[Paleopsych] Albert Hofmann: LSD - My Problem Child

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Albert Hofmann: LSD - My Problem Child
http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/ et seq.

    [2]Translator's Preface

    1. [3]How LSD Originated
    1.1. [4]First Chemical Explorations
    1.2. [5]Ergot
    1.3. [6]Lysergic Acid and Its Derivatives
    1.4. [7]Discovery of the Psyhic Effects of LSD
    1.5. [8]Self-Experiments

    2. [9]LSD in Animal Experiments and Biological Research
    2.1. [10]How Toxic Is LSD?
    2.2. [11]Pharmacological Properties of LSD

    3. [12]Chemical Modifications of LSD

    4. [13]Use of LSD in Psychiatry
    4.1. [14]First Self-Experiment by a Psychiatrist
    4.2. [15]The Psychic Effects of LSD

    5. [16]From Remedy to Inebriant
    5.1. [17]Nonmedical Use of LSD
    5.2. [18]Sandoz Stops LSD Distribution
    5.3. [19]Dangers of Nomnedicinal LSD Experiments
    5.4. [20]Psychotic Reactions
    5.5. [21]LSD from the Black Market
    5.6. [22]The Case of Dr. Leary
    5.7. [23]Meeting with Timothy Leary
    5.8. [24]Travels in the Universe of the Soul
    5.9. [25]Dance of the Spirits in the Wind
    5.10. [26]Polyp from the Deep
    5.11. [27]LSD Experience of a Painter
    5.12. [28]A Joyous Song of Being

    6. [29]The Mexican Relatives of LSD
    6.1. [30]The Sacred Mushroom Teonanacatl
    6.2. [31]Psilocybin and Psilocin
    6.3. [32]A Voyage into the Universe of the Soul with Psilocybin
    6.4. [33]Where Time Stands Still
    6.5. [34]The "Magic Morning Glory" Ololiuhqui
    6.6. [35]In Search of the Magic Plant "Ska Maria Pastora" in the
    Mazatec Country
    6.7. [36]Ride through the Sierra Mazateca
    6.8. [37]A Mushroom Ceremony

    7. [38]Radiance from Ernst Junger
    7.1. [39]Ambivalence of Drug Use
    7.2. [40]An Experiment with Psilocybin
    7.3. [41]Another LSD Session

    8. [42]Meeting with Aldous Huxley

    9. [43]Correspondence with the Poet-Physician Walter Vogt

    10. [44]Various Visitors

    11. [45]LSD Experience and Reality
    11.1. [46]Valious Realities
    11.2. [47]Mystery and Myth

    Formatted in HTML by [48]kk at sci.fi


    1. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/foreword.html
    2. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/preface.html
    3. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter1.html
    4. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter1.html#1
    5. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter1.html#2
    6. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter1.html#3
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    8. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter1.html#5
    9. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter2.html
   10. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter2.html#1
   11. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter2.html#2
   12. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter3.html
   13. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter4.html
   14. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter4.html#1
   15. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter4.html#2
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   18. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter5.html#2
   19. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter5.html#3
   20. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter5.html#4
   21. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter5.html#5
   22. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter5.html#6
   23. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter5.html#7
   24. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter5.html#8
   25. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter5.html#9
   26. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter5.html#10
   27. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter5.html#11
   28. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter5.html#12
   29. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter6.html
   30. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter6.html#1
   31. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter6.html#2
   32. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter6.html#3
   33. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter6.html#4
   34. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter6.html#5
   35. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter6.html#6
   36. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter6.html#7
   37. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter6.html#8
   38. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter7.html
   39. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter7.html#1
   40. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter7.html#2
   41. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter7.html#3
   42. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter8.html
   43. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter9.html
   44. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter10.html
   45. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter11.html
   46. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter11.html#1
   47. http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter11.html#2
   48. mailto:kk at sci.fi



    There are experiences that most of us are hesitant to speak about,
    because they do not conform to everyday reality and defy rational
    explanation. These are not particular external occurrences, but rather
    events of our inner lives, which are generally dismissed as figments
    of the imagination and barred from our memory. Suddenly, the familiar
    view of our surroundings is transformed in a strange, delightful, or
    alarming way: it appears to us in a new light, takes on a special
    meaning. Such an experience can be as light and fleeting as a breath
    of air, or it can imprint itself deeply upon our minds.

    One enchantment of that kind, which I experienced in childhood, has
    remained remarkably vivid in my memory ever since. It happened on a
    May morning - I have forgotten the year - but I can still point to the
    exact spot where it occurred, on a forest path on Martinsberg above
    Baden, Switzerland. As I strolled through the freshly greened woods
    filled with bird song and lit up by the morning sun, all at once
    everything appeared in an uncommonly clear light. Was this something I
    had simply failed to notice before? Was I suddenly discovering the
    spring forest as it actually looked? It shone with the most beautiful
    radiance, speaking to the heart, as though it wanted to encompass me
    in its majesty. I was filled with an indescribable sensation of joy,
    oneness, and blissful security.

    I have no idea how long I stood there spellbound. But I recall the
    anxious concern I felt as the radiance slowly dissolved and I hiked
    on: how could a vision that was so real and convincing, so directly
    and deeply felt - how could it end so soon? And how could I tell
    anyone about it, as my overflowing joy compelled me to do, since I
    knew there were no words to describe what I had seen? It seemed
    strange that I, as a child, had seen something so marvelous, something
    that adults obviously did not perceive - for I had never heard them
    mention it.

    While still a child, I experienced several more of these deeply
    euphoric moments on my rambles through forest and meadow. It was these
    experiences that shaped the main outlines of my world view and
    convinced me of the existence of a miraculous, powerful, unfathomable
    reality that was hidden from everyday sight.

    I was often troubled in those days, wondering if I would ever, as an
    adult, be able to communicate these experiences; whether I would have
    the chance to depict my visions in poetry or paintings. But knowing
    that I was not cut out to be a poet or artist, I assumed I would have
    to keep these experiences to myself, important as they were to me.

    Unexpectedly - though scarcely by chance - much later, in middle age,
    a link was established between my profession and these visionary
    experiences from childhood.

    Because I wanted to gain insight into the structure and essence of
    matter, I became a research chemist. Intrigued by the plant world
    since early childhood, I chose to specialize in research on the
    constituents of medicinal plants. In the course of this career I was
    led to the psychoactive, hallucination-causing substances, which under
    certain conditions can evoke visionary states similar to the
    spontaneous experiences just described. The most important of these
    hallucinogenic substances has come to be known as LSD. Hallucinogens,
    as active compounds of considerable scientific interest, have gained
    entry into medicinal research, biology, and psychiatry, and later -
    especially LSD also obtained wide diffusion in the drug culture.

    In studying the literature connected with my work, I became aware of
    the great universal significance of visionary experience. It plays a
    dominant role, not only in mysticism and the history of religion, but
    also in the creative process in art, literature, and science. More
    recent investigations have shown that many persons also have visionary
    experiences in daily life, though most of us fail to recognize their
    meaning and value. Mystical experiences, like those that marked my
    childhood, are apparently far from rare.

    There is today a widespread striving for mystical experience, for
    visionary breakthroughs to a deeper, more comprehensive reality than
    that perceived by our rational, everyday consciousness. Efforts to
    transcend our materialistic world view are being made in various ways,
    not only by the adherents to Eastern religious movements, but also by
    professional psychiatrists, who are adopting such profound spiritual
    experiences as a basic therapeutic principle.

    I share the belief of many of my contemporaries that the spiritual
    crisis pervading all spheres of Western industrial society can be
    remedied only by a change in our world view. We shall have to shift
    from the materialistic, dualistic belief that people and their
    environment are separate, toward a new consciousness of an
    all-encompassing reality, which embraces the experiencing ego, a
    reality in which people feel their oneness with animate nature and all
    of creation.

    Everything that can contribute to such a fundamental alteration in our
    perception of reality must therefore command earnest attention.
    Foremost among such approaches are the various methods of meditation,
    either in a religious or a secular context, which aim to deepen the
    consciousness of reality by way of a total mystical experience.
    Another important, but still controversial, path to the same goal is
    the use of the consciousness-altering properties of hallucinogenic
    psychopharmaceuticals. LSD finds such an application in medicine, by
    helping patients in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy to perceive their
    problems in their true significance.

    Deliberate provocation of mystical experience, particularly by LSD and
    related hallucinogens, in contrast to spontaneous visionary
    experiences, entails dangers that must not be underestimated.
    Practitioners must take into account the peculiar effects of these
    substances, namely their ability to influence our consciousness, the
    innermost essence of our being. The history of LSD to date amply
    demonstrates the catastrophic consequences that can ensue when its
    profound effect is misjudged and the substance is mistaken for a
    pleasure drug. Special internal and external advance preparations are
    required; with them, an LSD experiment can become a meaningful
    experience. Wrong and inappropriate use has caused LSD to become my
    problem child.

    It is my desire in this book to give a comprehensive picture of LSD,
    its origin, its effects, and its dangers, in order to guard against
    increasing abuse of this extraordinary drug. I hope thereby to
    emphasize possible uses of LSD that are compatible with its
    characteristic action. I believe that if people would learn to use
    LSD's vision-inducing capability more wisely, under suitable
    conditions, in medical practice and in conjunction with meditation,
    then in the future this problem child could become a wonder child.

                              Translator's Preface

    Numerous accounts of the discovery of LSD have been published in
    English; none, unfortunately, have been completely accurate. Here, at
    last, the father of LSD details the history of his "problem child" and
    his long and fruitful career as a research chemist. In a real sense,
    this book is the inside story of the birth of the Psychedelic Age, and
    it cannot be denied that we have here a highly candid and personal
    insight into one of the most important scientific discoveries of our
    time, the signiflcance of which has yet to dawn on mankind.

    Surpassing its historical value is the immense philosophical import of
    this work. Never before has a chemist, an expert in the most
    materialistic of the sciences, advanced a Weltanschauung of such a
    mystical and transcendental nature. LSD, psilocybin, and the other
    hallucinogens do indeed, as Albert Hofmann asserts, constitute
    "cracks" in the edifice of materialistic rationality, cracks we would
    do well to explore and perhaps widen.

    As a writer, it gives me great satisfaction to know that by this book
    the American reader interested in hallucinogens will be introduced to
    the work of Rudolf Gelpke, Ernst Junger, and Walter Vogt, writers who
    are all but unknown here. With the notable exceptions of Huxley and
    Wasson, English and American writers on the hallucinogenic experience
    have been far less distinguished and eloquent than they.

    This translation has been carefully overseen by Albert Hofmann, which
    made my task both simpler and more enjoyable. I am beholden to R.
    Gordon Wasson for checking the chapters on LSD's "Mexican relatives"
    and on "Ska Maria Pastora" for accuracy and style.

    Two chapters of this book - "How LSD Originated" and "LSD Experience
    and Reality" - were presented by Albert Hofmann as apaperbefore the
    international conference "Hallucinogens, Shamanism and Modern Life" in
    San Francisco on the afternoon of Saturday, September 30, 1978. As a
    part of the conference proceedings, the first chapter has been
    published in the Journal of Psychedetic Drugs, Vol. 11 (1-2), 1979.

    Jonathan Ott
    Vashon Island, Washington

                              1. How LSD Originated

    In the realm of scientific observation, luck is granted only to those
    who are prepared.

    Louis Pasteur

    Time and again I hear or read that LSD was discovered by accident.
    This is only partly true. LSD came into being within a systematic
    research program, and the "accident" did not occur until much later:
    when LSD was already five years old, I happened to experience its
    unforeseeable effects in my own body - or rather, in my own mind.

    Looking back over my professional career to trace the influential
    events and decisions that eventually steered my work toward the
    synthesis of LSD, I realize that the most decisive step was my choice
    of employment upon completion of my chemistry studies. If that
    decision had been different, then this substance, which has become
    known the world over, might never have been created. In order to tell
    the story of the origin of LSD, then, I must also touch briefly on my
    career as a chemist, since the two developments are inextricably

    In the spring of 1929, on concluding my chemistry studies at the
    University of Zurich, I joined the Sandoz Company's
    pharmaceutical-chemical research laboratory in Basel, as a co-worker
    with Professor Arthur Stoll, founder and director of the
    pharmaceutical department. I chose this position because it afforded
    me the opportunity to work on natural products, whereas two other job
    offers from chemical firms in Basel had involved work in the field of
    synthetic chemistry.

First Chemical Explorations

    My doctoral work at Zurich under Professor Paul Karrer had already
    given me one chance to pursue my intrest in plant and animal
    chemistry. Making use of the gastrointestinal juice of the vineyard
    snail, I accomplished the enzymatic degradation of chitin, the
    structural material of which the shells, wings, and claws of insects,
    crustaceans, and other lower animals are composed. I was able to
    derive the chemical structure of chitin from the cleavage product, a
    nitrogen-containing sugar, obtained by this degradation. Chitin turned
    out to be an analogue of cellulose, the structural material of plants.
    This important result, obtained after only three months of research,
    led to a doctoral thesis rated "with distiction."

    When I joined the Sandoz firm, the staff of the
    pharmaceutical-chemical department was still rather modest in number.
    Four chemists with doctoral degrees worked in research, three in

    In Stoll's laboratory I found employment that completely agreed with
    me as a research chemist. The objective that Professor Stoll had set
    for his pharmaceutical-chemical research laboratories was to isolate
    the active principles (i.e., the effective constituents) of known
    medicinal plants to produce pure speciments of these substances. This
    is particularly important in the case of medicinal plants whose active
    principles are unstable, or whose potency is subject to great
    variation, which makes an exact dosage difficult. But if the active
    principle is available in pure form, it becomes possible to
    manufacture a stable pharmaceutical preparation, exactly quantifiable
    by weight. With this in mind, Professor Stoll had elected to study
    plant substances of recognized value such as the substances from
    foxglove (Digitalis), Mediterranean squill (Scilla maritima), and
    ergot of rye (Claviceps purpurea or Secale cornutum), which, owning to
    their instability and uncertain dosage, nevertheless, had been little
    used in medicine.

    My first years in the Sandoz laboratories were devoted almost
    exclusively to studying the active principles of Mediterranean squill.
    Dr. Walter Kreis, one of Professor Stoll's earliest associates,
    lounched me in this field of research. The most important constituents
    of Mediterranean squill already existed in pure form. Their active
    agents, as well as those of woolly foxglove (Digitalis lanata), had
    been isolated and purified, chiefly by Dr. Kreis, with extraordinary

    The active principles of Mediterranean squill belong to the group of
    cardioactive glycosides (glycoside = sugar-containing substance) and
    serve, as do those of foxglove, in the treatment of cardiac
    insufficiency. The cardiac glycosides are extremely active substances.
    Because the therapeutic and the toxic doses differ so little, it
    becomes especially important here to have an exact dosage, based on
    pure compounds.

    At the beginning of my investigations, a pharmaceutical preparation
    with Scilla glycosides had already been introduced into therapeutics
    by Sandoz; however, the chemical structure of these active compounds,
    with the exception of the sugar portion, remained largely unknown.

    My main contribution to the Scilla research, in which I participated
    with enthusiasm, was to elucidate the chemical structure of the common
    nucleus of Scilla glycosides, showing on the one hand their
    differences from the Digitalis glycosides, and on the other hand their
    close structural relationship with the toxic principles isolated from
    skin glands of toads. In 1935, these studies were temporarily

    Looking for a new field of research, I asked Professor Stoll to let me
    continue the investigations on the alkaloids of ergot, which he had
    begun in 1917 and which had led directly to the isolation of
    ergotamine in 1918. Ergotamine, discovered by Stoll, was the first
    ergot alkaloid obtained in pure chemical form. Although ergotamine
    quickly took a significant place in therapeutics (under the trade name
    Gynergen) as a hemostatic remedy in obstetrics and as a medicament in
    the treatment of migraine, chemical research on ergot in the Sandoz
    laboratories was abandoned after the isolation of ergotamine and the
    determination of its empirical formula. Meanwhile, at the beginning of
    the thirties, English and American laboratories had begun to determine
    the chemical structure of ergot alkaloids. They had also discovered a
    new, watersoluble ergot alkaloid, which could likewise be isolated
    from the mother liquor of ergotamine production. So I thought it was
    high time that Sandoz resumed chemical research on ergot alkaloids,
    unless we wanted to risk losing our leading role in a field of
    medicinal research, which was already becoming so important.

    Professor Stoll granted my request, with some misgivings: "I must warn
    you of the difficulties you face in working with ergot alkaloids.
    These are-exceedingly sensitive, easily decomposed substances, less
    stable than any of the compounds you have investigated in the cardiac
    glycoside field. But you are welcome to try."

    And so the switches were thrown, and I found myself engaged in a field
    of study that would become the main theme of my professional career. I
    have never forgotten the creative joy, the eager anticipation I felt
    in embarking on the study of ergot alkaloids, at that time a
    relatively uncharted field of research.


    It may be helpful here to give some background information about ergot
    itself.[For further information on ergot, readers should refer to the
    monographs of G. Barger, Ergot and Ergotism (Gurney and Jackson,
    London, 1931 ) and A. Hofmann, Die Mutterkornalkaloide (F. Enke
    Verlag, Stuttgart, 1964). The former is a classical presentation of
    the history of the drug, while the latter emphasizes the chemical
    aspects.] It is produced by a lower fungus (Claviceps purpurea) that
    grows parasitically on rye and, to a lesser extent, on other species
    of grain and on wild grasses. Kernels infested with this fungus
    develop into light-brown to violet-brown curved pegs (sclerotia) that
    push forth from the husk in place of normal grains. Ergot is described
    botanically as a sclerotium, the form that the ergot fungus takes in
    winter. Ergot of rye (Secale cornutum) is the variety used

    Ergot, more than any other drug, has a fascinating history, in the
    course of which its role and meaning have been reversed: once dreaded
    as a poison, in the course of time it has changed to a rich storehouse
    of valuable remedies. Ergot first appeared on the stage of history in
    the early Middle Ages, as the cause of outbreaks of mass poisonings
    affecting thousands of persons at a time. The illness, whose
    connection with ergot was for a long time obscure, appeared in two
    characteristic forms, one gangrenous (ergotismus gangraenosus) and the
    other convulsive (ergotismus convulsivus). Popular names for ergotism
    - such as "mal des ardents," "ignis sacer," "heiliges Feuer," or "St.
    Anthony's fire" - refer to the gangrenous form of the disease. The
    patron saint of ergotism victims was St. Anthony, and it was primarily
    the Order of St. Anthony that treated these patients.

    Until recent times, epidemic-like outbreaks of ergot poisoning have
    been recorded in most European countries including certain areas of
    Russia. With progress in agriculture, and since the realization, in
    the seventeenth century, that ergot-containing bread was the cause,
    the frequency and extent of ergotism epidemics diminished
    considerably. The last great epidemic occurred in certain areas of
    southern Russia in the years 1926-27. [The mass poisoning in the
    southern French city of Pont-St. Esprit in the year 1951, which many
    writers have attributed to ergot-containing bread, actually had
    nothing to do with ergotism. It rather involved poisoning by an
    organic mercury compound that was utilized for disinfecting seed.]

    The first mention of a medicinal use of ergot, namely as an ecbolic (a
    medicament to precipitate childbirth), is found in the herbal of the
    Frankfurt city physician Adam Lonitzer (Lonicerus) in the year 1582.
    Although ergot, as Lonitzer stated, had been used since olden times by
    midwives, it was not until 1808 that this drug gained entry into
    academic medicine, on the strength of a work by the American physician
    John Stearns entitled Account of the Putvis Parturiens, a Remedy for
    Quickening Childbirth. The use of ergot as an ecbolic did not,
    however, endure. Practitioners became aware quite early of the great
    danger to the child, owing primarily to the uncertainty of dosage,
    which when too high led to uterine spasms. From then on, the use of
    ergot in obstetrics was confined to stopping postpartum hemorrhage
    (bleeding after childbirth).

    It was not until ergot's recognition in various pharmacopoeias during
    the first half of the nineteenth century that the first steps were
    taken toward isolating the active principles of the drug. However, of
    all the researchers who assayed this problem during the first hundred
    years, not one succeeded in identifying the actual substances
    responsible for the therapeutic activity. In 1907, the Englishmen G.
    Barger and F. H. Carr were the first to isolate an active alkaloidal
    preparation, which they named ergotoxine because it produced more of
    the toxic than therapeutic properties of ergot. (This preparation was
    not homogeneous, but rather a mixture of several alkaloids, as I was
    able to show thirty-five years later.) Nevertheless, the
    pharmacologist H. H. Dale discovered that ergotoxine, besides the
    uterotonic effect, also had an antagonistic activity on adrenaline in
    the autonomic nervous system that could lead to the therapeutic use of
    ergot alkaloids. Only with the isolation of ergotamine by A. Stoll (as
    mentioned previously) did an ergot alkaloid find entry and widespread
    use in therapeutics.

    The early 1930s brought a new era in ergot research, beginning with
    the determination of the chemical structure of ergot alkaloids, as
    mentioned, in English and American laboratories. By chemical cleavage,
    W. A. Jacobs and L. C. Craig of the Rockefeller Institute of New York
    succeeded in isolating and characterizing the nucleus common to all
    ergot alkaloids. They named it lysergic acid. Then came a major
    development, both for chemistry and for medicine: the isolation of the
    specifically uterotonic, hemostatic principle of ergot, which was
    published simultaneously and quite independently by four institutions,
    including the Sandoz laboratories. The substance, an alkaloid of
    comparatively simple structure, was named ergobasine (syn.
    ergometrine, ergonovine) by A. Stoll and E. Burckhardt. By the
    chemical degradation of ergobasine, W. A. Jacobs and L. C. Craig
    obtained lysergic acid and the amino alcohol propanolamine as cleavage

    I set as my first goal the problem of preparing this alkaloid
    synthetically, through chemical linking of the two components of
    ergobasine, lysergic acid and propanolamine (see structural formulas
    in the appendix).

    The lysergic acid necessary for these studies had to be obtained by
    chemical cleavage of some other ergot alkaloid. Since only ergotamine
    was available as a pure alkaloid, and was already being produced in
    kilogram quantities in the pharmaceutical production department, I
    chose this alkaloid as the starting material for my work. I set about
    obtaining 0.5 gm of ergotamine from the ergot production people. When
    I sent the internal requisition form to Professor Stoll for his
    countersignature, he appeared in my laboratory and reproved me: "If
    you want to work with ergot alkaloids, you will have to familiarize
    yourself with the techniques of microchemistry. I can't have you
    consuming such a large amount of my expensive ergotamine for your

    The ergot production department, besides using ergot of Swiss origin
    to obtain ergotamine, also dealt with Portuguese ergot, which yielded
    an amorphous alkaloidal preparation that corresponded to the
    aforementioned ergotoxine first produced by Barger and Carr. I decided
    to use this less expensive material for the preparation of lysergic
    acid. The alkaloid obtained from the production department had to be
    purified further, before it would be suitable for cleavage to lysergic
    acid. Observations made during the purification process led me to
    think that ergotoxine could be a mixture of several alkaloids, rather
    than one homogeneous alkaloid. I will speak later of the far-reaching
    sequelae of these observations.

    Here I must digress briefly to describe the working conditions and
    techniques that prevailed in those days. These remarks may be of
    interest to the present generation of research chemists in industry,
    who are accustomed to far better conditions.

    We were very frugal. Individual laboratories were considered a rare
    extravagance. During the first six years of my employment with Sandoz,
    I shared a laboratory with two colleagues. We three chemists, plus an
    assistant each, worked in the same room on three different fields: Dr.
    Kreiss on cardiac glycosides; Dr. Wiedemann, who joined Sandoz around
    the same time as I, on the leaf pigment chlorophyll; and I ultimately
    on ergot alkaloids. The laboratory was equipped with two fume hoods
    (compartments supplied with outlets), providing less than effective
    ventilation by gas flames. When we requested that these hoods be
    equipped with ventilators, our chief refused on the gound that
    ventilation by gas flame had sufficed in Willstatter's laboratory.

    During the last years of World War I, Professor Stoll had been an
    assistant in Berlin and Munich to the world-famous chemist and Nobel
    laureate Professor Richard Willstatter, and with him had conducted the
    fundamental investigations on chlorophyll and the assimilation of
    carbon dioxide. There was scarcely a scientific discussion with
    Professor Stoll in which he did not mention his revered teacher
    Professor Willstatter and his work in Willstatter's laboratory.

    The working techniques available to chemists in the field of organic
    chemistry at that time (the beginning of the thirties) were
    essentially the same as those employed by Justus von Liebig a hundred
    years earlier. The most important development achieved since then was
    the introduction of microanalysis by B. Pregl, which made it possible
    to ascertain the elemental composition of a compound with only a few
    milligrams of specimen, whereas earlier a few centigrams were needed.
    Of the other physical-chemical techniques at the disposal of the
    chemist today - techniques which have changed his way of working,
    making it faster and more effective, and created entirely new
    possibilities, above all for the elucidation of structure - none yet
    existed in those days.

    For the investigations of Scilla glycosides and the first studies in
    the ergot field, I still used the old separation and purification
    techniques from Liebig's day: fractional extraction, fractional
    precipitation, fractional crystallization, and the like. The
    introduction of column chromatography, the first important step in
    modern laboratory technique, was of great value to me only in later
    investigations. For structure determination, which today can be
    conducted rapidly and elegantly with the help of spectroscopic methods
    (UV, IR, NMR) and X-ray crystallography, we had to rely, in the first
    fundamental ergot studies, entirely on the old laborious methods of
    chemical degradation and derivatization.

Lysergic Acid and Its Derivatives

    Lysergic acid proved to be a rather unstable substance, and its
    rebonding with basic radicals posed difficulties. In the technique
    knon as Curtius' Synthesis, I ultimately found a process that proved
    useful for combining lysergic acid with amines. With this method I
    produced a great number of lysergic acid compounds. By combining
    lysergic acid with the amino alcohol propanolamine, I obtained a
    compound that was identical to the natural ergot alkaloid ergobasine.
    With that, the first synthesis - that is, artificial production - of
    an ergot alkaloid was accomplished. This was not only of scientific
    interest, as confirmation of the chemical structure of ergobasine, but
    also of practical significance, because ergobasine, the specifically
    uterotonic, hemostatic principle, is present in ergot only in very
    trifling quantities. With this synthesis, the other alkaloids existing
    abundantly in ergot could now be converted to ergobasine, which was
    valuable in obstetrics.

    After this first success in the ergot field, my investigations went
    forward on two fronts. First, I attempted to improve the
    pharmacological properties of ergobasine by variations of its amino
    alcohol radical. My colleague Dr. J. Peyer and I developed a process
    for the economical production of propanolamine and other amino
    alcohols. Indeed, by substitution of the propanolamine contained in
    ergobasine with the amino alcohol butanolamine, an active principle
    was obtained that even surpassed the natural alkaloid in its
    therapeutic properties. This improved ergobasine has found worldwide
    application as a dependable uterotonic, hemostatic remedy under the
    trade name Methergine, and is today the leading medicament for this
    indication in obstetrics.

    I further employed my synthetic procedure to produce new lysergic acid
    compounds for which uterotonic activity was not prominent, but from
    which, on the basis of their chemical structure, other types of
    interesting pharmacological properties could be expected. In 1938, I
    produced the twenty-fifth substance in this series of lysergic acid
    derivatives: lysergic acid diethylamide, abbreviated LSD-25
    (Lyserg-saure-diathylamid) for laboratory usage.

    I had planned the synthesis of this compound with the intention of
    obtaining a circulatory and respiratory stimulant (an analeptic). Such
    stimulating properties could be expected for lysergic acid
    diethylamide, because it shows similarity in chemical structure to the
    analeptic already known at that time, namely nicotinic acid
    diethylamide (Coramine). During the testing of LSD-25 in the
    pharmacological department of Sandoz, whose director at the time was
    Professor Ernst Rothlin, a strong effect on the uterus was
    established. It amounted to some 70 percent of the activity of
    ergobasine. The research report also noted, in passing, that the
    experimental animals became restless during the narcosis. The new
    substance, however, aroused no special interest in our pharmacologists
    and physicians; testing was therefore discontinued.

    For the next five years, nothing more was heard of the substance
    LSD-25. Meanwhile, my work in the ergot field advanced further in
    other areas. Through the purification of ergotoxine, the starting
    material for lysergic acid, I obtained, as already mentioned, the
    impression that this alkaloidal preparation was not homogeneous, but
    was rather a mixture of different substances. This doubt as to the
    homogeneity of ergotoxine was reinforced when in its hydrogenation two
    distinctly different hydrogenation products were obtained, whereas the
    homogeneous alkaloid ergotamine under the same condition yielded only
    a single hydrogenation product (hydrogenation = introduction of
    hydrogen). Extended, systematic analytical investigations of the
    supposed ergotoxine mixture led ultimately to the separation of this
    alkaloidal preparation into three homogeneous components. One of the
    three chemically homogeneous ergotoxine alkaloids proved to be
    identical with an alkaloid isolated shortly before in the production
    department, which A. Stoll and E. Burckhardt had named ergocristine.
    The other two alkaloids were both new. The first I named ergocornine;
    and for the second, the last to be isolated, which had long remained
    hidden in the mother liquor, I chose the name ergokryptine (kryptos =
    hidden). Later it was found that ergokryptine occurs in two isomeric
    forms, which were differentiated as alfa- and beta-ergokryptine.

    The solution of the ergotoxine problem was not merely scientifically
    interesting, but also had great practical significance. A valuable
    remedy arose from it. The three hydrogenated ergotoxine alkaloids that
    I produced in the course of these investigations, dihydroergocristine,
    dihydroergokryptine, and dihydroergocornine, displayed medicinally
    useful properties during testing by Professor Rothlin in the
    pharmacological department. From these three substances, the
    pharmaceutical preparation Hydergine was developed, a medicament for
    improvement of peripheral circulation and cerebral function in the
    control of geriatric disorders. Hydergine has proven to be an
    effective remedy in geriatrics for these indications. Today it is
    Sandoz's most important pharmaceutical product.

    Dihydroergotamine, which I likewise produced in the course of these
    investigations, has also found application in therapeutics as a
    circulation- and bloodpressure-stabilizing medicament, under the trade
    name Dihydergot.

    While today research on important projects is almost exclusively
    carried out as teamwork, the investigations on ergot alkaloids
    described above were conducted by myself alone. Even the further
    chemical steps in the evolution of commercial preparations remained in
    my hands - that is, the preparation of larger specimens for the
    clinical trials, and finally the perfection of the first procedures
    for mass production of Methergine, Hydergine, and Dihydergot. This
    even included the analytical controls for the development of the first
    galenical forms of these three preparations: the ampules, liquid
    solutions, and tablets. My aides at that time included a laboratory
    assistant, a laboratory helper, and later in addition a second
    laboratory assistant and a chemical technician.

Discovery of the Psyhic Effects of LSD

    The solution of the ergotoxine problem had led to fruitful results,
    described here only briefly, and had opened up further avenues of
    research. And yet I could not forget the relatively uninteresting
    LSD-25. A peculiar presentiment - the feeling that this substance
    could possess properties other than those established in the first
    investigations - induced me, five years after the first synthesis, to
    produce LSD-25 once again so that a sample could be given to the
    pharmacological department for further tests. This was quite unusual;
    experimental substances, as a rule, were definitely stricken from the
    research program if once found to be lacking in pharmacological

    Nevertheless, in the spring of 1943, I repeated the synthesis of
    LSD-25. As in the first synthesis, this involved the production of
    only a few centigrams of the compound.

    In the final step of the synthesis, during the purification and
    crystallization of lysergic acid diethylamide in the form of a
    tartrate (tartaric acid salt), I was interrupted in my work by unusual
    sensations. The following description of this incident comes from the
    report that I sent at the time to Professor Stoll:

    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.

    This was, altogether, a remarkable experience - both in its sudden
    onset and its extraordinary course. It seemed to have resulted from
    some external toxic influence; I surmised a connection with the
    substance I had been working with at the time, lysergic acid
    diethylamide tartrate. But this led to another question: how had I
    managed to absorb this material? Because of the known toxicity of
    ergot substances, I always maintained meticulously neat work habits.
    Possibly a bit of the LSD solution had contacted my fingertips during
    crystallization, and a trace of the substance was absorbed through the
    skin. If LSD-25 had indeed been the cause of this bizarre experience,
    then it must be a substance of extraordinary potency. There seemed to
    be only one way of getting to the bottom of this. I decided on a

    Exercising extreme caution, I began the planned series of experiments
    with the smallest quantity that could be expected to produce some
    effect, considering the activity of the ergot alkaloids known at the
    time: namely, 0.25 mg (mg = milligram = one thousandth of a gram) of
    lysergic acid diethylamide tartrate. Quoted below is the entry for
    this experiment in my laboratory journal of April 19, 1943.


    4/19/43 16:20: 0.5 cc of 1/2 promil aqueous solution of diethylamide
        tartrate orally = 0.25 mg tartrate. Taken diluted with about 10 cc
        water. Tasteless.
        17:00: Beginning dizziness, feeling of anxiety, visual
        distortions, symptoms of paralysis, desire to laugh.
        Supplement of 4/21: Home by bicycle. From 18:00- ca.20:00 most
        severe crisis. (See special report.)

    Here the notes in my laboratory journal cease. I was able to write the
    last words only with great effort. By now it was already clear to me
    that LSD had been the cause of the remarkable experience of the
    previous Friday, for the altered perceptions were of the same type as
    before, only much more intense. I had to struggle to speak
    intelligibly. I asked my laboratory assistant, who was informed of the
    self-experiment, to escort me home. We went by bicycle, no automobile
    being available because of wartime restrictions on their use. On the
    way home, my condition began to assume threatening forms. Everything
    in my field of vision wavered and was distorted as if seen in a curved
    mirror. I also had the sensation of being unable to move from the
    spot. Nevertheless, my assistant later told me that we had traveled
    very rapidly. Finally, we arrived at home safe and sound, and I was
    just barely capable of asking my companion to summon our family doctor
    and request milk from the neighbors.

    In spite of my delirious, bewildered condition, I had brief periods of
    clear and effective thinking - and chose milk as a nonspecific
    antidote for poisoning.

    The dizziness and sensation of fainting became so strong at times that
    I could no longer hold myself erect, and had to lie down on a sofa. My
    surroundings had now transformed themselves in more terrifying ways.
    Everything in the room spun around, and the familiar objects and
    pieces of furniture assumed grotesque, threatening forrns. They were
    in continuous motion, animated, as if driven by an inner restlessness.
    The lady next door, whom I scarcely recognized, brought me milk - in
    the course of the evening I drank more than two liters. She was no
    longer Mrs. R., but rather a malevolent, insidious witch with a
    colored mask.

    Even worse than these demonic transformations of the outer world, were
    the alterations that I perceived in myself, in my inner being. Every
    exertion of my will, every attempt to put an end to the disintegration
    of the outer world and the dissolution of my ego, seemed to be wasted
    effort. A demon had invaded me, had taken possession of my body, mind,
    and soul. I jumped up and screamed, trying to free myself from him,
    but then sank down again and lay helpless on the sofa. The substance,
    with which I had wanted to experiment, had vanquished me. It was the
    demon that scornfully triumphed over my will. I was seized by the
    dreadful fear of going insane. I was taken to another world, another
    place, another time. My body seemed to be without sensation, lifeless,
    strange. Was I dying? Was this the transition? At times I believed
    myself to be outside my body, and then perceived clearly, as an
    outside observer, the complete tragedy of my situation. I had not even
    taken leave of my family (my wife, with our three children had
    traveled that day to visit her parents, in Lucerne). Would they ever
    understand that I had not experimented thoughtlessly, irresponsibly,
    but rather with the utmost caution, an-d that such a result was in no
    way foreseeable? My fear and despair intensified, not only because a
    young family should lose its father, but also because I dreaded
    leaving my chemical research work, which meant so much to me,
    unfinished in the midst of fruitful, promising development. Another
    reflection took shape, an idea full of bitter irony: if I was now
    forced to leave this world prematurely, it was because of this
    Iysergic acid diethylamide that I myself had brought forth into the

    By the time the doctor arrived, the climax of my despondent condition
    had already passed. My laboratory assistant informed him about my
    selfexperiment, as I myself was not yet able to formulate a coherent
    sentence. He shook his head in perplexity, after my attempts to
    describe the mortal danger that threatened my body. He could detect no
    abnormal symptoms other than extremely dilated pupils. Pulse, blood
    pressure, breathing were all normal. He saw no reason to prescribe any
    medication. Instead he conveyed me to my bed and stood watch over me.
    Slowly I came back from a weird, unfamiliar world to reassuring
    everyday reality. The horror softened and gave way to a feeling of
    good fortune and gratitude, the more normal perceptions and thoughts
    returned, and I became more confident that the danger of insanity was
    conclusively past.

    Now, little by little I could begin to enjoy the unprecedented colors
    and plays of shapes that persisted behind my closed eyes.
    Kaleidoscopic, fantastic images surged in on me, alternating,
    variegated, opening and then closing themselves in circles and
    spirals, exploding in colored fountains, rearranging and hybridizing
    themselves in constant flux. It was particularly remarkable how every
    acoustic perception, such as the sound of a door handle or a passing
    automobile, became transformed into optical perceptions. Every sound
    generated a vividly changing image, with its own consistent form and

    Late in the evening my wife returned from Lucerne. Someone had
    informed her by telephone that I was suffering a mysterious breakdown.
    She had returned home at once, leaving the children behind with her
    parents. By now, I had recovered myself sufficiently to tell her what
    had happened.

    Exhausted, I then slept, to awake next morning refreshed, with a clear
    head, though still somewhat tired physically. A sensation of
    well-being and renewed life flowed through me. Breakfast tasted
    delicious and gave me extraordinary pleasure. When I later walked out
    into the garden, in which the sun shone now after a spring rain,
    everything glistened and sparkled in a fresh light. The world was as
    if newly created. All my senses vibrated in a condition of highest
    sensitivity, which persisted for the entire day.

    This self-experiment showed that LSD-25 behaved as a psychoactive
    substance with extraordinary properties and potency. There was to my
    knowledge no other known substance that evoked such profound psychic
    effects in such extremely low doses, that caused such dramatic changes
    in human consciousness and our experience of the inner and outer

    What seemed even more significant was that I could remember the
    experience of LSD inebriation in every detail. This could only mean
    that the conscious recording function was not interrupted, even in the
    climax of the LSD experience, despite the profound breakdown of the
    normal world view. For the entire duration of the experiment, I had
    even been aware of participating in an experiment, but despite this
    recognition of my condition, I could not, with every exertion of my
    will, shake off the LSD world. Everything was experienced as
    completely real, as alarming reality; alarming, because the picture of
    the other, familiar everyday reality was still fully preserved in the
    memory for comparison.

    Another surprising aspect of LSD was its ability to produce such a
    far-reaching, powerful state of inebriation without leaving a
    hangover. Quite the contrary, on the day after the LSD experiment I
    felt myself to be, as already described, in excellent physical and
    mental condition.

    I was aware that LSD, a new active compound with such properties,
    would have to be of use in pharmacology, in neurology, and especially
    in psychiatry, and that it would attract the interest of concerned
    specialists. But at that time I had no inkling that the new substance
    would also come to be used beyond medical science, as an inebriant in
    the drug scene. Since my self-experiment had revealed LSD in its
    terrifying, demonic aspect, the last thing I could have expected was
    that this substance could ever find application as anything
    approaching a pleasure drug. I failed, moreover, to recognize the
    meaningful connection between LSD inebriation and spontaneous
    visionary experience until much later, after further experiments,
    which were carried out with far lower doses and under different

    The next day I wrote to Professor Stoll the abovementioned report
    about my extraordinary experience with LSD-25 and sent a copy to the
    director of the pharmacological department, Professor Rothlin.

    As expected, the first reaction was incredulous astonishment.
    Instantly a telephone call came from the management; Professor Stoll
    asked: "Are you certain you made no mistake in the weighing? Is the
    stated dose really correct?" Professor Rothlin also called, asking the
    same question. I was certain of this point, for I had executed the
    weighing and dosage with my own hands. Yet their doubts were justified
    to some extent, for until then no known substance had displayed even
    the slightest psychic effect in fractionof-a-milligram doses. An
    active compound of such potency seemed almost unbelievable.

    Professor Rothlin himself and two of his colleagues were the first to
    repeat my experiment, with only onethird of the dose I had utilized.
    But even at that level, the effects were still extremely impressive,
    and quite fantastic. All doubts about the statements in my report were

              2. LSD in Animal Experiments and Biological Research

    After the discovery of its extraordinary psychic effects, the
    substance LSD-25, which five years earlier had been excluded from
    further investigation after the first trials on animals, was again
    admitted into the series of experimental preparations. Most of the
    fundamental studies on animals were carried out by Dr. Aurelio
    Cerletti in the Sandoz pharmacological department, headed by Professor

    Before a new active substance can be investigated in systematic
    clinical trials with human subjects, extensive data on its effects and
    side effects must be determined in pharmacological tests on animals.
    These experiments must assay the assimilation and elimination of the
    particular substance in organisms, and above all its tolerance and
    relative toxicity. Only the most important reports on animal
    experiments with LSD, and those intelligible to the layperson, will be
    reviewed here. It would greatly exceed the scope of this book if I
    attempted to mention all the results of several hundred
    pharmacological investigations, which have been conducted all over the
    world in connection with the fundamental work on LSD in the Sandoz

    Animal experiments reveal little about the mental alterations caused
    by LSD because psychic effects are scarcely determinable in lower
    animals, and even in the more highly developed, they can be
    established only to a limited extent. LSD produces its effects above
    all in the sphere of the higher and highest psychic and intellectual
    functions. It is therefore understandable that speciflc reactions to
    LSD can be expected only in higher animals. Subtle psychic changes
    cannot be established in animals because, even if they should be
    occurring, the animal could not give them expression. Thus, only
    relatively heavy psychic disturbances, expressing themselves in the
    altered behavior of research animals, become discernible. Quantities
    that are substantially higher than the effective dose of LSD in human
    beings are therefore necessary, even in higher animals like cats,
    dogs, and apes.

    While the mouse under LSD shows only motor disturbances and
    alterations in licking behavior, in the cat we see, besides vegetative
    symptoms like bristling of the hair (piloerection) and salivation,
    indications that point to the existence of hallucinations. The animals
    stare anxiously in the air, and instead of attacking the mouse, the
    cat leaves it alone or will even stand in fear before the mouse. One
    could also conclude that the behavior of dogs that are under the
    influence of LSD involves hallucinations. A caged community of
    chimpanzees reacts very sensitively if a member of the tribe has
    received LSD. Even though no changes appear in this single animal, the
    whole cage gets in an uproar because the LSD chimpanzee no longer
    observes the laws of its finely coordinated hierarchic tribal order.

    Of the remaining animal species on which LSD was tested, only aquarium
    fish and spiders need be mentioned here. In the fish, unusual swimming
    postures were observed, and in the spiders, alterations in web
    building were apparently produced by kSD. At very low optimum doses
    the webs were even better proportioned and more exactly built than
    normally: however, with higher doses, the webs were badly and
    rudimentarily made.

How Toxic Is LSD?

    The toxicity of LSD has been determined in various animal species. A
    standard for the toxicity of a substance is the LDso, or the median
    lethal dose, that is, the dose with which 50 percent of the treated
    animals die. In general it fluctuates broadly, according to the animal
    species, and so it is with LSD. The LDso for the mouse amounts to
    50-60 mgtkg i.v. (that is, 50 to 60 thousandths of a gram of LSD per
    kilogram of animal weight upon injection of an LSD solution into the
    veins). In the rat the LDso drops to 16.5 mg/kg, and in rabbits to 0.3
    mg/kg. One elephant given 0.297 g of LSD died after a few minutes. The
    weight of this animal was determined to be 5,000 kg, which corresponds
    to a lethal dose of 0.06 mg/kg (0.06 thousandths of a gram per
    kilogram of body weight). Because this involves only a single case,
    this value cannot be generalized, but we can at least deduce from it
    that the largest land animal reacts proportionally very sensitively to
    LSD, since the lethal dose in elephants must be some 1,000 times lower
    than in the mouse. Most animals die from a lethal dose of LSD by
    respiratory arrest.

    The minute doses that cause death in animal experiments may give the
    impression that LSD is a very toxic substance. However, if one
    compares the lethal dose in animals with the effective dose in human
    beings, which is 0.0003-0.001 mg/kg (0.0003 to 0.001 thousandths of a
    gram per kilogram of body weight), this shows an extraordinarily low
    toxicity for LSD. Only a 300- to 600-fold overdose of LSD, compared to
    the lethal dose in rabbits, or fully a 50,000- to 100,000fold
    overdose, in comparison to the toxicity in the mouse, would have fatal
    results in human beings. These comparisons of relative toxicity are,
    to be sure, only understandable as estimates of orders of magnitude,
    for the determination of the therapeutic index (that is, the ratio
    between the effective and the lethal dose) is only meaningful within a
    given species. Such a procedure is not possible in this case because
    the lethal doge of LSD for humans is not known. To my knowledge, there
    have not as yet occurred any casualties that are a direct consequence
    of LSD poisoning. Numerous episodes of fatal consequences attributed
    to LSD ingestion have indeed been recorded, but these were accidents,
    even suicides, that may be attributed to the mentally disoriented
    condition of LSD intoxication. The danger of LSD lies not in its
    toxicity, but rather in the unpredictability of its psychic effects.

    Some years ago reports appeared in the scientific literature and also
    in the lay press, alleging that damage to chromosomes or the genetic
    material had been caused by LSD. These effects, however, have been
    observed in only a few individual cases. Subsequent comprehensive
    investigations of a large, statistically significant number of cases,
    however, showed that there was no connection between chromosome
    anomalies and LSD medication. The same applies to reports about fetal
    deformities that had allegedly been produced by LSD. In animal
    experiments, it is indeed possible to induce fetal deformities through
    extremely high doses of LSD, which lie well above the doses used in
    human beings. But under these conditions, even harmless substances
    produce such damage. Examination of reported individual cases of human
    fetal deformities reveals, again, no connection between LSD use and
    such injury. If there had been any such connection, it would long
    since have attracted attention, for several million people by now have
    taken LSD.

Pharmacological Properties of LSD

    LSD is absorbed easily and completely through the gastrointestinal
    tract. It is therefore unnecessary to inject LSD, except for special
    purposes. Experiments on mice with radioactively labeled LSD have
    established that intravenously injected LSD disappeared down to a
    small vestige, very rapidly from the bloodstream and was distributed
    throughout the organism. Unexpectedly, the lowest concentration is
    found in the brain. It is concentrated here in certain centers of the
    midbrain that play a role in the regulation of emotion. Such findings
    give indications as to the localization of certain psychic functions
    in the brain.

    The concentration of LSD in the various organs attains maximum values
    10 to 15 minutes after injection, then falls off again swiftly. The
    small intestine, in which the concentration attains the maximum within
    two hours, constitutes an exception. The elimination of LSD is
    conducted for the most part (up to some 80 percent) through the
    intestine via liver and bile. Only 1 to 10 percent of the elimination
    product exists as unaltered LSD; the remainder is made up of various
    transformation products.

    As the psychic effects of LSD persist even after it can no longer be
    detected in the organism, we must assume that LSD is not active as
    such, but that it rather triggers certain biochemical,
    neurophysiological, and psychic mechanisms that provoke the inebriated
    condition and continue in the absence of the active principle.

    LSD stimulates centers of the sympathetic nervous system in the
    midbrain, which leads to pupillary dilatation, increase in body
    temperature, and rise in the blood-sugar level. The
    uterine-constricting activity of LSD has already been mentioned.

    An especially interesting pharmacological property of LSD, discovered
    by J. H. Gaddum in England, is its serotonin-blocking effect.
    Serotonin is a hormone-like substance, occurring naturally in various
    organs of warm-blooded animals. Concentrated in the midbrain, it plays
    an important role in the propagation of impulses in certain nerves and
    therefore in the biochemistry of psychic functions. The disruption of
    natural functioning of serotonin by LSD was for some time regarded as
    an explanation of its psychic effects. However, it was soon shown that
    even certain derivatives of LSD (compounds in which the chemical
    structure of LSD is slightly modified) that exhibit no hallucinogenic
    properties, inhibit the effects of serotonin just as strongly, or yet
    more strongly, than unaltered LSD. The serotonin-blocking effect of
    LSD thus does not suffice to explain its hallucinogenic properties.

    LSD also influences neurophysiological functions that are connected
    with dopamine, which is, like serotonin, a naturally occurring
    hormone-like substance. Most of the brain centers receptive to
    dopamine become activated by LSD, while the others are depressed.

    As yet we do not know the biochemical mechanisms through which LSD
    exerts its psychic effects. Investigations of the interactions of LSD
    with brain factors like serotonin and dopamine, however, are examples
    of how LSD can serve as a tool in brain research, in the study of the
    biochemical processes that underlie the psychic functions.

                        3. Chemical Modifications of LSD

    When a new type of active compound is discovered in
    pharmaceutical-chemical research, whether by isolation from a plant
    drug or from animal organs, or through synthetic production as in the
    case of LSD, then the chemist attempts, through alterations in its
    molecular structure, to produce new compounds with similar, perhaps
    improved activity, or with other valuable active properties. We call
    this process achemical modification of this type of active substance.
    Of the approximately 20,000 new substances that are produced annually
    in the pharmaceutical-chemical research laboratories of the world, the
    overwhelming majority are modification products of proportionally few
    types of active compounds. The discovery of a really new type of
    active substance - new with regard to chemical structure and
    pharmacological effect - is a rare stroke of luck.

    Soon after the discovery of the psychic effects of LSD, two coworkers
    were assigned to join me in carrying out the chemical modification of
    LSD on a broader basis and in further investigations in the field of
    ergot alkaloids. The work on the chemical structure of ergot alkaloids
    of the peptide type, to which ergotamine and the alkaloids of the
    ergotoxine group belong, continued with Dr. Theodor Petrzilka. Working
    with Dr. Franz Troxler, I produced a great number of chemical
    modifications of LSD, and we attempted to gain further insights into
    the structure of lysergic acid, for which the American researchers had
    already proposed a structural formula. In 1949 we succeeded in
    correcting this formula and specifying the valid structure of this
    common nucleus of all ergot alkaloids, including of course LSD.

    The investigations of the peptide alkaloids of ergot led to the
    complete structural formulas of these substances, which we published
    in 1951. Their correctness was confirmed through the total synthesis
    of ergotamine, which was realized ten years later in collaboration
    with two younger coworkers, Dr. Albert J. Frey and Dr. Hans Ott.
    Another coworker, Dr. Paul A. Stadler, was largely responsible for the
    development of this synthesis into a process practicable on an
    industrial scale. The synthetic production of peptide ergot alkaloids
    using lysergic acid obtained from special cultures of the ergot fungus
    in tanks has great economic importance. This procedure is used to
    produce the starting material for the medicaments Hydergine and

    Now we return to the chemical modifications of LSD. Many LSD
    derivatives were produced, since 1945, in collaboration with' Dr.
    Troxler, but none proved hallucinogenically more active than LSD.
    Indeed, the very closest relatives proved themselves essentially less
    active in this respect.

    There are four different possibilities of spatial arrangement of atoms
    in the LSD molecule. They are differentiated in technical language by
    the prefix isoand the letters D and L. Besides LSD, which is more
    precisely designated as D-lysergic acid diethylamide, I have also
    produced and likewise tested in selfexperiments the three other
    spatially different forms, namely D-isolysergic acid diethylamide
    (iso-LSD), L-lysergic acid diethylamide (L-LSD), and L-isolysergic
    acid diethylamide (L-iso-LSD). The last three forms of LSD showed no
    psychic effects up to a dose of 0.5 mg, which corresponds to a 20-fold
    quantity of a still distinctly active LSD dose.

    A substance very closely related to LSD, the monoethylamide of
    lysergic acid (LAE-23), in which an ethyl group is replaced by a
    hydrogen atom on the diethylamide residue of LSD, proved to be some
    ten times less psychoactive than LSD. The hallucinogenic effect of
    this substance is also qualitatively different: it is characterized by
    a narcotic component. This narcotic effect is yet more pronounced in
    lysergic acid amide (LA-111), in which both ethyl groups of LSD are
    displaced by hydrogen atoms. These effects, which I established in
    comparative self-experiments with LA-111 and LAE-32, were corroborated
    by subsequent clinical investigations.

    Fifteen years later we encountered lysergic acid amide, which had been
    produced synthetically for these investigations, as a naturally
    occurring active principle of the Mexican magic drug olotiuhqui. In a
    later chapter I shall deal more fully with this unexpected discovery.

    Certain results of the chemical modification of LSD proved valuable to
    medicinal research; LSD derivatives were found that were only weakly
    or not at all hallucinogenic, but instead exhibited other effects of
    LSD to an increased extent. Such an effect of LSD is its blocking
    effect on the neurotransmitter serotonin (referred to previously in
    the discussion of the pharmacological properties of LSD). As serotonin
    plays a role in allergic-inflammatory processes and also in the
    generation of migraine, a specific serotonin-blocking substance was of
    great significance to medicinal research. We therefore searched
    systematically for LSD derivatives without hallucinogenic effects, but
    with the highest possible activity as serotonin blockers. The first
    such active substance was found in bromo-LSD, which has become known
    in medicinal-biological research under the designation BOL-148. In the
    course of our investigations on serotonin antagonists, Dr. Troxler
    produced in the sequel yet stronger and more specifically active
    compounds. The most active entered the medicinal market as a
    medicament for the treatment of migraine, under the trademark
    "Deseril" or, in English-speaking countries, "Sansert."

                           4. Use of LSD in Psychiatry

    Soon after LSD was tried on animals, the first systematic
    investigation of the substance was carried out on human beings, at the
    psychiatric clinic of the University of Zurich. Werner A. Stoll, M.D.
    (a son of Professor Arthur Stoll), who led this research, published
    his results in 1947 in the Schweizer Archiv fur Neurologie und
    Psychiatrie, under the title "Lysergsaure-diathylamid, ein
    Phantastikum aus der Mutterkorngruppe" [Lysergic acid diethylamide, a
    phantasticum from the ergot group].

    The tests involved healthy research subjects as well as schizophrenic
    patients. The dosages - substantially lower than in my first
    self-experiment with 0.25 mg LSD tartrate - amounted to only 0.02 to
    0.13 mg. The emotional state during the LSD inebriation was here
    predominantly euphoric, whereas in my experiment the mood was marked
    by grave side effects resulting from overdosage and, of course, fear
    of the uncertain outcome.

    This fundamental publication, which gave a scientific description of
    all the basic features of LSD inebriation, classified the new active
    principle as a phantas a phantasticum. However, the question of
    therapeutic application of LSD remained unanswered. On the other hand,
    the report emphasized the extraordinarily high activity of LSD, which
    corresponds to the activity of trace substances occurring in the
    organism that are considered to be responsible for certain mental
    disorders. Another subject discussed in this first publication was the
    possible application of LSD as a research tool in psychiatry, which
    follows from its tremendous psychic activity.

First Self-Experiment by a Psychiatrist

    In his paper, W. A. Stoll also gave a detailed description of his own
    personal experiment with LSD. Since this was the first self-experiment
    published by a psychiatrist, and since it describes many
    characteristic features of LSD inebriation, it is interesting to quote
    extensively from the report. I warmly thank the author for kind
    permission to republish this extract.

    At 8 o'clock I took 60 mcg (0.06 milligrams) of LSD. Some 20 minutes
        later, the first symptoms appeared: heaviness in the limbs, slight
        atactic (i.e., confused, uncoordinated) symptoms. A subjectively
        very unpleasant phase of general malaise followed, in parallel
        with the drop in blood pressure registered by the examiners.
        A certain euphoria then set in, though it seemed weaker to me than
        experiences in an earlier experiment. The ataxia increased, and I
        went "sailing" around the room with large strides. I felt somewhat
        better, but was glad to lie down.
        Afterward the room was darkened (dark experiment); there followed
        an unprecedented experience of unimaginable intensity that kept
        increasing in strength. It w as characterized by an unbelievable
        profusion of optical hallucinations that appeared and vanished
        with great speed, to make way for countless new images. I saw a
        profusion of circles, vortices, sparks, showers, crosses, and
        spirals in constant, racing flux.
        The images appeared to stream in on me predominantly from the
        center of the visual field, or out of the lower left edge. When a
        picture appeared in the middle, the remaining field of vision was
        simultaneously filled up with a vast number of similar visions.
        All were colored: bright, luminous red, yellow, and green
        I never managed to linger on any picture. When the supervisor of
        the experiment emphasized my great fantasies, the richness of my
        statements, I could only react with a sympathetic smile. I knew,
        in fact, that I could not retain, much less describe, more than a
        fraction of the pictures. I had to force myself to give a
        description. Terms such as "fireworks" or "kaleidoscopic" were
        poor and inadequate. I felt that I had to immerse myself more and
        more deeply into this strange and fascinating world, in order to
        allow the exuberance, the unimaginable wealth, to work on me.
        At first, the hallucinations were elementary: rays, bundles of
        rays, rain, rings, vortices, loops, sprays, clouds, etc. Then more
        highly organized visions also appeared: arches, rows of arches, a
        sea of roofs, desert landscapes, terraces, flickering fire, starry
        skies of unbelievable splendor. The original, more simple images
        continued in the midst of these more highly organized
        hallucinations. I remember the following images in particular:
        A succession of towering, Gothic vaults, an endless choir, of
        which I could not see the lower portions.
        A landscape of skyscrapers, reminiscent of pictures of the
        entrance to New York harbor: house towers staggered behind and
        beside one another with innumerable rows of windows. Again the
        foundation was missing.
        A system of masts and ropes, which reminded me of a reproduction
        of a painting seen the previous day (the inside of a circus tent).
        An evening sky of an unimaginable pale blue over the dark roofs of
        a Spanish city. I had a peculiar feeling of anticipation, was full
        of joy and decidedly ready for adventure. All at once the stars
        flared up, amassed, and turned to a dense rain of stars and sparks
        that streamed toward me. City and sky had disappeared.
        I was in a garden, saw brilliant red, yellow, and green lights
        falling through a dark trelliswork, an indescribably joyous
        It was significant that all the images consisted of countless
        repetitions of the same elements: many sparks, many circles, many
        arches, many windows, many fires, etc. I never saw isolated
        images, but always duplications of the same image, endlessly
        I felt myself one with all romanticists and dreamers, thought of
        E. T. A. Hoffmann, saw the maelstrom of Poe (even though, at the
        time I had read Poe, his description seemed exaggerated). Often I
        seemed to stand at the pinnacle of artistic experience; I
        luxuriated in the colors of the altar of Isenheim, and knew the
        euphoria and exultation of an artistic vision. I must also have
        spoken again and again of modern art; I thought of abstract
        pictures, which all at once I seemed to understand. Then again,
        there were impressions of an extreme trashiness, both in their
        shapes and their color combinations. The most garish, cheap modern
        lamp ornaments and sofa pillows came into my mind. The train of
        thought was quickened. But I had the feeling the supervisor of the
        experiment could still keep up with me. Of course I knew,
        intellectually, that I was rushing him. At first I had
        descriptions rapidly at hand. With the increasingly frenzied pace,
        it became impossible to think a thought through to the end. I must
        have only started many sentences.
        When I tried to restrict myself to specific subjects, the
        experiment proved most unsuccessful. My mind would even focus, in
        a certain sense, on contrary images: skyscrapers instead of a
        church, a broad desert instead of a mountain.
        I assumed that I had accurately estimated the elapsed time, but
        did not take the matter very seriously. Such questions did not
        interest me in the slightest.
        My state of mind was consciously euphoric. I enjoyed the
        condition, was serene, and took a most active interest in the
        experience. From time to time I opened my eyes. The weak red light
        seemed mysterious, much more than before. The busily writing
        research supervisor appeared to me to be very far away. Often I
        had peculiar bodily sensations: I believed my hands to be attached
        to some distant body, but was not certain whether it was my own.
        After termination of the first dark experiment, I strolled about
        in the room a bit, was unsure on my legs, and again felt less
        well. I became cold and was thankful that the research supervisor
        covered me with a blanket. I felt unkempt, unshaven, and unwashed.
        The room seemed strange and broad. Later I squatted on a high
        stool, thinking all the while that I sat there like a bird on the
        The supervisor emphasized my own wretched appearance. He seemed
        remarkably graceful. I myself had small, finely formed hands. As I
        washed them, it was happening a long way from me, somewhere down
        below on the right. It was questionable, but utterly unimportant,
        whether they were my own hands.
        In the landscape outside, well known to me, many things appeared
        to have changed. Besides the hallucinations, I could now see the
        real as well. Later this was no longer possible, although I
        remained aware that reality was otherwise.
        A barracks, and the garage standing before it to the left,
        suddenly changed to a landscape of ruins, shattered to pieces. I
        saw wall wreckage and projecting beams, inspired undoubtedly by
        the memory of the war events in this region.
        In a uniform, extensive field, I kept seeing figures, which I
        tried to draw, but could get no farther than the crudest
        beginnings. I saw an extremely opulent sculptural ornamentation in
        constant metamorphosis, in continuous flux. I was reminded of
        every possible foreign culture, saw Mexican, Indian motifs.
        Between a grating of small beams and tendrils appeared little
        caricatures, idols, masks, strangely mixed all of a sudden with
        childish drawings of people. The tempo was slackened compared to
        the dark experiment.
        The euphoria had now vanished. I became depressed, especially
        during the second dark experiment, which followed. Whereas during
        the first dark experiment, the hallucinations had alternated with
        great rapidity in bright and luminous colors, now blue, violet,
        and dark green prevailed. The movement of larger images was slower
        milder, quieter, although even these were composed of finely
        raining "elemental dots," which streamed and whirled about
        quickly. During the first dark experiment, the commotion had
        frequently intruded upon me; now it often led distinctly away from
        me into the center of the picture, where a sucking mouth appeared.
        I saw grottoes with fantastic erosions and stalactites, reminding
        me of the child's book Im Wunderreiche des Bergkonigs [In the
        wondrous realm of the mountain king]. Serene systems of arches
        rose up. On the right-hand side, a row of shed roofs suddenly
        appeared; I thought of an evening ride homeward during military
        service. Significantly it involved a homeward ride: there was no
        longer anything like departure or love of adventure. I felt
        protected, enveloped by motherliness, was in peace. The
        hallucinations were no longer exciting, but instead mild and
        attenuated. Somewhat later I had the feeling of possessing the
        same motherly strength. I perceived an inclination, a desire to
        help, and behaved then in an exaggeratedly sentimental and trashy
        manner, where medical ethics are concerned. I realized this and
        was able to stop.
        But the depressed state of mind remained. I tried again and again
        to see bright and joyful images. But to no avail; only dark blue
        and green patterns emerged. I longed to imagine bright fire as in
        the first dark experiment. And I did see fires; however, they were
        sacrificial fires on the gloomy battlement of a citadel on a
        remote, autumnal heath. Once I managed to behold a bright
        ascending multitude of sparks, but at half-altitude it transformed
        itself into a group of silently moving spots from a peacock's
        tail. During the experiment I was very impressed that my state of
        mind and the type of hallucinations harmonized so consistently and
        During the second dark experiment I observed that random noises,
        and also noises intentionally produced by the supervisor of the
        experiment, provoked simultaneous changes in the optical
        impressions (synesthesia). In the same manner, pressure on the
        eyeball produced alterations of visual perceptions.
        Toward the end of the second dark experiment, I began to watch for
        sexual fantasies, which were, however, totally absent. In no way
        could I experience sexual desire. I wanted to imagine a picture of
        a woman; only a crude modern-primitive sculpture appeared. It
        seemed completely unerotic, and its forms were immediately
        replaced by agitated circles and loops.
        After the second dark experiment I felt benumbed and physically
        unwell. I perspired, was exhausted. I was thankful not to have to
        go to the cafeteria for lunch. The laboratory assistant who
        brought us the food appeared to me small and distant, of the same
        remarkable daintiness as the supervisor of the experiment.
        Sometime around 3:00 P.M. I felt better, so that the supervisor
        could pursue his work. With some effort I managed to take notes
        myself. I sat at the table, wanted to read, but could not
        concentrate. Once I seemed to myself like a shape from a
        surrealistic picture, whose limbs were not connected with the
        body, but were rather painted somewhere close by....
        I was depressed and thought with interest of the possibility of
        suicide. With some terror I apprehended that such thoughts were
        remarkably familiar to me. It seemed singularly self-evident that
        a depressed person commits suicide....
        On the way home and in the evening I was again euphoric, brimming
        with the experiences of the morning. I had experienced unexpected,
        impressive things. It seemed to me that a great epoch of my life
        had been crowded into a few hours. I was tempted to repeat the
        The next day I was careless in my thinking and conduct, had great
        trouble concentrating, was apathetic. . . . The casual, slightly
        dream-like condition persisted into the afternoon. I had great
        trouble reporting in any organized way on a simple problem. I felt
        a growing general weariness, an increasing awareness that I had
        now returned to everyday reality.
        The second day after the experiment brought an irresolute
        state.... Mild, but distinct depression was experienced during the
        following week, a feeling which of course could be related only
        indirectly to LSD.

The Psychic Effects of LSD

    The picture of the activity of LSD obtained from these first
    investigations was not new to science. It largely matched the commonly
    held view of mescaline, an alkaloid that had been investigated as
    early as the turn of the century. Mescaline is the psychoactive
    constituent of a Mexican cactus Lophophora williamsii (syn. Anhalonium
    lewinii). This cactus has been eaten by American Indians ever since
    pre-Columbian times, and is still used today as a sacred drug in
    religious ceremonies. In his monograph Phantastica (Verlag Georg
    Stilke, Berlin, 1924), L. Lewin has amply described the history of
    this drug, called peyotl by the Aztecs. The alkaloid mescaline was
    isolated from the cactus by A. Heffter in 1896, and in 1919 its
    chemical structure was elucidated and it was produced synthetically by
    E. Spath. It was the first hallucinogen or phantasticum (as this type
    of active compound was described by Lewin) to become available as a
    pure substance, permitting the study of chemically induced changes of
    sensory perceptions, mental illusions (hallucinations), and
    alterations of consciousness. In the 1920s extended experiments with
    mescaline were carried out on animal and human subjects and described
    comprehensively by K. Beringer in his book Der Meskalinrausch (Verlag
    Julius Springer, Berlin, 1927). Because these investigations failed to
    indicate any applications of mescaline in medicine, interest in this
    active substance waned.

    With the discovery of LSD, hallucinogen research received a new
    impetus. The novelty of LSD as opposed to mescaline was its high
    activity, lying in a different order of magnitude. The active dose of
    mescaline, 0.2 to 0.5 g, is comparable to 0.00002 to 0.0001 g of LSD;
    in other words, LSD is some 5,000 to 10,000 times more active than

    LSD's unique position among the psychopharmaceuticals is not only due
    to its high activity, in a quantitative sense. The substance also has
    qualitative significance: it manifests a high specificity, that is, an
    activity aimed specifically at the human psyche. It can be assumed,
    therefore, that LSD affects the highest control centers of the psychic
    and intellectual functions.

    The psychic effects of LSD, which are produced by such minimal
    quantities of material, are too meaningful and too multiform to be
    explained by toxic alterations of brain function. If LSD acted only
    through a toxic effect on the brain, then LSD experiences would be
    entirely psychopathological in meaning, without any psychological or
    psychiatric interest. On the contrary, it is likely that alterations
    of nerve conductivity and influence on the activity of nerve
    connections (synapses), which have been experimentally demonstrated,
    play an important role. This could mean that an influence is being
    exerted on the extremely complex system of cross-connections and
    synapses between the many billions of brain cells, the system on which
    the higher psychic and intellectual functions depend. This would be a
    promising area to explore in the search for an explanation of LSD's
    radical efficacy.

    The nature of LSD's activity could lead to numerous possibilities of
    medicinal-psychiatric uses, as W. A. Stoll's ground-breaking studies
    had already shown. Sandoz therefore made the new active substance
    available to research institutes and physicians as an experimental
    drug, giving it the trade name Delysid (D-Lysergsaure-diathylamid)
    which I had proposed. The printed prospectus below describes possible
    applications of this kind and voices the necessary precautions.

    Delysid (LSD 25)
        D-lysergic acid diethylamide tartrate
        Sugar-coated tablets containing 0.025 mg. (25 mircog.)
        Ampoules of 1 ml. containing 0.1 mg. (100 microg.) for
        oral administration
        The solution may also be injected s.c. or i.v. The
        effect is identical with that of oral administration
        but sets in more rapidly.
        The administration of very small doses of Delysid (1/2-2
        microg./kg. body weight) results in transitory disturbances of
        affect, hallucinations, depersonalization, reliving of repressed
        memories, and mild neurovegetative symptoms. The effect sets in
        after 30 to 90 minutes and generally lasts 5 to 12 hours. However,
        intermittent disturbances of affect may occasionally persist for
        several days.
        For oral administration the contents of 1 ampoule of Delysid are
        diluted with distilled water, a 1% solution of tartaric acid or
        halogen-free tap water.
        The absorption of the solution is somewhat more rapid and more
        constant than that of the tablets.
        Ampoules which have not been opened, which have been protected
        against light and stored in a cool place are stable for an
        unlimited period. Ampoules which have been opened or diluted
        solutions retain their effectiveness for 1 to 2 days, if stored in
        a refrigerator.
        a) Analytical psychotherapy, to elicit release of repressed
        material and provide mental relaxation, particularly in anxiety
        states and obsessional neuroses.
        The initial dose is 25 microg. (1/4 of an ampoule or 1 tablet).
        This dose is increased at each treatment by 25 microg. until the
        optimum dose (usually between 50 and 200 microg.) is found. The
        individual treatments are best given at intervals of one week.
        b) Experimental studies on the nature of psychoses: By taking
        Delysid himself, the psychiatrist is able to gain an insight into
        the world of ideas and sensations of mental patients. Delysid can
        also be used to induce model psychoses of short duration in normal
        subjects, thus facilitating studies on the pathogenesis of mental
        In normal subjects, doses of 25 to 75 microg. are generally
        sufficient to produce a hallucinatory psychosis (on an average 1
        microg./kg. body weight). In certain forms of psychosis and in
        chronic alcoholism, higher doses are necessary (2 to 4 microg./kg.
        body weight).
        Pathological mental conditions may be intensified by Delysid.
        Particular caution is necessary in subjects with a suicidal
        tendency and in those cases where a psychotic development appears
        imminent. The psycho-affective liability and the tendency to
        commit impulsive acts may occasionally last for some days.
        Delysid should only be administered under strict medical
        supervision. The supervision should not be discontinued until the
        effects of the drug have completely orn off.
        The mental effects of Delysid can be rapidly reversed by the i.m.
        administration of 50 mg. chlorpromazine.
        Literature available on request.

    The use of LSD in analytical psychotherapy is based mainly on the
    following psychic effects.

    In LSD inebriation the accustomed world view undergoes a deep-seated
    transformation and disintegration. Connected with this is a loosening
    or even suspension of the I-you barrier. Patients who are bogged down
    in an egocentric problem cycle can thereby be helped to release
    themselves from their fixation and isolation. The result can be an
    improved rapport with the doctor and a greater susceptibility to
    psychotherapeutic influence. The enhanced suggestibility under the
    influence of LSD works toward the same goal.

    Another significant, psychotherapeutically valuable characteristic of
    LSD inebriation is the tendency of long forgotten or suppressed
    contents of experience to appear again in consciousness. Traumatic
    events, which are sought in psychoanalysis, may then become accessible
    to psychotherapeutic treatment. Numerous case histories tell of
    experiences from even the earliest childhood that were vividly
    recalled during psychoanalysis under the influence of LSD. This does
    not involve an ordinary recollection, but rather a true reliving; not
    a reminiscence, but rather a reviviscence, as the French psychiatrist
    Jean Delay has formulated it.

    LSD does not act as a true medicament; rather it plays the role of a
    drug aid in the context of psychoanalytic and psychotherapeutic
    treatment and serves to channel the treatment more effectively and to
    shorten its duration. It can fulfill this function in two particular

    In one procedure, which was developed in European clinics and given
    the name psychotytic therapy, moderately strong doses of LSD are
    administered in several successive sessions at regular intervals.
    Subsequently the LSD experiences are worked out in group discussions,
    and in expression therapy by drawing and painting. The term
    psycholytic therapy was coined by Ronald A. Sandison, an English
    therapist of Jungian orientation and a pioneerof clinical LSD
    research. The root -lysis or -lytic signifies the dissolution of
    tension or conflicts in the human psyche.

    In a second procedure, which is the favored treatment in the United
    States, a single, very high LSD dose (0.3 to 0.6 mg) is administered
    after correspondingly intensive psychological preparation of the
    patients. This method, described as psychedelic therapy, attempts to
    induce a mystical-religious experience through the shock effects of
    LSD. This experience can then serve as a starting point for a
    restructuring and curing of the patient's personality in the
    accompanying psychotherapeutic treatment. The term psychedelic, which
    can be translated as "mind-manifesting" or "mind-expanding," was
    introduced by Humphry Osmond, a pioneer of LSD research in the United

    LSD's apparent benefits as a drug auxiliary in psychoanalysis and
    psychotherapy are derived from properties diametrically opposed to the
    effects of tranquilizer-type psychopharmaceuticals. Whereas
    tranquilizers tend to cover up the patient's problems and conflicts,
    reducing their apparent gravity and importance: LSD, on the contrary,
    makes them more exposed and more intensely experienced. This clearer
    recognition of problems and conflicts makes them, in turn, more
    susceptible to psychotherapeutic treatment.

    The suitability and success of LSD in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy
    are still a subject of controversy in professional circles. The same
    could be said, however, of other procedures employed in psychiatry
    such as electroshock, insulin therapy, or psychosurgery, procedures
    that entail, moreover, a far greater risk than the use of LSD, which
    under suitable conditions can be considered practically safe.

    Because forgotten or repressed experiences, under the influence of
    LSD, may become conscious with considerable speed, the treatment can
    be correspondingly shortened. To some psychiatrists, however, this
    reduction of the therapy's duration is a disadvantage. They are of the
    opinion that this precipitation leaves the patient insufficient time
    for psychotherapeutic working-through. The therapeutic effect they
    believe, persists for a shorter time than when there is a gradual
    treatment, including a slow process of becoming conscious of the
    traumatic experiences.

    Psycholytic and especially psychedelic therapy require thorough
    preparation of the patient for the LSD experience, to avoid his or her
    being frightened by the unusual and the unfamiliar. Only then is a
    positive interpretation of the experience possible. The selection of
    patients is also important, since not all types of psychic disturbance
    respond equally well to these msthods of treatment. Successful use of
    LSD-assisted psychoanalysis and psychotherapy presupposes speclflc
    knowledge and experience.

    In this respect self-examination by psychiatrists, as W. A. Stoll has
    pointed out, can be most useful. They provide the doctors with direct
    insight, based on firsthand experience into the strange world of LSD
    inebriation, and make it possible for them truly to understand these
    phenomena in their patients, to interpret them properly, and to take
    full advantage of them.

    The following pioneers in use of LSD as a drug aid in psychoanalysis
    and psychotherapy deserve to be named in the front rank: A. K. Busch
    and W. C. Johnson, S. Cohen and B. Eisner, H. A. Abramson, H. Osmond,
    and A. Hoffer in the United States; R. A. Sandison in England; W.
    Frederking and H. Leuner in Germany; and G. Roubicek and S. Grof in

    The second indication for LSD cited in the Sandoz prospectus on
    Delysid concerns its use in experimental investigations on the nature
    of psychoses. This arises from the fact that extraordinary psychic
    states experimentally produced by LSD in healthy research subjects are
    similar to many manifestations of certain mental disturbances. In the
    early days of LSD research, it was often claimed that LSD inebriation
    has something to do with a type of "model psychosis." This idea was
    dismissed, however, because extended comparative investigations showed
    that there were essential differences between the manifestations of
    psychosis and the LSD experience. With the LSD model, nevertheless, it
    is possible to study deviations from the normal psychic and mental
    condition, and to observe the biochemical and electrophysiological
    alterations associated with them. Perhaps we shall thereby gain new
    insights into the nature of psychoses. According to certain theories,
    various mental disturbances could be produced by psychotoxic metabolic
    products that have the power, even in minimal quantities, to alter the
    functions of brain cells. LSD represents a substance that certainly
    does not occur in the human organism, but whose existence and activity
    let it seem possible that abnormal metabolic products could exist,
    that even in trace quantities could produce mental disturbances. As a
    result, the conception of a biochemical origin of certain mental
    disturbances has received broader support, and research in this
    direction has been stimulated.

    One medicinal use of LSD that touches on fundamental ethical questions
    is its administration to the dying. This practice arose from
    observations in American clinics that especially severe painful
    conditions of cancer patients, which no longer respond to conventional
    pain-relieving medication, could be alleviated or completely abolished
    by LSD. Of course, this does not involve an analgesic effect in the
    true sense. The diminution of pain sensitivity may rather occur
    because patients under the influence of LSD are psychologically so
    dissociated from their bodies that physical pain no longer penetrates
    their consciousness. In order for LSD to be effective in such cases,
    it is especially crucial that patients be prepared and instructed
    about the kind of experiences and transformations that await them. In
    many cases it has proved beneficial for either a member of the clergy
    or a psychotherapist to guide the patient's thoughts in a religious
    direction. Numerous case histories tell of patients who gained
    meaningful insights about life and death on their deathbeds as, freed
    from pain in LSD ecstasy and reconciled to their fate, they faced
    their earthly demise fearlessly and in peace.

    The hitherto existing knowledge about the administration of LSD to the
    terminally ill has been summarized and published by S. Grof and J.
    Halifax in their book The Human Encounter with Death (E. P. Dutton,
    New York, 1977). The authors, together with E. Kast, S. Cohen, and W.
    A. Pahnke, are among the pioneers of this application of LSD.

    The most recent comprehensive publication on the use of LSD in
    psychiatry, Realms of the Human Unconscious: Observations from LSD
    Research (The Viking Press, New York, 1975), likewise comes from S.
    Grof, the Czech psychiatrist who has emigrated to the United States.
    This book offers a critical evaluation of the LSD experience from the
    viewpoint of Freud and Jung, as well as of existential analysis.

                           5. From Remedy to Inebriant

    During the first years after its discovery, LSD brought me the same
    happiness and gratification that any pharmaceutical chemist would feel
    on learning that a substance he or she produced might possibly develop
    into a valuable medicament. For the creation of new remedies is the
    goal of a pharmaceutical chemist's research activity; therein lies the
    meaning of his or her work.

Nonmedical Use of LSD

    This joy at having fathered LSD was tarnished after more than ten
    years of uninterrupted scientific research and medicinal use when LSD
    was swept up in the huge wave of an inebriant mania that began to
    spread over the Western world, above all the United States, at the end
    of the 1950s. It was strange how rapidly LSD adopted its new role as
    inebriant and, for a time, became the number-one inebriating drug, at
    least as far as publicity was concerned. The more its use as an
    inebriant was disseminated, bringing an upsurge in the number of
    untoward incidents caused by careless, medically unsupervised use, the
    more LSD became a problem child for me and for the Sandoz firm.

    It was obvious that a substance with such fantastic effects on mental
    perception and on the experience of the outer and inner world would
    also arouse interest outside medical science, but I had not expected
    that LSD, with its unfathomably uncanny, profound effects, so unlike
    the character of a recreational drug, would ever find worldwide use as
    an inebriant. I had expected curiosity and interest on the part of
    artists outside of medicine - performers, painters, and writers - but
    not among people in general. After the scientific publications around
    the turn of the century on mescaline - which, as already mentioned,
    evokes psychic effects quite like those of LSD - the use of this
    compound remained confined to medicine and to experiments within
    artistic and literary circles. I had expected the same fate for LSD.
    And indeed, the first non-medicinal self-experiments with LSD were
    carried out by writers, painters, musicians, and other intellectuals.

    LSD sessions had reportedly provoked extraordinary aesthetic
    experiences and granted new insights into the essence of the creative
    process. Artists were influenced in their creative work in
    unconventional ways. A particular type of art developed that has
    become known as psychedelic art. It comprises creations produced under
    the influenced of LSD and other psychedelic drugs, whereby the drugs
    acted as stimulus and source of inspiration. The standard publication
    in this field is the book by Robert E. L. Masters and Jean Houston,
    Psychedelic Art (Balance House, 1968). Works of psychedelic art are
    not created while the drug is in effect, but only afterward, the
    artist being inspired by these experiences. As long as the inebriated
    condition lasts, creative activity is impeded, if not completely
    halted. The influx of images is too great and is increasing too
    rapidly to be portrayed and fashioned. An overwhelming vision
    paralyzes activity. Artistic productions arising directly from LSD
    inebriation, therefore, are mostly rudimentary in character and
    deserve consideration not because of their artistic merit, but because
    they are a type of psychoprogram, which offers insight into the
    deepest mental structures of the artist, activated and made conscious
    by LSD. This was demonstrated later in a large-scale experiment by the
    Munich psychiatrist Richard P. Hartmann, in which thirty famous
    painters took part. He published the results in his book Mlerei aus
    Bereichen des Unbewussten: Kunstler Experimentieren unter LSD
    [Painting from spheres of the unconscious: artists experiment with
    LSD], Verlag M. Du Mont Schauberg, Cologne, 1974).

    LSD experiments also gave new impetus to exploration into the essence
    of religious and mystical experience. Religious scholars and
    philosophers discussed the question whether the religious and mystical
    experiences often discovered in LSD sessions were genuine, that is,
    comparable to spontaneous mysticoreligious enlightenment.

    This nonmedicinal yet earnest phase of LSD research, at times in
    parallel with medicinal research, at times following it, was
    increasingly overshadowed at the beginning of the 1960s, as LSD use
    spread with epidemic-like speed through all social classes, as a
    sensational inebriating drug, in the course of the inebriant mania in
    the United States. The rapid rise of drug use, which had its beginning
    in this country about twenty years ago, was not, however, a
    consequence of the discovery of LSD, as superficial observers often
    declared. Eather it had deep-seated sociological causes: materialism,
    alienation from nature through industrialization and increasing
    urbanization, lack of satisfaction in professional employment in a
    mechanized, lifeless working world, ennui and purposelessness in a
    wealthy, saturated society, and lack of a religious, nurturing, and
    meaningful philosophical foundation of life.

    The existence of LSD was even regarded by the drug enthusiasts as a
    predestined coincidence - it had to be discovered precisely at this
    time in order to bring help to people suffering under the modern
    conditions. It is not surprising that LSD first came into circulation
    as an inebriating drug in the United States, the country in which
    industrialization, urbanization, and mechanization, even of
    agriculture, are most broadly advanced. These are the same factors
    that have led to the origin and growth of the hippie movement that
    developed simultaneously with the LSD wave. The two cannot be
    dissociated. It would be worth investigating to what extent the
    consumption of psychedelic drugs furthered the hippie movement and

    The spread of LSD from medicine and psychiatry into the drug scene was
    introduced and expedited by publications on sensational LSD
    experiments that, although they were carried out in psychiatric
    clinics and universities, were not then reported in scientific
    journals, but rather in magazines and daily papers, greatly
    elaborated. Reporters made themselves available as guinea pigs. Sidney
    Katz, for example, participated in an LSD experiment in the
    Saskatchewan Hospital in Canada under the supervision of noted
    psychiatrists; his experiences, however, were not published in a
    medical journal. Instead, he described them in an article entitled "My
    Twelve Hours as a Madman" in his magazine MacLean's Canada National
    Magazine, colorfully illustrated in fanciful fullness of detail. The
    widely distributed German magazine Quick, in its issue number 12 of 21
    March 1954, reported a sensational eyewitness account on "Ein kuhnes
    wissenschaftliches Experiment" [a daring scientific experiment] by the
    painter Wilfried Zeller, who took "a few drops of lysergic acid" in
    the Viennese University Psychiatric Clinic. Of the numerous
    publications of this type that have made effective lay propaganda for
    LSD, it is sufficient to cite just one more example: a large-scale,
    illustrated article in Look magazine of September 1959. Entitled "The
    Curious Story Behind the New Cary Grant," it must have contributed
    enormously to the diffusion of LSD consumption. The famous movie star
    had received LSD in a respected clinic in California, in the course of
    a psychotherapeutic treatment. He informed the Look reporter that he
    had sought inner peace his whole life long, but yoga, hypnosis, and
    mysticism had not helped him. Only the treatment with LSD had made a
    new, selfstrengthened man out of him, so that after three frustrating
    marriages he now believed himself really able to love and make a woman

    The evolution of LSD from remedy to inebriating drug was, however,
    primarily promoted by the activities of Dr. Timothy Leary and Dr.
    Richard Alpert of Harvard University. In a later section I will come
    to speak in more detail about Dr. Leary and my meetings with this
    personage who has become known worldwide as an apostle of LSD.

    Books also appeared on the U.S. market in which the fantastic effects
    of LSD were reported more fully. Here only two of the most important
    will be mentioned: Exploring I nner Space by Jane Dunlap (Harcourt
    Brace and World, New York, 1961) and My Self and I by Constance A.
    Newland (N A.L. Signet Books, New York, 1963). Although in both cases
    LSD was used within the scope of a psychiatric treatment, the authors
    addressed their books, which became bestsellers, to the broad public.
    In her book, subtitled "The Intimate and Completely Frank Record of
    One Woman's Courageous Experiment with Psychiatry's Newest Drug, LSD
    25," Constance A. Newland described in intimate detail how she had
    been cured of frigidity. After such avowals, one can easily imagine
    that many people would want to try the wondrous medicine for
    themselves. The mistaken opinion created by such reports - that it
    would be sufficient simply to take LSD in order to accomplish such
    miraculous effects and transformations in oneself - soon led to broad
    diffusion of self-experimentation with the new drug.

    Objective, informative books about LSD and its problems also appeared,
    such as the excellent work by the psychiatrist Dr. Sidney Cohen, The
    Beyond Within (Atheneum, New York, 1967), in which the dangers of
    careless use are clearly exposed. This had, however, no power to put a
    stop to the LSD epidemic.

    As LSD experiments were often carried out in ignorance of the uncanny,
    unforeseeable, profound effects, and without medical supervision, they
    frequently came to a bad end. With increasing LSD consumption in the
    drug scene, there came an increase in "horror trips" - LSD experiments
    that led to disoriented conditions and panic, often resulting in
    accidents and even crime.

    The rapid rise of nonmedicinal LSD consumption at the beginning of the
    1960s was also partly attributable to the fact that the drug laws then
    current in most countries did not include LSD. For this reason, drug
    habitues changed from the legally proscribed narcotics to the
    still-legal substance LSD. Moreover, the last of the Sandoz patents
    for the production of LSD expired in 1963, removing a further
    hindrance to illegal manufacture of the drug.

    The rise of LSD in the drug scene caused our firm a nonproductive,
    laborious burden. National control laboratories and health authorities
    requested statements from us about chemical and pharmacological
    properties, stability and toxicity of LSD, and analytical methods for
    its detection in confiscated drug samples, as well as in the human
    body, in blood and urine. This brought a voluminous correspondence,
    which expanded in connection with inquiries from all over the world
    about accidents, poisonings, criminal acts, and so forth, resulting
    from misuse of LSD. All this meant enormous, unprofitable
    difficulties, which the business management of Sandoz regarded with
    disapproval. Thus it happened one day that Professor Stoll, managing
    director of the firm at the time, said to me reproachfully: "I would
    rather you had not discovered LSD."

    At that time, I was now and again assailed by doubts whether the
    valuable pharmacological and psychic effects of LSD might be
    outweighed by its dangers and by possible injuries due to misuse.
    Would LSD become a blessing for humanity, or a curse? This I often
    asked myself when I thought about my problem child. My other
    preparations, Methergine, Dihydroergotamine, and Hydergine, caused me
    no such problems and difficulties. They were not problem children;
    lacking extravagant properties leading to misuse, they have developed
    in a satisfying manner into therapeutically valuable medicines.

    The publicity about LSD attained its high point in the years 1964 to
    1966, not only with regard to enthusiastic claims about the wondrous
    effects of LSD by drug fanatics and hippies, but also to reports of
    accidents, mental breakdowns, criminal acts, murders, and suicide
    under the influence of LSD. A veritable LSD hysteria reigned.

Sandoz Stops LSD Distribution

    In view of this situation, the management of Sandoz was forced to make
    a public statement on the LSD problem and to publish accounts of the
    corresponding measures that had been taken. The pertinent letter,
    dated 23 August 1965, by Dr. A. Cerletti, at the time director of the
    Pharmaceutical Department of Sandoz, is reproduced below:

    Decision Regarding LSD 25 and Other Hallucinogenic Substances

    More than twenty years have elapsed since the discovey by Albert
        Hofmann of LSD 25 in the SANDOZ Laboratories. Whereas the .
        fundamental importance of this discovery may be assessed by its
        impact on the development of modern psychiatric research, it must
        be recognized that it placed a heavy burden of responsibility on
        SANDOZ, the owner of this product.
        The finding of a new chemical with outstanding biological
        properties, apart from the scientific success implied by its
        synthesis, is usually the first decisive step toward profitable
        development of a new drug. In the case of LSD, however, it soon
        became clear that, despite the outstanding properties of this
        compound, or rather because of the very nature of these qualities,
        even though LSD was fully protected by SANDOZ-owned patents since
        the time of its first synthesis in 1938, the usual means of
        practical exploitation could not be envisaged.
        On the other hand, all the evidence obtained following the initial
        studies in animals and humans carried out in the SANDOZ research
        laboratories pointed to the important role that this substance
        could play as an investigational tool in neurological research and
        in psychiatry.
        It was therefore decided to make LSD available free of charge to
        qualified experimental and clinical investigators all over the
        world. This broad research approach was assisted by the provision
        of any necessary technical aid and in many instances also by
        financial support.
        An enormous amount of scientific documents, published mainly in
        the international biochemical and medical literature and
        systematically listed in the "SANDOZ Bibliography on LSD" as well
        as in the "Catalogue of Literature on Delysid" periodically edited
        by SANDOZ, gives vivid proof of what has been achieved by
        following this line of policy over nearly two decades. By
        exercising this kind of "nobile offlcium" in accordance with the
        highest standards of medical ethics with all kinds of self-imposed
        precautions and restrictions, it was possible for many years to
        avoid the danger of abuse (i.e., use by people neither competent
        nor qualifled), which is always inherent in a compound with
        exceptional CNS activity.
        In spite of all our precautions, cases of LSD abuse have occurred
        from time to time in varying circumstances completely beyond the
        control of SANDOZ. Very recently this danger has increased
        considerably and in some parts of the world has reached the scale
        of a serious threat to public health. This state of affairs has
        now reached a critical point for the following reasons: (1) A
        worldwide spread of misconceptions of LSD has been caused by an
        increasing amount of publicity aimed at provoking an active
        interest in laypeople by means of sensational stories and
        statements; (2) In most countries no adequate legislation exists
        to control and regulate the production and distribution of
        substances like LSD; (3) The problem of availability of LSD, once
        limited on technical grounds, has fundamentally changed with the
        advent of mass production of lysergic acid by fermentation
        procedures. Since the last patent on LSD expired in 1963, it is
        not surprising to find that an increasing number of dealers in
        fine chemicals are offering LSD from unknown sources at the high
        price known to be paid by LSD fanatics.
        Taking into consideration all the above-mentioned circumstances
        and the flood of requests for LSD which has now become
        uncontrollable, the pharmaceutical management of SANDOZ has
        decided to stop immediately all further production and
        distribution of LSD. The same policy will apply to all derivatives
        or analogues of LSD with hallucinogenic properties as well as to
        Psilocybin, Psilocin, and their hallucinogenic congeners.

    For a while the distribution of LSD and psilocybin was stopped
    completely by Sandoz. Most countries had subsequently proclaimed
    strict regulations concerning possession, distribution, and use of
    hallucinogens, so that physicians, psychiatric clinics, and research
    institutes, if they could produce a special permit to work with these
    substances from the respective national health authorities, could
    again be supplied with LSD and psilocybin. In the United States the
    National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) undertook the distribution
    of these agents to licensed research institutes.

    All these legislative and official precautions, however, had little
    influence on LSD consumption in the drug scene, yet on the other hand
    hindered and continue to hinder medicinal-psychiatric use and LSD
    research in biology and neurology, because many researchers dread the
    red tape that is connected with the procurement of a license for the
    use of LSD. The bad reputation of LSD - its depiction as an "insanity
    drug" and a "satanic invention" - constitutes a further reason why
    many doctors shunned use of LSD in their psychiatric practice.

    In the course of recent years the uproar of publicity about LSD has
    quieted, and the consumption of LSD as an inebriant has also
    diminished, as far as that can be concluded from the rare reports
    about accidents and other regrettable occurrences following LSD
    ingestion. It may be that the decrease of LSD accidents, however, is
    not simply due to a decline in LSD consumption. Possibly the
    recreational users, with time, have become more aware of the
    particular effects and dangers of LSD and more cautious in their use
    of this drug. Certainly LSD, which was for a time considered in the
    Western world, above all in the United States, to be the number-one
    inebriant, has relinquished this leading role to other inebriants such
    as hashish and the habituating, even physically destructive drugs like
    heroin and amphetamine. The last-mentioned drugs represent an alarming
    sociological and public health problem today.

Dangers of Nomnedicinal LSD Experiments

    While professional use of LSD in psychiatry entails hardly any risk,
    the ingestion of this substance outside of medical practice, without
    medical supervision, is subject to multifarious dangers. These dangers
    reside, on the one hand, in external circumstances connected with
    illegal drug use and, on the other hand, in the peculiarity of LSD's
    psychic effects.

    The advocates of uncontrolled, free use of LSD and other hallucinogens
    base their attitude on two claims: (l) this type of drug produces no
    addiction, and (2) until now no danger to health from moderate use of
    hallucinogens has been demonstrated. Both are true. Genuine addiction,
    characterized by the fact that psychic and often severe physical
    disturbances appear on withdrawal of the drug, has not been observed,
    even in cases in which LSD was taken often and over a long period of
    time. No organic injury or death as a direct consequence of an LSD
    intoxication has yet been reported. As discussed in greater detail in
    the chapter "LSD in Animal Experiments and Biological Research," LSD
    is actually a relatively nontoxic substance in proportion to its
    extraordinarily high psychic activity.

Psychotic Reactions

    Like the other hallucinogens, however, LSD is dangerous in an entirely
    different sense. While the psychic and physical dangers of the
    addicting narcotics, the opiates, amphetamines, and so forth, appear
    only with chronic use, the possible danger of LSD exists in every
    single experiment. This is because severe disoriented states can
    appear during any LSD inebriation. It is true that through careful
    preparation of the experiment and the experimenter such episodes can
    largely be avoided, but they cannot be excluded with certainty. LSD
    crises resemble psychotic attacks with a manic or depressive

    In the manic, hyperactive condition, the feeling of omnipotence or
    invulnerability can lead to serious casualties. Such accidents have
    occurred when inebriated persons confused in this way - believing
    themselves to be invulnerable - walked in front of a moving automobile
    or jumped out a window in the belief that they were able to fly. This
    type of LSD casualty, however, is not so common as one might be led to
    think on the basis of reports that were sensationally exaggerated by
    the mass media. Nevertheless, such reports must serve as serious

    On the other hand, a report that made the rounds worldwide, in 1966,
    about an alleged murder committed under the influence on LSD, cannot
    be true. The suspect, a young man in New York accused of having killed
    his mother-in-law, explained at his arrest, immediately after the
    fact, that he knew nothing of the crime and that he had been on an LSD
    trip for three days. But an LSD inebriation, even with the highest
    doses, lasts no longer than twelve hours, and repeated ingestion leads
    to tolerance, which means that extra doses are ineffective. Besides,
    LSD inebriation is characterized by the fact that the person remembers
    exactly what he or she has experienced. Presumably the defendant in
    this case expected leniency for extenuating circumstances, owing to
    unsoundness of mind.

    The danger of a psychotic reaction is especially great if LSD is given
    to someone without his or her knowledge. This was demonstrated in an
    episode that took place soon after the discovery of LSD, during the
    first investigations with the new substance in the Zurich University
    Psychiatric Clinic, when people were not yet aware of the danger of
    such jokes. A young doctor, whose colleagues had slipped LSD into his
    coffee as a lark, wanted to swim across Lake Zurich during the winter
    at -20!C (-4!F) and had to be prevented by force.

    There is a different danger when the LSD-induced disorientation
    exhibits a depressive rather than manic character. In the course of
    such an LSD experiment, frightening visions, death agony, or the fear
    of becoming insane can lead to a threatening psychic breakdown or even
    to suicide. Here the LSD trip becomes a "horror trip."

    The demise of a Dr. Olson, who had been given LSD without his
    knowledge in the course of U.S. Army drug experiments, and who then
    committed suicide by jumping from a window, caused a particular
    sensation. His family could not understand how this quiet,
    well-adjusted man could have been driven to this deed. Not until
    fifteen years later, when the secret documents about the experiments
    were published, did they learn the true circumstances, whereupon the
    president of the United States publicly apologized to the dependents.

    The conditions for the positive outcome of an LSD experiment, with
    little possibility of a psychotic derailment, reside on the one hand
    in the individual and on the other hand in the external milieu of the
    experiment. The internal, personal factors are called set, the
    external conditions setting.

    The beauty of a living room or of an outdoor location is perceived
    with particular force because of the highly stimulated sense organs
    during LSD inebriation, and such an amenity has a substantial
    influence on the course of the experiment. The persons present, their
    appearance, their traits, are also part of the setting that determines
    the experience. The acoustic milieu isequally significant. Even
    harmless noises can turn to torment, and conversely lovely music can
    develop into a euphoric experience. With LSD experiments in ugly or
    noisy surroundings, however, there is greater danger of a negative
    outcome, including psychotic crises. The machine- and appliance-world
    of today offers much scenery and all types of noise that could very
    well trigger panic during enhanced sensibility.

    Just as meaningful as the external milieu of the LSD experience, if
    not even more important, is the mental condition of the experimenters,
    their current state of mind, their attitude to the drug experience,
    and their expectations associated with it. Even unconscious feelings
    of happiness or fear can have an effect. LSD tends to intensify the
    actual psychic state. A feeling of happiness can be heightened to
    bliss, a depression can deepen to despair. LSD is thus the most
    inappropriate means imaginable for curing a depressive state. It is
    dangerous to take LSD in a disturbed, unhappy frame of mind, or in a
    state of fear. The probability that the experiment will end in a
    psychic breakdown is then quite high.

    Among persons with unstable personality structures, tending to
    psychotic reactions, LSD experimentation ought to be completely
    avoided. Here an LSD shock, by releasing a latent psychosis, can
    produce a lasting mental injury.

    The psyche of very young persons should also be considered as
    unstable, in the sense of not yet having matured. In any case, the
    shock of such a powerful stream of new and strange perceptions and
    feelings, such as is engendered by LSD, endangers the sensitive,
    still-developing psycho-organism. Even the medicinal use of LSD in
    youths under eighteen years of age, in the scope of psychoanalytic or
    psychotherapeutic treatment, is discouraged in professional circles,
    correctly so in my opinion. Juveniles for the most part still lack a
    secure, solid relationship to reality. Such a relationship is needed
    before the dramatic experience of new dimensions of reality can be
    meaningfully integrated into the world view. Instead of leading to a
    broadening and deepening of reality consciousness, such an experience
    in adolescents will lead to insecurity and a feeling of being lost.
    Because of the freshness of sensory perception in youth and the
    still-unlimited capacity for experience, spontaneous visionary
    experiences occur much more frequently than in later life. For this
    reason as well, psychostimulating agents should not be used by

    Even in healthy, adult persons, even with adherence to all of the
    preparatory and protective measures discussed, an LSD experiment can
    fail, causing psychotic reactions. Medical supervision is therefore
    earnestly to be recommended, even for nonmedicinal LSD experiments.
    This should include an examination of the state of health before the
    experiment. The doctor need not be present at the session; however,
    medical help should at all times be readily available.

    Acute LSD psychoses can be cut short and brought under control quickly
    and reliably by injection of chlorpromazine or another sedative of
    this type.

    The presence of a familiar person, who can request medical help in the
    event of an emergenCy, is also an indispensable psychological
    assurance. Although the LSD inebriation is characterized mostly by an
    immersion in the individual inner world, a deep need for human contact
    sometimes arises, especially in depressive phases.

LSD from the Black Market

    Nonmedicinal LSD consumption can bring dangers of an entirely
    different type than hitherto discussed: for most of the LSD offered in
    the drug scene is of unknown origin. LSD preparations from the black
    market are unreliable when it comes to both quality and dosage. They
    rarely contain the declared quantity, but mostly have less LSD, often
    none at all, and sometimes even too much. In many cases other drugs or
    even poisonous substances are sold as LSD. These observations were
    made in our laboratory upon analysis of a great number of LSD samples
    from the black market. They coincide with the experiences of national
    drug control departments.

    The unreliability in the strength of LSD preparations on the illicit
    drug market can lead to dangerous overdosage. Overdoses have often
    proved to be the cause of failed LSD experiments that led to severe
    psychic and physical breakdowns. Reports of alleged fatal LSD
    poisoning, however, have yet to be confirmed. Close scrutiny of such
    cases invariably established other causative factors.

    The following case, which took place in 1970, is cited as an example
    of the possible dangers of black market LSD. We received for
    investigation from the police a drug powder distributed as LSD. It
    came from a young man who was admitted to the hospital in critical
    condition and whose friend had also ingested this preparation and died
    as a result. Analysis showed that the powder contained no LSD, but
    rather the very poisonous alkaloid strychnine.

    If most black market LSD preparations contained less than the stated
    quantity and often no LSD at all, the reason is either deliberate
    falsification or the great instability of this substance. LSD is very
    sensitive to air and light. It is oxidatively destroyed by the oxygen
    in the air and is transformed into an inactive substance under the
    influence of light. This must be taken into account during the
    synthesis and especially during the production of stable, storable
    forms of LSD. Claims that LSD may easily be prepared, or that every
    chemistry student in a half-decent laboratory is capable of producing
    it, are untrue. Procedures for synthesis of LSD have indeed been
    published and are accessible to everyone. With these detailed
    procedures in hand, chemists would be able to carry out the synthesis,
    provided they had pure lysergic acid at their disposal; its possession
    today, however, is subject to the same strict regulations as LSD. In
    order to isolate LSD in pure crystalline form from the reaction
    solution and in order to produce stable preparations, however, special
    equipment and not easily acquired specific experience are required,
    owing (as stated previously) to the great instability of this

    Only in completely oxygen-free ampules protected from light is LSD
    absolutely stable. Such ampules, containing 100 ,Lg (= 0.1 mg)
    LSD-tartrate (tartaric acid salt of LSD) in 1 cc of aqueous solution,
    were produced for biological research and medicinal use by the Sandoz
    firm. LSD in tablets prepared with additives that inhibit oxidation,
    while not absolutely stable, at least keeps for a longer time. But LSD
    preparations often found on the black market - LSD that has been
    applied in solution onto sugar cubes or blotting paper - decompose in
    the course of weeks or a few months.

    With such a highly potent substance as LSD, the correct dosage is of
    paramount importance. Here the tenet of Paracelsus holds good: the
    dose determines whether a substance acts as a remedy or as a poison. A
    controlled dosage, however, is not possible with preparations from the
    black market, whose active strength is in no way guaranteed. One of
    the greatest dangers of non-medicinal LSD experiments lies, therefore,
    in the use of such preparations of unknown provenience.

The Case of Dr. Leary

    Dr. Timothy Leary, who has become known worldwide in his role of drug
    apostle, had an extraordinarily strong influence on the diffusion of
    illegal LSD consumption in the United States. On the occasion of a
    vacation in Mexico in the year 1960, Leary had eaten the legendary
    "sacred mushrooms," which he had purchased from a shaman. During the
    mushroom inebriation he entered into a state of mystico-religious
    ecstasy, which he described as the deepest religious experience of his
    life. From then on, Dr. Leary, who at the time was a lecturer in
    psychology at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts,
    dedicated himself totally to research on the effects and possibilities
    of the use of psychedelic drugs. Together with his colleague Dr.
    Richard Alpert, he started various research projects at the
    university, in which LSD and psilocybin, isolated by us in the
    meantime, were employed.

    The reintegration of convicts into society, the production of
    mystico-religious experiences in theologians and members of the
    clergy, and the furtherance of creativity in artists and writers with
    the help of LSD and psilocybin were tested with scientific
    methodology. Even persons like Aldous Huxley, Arthur Koestler, and
    Allen Ginsberg participated in these investigations. Particular
    consideration was given to the question, to what degree mental
    preparation and expectation of the subjects, along with the external
    milieu of the experiment, are able to influence the course and
    character of states of psychedelic inebriation.

    In January 1963, Dr. Leary sent me a detailed report of these studies,
    in which he enthusiastically imparted the positive results obtained
    and gave expression to his beliefs in the advantages and very
    promising possibilities of such use of these active compounds. At the
    same time, the Sandoz firm received an inquiry about the supply of
    lOOg LSD and 25 kg psilocybin, signed by Dr. Timothy Leary, from the
    Harvard University Department of Social Relations. The requirement for
    such an enormous quantity (the stated amounts correspond to 1 million
    doses of LSD and 2.5 million doses of psilocybin) was based on the
    planned extension of investigations to tissue, organ, and animal
    studies. We made the supply of these substances contingent upon the
    production of an import license on behalf of the U.S. health
    authorities. Immediately we received the order for the stated
    quantities of LSD and psilocybin, along with a check for $10,000 as
    deposit but without the required import license. Dr. Leary signed for
    this order, but no longer as lecturer at Harvard University, rather as
    president of an organization he had recently founded, the
    International Federation for Internal Freedom (IFIF). Because, in
    addition, our inquiry to the appropriate dean of Harvard University
    had shown that the university authorities did not approve of the
    continuation of the research project by Leary and Alpert, we canceled
    our offer upon return of the deposit.

    Shortly thereafter, Leary and Alpert were discharged from the teaching
    staff of Harvard- University because the investigations, at first
    conducted in an academic milieu, had lost their scientific character.
    The experiments had turned into LSD parties.

    The LSD trip - LSD as a ticket to an adventurous journey into new
    worlds of mental and physical experience - became the latest exciting
    fashion among academic youth, spreading rapidly from Harvard to other
    universities. Leary's doctrine - that LSD not only served to find the
    divine and to discover the self, but indeed was the most potent
    aphrodisiac yet discovered - surely contributed quite decisively to
    the rapid propagation of LSD consumption among the younger generation.
    Later, in an interview with the monthly magazine Playboy, Leary said
    that the intensification of sexual experience and the potentiation of
    sexual ecstasy by LSD was one of the chief reasons for the LSD boom.

    After his expulsion from Harvard University, Leary was completely
    transformed from a psychology lecturer pursuing research, into the
    messiah of the psychedelic movement. He and his friends of the IFIF
    founded a psychedelic research center in lovely, scenic surroundings
    in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. I received a personal invitation from Dr.
    Leary to participate in a top-level planning session on psychedelic
    drugs, scheduled to take place there in August 1963. I would gladly
    have accepted this grand invitation, in which I was offered
    reimbursement for travel expenses and free lodging, in order to learn
    from personal observation the methods, operation, and the entire
    atmosphere of such a psychedelic research center, about which
    contradictory, to some extent very remarkable, reports were then
    circulating. Unfortunately, professional obligations kept me at that
    moment from flying to Mexico to get a picture at first hand of the
    controversial enterprise. The Zihuatanejo Research Center did not last
    long. Leary and his adherents were expelled from the country by the
    Mexican government. Leary, however, who had now become not only the
    messiah but also the martyr of the psychedelic movement, soon received
    help from the young New York millionaire William Hitchcock, who made a
    manorial house on his large estate in Millbrook, New York, available
    to Leary as new home and headquarters. Millbrook was also the home of
    another foundation for the psychedelic, transcendental way of life,
    the Castalia Foundation.

    On a trip to India in 1965 Leary was converted to Hinduism. In the
    following year he founded a religious community, the League for
    Spiritual Discovery, whose initials give the abbreviation "LSD."

    Leary's proclamation to youth, condensed in his famous slogan "Turn
    on, tune in, drop out !", became a central dogma of the hippie
    movement. Leary is one of the founding fathers of the hippie cult. The
    last of these three precepts, "drop out," was the challenge to escape
    from bourgeois life, to turn one's back on society, to give up school,
    studies, and employment, and to dedicate oneself wholly to the true
    inner universe, the study of one's own nervous system, after one has
    turned on with LSD. This challenge above all went beyond the
    psychological and religious domain to assume social and political
    significance. It is therefore understandable that Leary not only
    became the enfant terrible of the university and among his academic
    colleagues in psychology and psychiatry, but also earned the wrath of
    the political authorities. He was, therefore, placed under
    surveillance, followed, and ultimately locked in prison. The high
    sentences - ten years' imprisonment each for convictions in Texas and
    California concerning possession of LSD and marijuana, and conviction
    (later overturned) with a sentence of thirty years' imprisonment for
    marijuana smuggling - show that the punishment of these offenses was
    only a pretext: the real aim was to put under lock and key the seducer
    and instigator of youth, who could not otherwise be prosecuted. On the
    night of 13-14 September 1970, Leary managed to escape from the
    California prison in San Luis Obispo. On a detour from Algeria, where
    he made contact with Eldridge Cleaver, a leader of the Black Panther
    movement living there in exile, Leary came to Switzerland and there
    petitioned for political asylum.

Meeting with Timothy Leary

    Dr. Leary lived with his wife, Rosemary, in the resort town
    Villars-sur-Ollon in western Switzerland. Through the intercession of
    Dr. Mastronardi, Dr. Leary's lawyer, contact was established between
    us. On 3 September 1971, I met Dr. Leary in the railway station snack
    bar in Lausanne. The greeting was cordial, a symbol of our fateful
    relationship through LSD. Leary was medium-sized, slender, resiliently
    active, his brown face surrounded with slightly curly hair mixed with
    gray, youthful, with bright, laughing eyes. This gave Leary somewhat
    the mark of a tennis champion rather than that of a former Harvard
    lecturer. We traveled by automobile to Buchillons, where in the arbor
    of the restaurant A la Grande Foret, over a meal of fish and a glass
    of white wine, the dialogue between the father and the apostle of LSD
    finally began.

    I voiced my regret that the investigations with LSD and psilocybin at
    Harvard University, which had begun promisingly, had degenerated to
    such an extent that their continuance in an academic milieu became

    My most serious remonstrance to Leary, however, concerned the
    propagation of LSD use among juveniles. Leary did not attempt to
    refute my opinions about the particular dangers of LSD for youth. He
    maintained, however, that I was unjustified in reproaching him for the
    seduction of immature persons to drug consumption, because teenagers
    in the United States, with regard to information and life experience,
    were comparable to adult Europeans. Maturity, with satiation and
    intellectual stagnation, would be reached very early in the United
    States. For that reason, he deemed the LSD experience significant,
    useful, and enriching, even for people still very young in years.

    In this conversation, I further objected to the great publicity that
    Leary sought for his LSD and psilocybin investigations, since he had
    invited reporters from daily papers and magazines to his experiments
    and had mobilized radio and television. Emphasis was thereby placed on
    publicity rather than on objective information. Leary defended this
    publicity program because he felt it had been his fateful historic
    role to make LSD known worldwide. The overwhelmingly positive effects
    of such dissemination, above all among America's younger generation,
    would make any trifling injuries, any regrettable accidents as a
    result of improper use of LSD, unimportant in comparison, a small
    price to pay.

    During this conversation, I ascertained that one did Leary an
    injustice by indiscriminately describing him as a drug apostle. He
    made a sharp distinction between psychedelic drugs - LSD, psilocybin,
    mescaline, hashish - of whose salutary effects he was persuaded, and
    the addicting narcotics morphine, heroin, etc., against whose use he
    repeatedly cautioned.

    My impression of Dr. Leary in this personal meeting was that of a
    charming personage, convinced of his mission, who defended his
    opinions with humor yet uncompromisingly; a man who truly soared high
    in the clouds pervaded by beliefs in the wondrous effects of
    psychedelic drugs and the optimism resulting therefrom, and thus a man
    who tended to underrate or completely overlook practical difficulties,
    unpleasant facts, and dangers. Leary also showed carelessness
    regarding charges and dangers that concerned his own person, as his
    further path in life emphatically showed.

    During his Swiss sojourn, I met Leary by chance once more, in February
    1972, in Basel, on the occasion of a visit by Michael Horowitz,
    curator of the Fitz Hugh Ludlow Memorial Library in San Francisco, a
    library specializing in drug literature. We traveled together to my
    house in the country near Burg, where we resumed our conversation of
    the previous September. Leary appeared fidgety and detached, probably
    owing to a momentary indisposition, so that our discussions were less
    productive this time. That was my last meeting with Dr. Leary.

    He left Switzerland at the end of the year, having separated from his
    wife, Rosemary, now accompanied by his new friend Joanna
    Harcourt-Smith. After a short stay in Austria, where he assisted in a
    documentary film about heroin, Leary and friend traveled to
    Afghanistan. At the airport in Kabul he was apprehended by agents of
    the American secret service and brought back to the San Luis Obispo
    prison in California.

    After nothing had been heard from Leary for a long time, his name
    again appeared in the daily papers in summer 1975 with the
    announcement of a parole and early release from prison. But he was not
    set free until early in 1976. I learned from his friends that he was
    now occupied with psychological problems of space travel and with the
    exploration of cosmic relationships between the human nervous system
    and interstellar space - that is, with problems whose study would
    bring him no further difficulties on the part of governmental

Travels in the Universe of the Soul

    Thus the Islamic scholar Dr. Rudolf Gelpke entitled his accounts of
    self-experiments with LSD and psilocybin, which appeared in the
    publication Antaios, for January 1962, and this title could also be
    used for the following descriptions of LSD experiments. LSD trips and
    the space flights of the astronauts are comparable in many respects.
    Both enterprises require very careful preparations, as far as measures
    for safety as well as objectives are concerned, in order to minimize
    dangers and to derive the most valuable results possible. The
    astronauts cannot remain in space nor the LSD experimenters in
    transcendental spheres, they have to return to earth and everyday
    reality, where the newly acquired experiences must be evaluated.

    The following reports were selected in order to demonstrate how varied
    the experiences of LSD inebriation can be. The particular motivation
    for undertaking the experiments was also decisive in their selection.
    Without exception, this selection involves only reports by persons who
    have tried LSD not simply out of curiosity or as a sophisticated
    pleasure drug, but who rather experimented with it in the quest for
    expanded possibilities of experience of the inner and outer world; who
    attempted, with the help of this drug key, to unlock new "doors of
    perception" (William Blake); or, to continue with the comparison
    chosen by Rudolf Gelpke, who employed LSD to surmount the force of
    gravity of space and time in the accustomed world view, in order to
    arrive thereby at new outlooks and understandings in the "universe of
    the soul."

    The first two of the following research records are taken from the
    previously cited report by Rudolf Gelpke in Antaios.

Dance of the Spirits in the Wind

    (0.075 mg LSD on 23 June 1961, 13:00 hours)

    After I had ingested this dose, which could be considered average, I
        conversed very animatedly with a professional colleague until
        approximately 14:00 hours. Following this, I proceeded alone to
        the Werthmuller bookstore where the drug now began to act most
        unmistakably. I discerned, above all, that the subjects of the
        books in which I rummaged peacefully in the back of the shop were
        indifferent to me, whereas random details of my surroundings
        suddenly stood out strongly, and somehow appeared to be
        "meaningful." . . . Then, after some ten minutes, I was discovered
        by a married couple known to me, and had to let myself become
        involved in a conversation with them that, I admit, was by no
        means pleasant to me, though not really painful either. I listened
        to the conversation (even to myself) " as from far away. " The
        things that were discussed (the conversation dealt with Persian
        stories that I had translated) "belonged to another world": a
        world about which I could indeed express myself (I had, after all,
        recently still inhabited it myself and remembered the "rules of
        the game"!), but to which I no longer possessed any emotional
        connection. My interest in it was obliterated - only I did not
        dare to let myself observe that.
        After I managed to dismiss myself, I strolled farther through the
        city to the marketplace. I had no "visions," saw and heard
        everything as usual, and yet everything was also altered in an
        indescribable way; "imperceptible glassy walls" everywhere. With
        every step that I took, I became more and more like an automaton.
        It especially struck me that I seemed to lose control over my
        facial musculature - I was convinced that my face was grown stiff,
        completely expressionless, empty, slack and masklike. The only
        reason I could still walk and put myself in motion, was because I
        remembered that, and how I had "earlier" gone and moved myself.
        But the farther back the recollection went, the more uncertain I
        became. I remember that my own hands somehow were in my way: I put
        them in my pockets, let them dangle, entwined them behind my back
        . . . as some burdensome objects, which must be dragged around
        with us and which no one knows quite how to stow away. I had the
        same reaction concerning my whole body. I no longer knew why it
        was there, and where I should go with it. All sense for decisions
        of that kind had been lost . They could only be reconstructed
        laboriously, taking a detour through memories from the past. It
        took a struggle of this kind to enable me to cover the short
        distance from the marketplace to my home, which I reached at about
        In no way had I had the feeling of being inebriated. What I
        experienced was rather a gradual mental extinction. It was not at
        all frightening; but I can imagine that in the transition to
        certain mental disturbances - naturally dispersed over a greater
        interval - a very similarprocess happens: as long as the
        recollection of the former individual existence in the human world
        is still present, the patient who has become unconnected can still
        (to some extent) find his way about in the world: later, however,
        when the memories fade and ultimately die out, he completely loses
        this ability.
        Shortly after I had entered my room, the "glassy stupor" gave way.
        I sat down, with a view out of a window, and was at once
        enraptured: the window was opened wide, the diaphanous gossamer
        curtains, on the other hand, were drawn, and now a mild wind from
        the outside played with these veils and with the silhouettes of
        potted plants and leafy tendrils on the sill behind, which the
        sunlight delineated on the curtains breathing in the breeze. This
        spectacle captivated me completely. I "sank" into it, saw only
        this gentle and incessant waving and rocking of the plant shadows
        in the sun and the wind. I knew what "it" was, but I sought after
        the name for it, after the formula, after the "magic word" that I
        knew and already I had it: Totentanz, the dance of the dead....
        This was what the wind and the light were showing me on the screen
        of gossamer. Was it frightening? Was I afraid? Perhaps - at first.
        But then a great cheerfulness infiltrated me, and I heard the
        music of silence, and even my soul danced with the redeemed
        shadows to the whistle of the wind. Yes, I understood: this is the
        curtain, and this curtain itself IS the secret, the "ultimate"
        that it concealed. Why, therefore, tear it up? He who does that
        only tears up himself. Because "there behind," behind the curtain,
        is "nothing.". . .

Polyp from the Deep

    (0.150 mg LSD on 15 April 1961, 9:15 hours)

    Beginning of the effect already after about 30 minutes with strong
        inner agitation, trembling hands, skin chills, taste of metal on
        the palate.
        10:00: The environment of the room transforms itself into
        phosphorescent waves, running hither from the feet even through my
        body. The skin - and above all the toes - is as electrically
        charged; a still constantly growing excitement hinders all clear
        10:20: I lack the words to describe my current condition. It is as
        if an "other" complete stranger were seizing possession of me bit
        by bit. Have greatest trouble writing ("inhibited"
        or"uninhibited"? - I don't know!).
        This sinister process of an advancing self-estrangement aroused in
        me the feeling of powerlessness, of being helplessly delivered up.
        Around 10:30, through closed eyes I saw innumerable,
        self-intertwining threads on a red background. A sky as heavy as
        lead appeared to press down on everything; I felt my ego
        compressed in itself, and I felt like a withered dwarf.... Shortly
        before 13:00 I escaped the more and more oppressing atmosphere of
        the company in the studio, in which we only hindered one another
        reciprocally from unfolding completely into the inebriation. I sat
        down in a small, empty room, on the floor, with my back to the
        wall, and saw through the only window on the narrow frontage
        opposite me a bit of gray- white cloudy sky. This, like the whole
        environment in general, appeared to be hopelessly normal at this
        moment. I was dejected, and my self seemed so repulsive and
        hateful to me that I had not dared (and on this day even had
        actually repeatedly desperately avoided) to look in a mirror or in
        the face of another person. I very much wished this inebriation
        were finally finished, but it still had my body totally in its
        possession. I imagined that I perceived, deep within its stubborn
        oppressive weight, how it held my limbs surrounded with a hundred
        polyp arms - yes, I actually experienced this in a mysterious
        rhythm; electrified contacts, as of a real, indeed imperceptible,
        but sinister omn sent being, which I addressed with a loud voice,
        reviled, bid, and challenged to open combat. "It is only the
        projection of evil in your self," another voice assured me. "It is
        your soul monster!" This perception was like a flashing sword. It
        passed through me with redeeming sharpness. The polyp arms fell
        away from me - as if cut through - and simultaneously the hitherto
        dull and gloomy gray-white of the sky behind the open window
        suddenly scintillated like sunlit water. As I stared at it so
        enchanted, it changed (for me!) to real water: a subterranean
        spring overran me, which had ruptured there all at once and now
        boiled up toward me, wanted to become a storm, a lake, an ocean,
        with millions and millions of drops - and on all of these drops,
        on every single one of them, the light danced.... As the room,
        window, and sky came back into my consciousness (it was 13:25
        hours), the inebriation was certainly not at an end - not yet -
        but its rearguard, which passed by me during the ensuing two
        hours, very much resembled the rainbow that follows the storm.

    Both the estrangement from the environment and the estrangement from
    the individual body, experienced in both of the preceding experiments
    described by Gelpke - as well as the feeling of an alien being, a
    demon, seizing possession of oneself - are features of LSD inebriation
    that, in spite of all the other diversity and variability of the
    experience, are cited in most research reports. I have already
    described the possession by the LSD demon as an uncanny experience in
    my first planned self-experiment. Anxiety and terror then affected me
    especially strongly, because at that time I had no way of knowing that
    the demon would again release his victim.

    The adventures described in the following report, by a painter, belong
    to a completely different type of LSD experience. This artist visited
    me in order to obtain my opinion about how the experience under LSD
    should be understood and interpreted. He feared that the profound
    transformation of his personal life, which had resulted from his
    experiment with LSD, could rest on a mere delusion. My explanation -
    that LSD, as a biochemical agent, only triggered his visions but had
    not created them and that these visions rather originated from his own
    soul - gave him confidence in the meaning of his transformation.

LSD Experience of a Painter

    . . . Therefore I traveled with Eva to a solitary mountain valley. Up
        there in nature, I thought it would be particularly beautiful with
        Eva. Eva was young and attractive. Twenty years older than she, I
        was already in the middle of life. Despite the sorrowful
        consequences that I had experienced previously, as a result of
        erotic escapades, despite the pain and the disappointments that I
        inflicted on those who loved me and had believed in me, I was
        drawn again with irresistible power to this adventure, to Eva, to
        her youth. I was under the spell of this girl. Our affair indeed
        was only beginning, but I felt this seductive power more strongly
        than ever before. I knew that I could no longer resist. For the
        second time in my life I was again ready to desert my family, to
        give up my position, to break all bridges. I wanted to hurl myself
        uninhibitedly into this lustful inebriation with Eva. She was
        life, youth. Over again it cried out in me, again and again to
        drain the cup of lust and life until the last drop, until death
        and perdition. Let the Devil fetch me later on! I had indeed long
        ago done away with God and the Devil. They were for me only human
        inventions, which came to be utilized by a skeptical, unscrupulous
        minority, in order to suppress and exploit a believing, naive
        majority. I wanted to have nothing to do with this mendacious
        social moral. To enjoy, at all costs, I wished to enjoy et apres
        nous te deluge. "What is wife to me, what is child to me - let
        them go begging, if they are hungry." I also perceived the
        institution of marriage as a social lie. The marriage of my
        parents and marriages of my acquaintances seemed to confirm that
        sufficiently for me. Couples remained together because it was more
        convenient; they were accustomed to it, and "yes, if it weren't
        for the children . . ." Under the pretense of a good marriage,
        each tormented the other emotionally, to the point of rashes and
        stomach ulcers, or each went his own way. Everything in me
        rebelled against the thought of having to love only one and the
        same woman a life long. I frankly perceived that as repugnant and
        unnatural. Thus stood my inner disposition on that portentous
        summer evening at the mountain lake.
        At seven o'clock in the evening both of us took a moderately
        strong dose of LSD, some 0.1 milligrams. Then we strolled along
        about the lake and then sat on the bank. We threw stones in the
        water and watched the forming wave circles. We felt a slight inner
        restlessness. Around eight o'clock we entered the hotel lounge and
        ordered tea and sandwiches. Some guests still sat there, telling
        jokes and laughing loudly. They winked at us. Their eyes sparkled
        strangely. We felt strange and distant and had the feeling that
        they would notice something in us. Outside it slowly became dark.
        We decided only reluctantly to go to our hotel room. A street
        without lights led along the black lake to the distant guest
        house. As I switched on the light, the granite staircase, leading
        from the shore road to the house, appeared to flame up from step
        to step. Eva quivered all at once, frightened. "Hellish" went
        through my mind, and all of a sudden horror passed through my
        limbs, and I knew: now it's going to turn out badly. From afar,
        from the village, a clock struck nine.
        Scarcely were we in our room, when Eva threw herself on the bed
        and looked at me with wide eyes. It was not in the least possible
        to think of love. I sat down on the edge of the bed and held both
        of Eva's hands. Then came the terror. We sank into a deep,
        indescribable horror, which neither of us understood.
        "Look in my eyes, look at me," I implored Eva, yet again and again
        her gaze was averted from me, and then she cried out loud in
        terror and trembled all over her body. There was no way out.
        Outside was only gloomy night and the deep, black lake. In the
        public house all the lights were extinguished; the people had
        probably gone to sleep. What would they have said if they could
        see us now? Possibly they would summon the police, and then
        everything would become still much worse. A drug scandal -
        intolerable agonizing thoughts.
        We could no longer move from the spot. We sat there surrounded by
        four wooden walls whose board joints shone infernally. It became
        more unbearable all the time. Suddenly the door was opened and
        "something dreadful" entered. Eva cried out wildly and hid herself
        under the bed covers. Once again a cry. The horror under the
        covers was yet worse. "Look straight in my eyes!" I called to her,
        but she rolled her eyes back and forth as though out of her mind.
        She is becoming insane, I realized. In desperation I seized her by
        the hair so that she could no longer turn her face away from me. I
        saw dreadful fear in her eyes. Everything around us was hostile
        and threatening, as if everything wanted to attack us in the next
        moment. You must protect Eva, you must bring her through until
        morning, then the effects will discontinue, I said to myself. Then
        again, however, I plunged into nameless horror. There was no more
        time or reason; it seemed as if this condition would never end.
        The objects in the room were animated to caricatures; everything
        on all sides sneered scornfully. I saw Eva's yellow-black striped
        shoes, which I had found so stimulating, appearing as two large,
        evil wasps crawling on the floor. The water piping above the
        washbasin changed to a dragon head, whose eyes, the two water
        taps, observed me malevolently. My first name, George, came into
        my mind, and all at once I felt like Knight George, who must fight
        for Eva.
        Eva's cries tore me from these thoughts. Bathed in perspiration
        and trembling, she fastened herself to me. "I am thirsty," she
        moaned. With great effort, without releasing Eva's hand, I
        succeeded in getting a glass of water for her. But the water
        seemed slimy and viscous, was poisonous, and we could not quench
        our thirst with it. The two night-table lamps glowed with a
        strange brightness, in an infernal light. The clock struck twelve.
        This is hell, I thought. There is indeed no Devil and no demons,
        and yet they were perceptible in us, filled up the room, and
        tormented us with unimaginable terror. Imagination, or not?
        Hallucinations, projections? - insignificant questions when
        confronted with the reality of fear that was fixed in our bodies
        and shook us: the fear alone, it existed. Some passages from
        Huxley's book The Doors of Perception came to me and brought me
        brief comfort. I looked at Eva, at this whimpering, horrified
        being in her torment, and felt great remorse and pity. She had
        become strange to me; I scarcely recognized her any longer. She
        wore a fine golden chain around her neck with the medallion of the
        Virgin Mary. It was a gift from her younger brother. I noticed how
        a benevolent, comforting radiation, which was connected with pure
        love, emanated from this necklace. But then the terror broke loose
        again, as if to our final destruction. I needed my whole strength
        to constrain Eva. Loudly I heard the electrical meter ticking
        weirdly outside of the door, as if it wanted to make a most
        important, evil, devastating announcement to me in the next
        moment. Disdain, derision, and malignity again whispered out of
        all nooks and crevices. There, in the midst of this agony, I
        perceived the ringing of cowbells from afar as a wonderful,
        promising music. Yet soon it became silent again, and renewed fear
        and dread once again set in. As a drowning man hopes for a
        rescuing plank, so I wished that the cows would yet again want to
        draw near the house.\But everything remained quiet, and only the
        threatening tick and hum of the current meter buzzed round us like
        an invisible, malevolent insect.
        Morning finally dawned. With great relief I noticed how the chinks
        in the window shutters lit up. Now I could leave Eva to herself;
        she had quieted down. Exhausted, she closed her eyes and fell
        asleep. Shocked and deeply sad, I still sat on the edge of the
        bed. Gone was my pride and self- assurance; all that remained of
        me was a small heap of misery. I examined myself in the mirror and
        started: I had become ten years older in the course of the night.
        Downcast, I stared at the light of the night-table lamp with the
        hideous shade of intertwined plastic cords. All at once the light
        seemed to become brighter, and in the plastic cords it began to
        sparkle and to twinkle; it glowed like diamonds and gems of all
        colors, and an overwhelming feeling of happiness welled up in me.
        All at once, lamp, room, and Eva disappeared, and I found myself
        in a wonderful, fantastic landscape. It was comparable to the
        interior of an immense Gothic church nave, with infinitely many
        columns and Gothic arches. These consisted, however, not of stone,
        but rather of crystal. Bluish, yellowish, milky, and clearly
        transparent crystal columns surrounded me like trees in an open
        forest. Their points and arches became lost in dizzying heights. A
        bright light appeared before my inner eye, and a wonderful, gentle
        voice spoke to me out of the light. I did not hear it with my
        external ear, but rather perceived it, as if it were clear
        thoughts that arise in one.
        I realized that in the horror of the passing night I had
        experienced my own individual condition: selfishness. My egotism
        had kept me separated from mankind and had led me to inner
        isolation. I had loved only myself, not my neighbor; loved only
        the gratification that the other offered me. The world had existed
        only for the satisfaction of my greed. I had become tough, cold,
        and cynical. Hell, therefore, had signified that: egotism and
        lovelessness. Therefore everything had seemed strange and
        unconnected to me, so scornful and threatening. Amid flowing
        tears, I was enlightened with the knowledge that true love means
        surrenderof selfishness and that it is not desires but rather
        selfless love that forms the bridge to the heart of our fellow
        man. Waves of ineffable happiness flowed through my body. I had
        experienced the grace of God. But how could it be possible that it
        was radiating toward me, particularly out of this cheap lampshade?
        Then the inner voice answered: God is in everything.
        The experience at the mountain lake has given me the certainty
        that beyond the ephemeral, material world there also exists an
        imperishable, spiritual reality, which is our true home. I am now
        on my way home.
        For Eva everything remained just a bad dream. We broke up a short
        time thereafter.

    The following notes kept by a twenty-five-year-old advertising agent
    are contained in The LSD Story by John Cashman (Fawcett Publications,
    Greenwich, Conn., 1966). They were included in this selection of LSD
    reports, along with the preceding example, because the progression
    that they describe - from terrifying visions to extreme euphoria, a
    kind of deathrebirth cycle - is characteristic of many LSD

A Joyous Song of Being

    My first experience with LSD came at the home of a close friend who
        served as my guide. The surroundings were comfortably familiar and
        relaxing. I took two ampuls (200 micrograms) of LSD mixed in half
        a glass of distilled water. The experience lasted for close to
        eleven hours, from 8 o'clock on a Saturday evening until very
        nearly 7 o'clock the next morning. I have no firm point of
        comparison, but I am positive that no saint ever saw more glorious
        or joyously beautiful visions or experienced a more blissful state
        of transcendence. My powers to convey the miracles are shabby and
        far too inadequate to the task at hand. A sketch, and an artless
        one at that, must suffice where only the hand of a great master
        working from a complete palette could do justice to the subject. I
        must apologize for my own limitations in this feeble attempt to
        reduce the most remarkable experience of my life to mere words. My
        superior smile at the fumbling, halting attempts of others in
        their attempts to explain the heavenly visions to me has been
        transformed into a knowing smile of a conspirator - the common
        experience requires no words.
        My first thought after drinking the LSD was that it was having
        absolutely no effect. They had told me thirty minutes would
        produce the first sensation, a tingling of the skin. There was no
        tingling. I commented on this and was told to relax and wait. For
        the lack of anything else to do I stared at the dial light of the
        table radio, nodding my head to a jazz piece I did not recognize.
        I think it was several minutes before I realized that the light
        was changing color kaleidoscopically with the different pitch of
        the musical sounds, bright reds and yellows in the high register,
        deep purple in the low. I laughed. I had no idea when it had
        started. I simply knew it had. I closed my eyes, but the colored
        notes were still there. I was overcome by the remarkable
        brilliance of the colors. I tried to talk, to explain what I was
        seeing, the vibrant and luminous colors. Somehow it didn't seem
        important. With my eyes open, the radiant colors flooded the room,
        folding over on top of one another in rhythm with the music.
        Suddenly I was aware that the colors were the music. The discovery
        did not seem startling. Values, so cherished and guarded, were
        becoming unimportant. I wanted to talk about the colored music,
        but I couldn't. I was reduced to uttering one-syllable words while
        polysyllabic impressions tumbled through my mind with the speed of
        The dimensions of the room were changing, now sliding into a
        fluttering diamond shape, then straining into an oval shape as if
        someone were pumping air into the room, expanding it to the
        bursting point. I was having trouble focusing on objects. They
        would melt into fuzzy masses of nothing or sail off into space,
        self-propelled, slow-motion trips that were of acute interest to
        me. I tried to check the time on my watch, but I was unable to
        focus on the hands. I thought of asking for the time, but the
        thought passed. I was too busy seeing and listening. The sounds
        were exhilarating, the sights remarkable. I was completely
        entranced. I have no idea how long this lasted. I do know the egg
        came next.
        The egg, large, pulsating, and a luminous green, was there before
        I actually saw it. I sensed it was there. It hung suspended about
        halfway between where I sat and the far wall. I was intrigued by
        the beauty of the egg. At the same time I was afraid it would drop
        to the floor and break. I didn't want the egg to break. It seemed
        most important that the egg should not break. But even as I
        thought of this, the egg slowly dissolved and revealed a great
        multihued flower that was like no flowerI have ever seen. Its
        incredibly exquisite petals opened on the room, spraying
        indescribable colors in every direction. I felt the colors and
        heard them as they played across my body, cool and warm, reedlike
        and tinkling.
        The first tinge of apprehension came later when I saw the center
        of the flower slowly eating away at the petals, a black, shiny
        center that appeared to be formed by the backs of a thousand ants.
        It ate away the petals at an agonizingly slow pace. I wanted to
        scream for it to stop or to hurry up. I was pained by the gradual
        disappearance of the beautiful petals as if being swallowed by an
        insidious disease. Then in a flash of insight I realized to my
        horror that the black thing was actually devouring me. I was the
        flower and this foreign, creeping thing was eating me!
        I shouted or screamed, I really don't remember. I was too full of
        fear and loathing. I heard my guide say: "Easy now. Just go with
        it. Don't fight it. Go with it." I tried, but the hideous
        blackness caused such repulsion that I screamed: "I can't! For
        God's sake help me! Help me!" The voice was soothing, reassuring:
        "Let it come. Everything is all right. Don't worry. Go with it.
        Don't fight."
        I felt myself dissolving into the terrifying apparition, my body
        melting in waves into the core of blackness, my mind stripped of
        ego and life and, yes even death. In one great crystal instant I
        realized that I was immortal. I asked the question: "Am I dead?"
        But the question had no meaning. Meaning was meaningless. Suddenly
        there was white light and the shimmering beauty of unity. There
        was light everywhere, white light with a clarity beyond
        description. I was dead and I was born and the exultation was pure
        and holy. My lungs were bursting with the joyful song of being.
        There was unity and life and the exquisite love that filled my
        being was unbounded. My awareness was acute and complete. I saw
        God and the devil and all the saints and I knew the truth. I felt
        myself flowing into the cosmos, levitated beyond all restraint,
        liberated to swim in the blissful radiance of the heavenly
        I wanted to shout and sing of miraculous new life and sense and
        form, of the joyous beauty and the whole mad ecstasy of
        loveliness. I knew and understood all there is to know and
        understand. I was immortal, wise beyond wisdom, and capable of
        love, of all loves. Every atom of my body and soul had seen and
        felt God. The world was warmth and goodness. There was no time, no
        place, no me. There was only cosmic harmony. It was all there in
        the white light. With every fiberof my being I knew it was so.
        I embraced the enlightenment with complete abandonment. As the
        experience receded I longed to hold onto it and tenaciously fought
        against the encroachment of the realities of time and place. For
        me, the realities of our limited existence were no longer valid. I
        had seen the ultimate realities and there would be no others. As I
        was slowly transported back to the tyranny of clocks and schedules
        and petty hatreds, I tried to talk of my trip, my enlightenment,
        the horrors, the beauty, all of it. I must have been babbling like
        an idiot. My thoughts swirled at a fantastic rate, but the words
        couldn't keep pace. My guide smiled and told me he understood.

    The preceding collection of reports on "travels in the universe of the
    soul," even though they encompass such dissimilar experiences, are
    still not able to establish a complete picture of the broad spectrum
    of all possible reactions to LSD, which extends from the most sublime
    spiritual, religious, and mystical experiences, down to gross
    psychosomatic disturbances. Cases of LSD sessions have been described
    in which the stimulation of fantasy and of visionary experience, as
    expressed in the LSD reports assembled here, is completely absent, and
    the experimenter was for the whole time in a state of ghastly physical
    and mental discomfort, or even felt severely ill.

    Reports about the modification of sexual experience under the
    influence of LSD are also contradictory. Since stimulation of all
    sensory perception is an essential feature of LSD effects, the sensual
    orgy of sexual intercourse can undergo unimaginable enhancements.
    Cases have also been described, however, in which LSD led not to the
    anticipated erotic paradise, but rather to a purgatory or even to the
    hell of frightful extinction of every perception and to a lifeless

    Such a variety and contradiction of reactions to a drug is found only
    in LSD and the related hallucinogens. The explanation for this lies in
    the complexity and variability of the conscious and subconscious minds
    of people, which LSD is able to penetrate and to bring to life as
    experienced reality.

                         6. The Mexican Relatives of LSD

The Sacred Mushroom Teonanacatl

    Late in 1956 a notice in the daily paper caught my interest. Among
    some Indians in southern Mexico, American researchers had discovered
    mushrooms that were eaten in religious ceremonies and that produced an
    inebriated condition accompanied by hallucinations.

    Since, outside of the mescaline cactus found also in Mexico, no other
    drug was known at the time that, like LSD, produced hallucinations, I
    would have liked to establish contact with these researchers, in order
    to learn details about these hallucinogenic mushrooms. But there were
    no names and addresses in the short newspaper article, so that it was
    impossible to get further information. Nevertheless, the mysterious
    mushrooms, whose chemical investigation would be a tempting problem,
    stayed in my thoughts from then on.

    As it later turned out, LSD was the reason that these mushrooms found
    their way into my laboratory, with out my assistance, at the beginning
    of the following year.

    Through the mediation of Dr. Yves Dunant, at the time director of the
    Paris branch of Sandoz, an inquiry came to the pharmaceutical research
    management in Basel from Professor Roger Heim, director of the
    Laboratoire de Cryptogamie of the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle
    in Paris, asking whether we were interested in carrying out the
    chemical investigation of the Mexican hallucinogenic mushrooms. With
    great joy I declared myself ready to begin this work in my department,
    in the laboratories for natural product research. That was to be my
    link to the exciting investigations of the Mexican sacred mushrooms,
    which were already broadly advanced in the ethnomycological and
    botanical aspects.

    For a long time the existence of these magic mushrooms had remained an
    enigma. The history of their rediscovery is presented at first hand in
    the magnificent two-volume standard work of ethnomycology, Mushrooms,
    Russia and History (Pantheon Books, New York, 1957), for the authors,
    the American researchers Valentina Pavlovna Wasson and her husband, R.
    Gordon Wasson, played a decisive role in this rediscovery. The
    following descriptions of the fascinating history of these mushrooms
    are taken from the Wassons' book.

    The first written evidence of the use of inebriating mushrooms on
    festival occasions, or in the course of religious ceremonies and
    magically oriented healing practices, is found among the Spanish
    chroniclers and naturalists of the sixteenth century, who entered the
    country soon after the conquest of Mexico by Hernan Cortes. The most
    important of these witnesses is the Franciscan friar Bernardino de
    Sahagun, who mentions the magic mushrooms and describes their effects
    and their use in several passages of his famous historical work,
    Historia General de tas Cosas de Nueva Espana, written between the
    years 1529 and 1590. Thus he describes, for example, how merchants
    celebrated the return home from a successful business trip with a
    mushroom party:

    Coming at the very first, at the time of feasting, they ate mushrooms
        when, as they said, it was the hour of the blowing of the flutes.
        Not yet did they partake of food; they drank only chocolate during
        the night. And they ate mushrooms with honey. When already the
        mushrooms were taking effect, there was dancing, there was
        weeping.... Some saw in a vision that they would die in war. Some
        saw in a vision that they would be devoured by wild beasts....
        Some saw in a vision that they would become rich, wealthy. Some
        saw in a vision that they would buy slaves, would become slave
        owners. Some saw in a vision that they would commit adultery [and
        so] would have their heads bashed in, would be stoned to death....
        Some saw in a vision that they would perish in the water. Some saw
        in a vision that they would pass to tranquility in death. Some saw
        in avision that they would fall from the housetop, tumble to their
        death. . . . All such things they saw.... And when [the effects
        of] the mushroom ceased, they conversed with one another, spoke of
        what they had seen in the vision.

    In a publication from the same period, Diego Duran, a Dominican friar,
    reported that inebriating mushrooms were eaten at the great festivity
    on the occasion of the accession to the throne of Moctezuma II, the
    famed emperor of the Aztecs, in the year 1502. A passage in the
    seventeenth-century chronicle of Don Jacinto de la Serna refers to the
    use of these mushrooms in a religious framework:

    And what happened was that there had come to [the village] an Indian .
        . . and his name was Juan Chichiton . . . and he had brought the
        red-colored mushrooms that are gathered in the uplands, and with
        them he had committed a great idolatry.... In the house where
        everyone had gathered on the occasion of a saint's feast . . . the
        teponastli [an Aztec percussion instrument] was playing and
        singing was going on the whole night through. After most of the
        night had passed, Juan Chichiton, who was the priest for that
        solumn rite, to all of those present at the flesta gave the
        mushrooms to eat, after the manner of Communion, and gave them
        pulque to drink. . . so that they all went out of their heads, a
        shame it was to see.

    In Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, these mushrooms were described
    as teonanactl, which can be translated as "sacred mushroom."

    There are indications that ceremonial use of such mushrooms reaches
    far back into pre-Columbian times. So-called mushroom stones have been
    found in El Salvador, Guatemala, and the contiguous mountainous
    districts of Mexico. These are stone sculptures in the form of pileate
    mushroom, on whose stem the face or the form of a god or an animallike
    demon is carved. Most are about 30 cm high. The oldest examples,
    according to archaeologists, date back to before 500 B.C.

    R. G. Wasson argues, quite convincingly, that there is a connection
    between these mushroom stones and teonanacatl. If true, this means
    that the mushroom cult, the magico-medicinal and religious-ceremonial
    use of the magic mushrooms, is more than two thousand years old.

    To the Christian missionaries, the inebriating, vision- and
    hallucination-producing effects of these mushrooms seemed to be
    Devil's work. They therefore tried, with all the means in their power,
    to extirpate their use. But they succeeded only partially, for the
    Indians have continued secretly down to our time to utilize the
    mushroom teonanacatl, which was sacred to them.

    Strange to say, the reports in the old chronicles about the use of
    magic mushrooms remained unnoticed during the following centuries,
    probably because they were considered products of the imagination of a
    superstitious age.

    All traces of the existence of "sacred mushrooms" were in danger of
    becoming obliterated once and for all, when, in 1915, an
    Americanbotanist of repute, Dr. W. E. Safford, in an address before
    the Botanical Society in Washington and in a scientific publication,
    advanced the thesis that no such thing as magic mushrooms had ever
    existed at all: the Spanish chroniclers had taken the mescaline cactus
    for a mushroom! Even if false, this proposition of Safford's served
    nevertheless to direct the attention of the scientific world to the
    riddle of the mysterious mushrooms.

    It was the Mexican physician Dr. Blas Pablo Reko who first openly
    disagreed with Safford's interpretation and who found evidence that
    mushrooms were still employed in medicinal-religious ceremonies even
    in our time, in remote districts of the southern mountains of Mexico.
    But not until the years 19338 did the anthropologist Robert J.
    Weitlaner and Dr. Richard Evans Schultes, a botanist from Harvard
    University, find actual mushrooms in that region, which were used
    there for this ceremonial purpose; and only in 1938 could a group of
    young American anthropologists, under the direction of Jean Bassett
    Johnson, attend a secret nocturnal mushroom ceremony for the first
    time. This was in Huautla de Jimenez, the capital of the Mazatec
    country, in the State of Oaxaca. But these researchers were only
    spectators, they were not permitted to partake of the mushrooms.
    Johnson reported on the experience in a Swedish journal (Ethnotogical
    Studies 9, 1939).

    Then exploration of the magic mushrooms was interrupted. World War II
    broke out. Schultes, at the behest of the American government, had to
    occupy himself with rubber production in the Amazon territory, and
    Johnson was killed after the Allied landing in North Africa.

    It was the American researchers, the married couple Dr. Valentina
    Pavlovna Wasson and her husband, R. Gordon Wasson, who again took up
    the problem from the ethnographic aspect. R. G. Wasson was a banker,
    vice-president of the J. P. Morgan Co. in New York. His wife, who died
    in 1958, was a pediatrician. The Wassons began their work in 1953, in
    the Mazatec village Huautla de Jimenez, where fifteen years earlier J.
    B. Johnson and others had established the continued existence of the
    ancient Indian mushroom cult. They received especially valuable
    information from an American missionary who had been active there for
    many years, Eunice V. Pike, member of the Wycliffe Bible Translators.
    Thanks to her knowledge of the native language and her ministerial
    association with the inhabitants, Pike had information about the
    significance of the magic mushrooms that nobody else possessed. During
    several lengthy sojourns in Huautla and environs, the Wassons were
    able to study the present use of the mushrooms in detail and compare
    it with the descriptions in the old chronicles. This showed that the
    belief in the "sacred mushrooms" was still prevalent in that region.
    However, the Indians kept their beliefs a secret from strangers. It
    took great tact and skill, therefore, to gain the confidence of the
    indigenous population and to receive insight into this secret domain.

    In the modern form of the mushroom cult, the old religious ideas and
    customs are mingled with Christian ideas and Christian terminology.
    Thus the mushrooms are often spoken of as the blood of Christ, because
    they will grow only where a drop of Christ's blood has fallen on the
    earth. According to another notion, the mushrooms sprout where a drop
    of saliva from Christ's mouth has moistened the ground, and it is
    thcrefore Jesus Christ himself who speaks through the mushrooms.

    The mushroom ceremony follows the form of a consultation. The seeker
    of advice or a sick person or his or her family questions a "wise man"
    or a "wise woman," asabio orsabia, also named curandero orcurandera,
    in return for a modest payment. Curandero can best be translated into
    English as "healing priest," for his function is that of a physician
    as well as that of a priest, both being found only rarely in these
    remote regions. In the Mazatec language the healing priest is called
    co-ta-ci-ne, which means "one who knows." He eats the mushroom in the
    framework of a ceremony that always takes place at night. The other
    persons present at the ceremony may sometimes receive mushrooms as
    well, yet a much greater dose always goes to the curandero. The
    performance is executed with the accompaniment of prayers and
    entreaties, while the mushrooms are incensed briefly over a basin, in
    which copal (an incense-like resin) is burned. In complete darkness,
    at times by candlelight, while the others present lie quietly on their
    straw mats, the curandero, kneeling or sitting, prays and sings before
    a type of altar bearing a crucifix, an image of a saint, or some other
    object of worship. Under the influence of the sacred mushrooms, the
    curandero counsels in a visionary state, in which even the inactive
    observers more or less participate. In the monotonous song of the
    curandero, the mushroom teonanacatl gives its answers to the questions
    posed. It says whether the diseased person will live or die, which
    herbs will effect the cure; it reveals who has killed a specific
    person, or who has stolen the horse; or it makes known how a distant
    relative fares, and so forth.

    The mushroom ceremony not only has the function of a consulation of
    the type described, for the Indians it also has a meaning in many
    respects similar to the Holy Communion for the believing Christian.
    From many utterances of the natives it could be inferred that they
    believe that God has given the Indians the sacred mushroom because
    they are poor and possess no doctors and medicines; and also, because
    they cannot read, in particular the Bible, God can therefore speak
    directly to them through the mushroom. The missionary Eunice V. Pike
    even alluded to the difficulties that result from explaining the
    Christian message, the written word, to a people who believe they
    possess a means - the sacred mushrooms of course - to make God's will
    known to them in a direct, clear manner: yes, the mushrooms permit
    them to see into heaven and to establish communication with God

    The Indians' reverence for the sacred mushrooms is also evident in
    their belief that they can be eaten only by a "clean" person. "Clean"
    here means ceremonially clean, and that term among other things
    includes sexual abstinence at least four days before and after
    ingestion of the mushrooms. Certain rules must also be observed in
    gathering the mushrooms. With nonobservance of these commandments, the
    mushrooms can make the person who eats it insane, or can even kill.

    The Wassons had undertaken their first expedition to the Mazatec
    country in 1953, but not until 1955 did they succeed in overcoming the
    shyness and reserve of the Mazatec friends they had managed to make,
    to the point of being admitted as active participants in a mushroom
    ceremony. R. Gordon Wasson and his companion, the photographer Allan
    Richardson, were given sacred mushrooms to eat at the end of June
    1955, on the occasion of a nocturnal mushroom ceremony. They thereby
    became in all likelihood the first outsiders, the first whites, ever
    permitted to take teonanacatl.

    In the second volume of Mushrooms, Russia and History, in enraptured
    words, Wasson describes how the mushroom seized possession of him
    completely, although he had tried to struggle against its effects, in
    order to be able to remain an objective observer. First he saw
    geometric, colored patterns, which then took on architectural
    characteristics. Next followed visions of splendid colonnades, palaces
    of supernatural harmony and magnificence embellished with precious
    gems, triumphal cars drawn by fabulous creatures as they are known
    only from mythology, and landscapes of fabulous luster. Detached from
    the body, the spirit soared timelessly in a realm of fantasy among
    images of a higher reality and deeper meaning than those of the
    ordinary, everyday world. The essence of life, the ineffable, seemed
    to be on the verge of being unlocked, but the ultimate door failed to

    This experience was the final proof, for Wasson, that the magical
    powers attributed to the mushrooms actually existed and were not
    merely superstition.

    In order to introduce the mushrooms to scientific research, Wasson had
    earlier established an association with mycologist Professor Roger
    Heim of Paris. Accompanying the Wassons on further expeditions into
    the Mazatec country, Heim conducted the botanical identification of
    the sacred mushrooms. He showed that they were gilled mushrooms from
    the family Strophariaceae, about a dozen different species not
    previously described scientifically, the greatest part belonging to
    the genus Psilocybe. Professor Heim also succeeded in cultivating some
    of the species in the laboratory. The mushroom Psilocybe mexicana
    turned out to be especially suitable for artificial cultivation.

    Chemical investigations ran parallel with these botanical studies on
    the magic mushrooms, with the goal of extracting the
    hallucinogenically active principle from the mushroom material and
    preparing it in chemically pure form. Such investigations were carried
    out at Professor Heim's instigation in the chemicaI laboratory of the
    Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris, and work teams were
    occupied with this problem in the United States in the research
    laboratories of two large pharmaceutical companies: Merck, and Smith,
    Kline and French. The American laboratories had obtained some of the
    mushrooms from R. G. Wasson and had gathered others themselves in the
    Sierra Mazateca.

    As the chemical investigations in Paris and in the United States
    turned out to be ineffectual, Professor Heim addressed this matter to
    our firm, as mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, because he
    felt that our experimental experience with LSD, related to the magic
    mushrooms by similar activity, could be of use in the isolation
    attempts. Thus it was LSD that showed teonanacatl the way into our

    As director of the department of natural products of the Sandoz
    pharmaceutical-chemical research laboratories at that time, I wanted
    to assign-the investigation of the magic mushrooms to one of my
    coworkers. However, nobody showed much eagerness to take on this
    problem because it was known that LSD and everything connected with it
    were scarcely popular subjects to the top management. Because the
    enthusiasm necessary for successful endeavors cannot be commanded, and
    because the enthusiasm was already present in me as far as this
    problem was concerned, I decided to conduct the investigation myself.

    Some 100 g of dried mushrooms of the species Psilocybe mexicana,
    cultivated by Professor Heim in the laboratory, were available for the
    beginning of the chemical analysis. My laboratory assistant, Hans
    Tscherter, who during our decade-long collaboration, had developed
    into a very capable helper, completely familiar with my manner of
    work, aided me in the extraction and isolation attempts. Since there
    were no clues at all concerning the chemical properties of the active
    principle we sought, the isolation attempts had to be conducted on the
    basis of the effects of the extract fractions. But none of the various
    extracts showed an unequivocal effect, either in the mouse or the dog,
    which could have pointed to the presence of hallucinogenic principles.
    It therefore became doubtful whether the mushrooms cultivated and
    dried in Paris were still active at all. That could only be determined
    by experimenting with this mushroom material on a human being. As in
    the case of LSD, I made this fundamental experiment myself, since it
    is not appropriate for researchers to ask anyone else to perform
    self-experiments that they require for their own investigations,
    especially if they entail, as in this case, a certain risk.

    In this experiment I ate 32 dried specimens of Psilocybe mexicana,
    which together weighed 2.4 g. This amount corresponded to an average
    dose, according to the reports of Wasson and Heim, as it is used by
    the curanderos. The mushrooms displayed a strong psychic effect, as
    the following extract from the report on that experiment shows:

    Thirty minutes after my taking the mushrooms, the exterior world began
        to undergo a strange transformation. Everything assumed a Mexican
        character. As I was perfectly well aware that my knowledge of the
        Mexican origin of the mushroom would lead me to imagine only
        Mexican scenery, I tried deliberately to look on my environment as
        I knew it normally. But all voluntary efforts to look at things in
        their customary forms and colors proved ineffective. Whether my
        eyes were closed or open, I saw only Mexican motifs and colors.
        When the doctor supervising the experiment bent over me to check
        my blood pressure, he was transformed into an Aztec priest and I
        would not have been astonished if he had drawn an obsidian knife.
        In spite of the seriousness of the situation, it amused me to see
        how the Germanic face of my colleague had acquired a purely Indian
        expression. At the peak of the intoxication, about 1 1/2 hours
        after ingestion of the mushrooms, the rush of interior pictures,
        mostly abstract motifs rapidly changing in shape and color,
        reached such an alarming degree that I feared that I would be torn
        into this whirlpool of form and color and would dissolve. After
        about six hours the dream came to an end. Subjectively, I had no
        idea how long this condition had lasted. I felt my return to
        everyday reality to be a happy return from a strange, fantastic
        but quite real world to an old and familiar home.

    This self-experiment showed once again that human beings react much
    more sensitively than animals to psychoactive substances. We had
    already reached the same conclusion in experimenting with LSD on
    animals, as described in an earlier chapter of this book. It was not
    inactivity of the mushroom material, but rather the deficient reaction
    capability of the research animals vis-a-vis such a type of active
    principle, that explained why our extracts had appeared inactive in
    the mouse and dog.

    Because the assay on human subjects was the only test at our disposal
    for the detection of the active extract fractions, we had no other
    choice than to perform the testing on ourselves if we wanted to carry
    on the work and bring it to a successful conclusion. In the
    self-experiment just described, a strong reaction lasting several
    hours was produced by 2.4 g dried mushrooms. Therefore, in the sequel
    we used samples corresponding to only one-third of this amount, namely
    0.8 g dried mushrooms. If these samples contained the active
    principle, they would only provoke a mild effect that impaired the
    ability to work for a short time, but this effect would still be so
    distinct that the inactive fractions and those containing the active
    principle could unequivocally be differentiated from one another.
    Several coworkers and colleagues volunteered as guinea pigs for this
    series of tests.

Psilocybin and Psilocin

    With the help of this reliable test on human subjects, the active
    principle could be isolated, concentrated, and transformed into a
    chemically pure state by means of the newest separation methods. Two
    new substances, which I named psilocybin and psilocin, were thereby
    obtained in the form of colorless crystals .

    These results were published in March 1958 in the journal Experientia,
    in collaboration with Professor Heim and with my colleagues Dr. A.
    Brack and Dr. H. Kobel, who had provided greater quantities of
    mushroom material for these investigations after they had essentially
    improved the laboratory cultivation of the mushrooms.

    Some of my coworkers at the time - Drs. A. J. Frey, H. Ott, T.
    Petrzilka, and F. Troxler - then participated in the next steps of
    these investigations, the determination of the chemical structure of
    psilocybin and psilocin and the subsequent synthesis of these
    compounds, the results of which were published in the November 1958
    issue of Experientia. The chemical structures of these mushroom
    factors deserve special attention in several respects. Psilocybin and
    psilocin belong, like LSD, to the indole compounds, the biologically
    important class of substances found in the plant and animal kingdoms.
    Particular chemical features common to both the mushroom substances
    and LSD show that psilocybin and psilocin are closely related to LSD,
    not only with regard to psychic effects but also to their chemical
    structures. Psilocybin is the phosphoric acid ester of psilocin and,
    as such, is the first and hitherto only phosphoric-acid-containing
    indole compound discovered in nature. The phosphoric acid residue does
    not contribute to the activity, for the phosphoric-acid-free psilocin
    is just as active as psilocybin, but it makes the molecule more
    stable. While psilocin is readily decomposed by the oxygen in air,
    psilocybin is a stable substance.

    Psilocybin and psilocin possess a chemical structure very similar to
    the brain factor serotonin. As was already mentioned in the chapter on
    animal experiments and biological research, serotonin plays an
    important role in the chemistry of brain functions. The two mushroom
    factors, like LSD, block the effects of serotonin in pharmacological
    experiments on different organs. Other pharmacological properties of
    psilocybin and psilocin are also similar to those of LSD. The main
    difference consists in the quantitative activity, in animal as well as
    human experimentation. The average active dose of psilocybin or
    psilocin in human beings amounts to 10 mg (0.01 g); accordingly, these
    two substances are more than 100 times less active than LSD, of which
    0.1 mg constitutes a strong dose. Moreover, the effects of the
    mushroom factors last only four to six hours, much shorter than the
    effects of LSD (eight to twelve hours).

    The total synthesis of psilocybin and psilocin, without the aid of the
    mushrooms, could be developed into a technical process, which would
    allow these substances to be produced on a large scale. Synthetic
    production is more rational and cheaper than extraction from the

    Thus with the isolation and synthesis of the active principles, the
    demystification of the magic mushrooms was accomplished. The compounds
    whose wondrous effects led the Indians to believe for millennia that a
    god was residing in the mushrooms had their chemical structures
    elucidated and could be produced synthetically in flasks.

    Just what progress in scientific knowledge was accomplished by natural
    products research in this case? Essentially, when all is said and
    done, we can only say that the mystery of the wondrous effects of
    teonanacatl was reduced to the mystery of the effects of two
    crystalline substances - since these effects cannot be explained by
    science either, but can only be describe.

A Voyage into the Universe of the Soul with Psilocybin

    The relationship between the psychic effects of psilocybin and those
    of LSD, their visionaryhallucinatory character, is evident in the
    following report from Antaios, of a psilocybin experiment by Dr.
    Rudolf Gelpke. He has characterized his experiences with LSD and
    psilocybin, as already mentioned in a previous chapter, as "travels in
    the universe of the soul."

Where Time Stands Still

    (10 mg psilocybin, 6 April 1961, 10:20)

    After ca. 20 minutes, beginning effects: serenity, speechlessness,
        mild but pleasant dizzy sensation, and "pleasureful deep
        10:50 Strong! dizziness, can no longer concentrate .
        10:55 Excited, intensity of colors: everything pink to red.
        11:05 The world concentrates itself there on the center of the
        table. Colors very intense.
        11:10 A divided being, unprecedented - how can I describe this
        sensation of life? Waves, different selves, must control me.
        Immediately after this note I went outdoors, leaving the breakfast
        table, where I had eaten with Dr. H. and ourwives, and lay down on
        the lawn. The inebriation pushed rapidly to its climax. Although I
        had firmly resolved to make constant notes, it now seemed to me a
        complete waste of time, the motion of writing infinitely slow, the
        possibilities of verbal expression unspeakably paltry - measured
        by the flood of inner experience that inundated me and threatened
        to burst me. It seemed to me that 100 years would not be
        sufficient to describe the fullness of experience of a single
        minute. At the beginning, optical impressions predominated: I saw
        with delight the boundless succession of rows of trees in the
        nearby forest. Then the tattered clouds in the sunny sky rapidly
        piled up with silent and breathtaking majesty to a superimposition
        of thousands of layers - heaven on heaven - and I waited then
        expecting that up there in the next moment something completely
        powerful, unheard of, not yet existing, would appear or happen -
        would I behold a god? But only the expectation remained, the
        presentiment, this hovering, "on the threshold of the ultimate
        feeling." . . . Then I moved farther away (the proximity of others
        disturbed me) and lay down in a nook of the garden on a sun-warmed
        wood pile - my fingers stroked this wood with overflowing,
        animal-like sensual affection. At the same time I was submerged
        within myself; it was an absolute climax: a sensation of bliss
        pervaded me, a contented happiness - I found myself behind my
        closed eyes in a cavity full of brick-red ornaments, and at the
        same time in the "center of the universe of consummate calm." I
        knew everything was good - the cause and origins of everything was
        good. But at the same moment I also understood the suffering and
        the loathing, the depression and misunderstanding of ordinary
        life: there one is never "total," but instead divided, cut in
        pieces, and split up into the tiny fragments of seconds, minutes,
        hours, days, weeks, and years: there one is a slave of Moloch
        time, which devoured one piecemeal; one is condemned to
        stammering, bungling, and patchwork; one must drag about with
        oneself the perfection and absolute, the togetherness of all
        things; the eternal moment of the golden age, this original ground
        of being - that indeed nevertheless has always endured and will
        endure forever - there in the weekday of human existence, as a
        tormenting thorn buried deeply in the soul, as a memorial of a
        claim never fulfilled, as a fata morgana of a lost and promised
        paradise; through this feverish dream "present" to a condemned
        "past" in a clouded "future." I understood. This inebriation was a
        spaceflight, not of the outer but rather of the inner man, and for
        a moment I experienced reality from a location that lies somewhere
        beyond the force of gravity of time.
        As I began again to feel this force of gravity, I was childish
        enough to want to postpone the return by taking a new dose of 6 mg
        psilocybin at 11:45, and once again 4 mg at 14:30. The effect was
        trifling, and in any case not worth mentioning.

    Mrs. Li Gelpke, an artist, also participated in this series of
    investigations, taking three self-experiments with LSD and psilocybin.
    The artist wrote of the drawing she made during the experiment:

    Nothing on this page is consciously fashioned. While I worked on it,
        the memory (of the experience under psilocybin) was again reality,
        and led me at every stroke. For that reason the picture is as
        many-layered as this memory, and the figure at the lower right is
        really the captive of its dream.... When books about Mexican art
        came into my hands three weeks later, I again found the motifs of
        my visions there with a sudden start....

    I have also mentioned the occurrence of Mexican motifs in psilocybin
    inebriation during my first selfexperiment with dried Psilocybe
    mexicana mushrooms, as was described in the section on the chemical
    investigation of these mushrooms. The same phenomenon has also struck
    R. Gordon Wasson. Proceeding from such observations, he has advanced
    the conjecture that ancient Mexican art could have been influenced by
    visionary images, as they appear in mushroom inebriation.

The "Magic Morning Glory" Ololiuhqui

    After we had managed to solve the riddle of the sacred mushroom
    teonanacatt in a relatively short time, I also became interested in
    the problem of another Mexican magic drug not yet chemically
    elucidated, olotiuhqui. Ololiuhqui is the Aztec name for the seeds of
    certain climbing plants (Convolvulaceae) that, like the mescaline
    cactus peyotl and the teonanacatl mushrooms, were used in
    pre-Columbian times by the Aztecs and neighboring people in religious
    ceremonies and magical healing practices. Ololiuhqui is still used
    even today by certain Indian tribes like the Zapotec, Chinantec,
    Mazatec, and Mixtec, who until a short time ago still led a geniunely
    isolated existence, little influenced by Christianity, in the remote
    mountains of southern Mexico.

    An excellent study of the historical, ethnological, and botanical
    aspects of ololiuhqui was published in 1941 by Richard Evans Schultes,
    director of the Harvard Botanical Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
    It is entitled "A Contribution to Our Knowledge of Rivea corymbosa,
    the Narcotic Ololiuqui of the Aztecs." The following statements about
    the history of ololiuhqui derive chiefly from Schultes's monograph.
    [Translator's note: As R. Gordon Wasson has pointed out, "ololiuhqui"
    is a more precise orthography than the more popular spelling used by
    Schultes. See Botanical Museum Leaflets Harvard University 20:
    161-212, 1963.]

    The earliest records about this drug were written by Spanish
    chroniclers of the sixteenth century, who also mentioned peyotl and
    teonanacatl. Thus the Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagun, in his
    already cited famous chronicle Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva
    Espana, writes about the wondrous effects of olotiuhqui: "There is an
    herb, called coatl xoxouhqui (green snake), which produces seeds that
    are called ololiuhqui. These seeds stupefy and deprive one of reason:
    they are taken as a potion."

    We obtain further information about these seeds from the physician
    Francisco Hernandez, whom Philip II sent to Mexico from Spain, from
    1570 to 1575, in order to study the medicaments of the natives. In the
    chapter "On Ololiuhqui" of his monumental work entitled Rerum
    Medicarum Novae Hispaniae Thesaurus seu Plantarum, Animalium
    Mineralium Mexicanorum Historia, published in Rome in 1651, he gives a
    detailed description and the first illustration of ololiuhqui. An
    extract from the Latin text accompanying the illustration reads in
    translation: "Ololiuhqui, which others call coaxihuitl or snake plant,
    is a climber with thin, green, heart-shaped leaves.... The flowers are
    white, fairly large.... The seeds are roundish. . . . When the priests
    of the Indians wanted to visit with the gods and obtain information
    from them, they ate of this plant in order to become inebriated.
    Thousands of fantastic images and demons then appeared to them...."
    Despite this comparatively good description, the botanical
    identification of ololiuhqui as seeds of Rivea corymbosa (L.) Hall. f.
    occasioned many discussions in specialist circles. Recently preference
    has been given to the synonym Turbina corymbosa (L.) Raf.

    When I decided in 1959 to attempt the isolation o the active
    principles of ololiuhqui, only a single report on chemical work with
    the seeds of Turbina cormbosa was available. It was the work of the
    pharmacologist C. G. Santesson of Stockholm, from the year 1937.
    Santesson, however, was not successful in isolating an active
    substance in pure form.

    Contradictory findings had been published about the activity of
    theololiuhqui seeds. The psychiatrist H. Osmond conducted a
    self-experiment with the seeds of Turbina corymbosa in 1955. After the
    ingestion of 60 to 100 seeds, he entered into a state of apathy and
    emptiness, accompanied by enhanced visual sensitivity. After four
    hours, there followed a period of relaxation and well-being, lasting
    for a longer time. The results of V. J. Kinross-Wright, published in
    England in 1958, in which eight voluntary research subjects, who had
    taken up to 125 seeds, perceived no effects at all, contradicted this

    Through the mediation of R. Gordon Wasson, I obtained two samples of
    ololiuhgui seeds. In his accompanying letter of 6 August 1959 from
    Mexico City, he wrote of them:

    . . . The parcels that I am sending you are the following: . . .
        A small parcel of seeds that I take to be Rivea corymbosa,
        otherwise known as ololiuqui well-known narcotic of the Aztecs,
        called in Huautla "la semilla de la Virgen." This parcel, you will
        find, consists of two little bottles, which represent two
        deliveries of seeds made to us in Huautla, and a larger batch of
        seeds delivered to us by Francisco Ortega "Chico," the Zapotec
        guide, who himself gathered the seeds from the plants at the
        Zapotec town of San Bartolo Yautepec....

    The first-named, round, light brown seeds from Huautla proved in the
    botanical determination to have been correctly identified as Rivea
    (Turbina) corymbosa, while the black, angular seeds from San Bartolo
    Yautepec were identified as Ipomoea violacea L.

    While Turbina corymbosa thrives only in tropical or subtropical
    climates, one also finds Ipomoea violacea as an ornamental plant
    dispersed over the whole earth in the temperate zones. It is the
    morning glory that delights the eye in our gardens in diverse
    varieties with blue or blue-red striped caiyxes.

    The Zapotec, besides the original ololiuhqui (that is, the seeds of
    Turbina corymbosa, which they call badoh), also utilize badoh negro,
    the seeds of Ipomoea violacea. T. MacDougall, who furnished us with a
    second larger consignment of the last-named seeds, made this

    My capable laboratory assistant Hans Tscherter, with whom I had
    already carried out the isolation of the active principles of the
    mushrooms, participated in the chemical investigation of the
    ololiuhqui drug. We advanced the working hypothesis that the active
    principles of the ololiuhqui seeds could be representatives of the
    same class of chemical substances, the indole compounds, to which LSD,
    psilocybin, and psilocin belong. Considering the very great number of
    other groups of substances that, like the indoles, were under
    consideration as active principles of ololiuhqui, it was indeed
    extremely improbable that this assumption would prove true. It could,
    however, very easily be tested. The presence of indole compounds, of
    course, may simply and rapidly be determined by colorimetric
    reactions. Thus even traces of indole substances, with a certain
    reagent, give an intense blue-colored solution.

    We had luck with our hypothesis. Extracts of ololiuhqui seeds with the
    appropriate reagent gave the blue coloration characteristic of indole
    compounds. With the help of this colorimetric test, we succeeded in a
    short time in isolating the indole substances from the seeds and in
    obtaining them in chemically pure form. Their identification led to an
    astonishing result. What we found appeared at first scarcely
    believable. Only after repetition and the most careful scrutiny of the
    operations was our suspicion concerning the peculiar findings
    eliminated: the active principles from the ancient Mexican magic drug
    ololiuhqui proved to be identical with substances that were already
    present in my laboratory. They were identical with alkaloids that had
    been obtained in the course of the decadeslong investigations of
    ergot; partly isolated as such from ergot, partly obtained through
    chemical modification of ergot substances.

    Lysergic acid amide, lysergic acid hydroxyethylamide, and alkaloids
    closely related to them chemically were established as the main active
    principles of olotiuhqui. (See formulae in the appendix.) Also present
    was the alkaloid ergobasine, whose synthesis had constituted the
    starting point of my investigations on ergot alkaloids. Lysergic acid
    amide and lysergic acid hydroxyethylamide, active principles of
    ololiuhqui, are chemically very closely related to lysergic acid
    diethylamide (LSD), which even for the nonchemist follows from the

    Lysergic acid amide was described for the first time by the English
    chemists S. Smith and G. M. Timmis as a cleavage product of ergot
    alkaloids, and I had also produced this substance synthetically in the
    course of the investigations in which LSD originated. Certainly,
    nobody at the time could have suspected that this cornpound
    synthesized in the flask would be discovered twenty years later as a
    naturally occurring active principle of an ancient Mexican magic drug.

    After the discovery of the psychic effects of LSD, I had also tested
    lysergic acid amide in a selfexperiment and established that it
    likewise evoked a dreamlike condition, but only with about a tenfold
    to twentyfold greater dose than LSD. This effect was characterized by
    a sensation of mental emptiness and the unreality and meaninglessness
    of the outer world, by enhanced sensitivity of hearing, and by a not
    unpleasant physical lassitude, which ultimately led to sleep. This
    picture of the effects of LA-l 1 1, as lysergic acid amide was called
    as a research preparation, was confirmed in a systematic investigation
    by the psychiatrist Dr. H. Solms.

    When I presented the findings of our investigations on ololiuhqui at
    the Natural Products Congress of the International Union for Pure and
    Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) in Sydney, Australia, in the fall of 1960,
    my colleagues received my talk with skepticism. In the discussions
    following my lecture, some persons voiced the suspicion that the
    ololiuhqui extracts could well have been contaminated with traces of
    lysergic acid derivatives, with which so much work had been done in my

    There was another reason for the doubt in specialist circles
    concerning our findings. The occurrence in higher plants (i.e., in the
    morning glory family) of ergot alkaloids that hitherto had been known
    only as constituents of lower fungi, contradicted the experience that
    certain substances are typical of and restricted to respective plant
    families. It is indeed a very rare exception to find a characteristic
    group of substances, in this case the ergot alkaloids, occurring in
    two divisions of the plant kingdom broadly separated in evolutionary

    Our results were confirmed, however, when different laboratories in
    the United States, Germany, and Holland subsequently verified our
    investigations on the ololiuhqui seeds. Nevertheless, the skepticism
    went so far that some persons even considered the possibility that the
    seeds could have been infected with alkaloid-producing fungi. That
    suspicion, however, was ruled out experimentally.

    These studies on the active principles of ololiuhqui seeds, although
    they were published only in professional journals, had an unexpected
    sequel. We were apprised by two Dutch wholesale seed companies that
    their sale of seeds of Ipomoea violacea, the ornamental blue morning
    glory, had reached unusual proportions in recent times. They had heard
    that the great demand was connected with investigations of these seeds
    in our laboratory, about which they were eager to learn the details.
    It turned out that the new demand derived from hippie circles and
    other groups interested in hallucinogenic drugs. They believed they
    had found in the ololiuhqui seeds a substitute for LSD, which was
    becoming less and less accessible.

    The morning glory seed boom, however, lasted only a comparatively
    short time, evidently because of the undesirable experiences that
    those in the drug world had with this "new" ancient inebriant. The
    ololiuhqui seeds, which are taken crushed with water or another mild
    beverage, taste very bad and are difficult for the stomach to digest.
    Moreover, the psychic effects of ololiuhqui, in fact, differ from
    those of LSD in that the euphoric and the hallucinogenic components
    are less pronounced, while a sensation of mental emptiness, often
    anxiety and depression, predominates. Furthermore, weariness and
    lassitude are hardly desirable effects as traits in an inebriant.
    These could all be reasons why the drug culture's interest in the
    morning glory seeds has diminished.

    Only a few investigations have considered the question whether the
    active principles of ololiuhqui could find a useful application in
    medicine. In my opinion, it would be worthwhile to clarify above all
    whether the strong narcotic, sedative effect of certain ololiuhqui
    constituents, or of chemical modifications of these, is medicinally

    My studies in the field of hallucinogenic drugs reached a kind of
    logical conclusion with the investigations of ololiuhqui. They now
    formed a circle, one could almost say a magic circle: the starting
    point had been the synthesis of lysergic acid amides, among them the
    naturally occurring ergot alkaloid ergobasin. This led to the
    synthesis of lysergic acid diethylamide, LSD. The hallucinogenic
    properties of LSD were the reason why the hallucinogenic magic
    mushroom teonanacatl found its way into my laboratory. The work with
    teonanacatt, from which psilocybin and psilocin were isolated,
    proceeded to the investigation of another Mexican magic drug,
    olotiuhqui, in which hallucinogenic principles in the form of lysergic
    acid amides were again encountered, including ergobasin-with which the
    magic circle closed.

In Search of the Magic Plant "Ska Maria Pastora" in the Mazatec Country

    R. Gordon Wasson, with whom I had maintained friendly relations since
    the investigations of the Mexican magic mushrooms, invited my wife and
    me to take part in an expedition to Mexico in the fall of 1962. The
    purpose of the journey was to search for another Mexican magic plant.
    Wasson had learned on his travels in the mountains of southern Mexico
    that the expressed juice of the leaves of a plant, which were called
    hojas de la Pastora or hojas de Maria Pastora, in Mazatec ska Pastora
    or ska Maria Pastora (leaves of the shepherdess or leaves of Mary the
    shepherdess), were used among the Mazatec in medico-religious
    practices, like the teonanacatl mushrooms and the ololiuhqui seeds.

    The question now was to ascertain from what sort of plant the "leaves
    of Mary the shepherdess" derived, and then to identify this plant
    botanically. We also hoped, if at all possible, to gather sufficient
    plant material to conduct a chemical investigation on the
    hallucinogenic principles it contained.

Ride through the Sierra Mazateca

    On 26 September 1962, my wife and I accordingly flew to Mexico City,
    where we met Gordon Wasson. He had made all the necessary preparations
    for the expedition, so that in two days we had already set out on the
    next leg of the journey to the south. Mrs. Irmgard Weitlaner Johnson,
    (widow of Jean B. Johnson, a pioneer of the ethnographic study of the
    Mexican magic mushrooms, killed in the Allied landing in North Africa)
    had joined us. Her father, Robert J. Weitlaner, had emigrated to
    Mexico from Austria and had likewise contributed toward the
    rediscovery of the mushroom cult. Mrs. Johnson worked at the National
    Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, as an expert on Indian

    After a two-day journey in a spacious Land Rover, which took us over
    the plateau, along the snow-capped Popocatepetl, passing Puebla, down
    into the Valley of Orizaba with its magnificent tropical vegetation,
    then by ferry across the Popoloapan (Butterfly River), on through the
    former Aztec garrison Tuxtepec, we arrived at the starting point of
    our expedition, the Mazatec village of Jalapa de Diaz, lying on a

    There we were in the midst of the environment and among the people
    that we would come to know in the succeeding 2 1/2 weeks.

    There was an uproar upon our arrival in the marketplace, center of
    this village widely dispersed in the jungle. Old and young men, who
    had been squatting and standing around in the half-opened bars and
    shops, pressed suspiciously yet curiously about our Land Rover; they
    were mostly barefoot but all wore a sombrero. Women and girls were
    nowhere to be seen. One of the men gave us to understand that we
    should follow. him. He led us to the local president, a fat mestizo
    who had his office in a one-story house with a corrugated iron roof.
    Gordon showed him our credentials from the civil authorities and from
    the military governor of Oaxaca, which explained that we had come here
    to carry out scientific investigations. The president, who probably
    could not read at all, was visibly impressed by the large-sized
    documents equipped with official seals. He had lodgings assigned to us
    in a spacious shed, in which we could place our air mattresses and
    sleeping bags.

    I looked around the region somewhat. The ruins of a large church from
    colonial times, which must have once been very beautiful, rose almost
    ghostlike in the direction of an ascending slope at the side of the
    village square. Now I could also see women looking out of their huts,
    venturing to examine the strangers. In their long, white dresses,
    adorned with red borders, and with their long braids of blue-black
    hair, they offered a picturesque sight.

    We were fed by an old Mazatec woman, who directed a young cook and two
    helpers. She lived in one of the typical Mazatec huts. These are
    simply rectangular structures with thatched gabled roofs and walls of
    wooden poles joined together, windowless, the chinks between the
    wooden poles offering sufficient opportunity to look out. In the
    middle of the hut, on the stamped clay floor, was an elevated, open
    fireplace, built up out of dried clay or made of stones. The smoke
    escaped through large openings in the walls under the two ends of the
    roof. Bast mats that lay in a corner or along the walls served as
    beds. The huts were shared with the domestic animals, as well as black
    swine, turkeys, and chickens. There was roasted chicken to eat, black
    beans, and also, in place of bread, tortittas, a type of cornmeal
    pancake that is baked on the hot stone slab of the hearth. Beer and
    tequila, an Agave liquor, were served.

    Next morning our troop formed for the ride through the Sierra
    Mazateca. Mules and guides were engaged from the horsekeeper of the
    village. Guadelupe, the Mazatec familiar with the route, took charge
    of guiding the lead animal. Gordon, Irmgard, my wife, and I were
    stationed on our mules in the middle. Teodosio and Pedro, called
    Chico, two young fellows who trotted along barefoot beside the two
    mules laden with our baggage, brought up the rear.

    It took some time to get accustomed to the hard wooden saddles. Then,
    however, this mode of locomotion proved to be the most ideal type of
    travel that I know of. The mules followed the leader, single file, at
    a steady pace. They required no direction at all by the rider. With
    surprising dexterity, they sought out the best spots along the almost
    impassable, partly rocky, partly marshy paths, which led through
    thickets and streams or onto precipitous slopes. Relieved of all
    travel cares, we could devote all our attention to the beauty of the
    landscape and the tropical vegetation. There were tropical forests
    with gigantic trees overgrown with twining plants, then again
    clearings with banana groves or coffee plantations, between light
    stands of trees, flowers at the edge of the path, over which wondrous
    butterflies bustled about.... We made our way upstream along the broad
    riverbed of Rio Santo Domingo, with brooding heat and steamy air, now
    steeply ascending, then again falling. During a short, violent
    tropical downpour, the long broad ponchos of oilcloth, with which
    Gordon had equipped us, proved quite useful. Our Indian guides had
    protected themselves from the cloudburst with gigantic, heart-shaped
    leaves that they nimbly chopped off at the edge of the path. Teodosio
    and Chico gave the impression of great, green hay ricks as they ran,
    covered with these leaves, beside their mules.

    Shortly before nightfall we arrived at the first settlement, La
    Providencia ranch. The patron, Don Joaquin Garcia, the head of a large
    family, welcomed us hospitably and full of dignity. It was impossible
    to determine how many children, in addition to the grown-ups and the
    domestic animals, were present in the large living room, feebly
    illuminated by the hearth fire alone.

    Gordon and I placed our sleeping bags outdoors under the projecting
    roof. I awoke in the morning to find a pig grunting over my face.

    After another day's journey on the backs of our worthy mules, we
    arrived at Ayautla, a Mazatec settlement spread across a hillside. En
    route, among the shrubbery, I had delighted in the blue calyxes of the
    magic morning glory Ipomoea violacea, the mother plant of the
    ololiuhqui seeds. It grew wild there, whereas among us it is only
    found in the Garden as an ornamental plant.

    We remained in Ayautla for several days. We had lodging in the house
    of Dona Donata Sosa de Garcia. Dona Donata was in charge of a large
    family, which included her ailing husband. In addition, she presided
    over the coffee cultivation of the region. The collection center for
    the freshly picked coffee beans was in an adjacent building. It was a
    lovely picture, the young Indian woman and girls returning home from
    the harvest toward evening, in their bright garments adorned with
    colored borders, the coffee sacks carried on their backs by headbands.
    Dona Donata also managed a type of grocery store, in which her
    husband, Don Eduardo, stood behind the counter.

    In the evening by candlelight, Dona Donata, who besides Mazatec also
    spoke Spanish, told us about life in the village; one tragedy or
    another had already struck nearly every one of the seemingly peaceful
    huts that lay surrounded by this paradisiacal scenery. A man who had
    murdered his wife, and who now sits in prison for life, had lived in
    the house next door, which now stood empty. The husband of a daughter
    of Dona Donata, after an affair with another woman, was murdered out
    of jealousy. The president of Ayautla, a young bull of a mestizo, to
    whom we had made our formal visit in the afternoon, never made the
    short walk from his hut to his "office" in the village hall (with the
    corrugated iron roof) unless accompanied by two heavily armed men.
    Because he exacted illegal taxes, he was afraid of being shot to
    death. Since no higher authority sees to justice in this remote
    region, people have recourse to self-defense of this type.

    Thanks to Dona Donata's good connections, we received the first sample
    of the sought-after plant, some leaves of hojas de la Pastora, from an
    old woman. Since the flowers and roots were missing, however, this
    plant material was not suitable for botanical identification. Our
    efforts to obtain more precise information about the habitat of the
    plant and its use were also fruitless.

    The continuation of our journey from Ayautla was delayed, as we had to
    wait until our boys could again bring back the mules that they had
    taken to pasture on the other side of Rio Santo Domingo, over the
    river swollen by intense downpours.

    After a two-day ride, on which we had passed the night in the high
    mountain village of San MiguelHuautla, we arrived at Rio Santiago.
    Here we were joined by Dona Herlinda Martinez Cid, a teacher from
    Huautla de Jimenez. She had ridden over on the invitation of Gordon
    Wasson, who had known her since his mushroom expeditions, and was to
    serve as our Mazatec and Spanish-speaking interpreter. Moreover, she
    could help us, through her numerous relatives scattered in the region,
    to pave the way to contacts with curanderos and curanderas who used
    the hojas de 1a Pastora in their practice. Because of our delayed
    arrival in Rio Santiago, Dona Herlinda, who was acquainted with the
    dangers of the region, had been apprehensive about us, fearing we
    might have plunged down a rocky path or been attacked by robbers.

    Our next stop was in San Jose Tenango, a settlement lying deep in a
    valley, in the midst of tropical vegetation with orange and lemon
    trees and banana plantations. Here again was the typical village
    picture: in the center, a marketplace with a half-ruined church from
    the colonial period, with two or three stands, a general store, and
    shelters for horses and mules. We found lodging in a corrugated iron
    barracks, with the special luxury of a cement floor, on which we could
    spread out our sleeping bags.

    In the thick jungle on the mountainside we discovered a s-pring, whose
    magnificent fresh water in a natural rocky basin invited us to bathe.
    That was an unforgettable pleasure after days without opportunities to
    wash properly. In this grotto I saw a hummingbird for the first time
    in nature, a blue-green, metallic, iridescent gem, which whirred over
    great liana blossoms.

    The desired contact with persons skilled in medicine came about thanks
    to the kindred connections of Dona Herlinda, beginning with the
    curandero Don Sabino. But he refused, for some reason, to receive us
    in a consultation and to question the leaves. From an old curandera, a
    venerable woman in a strikingly magnificent Mazatec garment, with the
    lovely name Natividad Rosa, we received a whole bundle of flowering
    specimens of the sought-after plant, but even she could not be
    prevailed upon to perform a ceremony with the leaves for us. Her
    excuse was that she was too old for the hardship of the magical trip;
    she could never cover the long distance to certain places: a spring
    where the wise women gather their powers, a lake on which the sparrows
    sing, and where objects get their names. Nor would Natividad Rosa tell
    us where she had gathered the leaves. They grew in a very, very
    distant forest valley. Wherever she dug up a plant, she put a coffee
    bean in the earth as thanks to the gods.

    We now possessed ample plants with flowers and roots, which were
    suitable for botanical identification. It was apparently a
    representative of the genus Salvia, a relative of the well-known
    meadow sage. The plants had blue flowers crowned with a white dome,
    which are arranged on a panicle 20 to 30 cm long, whose stem leaked

    Several days later, Natividad Rosa brought us a whole basket of
    leaves, for which she was paid fifty pesos. The business seemed to
    have been discussed, for two other women brought us further quantities
    of leaves. As it was known that the expressed juice of the leaves is
    drunk in the ceremony, and this must therefore contain the active
    principle, the fresh leaves were crushed on a stone plate, squeezed
    out in a cloth, the juice diluted with alcohol as a preservative, and
    decanted into flasks in order to be studied later in the laboratory in
    Basel. I was assisted in this work by an Indian girl, who was
    accustomed to dealing with the stone plate, the metate, on which the
    Indians since ancient times have ground their corn by hand.

    On the day before the journey was to continue, having given up all
    hope of being able to attend a ceremony, we suddenly made another
    contact with a curandera, one who was ready " to serve us ." A
    confidante of Herlinda's, who had produced this contact, led us after
    nightfall along a secret path to the hut of the curandera, lying
    solitary on the mountainside above the settlement. No one from the
    village was to see us or discover that we were received there. It was
    obviously considered a betrayal of sacred customs, worthy of
    punishment, to allow strangers, whites, to take part in this. That
    indeed had also been the real reason why the other healers whom we
    asked had refused to admit us to a leaf ceremony. Strange birdcalls
    from the darkness accompanied us on the ascent, and the barking of
    dogs was heard on all sides. The dogs had detected the strangers. The
    curandera Consuela Garcia, a woman of some forty years, barefoot like
    all Indian women in this region, timidly admitted us to her hut and
    immediately closed up the doorway with a heavy bar. She bid us lie
    down on the bast mats on the stamped mud floor. As Consuela spoke only
    Mazatec, Herlinda translated her instructions into Spanish for us. The
    curandera lit a candle on a table covered with some images of saints,
    along with a variety of rubbish. Then she began to bustle about
    busily, but in silence. All at once we heard peculiar noises and a
    rummaging in the room-did the hut harbor some hidden person whose
    shape and proportions could not be made out in the candlelight?
    Visibly disturbed, Consuela searched the room with the burning candle.
    It appeared to be merely rats, however, who were working their
    mischief. In a bowl the curandera now kindled copal, an incense-like
    resin, which soon filled the whole hut with its aroma. Then the magic
    potion was ceremoniously prepared. Consuela inquired which of us
    wished to drink of it with her. Gordon announced himself. Since I was
    suffering from a severe stomach upset at the time, I could not join
    in. My wife substituted for me. The curandera laid out six pairs of
    leaves for herself. She apportioned the same number to Gordon. Anita
    received three pairs. Like the mushrooms, the leaves are always dosed
    in pairs, a practice that, of course, has a magical significance. The
    leaves were crushed with the metate, then squeezed out through a fine
    sieve into a cup, and the metate and the contents of the sieve were
    rinsed with water. Finally, the filled cups were incensed over the
    copal vessel with much ceremony. Consuela asked Anita and Gordon,
    before she handed them their cups, whether they believed in the truth
    and the holiness of the ceremony. After they answered in the
    affirmative and the very bitter-tasting potion was solemnly imbibed,
    the candles were extinguished and, lying in darkness on the bast
    masts, we awaited the effects.

    After some twenty minutes Anita whispered to me that she saw striking,
    brightly bordered images. Gordon also perceived the effect of the
    drug. The voice of the curandera sounded from the darkness, half
    speaking, half singing. Herlinda translated: Did we believe in
    Christ's blood and the holiness of the rites? After our "creemos" ("We
    believe"), the ceremonial performance continued. The curandera lit the
    candles, moved them from the "altar table" onto the floor, sang and
    spoke prayers or magic formulas, placed the candles again under the
    images of the saints-then again silence and darkness. Thereupon the
    true consultation began. Consuela asked for our request. Gordon
    inquired after the health of his daughter, who immediately before his
    departure from New York had to be admitted prematurely to the hospital
    in expectation of a baby. He received the comforting information that
    mother and child were well. Then again came singing and prayer and
    manipulations with the candles on the "altar table" and on the floor,
    over the smoking basin.

    When the ceremony was at an end, the curandera asked us to rest yet a
    while longer in prayer on our bast mats. Suddenly a thunderstorm burst
    out. Through the cracks of the beam walls, lightning flashed into the
    darkness of the hut, accompanied by violent thunderbolts, while a
    tropical downpour raged, beating on the roof. Consuela voiced
    apprehension that we would not be able to leave her house unseen in
    the darkness. But the thunderstorm let up before daybreak, and we went
    down the mountainside to our corrugated iron barracks, as noiselessly
    as possible by the light of flashlights, unnoticed by the villagers,
    but dogs again barked from all sides.

    Participation in this ceremony was the climax of our expedition. It
    brought confirmation that the hojas de la Pastora were used by the
    Indians for the same purpose and in the same ceremonial milieu as
    teonanacatl, the sacred mushrooms. Now we also had authentic plant
    material, not only sufficient for botanical identification, but also
    for the planned chemical analysis. The inebriated state that Gordon
    Wasson and my wife had experienced with the hojas had been shallow and
    only of short duration, yet it had exhibited a distinctly
    hallucinogenic character.

    On the morning after this eventful night we took leave of San Jose
    Tenango. The guide, Guadelupe, and the two fellows Teodosio and Pedro
    appeared before our barracks with the mules at the appointed time.
    Soon packed up and mounted, our little troop then moved uphill again,
    through the fertile landscape glittering in the sunlight from the
    night's thunderstorm. Returning by way of Santiago, toward evening we
    reached our last stop in Mazatec country, the capital Huautla de

    From here on, the return trip to Mexico City was made by automobile.
    With a final supper in the Posada Rosaura, at the time the only inn in
    Huautla, we took leave of our Indian guides and of the worthy mules
    that had carried us so surefootedly and in such a pleasant way through
    the Sierra Mazatec. The Indians were paid of, and Teodosio, who also
    accepted payment for his chief in Jalapa de Diaz (where the animals
    were to be returned afterward), gave a receipt with his thumbprint
    colored by a ballpoint pen. We took up quarters in Dona Herlinda's

    A day later we made our formal visit to the curandera Maria Sabina, a
    woman made famous by the Wassons' publications. It had been in her hut
    that Gordon Wasson became the first white man to taste of the sacred
    mushrooms, in the course of a nocturnal ceremony in the summer of
    1955. Gordon and Maria Sabina greeted each other cordially, as old
    friends. The curandera lived out of the way, on the mountainside above
    Huautla. The house in which the historic session with Gordon Wasson
    had taken place had been burned, presumably by angered residents or an
    envious colleague, because she had divulged the secret of teonanacatl
    to strangers. In the new hut in which we found ourselves, an
    incredible disorder prevailed, as had probably also prevailed in the
    old hut, in which half-naked children, hens, and pigs bustled about.
    The old curandera had an intelligent face, exceptionally changeable in
    expression. She was obviously impressed when it was explained that we
    had managed to confine the spirit of the mushrooms in pills, and she
    at once declared herself ready to " serve us" with these, that is, to
    grant us a consultation. It was agreed that this should take place the
    coming night in the house of Dona Herlinda.

    In the course of the day I took a stroll through Huautla de Jimenez,
    which led along a main street on the mountainside. Then I accompanied
    Gordon on his visit to the Instituto Nacional Indigenista. This
    governmental organization had the duty of studying and helping to
    solve the problems of the indigenous population, that is, the Indians.
    Its leader told us of the difficulties that the "coffee policy" had
    caused in the area at that time. The president of Huautla, in
    collaboration with the Instituto Nacional Indigenista had tried to
    eliminate middlemen in order to shape the coffee prices favorably for
    the producing Indians. His body was found, mutilated, the previous

    Our stroll also took us past the cathedral, from which Gregorian
    chants resounded. Old Father Aragon, whom Gordon knew well from his
    earlier stays, invited us into the vestry for a glass of tequila.

A Mushroom Ceremony

    As we returned home to Herlinda's house toward evening, Maria Sabina
    had already arrived there with a large company, her two lovely
    daughters, Apolonia and Aurora (two prospective curanderas), and a
    niece, all of whom brought children along with them. Whenever her
    child began to cry, Apolonia would offer her breast to it. The old
    curandero Don Aurelio also appeared, a mighty man, one-eyed, in a
    black-andwhite patternedserape (cloak). Cacao and sweet pastry were
    served on the veranda. I was reminded of the report from an ancient
    chronicle which described how chocotatl was drunk before the ingestion
    of teonanacatl.

    After the fall of darkness, we all proceeded into the room in which
    the ceremony would take place. It was then locked up-that is, the door
    was obstructed with the only bed available. Only an emergency exit
    into the back garden remained unlatched for absolute necessity. It was
    nearly midnight when the ceremony began. Until that time the whole
    party lay, in darkness sleeping or awaiting the night's events, on the
    bast mats spread on the floor. Maria Sabina threw a piece of copal on
    the embers of a brazier from time to time, whereby the stuffy air in
    the crowded room became somewhat bearable. I had explained to the
    curandera through Herlinda, who was again with the party as
    interpreter, that one pill contained the spirit of two pairs of
    mushrooms. (The pills contained 5.0 mg synthetic psilocybin apiece.)

    When all was ready, Maria Sabina apportioned the pills in pairs among
    the grown-ups present. After solemn smoking, she herself took two
    pairs (corresponding to 20 mg psilocybin). She gave the same dose to
    Don Aurelio and her daughter Apolonia, who would also serve as
    curandera. Aurora received one pair, as did Gordon, while my wife and
    Irmgard got only one pill each.

    One of the children, a girl of about ten, under the guidance of Maria
    Sabina, had prepared for me the juice of five pairs of fresh leaves of
    hojas de la Pastora. I wanted to experience this drug that I had been
    unable to try in San Jose Tenango. The potion was said to be
    especially active when prepared by an innocent child. The cup with the
    expressed juice was likewise incensed and conjured by Maria Sabina and
    Don Aurelio, before it was delivered to me.

    All of these preparations and the following ceremony progressed in
    much the same way as the consultation with the curandera Consuela
    Garcia in San Jose Tenango.

    After the drug was apportioned and the candle on the "altar" was
    extinguished, we awaited the effects in the darkness.

    Before a half hour had elapsed, the curandera murmured something; her
    daughter and Don Aurelio also became restless. Herlinda translated and
    explained to us what was wrong. Maria Sabina had said that the pills
    lacked the spirit of the mushrooms. I discussed the situation with
    Gordon, who lay beside me. For us it was clear that absorption of the
    active principle from the pills, which must first dissolve in the
    stomach, occurs more slowly than from the mushrooms, in which some of
    the active principle already becomes absorbed through the mucous
    membranes during chewing. But how could we give a scientific
    explanation under such conditions? Rather than try to explain, we
    decided to act. We distributed more pills. Both curanderas and the
    curandero each received another pair. They had now each taken a total
    dosage of 30 mg psilocybin.

    After about another quarter of an hour, the spirit of the pills did
    begin to yield its effects, which lasted until the crack of dawn. The
    daughters, and Don Aurelio with his deep bass voice, fervently
    answered the prayers and singing of the curandera. Blissful, yearning
    moans of Apolonia and Aurora, between singing and prayer, gave the
    impression that the religious experience of the young women in the
    drug inebriation was combined with sensual-sexual feelings.

    In the middle of the ceremony Maria Sabina asked for our request.
    Gordon inquired again after the health of his daughter and grandchild.
    He received the same good information as from the curandera Consuela.
    Mother and child were in fact well when he returned home to New York.
    Obviously, however, this still represents no proof of the prophetic
    abilities of both curanderas.

    Evidently as an effect of the hojas, I found myself for some time in a
    state of mental sensitivity and intense experience, which, however,
    was not accompanied by hallucinations. Anita, Irmgard, and Gordon
    experienced a euphoric condition of inebriation that was influenced by
    tke strange, mystical atmosphere. My wife was impressed by the vision
    of very distinct strange line patterns.

    She was astonished and perplexed, later, on discovering precisely the
    same images in the rich ornamentation over the altar in an old church
    near Puebla. That was on the return trip to Mexico City, when we
    visited churches from colonial times. These admirable churches offer
    great cultural and historical interest because the Indian artists and
    workmen who assisted in their construction smuggled in elements of
    Indian style. Klaus Thomas, in his book Die kunstlich gesteuerte Seele
    [The artificially steered mind] (Ferdinand Enke Verlag, Stuttgart,
    1970), writes about the possible influence of visions from psilocybin
    inebriation on Meso-American Indian art: "Surely a culturalhistorical
    comparison of the old and new creations of Indian art . . . must
    convince the unbiased spectator of the harmony with the images, forms
    and colors of a psilocybin inebriation." The Mexican character of the
    visions seen in my first experience with dried Psilocybe mexicana
    mushrooms and the drawing of Li Gelpke after a psilocybin inebriation
    could also point to such an association.

    As we took leave of Maria Sabina and her clan at the crack of dawn,
    the curandera said that the pills had the same power as the mushrooms,
    that there was no difference. This was a confirmation from the most
    competent authority, that the synthetic psilocybin is identical with
    the natural product. As a parting gift I let Maria Sabina have a vial
    of psilocybin pills. She radiantly explained to our interpreter
    Herlinda that she could now give consultations even in the season when
    no mushrooms grow.

    How should we judge the conduct of Maria Sabina, the fact that she
    allowed strangers, white people, access to the secret ceremony, and
    let them try the sacred mushroom?

    To her credit it can be said that she had thereby opened the door to
    the exploration of the Mexican mushroom cult in its present form, and
    to the scientific, botanical, and chemical investigation of the sacred
    mushrooms. Valuable active substances, psilocybin and psilocin,
    resulted. Without this assistance, the ancient knowledge and
    experience that was concealed in these secret practices would
    possibly, even probably, have disappeared without a trace, without
    having borne fruit, in the advancement of Western civilization.

    From another standpoint, the conduct of this curandera can be regarded
    as a profanation of a sacred custom-even as a betrayal. Some of her
    countrymen were of this opinion, which was expressed in acts of
    revenge, including the burning of her house.

    The profanation of the mushroom cult did not stop with the scientific
    investigations. The publication about the magic mushrooms unleashed an
    invasion of hippies and drug seekers into the Mazatec country, many of
    whom behaved badly, some even criminally. Another undesirable
    consequence was the beginning of true tourism in Huautla de Jimenez,
    whereby the originality of the place was eradicated.

    Such statements and considerations are, for the most part, the concern
    of ethnographical research. Wherever researchers and scientists trace
    and elucidate the remains of ancient customs that are becoming rarer,
    their primitiveness is lost. This loss is only more or less
    counterbalanced when the outcome of the research represents a lasting
    cultural gain.

    From Huautla de Jimenez we proceeded first to Teotitlan, in a
    breakneck truck ride along a half-paved road, and from there went on a
    comfortable car trip back to Mexico City, the starting point of our
    expedition. I had lost several kilograms in body weight, but was
    overwhelmingly compensated in enchanting experiences.

    The herbarium samples of hojas de la Pastora, which we had brought
    with us, were subjected to botanical indentification by Carl Epling
    and Carlos D. Jativa at the Botanical Institute of Harvard University
    in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They found that this plant was a hitherto
    undescribed species of Satvia, which was named Salvia divinorum by
    these authors. The chemical investigation of the juice of the magic
    sage in the laboratory in Basel was unsuccessful. The psychoactive
    principle of this drug seems to be a rather unstable substance, since
    the juice prepared in Mexico and preserved with alcohol proved in
    selfexperiments to be no longer active. Where the chemical nature of
    the active principle is concerned, the problem of the magic plant ska
    Maria Pastora still awaits solution.

    So far in this book I have mainly described my scientific work and
    matters relating to my professional activity. But this work, by its
    very nature, had repercussions on my own life and personality, not
    least because it brought me into contact with interesting and
    important contemporaries. I have already mentioned some of
    them-Timothy Leary, Rudolf Gelpke, Gordon Wasson. Now, in the pages
    that follow, I would like to emerge from the natural scientist's
    reserve, in order to portray encounters which were personally
    meaningful to me and which helped me solve questions posed by the
    substances I had discovered.

                          7. Radiance from Ernst Junger

    Radiance is the perfect term to express the influence that Ernst
    Junger's literary work and personality have had on me. In the light of
    his perspective, which stereoscopically comprises the surfaces and
    depths of things, the world I knew took on a new, translucent
    splendor. That happened a long time before the discovery of LSD and
    before I came into personal contact with this author in connection
    with hallucinogenic drugs.

    My enchantment with Ernst Junger began with his book Das
    Abenteuerliche Herz [The adventurous heart]. Again and again in the
    last forty years I have taken up this book. Here more than ever, in
    themes that weigh more lightly and lie closer to me than war and a new
    type of human being (subjects of Junger's earlier books), the beauty
    and magic of Junger's prose was opened to me-descriptions of flowers,
    of dreams, of solitary walks; thoughts about chance, the future,
    colors, and about other themes that have direct relation to our
    personal lives. Everywhere in his prose the miracle of creation became
    evident, in the precise description of the surfaces and, in
    translucence, of the depths; and the uniqueness and the imperishable
    in every human being was touched upon. No other writer has thus opened
    my eyes.

    Drugs were also mentioned in Das Abenteuerliche Herz. Many years
    passed, however, before I myself began to be especially interested in
    this subject, after the discovery of the psychic effects of LSD.

    My first correspondence with Ernst Junger had nothing to do with the
    context of drugs; rather I once wrote to him on his birthday, as a
    thankful reader.

    Bottmingen, 29 March 1947
        Dear Mr. Junger,
        As one richly endowed by you for years, I wished to send a jar of
        honey to you for your birthday. But I did not have this pleasure,
        because my export license has been refused in Bern.
        The gift was intended less as a greeting from a country in which
        milk and honey still flow, than as a reminiscence of the
        enchanting sentences in your book Auf den Marmorklippen (On the
        Marble Cliffs), where you speak of the "golden bees."

    The book mentioned here had appeared in 1939, just shortly before the
    outbreak of World War II. Auf den Marmorklippen is not only a
    masterpiece of German prose, but also a work of great significance
    because in this book the characteristics of tyrants and the horror of
    war and nocturnal bombardment are described prophetically, in poetic

    In the course of our correspondence, Ernst Junger also inquired about
    my LSD studies, of which he had learned through a friend. Thereupon I
    sent him the pertinent publications, which he acknowledged with the
    following comments:

    Kirchhorst, 3/3/1948
        . . . together with both enclosures concerning your new
        phantasticum. It seems indeed that you have entered a field that
        contains so many tempting mysteries.
        Your consignment came together with the Confessions of an English
        Opium Eater, that has just been published in a new translation.
        The translator writes me that his reading of Das Abenteuerliche
        Herz stimulated him to do his work.
        As far as I am concerned, my practical studies in this field are
        far behind me. These are experiments in which one sooner or later
        embarks on truly dangerous paths, and may be considered lucky to
        escape with only a black eye.
        What interested me above all was the relationship of these
        substances to productivity. It has been my experience, however,
        that creative achievement requires an alert consciousness, and
        that it diminishes under the spell of drugs. On the other hand,
        conceptualization is important, and one gains insights under the
        influence of drugs that indeed are not possible otherwise. I
        consider the beautiful essay that Maupassant has written about
        ether to be such an insight. Moreover, I had the impression that
        in fever one also discovers new landscapes, new archipelagos, and
        a new music, that becomes completely distinct when the "customs
        station" ["An der Zollstation" [At the custom station], the title
        heading of a section in Das Abenteuerliche Herz (2d ed.) that
        concerns the transition from life to death.] appears. For
        geographic description, on the other hand, one must be fully
        conscious. What productivity means to the artist, healing means to
        the physician. Accordingly, it also may suffice for him that he
        sometimes enters the regions through the tapestries that our
        senses have woven. Moreover, I seem to perceive in our time less
        of a taste for the phantastica than for the
        energetica-amphetamine, which has even been furnished to fliers
        and other soldiers by the armies, belongs to this group. Tea is in
        my opinion a phantasticum, coffee an energeticum-tea therefore
        possesses a disproportionately higher artistic rank. I notice that
        coffee disrupts the delicate lattice of light and shadows, the
        fruitful doubts that emerge during the writing of a sentence. One
        exceeds his inhibitions. With tea, on the other hand, the thoughts
        climb genuinely upward.
        So far as my "studies" are concerned, I had a manuscript on that
        topic, but have since burned it. My excursions terminated with
        hashish, that led to very pleasant, but also to manic states, to
        oriental tyranny....

    Soon afterward, in a letter from Ernst Junger I learned that he had
    inserted a discourse about drugs in the novel Heliopolis, on which he
    was then working. He wrote to me about the drug researcher who figures
    in the novel:

    Among the trips in the geographical and metaphysical worlds, which I
        am attempting to describe there, are those of a purely sedentary
        man, who explores the archipelagos beyond the navigable seas, for
        which he uses drugs as a vehicle. I give extracts from his log
        book. Certainly, I cannot allow this Columbus of the inner globe
        to end well-he dies of a poisoning. Avis au lecteur.

    The book that appeared the following year bore the subtitle Ruckblick
    auf eine Stadt [Retrospective on a city], a retrospective on a city of
    the future, in which technical apparatus and the weapons of the
    present time were developed still further in magic, and in which power
    struggles between a demonic technocracy and a conservative force took
    place. In the figure of Antonio Peri, Junger depicted the mentioned
    drug researcher, who resided in the ancient city of Heliopolis.
    He captured dreams, just like others appear to chase after butterflies
        with nets. He did not travel to the islands on Sundays and
        holidays and did not frequent the taverns on Pagos beach. He
        locked himself up in his studio for trips into the dreamy regions.
        He said that all countries and unknown islands were woven into the
        tapestry. The drugs served him as keys to entry into the chambers
        and caves of this world. In the course of the years he had gained
        great knowledge, and he kept a log book of his excursions. A small
        library adjoined this studio, consisting partly of herbals and
        medicinal reports, partly of works by poets and magicians. Antonio
        tended to read there while the effect of the drug itself
        developed. . . . He went on voyages of discovery in the universe
        of his brain....

    In the center of this library, which was pillaged by mercenaries of
    the provincial governor during the arrest of Antonio Peri, stood

    The great inspirers of the nineteenth century: De Quincey, E.T.A.
        Hoffmann, Poe, and Baudelaire. Yet there were also books from the
        ancient past: herbals, necromancy texts, and demonology of the
        middle-aged world. They included the names Albertus Magnus,
        Raimundus Lullus, and Agrippa of Nettesheym.... Moreover, there
        was the great folioDe Praestigiis Daemonum by Wierus, and the very
        unique compilations of Medicus Weckerus, published in Basel in

    In another part of his collection, Antonio Peri seemed to have cast
    his attention principally "on ancient pharmacology books, formularies
    and pharmacopoeias, and to have hunted for reprints of journals and
    annals. Among others was found a heavy old volume by the Heidelberg
    psychologists on the extract of mescal buttons, and a paper on the
    phantastica of ergot by Hofmann-Bottmingen...."

    In the same year in which Hetiopolis came out, I made the personal
    acquaintance of the author. I went to meet Ernst Junger in Ravensburg,
    for a Swiss sojourn. On a wonderful fall journey in southern
    Switzerland, together with mutual friends, I experienced the radiant
    power of his personality.

    Two years later, at the beginning of February 1951, came the great
    adventure, an LSD trip with Ernst Junger. Since, up until that moment,
    there were only reports of LSD experiments in connection with
    psychiatric inquiries, this experiment especially interested me,
    because this was an opportunity to observe the effects of LSD on the
    artistic person, in a nonmedical milieu. That was still somewhat
    before Aldous Huxley, from the same perspective, began to experiment
    with mescaline, about which he then reported in his two books The
    Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hett.

    In order to have medical aid on hand if necessary, I invited my
    friend, the physician and pharmacologist Professor Heribert Konzett,
    to participate. The trip took place at 10:00 in the morning, in the
    living room of our house in Bottmingen. Since the reaction of such a
    highly sensitive man as Ernst Junger was not foreseeable, a low dose
    was chosen for this first experiment as a precaution, only 0.05 mg.
    The experiment then, did not lead into great depths.

    The beginning phase was characterized by the intensification of
    aesthetic experience. Red-violet roses were of unknown luminosity and
    radiated in portentous brightness. The concerto for flute and harp by
    Mozart was perceived in its celestial beauty as heavenly music. In
    mutual astonishment we contemplated the haze of smoke that ascended
    with the ease of thought from a Japanese incense stick. As the
    inebriation became deeper and the conversation ended, we came to
    fantastic reveries while we lay in our easy chairs with closed eyes.
    Ernst Junger enjoyed the color display of oriental images: I was on a
    trip among Berber tribes in North Africa, saw colored caravans and
    lush oases. Heribert Konzett, whose features seemed to me to be
    transfigured, Buddha-like, experienced a breath of timelessness,
    liberation from the past and the future, blessedness through being
    completely here and now.

    The return from the altered state of consciousness was associated with
    strong sensitivity to cold. Like freezing travelers, we enveloped
    ourselves in covers for the landing. The return to everyday reality
    was celebrated with a good dinner, in which Burgundy flowed copiously.

    This trip was characterized by the mutuality and parallelism of our
    experiences, which were perceived as profoundly joyful. All three of
    us had drawn near the gate to an experience of mystical being;
    however, it did not open. The dose we had chosen was too low. In
    misunderstanding this reason, Ernst Junger, who had earlier been
    thrust into deeper realms by a high dose of mescaline, remarked:
    "Compared with the tiger mescaline, your LSD, is, after all, only a
    house cat." After later experiments with higher doses of LSD, he
    revised this estimation.

    Junger has assimilated the mentioned spectacle of the incense stick
    into literature, in his storyBesuch auf Gotenhotm [Visit to
    Godenholm], in which deeper experiences of drug inebriation also play
    a part:

    Schwarzenberg burned an incense stick, as he sometimes did, to clear
        the air. A blue plume ascended from the tip of the stick. Moltner
        looked at it first with astonishment, then with delight, as if a
        new power of the eyes had come to him. It revealed itself in the
        play of this fragrant smoke, which ascended from the slender stick
        and then branched out into a delicate crown. It was as if his
        imagination had created it-a pallid web of sea lilies in the
        depths, that scarcely trembled from the beat of the surf. Time was
        active in this creation-it had circled it, whirled about it,
        wreathed it, as if imaginary coins rapidly piled up one on top of
        another. The abundance of space revealed itself in the fiber work,
        the nerves, which stretched and unfolded in the height, in a vast
        number of filaments.
        Now a breath of air affected the vision, and softly twisted it
        about the shaft like a dancer. Moltner uttered a shout of
        surprise. The beams and lattices of the wondrous flower wheeled
        around in new planes, in new fields. Myriads of molecules observed
        the harmony. Here the laws no longer acted under the veil of
        appearance; matter was so delicate and weightless that it clearly
        reflected them. How simple and cogent everything was. The numbers,
        masses and weights stood out from matter. They cast off the
        raiments. No goddess could inform the initiates more boldly and
        freely. The pyramids with their weight did not reach up to this
        revelation. That was Pythagorean luster. No spectacle had ever
        affected him with such a magic spell.

    This deepened experience in the aesthetic sphere, as it is described
    here in the example of contemplation of a haze of blue smoke, is
    typical of the beginning phase of LSD inebriation, before deeper
    alterations of conscious begin.

    I visited Ernst Junger occasionally in the following years, in
    Wilfingen, Germany, where he had moved from Ravensburg; or we met in
    Switzerland, at my place in Bottmingen, or in Bundnerland in
    southeastern Switzerland. Through the shared LSD experience our
    relations had deepened. Drugs and problems connected with them
    constituted a major subject of our conversation and correspondence,
    without our having made further practical experiments in the meantime.

    We exchanged literature about drugs. Ernst Junger thus let me have for
    my drug library the rare, valuable monograph of Dr. Ernst Freiherrn
    von Bibra, Die Narkotischen Genussmittel und der Mensch [Narcotic
    pleasure drugs and man] printed in Nuremburg in 1855. This book is a
    pioneering, standard work of drug literature, a source of the first
    order, above all as relates to the history of drugs. What von Bibra
    embraces under the designation "Narkotischen Genussmittel" are not
    only substances like opium and thorn apple, but also coffee, tobacco,
    kat, which do not fall under the present conception of narcotics, any
    more than do drugs such as coca, fly agaric, and hashish, which he
    also described.

    Noteworthy, and today still as topical as at the time, are the general
    opinions about drugs that von Bibra contrived more than a century ago:

    The individual who has taken too much hashish, and then runs
        frantically about in the streets and attacks everyone who
        confronts him, sinks into insignificance beside the numbers of
        those who after mealtime pass calm and happy hours with a moderate
        dose; and the number of those who are able to overcome the
        heaviest exertions through coca, yes, who were possibly rescued
        from death by starvation through coca, by far exceed the few
        coqueros who have undermined their health by immoderate use. In
        the same manner, only a misplaced hypocrisy can condemn the vinous
        cup of old father Noah, because individual drunkards do not know
        how to observe limit and moderation.

    From time to time I advised Ernst Junger about actual and entertaining
    events in the field of inebriating drugs, as in my letter of September

    . . . Last week the first 200 grams of a new drug arrived, whose
        investigation I wish to take up. It involves the seeds of a mimosa
        (Piptadenia peregrina Benth,) that is used as a stimulating
        intoxicant by the Indians of the Orinoco. The seeds are ground,
        fermented, and then mixed with the powder of burned snail shells.
        This powder is sniffed by the Indians with the help of a hollow,
        forked bird bone, as already reported by Alexander von Humboldt in
        Reise nach den Aequinoctiat-Gegenden des Neuen Kontinents [Voyage
        to the equinoctial regions of the new continent] (Book 8, Chapter
        24). The warlike tribe, the Otomaco, especially use this drug,
        called niopo, yupa, nopo or cojoba, to an extensive degree, even
        today. It is reported in the monograph by P. J. Gumilla, S. J. (Et
        Orinoco Itustrado, 1741): "The Otomacos sniffed the powder before
        they went to battle with the Caribes, for in earlier times there
        existed savage wars between these tribes.... This drug robs them
        completely of reason, and they frantically seize their weapons.
        And if the women were not so adept at holding them back and
        binding them fast, they would daily cause horrible devastation. It
        is a terrible vice.... Other benign and docile tribes that also
        sniff the yupa, do not get into such a fury as the Otomacos, who
        through self-injury with this agent made themselves completely
        cruel before combat, and marched into battle with savage fury."
        I am curious how niopo would act on people like us. Should a niopo
        session one day come to pass, then we should on no account send
        our wives away, as on that early spring reverie [The LSD trip of
        February 1951 is meant here.], that they may bind us fast if

    Chemical analysis of this drug led to isolation of active principles
    that, like the ergot alkaloids and psilocybin, belong to the group of
    indole alkaloids, but which were already described in the technical
    literature, and were therefore not investigated further in the Sandoz
    laboratories. [Translator's note: The active principles of niopo are
    DMT (N,Ndimethyltryptamine) and its congeners. DMT was first prepared
    in 1931 by Manske.] The fantastic effects described above appeared to
    occur only with the particular manner of use as snuff powder, and also
    seemed to be related, in all probability, to the psychic structure of
    the Indian tribes concerned.

Ambivalence of Drug Use

    Fundamental questions of drug problems were dealt with in the
    following correspondence.

    Bottmingen, 16 December 1961
        Dear Mr. Junger,
        On the one hand, I would have the great desire, besides the
        natural- scientific, chemicalpharmacological investigation of
        hallucinogenic substances, also to research their use as magic
        drugs in other regions.... On the other hand, I must admit that
        the fundamental question very much occupies me, whether the use of
        these types of drugs, namely of substances that so deeply affect
        our minds, could not indeed represent a forbidden transgression of
        limits. As long as any means or methods are used, which provide
        only an additional, newer aspect of reality, surely there is
        nothing to object to in such means; on the contrary, the
        experience and the knowledge of further facets of the reality only
        makes this reality ever more real to us. The question exists,
        however, whether the deeply affecting drugs under discussion here
        will in fact only open an additional window for our senses and
        perceptions, or whether the spectator himself, the core of his
        being, undergoes alterations. The latter would signify that
        something is altered that in my opinion should always remain
        intact. My concern is addressed to the question, whether the
        innermost core of our being is actually unimpeachable, and cannot
        become damaged by whatever happens in its material,
        physical-chemical, biological and psychic shells-or whether matter
        in the form of these drugs displays a potency that has the ability
        to attack the spiritual center of the personality, the self. The
        latter would have to be explained by the fact that the effect of
        magic drugs happens at the borderline where mind and matter
        merge-that these magic substances are themselves cracks in the
        infinite realm of matter, in which the depth of matter, its
        relationship with the mind, becomes particularly obvious. This
        could be expressed by a modification of the familiar words of

    "Were the eye not sunny,
        It could never behold the sun;
        If the power of the mind were not in matter,
        How could matter disturb the mind."

    This would correspond to cracks which the radioactive substances
    constitute in the periodic system of the elements, where the
    transition of matter into energy becomes manifest. Indeed, one must
    ask whether the production of atomic energy likewise represents a
    transgression of forbidden limits.

    A further disquieting tht)ught, which follows from the possibility of
    influencing the highest intellectual functions by traces of a
    substance, concerns free will.

    The highly active psychotropic substances like LSD and psilocybin
    possess in their chemical structure a very close relationship with
    substances inherent in the body, which are found in the central
    nervous system and play an important role in the regulation of its
    functions. It is therefore conceivable that through some disturbance
    in the metabolism of the normal neurotransmitters, a compound like LSD
    or psilocybin is formed, which can determine and alter the character
    of the individual, his world view and his behavior. A trace of a
    substance, whose production or nonproduction we cannot control with
    our wills, has the power to shape our destiny. Such biochemical
    considerations could have led to the sentence that Gottfried Benn
    quoted in his essay "Provoziertes Leben" [Provoked life]: "God is a
    substance, a drug!"

    On the other hand, it is well known that substances like adrenaline,
    for example, are formed or set free in our organism by thoughts and
    emotions, which for their part determine the functions of the nervous
    system. One may therefore suppose that our material organism is
    susceptible to and shaped by our mind, in the same way that our
    intellectual essence is shaped by our biochemistry. Which came first
    can indeed no better be determined than the question, whether the
    chicken came before the egg.

    In spite of my uncertainty with regard to the fundamental dangers that
    could lie in the use of hallucinogenic substances, I have continued
    investigations on the active principles of the Mexican magic morning
    glories, of which I wrote you briefly once before. In the seeds of
    this morning glory, that were called otoliuhqui by the ancient Aztecs,
    we found as active principles lysergic acid derivatives chemically
    very closely related to LSD. That was an almost unbelievable finding.
    I have all along had a particular love for the morning glories. They
    were the first flowers that I grew myself in my little child's garden.
    Their blue and red cups belong to the first memories of my childhood.

    I recently read in a book by D. T. Suzuki, Zen and Japanese Culture,
    that the morning glory plays a great role in Japan, among the flower
    lovers, in literature, and in graphic arts. Its fleeting splendor has
    given the Japanese imagination rich stimulus. Among others, Suzuki
    quotes a three- line poem of the poetess Chiyo (1702-75), who one
    morning went to fetch water from a neighbor's house, because . . .

    "My trough is captivated
        by a morning glory blossom,
        So I ask after water."

    The morning glory thus shows both possible ways of influencing the
    mind-body-essence of man: in Mexico it exerts its effects in a
    chemical way as a magic drug, while in Japan it acts from the
    spiritual side, through the beauty of its flower cups.

    Wilflingen, 17 December 1961

    Dear Mr. Hofmann,

    I give you my thanks for your detailed letter of 16 December. I have
    reflected on your central question, and may probably become occupied
    with it on the occasion of the revision of An der Zeitmauer [At the
    wall of time]. There I intimated that, in the field of physics as well
    as in the field of biology, we are beginning to develop procedures
    that are no longer to be understood as advances in the established
    sense, but that rather intervene in evolution and lead forth in the
    development of the species. Certainly I turn the glove inside out, for
    I suppose that it is a new world age, which begins to act
    evolutionarily on the prototypes. Our science with its theories and
    discoveries is therefore not the cause, rather one of the consequences
    of evolution, among others. Animals, plants, the atmosphere and the
    surfaces of planets will be concerned simultaneously. We do not
    progress from point to point, rather we cross over a line.

    The risk that you indicated is well to be considered. However, it
    exists in every aspect of our existence. The common denominator
    appears now here, now there.

    In mentioning radioactivity, you use the word crack. Cracks are not
    merely points of discovery, but also points of destruction. Compared
    to the effects of radiation, those of the magical drugs are more
    genuine and much less rough. In classical manner they lead us beyond
    the humane. Gurdjieff has already seen that to some extent. Wine has
    already changed much, has brought new gods and a new humanity with it.
    But wine is to the new substances as classical physics is to modern
    physics. These things should only be tried in small circles. I cannot
    agree with the thoughts of Huxley, that possibilities for
    transcendence could here be given to the masses. Indeed, this does not
    involve comforting fictions, but rather realities, if we take the
    matter earnestly. And few contacts will suffice here for the setting
    of courses and guidance. It also transcends theology and belongs in
    the chapter of theogony, as it necessarily entails entry into a new
    house, in the astrological sense. At first, one can be satisfied with
    this insight, and should above all be cautious with the designations.

    Heartfelt thanks also for the beautiful picture of the blue morning
    glory. It appears to be the same that I cultivate year after year in
    my garden. I did not know that it possesses specific powers; however,
    that is probably the case with every plant. We do not know the key to
    most. Besides this, there must be a central viewpoint from which not
    only the chemistry, the structure, the color, but rather all
    attributes become significant....

An Experiment with Psilocybin

    Such theoretical discussions about the magic drugs were supplemented
    by practical experiments. One such experiment, which served as a
    comparison between LSD and psilocybin, took place in the spring of
    1962. The proper occasion for it presented itself at the home of the
    Jungers, in the former head forester's house of Stauffenberg's Castle
    in Wilflingen. My friends, the pharmacologist Professor Heribert
    Konzett and the Islamic scholar Dr. Rudolf Gelpke, also took part in
    this mushroom symposium.

    The old chronicles described how the Aztecs drank chocolatl before
    they ate teonanacatl. Thus Mrs. Liselotte Junger likewide served us
    hot chocolate, to set the mood. Then she abandoned the four men to
    their fate.

    We had gathered in a fashionable living room, with a dark wooden
    ceiling, white tile stove, period furniture, old French engravings on
    the walls, a gorgeous bouquet of tulips on the table. Ernst Junger
    wore a long, broad, dark blue striped kaftan-like garment that he had
    brought from Egypt; Heribert Konzett was resplendent in a brightly
    embroidered mandarin gown; Rudolf Gelpke and I had put on housecoats.
    The everyday reality should be laid aside, along with everyday

    Shortly before sundown we took the drug, not the mushrooms, but rather
    their active principle, 20 mg psilocybin each. That corresponded to
    some twothirds of the very strong dose that was taken by the curandera
    Maria Sabina in the form of Psilocybe mushrooms.

    After an hour I still noticed no effect, while my companions were
    already very deeply into the trip. I had come with the hope that in
    the mushroom inebriation I could manage to allow certain images from
    euphoric moments of my childhood, which remained in my memory as
    blissful experiences, to come alive: a meadow covered with
    chrysanthemums lightly stirred by the early summer wind; the rosebush
    in the evening light after a rain storm; the blue irises hanging over
    the vineyard wall. Instead of these bright images from my childhood
    home, strange scenery emerged, when the mushroom factor finally began
    to act. Half stupefied, I sank deeper, passed through totally deserted
    cities with a Mexican type of exotic, yet dead splendor. Terrified, I
    tried to detain myself on the surface, to concentrate alertly on the
    outer world, on the surroundings. For a time I succeeded. I then
    observed Ernst Junger, colossal in the room, pacing back and forth, a
    powerful, mighty magician. Heribert Konzett in the silky lustrous
    housecoat seemed to be a dangerous, Chinese clown. Even Rudolf Gelpke
    appeared sinister to me; long, thin, mysterious.

    With the increasing depth of inebriation, everything became yet
    stranger. I even felt strange to myself. Weird, cold, foolish,
    deserted, in a dull light, were the places I traversed when I closed
    my eyes. Emptied of all meaning, the environment also seemed ghostlike
    to me whenever I opened my eyes and tried to cling to the outer world.
    The total emptiness threatened to drag me down into absolute
    nothingness. I remember how I seized Rudolf Gelpke's arm as he passed
    by my chair, and held myself to him, in order not to sink into dark
    nothingness. Fear of death seized me, and illimitable longing to
    return to the living creation, to the reality of the world of men.
    After timeless fear I slowly returned to the room . I saw and heard
    the great magician lecturing uninterruptedly with a clear, loud voice,
    about Schopenhauer, Kant, Hegel, and speaking about the old Gaa, the
    beloved little mother. Heribert Konzett and Rudolf Gelpke were already
    completely on the earth again, while I could only regain my footing
    with great effort.

    For me this entry into the mushroom world had been a test, a
    confrontation with a dead world and with the void. The experiment had
    developed differently from what I had expected. Nevertheless, the
    encounter with the void can also be appraised as a gain. Then the
    existence of the creation appears so much more wondrous.

    Midnight had passed, as we sat together at the table that the mistress
    of the house had set in the upper story. We celebrated the return with
    an exquisite repast and with Mozart's music. The conversation, during
    which we exchanged our experiences, lasted almost until morning.

    Ernst Junger has described how he had experienced this trip, in his
    book Annahenngenrogen und Rausch [Approaches-drugs and inebriation]
    (published by Ernst Klett Verlag, Stuttgart, 1970), in the section
    "Ein Pilz-Symposium" [A mushroom symposium]. The following is an
    extract from the work:

    As usual, a half hour or a little more passed in silence. Then came
        the first signs: the flowers on the table began to flare up and
        sent out flashes. It was time for leaving work; outside the
        streets were being cleaned, like on every weekend. The brush
        strokes invaded the silence painfully. This shuffling and
        brushing, now and again also a scraping, pounding, rumbling, and
        hammering, has random causes and is also symptomatic, like one of
        the signs that announces an illness. Again and again it also plays
        a role in the history of magic practices.
        By this time the mushroom began to act; the spring bouquet glowed
        darker. That was no natural light. The shadows stirred in the
        corners, as if they sought form. I became uneasy, even chilled,
        despite the heat that emanated from the tiles. I stretched myself
        on the sofa, drew the covers over my head.
        Everything became skin and was touched, even the retina-there the
        contact was light. This light was multicolored; it arranged itself
        in strings, which gently swung back and forth; in strings of glass
        beads of oriental doorways. They formed doors, like those one
        passes through in a dream, curtains of lust and danger. The wind
        stirred them like a garment. They also fell down from the belts of
        dancers, opened and closed themselves with the swing of the hips,
        and from the beads a rippling of the most delicate sounds
        fluttered to the heightened senses. The chime of the silver rings
        on the ankles and wrists is already too loud. It smells of sweat,
        blood, tobacco, chopped horse hairs, cheap rose essence. Who knows
        what is going on in the stables?
        It must be an immense palace, Mauritanian, not a good place. At
        this ballroom flights of adjoining rooms lead into the lower
        stratum. And everywhere the curtains with their glitter, their
        sparkling, radioactive glow. Moreover, the rippling of glassy
        instruments with their beckoning, their wooing solicitation: "
        Will you go with me, beautiful boy?" Now it ceased, now it
        repeated, more importunate, more intrusive, almost already assured
        of agreement.
        Now came forms-historical collages, the vox humana, the call of
        the cuckoo. Was it the whore of Santa Lucia, who stuck her breasts
        out of the window? Then the play was ruined. Salome danced; the
        amber necklace emitted sparks and made the nipples erect. What
        would one not do for one's Johannes? [Translator's note:
        "Johannes" here is slang for penis, as in English "Dick" or
        "Peter."] -damned, that was a disgusting obscenity, which did not
        come from me, but was whispered through the curtain.
        The snakes were dirty, scarcely alive, they wallowed sluggishly
        over the floor mats. They were garnished with brilliant shards.
        Others looked up from the floor with red and green eyes. It
        glistened and whispered, hissed and sparkled like diminutive
        sickles at the sacred harvest. Then it quieted, and came anew,
        more faintly, more forward. They had me in their hand. "There we
        immediately understood ourselves."
        Madam came through the curtain: she was busy, passed by me without
        noticing me. I saw the boots with the red heels. Garters
        constricted the thick thighs in the middle, the flesh bulged out
        there. The enormous breasts, the dark delta of the Amazon,
        parrots, piranhas, semiprecious stones everywhere. Now she went
        into the kitchen-or are there still cellars here? The sparkling
        and whispering, the hissing and twinkling could no longer be
        differentiated; it seemed to become concentrated, now proudly
        rejoicing, full of hope.
        It became hot and intolerable; I threw the covers off. The room
        was faintly illuminated; the pharmacologist stood at the window in
        the white mandarin frock, which had served me shortly before in
        Rottweil at the carnival. The orientalist sat beside the tile
        stove; he moaned as if he had a nightmare. I understood; it had
        been a first round, and it would soon start again. The time was
        not yet up. I had already seen the beloved little mother under
        other circumstances. But even excrement is earth, belongs like
        gold to transformed matter. One must come to terms with it,
        without getting too close.
        These were the earthy mushrooms. More light was hidden in the dark
        grain that burst from the ear, more yet in the green juice of the
        succulents on the glowing slopes of Mexico. . . . [Translator's
        note: Junger is referring to LSD, a derivative of ergot, and
        mescaline, derived from the Mexican peyotl cactus.]
        The trip had run awry-possibly I should address the mushrooms once
        more. Yet indeed the whispering returned, the flashing and
        sparkling-the bait pulled the fish close behind itself. Once the
        motif is given, then it engraves itself, like on a roller each new
        beginning, each new revolution repeats the melody. The game did
        not get beyond this kind of dreariness.
        I don't know how often this was repeated, and prefer not to dwell
        upon it. Also, there are things which one would rather keep to
        oneself. In any case, midnight was past....
        We went upstairs; the table was set. The senses were still
        heightened and the Doors of Perception were opened. The light
        undulated from the red wine in the carafe; a froth surged at the
        brim. We listened to a flute concerto. It had not turned out
        better for the others: How beautiful, to be back among men." Thus
        Albert Hofmann.
        The orientalist on the other hand had been in Samarkand, where
        Timur rests in a coffin of nephrite. He had followed the
        victorious march through cities, whose dowry on entry was a
        cauldron filled with eyes. There he had long stood before one of
        the skull pyramids that terrible Timur had erected, and in the
        multitude of severed heads had perceived even his own. It was
        encrusted with stones.
        A light dawned on the pharmacologist when he heard this: Now I
        know why you were sitting in the armchair without your head-I was
        astonished; I knew I wasn't dreaming.
        I wonder whether I should not strike out this detail since it
        borders on the area of ghost stories.

    The mushroom substance had carried all four of us off, not into
    luminous heights, rather into deeper regions. It seems that the
    psilocybin inebriation is more darkly colored in the majority of cases
    than the inebriation produced by LSD. The influence of these two
    active substances is sure to differ from one individual to another.
    Personally, for me, there was more light in the LSD experiments than
    in the experiments with the earthy mushroom, just as Ernst Junger
    remarks in the preceding report.

Another LSD Session

    The next and last thrust into the inner universe together with Ernst
    Junger, this time again using LSD, led us very far from everyday
    consciousness. We came close to the ultimate door. Of course this
    door, according to Ernst Junger, will in fact only open for us in the
    great transition from life into the hereafter.

    This last joint experiment occurred in February 1970, again at the
    head forester's house in Wilflingen. In this case there were only the
    two of us. Ernst Junger took 0.15 mg LSD, I took 0.10 mg. Ernst Junger
    has published without commentary the log book, the notes he made
    during the experiment, in Approaches, in the section "Nochmals LSD"
    [LSD once again]. They are scanty and tell the reader little, just
    like my own records.

    The experiment lasted from morning just after breakfast until darkness
    fell. At the beginning of the trip, we again listened to the concerto
    for flute and harp by Mozart, which always made me especially happy,
    but this time, strange to say, seemed to me like the turning of
    porcelain figures. Then the intoxication led quickly into wordless
    depths. When I wanted to describe the perplexing alterations of
    consciousness to Ernst Junger, no more than two or three words came
    out, for they sounded so false, so unable to express the experience;
    they seemed to originate from an infinitely distant world that had
    become strange; I abandoned the attempt, laughing hopelessly.
    Obviously, Ernst Junger had the same experience, yet we did not need
    speech; a glance sufficed for the deepest understanding. I could,
    however, put some scraps of sentences on paper, such as at the
    beginning: "Our boat tosses violently." Later, upon regarding
    expensively bound books in the library: "Like red-gold pushed from
    within to without-exuding golden luster." Outside it began to snow.
    Masked children marched past and carts with carnival revelers passed
    by in the streets. With a glance through the window into the garden,
    in which snow patches lay, many-colored masks appeared over the high
    walls bordering it, embedded in an infinitely joyful shade of blue: "A
    Breughel garden-I live with and in the objects." Later: "At present-no
    connection with the everyday world." Toward the end, deep, comforting
    insight expressed: "Hitherto confirmed on my path." This time LSD had
    led to a blessed approach.

                          8. Meeting with Aldous Huxley

    In the mid-1950s, two books by Aldous Huxley appeared, The Doors of
    Perception and Heaven and Hell, dealing with inebriated states
    produced by hallucinogenic drugs. The alterations of sensory
    perceptions and consciousness, which the author experienced in a
    self-experiment with mescaline, are skillfully described in these
    books. The mescaline experiment was a visionary experience for Huxley.
    He saw objects in a new light; they disclosed their inherent, deep,
    timeless existence, which remains hidden from everyday sight.

    These two books contained fundamental observations on the essence of
    visionary experience and about the significance of this manner of
    comprehending the world-in cultural history, in the creation of myths,
    in the origin of religions, and in the creative process out of which
    works of art arise. Huxley saw the value of hallucinogenic drugs in
    that they give people who lack the gift of spontaneous visionary
    perception belonging to mystics, saints, and great artists, the
    potential to experience this extraordinary state of consciousness, and
    thereby to attain insight into the spiritual world of these great
    creators. Hallucinogens could lead to a deepened understanding of
    religious and mystical content, and to a new and fresh experience of
    the great works of art. For Huxley these drugs were keys capable of
    opening new doors of perception; chemical keys, in addition to other
    proven but laborious " door openers" to the visionary world like
    meditation, isolation, and fasting, or like certain yoga practices.

    At the time I already knew the earlier work of this great writer and
    thinker, books that meant much to me, like Point Counter Point, Brave
    New World, After Many a Summer, Eyeless in Gaza, and a few others. In
    The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell, Huxley's newly-published
    works, I found a meaningful exposition of the experience induced by
    hallucinogenic drugs, and I thereby gained a deepened insight into my
    own LSD experiments.

    I was therefore delighted when I received a telephone call from Aldous
    Huxley in the laboratory one morning in August 1961. He was passing
    through Zurich with his wife. He invited me and my wife to lunch in
    the Hotel Sonnenberg.

    A gentleman with a yellow freesia in his buttonhole, a tall and noble
    appearance, who exuded kindness- this is the image I retained from
    this first meeting with Aldous Huxley. The table conversation revolved
    mainly around the problem of magic drugs. Both Huxley and his wife,
    Laura Archera Huxley, had also experimented with LSD and psilocybin.
    Huxley would have preferred not to designate these two substances and
    mescaline as "drugs," because in English usage, as also by the way
    with Droge in German, that word has a pejorative connotation, and
    because it was important to differentiate the hallucinogens from the
    other drugs, even linguistically. He believed in the great importance
    of agents producing visionary experience in the modern phase of human

    He considered experiments under laboratory conditions to be
    insignificant, since in the extraordinarily intensified susceptibility
    and sensitivity to external impressions, the surroundings are of
    decisive importance. He recommended to my wife, when we spoke of her
    native place in the mountains, that she take LSD in an alpine meadow
    and then look into the blue cup of a gentian flower, to behold the
    wonder of creation.

    As we parted, Aldous Huxley gave me, as a remembrance of this meeting,
    a tape recording of his lecture "Visionary Experience," which he had
    delivered the week before at an international congress on applied
    psychology in Copenhagen. In this lecture, Aldous Huxley spoke about
    the meaning and essence of visionary experience and compared this type
    of world view to the verbal and intellectual comprehension of reality
    as its essential complement.

    In the following year, the newest and last book by Aldous Huxley
    appeared, the novel Island. This story, set on the utopian island
    Pala, is an attempt to blend the achievements of natural science and
    technical civilization with the wisdom of Eastern thought, to achieve
    a new culture in which rationalism and mysticism are fruitfully
    united. The moksha medicine, a magical drug prepared from a mushroom,
    plays a significant role in the life of the population of Pala (moksha
    is Sanskrit for "release," "liberation"). The drug could be used only
    in critical periods of life. The young men on Pala received it in
    initiation rites, it is dispensed to the protagonist of the novel
    during a life crisis, in the scope of a psychotherapeutic dialogue
    with a spiritual friend, and it helps the dying to relinquish the
    mortal body, in the transition to another existence.

    In our conversation in Zurich, I had already learned from Aldous
    Huxley that he would again treat the problem of psychedelic drugs in
    his forthcoming novel. Now he sent me a copy of Island, inscribed "To
    Dr. Albert Hofmann, the original discoverer of the moksha medicine,
    from Aldous Huxley."

    The hopes that Aldous Huxley placed in psychedelic drugs as a means of
    evoking visionary experience, and the uses of these substances in
    everyday life, are subjects of a letter of 29 February 1962, in which
    he wrote me:

    . . . I have good hopes that this and similar work will result in the
        development of a real Natural History of visionary experience, in
        all its variations, determined by differences of physique,
        temperament and profession, and at the same time of a technique of
        Applied Mysticism - a technique for helping individuals to get the
        most out of their transcendental experience and to make use of the
        insights from the "Other World" in the affairs of "This World."
        Meister Eckhart wrote that "what is taken in by contemplation must
        be given out in love." Essentially this is what must be
        developed-the art of giving out in love and intelligence what is
        taken in from vision and the experience of self-transcendence and
        solidarity with the Universe....

    Aldous Huxley and I were together often at the annual convention of
    the World Academy of Arts and Sciences (WAAS) in Stockholm during late
    summer 1963. His suggestions and contributions to discussions at the
    sessions of the academy, through their form and importance, had a
    great influence on the proceedings.

    WAAS had been established in order to allow the most competent
    specialists to consider world problems in a forum free of ideological
    and religious restrictions and from an international viewpoint
    encompassing the whole world. The results: proposals, and thoughts in
    the form of appropriate publications, were to be placed at the
    disposal of the responsible governments and executive organizations.

    The 1963 meeting of WAAS had dealt with the population explosion and
    the raw material reserves and food resources of the earth. The
    corresponding studies and proposals were collected in Volume II of
    WAAS under the title The Population Crisis and the Use of World
    Resources. A decade before birth control, environmental protection,
    and the energy crisis became catchwords, these world problems were
    examined there from the most serious point of view, and proposals for
    their solution were made to governments and responsible organizations.
    The catastrophic events since that time in the aforementioned fields
    makes evident the tragic discrepancy between recognition, desire, and

    Aldous Huxley made the proposal, as a continuation and complement of
    the theme "World Resources" at the Stockholm convention, to address
    the problem "Human Resources," the exploration and application of
    capabilities hidden in humans yet unused. A human race with more
    highly developed spiritual capacities, with expanded consciousness of
    the depth and the incomprehensible wonder of being, would also have
    greater understanding of and better consideration for the biological
    and material foundations of life on this earth. Above all, for Western
    people with their hypertrophied rationality, the development and
    expansion of a direct, emotional experience of reality, unobstructed
    by words and concepts, would be of evolutionary significance. Huxley
    considered psychedelic drugs to be one means to achieve education in
    this direction. The psychiatrist Dr. Humphry Osmond, likewise
    participating in the congress, who had created the term psychedelic
    (mind-expanding), assisted him with a report about significant
    possibilities of the use of hallucinogens.

    The convention in Stockholm in 1963 was my last meeting with Aldous
    Huxley. His physical appearance was already marked by a severe
    illness; his intellectual personage, however, still bore the
    undiminished signs of a comprehensive knowledge of the heights and
    depths of the inner and outer world of man, which he had displayed
    with so much genius, love, goodness, and humor in his literary work.

    Aldous Huxley died on 22 November of the same year, on the same day
    President Kennedy was assassinated. From Laura Huxley I obtained a
    copy of her letter to Julian and Juliette Huxley, in which she
    reported to her brother- and sister-in-law about her husband's last
    day. The doctors had prepared her for a dramatic end, because the
    terminal phase of cancer of the throat, from which Aldous Huxley
    suffered, is usually accompanied by convulsions and choking fits. He
    died serenely and peacefully, however.

    In the morning, when he was already so weak that he could no longer
    speak, he had written on a sheet of paper: "LSD-try
    it-intramuscular-100 mmg." Mrs. Huxley understood what was meant by
    this, and ignoring the misgivings of the attending physician, she gave
    him, with her own hand, the desired injection-she let him have the
    moksha medicine.

              9. Correspondence with the Poet-Physician Walter Vogt

    My friendship with the physician, psychiatrist, and writer Walter
    Vogt, M.D., is also among the personal contacts that I owe to LSD. As
    the following extract from our correspondence shows, it was less the
    medicinal aspects of LSD, important to the physician, than the
    consciousness-altering effects on the depth of the psyche, of interest
    to the writer, that constituted the theme of our correspondence.

    Muri/Bern, 22 November 1970
        Dear Mr. Hofmann,
        Last night I dreamed that I was invited to tea in a cafe by a
        friendly family in Rome. This family also knew the pope, and so
        the pope sat at - the same table to tea with us. He was all in
        white and also wore a white miter. He sat there so handsome and
        was silent.
        And today I suddenly had the idea of sending you my Vogel auf dem
        Tisch [Bird on the table]-as a visiting card if you so wish-a book
        that remained a little apocryphal, which upon reflection I do not
        regret, although the Italian translator is firmly convinced that
        is my best. (Ah yes, the pope is also an Italian. So it goes. . .
        Possibly this little work will interest you. It was written in
        1966 by an author who at that time still had not had any shred of
        experience with psychedelic substances and who read the reports
        about medicinal experiments with these drugs devoid of
        understanding. However, little has changed since, except that now
        the misgiving comes from the other side.
        I suppose that your discovery has caused a hiatus (not directly a
        Saul-to-Paul conversion as Roland Fischer says . . .) in my work
        (also a large word) - and indeed, that which I have written since
        has become rather realistic or at least less expressive. In any
        case I could not have brought off the cool realism of my TV piece
        "Spiele der Macht" [Games of power] without it. The different
        drafts attest it, in case they are still lying around somewhere.
        Should you have interest and time for a meeting, it would delight
        me very much to visit you sometime for a conversation.
        W. V.
        Burg, i.L. 28 November 1970
        Dear Mr. Vogt,
        If the bird that alighted on my table was able to find its way to
        me, this is one more debt I owe to the magical effect of LSD. I
        could soon write a book about all of the results that derive from
        that experiment in 1943....
        A. H.
        Muri/Bern, 13 March 1971
        Dear Mr. Hofmann,
        Enclosed is a critique of Junger's Annahenngen [Approaches], from
        the daily paper, that will presumably interest you....
        It seems to me that to hallucinate-to dream-to write,stands at all
        times in contrast to everyday consciousness, and their functions
        are complementary. Here I can naturally speak only for myself.
        This could be different with others - it is also truly difficult
        to speak with others about such things, because people often speak
        altogether different languages....
        However, since you are now gathering autographs, and do me the
        honor of incorporating some of my letters in your collection, I
        enclose for you the manuscript of my "testament" - in which your
        discovery plays a role as "the only joyous invention of the
        twentieth century...."
        W. V.
        dr. walter vogts most recent testament 1969 I wish to have no
        special funeral only expensive and obscene orchids innumerable
        little birds with gay names no naked dancers but psychedelic
        garments loudspeaker in every corner and nothing but the latest
        beatles record [Abbey Road] one hundred thousand million times and
        do what you like ["Blind Faith"] on an endless tape nothing more
        than a popular Christ with a halo of genuine gold and a beloved
        mourning congregation that pumped themselves full with acid [acid
        = LSD] till they go to heaven [From Abbey Road, side two] one two
        three four five six seven possibly we will encounter one another
        most cordially dedicated to Dr. Albert Hofmann Beginning of Spring
        Burg i.L., 29 March 1971
        Dear Mr. Vogt,
        You have again presented me with a lovely letter and a very
        valuable autograph, the testament 1969....
        Very remarkable dreams in recent times induce me to test a
        connection between the composition (chemical) of the evening meal
        and the quality of dreams. Yes, LSD is also something that one
        A. H.
        Muri/Bern, 5 September 1971
        Dear Mr. Hofmann,
        Over the weekend at Murtensee [On that Sunday, I (A. H.) hovered
        over the Murtensee in the balloon of my friend E. I., who had
        taken me along as passenger.] I often thought of you-a most
        radiant autumn day. Yesterday, Saturday, thanks to one tablet of
        aspirin (on account of a headache or mild flu), I experienced a
        very comical flashback, like with mescaline (of which I have had
        only a little, exactly once)....
        I have read a delightful essay by Wasson about mushrooms; he
        divides mankind into mycophobes and mycophiles.... Lovely fly
        agarics must now be growing in the forest near you. Sometime
        shouldn't we sample some?
        W. V.
        Muri/Bern, 7 September 1971
        Dear Mr. Hofmann,
        Now I feel I must write briefly to tell you what I have done
        outside in the sun, on the dock under your balloon: I finally
        wrote some notes about our visit in Villars-sur-Ollons (with Dr.
        Leary), then a hippie-bark went by on the lake, self-made like
        from a Fellini film, which I sketched, and over and above it I
        drew your balloon.
        W. V.
        Burg i.L., 15 April 1972
        Dear Mr. Vogt,
        Your television play "Spiele der Macht" [Games of power] has
        impressed me extraordinarily.
        I congratulate you on this magnificent piece, which allows mental
        cruelty to become conscious, and therefore also acts in its way as
        "consciousness- expanding", and can thereby prove itself
        therapeutic in a higher sense, like ancient tragedy.
        A. H.
        Burg i.L., 19 May 1973
        Dear Mr. Vogt,
        Now I have already read your lay sermon three times, the
        description and interpretation of your Sinai Trip. [Walter Vogt:
        Mein Sinai Trip. Eine Laienpredigt [My Sinai trip: A lay sermon]
        (Verlag der Arche, Zurich, 1972). This publication contains the
        text of a lay sermon that Walter Vogt gave on 14 November 1971 on
        the invitation of Parson Christoph Mohl, in the Protestant church
        of aduz (Lichtenstein), in the course of a series of sermons by
        writers, and in addition contains an afterword by the author and
        by the inviting parson. It involves the description and
        interpretation of an ecstatic-religious experience evoked by LSD,
        that the author is able to "place in a distant, if you will
        superficial, analogy to the great Sinai Trip of Moses." It is not
        only the "patriarchal atmosphere" that is to be traced out of
        these descriptions, that constitutes this analogy; there are
        deeper references, which are more to be read between the lines of
        this text.] Was it really an LSD trip? . . . It was a courageous
        deed, to choose such a notorious event as a drug experience as the
        theme of a sermon, even a lay sermon. But the questions raised by
        hallucinogenic drugs do actually belong in the church-in a
        prominent place in the church, for they are sacred drugs (peyotl,
        teonanacatl, ololiuhqui, with which LSD is mostly closely related
        by chemical structure and activity).
        I can fully agree with what you say in your introduction about the
        modern ecclesiastical religiosity: the three sanctioned states of
        consciousness (the waking condition of uninterrupted work and
        performance of duty, alcoholic intoxication, and sleep), the
        distinction between two phases of psychedelic inebriation (the
        first phase, the peak of the trip, in which the cosmic
        relationship is experienced, or the submersion into one's own
        body, in which everything that is, is within; and the second
        phase, characterized as the phase of enhanced comprehension of
        symbols), and the allusion to the candor that hallucinogens bring
        about in consciousness states. These are all observations that are
        of fundamental importance in the judgement of hallucinogenic
        The most worthwhile spiritual benefit from LSD experiments was the
        experience of the inextricable intertwining of the physical and
        spiritual. "Christ in matter" (Teilhard de Chardin). Did the
        insight first come to you also through your drug experiences, that
        we must descend "into the flesh, which we are," in order to get
        new prophesies?
        A criticism of your sermon: you allow the "deepest experience that
        there is" - "The kingdom of heaven is within you"-to be uttered by
        Timothy Leary. This sentence, quoted without the indication of its
        true source, could be interpreted as ignorance of one, or rather
        the principal truth of Christian belief.
        One of your statements deserves universal recognition: "There is
        no non-ecstatic religious experience." . . .
        Next Monday evening I shall be interviewed on Swiss television
        (about LSD and the Mexican magic drugs, on the program "At First
        Hand"). I am curious about the sort of questions that will be
        asked. . .
        A. H.
        Muri/Bern, 24 May 1973
        Dear Mr. Hofmann,
        Of course it was LSD - only I did not want to write about it
        explicitly, I really do not know just why myself.... The great
        emphasis I placed on the good Leary, who now seems to me to be
        somewhat flipped out, as the prime witness, can indeed only be
        explained by the special context of the talk or sermon.
        I must admit that the perception that we must descend "into the
        flesh, which we are" actually first came to me with LSD. I still
        ruminate on it, possibly it even came "too late" for me in fact,
        although more and more I advocate your opinion that LSD should be
        taboo for youth (taboo, not forbidden, that is the difference . .
        The sentence that you like, "there is no nonecstatic religious
        experience," was apparently not liked so much by others for
        example, by my (almost only) literary friend and minister-lyric
        poet Kurt Marti. . . . But in any case, we are practically never
        of the same opinion about anything, and notwithstanding, we
        constitute when we occasionally communicate by phone and arrange
        little activities together, the smallest minimafia of Switzerland.
        W. V.
        Burg i.L., 13 April 1974
        Dear Mr. Vogt,
        Full of suspense, we watched your TV play "Pilate before the
        Silent Christ" yesterday evening.
        . . . as a representation of the fundamental man-God relationship:
        man, who comes to God with his most difficult questions, which
        finally he must answer himself, because God is silent. He does not
        answer them with words. The answers are contained in the book of
        his creation (to which the questioning man himself belongs). True
        natural science decipherin of this text.
        A. H.
        Muri/Bern, 11 May 1974
        Dear Mr. Hofmann,
        I have composed a "poem" in half twilight, that I dare to send to
        you. At first I wanted to send it to Leary, but this would make no

    Leary in jail
        Gelpke is dead
        Treatment in the asylum
        is this your psychedelic
        Had we taken seriously something
        with which one only ought to play
        vice-versa . . .

    W. V.

                              10. Various Visitors

    The diverse aspects, the multi-faceted emanations of LSD are also
    expressed in the variety of cultural circles with which this substance
    has brought me into contact. On the scientific plane, this has
    involved colleagues-chemists, pharmacologists, physicians, and
    mycologists-whom I met at universities, congresses, lectures, or with
    whom I came into association through publication. In the
    literary-philosophical field there were contacts with writers. In the
    preceding chapters I have reported on the relationships of this type
    that were most significant for me. LSD also provided me with a
    variegated series of personal acquaintances from the drug scene and
    from hippie circles, which will briefly be described here.

    Most of these visitors came from the United States and were young
    people, often in transit to the Far East in search of Eastern wisdom
    or of a guru; or else hoping to come by drugs more easily there.
    Prague also was sometimes the goal, because LSD of good quality could
    at the time easily be acquired there. [Translator's Note: When
    Sandoz's patents on LSD expired in 1963, the Czech pharmaceutical firm
    Spofa began to manufacture the drug.] Once arrived in Europe, they
    wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to see the father of LSD,
    "the man who made the famous LSD bicycle trip." But more serious
    concerns sometimes motivated a visit. There was the desire to report
    on personal LSD experiences and to debate the purport of their
    meaning, at the source, so to speak. Only rarely did a visit prove to
    be inspired by the desire to obtain LSD when a visitor hinted that he
    or she wished once to experiment with most assuredly pure material,
    with original LSD.

    Visitors of various types and with diverse desires also came from
    Switzerland and other European countries. Such encounters have become
    rarer in recent times, which may be related to the fact that LSD has
    become less important in the drug scene. Whenever possible, I have
    welcomed such visitors or agreed to meet somewhere. This I considered
    to be an obligation connected with my role in the history of LSD, and
    I have tried to help by instructing and advising.

    Sometimes no true conversation occurred, for example with the
    inhibited young man who arrived on a motorbike. I was not clear about
    the objective of his visit. He stared at me, as if asking himself: can
    the man who has made something so weird as LSD really look so
    completely ordinary? With him, as with other similar visitors, I had
    the feeling that he hoped, in my presence, the LSD riddle would
    somehow solve itself.

    Other meetings were completely different, like the one with the young
    man from Toronto. He invited me to lunch at an exclusive
    restaurant-impressive appearance, tall, slender, a businessman,
    proprietor of an important industrial firm in Canada, brilliant
    intellect. He thanked me for the creation of LSD, which had given his
    life another direction. He had been 100 percent a businessman, with a
    purely materialistic world view. LSD had opened his eyes to the
    spiritual aspect of life. Now he possessed a sense for art,
    literature, and philosophy and was deeply concerned with religious and
    metaphysical questions. He now desired to make the LSD experience
    accessible in a suitable milieu to his young wife, and hoped for a
    similarly fortunate transformation in her.

    Not as profound, yet still liberating and rewarding, were the results
    of LSD experiments which a young Dane described to me with much humor
    and fantasy. He came from California, where he had been a houseboy for
    Henry Miller in Big Sur. He moved on to France with the plan of
    acquiring a dilapidated farm there, which he, a skilled carpenter,
    then wanted to restore himself. I asked him to obtain an autograph of
    his former employer for my collection, and after some time I actually
    received an original piece of writing from Henry Miller's hand.

    A young woman sought me out to report on LSD experiences that had been
    of great significance to her inner development. As a superficial
    teenager who pursued all sorts of entertainments, and quite neglected
    by her parents, she had begun to take LSD out of curiosity and love of
    adventure. For three years she took frequent LSD trips. They led to an
    astonishing intensification of her inner life. She began to seek after
    the deeper meaning of her existence, which eventually revealed itself
    to her. Then, recognizing that LSD had no further power to help her,
    without difficulty or exertion of will she was able to abandon the
    drug. Thereafter she was in a position to develop herself further
    without artificial means. She was now a happy intrinsically secure
    person-thus she concluded her report. This young woman had decided to
    tell me her history, because she supposed that I was often attacked by
    narrow-minded persons who saw only the damage that LSD sometimes
    caused among youths. The immediate motive of her testimony was a
    conversation that she had accidentally overheard on a railway journey.
    A man complained about me, finding it disgraceful that I had spoken on
    the LSD problem in an interview published in the newspaper. In his
    opinion, I ought to denounce LSD as primarily the devil's work and
    should publicly admit my guilt in the matter.

    Persons in LSD delirium, whose condition could have given rise to such
    indignant condemnation, have never personally come into my sight. Such
    cases, attributable to LSD consumption under irresponsible
    circumstances, to overdosage, or to psychotic predisposition, always
    landed in the hospital or at the police station. Great publicity
    always came their way.

    A visit by one youn American girl stands out in my memory as an
    example of the tragic effects of LSD. It was during the lunch hour,
    which I normally spent in my office under strict confinement-no
    visitors, secretary's office closed up. Knocking came at the door,
    discretely but firmly repeated, until eventually I went to open.it. I
    scarcely believed my eyes: before me stood a very beautiful young
    woman, blond, with large blue eyes, wearing a long hippie dress,
    headband, and sandals. "I am Joan, I come from New York-you are Dr.
    Hofmann?" Before I inquired what brought her to me, I asked her how
    she had got through the two checkpoints, at the main entrance to the
    factory area and at the door of the laboratory building, for visitors
    were admitted only after telephone query, and this flower child must
    have been especially noticeable. "I am an angel, I can pass
    everywhere," she replied. Then she explained that she came on a great
    mission. She had to rescue her country, the United States; above all
    she had to direct the president (at the time L. B. Johnson) onto the
    correct path. This could be accomplished only by having him take LSD.
    Then he would receive the good ideas that would enable him to lead the
    country out of war and internal difficulties.

    Joan had come to me hoping that I would help her fulfill her mission,
    namely to give LSD to the president. Her name would indicate she was
    the Joan of Arc of the USA. I don't know whether my arguments,
    advanced with all consideration of her holy zeal, were able to
    convince her that her plan had no prospects of success on
    psychological, technical, internal, and external grounds. Disappointed
    and sad she went away. Next day I received a telephone call from Joan.
    She again asked me to help her, since her financial resources were
    exhausted. I took her to a friend in Zurich who provided her with
    work, and with whom she could live. Joan was a teacher by profession,
    and also a nightclub pianist and singer. For a while she played and
    sang in a fashionable Zurich restaurant. The good bourgeois clients of
    course had no idea what sort of angel sat at the grand piano in a
    black evening dress and entertained them with sensitive playing and a
    soft and sensuous voice. Few paid attention to the words of her songs;
    they were for the most part hippie songs, many of them containing
    veiled praise of drugs. The Zurich performance did not last long;
    within a few weeks I learned from my friend that Joan had suddenly
    disappeared. He received a greeting card from her three months later,
    from Israel. She had been committed to a psychiatric hospital there.

    For the conclusion of my assortment of LSD visitors, I wish to report
    about a meeting in which LSD figured only indirectly. Miss H. S., head
    secretary in a hospital, wrote to ask me for a personal interview. She
    came to tea. She explained her visit thus: in a report about an LSD
    experience, she had read the description of a condition she herself
    had experienced as a young girl, which still disturbed her today;
    possibly I could help her to understand this experience.

    She had gone on a business trip as a commercial apprentice. They spent
    the night in a mountain hotel. H. S. awoke very early and left the
    house alone in order to watch the sunrise. As the mountains began to
    light up in a sea of rays, she was perfused by an unprecedented
    feeling of happiness, which persisted even after she joined the other
    participants of the trip at morning service in the chapel. During the
    Mass everything appeared to her in a supernatural luster, and the
    feeling of happiness intensified to such an extent that she had to cry
    loudly. She was brought back to the hotel and treated as someone with
    a mental disorder.

    This experience largely determined her later personal life. H.S.
    feared she was not completely normal. On the one hand, she feared this
    experience, which had been explained to her as a nervous breakdown; on
    the other hand, she longed for arepetitionof the condition. Internally
    split, she had led an unstable life. In repeated vocational changes
    and in varying personal relationships, consciously or unconsciously
    she again sought this ecstatic outlook, which once made her so deeply

    I was able to reassure my visitor. It was no psychopathological event,
    no nervous breakdown that she had experienced at the time. What many
    people seek to attain with the help of LSD, the visionary experience
    of a deeper reality, had come to her as spontaneous grace. I
    recommended a book by Aldous Huxley to her, The Perennial Philosophy
    (Harper, New York & London, 1945) a collection of reports of
    spontaneous blessed visions from all times and cultures. Huxley wrote
    that not only mystics and saints, but also many more ordinary people
    than one generally supposes, experience such blessed moments, but that
    most do not recognize their importance and, instead of regarding them
    as promising rays of hope, repress them, because they do not fit into
    everyday rationality.

                         11. LSD Experience and Reality

    Was kann ein Mensch im Leben mehr
        Als dass sich Gott-Natur ihm offenbare?
        What more can a person gain in life
        Than that God-Nature reveals himself to

    I am often asked what has made the deepest impression upon me in my
    LSD experiments, and whether I have arrived at new understandings
    through these experiences.

Valious Realities

    Of greatest significance to me has been the insight that I attained as
    a fundamental understanding from all of my LSD experiments: what one
    commonly takes as "the reality," including the reality of one's own
    individual person, by no means signifies something fixed, but rather
    something that is ambiguous-that there is not only one, but that there
    are many realities, each comprising also a different consciousness of
    the ego.

    One can also arrive at this insight through scientific reflections.
    The problem of reality is and has been from time immemorial a central
    concern of philosophy. It is, however, a fundamental distinction,
    whether one approaches the problem of reality rationally, with the
    logical methods of philosophy, or if one obtrudes upon this problem
    emotionally, through an existential experience. The first planned LSD
    experiment was therefore so deeply moving and alarming, because
    everyday reality and the ego experiencing it, which I had until then
    considered to be the only reality, dissolved, and an unfamiliar ego
    experienced another, unfamiliar reality. The problem concerning the
    innermost self also appeared, which, itself unmoved, was able to
    record these external and internal transformations.

    Reality is inconceivable without an experiencing subject, without an
    ego. It is the product of the exterior world, of the sender and of a
    receiver, an ego in whose deepest self the emanations of the exterior
    world, registered by the antennae of the sense organs, become
    conscious. If one of the two is lacking, no reality happens, no radio
    music plays, the picture screen remains blank.

    If one continues with the conception of reality as a product of sender
    and receiver, then the entry of another reality under the influence of
    LSD may be explained by the fact that the brain, the seat of the
    receiver, becomes biochemically altered. The receiver is thereby tuned
    into another wavelength than that corresponding to normal, everyday
    reality. Since the endless variety and diversity of the universe
    correspond to infinitely many different wavelengths, depending on the
    adjustment of the receiver, many different realities, including the
    respective ego, can become conscious. These different realities, more
    correctly designated as different aspects of the reality, are not
    mutually exclusive but are complementary, and form together a portion
    of the all-encompassing, timeless, transcendental reality, in which
    even the unimpeachable core of self-consciousness, which has the power
    to record the different egos, is located.

    The true importance of LSD and related hallucinogens lies in their
    capacity to shift the wavelength setting of the receiving "self," and
    thereby to evoke alterations in reality consciousness. This ability to
    allow different, new pictures of reality to arise, this truly
    cosmogonic power, makes the cultish worship of hallucinogenic plants
    as sacred drugs understandable.

    What constitutes the essential, characteristic difference between
    everyday reality and the world picture experienced in LSD inebriation?
    Ego and the outer world are separated in the normal condition of
    consciousness, in everyday reality; one stands face-to-face with the
    outer world; it has become an object. In the LSD state the boundaries
    between the experiencing self and the outer world more or less
    disappear, depending on the depth of the inebriation. Feedback between
    receiver and sender takes place. A portion of the self overflows into
    the outer world, into objects, which begin to live, to have another, a
    deeper meaning. This can be perceived as a blessed, or as a demonic
    transformation imbued with terror, proceeding to a loss of the trusted
    ego. In an auspicious case, the new ego feels blissfully united with
    the objects of the outer world and consequently also with its fellow
    beings. This experience of deep oneness with the exterior world can
    even intensify to a feeling of the self being one with the universe.
    This condition of cosmic consciousness, which under favorable
    conditions can be evoked by LSD or by another hallucinogen from the
    group of Mexican sacred drugs, is analogous to spontaneous religious
    enlightenment, with the unio mystica. In both conditions, which often
    last only for a timeless moment, a reality is experienced that exposes
    a gleam of the transcendental reality, in vihich universe and self,
    sender and receiver, are one. [The relationship of spontaneous to
    drug-induced enlightenment has been most extensively investigated by
    R. C. Zaehner, Mysticismacred and Profane (The Clarendon Press,
    Oxford, 1957).]

    Gottfried Benn, in his essay "Provoziertes Leben" [Provoked life] (in
    Ausdnckswelt, Limes Verlag, Wiesbaden, 1949), characterized the
    reality in which self and world are separated, as "the schizoid
    catastrophe, the Western entelechy neurosis." He further writes:

    . . . In the southern part of our continent this concept of reality
        began to be formed. The Hellenistic-European agonistic principle
        of victory through effort, cunning, malice, talent, force, and
        later, European Darwinism and "superman," was instrumental in its
        formation. The ego emerged, dominated, fought; for this it needed
        instruments, material, power. It had a different relationship to
        matter, more removed sensually, but closer formally. It analyzed
        matter, tested, sorted: weapons, object of exchange, ransom money.
        It clarified matter through isolation, reduced it to formulas,
        took pieces out of it, divided it up. [Matter became] a concept
        which hung like a disaster over the West, with which the West
        fought, without grasping it, to which it sacrified enormous
        quantities of blood and happiness; a concept whose inner tension
        and fragmentations it was impossible to dissolve through a natural
        viewing or methodical insight into the inherent unity and peace of
        prelogical forms of being . . . instead the cataclysmic character
        of this idea became clearer and clearer . . . a state, a social
        organization, a public morality, for which life is economically
        usable life and which does not recognize the world of provoked
        life, cannot stop its destructive force. A society, whose hygiene
        and race cultivation as a modern ritual is founded solely on
        hollow biological statistics, can only represent the external
        viewpoint of the mass; for this point of view it can wage war,
        incessantly, for reality is simply raw material, but its
        metaphysical background remains forever obscured. [This excerpt
        from Benn's essay was taken from Ralph Metzner's translation
        "Provoked Life: An Essay on the Anthropology of the Ego," which
        was published in Psychedelic Review I (1): 47-54, 1963. Minor
        corrections in Metzner's text have been made by A. H.]

    As Gottfried Benn formulates it in these sentences, a concept of
    reality that separates self and the world has decisively determined
    the evolutionary course of European intellectual history. Experience
    of the world as matter, as object, to which man stands opposed, has
    produced modern natural science and technology- creations of the
    Western mind that have changed the world. With their help human beings
    have subdued the world. Its wealth has been exploited in a manner that
    may be characterized as plundering, and the sublime accomplishment of
    technological civilization, the comfort of Western industrial society,
    stands face-to-face with a catastrophic destruction of the
    environment. Even to the heart of matter, to the nucleus of the atom
    and its splitting, this objective intellect has progressed and has
    unleashed energies that threaten all life on our planet.

    A misuse of knowledge and understanding, the products of searching
    intelligence, could not have emerged from a consciousness of reality
    in which human beings are not separated from the environment but
    rather exist as part of living nature and the universe. All attempts
    today to make amends for the damage through environmentally protective
    measures must remain only hopeless, superficial patchwork, if no
    curing of the "Western entelechy neurosis" ensues, as Benn has
    characterized the objective reality conception. Healing would mean
    existential experience of a deeper, self-encompassing reality.

    The experience of such a comprehensive reality is impeded in an
    environment rendered dead by human hands, such as is present in our
    great cities and industrial districts. Here the contrast between self
    and outer world becomes especially evident. Sensations of alienation,
    of loneliness, and of menace arise. It is these sensations that
    impress themselves on everyday consciousness in Western industrial
    society; they also take the upper hand everywhere that technological
    civilization extends itself, and they largely determine the production
    of modern art and literature.

    There is less danger of a cleft reality experience arising in a
    natural environment. In field and forest, and in the animal world
    sheltered therein, indeed in every garden, a reality is perceptible
    that is infinitely more real, older, deeper, and more wondrous than
    everything made by people, and that will yet endure, when the
    inanimate, mechanical, and concrete world again vanishes, becomes
    rusted and fallen into ruin. In the sprouting, growth, blooming,
    fruiting, death, and regermination of plants, in their relationship
    with the sun, whose light they are able to convert into chemically
    bound energy in the form of organic compounds, out of which all that
    lives on our earth is built; in the being of plants the same
    mysterious, inexhaustible, eternal life energy is evident that has
    also brought us forth and takes us back again into its womb, and in
    which we are sheltered and united with all living things.

    We are not leading up to a sentimental enthusiasm for nature, to "back
    to nature" in Rousseau's sense. That romantic movement, which sought
    the idyll in nature, can also be explained by a feeling of humankind's
    separation from nature. What is needed today is a fundamental
    reexperience of the oneness of all living things, a comprehensive
    reality consciousness that ever more infrequently develops
    spontaneously, the more the primordial flora and fauna of our mother
    earth must yield to a dead technological environment.

Mystery and Myth

    The notion of reality as the self juxtaposed to the world, in
    confrontation with the outer world, began to form itself, as reported
    in the citation from Benn, in the southern portion of the European
    continent in Greek antiquity. No doubt people at that time knew the
    suffering that was connected with such a cleft reality consciousness.
    The Greek genius tried the cure, by supplementing the multiformed and
    richly colored, sensual as well as deeply sorrowful Apollonian world
    view created by the subject/object cleavage, with the Dionysian world
    of experience, in which this cleavage is abolished in ecstatic
    inebriation. Nietzsche writes in The Birth of Tragedy:

    It is either through the influence of narcotic potions, of which all
        primitive peoples and races speak in hymns, or through the
        powerful approach of spring, penetrating with joy all of nature,
        that those Dionysian stirrings arise, which in their
        intensification lead the individual to forget himself
        completely.... Not only does the bond between man and man come to
        be forged once again by the magic of the Dionysian rite, but
        alienated, hostile, or subjugated nature again celebrates her
        reconciliation with her prodigal son, man.

    The Mysteries of Eleusis, which were celebrated annually in the fall,
    over an interval of approximately 2,000 years, from about 1500 B.C.
    until the fourth century A.D., were intimately connected with the
    ceremonies and festivals in honor of the god Dionysus. These Mysteries
    were established by the goddess of agriculture, Demeter, as thanks for
    the recovery of her daughter Persephone, whom Hades, the god of the
    underworld, had abducted. A further thank offering was the ear of
    grain, which was presented by the two goddesses to Triptolemus, the
    first high priest of Eleusis. They taught him the cultivation of
    grain, which Triptolemus then disseminated over the whole globe.
    Persephone, however, was not always allowed to remain with her mother,
    because she had taken nourishment from Hades, contrary to the order of
    the highest gods. As punishment she had to return to the underworld
    for a part of the year. During this time, it was winter on the earth,
    the plants died and were withdrawn into the ground, to awaken to new
    life early in the year with Persephone's journey to earth.

    The myth of Demeter, Persephone, Hades, and the other gods, which was
    enacted as a drama, formed, however, only the external framework of
    events. The climax of the yearly ceremonies, which began with a
    procession from Athens to Eleusis lasting several days, was the
    concluding ceremony with the initiation, which took place in the
    night. The initiates were forbidden by penalty of death to divulge
    what they had learned, beheld, in the innermost, holiest chamber of
    the temple, the tetesterion (goal). Not one of the multitude that were
    initiated into the secret of Eleusis has ever done this. Pausanias,
    Plato, many Roman emperors like Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius, and many
    other known personages of antiquity were party to this initiation. It
    must have been an illumination, a visionary glimpse of a deeper
    reality, an insight into the true basis of the universe. That can be
    concluded from the statements of initiates about the value, about the
    importance of the vision. Thus it is reported in a Homeric Hymn:
    "Blissful is he among men on Earth, who has beheld that! He who has
    not been initiated into the holy Mysteries, who has had no part
    therein, remains a corpse in gloomy darkness." Pindar speaks of the
    Eleusinian benediction with the following words: "Blissful is he, who
    after having beheld this enters on the way beneath the Earth. He knows
    the end of life as well as its divinely granted beginning." Cicero,
    also a famous initiate, likewise put in first position the splendor
    that fell upon his life from Eleusis, when he said: " Not only have we
    received the reason there, that we may live in joy, but also, besides,
    that we may die with better hope."

    How could the mythological representation of such an obvious
    occurrence, which runs its course annually before our eyes-the seed
    grain that is dropped into the earth, dies there, in order to allow a
    new plant, new life, to ascend into the light-prove to be such a deep,
    comforting experience as that attested by the cited reports? It is
    traditional knowledge that the initiates were furnished with a potion,
    the kykeon, for the final ceremony. It is also known that barley
    extract and mint were ingredients of the kykeon. Religious scholars
    and scholars of mythology, like Karl Kerenyi, from whose book on the
    Eleusinian Mysteries (Rhein-Verlag, Zurich, 1962) the preceding
    statements were taken, and with whom I was associated in relation to
    the research on this mysterious potion [In the English publication of
    Kerenyi's book Eleusis (Schocken Books, New York, 1977) a reference is
    made to this collaboration.], are of the opinion that the kykeon was
    mixed with an hallucinogenic drug. [In The Road to Eleusis by R.
    Gordon Wasson, Albert Hofmann, and Carl A. P. Ruck (Harcourt Brace
    Jovanovich, New York, 1978) the possibility is discussed that the
    kykeon could have acted through an LSD-like preparation of ergot.]
    That would make understandable the ecstatic-visionary experience of
    the DemeterPersephone myth, as a symbol of the cycle of life and death
    in both a comprehensive and timeless reality.

    When the Gothic king Alarich, coming from the north, invaded Greece in
    396 A.D. and destroyed the sanctuary of Eleusis, it was not only the
    end of a religious center, but it also signified the decisive downfall
    of the ancient world. With the monks that accompanied Alarich,
    Christianity penetrated into the country that must be regarded as the
    cradle of European culture.

    The cultural-historical meaning of the Eleusinian Mysteries, their
    influence on European intellectual history, can scarcely be
    overestimated. Here suffering humankind found a cure for its rational,
    objective, cleft intellect, in a mystical totality experience, that
    let it believe in immortality, in an everlasting existence.

    This belief had survived in early Christianity, although with other
    symbols. It is found as a promise, even in particular passages of the
    Gospels, most clearly in the Gospel according to John, as in Chapter
    14: 120. Jesus speaks to his disciples, as he takes leave of them:

    And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter,
        that he may abide with you forever;
        Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because
        it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he
        dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
        I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little
        while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I
        live, ye shall live also.
        At that day ye shatl know that I am in my Father, and ye in me,
        and I in you.

    This promise constitutes the heart of my Christian beliefs and my call
    to natural-scientific research: we will attain to knowledge of the
    universe through the spirit of truth, and thereby to understanding of
    our being one with the deepest, most comprehensive reality, God.

    Ecclesiastical Christianity, determined by the duality of creator and
    creation, has, however, with its nature-alienated religiosity largely
    obliterated the Eleusinian-Dionysian legacy of antiquity. In the
    Christian sphere of belief, only special blessed men have attested to
    a timeless, comforting reality, experienced in a spontaneous vision,
    an experience to which in antiquity the elite of innumerable
    generations had access through the initiation at Eleusis. The unio
    mystica of Catholic saints and the visions that the representatives of
    Christian mysticism-Jakob Boehme, Meister Eckhart, Angelus Silesius,
    Thomas Traherne, William Blake, and others describe in their writings,
    are obviously essentially related to the enlightenment that the
    initiates to the Eleusinian Mysteries experienced.

    The fundamental importance of a mystical experience, for the recovery
    of people in Western industrial societies who are sickened by a
    one-sided, rational, materialistic world view, is today given primary
    emphasis, not only by adherents to Eastern religious movements like
    Zen Buddhism, but also by leading representatives of academic
    psychiatry. Of the appropriate literature, we will here refer only to
    the books of Balthasar Staehelin, the Basel psychiatrist working in
    Zurich. [Haben und Sein (1969), Die Welt als Du (1970), Urvertrauen
    und zweite Wirklichkeit (1973), and Der flnale Mensch (1976); all
    published by Theologischer Verlag, Zurich.] They make reference to
    numerous other authors who deal with the same problem. Today a type of
    "metamedicine," "metapsychology," and "metapsychiatry" is beginning to
    call upon the metaphysical element in people, which manifests itself
    as an experience of a deeper, duality-surmounting reality, and to make
    this element a basic healing principle in therapeutic practice.

    In addition, it is most significant that not only medicine but also
    wider circles of our society consider the overcoming of the dualistic,
    cleft world view to be a prerequisite and basis for the recovery and
    spiritual renewal of occidental civilization and culture. This renewal
    could lead to the renunciation of the materialistic philosophy of life
    and the development of a new reality consciousness.

    As a path to the perception of a deeper, comprehensive reality, in
    which the experiencing individual is also sheltered, meditation, in
    its different forms, occupies a prominent place today. The essential
    difference between meditation and prayer in the usual sense, which is
    based upon the duality of creatorcreation, is that meditation aspires
    to the abolishment of the I-you-barrier by a fusing of object and
    subject, of sender and receiver, of objective reality and self.

    Objective reality, the world view produced by the spirit of scientific
    inquiry, is the myth of our time. It has replaced the
    ecclesiastical-Christian and mythical-Apollonian world view.

    But this ever broadening factual knowledge, which constitutes
    objective reality, need not be a desecration. On the contrary, if it
    only advances deep enough, it inevitably leads to the inexplicable,
    primal ground of the universe: the wonder, the mystery of the
    divine-in the microcosm of the atom, in the macrocosm of the spiral
    nebula; in the seeds of plants, in the body and soul of people.

    Meditation begins at the limits of objective reality, at the farthest
    point yet reached by rational knowledge and perception. Meditation
    thus does not mean rejection of objective reality; on the contrary, it
    consists of a penetration to deeper dimensions of reality. It is not
    escape into an imaginary dream world; rather it seeks after the
    comprehensive truth of objective reality, by simultaneous,
    stereoscopic contemplation of its surfaces and depths.

    It could become of fundamental importance, and be not merely a
    transient fashion of the present, if more and more people today would
    make a daily habit of devoting an hour, or at least a few minutes, to
    meditation. As a result of the meditative penetration and broadening
    of the natural-scientific world view, a new, deepened reality
    consciousness would have to evolve, which would increasingly become
    the property of all humankind. This could become the basis of a new
    religiosity, which would not be based on belief in the dogmas of
    various religions, but rather on perception through the "spirit of
    truth." What is meant here is a perception, a reading and
    understanding of the text at first hand, "out of the book that God's
    finger has written" (Paracelsus), out of the creation.

    The transformation of the objective world view into a deepened and
    thereby religious reality consciousness can be accomplished gradually,
    by continuing practice of meditation. It can also come about, however,
    as a sudden enlightenment; a visionary experience. It is then
    particularly profound, blessed, and meaningful. Such a mystical
    experience may nevertheless "not be induced even by decade-long
    meditation," as Balthasar Staehelin writes. Also, it does not happen
    to everyone, although the capacity for mystical experience belongs to
    the essence of human spirituality.

    Nevertheless, at Eleusis, the mystical vision, the healing, comforting
    experience, could be arranged in the prescribed place at the appointed
    time, for all of the multitudes who were initiated into the holy
    Mysteries. This could be accounted for by the fact that an
    hallucinogenic drug came into use; this, as already mentioned, is
    something that religious scholars believe.

    The characteristic property of hallucinogens, to suspend the
    boundaries between the experiencing self and the outer world in an
    ecstatic, emotional experience, makes it possible with their help, and
    after suitable internal and external preparation, as it was
    accomplished in a perfect way at Eleusis, to evoke a mystical
    experience according to plan, so to speak.

    Meditation is a preparation for the same goal that was aspired to and
    was attained in the Eleusinian Mysteries. Accordingly it seems
    feasible that in the future, with the help of LSD, the mystical
    vision, crowning meditation, could be made accessible to an increasing
    number of practitioners of meditation

    I see the true importance of LSD in the possibitity ofproviding
    material aid to meditation aimed at the mystical experience of a
    deeper, comprehensive reality. Such a use accords entirely with the
    essence and working character of LSD as a sacred drug.

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