Monday, May 20, 2019

APA Annual Conference 2019: The Exhibition Hall

The exhibition hall is always a place of many wonders at an APA conference. Almost every Pharma company I ever heard of has a big, fancy exhibit pushing the latest and greatest drugs to “cure” every problem in thinking, feeling and behaving. It looks a lot like Disneyland.

Many smaller companies peddle their wares. Certain of these I look for every year. The two U.S. firms that manufacture electroshock machines, Somatics, Inc. and Mecta Corp. are always there. I think it’s always the same two or three old guys manning these booths, every year.

But I should cut to the chase of my favorite issue at this 175th APA celebration. I’ve published a lot of information on this blog, in response to the recent, obvious (some might say gushing) enthusiasm over  the potential to treat depression and other mental disorders with psychedelic drugs, especially Ketamine. My point has been that there’s a fascinating history of this idea, going back to the dawn of LSD use in America by intelligence agencies and psychiatrists, in the 1950’s. It’s not a new idea. It was researched and tested for at least a decade, with many millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars, before anybody ever heard of Ken Kesey, Augustus Owsley Stanley, or Timothy Leary. (The CIA’s MKUltra project rings a bell with many people.)

The agency has its booth every year at APA, just like MECTA and Somatics. But tragically, they seem to have forgotten their history. Nobody there even knew what Delysid was.

That was the trademark of Sandoz Corporation for LSD. The CIA had a contract with Sandoz to supply their monopoly on the world’s acid supply until the early 1960’s. I thought, well, maybe the people at the Sandoz exhibit would remember.

Actually calling it the Sandoz exhibit is inaccurate, though. That Sandoz name was on the back of the display, where almost no one would see it. Anyway, I asked the very attractive woman who wanted to sell me a smart phone app called reSET-O whether she new anything about the history of the predecessor company from Basel, Switzerland and its breakthrough psychedelic product. Nope.

OK, OK. Well, surely the people over at the spectacular Spravato display would have some sense that the precedent for curing depression by a Ketamine psychedelic trip was Ablert Hoffman’s 1943 bike ride, and all that came afterward through Dulles, Helms and their followers in the Summer of Love? I walked over and asked a nice young woman if I was in the right place to score some “special K”. But again, no joy. She laughed, but she didn’t know the history.

(Next: Dinner in Haight-Ashbury.)

APA Annual Conference 2019

It had been a couple years since I spent several days in another city, hanging out with 20,000 psychiatrists and hobnobbing with attractive young Pharma reps. (I think of Private Joker’s protest in Full Metal Jacket, “I gotta get back in the shit... It’s been weeks since I heard a shot fired in anger!”)

This year’s APA conference in San Francisco celebrates the association’s 175th year. It opened Saturday evening with much self-congratulation and optimistic tone from outgoing President Altha J. Stewart, M.D., and smiles all around the stage from establishment psychiatric luminaries like Jeffrey Lieberman, Steven Sharfstein, Saul Levin and a dozen others. Attendance is in the tens of thousands. Perhaps a majority are Americans, but only just a bare majority.

The headliner event in opening ceremonies was a “Fireside Chat With Valerie Jarrett.” Jarrett was President Barack Obama’s senior advisor. She’s a great, entertaining personality, but one suspects she knows very little about current issues in mental health. Her comments were pretty well limited to the standard tropes about stigma, parity, community organizing, and the brief glory of the Affordable Care Act. She promoted her new book, and the APA showed its members their influential friend. It was anticlimactic.

Saturday morning, Wendy Burn, President of the British Royal College of Psychiatrists, had tweeted out an invitation to a networking reception for the RCPsych Pan American Division scheduled for Sunday afternoon, apparently to anyone attending the APA Annual Meeting in San Fran. However when I responded that I would accept, she clarified that it was only for APA conference delegates. I told her I was a registered attendee at the conference, but she lamented that I had to be a British Psychiatrist (her capital P) or a member of the PanAmerican Division of the College. (Oops I’m no Brit, so I couldn’t go.) Wendy and I had some perfectly social back forth via Twitter Saturday, but it turned out I was registered for another course when she was giving her big speech, so I would not be able to hear or meet her. After she confirmed that her impression, like mine, was that this year’s conference was astoundingly international. I asked why she herself had traveled so far, and whether she thought the APA President might cross the pond to be at a corresponding RCPsych event. I never got an answer to that one.

The most fun moment on Saturday was announced by a text alert to all attendees: “Protesters are outside facing the South building. Use the Exhibition Level Tunnel or the Level 2 Sky Bridge to move between buildings.” I figured those protesters were probably my CCHR friends, so I went out to watch, along with a few score psychs brave enough to ignore the warning.

Lo and behold, it was indeed the expected CCHR demo. There were hundreds of fearsome Scientologists with hundreds of insulting signs and megaphones in the street. And they were very well organized. The chant was: TIME. TO. STOP! ELEC. TRO, SHOCK! This continued for a space of some minutes in the pouring rain. Then all of a sudden, the entire mass of demonstrators rapidly advanced in military unison across the street, directly at the “defending” rabble of psychs outside their convention. It looked like a William Wallace charge of the Scots army! Very dramatic, pure fun. They stopped in the nick of time with only a few feet to spare, pointed fingers, and altered the chant to: WE’RE. TALKING. TO. YOU! I’d guess that for at least some seconds, the people on the “defending” side wondered whether they’d made a mistake by being there.

(To be continued...)

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Malis with malice, redux

I attended a staffing at Elgin Mental Health Center (“DSH”) today, for James, a client who is so unfortunate as to have Dr. Richard Malis as his treating psychiatrist. Dr. Malis has been after James to talk about a certain subject which he believes will evidence delusion. James refuses, wisely in my opinion. He doesn’t think there is any upside whatsoever, Malis just wants to create evidence of latent psychosis to enable an argument that James should take unwanted, debilitating antipsychotic drugs.

Well... James is in his 70’s. He been at DSH for many years and he hasn’t had any behavioral problems other than minor rules violations for more than a decade. He hasn’t taken any psychiatric  “medications” for a couple decades, and there’s no chance that he ever will again. He’s very smart, nothing is wrong with him, he gets along better than almost any “patient” (the word is inside sarcastic quotes because they are all forced “patients”, they’re really psychiatric slaves) that I know of.

So Dr. Malis came up with a recent innovation in James’ case: covertly deny him needed medical treatment under a guise — hold his off-grounds pass for “elopement risk” thereby requiring him to be transported to the real hospital (DSH is not a real hospital, it’s a plantation) and humiliated with leg irons, chains and handcuffs. James refuses to endure that, and therefore he gets no opthamological exams for his glaucoma. I wrote an earlier post about this a couple months ago.

Recently James suffered a groin injury playing basketball, for which he was told to get an MRI by the medical doctor at DSH. The trouble is, of course, the plantation doesn’t do MRI’s, only real hospitals do. To go to a real hospital, James, in a wheelchair due to his basketball injury at age 72(!), has to be chained against Malis’ trumped-up “risk” that he’ll escape. So he’s not going to get any MRI. Richard Malis thinks this kind of punishment, this brutal and malicious  coercion, will eventually convince James to talk to him and reveal his thoughts, etc.

I think it will teach James that the only way to maintain any human dignity at all on the plantation, the only conceivable path to any nobility, is noncompliance, resistance by any and every means. I think James dreams about payback, every day. I sure know I would.

Psychiatria delenda est!

Saturday, December 29, 2018


In my December 3, 2018, comments preceding the publication on this blog of the second appendix to my 1998 history thesis, which contains the full text of Nathan Kline’s 1961 New York Times review of Adelle Davis’ gushing promotion of LSD as the breakthrough route to world peace and human salvation, I mentioned Jeffrey Lieberman.

As if to prove my prescience, Lieberman has now (on December 26th) published a review of Michael Pollan’s How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us about Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression and Transcendence.

Pollan’s book and Lieberman’s review are so eerily reminiscent of Davis’ book and Kline’s review, respectively, as to suggest that we have passed through a time warp and landed back in 1961, perhaps to enter once again upon a decade of violent and phenomenal political, social and cultural upheaval.

Both Pollan, in How to Change..., and Davis (as Jane Dunlap), in Exploring Inner Space..., did their level best to overtly profess the proper obeisance to scientific authority, while covertly pushing the psychedelic experience as a holy grail for all humanity. Both Kline, in 1961, and Lieberman, in 2018, condescended to praise the books they reviewed with the serious caveat that their own elite class is alone qualified to evaluate and control the experience and utility of psychedelics.

The parallels extend to some finer details. Both Adelle Davis and Michael Pollan had previously been well known for writing on the subject of nutrition. Both Nathan Kline and Jeffrey Lieberman were leading voices for the psychiatric guild of their time, and they both professed to be authorities who were under-recognized in the popular books.

Above all else, everyone (both authors, both reviewers) seem to implicitly believe that such ultimate human issues as consciousness, dying, addiction, depression and transcendence can be logically explored and eventually resolved through Western science and technological medicine. This is the fundamental error of our culture. It is an error, as the experience of Thomas Insel at the National Institute of Mental Health rather tragically highlights, that continues to waste much treasure and many lives.

Alienating the study of the mind and the healing of mentally caused ills from religion enabled the Twentieth Century’s construction of a high road to a black gate and a hot mushroom cloud. We should not let 1945 happen again, and even the flowers and music of 1967 didn’t make it worthwhile.

Monday, December 3, 2018

SLOUCHING, part 13

(Comment on the article below: Nathan S. Kline was one of the most important and respected psychiatrists of the Twentieth Century, whose work is said to have revolutionized the treatment of mental illnesses. He may have been the original psychopharmacologist. He explicitly classified LSD as a drug within the class of “psychopharmaceuticals”. His well-written, immensely reasonable but slightly arrogant and ostentatiously “Educated!” tone, in this 1961 review of Adelle Davis’ little known book, reminds me very much of one of our modern day thought leaders and propagandists for the bad guys, none other than Dr. Jeffrey A. Lieberman... Lieberman has been extensively quoted by The NY Times and others, in recent articles about the supposed promise of Ketamine therapy; and Ketamine, of course, is another psychedelic drug which people pushed since the late sixties for chemical spiritual revelation, in the guise of the “K-hole”, aka “God”.  RK.)


The Mind on the Wing by Nathan S. Kline

Man is far from comfortable with his incompletely and faultily developed self-awareness. The search for identification will become intensified now that within a few hundred years the problems of food and shelter may be solved. One path of identification is toward increasing differentiation, self-consciousness and individual responsibility.

An alternative is to escape from our sweaty selves by dissolving our sense of individual being. Drugs have traditionally been used to assist in the process of achieving such states. We of the West have placed the higher value on good works in the form of accomplishments that will improve the physical well being of our fellow man. I recall the shocked surprise I felt in Bombay when a superb, flashing-eyed white turbaned Sikh agreed that this really was a great motivating force of people in the United States — and that was just what the East meant when it held that we were materialistic: one should be more concerned about one’s spiritual state of being.

In Exploring Inner Space, “a nationally known writer chose to use the pseudonym Jane Dunlap” for the purpose of relating her “personal experiences under LSD-25,” lysergic acid diethylamide, a drug that induces psychotic-like reactions. “When filling out a questionnaire which asked, ‘Why do you wish to take lysergic acid?’ I wrote, ‘In hope of overcoming spiritual poverty.’ Another time I filled in the blank with, ‘To get chemical Christianity’.” Miss Dunlap believes she was successful after discovering that not only does the embryo repeat the history of evolution but so does LSD, since Chapter 2 is entitled “I lived billions of years in eight hours.” The cathedral may soon be replaced by the laboratory: “These convictions have served to formulate and strengthen a new faith in God, a faith so satisfying and rewarding that my lasting gratitude goes to the Sandoz Pharmaceutical Laboratories which not only discovered, and produced LSD-25 but are spending millions of dollars on its research.”

The use of LSD and other psychopharmaceuticals provides valuable research tools and some of them have brought about a major revolution in the care and treatment of the mentally ill. Drugs can certainly induce states of exaltation, but these states do not arise from any integrated, consistent or meaningful development of the personality. “My mommie has gone to take the drug which makes her terribly nice for a whole month,” Miss Dunlap’s 9-year-old daughter remarks. Compare this to the visions of St. Theresa or the exaltations of Blake.

As Ludwig von Bertalanffy puts it, “In supranormal experience of the genius, and mystic, precisely parallel ‘symptoms’ may appear, but they are embedded in an organized universe of the self...” For the same reason, mescaline or LSD intoxication is unproductive even though it may open a field of unprecedented experience and beauty. It is not a general elevation of personality, but only provides an array of paranormal manifestations. It is therefore easy to understand that, for example, artistic production deteriorates in hallucinogen-produced states.

Finally, Miss Dunlap states, “The colossal egotism of anyone who thinks he can write an LSD report! It can’t be done, not with all the languages in the world.” Miss Dunlap is wrong: Baudilaire, DeQuincey, Clautier and Coleridge among others have conveyed some of the drug-induced ecstatic intoxication — in the phrase of Baudilaire “drunken, in love with drunkenness, I plunge and drown.” Miss Dunlap mistakes a travelogue for the esthetic creation of an experience.

Her report appears accurate enough and gives some picture of the flight and range of ideas and moods that the drug caused in her. She does not enable us to share fantasies and feelings which are kaleidoscopic and confusing when described externally. It is not sufficient to be told that it is really just wonderful. Reports of between-drug activities soon come as a welcome relief. The contents of the hallucinations themselves may be of some interest to the researchers (or her psychotherapist) but are not likely to provide the vicarious experience that is promised.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

SLOUCHING, part 12



In Basel, Switzerland, Dr. Albert Hofmann of Sandoz Laboratories first synthesizes LSD while investigating the chemical and pharmacological properties of the rye fungus ergot for drugs to enhance blood circulation; the compound has no obvious effect on rabbits.


September: William “Wild Bill” Donovan first proposes a unified American intelligence and psychological warfare capability to Franklin Roosevelt, in anticipation of a need to modernize American defense with world war resuming in Europe.


Captain Alfred M. Hubbard begins smuggling weapons and materiel to Canada to support the British war effort despite official American neutrality, as part of a secret, informal intelligence operation approved by President Roosevelt.

The total number of psychiatrists in the United States is about three thousand, and there are even fewer psychologists.


July 11: Donovan’s office of Coordinator of Information, the forerunner of OSS, is established, consolidating U.S. intelligence activities under one agency.

August: Donovan hires Cambridge, MA psychoanalyst Walter Langer to analyze the German enemy and prepare American’s young men for war, and Harvard psychology professor Henry Murray to develop personality assessments for potential spies.

Dec. 7: Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, U.S. declares war.


June 13: Roosevelt established the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Donovan commences research for a speech-inducing drug for use in intelligence interrogations, the first concerted attempt by an American intelligence organization to modify human behavior by chemical means.

October: Allen Dulles arrives in Switzerland on the last train allowed across the Vichy French border, to run OSS clandestine agents inside the Third Reich; Dulles soon takes a mistress named Mary Bancroft, a devotee of the Austrian psychologist Carl Jung.


Apr. 16: Dr. Albert Hofmann inadvertently takes the first LSD trip, in Basel.

June 2: OSS experimenters first report on a “TD (for Truth Drug — originally a marijuana extract) research project” organized in cooperation with the super-secret Manhattan Project which provides the first dozen test subjects, and run by Dr. Winfred Overholser, a psychiatrist at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, DC.

Nazi mind control experiments run by Dr. Kurt Plotner at Dachau concentration camp conclude that it is impossible to impose one’s will on another person with mescaline.


Nov. 18: William Donovan details a plan for a postwar civilian Central Intelligence Agency to FDR, which despite negative reaction from conservatives over the specter of an “American Gestapo” later provides the basic organizational policy and framework of the CIA and the National Security Council.


May: Germany surrenders.

U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence obtains Nazi research records on mescaline as a mind control agent; Dr. Hubertus Strughold, the senior scientist previously in charge of Nazi doctors will later be brought to America under Project Paperclip, a secret government program to recruit ex-Nazi scientists for Cold War work against the Soviet Union.

Clover Dulles joins her husband in Switzerland and soon begins therapy with psychologist Carl Jung on the recommendation of Mary Bancroft; Allen Dulles also consults Dr. Jung for advice on influencing the defeated German population toward democracy.

August: Hiroshima and Nagasaki destroyed by atomic bombs; WWII ends.

The Nuremberg Code becomes official American policy on scientific research, stipulating that researchers must obtain full informed consent from all subjects.

General Reinhard Gehlen, former chief of Hitler’s spy services against the Russians, begins to rebuild a German intelligence capability in the American occupation zone with Pentagon money; Gehlen will later become the head of the West German security service, the Office for Protection of the Constitution, under Konrad Adenauer.

Sep. 20: President Truman disbands OSS; Donovan returns to private law practice in New York but remains a major influence among foreign policy experts.

An OSS memorandum for the record concludes that “TD” research into marijuana produced no practical results.


July: With passage of the National Mental Health Act, Congress appropriated $4.2 million for research into neuropsychiatric disorders, education of psychiatrists and psychologists, and the establishment of mental health clinics.


The U.S. Navy initiates Project Chatter, an offensive program taking up where OSS and the Nazis left off, to research chemical means of controlling human behavior; psychiatrist Charles Savage begins mescaline experiments at Bethesda Naval Hospital.

U.S. armed forces have been reduced to 1.5 million men from a high of 12 million in 1945, and the annual military budget has been reduced to $10.3 billion from $90.0 billion; nuclear weapons and clandestine operations, unconventional and psychological warfare will be expected to fill the defense gap during the Cold War.

July 25: Establishment of the CIA quickly results in a research program into special interrogation techniques of narco-hypnosis and sedative-stimulant “twilight zone” manipulation.

The U.S. Department of Defense establishes an interservice Committee on Human Resources to coordinate all U.S. military spending on social psychology, sociology and social sciences research; one of four standing panels is “Psychophysiology,” charged primarily with human engineering of high-tech weapons.

Dr. Werner Stoll publishes the results of his study of the psychological properties of LSD, in Swiss Archives of Neurology; Sandoz trademarks the name “Delysid” for the new drug and begins quietly marketing it to psychiatrists for analytical and experimental purposes.


With the Alger Hiss spy allegations, the suicide of Czech democratic leader Jan Masaryk, and the Soviet blockade of West Berlin, the Cold War moves into high gear.

June: The National Security Council issues Directive 10/2, creating the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) within CIA for the purpose of countering “the vicious covert activities of the USSR” with a full range of Psychological Warfare tactics.


LSD first arrives in the Western Hemisphere: psychiatrist Max Rinkel conducts an experiment using his colleague Robert Hyde as guinea pig, at the Boston Psychopathic Hospital (later Massachusetts Mental Health Center).

The baffling confession of impossible crimes by Cardinal Josef Minszenty of Hungary leads intelligence analysts to suspect Soviet scientific mind control developments.

September: The first Soviet explosion of a nuclear device ends the American nuclear monopoly, exacerbating the great anxiety which began with Hiroshima.

A total of four articles have been published on LSD in world scientific journals.


February: Senator Joseph McCarthy makes his first charges of communism in the State Department, signaling a new high point in American anticommunist hysteria.

Apr. 20: CIA Director Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter approves Project BLUEBIRD, giving the behavior control program its first bureaucratic structure.

General Walter Bedell Smith, Eisenhower’s WWII Chief of Staff, is appointed Director of Central Intelligence; Smith names Allen Dulles as CIA Deputy Director.

September: An article in the Miami News by Edward Hunter first raises the specter of “brainwashing” by Chinese Communists.

A total of six articles on LSD have been published in world scientific journals, only one of these in English.


At the APA convention in Cincinnati, Dr. Max Rinkel reports a remarkable congruence between LSD-inspired psychosis and schizophrenia; for the next few years, most studies of LSD will be framed in the “model psychosis” or psychotomimetic viewpoint.

August 20: Project BLUEBIRD is rechristened Project ARTICHOKE at the request of the U.S. Navy, as bureaucratic wars bounce responsibility for the program back and forth between “pragmatists” in the CIA’s Office of Security and the “learned gentlemen” in Scientific Intelligence.

October 21: An ARTICHOKE report indicates LSD was initially tested along with various other drugs, to study the effects on “the conscious suppression of experimental or non-threat secrets.” A recommendation is given to test LSD in “threat conditions,” possibly using POWs, federal prisoners and security officers.

A total of sixteen articles on LSD have been published in scientific journals.


Scotch psychiatrist Humphrey Osmond accepts a position as Clinical Director of Saskatchewan Hospital, the only mental hospital on the Canadian prairie, after first experimenting with mescaline in London.

June 21: CIA memo urges giving a green light to operational use of ARTICHOKE techniques.

November: Allen Macy Dulles (only son of the soon to be CIA Director) suffers a severe head wound in Korea; though he would recover physically, his mental and emotional condition remains poor and his parents spend years searching for psychiatric cures; Dulles’ close friend Adolf Berle recommends psychiatrist Dr. Harold Wolff, who will later remain on the MKULTRA payroll for many years.

A total of thirty articles on LSD have been published in scientific journals.


January: President Eisenhower appoints Allen Welsh Dulles as Director of Central Intelligence, despite Bedell Smith’s misgivings that Dulles is too enamored of clandestine operations.

April 3: Richard Helms proposes Project MKULTRA in a memo to Allen Dulles which specifically mentions “offensive potential.”

May 3: Allen Dulles approves Helms’ brainchild MKULTRA, to be run by the Technical Services Staff (TSS) within the Clandestine Services (later called the Directorate of Operations); ARTICHOKE remains within the Office of Security.

May 4: Aldous Huxley tries mescaline fo the first time, under the supervision of psychiatrist Humphrey Osmond, who is in Los Angeles for an APA convention.

Sandoz Pharmaceuticals begins dealing directly with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which then supervises the distribution of LSD to American researchers; FDA thus becomes the CIA’s junior partner in secret research.

Dr. Ewen Cameron, who would later become notorious as the CIA’s researcher who ran extremely violent “sleep therapy,” “depatterning” and “psychic driving” experiments on unwitting subjects at McGill University’s psychiatric facility in Montreal, is elected president of the American Psychiatric Association.

Dr. Ronald Sandison established the first LSD clinic, in England, to practice “low dose therapy.”

Captain Al Hubbard takes LSD for the first time, supervised by Dr. R.A. Sandison.

November: An agent of the CIA travels to Basel and convinces Sandoz to begin manufacturing LSD in significant quantities for the first time, and to report all future customers for the drug back to the CIA.

December 2: Richard Helms refers to LSD as “dynamite!” and asks to be advised personally every time the drug is used.

Dr. Frank Olson becomes severely depressed after unknowingly being given LSD by Sid Gottlieb of TSS during a weekend retreat. After being treated by CIA psychiatrist Dr. Harold Abramson, Olson commits suicide. Allen Dulles briefly suspends MKULTRA research pending a secret internal investigation.

Approximately 48 articles on LSD have been published in scientific journals.


January 11: A CIA document notes that it would be easy to give LSD to high officials, to create significant effects on key diplomatic meetings, speeches, etc.

February: The internal investigation into Frank Olson’s death concludes; Dulles issues a mild, off-the-record reprimand to TSS officials, Gottlieb quickly gets his LSD back.

Spring: Aldous Huxley publishes a glowing promotion of his mescaline experience; in The Doors of Percetion, he advises that everyone, especially intellectuals, should take this hallucinogen.

May 26: All domestic CIA field offices are ordered to monitor scientists engaged in LSD research.

Ely Lilly and Company succeeds in synthesizing LSD through a process which bypasses the need for natural ergot, thereby enabling them to promise the CIA that the drug could soon be available “in tonnage quantities.”

August: Several internal CIA memos suggest the chances are favorable for LSD becoming a breakthrough intelligence weapon: on the 5th, a memo titled “Potential New Agent for Unconventional Warfare, LSD” — on the 13th, “Experiments with LSD-25” — and on the 30th, “An OSI Study on the Strategic Medical Significance of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD-25).”

Beverley Hills psychiatrist Oscar Janiger takes LSD for the first time, and immediately realizes that he must get more of such a wonderful drug.

December 15: An Office of Security memo expresses serious doubts about the wisdom of a rumored TSS plan to spike the punch bowl at the CIA Christmas party with LSD.

Approximately 71 articles on LSD have been published in scientific journals.


George Hunter White initiates “Operation Midnight Climax” using a San Francisco safe house and drug-addicted prostitutes to test LSD on unwitting men; his project will continue with CIA financing until 1963; Sid Gottlieb provides technical support from TSS by sending a top staff psychologist, John Gittinger, to San Francisco to study prostitutes.

Aldous Huxley takes his second mescaline trip under the guidance of Captain Al Hubbard; Huxley attends the American Psychoanalytic Association’s annual conference as the only non-doctor invited to participate in the round table discussion on psychotomimetics; later in the year, also with Al Hubbard as guide, Huxley takes his first LSD.

Hubbard, Huxley and Osmond discuss the possibilities for changing the world and bringing peace by dosing political leaders with LSD.

Dr. Harold Wolff incorporates his CIA-funded brainwashing study group as the Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology, later to be renamed as the Human Ecology Fund.

A young psychologist named Timothy Leary authors a study proving that patients receiving psychotherapy at Oakland’s Kaiser Hospital showed the same ratio of improvement or worsening as patients who did not receive therapy; detractors interpret Leary’s data as proof that psychotherapy is a hoax, and to many observers the “Cinderella science” appears to be at a standstill.

Dr. Charles Geschicter, who tested drugs for MKULTRA on mental defectives and terminal cancer patients, convinces the CIA to provide $375,000 in secret funds for a new research building at Georgetown University Hospital; Geschicter promises the Agency one-sixth of the new facility’s space and beds as their own “Hospital safe house.”

October 13: Beat poet Allen Ginsberg gives his first reading of “Howl” in San Francisco.

Approximately 154 articles on LSD have been published in scientific journals.


Membership in the American Psychological Association now exceeds fifteen thousand.

Oscar Janiger, Sidney Cohen, Mortimer Hartman, Arthur Chandler, Anais Nin, Cary Grant, Aldous Huxley, Gerald Heard, Herman Kahn of the Rand Corporation, and other Los Angeles psychiatrists and socialites begin taking LSD during private social gatherings; their primary supplier is Captain Al Hubbard.

Alan Watts, the host of a San Francisco radio show which is very popular among young bohemians, takes LSD on the advice of Aldous Huxley, resulting in a full-blown mystical experience; observers such as Janiger and Cohen will later regard Watts’ conversion as a turning point in the history of LSD.

Over 300 articles on LSD have been published in scientific journals.


May: R. Gordon Wasson’s story about searching for the magic mushroom runs in Henry Luce’s Life magazine, introducing a mass audience to the mysterious world of chemical hallucinogens for the first time.

Dr. Humphrey Osmond first coins the word “psychedelic” in correspondence with Aldous Huxley.

The new board of directors of Dr. Harold Wolf’s Human Ecology Society includes John Whitehorn, chairman of the psychiatry department at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Joseph Hines, head of the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, Carl Rogers, professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Wisconsin, and Adolf A. Berle; Allen Dulles attends one of the first meetings of the new board.

Over 500 articles on LSD have been published in scientific journals.


Time-Life publisher Henry Luce and his wife, foreign policy expert Clare Booth Luce, are introduced to LSD by Dr. Sidney Cohen, who travels to their home in Arizona.

February 25: John Foster Dulles’ intimate and relaxed 70th birthday in Washington, DC includes close family members Allen, Clover and Eleanor Lansing Dulles, as well as President and Mamie Eisenhower, and Clare Booth Luce.

Over 625 articles on LSD have been published in scientific journals.


Allen Ginsberg, a cousin of Oscar Janiger, takes LSD at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, CA as arranged by Gregory Bateson, Margaret Meade’s former husband, who had been introduced to LSD by MKULTRA psychiatrist Harold Abramson.

The Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation (a CIA conduit for MKULTRA funds) sponsors the first international conference on LSD therapy; present at the conference is the head of the Macy Foundation, Frank Fremont-Smith, who was  also first introduced to LSD by Harold Abramson.

May: Major General William Creasy, Chief Officer of the Army Chemical Corps, stumps for psychological weapons on a cross-country lecturer tour; his efforts are rewarded with a sizable budget increase for development of non-lethal battlefield incapacitants from Congress.

October: Adelle Davis first participates as a volunteer in LSD studies conducted by Beverley Hills psychiatrist Oscar Janiger after becoming frustrated with her lack of spiritual progress despite years of psychotherapy.

Captain Al Hubbard begins treating alcoholics with LSD therapy at Hollywood Hospital in New Westminster, British Columbia; Hubbard by this time claims to have conducted more than seventeen hundred LSD sessions.

Over 750 articles on LSD have been published in scientific journals.


Ken Kesey first takes LSD as a volunteer in a government-funded research project at Veterans Hospital in Menlo Park CA.

August 9: Timothy Leary, who previously designed psychological tests used by the military and intelligence agencies, first eats magic mushrooms in Cuernavaca, Mexico; the experience causes him to completely reevaluate his task as a psychologist.

Fall: Timothy Leary begins the Harvard research project on psilocybin, with the drug supplied by Sandoz Pharmaceuticals; within two months, Aldous Huxley, Humphrey Osmond and Captain Al Hubbard all travel to Harvard to urge Leary to use his connections to introduce elite political and cultural leaders to psychedelic drugs and thereby bring about the salvation of the world.

MKULTRA researchers and Allen Dulles confidante Dr. Harold Wolff becomes president of the American Neurological Association, and serves as editor-in-chief of the AMA’s Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry.

Approximately 900 articles on LSD have been published in scientific journals.


Allen Dulles is replaced as Director of Central Intelligence by John J. McCone, following the CIA’s botched Cuban invasion at the Bay of Pigs.

September 6: An Army memo discusses interrogation procedures using LSD.

Publication of Adelle Davis’ Exploring Inner Space: Personal Experiences Under LSD-25, under the pseudonym “Jane Dunlap.”

Over 1000 articles on LSD have been published in scientific journals describing various uses of the drug as an aid to psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, as a treatment for schizophrenia and depressive states, and as a diagnostic or personality test; by this time approximately 25,000 Americans have taken strong psychedelic drugs.


New regulations enacted by Congress and interpreted by the FDA put tight controls on the distribution of LSD; secret TSS support for most LSD research is withdrawn.

Thelma Moss’book on her LSD experiences, Myself and I, arrives in bookstores, at about the same time Alan Watts’ The Joyous Cosmology also comes out.

May: A report by William H. McGlothlin of the Rand Corporation titled “Long-Lasting Effects of LSD on Certain Attitudes in Normals: An Experimental Proposal” ponders whether LSD might be an antidote for political activism.

James Farmer of the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE), John Lewis of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and others organize the “Freedom Rides” on busses into the racially segregated South.


George Hunter White’s covert acid safe house operation is terminated after a critical appraisal of MKULTRA unwitting drug tests on “individuals at all social levels, high and low, Native American and foreign” is written by CIA Inspector General John Earman to Director of Central Intelligence John J. McCone.

Timothy Leary is fired from Harvard for giving LSD to students; Leary’s International Foundation for Internal Freedom (IFIF) calculates that by 1969, a critical figure of four million LSD users will be reached, enough to blow the mind of American society.

November 22: John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, TX; for millions of Americans, this event more than any other will always separate the fifties from the sixties.


February: Yuri Nosenko, a high-ranking Soviet KGB official, defects to the United States; the full decade and a half of CIA mind control research proves useless for providing any reliable technology to resolve the bitterly disputed issue of Nosenko’s legitimacy.

STP, a super-hallucinogen, is developed by Dow Chemical Company and provided to the Edgewood Arsenal, headquarters of the Army Chemical Corps.

Various memos to DCI McCone from Richard Helms, CIA Director for Covert Operations, defend MKULTRA unwitting drug tests as necessary “to keep up with the Soviet advances in this field.”

Augustus Owsley Stanley spends one semester at Berkeley studying Russian, dating a chemistry grad student named Melissa, and discovering LSD.

Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters demonstrate in Phoenix with a large placard reading, “A vote for Barry Goldwater is a Vote for Fun.”

Congress appropriates $176 million for mental health, a forty fold increase since 1946.


February: The first batch of Owsley acid hits the streets in the Haight.

John Lennon first takes LSD; more than a thousand acid trips will follow for Lennon.

August 7: Ken Kesey first gives LSD to a group of Hell’s Angles.

September 6: An obscure neighborhood known as Haight-Ashbury gets some unaccustomed publicity in the San Francisco Examiner as “A New Haven For Beatniks.”

The first publicly-advertised “acid test” LSD party is held by Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, near Santa Cruz, CA; within months Kesey will introduce more people to LSD than the psychiatric researchers, the CIA, Sandoz and Timothy Leary combined.

After investing as much as $400,000 a year in the early work of key behavioral scientists, CIA officials decide Harold Wolf’s Human Ecology Society has served its purpose; a few projects are transferred to other covert channels, and the society is allowed to die quietly.


January: Ron and Jay Thelin open the Psychedelic Shop in the Haight to spread the word about LSD.

Kesey is convicted and re-arrested on separate marijuana charges.

The “Trips Festival,” a Kesey acid test attended by over 6000 people is held at Longshoreman’s Hall in San Francisco; the program noted “with approval and great interest the participation in the festival of Look, Newsweek, Time and Life.

March: Henry Luce’s Life magazine runs a cover story: “LSD: The Exploding Threat of the Mind Drug That Got Out of Control,” which still favors limited use of LSD in controlled psychotherapy sessions and for military intelligence problems.

Spring: Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency holds hearings on LSD.

April: Sandoz recalls all LSD previously distributed to scientists for research.

The London Evening Standard publishes an article quoting John Lennon as proclaiming the certain decline of Christianity and the Beatles’ greater popularity than Jesus Christ.

G. Gordon Liddy, as Dutchess County (NY) Prosecutor, raids Timothy Leary’s acid commune at Millbrook; charges against Leary are ultimately dismissed.

September 20: The first issue of the San Francisco Oracle is published, quoting Timothy Leary’s slogan, “Turn on, tune in, drop out.”

October 6: California law banning the use of LSD goes into effect; the Oracle hosts the Love Pageant Rally,  expressing the psychedelic community’s steadfast devotion to their sacrament; following the Love Pageant Rally, Oracle  staff begin planning the First Human Be-In with the help of guru John Starr Cook, brother-in-law of the CIA’s Sherman Kent.


As the new year opens, a hillside in Berkeley, CA which high school students traditionally painted with the name of their school or class year bears only one message: the huge letters “LSD.”

January 14: The “First Human Be-In” is held in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park to unify hippies and political radicals; approximately a hundred thousand doses of LSD are now sold each week in the Haight; the Bureau of Drug Abuse Control now seizes about 1.6 million doses per year.

Spring: Leary’s Millbrook acid commune disbands under pressure from G. Gordon Liddy.

The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is a musical benediction for the blossoming psychedelic counterculture; Timothy Leary declares the Beatles to be mutants sent by God; Spiro Agnew suggests they are part of an international communist conspiracy and notes that Sgt. Pepper shows an understanding of brainwashing principles.

The formula for STP is released to the scientific community; as the “Summer of Love” opens in June, 5000 hits of Owsley-manufactured STP cause hundreds of freak-outs to clog hospital emergency rooms; the situation is exacerbated by the fact that Thorazine, the psychiatric tranquilizer used to counter LSD reactions, had the opposite effect with STP.

Louis Jolyon West, CIA MKULTRA psychiatrist, sets up an observation post in Haight-Ashbury to “study” hippies; CIA agents infiltrate the LSD network to “monitor” events.

October 6: The Diggers hold a mock “funeral for the Hippy.”

December: Owsley is arrested and put out of the LSD business; he is replaced as the primary supplier by a cartel called the Brotherhood of Eternal Love which will sell far more LSD than Owsley without apparently needing any profit; the main manufacturer for the Brotherhood is Ronald Stark, an international con man later exposed by Italian authorities as a CIA informant.

(NEXT: Appendix 2, Text of the New York Times review of Exploring Inner Space)

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

SLOUCHING, part 11


Professor Nancy MacLean of Northwestern remarked after hearing part of this thesis, “I’d hate to reduce people’s ideas to a function of their drug consumption!”(129) At the time she was teaching an undergraduate History course on the Sixties. Her emphasis was on social reform movements and the factors which cause people who have no political power to become active and assume power. Perhaps one lesson of the LSD story is that political power is only a small issue within the complexity of cultural dynamics. Although Americans find the fact distasteful and instinctively select other aspects of civics more worthy of their attention, their freely-elected national governments spent millions of their tax dollars over two decades trying to develop a technology whereby people’s ideas could be made into a function of their drug consumption. That project (probably…) never resulted in anyone’s clear political advantage.

Northwestern‘ s Michael Sherry has argued persuasively that the militarization of America which began prior to World War II was a cultural turning point comparable to the Revolution or the end of the frontier.(130) He evaluated the sixties as a phenomenon of the mounting stress within that trend of militarization, noting:

(S)ocial and political divisions yielded less violence but still seemed to partake of war. Counterculture hippies talked of “peace” and “love,” but their goal of “liberation for all Americans” had a coercive edge (even as they repudiated “missionary aggressiveness”), and the fury they provoked often got expressed in war’s words.(131)

But if war’s words dominated our lexicon, the subtler languages of science and secrecy were close behind. If Berkeley activists and the flower people of the Haight intended to liberate all Americans, and if Ken Kesey “pranked Amerika” to coerce the nation toward culture-shattering LSD insights, the word “psychedelic” was yet coined from Greek roots by a medical authority and used in the fifties by the same experts who brought us electroshock, brainwashing, the H-bomb and anticommunist paranoia.

The first half of the Twentieth Century had culminated in a nightmare of unparalleled, organized scientific violence. European Civilization had perhaps developed to one logical extreme, and cultural trends from the late forties through the sixties reflected the philosophical crossroads at which all of humanity had arrived, the dust of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the ruins of Stalingrad and the silent crematoria at Auschwitz were juxtaposed against that picture of a sailor kissing a nurse in the midst of Times Square victory celebrations, in the largest city of an undamaged, bright and youthful America where innocence was not destroyed, an America where concentration camp survivors could come and rest and look out across quiet summer resort lakes to wonder, “Where are the Nazis? How can there be a world without Nazis?”(132)

This unfathomable discontinuity was a set for some divine authority to say through the modern media of television and Time magazine — maybe editorial arrangements had been made during Henry Luce’s conversation on the golf course with God, the first time Sidney Cohen gave him LSD(133) — “Before you this day are the blessing and the curse, life and death, good and evil: Choose life!”(134) Americans chose a life and a culture in the fifties by buying Levittown homes and General Motors automobiles, watching Lucy and Milton Berle, and supporting their government’s resistance to “godless communism.” Some studied Adelle Davis’ prescriptions for keeping fit, having healthy babies and getting well, and a few partook of the salacious luxury of speculation about themselves through quaintly evolving Freudian and Jungian theories.

Behind the walls of that culture a new class of specialists had secret jobs. Adolf Berle, Edward Teller, Allen Dulles and Richard Helms had to keep the Russians contained; Harold Wolff, Nathan Klein, Paul Hoch and Harold Abramson had to cure the unfortunate little flaws in the social brain. But our experts were not angels. The social brain was a machine that no one had built and no one maintained. Artists, writers like Adelle Davis, ordinary people and celebrities began to wonder if intellectual and physical development were overstressed and emotional and spiritual development neglected,(135) LSD started to flow in the synapses of society, and suddenly the walls were breathing. Between those breathing walls as one decade became another, Adelle Davis wrote:

Dr. Janiger’s question, “Have you noticed any difference in your interest in anthropology or history?” meets with my hearty, “Indeed I do.” Formerly I found it extremely difficult to imagine the feelings of anyone whose living conditions or culture differed markedly from our own; examples would be anyone who lived several hundred years ago or a primitive alive today. Under LSD I was repeatedly all humanity, experiencing its hungers, yearnings, hatred, terrors, and illnesses, its love, appreciation, reverence, tranquility and ecstasy. As a result I have a wonderful, crazy feeling, admittedly without basis of reality, that I have been in every person’s shoes. This emotion has given a pulsating aliveness and a throbbing heartbeat to history and anthropology and has tremendously increased my interest in both. Partly as a result of these identifications, I am convinced that the emotions of all persons from prehistoric man to the modern sophisticate are essentially the same. Some people certainly suppress their feelings more than others, some are more sensitive, and the lives of individuals vary widely indeed, but the actual emotions themselves, I believe, remain identical and universal.(136)

Modern Psychological Warfare, a post-World War II alternative for recently-intolerable conventional war and unthinkable nuclear Armageddon, is based in the realization that surrender is almost always a sequential process that can be influenced over time by covert means.(137) This may hold true whether it is geography being surrendered, an ideological position being amended, or a personal identity being lost. The use of LSD over two contrasting decades beginning in 1947 might be understood as a coincidence, or cacophony, of covert psychological operations by psychiatrists, spies and rebellious young Americans. Territory changed hands. The various targeted enemies — schizophrenia and rational time-stream consciousness, Soviet communism and the liberal anticommunist establishment, were enemies of each other, too. But the actual emotions of LSD enthusiasts were identical and universal across a curious historical continuum.

 Like surrender, history is also a sequential process. There is no apparatus of culture whose gears and wheels can suddenly be made to stop, or even to change direction by more than a fraction of a degree over considerable time. If it appears otherwise historians might remember that Ozzie and Harriet lived in a secret psychedelic nation while the rough beast LSD slouched toward Haight-Ashbury.


129. Conversation with Professor MacLean in her office, January 29, 1998, from my notes.
130. Sherry, Michael. In the Shadow of War: The United States Since the 1930s. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1995.
131. Ibid. Page 294.
132. This was a scene in the movie, Enemies, a Love Story, which portrayed recent Jewish refugees in New York shortly after WWII.
133. Swan burg, W.A. Luce and His Empire; and Sheed, Wilfred. Clare Booth Luce. Both referenced in Lee and Shlain, page 71 (note on page 305).
134. From the Jewish High Holy Day Prayer Book, part of the Rosh Hashanna and Yom Kippur services in Conservative synagogues. (NOTE: I have no idea whether the anti-abortion people derived their current tag line from this same source, but no reference whatsoever to that is intended here. I’ve loved this quote for twenty years, and I only realized after putting it in the first draft of my thesis that it may have the other political connotation for some readers.)
135. Dunlap, page 13.
136. Ibid. Page 202-03.
137. Stephen A. Pease described psywar: “Psychological warfare uses mental bullets. It is bloodless and inexpensive, and often ineffective. It is an offensive weapon that attempts to exploit the enemy’s weaknesses to further tactical or strategic ends. Like a real bullet, it doesn’t care if it wounds. Unlike a real bullet, it can be used at home, too.” Psywar: Psychological Warfare in Korea, 1950-1953; Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1992.