From Chapter 9:

The Psychedelic Revolution

"I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I must have been changed
several times since then."

Lewis Carroll/Alice in Wonderland

     A sizable number of seeds, trees, leaves, vines, cacti and fungi are
psychedelic resources. More than 100 species are known in the Western
Hemisphere, about 20 in the Eastern, and more will be discovered each year by
ethnobotanists. Add to this scores of synthetic psychedelics, produced
particularly in the last 20 years. Project 2,000 possible combinations and
rearrangements of molecules of the amphetimine psychedelics alone, many of them 
capable of dramatically altering the functioning of the 12-billion-cell human
brain network.

     There's no question that psychedelics have had, and will continue to have,
a large effect on the development of human perception and values. They must be
the source of mankind's deepest and most persistent yearning to find the
answers to cosmic questions and to discover the Kingdom of Heaven within.
Societies both tribal and technological go through accelerated evolutionary
change after psychedelics are introduced. We are seeing it happen in our
lifetime -- on a larger scale than ever before.

     There is archaeological evidence that people have been expanding their
consciousness with psychedelic substances for as many as 35 centuries. But it
was the accidental discovery of an awesome new semisynthetic mind drug only a
generation ago that rocked Western society to its roots.

     The discovery of LSD in 1943 turned the key in the ignition of the
psychedelic era as surely as fissioning the atom opened up the atomic age, but
a decade passed before it was really noticeable. The true beginning was 1953.
In that one pivotal year, R. Gordon Wasson and his wife confirmed the existence 
of a surviving magic mushroom cult in Mexico. William Burroughs drank the
hallucinatory yage' brew in the Upper Amazon and wrote to Allen Ginsberg, who
rushed down to try it. Aldous Huxley was turned on to mescaline by Dr. Humphry
Osmond, who was preparing to test the psychoactive properties of the morning-
glory seed, an ancient psychedelic, back in Canada. American military
intelligence was performing clandestine research (Project Bluebird/Artichoke)
on psychedelics as possible agents in psychological and chemical warfare. It
was at this time, too, that psychiatric researchers, many of whom had by then
taken LSD and mescaline themselves instead of simply administering the drugs
to their mental-patient subjects, began moving away from the psychotomimetic
theory (i.e., temporary drug-induced model of psychotic behavior) toward the
hallucinogenic concept (productive of altered states of consciousness).

     In the next few years there was increasing experimentation with nonpsych-
otic subjects, demonstrating the remarkable therapeutic potential of psych-
edelics. Huxley published "The Doors of Perception," nearly losing his
reputation but reaching a wide audience of intellectuals with his brilliant,
positive account of mescaline's powers. Popular interest grew with LSD-user
Cary Grant's interview in "Look." And "Life" gave extensive coverage to
Wasson's Psilocybe mushroom adventure. Original members of the Beat Generation,
society's outsiders, began mail-ordering peyote buttons at eight dollars per
hundred from a cactus supply house in Laredo. Acid's discoverer, Dr. Albert
Hofmann, produced the first synthetic psilocybin from Mexican mushrooms in his
Swiss laboratory.

     It was in this psychically energized climate underlying the conformist,
gray-flannel Fifties that Osmond added the word "psychedelic" to the vocabulary
of millions. "For the reason that the term is uncontaminated with other
associations," he told an assembly of his colleagues in New York in 1957,
"I propose that the word 'psychedelic' (i.e., mind-manifesting) be used to
describe these substances." Although the new term only gradually supplanted
"psychotomimetic" among more conservative investigators, it nonetheless signal-
led an expanded scope and spirit of inquiry, which directed future medical
research as well as popular usage.

     It was already becoming known that psychedelic substances had profoundly
re-visioned the lives of countless numbers before recorded history. But few
could begin to guess the shattering impact they would have upon the electronic
generation of rock-and-roll rebels that came of age in the Sixties. Millions
of young psychedelics users lived out a phantasmagorical cultural revolution
that became a frightening hallucination for many outsiders. These modern forms
of ancient mind drugs strongly contributed to a mutational transformation of
society -- acid tests and be-ins, black light and strobe, hippies, long hair
and love beads, Mr. Natural gurus and dayglo, psychedelic information centers
and communes, street dealing and sexual freedom, White Lightning, Blue Cheer
and Sunshine, bliss consciousness and freak-outs, media hype, legal suppress-
ion, Provos, Diggers and Yippies, Millbrook, Woodstock and Haight-Ashbury,
Sergeant Pepper and I Ching, "Feed Your Head," "Do Your Thing," "Turn On, Tune
In, Drop Out" and that all-purpose expletive, "psych-a-DELIC!"

     Whatever else it was, it was a prelude to the Seventies, which has seen
the furor of the psychedelic movement wind down, while the song -- from the
"Rig Veda" of 1200 B.C. to "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" in 1967 -- remains
the same. Though the drugs are still illegal, the exploration of Inner Space
via psychedelics goes on, albeit somewhat closer to the mainstream of our
present-day culture, which has elevated all legal forms of consciousness-
raising to the status of a national industry and pastime.


     LSD-25 (d-lysergic acid diethylamide, or just plain "acid"), the
"psychedelic baby that reached puberty" in the late Sixties, is now going on
middle-age. What a decade ago was the child prodigy of the psychedelic family
has become a less sensational and more responsibly used agent of change, with
far different and more recreational uses than either the CIA or the psychiatric
establishment had envisioned.

     For a variety of reasons LSD stands out as (in the words of its discover-
er) "the prototype psychedelic." It has the highest and most specific effect;
all other psychedelic drugs are measured against it. The past 30 years have
witnessed the discovery and rediscovery of more psychoactive drugs than any
similar period in history, but it is largely because of LSD that the
contemporary concept of psychedelics and the far-out social movement they
spawned occurred at all.

     The most powerful psychedelic relative to dose, LSD in many ways
epitomizes the apocalyptic scope, creative range, psychic power and
possibilities for accelerated behavioral change common to all psychedelic
substances. Its short but well-documented history parallels the ancient plant
hallucinogens of Mesoamerica in terms of its sacramental or magical-religious
use, the hysterical hostility directed toward it by those in authority and the
resulting legal-religious suppression.

     On the black market, LSD has been the most visible of the psychedelics:
the easiest to manufacture (thought not necessarily with sufficient dosage and
purity controls), the easiest to score, the easiest to ingest in large amounts
without somatic side effects. LSD is colorless, odorless and tasteless; and one
ounce can be divided into 300,000 doses. About 40 pounds would turn on the
entire country. Statistics like these have served to make police so paranoid
that they ringed the main water reservoir outside Chicago during the 1968
Democratic National Convention because one of their informants within the
Yippies had been put on by talk of this psychedelic guerrilla fantasy. Coffee
urns being smaller than reservoirs, a plot to dose Gerald Ford when he was vice
president almost succeeded (six stagehands tripped out; Ford drank cola).

     The threat of accidental or intentional dosing has always been associated
with LSD. When a five-year old girl got into her parents' stash and was
hospitalized in 1966, it made headlines and influenced legislation. Squeaky
Fromme allegedly dosed an unfriendly witness at the Manson trial with an
LSD-laced hamburger. A CIA operative committed suicide after reportedly being
test-dosed without his knowledge. Not a few people have had their minds
temporarily zonked after sampling some innocuous-looking punch. 

     The history of LSD-25 begins in the middle of World War II; but ergot,
the rye grain fungus (Claviceps purpurea) from which it is derived, has been
used for centuries to aid childbirth and is described in the earliest
botanical literature. The malady of ergotism -- of which one type, ergotismus
convulsivus, causes hallucinations and severe muscle contractions -- has been
known since the Middle Ages, when it was called St. Anthony's Fire after the
patron saint of ergot sufferers. Outbreaks occurred from time to time (and as
recently as 1951) in European villages where rye bread was a main food staple.
Ergot poisoning was recently uncovered as a possible significant factor in the
Salem witch trials. It might be noted that Dr. Timothy Leary, once LSD's high
priest, was called a "devil" by theologians on Sixties TV and was subjected,
with many another, to judicial witch hunts.

     All naturally occurring hallucinogens (except THC) are alkaloids: a class
of alkaline organic compounds containing nitrogen found in plants. Among the
large number of ergot alkaloids is the lysergic amide series, of which the
twenty-fifth preparation (LSD-25) was tested, first by accident and later by
design, by a 37-year-old Swiss chemist at Sandoz Pharmaceutical labs in Basel.
In April 1943, Dr. Albert Hofmann absorbed a drop of the solution on his finger
and began to notice that reality had "a pleasant, fairy-tale quality." He
reported "a laboratory intoxication" and a few days later, on April 19,
deliberately swallowed some more, beginning conservatively with the tiny
amount of 250 micrograms, or 25 millionths of a gram. Unbelievingly -- for
there is no other substance found in nature or made in a laboratory that
produces effects with so small a dose -- Hofmann began tripping out. Pedaling
homeward on his bicycle, the chemist thought he was going insane. But it was
only the temporary and unexpected effects of 250 micrograms, considered today
a standard dose of LSD.

     Further tests on Sandoz volunteers confirmed the enormous psychic
potential of this new substance, but because of interruptions caused by the
war it took four years for the news to reach the medical world. Immediately,
the psychiatric profession latched on to the drug, as did Cold War military-
intelligence specialists. The U.S. Army tested it as an incapacitating agent
in warfare and brainwashing on Korean War POWs. The first media coverage given
to a psychedelic was an army training film made in the early Fifties, showing
the disorientation of a young soldier stoned on acid. It was screened before
countless GIs. The CIA spent 20 years investigating the potential of LSD for
unmasking spies and causing localized mayhem. (It is interesting to note that
the Weather Underground held group acid sessions to determine if they had been
infiltrated by an informer.) Russian mind-control scientists investigated both
the militaristic and parapsychological uses of LSD. One can only guess at the
extent of military stockpiled LSD, and the amount of research hidden from
public scrutiny.

     Sandoz supplied LSD under the brand name Delysid to Western researchers.
Investigators from behind the Iron Curtain received their supply from Spofa
Pharmaceutical Works in Prague, where alchemy flourished in the sixteenth
century. Farmitilia in Milan and Lilly in the U.S. manufactured LSD using
their own processes. Distribution of pharmaceutical LSD in all cases is
controlled by government drug agencies.

     LSD research spread from Europe to America when Dr. Max Rinkel began
dosing subjects in Boston in 1949.

     LSD was first given to mental patients in sterile hospital rooms and
clinics by doctors who followed contemporary standards of maximum objectivity
and did not themselves take the drug.

     LSD was looked upon as a tool for discerning the biochemical nature of
mental illness. Schizophrenics and psychotics often had bad trips, but some
gained temporary insight into their illness. The effects on normal or neurotic
subjects were usually reported as temporary psychoses by nontripping MDs. But
doctors who took the drug themselves saw the amazing psychotherapeutic value
of psychedelics. In a pioneer study at a Saskatchewan mental hospital in 1952,
one-third of the chronic alcoholics in a mescaline-therapy group went on the
wagon for good. Similar positive results were obtained in treating drug
addicts, criminal psychopaths and people with heavy sex hang-ups.

     In psychoanalytic therapy, low doses of LSD or mescaline were administered
repeatedly; in psychedelic therapy the subject was prepared for one big, ego-
shattering trip. In either case the results were extremely impressive. The
painstaking unraveling of a ient's traumatic past that took psychoanalytic
therapy years to accomplish could now be accomplished by opening up the deepest
reaches of the mind in one afternoon. The next 20 years saw the emergence of
new therapies: humanistic psychology, transactional analysis, gestalt,
transpersonal and encounter therapies, biofeedback, est, TM, yoga -- the entire
human potential movement owes something of its success to the psychedelic

     The LSD energy wave reached the West Coast in the mid-1950s. Los Angeles
and Menlo Park/Palo Alto were the scenes of the first important nonmedical
experiments with psychedelics. Dr. Oscar Janiger studied the effects of LSD on
artists' works. Adele Davis described 11 mythic acid trips under the pseudonym
Jane Dunlap, and another woman under the name Constance Newland wrote a near
bestseller telling how LSD cured her of frigidity. Steve Allen revealed his
positive LSD experiences to TV audiences. At the International Foundation for
Advanced Study in Menlo Park, ex-uranium prospector Al Hubbard helped use
psychedelics to treat behavioral problems and neurosis.

     In 1960 two individuals destined to play shamanic roles in the psychedelic
culture took their first trips. Clinical psychologist Timothy Leary ate a bunch
of psilocybin mushrooms while vacationing in Cuernavaca and had the deepest
religious experience of his life. Returning to Harvard, he turned on Richard
Alpert, started the Psychedelic Research Project and ordered 25 kilograms of
psilocybin (somewhat alarming Sandoz) for some of the most innovative research
to date. They switched to LSD when Michael ("The Man Who Turned On The World")
Hollingshead showed up with 5,000 hits of Sandoz acid (cost: $285) in a
mayonnaise jar.

     Meanwhile a young Stanford writer, Ken Kesey, volunteered to take acid
under clinical conditions. He dedicated his prize-winning novel, "One Flew
Over the Cuckoo's Nest," to the psychiatrist who turned him on and went on to
pioneer in recreational acid "happenings" with a group of psychedelic
communications artists called the Merry Pranksters. They epitomized the bizarre
and dadaistic styles of California acid society and were the subject of Tom
Wolfe's "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test."

     How psychedelics act in the body to produce changes in consciousness is
still somewhat mysterious, despite years of research. It is agreed that
hallucinogens affect the hypothalamus, the emotional center of the brain where
serotonin, an enzyme similar in chemical structure to the indole hallucinogens,
is also found. Serotonin (5-hydroxy-tryptamine) is one of the neurohumors that
regulates, or censors, the flow of information transfer at the synapses of
nerve cells. (The amphetamine-related hallucinogens, e.g., mescaline, are
chemically related to another of the neurohumors, norepinephrine.) Serotonin
is blocked, or otherwise interfered with, by the action of LSD-like drugs,
with the result that much more of the infinite contents of the inner and outer
worlds stream into the brain.

    Psychedelics open up the nervous system in stages to reveal a multileveled,
multidimensional reality structure and superenergized transformational process.
The sensory circuit is the first to be turned on. After a latency period of 30
or 45 minutes (during which time LSD triggers a series of biochemical and
psychological reactions and leaves the brain) small changes begin to be
noticed: a feeling that something is different. These changes rapidly intensify
during the next hour as the senses are flooded by millions of stimuli per
second. The dilating pupils fill up with visual imagery: the "retinal circus"
of hallucination. You don't see what's not there, you see more of what's there
than you normally see. It's difficult for the mind to comprehend all that the
eye is seeing, or that the ear is hearing. It's best to lie down or sit in the
lotus position and not try to interpret it rationally. You can get hung up with
illusions and emotional reactions, inviting paranoia. Moods change rapidly.
Objects, faces, colors swim around and distort, disintergrate and rearrange
themselves into kaleidoscopic patterns.

     Hearing becomes acute. Sounds mix with images to create the extraordinary
effect of synaesthesia. Music is one of the most powerful imprinting devices
in the early sensory stages of a trip. It is common for people to bring their
favorite records to an LSD session. All types of music, from Baroque to modern
jazz, from Indian sitar to electronic, are listenable when tripping, but the
chief head-music of the Sixties was acid rock, which served the same function
as peyote music and mushroom veladas. The Grateful Dead, Doors, Beatles,
Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, Mothers of Invention, Dylan and others
imprinted their culture from their own stoned perspectives at rock concerts
just as curanderos and Road Men did in primitive teepees and huts.

     Because the sense of smell is strong, burning incense and flowers were
derigeur whenever people tripped. Tactile sensation is powerfully enhanced as
the distinction between body and environment becomes unclear. There's increased
sensitivity to air temperature, to the kinesthetic changes in pressure, weight
and vibration. A pervasive dryness of the mouth is noticeable until the desire
to eat returns in the later stages of the trip, at which point simple natural
foods like fruit and nuts can provide an ecstatic experience.

     In the early stages of a psychedelic trip there is sometimes bodily
discomfort (mild nausea -- much stronger on peyote and some other plant
hallucinogens -- blurring of vision and chills), which is transitory and best
to ignore. When ultra-awareness of the body gets translated into fearful images
(e.g., that the heart is dangerously speeding up or slowing down, that they
lungs have forgotten to expand and contract), paranoia results. Subjects'
minds are so bombarded by a storm of impressions that they may feel incapable
of directing body functions, forgetting that the autonomic nervous system
takes care of itself. When disorientation occurs it's best to change the set
(with the help of a guide) or to surrender to the effects and thereby
discharge them of their potential to create fear. Or go to the bathroom, if
that's where it's at.

     Throughout the sensory stage identity-loss also occurs. The dissolving of
the ego can be an ecstatic experience as you float along toward a state of
pure consciousness, or it can bring panic from lost bearings. Distortions in
the perception of time and space signal the expansion of consciousness. Time loses its limits. A sense of mind-body duality, or out-of-body
experience, can occur. You are going out of your ordinary, rational mind into
something far more universal. Surrender seems to be the key as the psychedelic
experience carries you along into new dimensions.

     Two hours or so into the LSD trip the sensory circus fades into the
background as the mind becomes hyperactive from all the direct input it's
received. The present, the recent past and the far past simultaneously figure
into your reality. This is a very productive stage in psychotherapy, as early
memories can be jogged loose and their emotional contents spilled out. This is
when Huxley began staring at a square inch of fabric in his pants and explored
the human condition for what seemed like an eternity.

     With a dose of from 250 to 500 micrograms of LSD the subject may time-
travel back through his own life, his previous incarnations, the history of his
race and species. Dr. Stanislav Grof categorizes these states as ancestral,
collective (racial), evolutionary, past incarnation, precognition and tele-
pathy, planetary and extraplanetary, time and space travel. You may relive
your birth, return to the source of the evolutionary process and become
atomized into pure energy -- especially with doses above 500 micrograms.

     The famous "peak" of the experience comes on at about the third hour, with
a feeling of rebirth and transcendence. You feel completely hooked up to the
galactic network at a still-point in time. Emotional activity is resolved. The
mind is "at play in the fields of the Lord." Concepts that have eluded you for
years are grasped; insight and inspiration ride in with every thought. There is
a religious-mystical feeling of oneness, compassion, tolerance and love for all
things. The body is so perfect that you can't even feel it. Egoless, the cosmic
being is revealed on a strand of decoded DNA.

     After the peak comes "re-entry." The subject starts circling back to his
own identity and waves, the way he went out. There's always a
touch of sadness at losing a vision of the Infinite, and some people like to
smoke grass at this point to add some mirth for balance. It's best to mellow
through the come-down, and great to commune with fellow trippers, especially
on the psychic plane, which is very accessible. People in close relationships
can communicate deeply, from new perspectives, with words and touch during this
stage of the trip. A greater understanding of interpersonal relationships and
a new way of looking at the world, often lasting for weeks or months, are
commonly found to result from a properly handled psychedelic experience.

     The come-down stage, marked by the waning of effects, lasts for several
hours and is a good time for eating, love making, problem solving, taking a
walk and watching a sunrise or sunset. About 12 to 14 hours after dropping acid
the subject is ready to crash. A full-dose psychedelic trip exhausts the body's
resources and requires a long, restful sleep. Tolerance to LSD builds up quick-
ly -- you can't stay high for more than three days -- but it also disappears
quickly. LSD is cross-tolerant with psilocybin and more so with mescaline.

     After extensive testing the Psychedelic Research Project found that the
chief determinants of any trip were set, setting and dosage. If the subjects
mental set projected apprehension and anxiety, the early stages of increased
sensory awareness were of often disturbing. A mild tranquilizer such as Librium
or Valium can be taken beforehand to prevent this. Ultrarational people with
powerful ego-structures are able to resist the effects for a time, but the
longer they do so, the longer they remain in a state of hell, prisoners of
their ego. A feeling of going insane could be precipitated if subjects forget
they've taken a drug. Feelings of existential isolation or abandonment can

     The setting of the trip is all-important. An ominous-looking room or
object, a misunderstood remark or reaction from someone, the sudden appearance
of a stranger, dark clouds passing the sun, even a particular cut on a record
can activate a state of fear and trembling, so suggestive to impressions is a
psychedelicized person.

     To deal with bad trips or temporary freak-outs, the concept of a guide was
developed by the Harvard researchers. Guides are experienced psychedelic users
familiar with the cartography of inner space. They may be under low doses of
30 to 50 micrograms to help them tune into the tripper. Guides remain as
unobtrusive as possible, emerging only to light a candle or change a record.
If a freak-out occurs they remind the subject to surrender to the temporary
effects of the drug; they are reassuring without playing the role of an
authority figure.

     Five hundred milligrams of niacin can bring down someone from a bad trip
rather gently. However, in hospital emergency rooms the powerful tranquilizer
thorazine is given to people unfortunate enough to find themselves there. The
action of thorazine is so abrupt that the aftermath is unpleasant. Free clinics
and rock medicine developed the "talk-down" method to handle people's freak-
outs, especially at big rock concerts where polydrug use and product
misidentification is rampant.

     The early Sixties marked a turning point in the use of psychedelics, as
Cambridge became the center for American research. Leary, Alpert, Ralph Metzner
nd their associates were deeply influenced by Huxley's humanistic approach to
these drugs. They viewed them as mild liberators, positive catalysts for
rapidly producing desirable behavioral change. They paid attention to nondrug
factors and held sessions in living rooms. They turned on with their subjects
(with a straight observer on hand), including prisoners in their cells. Walter
Pahnke, Walter H. Clark and Alan Watts demonstrated that psychedelics were
capable of providing a religious experience. Christians and Jews found God
through psychedelics just as pagans did.

     Conservative psychiatrists, educators and theologians reacted negatively
to these revolutionary research methods and claims. Police became aroused when
LSD-soaked sugar cubes began showing up off campus -- the beginning of
recreational use with black market acid. The FDA ordered Sandoz to restrict
distribution of LSD. Leary and Alpert were dismissed from Harvard amid
publicity that was soon to make LSD a household word, synonymous with
"nightmare drug," sudden, bizarre, uncontrollable, producer of psychotic states
and deformed babies.

     After Huxley's death in 1963 Leary became the dominant personality in the
emerging psychedelic culture. His charismatic exuberance and evangelical flair
turned on many people, especially grass-smoking youth. At a millionaire's
mansion in Millbrook, New York, Leary and his colleagues mounted a prototype
psychedelic commune modeled on Hesse's Castalia and Huxley's last novel,
"Island." Like Humphrey Davy's laughing gas institute in 1800, it lured
creative artists, the cultural avant-garde and savants of the occult and
Eastern religion. Leary and Alpert penned "The Politics of Consciousness
Expansion," a manifesto for the right to explore and change the human nervous
system. "The Psychedelic Experience," a guidebook for tripping, was modeled on
the "Tibetan Book of the Dead," in which the stages of the psychedelic
experience were likened to the bardos the soul traverses between death and
rebirth. Leary's "Psychedelic Prayers," arranged for use during an LSD session,
was modeled after the Chinese sage Lao-tse. The "Psychedelic Review" and "Inner
Space" magazine were launched. Psychedelic art and psychedelic music began to
flourish on the avant-garde fringe. Alan Watts wrote eloquently of the
religious significance of psychedelics in "The Joyous Cosmology," and Alan
Ginsberg, leading Beat generation poet and marijuana activist, said that God
had manifested in the form of a pill because He knew it took a material
substance to remind America that He still existed.

     In college lectures and TV talk shows Leary compared the discovery of LSD
to the invention of the microscope and mapped the levels of the consciousness
turned on by different drugs, from heroin (sleep or stupor) to LSD (molecular).
His slogan "Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out" freaked Middle America, especially when
the media started reporting that young people were growing long hair, living
and loving communally, smoking grass, dropping acid and thumbing their noses
at the nine-to-five rat race. After police raids led by G. Gordon Liddy closed
down Millbrook, Leary started a religion called the League for Spiritual
Discovery, asking to be allowed the use of acid as a sacrament, as peyote had
been allowed the Native American Church. To "Playboy" readers he described LSD
as the greatest aphrodisiac in history. He produced "psychedelic celebrations"
around the country while appealing a 30-year bust for a few joints, for which
charge he was eventually imprisoned.

     By 1965 one million people had dropped acid -- only 50,000 or so legally.
In the next three or four years, five to ten million more defied the law and
turned on. Next to marijuana smoking, acid dropping was the most widely
expressed form of psychochemical activity during the height of the psychedelic
era. People who dropped acid felt mystically linked up with everyone else who
dropped acid, and most people tried to turn on everyone they liked. Psychedelic
users migrated from middle-class and suburban neighborhoods to large cities
(notably, San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury and Manhattan's Lower East Side) and
to rural settlements. A subculture developed, based upon tribal experience, a
seeking out of brothers and sisters, a gathering and merging of individual
energies, the creation of new lifestyles. The prototype drug user became the
subject of one of the biggest media hypes in history: the Hippie, symbol of
long hair, free sex and freaky drugs.

     LSD was the fuel that powered the neurological, sociological, sexual and
spiritual revolution for millions of young people in the West, and brought
about a generational conflict, expressed in the usual historical form of
political suppression, social upheaval and media co-option. By the time the
psychedelic movement was deactivated, many of its features had already been
incorporated into the mainstream of American life.

     In the mid-Sixties, in an atmosphere of media-created hysteria, Congress
began to hold hearings on this latest youth threat that included pot smoking,
civil rights rioting and draft card burning. The press hyped LSD murders,
orgies and riots, and a few unscrupulous medical researchers announced that LSD
caused people to go blind from staring into the sun (an admitted hoax), and
that pregnant women who used LSD could bear deformed babies (this was soon
proven false: aspirin and coffee cause more chromosome damage than LSD). In
1966 Congress declared LSD and other psychedelics to be dangerous drugs, and
made possession, manufacture and sale a misdemeanor (raised to a felony in
1968) under the Drug Abuse Control Amendment Act. Every state followed suit,
and the FDA cancelled 75 of the 78 ongoing psychedelic research projects.

     Since LSD is easily synthesized and since ergotamine tartrate or
ergonovine maleate were fairly obtainable as a base for preparations (lysergic
acid amides from morning-glory and baby Hawaiian wood-rose seeds could replace
them when the ergot alkaloids were restricted), enterprising alchemists labored
in makeshift underground labs or in college chemistry departments after hours
to meet the demand for it. Unlike traffickers in other drugs, LSD manufacturers
and dealers often exhibited a spiritual temperament. It was said that you could
tell how pure the drug was by looking into the eyes of the person offering it.
Acid was generally inexpensive (one or two dollars per dose) and a lot of times
it was given away free, sometimes for promotional reasons.

     The pioneer acid-alchemist in the U.S. was Bernard Roseman, who was busted
in the early Sixties under the importation law although he swore in court that
he had made the drug himself after learning organic chemistry under its
influence. The earliest form of black market acid was sugar cubes impregnated
with a solution of LSD (which readily dissolves in ethyl alcohol) applied with
an eyedropper, available on the street between 1963 and 1966. Due to haphazard
application, this product varied in dosage but was generally full dose (250
micrograms). Sandoz LSD was around at the time and sometimes found its way onto
sugar cubes.

     The first brand-name, black market acid to get around was Augustus Owsley
Stanley III's White Lightning, Purple Haze and Blue Cheer. It was the best
available between 1966 and 1968, and some say the best ever underground. It
came in small tablets of 250 to 400 micrograms. Some say it probably contained
some amphetamine, which potentiates the effects of all psychedelics. It
resulted in a speedy, electric trip, which produced a whirlwind of sensory
effects, dissolved the ego and provided a strong peak. Owsley reputedly
distributed millions of hits, much of it to the San Francisco Hippie scene --
the Avalon and Fillmore ballrooms, be-ins and outdoor-rock concerts, acid tests
and along Haight Street -- contributing to a renaissance in music, graphic
arts, fashion and lifestyle that San Francisco exported to other parts of
America and somewhat to Western Europe.

     Between White Lightning and the next major brand, Sunshine, there was an
array of potent LSD tablets and capsules in circulation, often with picturesque
names: Chocolate Chip, Flying A, Double Domes, Microdots, Orange Wedges, Four-
Ways, Pink Swirls. The cost was 50 cents or a dollar a hit close to the source,
two or three dollars when exported to Middle America. Sunshine acid, which
began to be seen around 1969, was a powerful, reliable, radiance-creating
orange (or green, blue or red) tab manufactured in northern California by a
Laguna Beach-based spiritual dealership called the Brotherhood of Eternal Love.
Sunshine was actually a homologue of LSD called ALD-52 with about 90 percent
of the potency of LSD. (ALD-52 was later ruled to be illegal like LSD at the
trial of the two Sunshine alchemists, Nick Sand and Timothy Scully.) Lesser
alchemists copied this form to cash in on its fame, and varieties of pseudo
Sunshine, including one containing a trace amount of strychnine (which gives
an initial rush like LSD but is highly toxic) appeared on the scene. Besides
speed and strychnine, other contaminants of acid have included PCP and STP and
various ergot alkaloids and cycloalkaloids that are not removed in the process
of manufacture. True alchemy is always very difficult: ergotamine tartrate
became scarce after the antipsychedelic laws; oxidation and light destroy the
LSD-25 molecule. People were cynical and cautious about the quality of acid
available, but it has always been possible to find reasonably good LSD, if one
wanted it.

     The next major form of black market acid was called Blotter. A drop of LSD
solution soaked into blotting paper created rows of round, dark stains that
could be sliced off and even cut up for chipping. The most imaginative Blotter
acid was marketed with R. Crumb's Mr. Natural imprinted on it, pointing to
heaven. Blotter usually comes in the range of 50 to 150 micrograms. It tends
to decompose somewhat faster than other forms, but has the virtue of being easy
to send through first class mail.

     Probably the engineering wonder of quality acid was Windowpane. Originally
called Clear Light by its makers, it appeared on the streets around 1972 in the
form of tiny, flat, translucent gelatin squares uniformly impregnated with LSD.
Windowpane contained little, if any, speed and provided a serene trip; you
generally needed two for full-dose effects. It could be mailed under a postage

     Underground acid in recent years has generally been of weaker doses,
although stronger and purer LSD has been available here and there. The price
of a hit is somewhat higher, about one to three dollars in the U.S., and about
twice as much in Europe. There has been talk lately that people who have only
taken underground acid have never had LSD. Though this may be true, it's not
of great significance, for many synthetic substances akin to LSD-25, such as
its homologues ALD-52, LSD-59 and Mirror Image LSD, also open the doors of

     Even after the media forgot about it, LSD remained the drug most frequent-
ly submitted to street-drug analysts like Pharm Chem Lab until 1974, when it
was replaced by cocaine. But there was no longer any LSD scene as there had 
been in the Sixties and early Seventies. Users of LSD had learned its values
and were moving on, although some occasionally take a trip to remind themselves
what it was like. For some people LSD remains a yoga for self-therapy,
stimulation towards creativity in art and relationships and heightened sensual
pleasure. People turning on to LSD for the first time in the mid-Seventies are
probably more prepared for the experience than were their Sixties' counter-
parts. Acid freak-outs rarely require medical attention anymore.

     Although LSD remains a Schedule I substance with restricted uses, legal
LSD research may soon return to the precrisis levels of the Fifties. Research
is especially favored with certain subject groups: the terminally ill (after
the example of Huxley and the work of Dr. Eric Kast), autistic children,
severe cases of alcoholism and opiate addiction and mental cases that don't
respond to conventional drugs and therapies. LSD's discoverer predicted that
the earliest foreseeable legal marketing of LSD would be in 25-microgram doses
to alleviate depression.