Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD

BOOK: Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD
3.31Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

“A fascinating social history . . . Makes connections between people linked with the CIA and the widespread availability of LSD during the 1960s.”


Publishers Weekly

“An important study of cultural history . . . The scholarship is exquisite and the methods sensible.”

—Allen Ginsberg

“Excellent . . . Captivating . . . A generalist’s history that should replace all others.”


San Francisco Chronicle

“A landmark contribution to the sociopolitical history of the U.S. . . . Some of the liveliest, most absorbing, best-documented historical analyses to appear in recent years . . . A seminal contribution to understanding America’s most turbulent modern decade.”


Choice

“As splendidly written as it is fascinating . . . A remarkable history of an unforgettable time.”


The Oakland Tribune

“This funny and irreverent book brings it all back.”


The Washington Post

“Recounts some of the most bizarre incidents in the history of U.S. intelligence.”—
The Boston Globe

“A monumental social history of psychedelia.”


The Village Voice

“A blistering exposé of CIA drug experimentation on Americans. It’s all there.”

—John Stockwell

“Highly readable . . . Well researched . . . Filled with entertaining and bizarre episodes.”


The Detroit Free Press

Acid Dreams

THE COMPLETE SOCIAL HISTORY OF LSD:
THE CIA, THE SIXTIES, AND BEYOND

MARTIN A. LEE
AND
BRUCE SHLAIN

With an Introduction by Andrei Codrescu

Copyright © 1985 by Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain
Introduction copyright © 1992 by Andrei Codrescu
Afterword copyright © 1992 by Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review. Scanning, uploading, and electronic distribution of this book or the facilitation of such without the permission of the publisher is prohibited. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated. Any member of educational institutions wishing to photocopy part or all of the work for classroom use, or anthology, should send inquiries to Grove/Atlantic, Inc., 841 Broadway, New York, NY 10003 or [email protected]

Published simultaneously in Canada
Printed in the United States of America

Due to limitations of space, permissions and acknowledgments appear on p. v, which constitutes an extension of this copyright page.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Acid dreams : the complete social history of LSD : the CIA, the sixties, and beyond / Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN-13: 978-0-8021-9606-4
1. LSD (Drug) 2. Drug abuse—United States. 3. United States. Central Intelligences Agency. 4. Social history—1960-1970. 5. Social history—1970- I. Shlain, Bruce. II. Title.
HV5822.L9L45 1992
306’.1—dc20
92-1238

Designed by Abe Lerner

Grove Press
an imprint of Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
841 Broadway
New York, NY 10003

Distributed by Publishers Group West

www.groveatlantic.com

10 11 12 13   22 21 20

Permission to quote from the following sources is gratefully acknowledged:

The Doors of Perception
by Aldous Huxley, Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. Copyright © 1954 by Aldous Huxley. Reprinted by permission of Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc.

The Yagé Letters
by William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg. City Lights Books. Copyright © 1963, 1975 by William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg. Reprinted by permission of City Lights Books.

“Lysergic Acid” from
Collected Poems 1947-1980
by Allen Ginsberg, Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. Copyright © 1984 by Allen Ginsberg. Reprinted by permission of Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc.

“Seeking the Magic Mushroom” by G. Gordon Wasson, from
Life
. Copyright © 1957 by Time, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Time, Inc.

High Priest
by Timothy Leary, World Publishing Company. Copyright © 1968 by Timothy Leary. Reprinted by permission of Timothy Leary.

The Brotherhood of Eternal Love
by Stewart Tendier and David May, Granada/Panther Publishing, Ltd. Copyright © 1984 by Stewart Tendier and David May. Reprinted by permission of Granada/Panther Publishing, Ltd.

This Timeless Moment
by Laura Archerà Huxley, Farrar, Straus & Giroux Inc. Copyright © 1968 by Laura Archerà Huxley. Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux Inc.

The Letters of Aldous Huxley
, edited by Grover Smith, Chatto & Windus, Ltd. Copyright © 1969 by Laura Archerà Huxley. Reprinted by permission of Laura Archerà Huxley.

Aldous Huxley’s letter to Timothy Leary, 6 February 1961, excerpted from p. 186 of
Moksha: Writings on Psychedelics and the Visionary Experience (1931-1963)
by Aldous Huxley, edited by Michael Horowitz and Cynthia Palmer, Stonehill Publishing Company. Copyright © 1977 by Michael Horowitz and Cynthia Palmer. Reprinted by permission of the Fitz Hugh Lud-low Memorial Library. All rights reserved.

Ken Kesey’s letter to Timothy Leary, October 1970. Reprinted by permission of Ken Kesey. All rights reserved.

Portions of Chapter One appeared previously in
Mother Jones
, May 1982, and
Rolling Stone
, September 1, 1983.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Many people helped to make this book possible. Above all, we wish to express our gratitude to Allen Ginsberg and Dr. Oscar Janiger for their counsel and generosity of spirit. And for their enduring friendship: Bret Eynon, oral historian and New Left scholar, and Jeff Cohen, who nurtured the manuscript in countless ways from start to finish.

We’d also like to thank James Grauerholz for encouraging us in the early going; Carl Oglesby, for his ever-articulate insight, and the other members of the Assassination Information Bureau,- Peter Berg and Judy Goldhaft, for sharing their perspective on Haight-Ashhury and the Digger experience; Robert Ranftel, Paul Krassner, and Steven Ben Israel, for their comedie genius; Beverly Isis and Liz Her, for their unwavering support; and Michael Aldridge, the curator of the Fitz Hugh Ludlow Memorial Library, an invaluable resource for sixties and counterculture historians. Very special appreciation to Michael Rossman, William Burroughs, Peter Stafford, Tim Leary, Bill Adler, Ed Sanders, Mark Dowie, Tim Scully, Jonathan Marshall, Bernard Ohanian, Dorianna Fallo, and the late Julian Beck.

In addition, we’d like to thank Charles Allen, Eugene Anthony, Michael Bowen, Ann Charters, Allen Cohen, Ira Cohen, Jim Fouratt, Todd Gitlin, Abbie Hoffman, Michael Horowitz, Ken Kelley, John Marks, Eric Noble, Dr. Humphry Osmond, John Sinclair, David Solomon, Bill Zirinsky, Miles, and Ken Kesey. And a silent nod to those who preferred that their names not be mentioned.

Our heart-felt appreciation to Alana Lee, for coming through time and again. To Goodwin and Silva Lee, Marvin and Hilda Shlain, and Joe and Emily Krinsky, for providing the kind of support that only family can give.

And to Gayle, for her love and faith.

And finally, we’d like to thank Geri Thoma of the Elaine Markson Literary Agency; Joy Johannessen, for her excellent copy editing; Fred Jordan, our editor; Laura Lindgren, Laura Kane, and the staff at Grove Press.

Martin A. Lee

Bruce Shlain

“We do not see things as they are,

we see them as we are.”


OLD TALMUDIC SAYING

CONTENTS

I
NTRODUCTION: WHOSE WORLDS ARE THESE? BY ANDREI CODRESCU
P
ROLOGUE

PART ONE
The Roots of Psychedelia

1. IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS MADNESS . . .
THE TRUTH SEEKERS
ENTER LSD
LABORATORIES OF THE STATE
MIDNIGHT CLIMAX
THE HALLUCINATION BATTLEFIELD
2. PSYCHEDELIC PIONEERS
THE ORIGINAL CAPTAIN TRIPS
HEALING ACID
PSYCHOSIS OR GNOSIS?
3. UNDER THE MUSHROOM, OVER THE RAINBOW
MANNA FROM HARVARD
CHEMICAL CRUSADERS
THE CRACKDOWN
4. PREACHING LSD
HIGH SURREALISM
THE PSYCHEDELIC MANUAL
THE HARD SELL
5. THE ALL-AMERICAN TRIP
THE GREAT FREAK FORWARD
ACID AND THE NEW LEFT

PART TWO
Acid for the Masses

6. FROM HIP TO HIPPIE
BEFORE THE DELUGE
POLITICS OF THE BUMMER
THE FIRST HUMAN BE-IN
7. THE CAPITAL OF FOREVER
STONE FREE
THE GREAT SUMMER DROPOUT
8. PEAKING IN BABYLON
A GATHERING STORM
MAGICAL POLITICS
GOTTA REVOLUTION
9. SEASON OF THE WITCH
ARMED LOVE
THE ACID BROTHERHOOD
BAD MOON RISING
10. WHAT A FIELD DAY FOR THE HEAT
PRISONER OF LSD
A BITTER PILL
THE GREAT LSD CONSPIRACY
P
OSTSCRIPT: ACID AND AFTER
A
FTERWORD
R
EFERENCES
B
IBLIOGRAPHY
I
NDEX

Introduction
Whose Worlds Are These?

BY ANDREI CODRESCU

In June 1967 the Candyman burst through the door of my pad on Avenue C on New York’s Lower East Side. He always burst through the door because that was his style. He could barely contain himself. He dropped his mirrored Peruvian bag on the kitchen table and exclaimed: “Just for you! Czech acid! ” The Candyman always had some new kind of acid. That month I had already sampled Window Pane and Sunshine. I didn’t know if my system could handle another extended flight to the far reaches. But this Czech acid
was
different. For one thing, it revealed to me that the entire molecular and submolecular structure of the universe was in fact composed of tiny sickles and hammers. Billions and billions of tiny sickles and hammers shimmered in the beauteous symmetry of the material world. I always thought of this particular “commie trip” as a rather private experience brought about by my having been born and raised in Communist Romania, where sickles and hammers were ubiquitous and unavoidable.

I did not doubt what I had seen, but I did doubt whether there was such a thing as Czech acid for the simple reason that Czechoslovakia, like Romania, was a monochromatic world. It seemed clear that if acid had existed in Eastern Europe it would have brought about the collapse of communism there, just as it was bringing about the downfall of a certain kind of dour-faced, simple-minded America. And at that time it didn’t look like communism was anywhere near collapse. Well, I was wrong. Reading this extraordinary, superbly researched, suspenseful history of LSD, I find, on page 115, that: “In September 1965 Michael Hollingshead returned to his native London armed with hundreds of copies of the updated
Book of the Dead
and five thousand doses of LSD (which he procured from Czech government
laboratories in Prague).” And communism did collapse, though not right then, and acid
did
have quite a bit to do with it. Charter 77, the Czech human rights organization, was founded by Vaclav Havel in defense of the Plastic People of the Universe, a psychedelic band inspired by the Velvet Underground. Havel himself was in New York in 1968, listening to the Velvets and dreaming, no doubt, of a way out of Cold War ideology.

BOOK: Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD
3.31Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

The Mirrored World by Debra Dean
To See You by Rachel Blaufeld
Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent
Nothing to Lose by Lee Child
Impossible by Laurel Curtis
Dog Sense by John Bradshaw
Treacherous Intent by Camy Tang
The Fire Children by Lauren Roy