Owsley Stanley, LSD pioneer, RIP

Augustus Owsley Stanley III, AKA the "Bear," died in a car crash in his adopted home of Queensland, Australia today. He was 76. Between 1965 and 1967, Stanley homebrewed more than one million doses of LSD in the San Francisco Bay Area fueling a revolution in consciousness, music, art, and the counterculture. The recipe came from a copy of the Journal of Organic Chemistry he found in the UC Berkeley library. The Grateful Dead's first sound engineer, Stanley also pioneered several technologies for live sound. From the National Post:
 Culture Characters Stanley Owsley Images Stanley Owsley1 Med The police raided his first lab in 1966, but Stanley successfully sued for the return of his equipment. After a marijuana bust in 1970, he went to prison for two years.

“I wound up doing time for something I should have been rewarded for,” he (said in a rare 2007 interview). “What I did was a community service, the way I look at it. I was punished for political reasons. Absolutely meaningless. Was I a criminal? No. I was a good member of society. Only my society and the one making the laws are different.”

"Psychedelic icon Owsley Stanley dies in Australia"


  1. Goodbye Owsley,
    I don’t know if I ever liked you, I mean, you were pretty hard to get close to.
    But you were a big influence on my life, and I thank you for that.

    Via con Dios

  2. I never have and probably never will take acid, but I’ve always enjoyed reading about Owsley’s escapades in the context of the 1960s. In a way, I’m more interested in his crystal clear recording techniques than the way he mixed this or that batch of LSD – I know many people claim to have had their eyes opened and their minds turned to white light by Owsley’s teeny tiny acid blotter squares but I’m not so sure if (in the long run) his acid did much good for society as a whole – God bless him –

  3. It’s encouraging to know many of the consciousness-astronauts of the 1960’s made it to advanced age with their mental faculties relatively intact, considering the scale of their experimentation.

    1. “with their mental faculties relatively intact”

      A friend and I happened to see Wavy Gravy at a screening of his new documentary today
      (in Santa Monica) and even though Wavy’s in his mid-70s he still has a sense of humor and a sharpness that some 21 year olds of today lack. Wavy was wearing his typical tie-dyed togs, bowler hat and he was walking his pet toy fish. He still does constant work for charities and his own Camp Winnarainbow. And he apparently dropped some of Owsley’s LSD in his day

  4. I count myself as an opened mind due to lsd. Maybe not so much an opened mind as a punctured vessel. The great lesson learned was something that is hard to put into words. I linked to this not for the life of a man or the power of a drug… but that freedom reaches into us in the strangest ways. And that oppression, however it surfaces, is but an illusion.

  5. Wow, what a surprising twist of fate. Totally figured his lifelong diet of eating red meat like an Inuit would’ve killed him. Color me surprised.

  6. before singing the praises of acid to highly, read through a scanner darkly and pay attention to the list of people at the end, not everyone has a wonderful time and lots of people never recover – I know

    1. why do you keep commenting on good or bad LSD experiences? are you a fragmented soul because of LSD? if so the real warning should be for those unstable minds that will most likely have problems with a drug like LSD or any other psychedelic. Im pretty sure Owsley regretted his association with LSD for this exact reason, the poor guy could never shake the stigma that has been attached to a drug that should have never been allowed into the streets by the CIA and the American government who clearly are the real criminals when it comes to LSD casualties. If it werent for Owsley Jimi Hendrix wouldnt have burned his guitar at Monterey, the reverberations can be felt to this day from that one batch. If it werent for MK ULTRA (CIA code name)1000s of minds would not have been tortured at the expense of the American Governments (who hired Nazi scientists)drive to find a truth syrum.

  7. Just goes to show, you can blow your mind with illegal LSD for years and be fine, but what will kill you? Cars, which people assume they have a right to.

  8. In a Jimi Hendrix session at the BBC, he says “oh Owsley, can you hear me now”. I’ve always wondered what Mr. Owsley thought, when he did hear it.

  9. I stuttered for 10 years, from late 50’s to 66,or 67.. Do to PSD I went to the Newport Jass Festival, bought from a van with CA plates that had come from Monteray festival, Bought a hit of Purple Haze, Went to school the next day to my speak therapy class, told them I no longer needed their help, Have not studderd since.. Thank you Bear. You touched more people than you know. I know you are up with Jerry now, And the Wall of Sound, just wow..

    1. @Anon
      So LSD relieved your stuttering completely?did it happen in one trip?plz explain,I truly believe psychedelics can cure stuttering by reprograming the subconscious

  10. In January when much of Queensland was flooding, i wrote him to say that i hoped the rain wasn’t doing him too badly, and to thank him for all his work had done for me. I’m glad i did that. BTW: he wrote back joking that Queensland is a very big place.

    Fare you well, Alice D. Millionaire.

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