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.

February: Psychiatrist Walter Freeman performs his last lobotomy, on a long-term patient who dies of a brain hemorrhage following the procedure.

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.


SLOUCHING, part 10


There was a convincing rationale for secrecy during the Cold War. It was a vital part of covert action and psychological operations, and even if the rights of a few individuals were occasionally violated, such strategies seemed to offer less brutal options than conventional war. However Adolf Berle’s arguments about “necessary solutions for which the public may be unprepared” neglected a price to be paid for clandestinity. The information revolution at the end of this century has proven that an open exchange of ideas enhances creativity and viability in organizations. Secrecy has the opposite effect, severely limiting the number of minds which might test, contribute to or qualify any idea or project.(126) The CIA’s grand objective for drug projects and other mind control research was to develop technical precision in prediction and total control of individual human beings. After a decade of intense and expensive work the benefits of that research were put to a critical test and found to have little or no basis in reality.

When Yuri Nosenko, a high-level Soviet KGB officer, defected to the United States in 1964, every plausible device in the MKULTRA arsenal was employed over five years to prove or disprove his legitimacy. Richard Helms alternately awarded one intelligence medal to a CIA man who “unmasked Nosenko as a Soviet plant,” and the identical honor to someone else who “rehabilitated” him. To this day the divisive issue remains undecided within CIA. Nosenko was released from his long solitary confinement and put on the payroll in 1969, but as late as 1981 a lengthy new report was sent to the Director of Central Intelligence about “Why Nosenko is a plant and why it matters.”(127) The bottom line proved that the practitioners of mind control who brought LSD to the world as their own breakthrough couldn’t even decide whether to trust one man, faced with the highest possible necessity and provided with every resource.

Such abysmal failures raise the question of how people can separate themselves from reality far enough for expectations and results to be so different. Secrecy, which is the hiding of reality, creates exactly that opportunity. When Oscar Janiger incorporated the Albert Hofmann Foundation, he expected great things to occur, but the project never got off the ground. It turned out there were no wealthy patrons of sixties psychedelic culture waiting to pay the rent for an LSD museum, and the public never demanded new LSD research. Perhaps the secrets Janiger accumulated in the sixties had something to do with his mis-estimation of reality. Not surprisingly, he was not quoted anywhere in the press about the new foundation as saying he might need to put together another private network for obtaining child research subjects.

Exploring Inner Space by Adelle Davis and Myself and I by her friend Thelma Moss were similar books about the same thing: LSD, the wonderful simultaneous breakthrough in the fields of science, religion and human consciousness that would surely transform the world. The two authors, like all the characters in this story, knew they were onto something big, something that brought them one step beyond the edge of Western Civilization’s charted moral territory and something that somehow needed to be a secret. Robert Davidson, echoing the earlier conspiracies of Captain Al Hubbard, Humphrey Osmond and Aldous Huxley, revealed that:

There are those of us who would like to see the opportunity to experience a series of LSD sessions given to most of the people in positions of influence and leadership, such as doctors, lawyers, ministers and politicians.(128)

That was the real secret: the new possibility of self overcoming on a grand scale; the chance that a tiny amount of mind drug, delivered in just the right way or to just the right people, might create just the right explosion in men’s minds to shortcut politics, evolution or death. It was the secret hope of people like Thelma Moss and Adelle Davis in the late fifties. It was a secret shredded by Helms and Gottlieb with the CIA’s MKULTRA files. Even today, it may remain a secret dream for Oscar Janiger and the Albert Hofmann Foundation’s “John,” or even for George Leisey. And it may still offer alternative Psychological Warfare tactics for unknown and desperate bureaucrats, somewhere in the secret bowels of some invisible government agency that has the job of saving the innocent, unprepared public from nuclear terrorists or extremists now that the threat of Soviet communism is gone.


126. See Bruce D. Berkowitrz and Allan E. Goodman, “The Logic of Covert Action,” in The National Interest, Number 51, Spring 1998, page 38; Washington, DC: National Affairs, Inc.
127. See Richard J. Hebert, Jr., “Nosenko: Five Paths To Judgment,” in Studies in Intelligence, vol. 31, no. 3, Fall 1987, pages 71-101; Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency. Also David Wise, Molehunt: The Secret Search for Traitors that Shattered the CIA; New York: Random House, 1992. The Nosenko saga was a catastrophe in slow motion for the CIA that ultimately motivated Counterintelligence Chief James Angleton’s destruction of the Directorate of Operations’ Soviet Division, and indirectly set up the career of super-mole Aldrich Ames.
128. Dunlap, page 9.


Tuesday, November 6, 2018



The experiences and recollections of Adelle Davis and George Leisey, along with the projects of the psychiatrists who gave mother and child LSD in 1959, raise questions about how perceptions of “respectability” and “scientific legitimacy” were formed and how they changed from the fifties to the sixties, and about the recent role of secrecy in our culture. Leisey, a child of the sixties himself, partly views Janiger’s clinical LSD trials as more “respectable” or “legitimate” than the later Kesey “acid tests,” even while acknowledging that today’s sensibilities would have put his mother in prison, and even after personally witnessing the ultimate disgrace (in the jungles of Southeast Asia) of the social order that judged such things as “respectability” and “legitimacy.”

Oscar Janiger was cast as charming but slightly eccentric in 1988, between the lines of the press about his new foundation. But the people who were sources of LSD in the fifties and their experimental motives seemed at that time as “respectable” and “legitimate” as it was possible to be. They were doctors and scientists, and they were Americans. Today we might consider some of them to have been mad scientists, especially those who worked for Richard Helms, who probably should have been charged with “crimes against humanity” rather than perjury for his MKULTRA role(103). Dr. Paul Hoch, who was later New York State Commissioner for Mental Hygiene, served as a consultant to the CIA by conducting an experiment in which he administered a hallucinogenic drug to a patient along with local anesthetic, and then had the patient describe his visual experiences while surgeons removed chunks of his cerebral cortex. Hoch stated, “It is possible that a certain amount of brain damage is of therapeutic value.”(104) Dr. Ewen Cameron of MaGill University’s psychiatric facility in Montreal kept patients drugged unconscious for up to six weeks while giving them daily LSD and electroshock without their consent, to find out for the CIA whether he could completely “depattern” their memories; Cameron was president of the American Psychiatric Association in 1953. Were these examples of legitimate and respectable research or atrocity? George Leisey states with conviction that the psychiatric researchers whom he knew personally, especially David Snow and Bob Davidson, would never have willingly participated in the kind of agenda that motivated the CIA researchers.(105) But how about convincing therapy patients to bring in their children for LSD experiments?

Why did Harcourt Brace and World insist that Davis publish Exploring Inner Space under a pseudonym? In the months of research for this thesis I had dozens of conversations with Adelle Davis fans. I found only one person who was aware of the nutrition guru’s book about personal experiences under LSD-25.(106) In 1961 it seems there should have been no disgrace for an adult participating in a medical research project to study this completely legal drug. The attitude of the reviewer in the San Francisco Chronicle — “What’s wrong with that? Why can’t the rest of us poor slobs have some?” — seems like the most obvious logic for the time. But there was always a consideration that secrecy was appropriate, whether the people testing LSD thought they worked to enhance national security or mental and spiritual development. LSD was still legal in 1965, before the “acid tests,” before the Psychedelic Shop opened in the Haight, and before the public had ever heard the word “hippie.” But this drug had an aura of revolution:

That was one of the mysteries of psychedelics. Taking LSD was like being in a secret society. Hardly anything was being said about it publicly. As a matter of fact, LSD was not an illegal drug, but people acted as if it were; it seemed illegal…. There was no way of knowing how many people might be messing with psychedelics. If you thought about it, you might conclude the only people taking LSD were Leary and the Harvard crowd, some Beats, and a few others, possibly not many more than your own circle of insane friends.(107)

It is possible that the sources of the drugs and its secret intelligence origins were not as unknown to Adelle Davis and the critics who reviewed Exploring Inner Space, not to mention Oscar Janiger, Leary and Kesey, as it would seem at first glance. Davis’ dedication at the front of the book read, “…to those wonderful stagehands who helped pull back the curtains.” She made a point of thanking the Sandoz Pharmaceutical Company by name for discovering and producing LSD and for spending millions of dollars researching it. Her book not only reports her own experiences on the drug, but also refers to reports others had written about taking it.(108) One wonders how a volunteer subject in a medical experiment might get access to reports written by other volunteers. Robert Davidson wrote in the Introduction that more than 600 scientific papers had been published about LSD,(109) so he was not isolated from the fact of a large bulk of research. In the Appendix, Davidson discussed the difference between the action of LSD and schizophrenia at some length.(110) He also mentioned that “distribution of LSD is carefully controlled by the manufacturer.”(111) And he acknowledged cryptically, “Some hallucinogens are said to be used in other less humanitarian experiments being carried out in the fields of chemical warfare and prisoner interrogation.”(112) The bottom line is that Robert Davidson, and (we can reasonably assume) through him Adelle Davis, did have an overview of the whole LSD picture.

Just because Davis and Davidson were grateful to Sandoz and had an inkling of the darker side of LSD research, we cannot arbitrarily tar them with the same brush as Allen Dulles, Sid Gottlieb and Richard Helms. Nevertheless, these clues in Exploring Inner Space become impossible to ignore as more context is assembled around this time and these events. At least one other oddly similar book, which was in fact written by a friend of Adelle Davis(113) and published only a year later, contained the same clues.

Thelma Moss wrote Myself and I under the pseudonym Constance A. Newland.(114) A clinical psychologist(115) and an M.D. psychiatrist(116) wrote a Forward and Introduction (respectively) in this case, and like Davidson in the Dunlap book, they both made a point of their own experiences with LSD. The author herself wrote the Appendices. The sources listed most frequently in the bibliography and notes include Harold Abramson, Louis Cholden, Paul Hoch, Abram Hoffer, Aldous Huxley, Harry Pennes, R.A. Sandison and Charles Savage, all familiar names from the LSD conferences of the fifties sponsored by Sandoz Pharmaceuticals and/or CIA funding cut-outs like the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation or the Geschicter Fund. Moss referred to her doctor and friend who ran the LSD research in which she participated only as “Dr. M.” In Appendix A, Moss repeated the same (incorrect) figure given by Davison in the Dunlap book: “Since… 1947, well over 600 articles on LSD-25 have appeared in the journals of Canada, Hungary, France, South Africa, Italy, Argentina, England and the United States.”(117) Failing to be a conservative LSD proponent despite her best efforts, Moss evangelized: “These unsurpassed events occurred in that far reach of the mind, the unconscious, which had previously seemed an inaccessible myth. Now it became reality, amazingly accessible, simply through the taking of a drug.”(118) And: “I no longer feel a desperate emptiness inside… my life has new savor, new meaning — and new mystery.”(119) She also included a passive-voice, unattributed, one-sentence mention of the dark side: “leaving the antipodes of mysticism for a far sterner outpost, it has been suggested that LSD might prove an effective — because harmless — means of chemical warfare….”(120)

Alan Watt’s The Joyous Cosmology(121) completed a trilogy evidencing by 1962 that “it was too late to turn off the publicity machine (producing) anecdotal accounts of the Other World.”(122) One earlier example can be mentioned as well. R.H. Ward’s A Drug-Taker’s Notes(123) actually came out four years before Dunlap, but referred to many of the same CIA-connected psychiatric authorities (Hoch, Rinkel, Sandison, Hoffer and Osmond) and kept certain identities secret (the doctor who administered LSD to the author was only “Dr. X” and another subject was just “A”). It is probably a coincidence, but Ward mentioned  authors de Quincy and Baudelaire, two names dropped conspicuously by Nathan S. Kline in his New York Times book review of Exploring Inner Space four years later.

These coincidences and little hints of connection add up to a substantial likelihood that the apparent innocence of George Leisey’s family who conducted and participated in LSD research to expand the boundaries of human consciousness, supposedly without affinity for the darker agenda of the military and intelligence establishments, was in fact “selective attention” or “insulation.” These were two factors which helped make many projects throughout the social sciences respectable and legitimate despite their underlying connection to a violent agenda of Psychological Warfare, according to a 1968 study done for the U.S. Air Force. Scientists asserted their attachment to issues like the Pentagon’s cause against Stalinism while sidestepping others like the rise of the military-industrial complex.(124) Oscar Janiger was proud of his earlier adoration for Captain Al Hubbard years after the LSD experiments were over, though it had been clear to him and his cohorts in the fifties that Hubbard’s background in intelligence and connection to defense interests were the reason he could supply them with hallucinogenic drugs. It is not likely that Janiger, Sidney Cohen, Bob Davidson and David Snow were entirely innocent of the fact that their research was possible only with the tacit blessing of the CIA. Secrecy was a catalyst for extremely adroit selectivity of attention. At a time when secrecy was necessary and even patriotic across many scientific fields, scientists could easily assert that they never knew what someone else was doing. Even Aldous Huxley, whose work clearly reflected spiritual pursuits with LSD, could not resist offering advice to MKULTRA researchers, though he probably never had to admit it. Huxley once wrote Louis Jolyon West, a CIA psychiatrist, to suggest hypnotizing subjects prior to administering LSD to find out whether post-hypnotic suggestion could influence the drug experience. The CIA was quite interested in this idea.(125)


103. Project MKULTRA was entirely Helms’ brainchild. He conceived it and convinced Dulles to approve it. He saved it every time it was threatened, and hid all evidence of it to the best of his ability when it was over. In my opinion the purposeful bureaucratic organization of the full scientific and financial resources of the United States Government and economy toward technical production of human robots, to be used as unknowing assassins and sacrificed for some mystic goal of political dominance over the human race, puts Richard Helms in a league with Joseph Mengele and the Nazi psychiatrists and sociologists who stood on the selection ramps to direct human freight to the right or to the left, as it unloaded at Auschwitz.
104. Lee and Shlain, page 38.
105. April 30 interview.
106. I’m sure there are more, but they must be a very small segment of the public who bought Davis’ books on nutrition. George Leisey told me that after his mother died he received many calls from strange characters, usually spiritual mediums, who claimed they had “just been in contact with Adelle” and that it might shock George, but his mother did not really die of natural causes. These (however well-intended) crackpots often seemed to know about the LSD book. Mrs. Linda Kravitz of Oak Park, IL was the one fan who remembered the Dunlap book. She told me, in a whisper to prevent her fourteen-year-old daughter from overhearing, “God, I loved LSD! People found out that Adelle Davis had written a book about it, but they said, Oh it’s okay that she took it, like they had to think of an excuse or something!”
107. Perry, Charles. The Haight-Ashbury: A History. New York: Vintage/Random House, 1985. Page 7.
108. Dunlap, page 18.
109. In fact by 1961 the total was over 1000. The National Institute of Mental Health, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare; 1943-1966 Bibliography on Psychotomimetics (reprinted with permission of Sandoz Pharmaceuticals).
110. Dunlap, page 211-12.
111. Ibid, page 213.
112. Ibid, page 7.
113. Per George Leisey, interview of April 30, 1998.
114. New York: Coward-McCann, Inc., 1962.
115. Harold Greenwald, Ph.D.
116. Dr. R.A. Sandison, no less.
117. Newland, page 251-52.
118. Ibid, page 22.
119. Ibid, page 243.
120. Ibid, page 262.
121. New York: Vintage, 1962.
122. Stevens, page 183.
123. London: Victor Gollanz, Ltd., 1957
124. Albert Biderman and Elizabeth Crawford, Political Economics of Social Research: The Case of Sociology (Springfield, VA: Clearinghouse for Federal Scientific and Technological Information, 1968); quoted in Christopher Simpson, Science of Coercion, pages 95-97.
125. Lee and Shlain, page 48.


Monday, November 5, 2018



Acid wasn’t a new thing to George Leisey like it was to the hippies. After all, his mother and her friends had been taking it many years earlier, and in fact, so had George himself. In 1959 he was only thirteen years old, but his mother’s psychiatrist friends “wanted to find out for their research what LSD would do if they gave it to an obnoxious little kid.”(91) Adelle Davis took her young son down to Oscar Janiger’s office and acted as his guide the first time he took LSD. Leisey recalls being told there were five kids all together who were subjects in Dr. Janiger’s experiments. Janiger, Sidney Cohen, Bob Davidson and David Snow “had kind of a private network…”(92) through which they obtained children fo their research. Leisey doesn’t quite remember the names of the other kids…. There was one girl named Joyce, on whom he’d had a crush: she caused no small surprise one day when George discovered her tripping in his own house on her seventeenth birthday. Mother Adelle acted as Joyce’s LSD guide, too. In fact, Leisey’s mom had talked Joyce’s mother into letting her be a subject in the experiments, apparently acting on behalf of the “private network….” Years later Leisey knew the daughter of Art Linkletter who committed suicide while using LSD. He says he had at least five childhood friends who committed suicide, and he knows several of those deaths were probably caused by drugs.

Leisey readily admits, “Adelle Davis would have ended up in the slammer real fast, if she had given her son and other kids LSD these days.”(93) But even in the fifties, before LSD had a bad reputation or any reputation at all, giving an experimental mind altering drug to children was a morally questionable business. The psychiatrists with whom Davis was friendly knew that. But Leisey is far from bitter toward his mother.(94) To this day he would probably approve of clinical LSD research, and he tends to credit the view that a widespread drug culture in the sixties torpedoed chances for more work similar to what his mother’s friends had done.

In 1986 Oscar Janiger organized an art exhibit in his home in Santa Monica to begin rehabilitating his favorite outlawed drug’s public image.(95) A year later he founded the Albert Hoffman Foundation in Los Angeles, hoping a groundswell of opinion would encourage legalization of the kind of projects run in the late fifties.(96) On one hand George Leisey wishes Janiger success.(97) However a recent phone call to the Hoffman Foundation revealed that in the eleven years since it was founded donations never brought in the resources to permanently house historical archives from Janiger’s research or open a planned public museum, despite front page press coverage when the Foundation was first announced.(98) On the other hand Leisey obviously finds it difficult to locate himself on any scale of attitudes about LSD. His early experience, like his mother’s, was constructed around a concept of a carefully controlled trip with clinical psychiatric attention to every detail of “set and setting.”(99) But when he implies that the sixties drug culture damaged chances for careful attempts to expand human consciousness, Leisey has to separate himself from his own behavior. The stories of wandering naked in the desert, etc., are straight out of Keseyan legends in the true “prank ‘em” style.(100)

Individual statements and behavior which appear to be logically inconsistent or hypocritical with several decades’ hindsight are usually evidence that real events and real lives are much more complicated than historians can record. When George Leisey was asked how his mother could have taken drugs and then blamed others for taking them, how she could have turned such a glib “anti-commie” phrase despite her personal awareness of McCarhtyism’s injustices, he found it awkward to explain. But he insisted that Adelle Davis was, if nothing else, entirely genuine in her stated opinions at the time she offered them.(101) People do change their minds during their lives, futures are hard to predict. Leisey knew certain very intelligent people who kept personal supplies of LSD for the day when each would lie on his or her death bed. His mother was one such person, but in the event her drug of choice had far fewer implications for the next world. The final stages of bone cancer apparently involve a degree of pain which just sucks one’s attention back to the present, away from all the higher contemplations. Adelle Davis spent her own final weeks, days, hours and minutes… in the softest fog that increasing doses of morphine could provide.(102)


91. April 16, 1998 phone interview.
92. April 30, 1998 phone interview.
93. Ibid.
94. When I mentioned Leisey’s claim that his mother made him the subject of LSD experiments to Professor Lane Fenrich, he immediately cautioned me against believing a bitter son’s charges about what his mother did to him. But in fact George Leisey and Adelle Davis, whatever their relationship had been in the fifties, were quite close later. Davis died in her son’s arms in 1974, after he had cared for her personally during many months of severe physical degeneration from bone cancer and the chemotherapy and radiation treatment for that disease. There is no trace of bitterness in his memories of her.
95. Goldstein, Alan, “Psychiatrist Holds Art Exhibit to Encourage New Study of LSD”, Los Angeles Times. June 30, 1986, page 1.
96. Klein, Dianne, “50 Years Later, New Acid Test for LSD”, Los Angeles Times, September 30, 1988, page 1. Fleming, Anne Taylor, “A Mecca For Psychedelic Pilgrims”, New York Times, August 10, 1988.
97. April 16, 1998 interview with Leisey.
98. I actually called the number listed in the September, 1988 article in the LA Times first, and got a recording which gave an address in Laguna Beach to which I could send my request to be added to their mailing list, and referred me to another number belonging to “John” in Los Angeles. When I reached John he was very anxious to find out if I was or knew a potential financial donor, but he had no interest in answering any other questions, including what his last name might be. As I talked with him for about five minutes, I was aware that he was either using a speaker phone or located in a high-echo space of some sort. Then came the clear sound of a “john” flushing, and I realized the Albert Hoffman Foundation is hurting if “John” is its only contact with the public.
99. “Set and setting” was the phrase which defined the methodology of Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert and the Harvard and Millbrook commune crowd. They had learned it from Captain Al Hubbard. See Lee and Shlain or Stevens.
100. Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters advocated the exact opposite address to LSD use from Leary. They insisted that the more uncontrolled and unpredictable the experience could be made, the better. Lee and Shlain, Stevens.
101. Phone interview with George Leisey, April 30, 1998.
102. Ibid.


Sunday, November 4, 2018



It was fateful that Americans generally did not distinguish between the opposing factions of the mental health movement in the fifties. Shrinks were shrinks, and they mainly worked for the rich or the government; normal people avoided them and told jokes about them. Even when hundreds of articles were being published about LSD every year in technical journals, the San Francisco Chronicle reviewed the Jane Dunlap book as though no one had ever heard of the psychedelic substance that would soon change the international image of the city, as singer Scott McKensie told anyone going to San Francisco to “be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.”(73) The Chronicle reviewer noted, “LSD-25, a newly discovered hallucinogenic drug… this frantic form of pot…” was experienced by Dunlap as one of the lucky few people allowed to try it. He then pointedly asked, “Why can’t the rest of us poor slobs have some?”(74) When Dr. Davidson wrote in the Introduction of Exploring Inner Space, “The wonder of LSD is that it can bring within the capabilities of ordinary people the experience of universal love and the reality of our divine nature,”(75) he did not express sentiments associated with a Nathan Kline or a Harold Wolff; he was closer to the Chronicle. But Davidson and other psychoanalysts were still trying frantically to compete with non-Freudians, for grant dollars and prestige in LSD research, and increasingly for real market share in the business of mental health.

Four years after the APA round table, a three-day international conference was sponsored by the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation and supported by Sandoz Pharmaceuticals in Princeton, NJ. The same divergent views were expressed even more emphatically than in 1955. The CIA’s own Harold Abramson received general agreement when he said, “I have always felt that the importance of LSD was not LSD, but that LSD will bring to medicine what it really needs: to have psychiatry a branch of experimental medicine.”(76) However the Dutch psychiatrist C. H. Van Rhijn suggested a broader goal, one which in an ironic sense, actually was fulfilled seven or eight years later in Haight-Ashbury: “I had a vision, and I still have this vision, of mass therapy: institutions in which every patient with a neurosis could get LSD treatment and work out his problems largely by himself.”(77)

Adelle Davis’ motives for publishing the Jane Dunlap book are a fascinating subject for speculation. They seem to have expressed all the confusion brewing just beneath the surface of American society at the time. She wrote:

As a result of this spiritual fulfillment, an amazingly deep optimism has come to me. Formerly when I felt the hot breath of Communism on my neck I was thrown into a miserable depression, agreeing with Spengler that the West was indeed declining… But to one who accepts the God pull of reversed gravity and maintains a geological time sense, the future seems gloriously bright.(78)

Her words show that within months after the Macy Foundation’s conference, the science problem — or brain problem, or the problem of psychiatry’s place in the world, whatever it was in which LSD played such a pivotal role for mental health professionals — was already becoming something embarrassingly different: a populist spiritual quest which would not be confined to the proper synaptic spaces. Davis and Davidson certainly wrote Exploring Inner Space and its introduction and Postscript to evangelize LSD, perhaps not as freely as Ken Kesey would evangelize it beginning a couple of years later, but nevertheless to bring to the book-reading public the good news about a new chemical salvation. Inner Space still paid lip service to the conservative position that LSD should be available only to the “proper scientific researchers,” but it is obvious that the author and her psychologist friend considered at least some of the public worthy of being let in.

Adelle Davis was a fascinatingly mixed personality, one part respectable scientific professional and another part rebel. She was extensively trained as a nutritionist, having moved relentlessly from her parents’ hard scrabble Indiana farm through Purdue University, UC-Berkeley, University of Southern California, Columbia University, and UCLA to get her several degrees and do postgraduate work. She lectured and wrote prolifically on her subject, and stood up to what she considered the ignorant criticisms of her work from a medical establishment which saw no need to educate its clinicians in nutrition. George Leisey contends that at one time or another, practically every federal agency he had ever heard of was after his mother.(79) She was at the center of FDA and FCC issues regarding the advertising of natural foods. In her own way she was a prototype in the late fifties of the younger California generation that would create a “New Age” culture that would spread across the country.

A Los Angeles Times article on May 18, 1972 headlined, “Nutrition Crusader Adelle Davis Challenged on Theories: FCC Commissioner Sparks Food-Related Gathering”(80) offered an interesting view of the author’s public renown at the time.(81) The headline and the first few paragraphs, which media-wise professional spinners know is all most people will ever read, gave a clear impression that Adelle Davis was chastened and repentant in a public confrontation with “real” scientists from the government who had the public interest at heart. The balance of the piece contained much more information on Ms. Davis’ views, and readers who bothered to turn to the inside pages would have realized that the debate was not one-sided against Davis at all, the bureaucrats probably got the worst of it. One very curious quote from Davis, however, directly concerns our story. In the final few lines of the article she stated: “Young people are far more interested in nutrition than their parents — a lot of them lost their health because of drugs, during the hippie time a few years ago.” Considering Davis’ own role in promoting what she thought were phenomenal human benefits of LSD in 1961, there is something funny about this 1972 characterization. She was the one who had written:

Many hundreds of people given LSD have entered worlds of fantastic beauty where compassion and love have become compulsory. People who have had such experiences usually agree that deep within each of us lie goodness unimaginable, wisdom, music, talents of every variety, joy, peace, humility, love, and spirituality, to mention only a few.(82)

Perhaps by the seventies the popular author was, like most people, prone to occasional hypocrisy. If that is the explanation, she remained in 1972 a harbinger of social trends in the baby boom generation: young people were beginning to abandon the ideological movements to become the “yuppies” of the eighties. But maybe Davis meant that young people had lost their health by using drugs other than LSD, or because of the way they experimented with drugs on their own, outside of the clinical environment and psychiatric supervision.

Adelle Davis’ son remembers the fifties well. He lived within an easy drive of Hollywood, in the suburb where his mother had moved so her children didn’t have to grow up in the city. As teenagers George and his friends got tickets every year to the Academy Award ceremonies. Leisey remembers his mother and stepfather taking acid and eating hallucinogenic mushrooms (which had also been a subject of earlier fascination for American Intelligence, and which soon became Timothy Leary’s first avenue to psychedelic experience), beginning perhaps in 1957.(83) He remembers David Snow and Bob Davidson very well, as longtime family friends. His mother’s comment in her book about “the hot breath of communism” clashes slightly with George’s memories of her private rage when the House Un-American Activities Committee chose to harass her friends with subpoenas. But perhaps if Harcourt, Brace & World edited the truth of Adelle Davis’ psychedelic experimentation down to what they felt would seem scientific and respectable, political etiquette was also maintained in Inner Space at a time when reputations could still be endangered by suspicions of sympathy for communism. Or maybe Adelle Davis only objected to the devices of anti-communist paranoia when they were aimed against her own friends; maybe she thought the HUAC investigations in general were a necessary and just process.

Leisey remembers the sixties, too. He served in Vietnam and says he was stationed near Hue during the 1968 Tet offensive. He recalls the assassination of Martin Luther King only a month before he was scheduled to return home. During that last month he knew he could no longer trust the black men in his unit even though many of them had been his friends; the camp was suddenly armed one race against another, with the yellow a mere background consideration. “It was the weirdest experience I ever had,” says Leisey.(84) Another weird thing slightly earlier in the same decade had been one of Ken Kesey’s “acid test” parties.(85) Leisey distinguishes “pharmaceutical” LSD like what Dr. Janiger had obtained from Sandoz in the fifties from the drug which was grabbed out of shopping bags passed around to the long-haired devotees of high-volume Jefferson Airplane music in dark San Francisco concert halls punctuated by strobes and light shows. When asked about the promotional claims by Augustus Owsley Stanley that his LSD was even purer than the Sandoz product,(86) Leisey replies, “Yeah, well, you could have told those people (at the Kesey acid tests) anything. How would anyone ever have known? You just reached into the bag when it came around and got this little piece of blotter paper and ate it.”(87) Leisey claims that during his Sixties psychedelic times he once drove out into the desert, dropped acid and left his car to wander along while tripping. “It was fantastic. I was real lucky though, to ever find my clothes and my way back.”(88) He and a friend once completely disassembled a motorcycle while tripping. “We learned a lot of things about motorcycle engines that no one else knows, like the fact that you can actually fall into a carburetor, and your hand can meld to the metal of a gas tank.”(89) He recalls being unable to “unstick” his feet from the beach one day, and the impossibility of finding his way out of the marketplace labyrinth on another.(90) But Leisey says LSD was less interesting to him in the sixties than, for example, some of the things certain Indian tribes in Mexico were doing with mushrooms.


73. McKensie, Scott. “If You’re Going To San Francisco” song lyrics, 1967. (From memory only.)
74. San Francisco Chronicle, June 4, 1961.
75. Dunlap, page 9.
76. Abramson, Harold A., M.D., ed. The Use of LSD in Psychotherapy: Transactions of a Conference on d-Lysergic Diethylamide, April 22, 23 and 24, 1959, Princeton, NJ. New York : Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, 1960. Page 239.
77. Ibid. Page 14. Professor Fenrich commented to me that this quote reads like a joke; to the contrary, it was a completely serious point of discussion among experts in psychiatry and psychoanalysis at an international conference sponsored by a foundation which enjoyed government support.
78. Dunlap, 1961. Page 206-7.
79. Part of this  was due to Davis’ later use of illegal laetrile to treat the bone cancer which killed her. However, Davis testified twice before Congress and her comments about the nutritional ignorance of entrenched “education” authorities were no doubt quite threatening to people who considered themselves targeted. George Leisey interview, April 30, 1998.
80. Gettinger, Louise. (Exclusive to the Times from the Washington Post.) Los Angeles Times, May 18, 1972; section VI, page 1.
81. In my opinion, it also revealed tactics which would have been easily recognized by any intelligence operator who ever planned a campaign to reduce the popular reputation and influence of a celebrity. See for example, as an excellent case study, Burroughs, Bryan; Vendetta: American Express and the Smearing of Edmund Safra; New York: Harper Collins, 1992.
82. Dunlap, 1961. Page 207-208
83. Since Davis claims in the Dunlap book that she first took LSD in October of 1959, Leisey’s recollection seems at first glance to indicate that his mother altered this history. However, I cannot be certain from what Leisey has told me. His memory might be slightly vague, or he might have been covering things up a little bit, especially in our earlier conversations. He also said once that if there was experimentation going on outside of the five experiences written about in Inner Space, the it was of minor significance.
84. April 2, 1998 phone interview with George Leisey.
85. Beginning in the fall of 1965, Kesey and the Merry Pranksters held a series of publicly-advertised parties at which LSD (usually the Owsley brand) was made freely available to anyone who would take it. The most famous of these was the “Trips Festival” held in Longshoreman’s Hall in San Francisco in early 1966, attended by 6000 people. According to Jay Stevens in Storming Heaven, Ken Kesey introduced more people to LSD in a few months than the psychiatric researchers, the CIA, Sandoz and Timothy Leary combined had in the previous 23 years, and was the single most important catalyst in the explosion of the hippie population of the Haight in 1966.
86. “Owsley was obsessed with making his product as pure as possible — even purer than Sandoz, which described LSD in its scientific reports as a yellowish crystalline substance. As he mastered his illicit craft, Owsley found a way to refine the crystal so that it appeared blue-white under a fluorescent lamp; moreover, if the crystals were shaken, they emitted flashes of light, which meant that LSD in its pure form was piezoluminexcent — a property shared by a very small number of compounds.” Lee and Shlain, page 146-7.
87. April 16, 1998 phone interview with George Leisey.
88. Ibid.
89. April 30, 1998 phone interview.
90. Ibid.

(To be Continued further)

Saturday, November 3, 2018



Jane Dunlap’s 1961 book, Exploring Inner Space: Personal Experiences Under LSD-25(53) is a somewhat pivotal document. It was published before the psychedelic culture began to flower in San Francisco, before there was any black market supply of LSD, just as the national security establishment was losing interest in the drug as a breakthrough intelligence weapon. According to the introduction by clinical psychologist Robert S. Davidson, Ph.D., Miss Dunlap’s book is the report of a subject in a scientific experiment, which “would have been written, as indeed most of it was written, with no thought of publication.”(54) However Dr. Davidson was deeply involved in the experiment himself, and he openly proclaims,

  I encouraged Miss Dunlap to publish her experiences… partly as an inspiration to people who still believe in the intrinsic spiritual power within the universe. I particularly hoped that her experiences would illustrate the possibilities of this drug’s power to expand the consciousness of the already well-integrated individual and those who seek a still deeper wisdom and awareness of a fundamental unity with the life process.(55)

Davidson had already taken LSD twenty-five times when Miss Dunlap’s much anticipated great day — October 24, 1959 — arrived, years before typical American suburbanites ever heard of LSD. Dunlap had begged to become a subject in LSD experiments. She had read Robert Gordon Wassen’s article in Henry Luce’s Life magazine about the magic mushrooms of Mexico.(56) She knew that LSD experiences were often deeply spiritual, and she considered her own spiritual development to be pitifully inadequate despite years of psychotherapy. It was through a therapist friend that Dunlap was referred to “the psychiatric department of a nearby university where research was in progress.” The university, UC-Irvine, was not identified in the book, and the therapist friend was only called Dr. Snow. David Snow was a real psychotherapist with a practice in Beverly Hills and excellent research connections, but “Jane Dunlap” was much better known to millions of Americans as Adelle Davis.

It surprises several generations of Adelle Davis’ nutrition disciples, who took her slogan, “You are what you eat!” to heart, that this particular guru would have participated in LSD experiments.(57) A New York Times obituary for Davis in 1974 filled thirteen column-inches without giving any hint of the connection.(58) It mentioned all her books except Exploring Inner Space,* even though the same paper had run a significant 1961 review which identified Jane Dunlap as a pseudonym, without mentioning for whom.(59)

Adelle Davis’ son George Leisey was a teenager working at a beat coffeehouse in Hermosillo Beach when his mother and stepfather were first experimenting with the drug that Ken Kesey would dub “acid” only a few years later. Leisey recalls that Harcourt, Brace & World, the publisher of the various Adelle Davis books on nutrition, pleaded with his mother not to publish a book about her LSD experiences at all.(60) However, Davis was utterly determined, as she always was on almost any issue that attracted her attention. Her publishers eventually came around, on the strict condition that she use a pseudonym. Davis herself apparently was never interested in concealing her authorship of Inner Space, and George Leisey claims that at the time of his mother’s death he dealt with the New York Times personally, giving them a complete list of Adelle Davis books from which the Dunlap book was definitely not omitted.(61) In addition to the New York Times review, Exploring Inner Space was reviewed separately by the Times of London(62), the San Francisco Chronicle(63), the Springfield (MA) Union(64) and several trade and library journals.(65) But whenever the fact of a pseudonym was mentioned at all, the identity of the author remained undisclosed.

The New York Times review deserves special discussion. It was written by an extremely influential psychiatrist, Dr. Nathan S. Kline. Dr. Kline was the founder and director of the Rockland Research Institute in Orangeburg, NY, and was said to be, “more than any other single psychiatrist… responsible for one of the greatest revolutions ever to occur in the treatment of the mentally ill.”(66) The revolution which Dr. Kline apparently helped to lead was the rise of a strictly biochemical, anti-moralistic and anti-spiritual interpretation of human behavior. This new framework developed into a belief system wherein the human mind is the brain, period! and the soul is a mythical entity that does not exist in reality. In fact such views go back to Democritus or even earlier, and they have not been conclusively decided by rational argument and empirical evaluation in thousands of years of philosophical attempts. But for America’s Cinderella science of psychology, the issue was a central dividing line in the fifties. Sigmund Freud had envisioned psychoanalysis as a medical specialty, yet the profession evolved without basing its theory strictly enough on experimental science for biologists or the American Medical Association. Sometime in the 1950s, the “headshrinkers” lost their clear leadership position in the mental health movement to shock doctors, lobotomists and pharmacists. Nathan S. Kline was one of the new leaders. He treated mental illness, simply assumed to be brain disease, with drugs; he did not wish to address psychosis or neurosis as non-mechanical phenomena and he had no professional interest in “mind” or “psyche.”

Kline’s New York Times review of Exploring Inner Space was thus the opinion of a medical doctor about a report on a drug study which had become, substantially, a spiritual quest. It inadvertently predicted the cultural turmoil, confused social purposes and conflicting attitudes about life and the universe, which would enthrall America in only a few years. Kline did his best to trump Jane Dunlap’s and Robert Davidson’s promises of a newly open and spectacular spiritual frontier by framing their whole viewpoint merely as man’s “search for identification,” by mentioning his own travels to India, and by implying his own competence with great and obscure names in philosophy and literature. He asserted that LSD and other “psycho-pharmaceuticals”(67) were proper tools for research into mental illness (to be conducted only by orthodox medical authorities, of course), but he obviously regarded Jane Dunlap’s report of her own experiences under LSD-25 with the condescension of a great scientist (or perhaps priest?) toward an ignorant (perhaps confessing, penitent) child.**

This attitude was one of two which contradicted each other during several LSD conferences and symposia during the fifties.(68) An early round table discussion of LSD and mescaline, conducted during the American Psychiatric Association’s May 1955 meeting in Atlantic City, New Jersey, included medical and psychoanalytic advocates plus one distinguished man of letters. Aldous Huxley, fresh from his second experience with mescaline and the writing of Heaven and Hell, his sequel to The Doors of Perception, was the only non-doctor invited to participate in a panel on psychotomimetics. The chairman of the Atlantic City proceedings, Louis Cholden, M.D. of UCLA Medical School, expressed hopes that,

The key to understanding psychiatry’s deepest mystery, schizophrenia, might lie in the production of an experimental, predictable, controllable, reproducible state — an artificial psychosis, the state of mind induced by giving lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).(69)

Two of Sondoz’s finest M.D. pharmacologists, E. Rothlin and A. Cerletti, were also in attendance to offer their own prognostication for their company’s trademarked product:

(E)lucidation of the mechanism (by which LSD produces its effects) may be of eminent importance for the understanding of the pathogenesis of mental illness, as well as its prophylaxis and therapy.(70)

Other contributors noted EEG changes caused by LSD, preliminary studies of its metabolism in the body and other drugs which tended to counter or alter its effects. In the dominant context of this round table, LSD was a chemical stimulus in a purely electrochemical brain.

However, R. A. Sandison took a different tack during the discussions.

There are good reasons for believing that the LSD experience is a manifestation of the psychic unconscious, and that its material can be used in psychotherapy in the same way that dreams, phantasies and paintings can be used by the psychoanalysts.

He added in an obvious reference to his own use of LSD, “If these drugs can help us to understand more about life as well as to treat our patients, we shall have learned something.”(71) This attitude was more characteristic of the Freudians and Jungians. They were not the kings of the mental health hill they had once been and did not have the same access to inner circles of government-sponsored research, but they still had the attention of a wealthy, influential and bored segment of the American public as well as many artists and intellectuals, perhaps largely due to the association of psychoanalysis with sex and mysticism. R. A. Sandison was reportedly the man who gave Captain Al Hubbard his first dose of LSD.(72) Hubbard later turned Aldous Huxley on and became the early hero and supplier of the Beverley Hills psychedelic therapy crowd which included Oscar Janiger and several celebrities a like Adelle Davis. Needless to say, Aldous Huxley was even farther out on the parascientific fringe than the psychoanalysts at the APA meeting.

*   See Appendix 3 for the full text of the Adelle Davis obituary.
** See Appendix 2 for the complete text of the book review by Kline.


53. Dunlap, Jane. Exploring Inner Space: Personal Experiences Under LSD-25. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1961.
54. Ibid, page 4.
55. Ibid, page 10.
56. Wasson, Robert Gordon. “Seeking the Magic Mushroom,” Life, May 13, 1957. On page 11 of the Dunlap book the author states that this fascinated her more than any other article Life had carried from the very first issue. She had saved every issue as a reference archive for her children.
57. I have informally surveyed dozens of Adelle Davis fans about this, and to date I have found only one person who was aware of the connection. Otherwise the closest anyone came to it was some awareness that Davis had been a psychotherapy patient.
58. The New York Times, June 1, 1974; page 32, column 3.
59. Ibid, May 14, 1961; “Book Reviews” page 7.
60. Telephone interviews with George Leisey: April 2, 1998 and December 26, 1997.
61. April 2, 1998 phone interview with George Leisey. The author of the obituary in the Times was Mr. Wolfgang Saxon, who still works there. When I contacted him for any information or recollection he might have, he insisted he writes so many obituaries every week there was just no way he would remember anything about this one. Saxon sounded somewhat elderly, with a slight German accent. He said he was not even familiar with the name Adelle Davis. I explained in some detail, told him about the Jane Dunlap book and my conversations with George Leisey, etc., but it didn’t appear to mean anything to him. I suggested that he pull up the old obituary he wrote in 1974, in case that would remind him of anything. He responded that there was no use in that because he was sure it wouldn’t remind him of why he didn’t mention the Dunlap book.
62. December 13, 1961.
63. June 4, 1961; page 31.
64. April 30, 1961; page 4-D.
65. The Booklist and Subscription Books Bulletin, Library Journal (April 15, 1961), and Kirkus Reviews (March 1, 1961).
66. New York Times obituary, February 14, 1983.
67. It occurs to me that it might be a very interesting exercise to trace the modern origin and pattern of usage of the term “psycho-pharmaceutical.” It is a fair guess that Kline or a close associate nearly invented it, sometime around or within a few years prior to the Jane Dunlap book review quoted here.
68. It was the attitude of the people who held the public reins of political power and controlled interpretations of the law, and it was definitely the attitude of the MKULTRA crowd at CIA. A subject for research which I have not had the opportunity to complete is whether Nathan S. Kline was in fact an MKULTRA-connected psychiatrist himself. His name comes up in an Internet search of book indexes on intelligence twice, but the two references given are obscure. Kline was “the father of psychopharmacology,” best known as a pioneer and leading authority on tranquilizers and anti-depressants in the treatment of previously untreatable mental patients. (See New York Times obituary, February 14, 1983.) However he served as a research associate in Columbia University’s department of neurology from 1952 to 1955 and in its department of psychiatry from 1955 to 1957, giving him more than ample opportunity for an association with CIA’s Harold Abramson. He also had connections with early computer science and robotics, and he toured many foreign countries, including the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, to evaluate different national mental health systems. He believed that care of mental patients in the Soviet Union was superior to that in the United States, and warned that the U.S.S.R. was deriving propaganda benefits from that superiority in underdeveloped countries. (See Current Biographies, 1965.) All things considered, most readers of the history of modern intelligence organizations would instantly suspect Nathan S. Kline as a spook. Ironically, on May 21, 1982 Kline was forced to sign a consent decree in a Federal Court action in Manhattan, permanently enjoining him from using “in any manner whatsoever any investigational new drug.” Kline had been accused of experimenting on 33 patients with beta endorphin in 1977 and 1978 without obtaining government permission and without the informed consent of some of the patients.
69. Cholden, Louis, M.D., ed. Proceedings of the Round Table on Lysergic Acid Diethylamide and Mescaline in Experimental Paychiatry, Held at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, Atlantic City, New Jersey, May 12, 1955. New York: Grune & Stratton, 1956. Page ix.
70. Sandoz had trademarked the name “Delysid” sometime prior to 1953.
71. Cholden, pages 27-33.
72. See Lee and Shlain, page 45. There is some confusion about exactly when this occurred, as there is about most things in Alfred M. Hubbard’s life. Lee and Shlain say Sandison gave Hubbard LSD in 1951, though Jay Stevens mentions Hubbard’s having first heard about LSD in 1955 (see Storming Heaven, page 55). John Marks makes no mention of Hubbard at all. In my Appendix 1 chronology I have simply averaged the Stevens and Lee and Shlain dates, because I really don’t know which one is more likely.


Thursday, November 1, 2018



Even while Dr. Harold Wolff simultaneously searched for a cure for Allen Dulles’ son and a magic neurological button to control human minds for America’s epic battle against communistic atheism, Clover Dulles was continuing her long course of psychotherapy with a very different kind of magician-doctor, the Austrian disciple of Freud, Dr. Carl Jung.(40) Psychoanalysis and the unconscious mind were fashionable subjects in the early 1950s, and the CIA could easily remain invisible behind a group of researchers who persuaded clients like Henry and Claire Booth Luce, Aldous Huxley and Ethel Kennedy to try LSD as a short cut highway to mental health, chemical Christianity or the Freudian subconscious. Some of the acid psychiatrists and psychologists of the fifties might argue today that they were unaware of the “spooky” link to their own supplies of the drug. In fact, several did apply directly to Sandoz with research proposals.(41) However almost the entire point of the Social Sciences, especially psychology, from the end of World War II until well into the Cold War, was to support the work of the national security establishment and help develop more effective technologies of Psychological Warfare.(42) As early as 1954 all CIA field offices had been ordered to monitor all LSD research which came to their attention. The colorful career of a man known in the mid-1950s as “the Johnny Appleseed of LSD” helps to illustrate the ubiquitous interconnections between national security interests and mental health.

Captain Alfred M. Hubbard, a former OSS officer who had helped smuggle U.S. weapons to Canada for the British during official American neutrality before Pearl Harbor,(43) was described by Aldous Huxley as “the good Captain” who had his own “passport into the most exalted spheres of government, business and ecclesiastical polity.”(44) Huxley took his first LSD trip in 1955 under Captain Al’s supervision. Indeed, Hubbard did have access to exalted spheres. He ran an alcoholism treatment program at Hollywood Hospital in Vancouver, BC where Ethel (Mrs. Robert) Kennedy was treated, prompting her Senator husband to interrogate FDA and National Institute of Mental Health representatives in 1966 about why they were attempting to thwart valuable research.(45) Hubbard was also in the uranium business when that commodity had the highest strategic significance. Captain Al, along with the British psychiatrist Humphrey Osmond who is credited with coming up with the term “psychedelic” during correspondence with the recently turned-on Huxley,(46) plotted to bring about world peace by giving individuals, politicians and social opinion leaders LSD to transform their belief systems. Hubbard claimed to have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in this project, traveling around the world scattering the acid he bought in bulk from Sandoz, alternately building his supply and giving it out to those whom he deemed worthy. Beverly Hills therapist Dr. Oscar Janiger told attendees at a 1979 “LSD reunion” that he sand his fellow psychiatric researchers and friends in Los Angeles had waited for the good Captain to arrive during those years, “…like the little old lady on the prairie waiting for a copy of the Sears Roebuck catalogue.”(47) Hubbard introduced many practices to “LSD therapy” in the fifties which would later become psychedelic rituals in the Haight, such as high dosages for profound religious experiences, strobe light enhancements, and the “guided trips” which later became the hallmark of Timothy Leary’s LSD methodology.(48)

It was the intersection in the 1950s between the secret MKULTRA program of human experimentation and the vogue of elite culture, the nexus of professional spies and Cold War strategists, Freudian shrinks and medical psychiatrists, which started the ripple effects that would circle back years later when Timothy Leary and Ken Kesey proselytized their acid dreams and called for a revolt of the guinea pigs. The secret drug research of American defense and intelligence agencies provided the necessary market for LSD to be manufactured in any quantity in the first place. If not for old OSS heros like William Donovan and Allen Dulles, and the new American reliance on psychological warfare to combat the threat of communist domination and avoid nuclear Armageddon, the future sacrament of the counterculture might have remained in a test tube on a shelf in Switzerland. The deep hostility in the sixties toward “Amerika” — its scientific authorities, the orthodoxy of anti-communism, and the class of gentleman spies and intellectuals who had conceived and founded its intelligence community — existed without knowledge of the fact that such establishment circles had been the original home of speculation about the power of LSD to transform the world and further the cause of peace.

It was hardly Wild Bill Donovan’s intention to effect wide distribution of a recreational hallucinogenic drug when he designed a postwar American intelligence service in 1944.(49) But a quarter of a century later four million Americans, most of them high school and college age and involved in radical politics, were attempting to chemically expand their own consciousness or perhaps mutate into some alien ideal of the hippie-as-superman or the Lizard King.(50) By the late 1960s, LSD had become an explosive catalyst in the political struggles of idealistic social reformers in the streets of America. A 1962 study by the Rand Corporation had suggested that LSD might operate as an antidote for political activism,(51) and indeed some historians now cite the expanding drug culture and excessive individualism it seemed to encourage as one likely cause of the abrupt scattering of the Movement coalition of New Left and Civil Rights organizations in late 1970.(52) Whether or not the Rand study suggests any specific intention by those who paid for it, the psychedelic counterculture, to the extent that it was based on the LSD experience (which it was, completely), must be considered first of all as one ironic legacy of the founders of American Intelligence, and an unintended consequence of weapons and tactics chosen in the epic ideological struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union.


40. Ibid. Clover Dulles began Jungian psychotherapy in 1945 in Switzerland, after being introduced to Jung by Mary Bancroft, who had become Allen Dulles’ mistress during the war and who was also described as a “groupie” of the great theoretician of abstract consciousness and metaphysics. Allen Dulles consulted Jung himself for advice on how to influence German culture toward democracy after the defeat of Hitler.
41. Dr. Oscar Janiger, who ran four of the studies in which Adele Davis participated, and Dr. Max Rinkel, the first person to bring LSD to the United States, were notable examples. (See Lee and Shlain.) However almost the whole point of the Social Sciences, especially psychology, from the end of World War II until well into the Cold War, was to support the worl of the national security establishment and help develop more effective technologies of psychological warfare.
42. Simpson, Christopher; Science of Coercion: Communication Research & Psychological Warfare, 1945-1960; New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. People like Oscar Janiger had to willfully isolate themselves from the relevance of their work to strategic Cold War policy. Another view of this same connection is the evaluation that after 1991 that the failure of U.S. Intelligence to predict the collapse of the Soviet Union amounted to no less than the failure of the social sciences themselves. LaQueur, Walter; The Dream That Failed: Reflections on the Soviet Union; New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.
43. Lee and Shlain, pages 44-45. Hubbard was later given an official pardon and kudos by President Truman for his illegal activity, and he was still important enough decades later to receive birthday greetings from President Ronald Reagan (Lee and Shlain, page 293).
44. Huxley, Aldous. Moksha: Writings on Psychedelics and the Visionary Experience (1931-1963). Michael Horowitz and Cynthia Palmer, eds. New York: Stonehill, 1977. Quoted in Lee and Shlain, page 48.
45. Lee and Shlain, page 93. The CIA had begun shutting off the supply of LSD and withdrawing support from private researchers as early as 1962, but beginning in 1965 new anti-drug laws made restrictions much tighter. Sandoz stopped marketing LSD entirely in 1966.
46. Ibid, page 54-55.
47. Quoted in Lee and Shlain, page 51.
48. See especially Stevens, Jay; Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream. New York: Harper & Row, 1987. Also see Lee and Shlain for many later comments and speculations about Hubbard from those who knew him as “the Johnny Appleseed of LSD.” It is almost impossible to imagine that Richard Helms and Sid Gottlieb at CIA were not informed of Al Hubbard’s exploits, though Hubbard himself convincingly claimed to hate the CIA for turning his beloved acid into a chemical warfare weapon.
49. The best source on this is Troy, Thomas F., Donovan and the CIA: A History of the Establishment of the Central Intelligence Agency; Frederick, MD: University Publications of America, 1981. This book was originally conceived to satisfy the curiosity of CIA employees about the history of their own institution. It was classified SECRET when it was finished in 1975, then re-edited and declassified. Donovan’s uniquely conspiratorial personality and his fascination with psychological warfare come through in a striking way, though the author did not purposely highlight those traits at all.
50. Morrison, Jim. “Not to Touch the Earth” song lyrics on the compact disc Waiting for the Sun by The Doors. Elecktra/Asylum Records, 1968. The final, exhausted line following a crashing rock crescendo at the end of this song is, “I am the Lizard King… I can do anything!” This may be a quintessential symbolic expression of the most radical aspects of the sixties cultural revolution. Rock writer Danny Sugarman described his first encounter with The Doors’ lead singer (“Nothing Would Ever Be the Same” reprinted in Bloom, Alexander and Wini Breines; Takin’ it to the streets: A Sixties Reader; New York: Oxford University Press, 1995; page 299) as a personally apocalyptic event.Jim Morrison enthralled and terrorized his audiences. It wasn’t even acting, he really was insane; some creature-sorcerer, he wanted to be insane, just to refuse an insulting status as mere humanity.
51. McLothlin, William H. Long-Lasting effects of LSD on Certain Attitudes In Normals: An Experimental Proposal. The Rand Corporation: May, 1962.
52. Professor Nancy MacLean. Lectures to History C91, “The Sixties.” Northwestern University, Winter 1998.