because of a dirty trick by the FBI. J. Edgar Hoover's men answered an ad for a pilot in the East Village Other but never showed up at the airport. Bowen was stuck with more flowers than he knew what to do with, so he turned around and drove back to the demonstration. Distributed among the crowd, the flowers were subsequently photographed by the world press protruding from the muzzles of rifles held by the soldiers guarding the Pentagon. It was one of the spectacular images of the 1960s: the troops with their bayonets sprouting daisies, frozen in a tense face-off with the antiwar activists.
Weird CIA Drug Experiments in Lexington, Kentucky
Like the Nazi doctors who experimented upon concentration camp inmates during World War II, the CIA victimized certain kinds of people who were unable to resist: prisoners, mental patients, the terminally ill, sexual deviants, ethnic minorities. Extensive CIA drug studies were conducted at the Addiction Research Center of the US Public Health Service Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. Lexington was ostensibly a place where heroin addicts could go to shake a habit. Although it was officially a penitentiary, all the prisoners were referred to as "patients." The patients had their own way of referring to the doctors--"hacks" or "croakers"--who patrolled the premises in military uniforms. The patients at Lexington had no way of knowing that it was one of fifteen penal and mental institutions utilized by the CIA in its super-secret drug development program during the 1950s. To conceal its role the Agency enlisted the aid of the navy and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), which served as conduits for channeling money to Dr. Harris Isbell, a gung-ho research scientist who remained on the CIA payroll for over a decade. According to CIA documents the directors of NIMH and the National Institutes of Health were fully cognizant of the Agency's "interest" in Isbell's work and offered "full support and protection."
When the CIA came across a new drug (usually supplied by American pharmaceutical firms) that needed testing, they frequently sent it over to their chief doctor at Lexington, where an ample supply of captive guinea pigs was readily available. Over eight hundred compounds were farmed out to Isbell, including LSD and a variety of hallucinogens. It became an open secret among street junkies that if the supply got tight, you could always commit yourself to Lexington, where heroin and morphine were doled out as payment if you volunteered for Isbell's wacky drug experiments. (Small wonder that Lexington had a return rate of 90%.) Dr. Isbell, a longtime member of the Food and Drug Administration's Advisory Committee on the Abuse of Depressant and Stimulant Drugs, defended the volunteer system on the grounds that there was no precedent at the time for offering inmates cash for their services.
CIA documents describe experiments conducted by Isbell in which certain patients--nearly all black inmates--were given LSD for more than seventy-five consecutive days. In order to overcome tolerance to the hallucinogen, Isbell administered "double, triple and quadruple doses." A report dated May 5, 1959, comments on an experiment involving psilocybin (a semi-synthetic version of the magic mushroom). Subjects who ingested the drug became extremely anxious, although sometimes there were periods of intense elation marked by "continuous gales of laughter." A few patients felt that they "had become very large, or had shrunk to the size of children. Their hands or feet did not seem to be their own and sometimes took on the appearance of animal paws...They reported many fantasies or dreamlike states in which they seemed to be elsewhere. Fantastic experiences, such as trips to the moon or living in gorgeous castles, were occasionally reported."
Isbell concluded, "Despite these striking subjective experiences, the patients remained oriented in time, place and person. In most instances, the patients did not lose their insight but realized that the effects were due to the drug. Two of the nine patients, however, did lose insight and felt that their experiences were caused by the experimenters controlling their minds."
Acid Dreams Time-Line
1938 - Dr. Albert Hofmann synthesizes LSD-25
Spring 1942 - The Office of Strategic Services convenes a committee to oversee the search for a truth drug
April 16, 1943 - Hofmann accidentally discovers the hallucinogenic effects of LSD
April 19, 1943 - Hofmann undertakes the first self-experiment with LSD
September 1945 - OSS disbanded
October 1945 - US Navy Technical Mission reports on Nazi mescaline experiments at the Dachau concentration camp
1947 - CIA formed; U.S. Navy initiates mescaline studies under the auspices of Project Chatter
1947 - First report on LSD appears in a Swiss pharmacological journal
1948 - CIA authorized to undertake covert operations
1949 - Dr. Max Rinkel brings LSD to the United States from Sandoz Pharmaceuticals in Switzerland and initiates work with LSD in Boston; Nick Bercel commences LSD study in Los Angeles
1950 - CIA launches Project Bluebird
May 1950 - First article about LSD appears in the American Psychiatric Journal
1951 - Captain Al Hubbard turns on to LSD
August 1951 - The CIA's Inspection & Security Staff initiates the Artichoke Project
October 21, 1951 - First documented evidence of CIA experimentation with LSD
1952 - Dr. Humphry Osmond discloses similarity between mescaline and adrenaline molecule; begins experiments with hallucinogenic at a hospital in Saskatchewan
December 1952 - George Hunter White, on loan from the Federal Narcotics Bureau, begins administering LSD to unwitting U.S. citizens at a CIA safehouse in Greenwich Village
January 1953 - Harold Blauer dies of an overdose of MDA during an Army-sponsored drug experiment
April 13, 1953 - The CIA's Technical Services Staff initiates the MK-ULTRA Project
1953 - Dr. Humphry Osmond begins treating alcoholics with LSD
May 1953 - Aldous Huxley's first mescaline experience
November 1953 - Army biochemist Frank Olsen commits suicide after CIA doses him with LSD
1954 - CIA begins Operation MK-PILOT at Lexingon Narcotics Hospital
1954 - Aldous Huxley's Doors of Perception published
mid-1954 - Eli Lilly synthesizes LSD at the CIA's behest
1955 - Aldous Huxley's first LSD trip; the publication of Huxley's Heaven and Hell
1955- Army begins testing LSD at Edgewood arsenal
1956? - Dr. Humphry Osmond coins the word "psychedelic"
May 1957 - Life magazine published R. Gordon Wasson's account of his magic mushroom experience
1958 - Army begins BZ experiments
1959 - Josiah Macy Foundation sponsors major scientific congress on LSD
1959 - Allen Ginsberg tries LSD for the first time
1960 - American Indians granted sanctioned use of peyote as a religious matter
Summer 1960 - Timothy Leary turns on to magic mushrooms in Mexico
1961 - US Army initiates LSD interrogations under Operation Third Chance in Western Europe
1962 - U.S. Army launches Operation Derby Hat in Asia
1962 - The Gamblers, a California surfing band, release a song "LSD-25"; underground LSD appears on both coasts; FDA makes first LSD bust
1962 - Dr. Alexander Shulgin records the effects of MMDA ("ecstasy")
1962 - The superhallucinogen BZ becomes part of the US Army's standardized chemical warfare arsenal
1962 - The CIA withdraws support for above-ground LSD research studies
1962 - Congress passes new drug safety regulations and the FDA designates LSD an experimental drug and restricts research
1963 - Williams Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg publish The Yage Letters
May 1963 - Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert fired from Harvard
November 22, 1963 - Aldous Huxley dies shortly after JFK assassination
1964 - Army begins using BZ gas in Vietnam
Summer 1964 - Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters' cross-country bus trip
Fall 1964 - Berkeley Free Speech Movement
February 1965 - First big surge of street acid; the assassination of Malcolm X; US begins sustained bombing of North Vietnam
April 1965 - First big SDS march on Washington
1965 - Drug Abuse Control Amendment; LSD research further restricted
1965 - Bob Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited
October 16, 1965 - First Family Dog acid rock dance in San Francisco
1965 - CIA phases out MK-ULTRA, begins MK-SEARCH
January 1966 - The Trips Festival in San Francisco
March 1966 - Life magazine publishes "LSD: The Mind Drug That Got Out of Control"
April 1966 - Sandoz stops supplying LSD to research scientists
April 1966 - G. Gordon Liddy raids the Millbrook estate
Spring 1966 - Senate Hearings about LSD
1966 - Black Panther Party formed
October 6, 1966 - California bans LSD, Love Pageant Rally in the Haight
January 14, 1967 - Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park
1967 - Joint FDA/NIMH Psychotomimetic Advisory Committee formed with strong input from CIA-linked doctors
June 1967 - Monterey Pop Festival
June 1967 - The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Summer 1967 - "Summer of Love"; STP appears on the blackmarket
October 21, 1967 - March on the Pentagon
1967 - Joint CIA-Army drug research program codenamed OFTEN/MK-CHICKWIT
January 1, 1968 - Yippie!
1968 - LSD possession declared a misdemeanor, sale a felony; the British Wootton Report declares marijuana to be relatively harmless
Spring 1968 - Student unrest at Columbia University
March 31, 1968 - LBJ announces he won't seek re-election
April 4, 1968 - Martin Luther King, Jr. assassinated
May 1968 - The Sorbonne uprising in Paris
June 5, 1968 - Senator Robert Kennedy assassinated
June 1969 - SDS unravels
Summer of 1969 - Orange sunshine debuts; Ronald Stark moves in on the illicit acid trade
August 1969 - Woodstock rock festival
Fall 1969 - Operation Intercept; huge antiwar demonstrations around the country
December 1969 - Altamont rock concert; the Manson killings
February 1970 - Leary convicted and jailed
September 12, 1970 - Leary escapes from prison
Spring 1970 - Jackson State and Kent State killings
1970 - LSD becomes a Schedule I drug
1971 - Windowpane acid first appears
August 1972 - Operation BEL
January 17, 1973 - Leary arrested in Afghanistan
November 1973 - Hitchcock turns state evidence to convict Tim Scully and Nick Sand
1973 - MK-SEARCH terminated; OFTEN/MK-CHICKWIT phased out
September 18, 1974 - PILL (People Investigating Leary's Lies) conference
1975 - Rockefeller Commission reports on CIA hallucinogenic drug experiments
February 1975 - Ronald Stark arrested in Bologna, Italy
1976 - Church Committee reports on CIA and Army drug experiments
1976 - Leary released from jail
Spring 1977 - Operation Julie bust in England
Fall 1977 - Senate hearings on MK-ULTRA
February 1979 - LSD reunion in Los Angeles
A Who's Who of Acid Dreams
Richard Alpert fired from Harvard in 1963 along with Tim Leary for giving LSD to an undergraduate student, later visited India, met a guru, and changed his name to Baba Ram Dass.
Harry Anslinger long-time head of the Federal Narcotics Bureau, campaigned publicly against marijuana as a killer weed, but privately participated in a secret US foreign intelligence project that selected marijuana as a truth serum and described it in playful, sexual terms.
Julian Beck and the Living Theater experimental performing troupe that traveled extensively in Europe in the 1960s. "We were willing to experiment with anything that would set the mind free," said Beck.
The Black Panthers young African-American activists and socialists based in Oakland, California. Collaborated with white radicals and counterculture advocates in the spirit of Malcolm X.
The Brotherhood of Eternal Love a southern California-based LSD commune that supplied the world with "orange sunshine," started out as dope-dealing idealists and ended up as a hippie mafia.
William Burroughs mentor of the beat generation and author of Naked Lunch, was looking for the "final fix" when he participated in a yage ritual in South America in the early 1950s. He warned that hallucinogenic drugs could be used to control rather than liberate the vision-starved masses. "Remember," said Burroughs, "anything that can be done chemically can be done in other ways."
John Starr Cooke a disciple of Aleister Crowley, was the Eminence gris behind the Psychedelic Rangers and the San Francisco Be-in.
Lt. General William Creasy chief officer of the US Army Chemical Corps during the 1950s, preached a new, LSD-influenced military gospel of "war without death." During Congressional testimony, Creasy called for the testing of hallucinogenic gases on subways in major American cities.
The Diggers guerrilla theater maestros and acid anarchists, lit up Haight-Ashbury with wild strokes of artistic genius and organized alternative social services for the flower children.
Bob Dylan the legendary folk singer, dropped acid and went electric in the mid-1960s, influencing a generation of rolling stones in search of a new America
Allen Ginsberg poet laureate of the grassroots acid subculture, charged that news media had exaggerated the dangers of LSD.
Dr. Sidney Gottlieb the CIA's chief sorcerer-scientist, ran the Agency's Technical Services Staff and oversaw the super-secret MK-ULTRA program, which sought to develop LSD into a mind control weapon and also experimented with numerous other drugs and behavior control techniques.
Grateful Dead led by Jerry Garcia, started out as a local acid rock band in San Francisco, before they claimed a loyal following of Deadheads.
Richard Helms CIA director from 1967 to 1973, was a strong advocate of secret behavior control experiments; he described LSD as "dynamite."
William Mellon Hitchcock the multimillionaire patron of the LSD commune at Millbrook, New York, later bankrolled a huge blackmarket acid manufacturing operation.
Dr. Paul Hoch financed by the US Army and the CIA to study the effects of drugs on human behavior, administered intraspinal injections of LSD to psychiatric patients and performed electroshock and lobotomies on patients while they were under the influence of LSD and other hallucinogens.
Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, and the Yippies political pranksters par excellence, dropped acid, burned money on Wall Street, and demonstrated against the Democratic Convention in Chicago in August 1968.
Dr. Albert Hofmann chemist working at Sandoz Pharmaceuticals in Switzerland, was the first person to synthesize LSD in 1938 and five years later he accidentally discovered the hallucinogenic effects of the drug.
Michael Hollingshead the British prankster and cultural affairs attache, gave Timothy Leary and his Harvard colleagues their first taste of LSD.
J. Edgar Hoover longtime FBI chief and closet queer, who oversaw extensive undercover operations designed to disrupt, neutralize, and counter the influence of the New Left, Black power proponents, and the sixties youth culture.
Captain Al Hubbard the American superspy and uranium entrepreneur, became the first Johnny Appleseed of LSD, turning on thousands of people, including scientists, politicians, intelligence officials, diplomats, church figures, and housewives. "If you don't think it's amazing," said Hubbard, "just go ahead and try it."
Aldous Huxley the eminent British novelist who lived in Hollywood, wrote The Doors of Perception, the seminal psychedelic manifesto. "It was without question the most extraordinary and significant experience this side of the Beautific Vision."
Laura Huxley administered LSD to her husband, Aldous, as he lay dying in November 1963.
Dr. Harris Isbell ran extensive drug experiments for the CIA at the Lexington Narcotics Hospital in Kentucky, where addicts were supplied with heroin in exchange for their participation in secret CIA LSD tests.
Dr. Oscar Janiger a Los Angeles-based psychiatrist, used LSD as a tool to study the creative attributes of the mind and gave the drug to many well-known painters, musicians, actors, comedians, and writers. Janiger was also the first person in the US to synthesize DMT, a short-acting super-hallucinogen.
Jack Kerouac the beat novelist, sampled the magic mushroom extract and reported: "It was a definite Satori. Full of psychic clairvoyance (but you must remember that this is not half as good as the peaceful ecstasy of simple Samadhi trance as I described it in Dharma Bums)."
Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters were introduced to LSD courtesy of the US Army. They drove a day-glo bus across the United States and hosted the first electric kool-aid acid tests and rock/art extravaganzas in California during the mid-1960s.
Arthur Kleps chief Boohoo of the Neo-American Boohoo Church, added epistemological spice to the Millbrook scene with his surrealistic antics.
Timothy Leary the pied piper of the acid generation, implored everyone to "turn on, tune in, and drop out.
John Lennon and the Beatles gave the blossoming psychedelic counterculture a stunning musical benediction with their release in June 1967 of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
G. Gordon Liddy Dutchess County prosecutor who tried to bust Timothy Leary, went on to serve as one of President Nixon's Watergate burglars whose arsenal of dirty tricks included LSD and other hallucinogens to neutralize Tricky Dick's political enemies.
Charles Manson ex-convict and would-be rock musician, was a habitue of Haight-Ashbury before he formed a satanic LSD commune in Southern California, whose members engaged in depraved acts of violence and murder.
The Motherfuckers crazed LSD radicals, took up the cry of "acid armed consciousness" and prefigured the paramilitary fad that engulfed the New Left in the late 1960s.
Dr. Humphry Osmond a British research psychiatrist who coined the word "psychedelic," explored the therapeutic potential of LSD for curing alcoholism.
Owsley (Augustus Owsley Stanley III) the undisputed king of the illicit LSD trade in the mid-1960s, deluged Haight-Ashbury and points beyond with street acid. Subsidized the Grateful Dead's infamous Wall of Sound.
Maria Sabena a Mexican witch doctress, gave the divine mushroom to Harvard Psychologist Timothy Leary in 1960.
Ed Sanders and the Fugs turned-on peace activists and folk-rock band, provided musical edification for protesters at the Pentagon in October 1967.
Tim Scully young, idealistic genius, served time in prison after manufacturing orange sunshine and other forms of LSD.
Dr. Van Sim chief of the Clinical Research Division at Edgewood Arsenal (headquarters of the Army Chemical Corps), received the Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service because he tried all new drugs, including LSD, on himself, before administering them to American soldiers.
John Sinclair and the White Panthers, Ann Arbor-based activists who allied themselves with the Yippies and the Black panthers. "Acid was amping everything up, driving everything into greater and greater frenzy," Sinclair recounted.
Ronald Stark CIA informant and counterculture con man, produced 50 million doses of LSD before he was busted in Italy in the mid-1970s.
R. Gordon Wasson banker for J.P. Morgan, traveled to the Mexican highlands in the mid-1950s and participated in a magic mushroom ritual under the guidance of a local shaman. "For the first time," he wrote in Life magazine, "the word ecstasy took on real meaning. For the first time it did not mean someone else's state of mind."
Weather Underground tripped-out, left-wing revolutionaries, helped Timothy Leary escape from prison and bombed symbolic targets in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Dr. Louis Joylon West conducted tests for the CIA at the University of Oklahoma, was called upon to examine Jack Ruby while he was in prison for murdering Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of President Kennedy. Concluding that Ruby suffered from delusions of a conspiracy in the JFK killing, West prescribed "happy pills" for Ruby during his incarceration.
George Hunter White a high-ranking US narcotics official who tested LSD on unwitting American citizens at the behest of the CIA. "It was fun, fun, fun," said White. "Where else could a red-blooded American lie, kill, cheat, and rape with the sanction of the all-highest?"
Key Locations in Acid Dreams
Basil, Switzerland Where Dr. Albert Hofmann, working at Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, first synthesized and discovered the hallucinogenic effects of LSD
Saskatchewan, Canada Where Dr. Humphry Osmond first successfully utilized LSD therapy to cure alcoholism
Vancouver, Canada The home base of Captain Alfred Hubbard, who set up an LSD clinic at Hollywood Hospital
Los Angeles, California Where LSD was first used as a social drug in the 1950s; a center of LSD research and therapeutic sessions
San Francisco Bay Area LSD tests on unwitting Americans at a CIA safehouse during the 1950s and early 1960s; Haight-Ashbury, the most famous psychedelic city-state took shape in the mid-1960s
Berkeley, California Home of the Free Speech Movement and focal point of student radicalism in the 1960s
Ann Arbor, Michigan Birthplace of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the White Panther Party
Mexican highlands The place of pilgrimage for G. Gordon Wasson, who first wrote about the magic mushrooms for Life magazine
London Site of the first clinic specializing in LSD therapy in the earluy 1950s; a swinging psychedelic scene in the 1960s
Amsterdam Home of the Provos, the Dutch forerunners of the Yippies
Millbrook, New York Where Timothy Leary set up an LSD commune in the mid-1960s
Czechoslovakia The Communist government manufactured LSD during the 1950s and 1960s, some of which found its way to acidheads in the West
AlgiersTimothy Leary lived briefly in exile with leaders of the Black Panther party before he fled to Switzerland
La Honda, Palo Alto Home base of novelist Ken Kesey in the early 1960s when the Merry Pranksters emerged
Laguna Beach, Idylwild, California Stomping grounds of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, major distributors of blackmarket acid in the late 1960s and early 1970s
Woodstock, New York The artists' community that provided the name for the legendary three-day music festival in August 1969
Bahamas Where William Mellon Hitchcock stashed some of the illegal proceeds of the underground LSD trade
Bologna, Italy Where the mysterious Ronald Stark was arrested and jailed for drug possession before he was fingered as a US intelligence operative by an Italian judge
Paris, France The site of a major illegal LSD laboratory run by Ronald Stark
Brussels, Belgium The site of one of Ronald Stark's pharmaceutical fronts
New York City, New York Army drug tests at the New York State Psychiatric Institute killed at least one human guinea pig; CIA-sponsored LSD research at Columbia University; drug subculture associated with the beat community and later the center of a thriving grassroots acid scene
Boston area Site of early CIA-sponsored LSD research; later the home base of Timothy Leary at Harvard
Washington, DC area CIA headquarters, where several hallucinogenic escapades and covert operations with LSD were plotted
Lexington, Kentucky CIA conducted extensive drug testing at the National Institutes of Mental Health Addiction Research Center
Read more about drug tests at Lexington, excerpted from the text. Montreal, Canada CIA contracted brainwashing and drug studies involving LSD and PCP at the Allain Memorial Hospital
Vacaville, California One of several prisons where the CIA tested drugs and behavior modification techniques
Manilla, Philippines Where the CIA stored LSD for covert warfare
Atsugi Air Base, Japan Where Lee Harvey Oswald's Marine unit was given LSD
West Germany Where the CIA conducted LSD interrogations during the Cold war
New York City, New York Army drug tests at the New York State Psychiatric Institute killed at least one human guinea pig
Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland Headquarters of the US Army Chemical Corps, where thousands of soldiers were given LSD, the superhallucinogen BZ, and other mind-altering drugs
Read more about BZ at Edgewood, excerpted from the text of Acid Dreams.
Ft. Bragg, North Carolina US soldiers were given LSD and told to perform tank drills and other military manuevers in the late 1950s
Ft. Benning, Georgia US soldiers perfomed war games under the influence of LSD in the late 1950s
Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland Where BZ-type weapons were developed for domestic crowd control purposes
Pine Bluff, Arkansas Where large quantities of BZ were stored
Dugway Proving Ground, Utah Project Dork, a multiphase field test, was conducted with BZ in the early 1960s; a BZ accident later sent several soldiers to the hospital
Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas The site of additional Army LSD tests
Ft. McLellan, Alabama US Army instructors attempted to teach classes while under the inluence of LSD in the late 1950s
Ft. Dietrich, Maryland Headquarters of the US Army's Special Operations Division, which was devoted to biological warfare reasearch in the 1950s
Orleans, France Under the auspices of Operation "Third Chance," US officers used LSD to torture an African-American private who was falsely accused of stealing classified documents
Far East Army LSD interrogations performed under the auspice of Operation "Derby Hat"
Hawaiian Islands Open air BZ tests conducted by the Army in preparation for use in Vietnam combat situations
Vietnam BZ gas used to flush out enemy hideouts in South Vietnam during the war.
An excerpt from Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, the Sixties and Beyond, by Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain (Grove Press)
Copyright 1985 by Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain
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