John Lennon on his first acid trip

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In 1965, John Lennon, George Harrison, Cynthia Lennon, and Pattie Boyd were having dinner at a dentist friend's house. The dentist put LSD in their coffee without telling them first. When he revealed what he had done, John was pissed off, and rightly so. "How dare you fucking do this to us?" he said. Rolling Stone's Mikal Gilmore has the story and an animated interview with John about their first trip on LSD and the secret history of Revolver:

"It was as if we suddenly found ourselves in the middle of a horror film," Cynthia Lennon said. "The room seemed to get bigger and bigger." The Beatles and their wives fled Riley's home in Harrison's Mini Cooper. (According to Bury, John and George had earlier indicated a willingness to take LSD if they didn't know beforehand that it was being administered.) The Lennons and Harrisons went to Leicester Square's Ad Lib club. In the elevator, they succumbed momentarily to panic. "We all thought there was a fire in the lift," Lennon told Rolling Stone in 1971. "It was just a little red light, and we were all screaming, all hot and hysterical." Once inside at a table, something like reverie began to take hold instead. As Harrison told Rolling Stone, "I had such an overwhelming feeling of well-being, that there was a God, and I could see him in every blade of grass. It was like gaining hundreds of years of experience in 12 hours."

The couples ended up at the Harrisons' home in Esher, outside London.

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Couple drops acid and attempts to assemble Ikea furniture

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And you thought that second glass of wine before assembling your Scandinavian stick furniture might have been ill advised. In "Giancarlo and Nicole + LSD," a young couple drops tabs of acid, and 45 minutes later, attempts to assemble the rather complicated NORDLI cabinet from Ikea. Hilarity ensues.

This video, currently blazing its way through social media, is the brainchild of two creatives, Hunter Fine and Alex Taylor. It is the first in a series of videos they've dubbed Hikea.

In a second video posted to their site, test subject Keith chows down on a bag of 'shrooms and then gets to work on the MICKE desk. After over 5 1/2 hours, a pile of "extra" parts, and 12 skipped steps, he has something he can at least sit at. He didn't do much worse than when I try and build these pieces straight.

Taylor and Fine have plans for additional Hikea episodes. Catch them while you can, before Ikea's IP police sober them up. Read the rest

Video about using psychedelic drugs to treat anxiety, addiction, and OCD

In the last decade, researchers at Johns Hopkins University and elsewhere have launched new studies investigating whether psychedelic drugs, from shrooms to LSD to DMT, can treat mental disorders ranging from depression and PTSD to anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Vox reporters German Lopez and Javier Zarracina surveyed the state of medical research on hallucinogens:

In a recent study, British researchers used brain imaging techniques to gauge how the brain looks on LSD versus a placebo. They found big differences between LSD and the placebo, with the images of the brain on LSD showing much more connectivity between different sections of the mind.

This can help explain visual hallucinations, because it means various parts of the brain — not just the visual cortex at the back of the mind — are communicating during an LSD trip.

This, researchers argued, may show not just why psychedelic drugs trigger hallucinogenic experiences but also why they may be able to help people. "In many psychiatric disorders, the brain may be viewed as having become entrenched in pathology, such that core behaviors become automated and rigid," the researchers wrote. "Consistent with their ‘entropic’ effect on cortical activity, psychedelics may work to break down such disorders by dismantling the patterns of activity on which they rest."

"The fascinating, strange medical potential of psychedelic drugs, explained in 50+ studies" (Vox)

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Watch a fantastic documentary about psych pioneer Roky Erickson

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Roky Erickson is the founder of pioneering Texan psychedelic band the 13th Floor Elevators, an outfit that emerged in mid-1960s from Austin's underground scene and influenced bands ranging from ZZ Top and Primal Scream to The Flaming Lips and Queens of the Stone Age.

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Watch this brief history of LSD, and glimpse of its future

What a long, strange trip it's been, and continues to be. Just say know. (Retro Report)

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Bardo-tripping with Timothy Leary

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Our favorite PhD of high weirdness, Dr. Erik Davis, author of Techgnosis, recently gave a compelling cosmic rap at the Morbid Anatomy Museum about Timothy Leary and his appropriation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead! Listen to it here.

"While even most psychedelicists now discount the brazen and now rather dated work he created with Richard Alpert and Ralph Mezner, 1964’s The Psychedelic Experience," Erik writes, "I argue that there was also something deeply canny and even visionary about this mapping, which in some sense just extends possibilities already inherent in the ancient Tibetan concept (which is itself probably as indigenous-shamanic as it is Indian)." Read the rest

Fantastic pins celebrating LSD and The Family Acid

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The Family Acid is my favorite Instagram feed. It's a stream of photographer/author/explorer Roger Steffens's vintage snapshots of his psychedelic dynamic, inspiring, and psychedelic life in the counterculture since the early 1960s. Roger's children Kate and Devon are the editors and curators of their dad's hundreds of thousands of slides and negatives.

Kate has just issued these fantastic enamel pins for just $10/each. The "LSD did this to me" design is based on her dad's original pin from 1960s. As Boing Boing patron saint Timothy Leary once said, "You have to go out of your mind to use your head!"

Family Acid pins

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Return of the Jedi creature designer's LSD trip report

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VFX pioneer Phil Tippett, creator of Jabba the Hutt's pet Rancor, dropped acid during the production of Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi:

“I took LSD when I was working on Return of the Jedi. I could communicate with my cat Brian, and Brian took me on a journey.

“I crawled into this cupboard with Brian the cat and we went to the centre of the Earth for like three billion years and I was just in this world of molecules. It was fine, it was very calming.

“I decided to go back to work and I was at ILM (Industrial Light & Magic) and I walked into the blue screen stage and it’s huge - everything’s just super illuminated bright blue - and it was just like ‘Aaaah, I took like way too much.’’

More in this VICE video: "My Life in Monsters" (via The Independent)

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An LSD trip story: “Went to a Donald Trump speech on acid SUPER BAD VIBES”

Bad trip, dude.

“Got a terrific view of his exquisite hairpiece in person that seemed to have a mind of its own as it was breathing and taking on different forms throughout the whole speech.”

It may be fact, it may be fiction. We do not know. But this first-hand account of an unfortunate fellow who fell under the delusion that it would be a good idea to attend a campaign rally for GOP presidential candidate and noted racist shitbag Donald Trump while tripping balls--it's a very good acid trip story.

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How LSD became a brain hemorrhage patient's lifesaver

In GQ, Eric Perry writes about how a brain hemorrhage left him "depressed, stuck in a rut, and strangely fearful of death." Then he learned of new medical research on the benefits of psychedelic therapy to treat anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. So Perry signed up for his own acid test with others who were seeking solace via psychedelic experiences. From GQ:

My guide for the evening had accepted my 400 dollars, the price for my journey, in tie-dyed pants. It was my own fault I wasn’t tripping very hard—I’d told her, out of nervousness, I didn’t want to travel to other planets—though I suspected she knew less about the “sacraments” she was prescribing to us than she purported to. (“Do you know that Peruvians drip ayahuasca into the eyes of their newborns?” she’d told me earlier. “All Peruvians?” I’d asked, and she’d blushed.) Still, I liked her, partly because there was something in her eyes that made me think of the Wordsworth line from “Elegiac Stanzas”: “A deep distress hath humanized my soul.” I sensed there’d been some suffering in her past. Many of the participants, I noticed, had the same benignly haunted look. An ex-physician told us that ten years ago she’d been diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer; she’d recovered, but couldn’t shake the feeling that it would return any second to finish her off. To allay her lingering fear of death, she’d enrolled in a psilocybin trial, and her “whole reality changed.” She divorced her husband and began to juggle motherhood and what full-time psychonauts call “The Work,” traveling the world to partake in aya ceremonies.

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Sarah Palin on drugs

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Erowid Sarah Palin is a Twitter bot that melds Sarah Palin speeches with psychedelic trip reports posted to the excellent Erowid drug information clearinghouse.

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The CIA's experiments with psychedelic drugs led to the Grateful Dead

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"Earlier this year, the surviving members of the Grateful Dead played sold-out 'Fare Thee Well' concerts in Santa Clara and Chicago to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of their band," says Ben Mark of Collectors Weekly. "But Jerry Garcia and company did not start using the name Grateful Dead until December of 1965. The exact date is surprisingly hard to pin down, as my story for Collectors Weekly reveals, but we do know that the Grateful Dead's sound grew out of its experiences as the house band at the Acid Tests of 1965 and 1966, which were organized (if that's even the right word...) by Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. And where did Kesey get the idea to conduct experiments on human beings with LSD? In 1959, he was an LSD guinea pig himself in tests conducted by the CIA.

For Garcia, the ability of the Acid Tests to stop the world for a while and then remind you that it was still spinning was one of its key lessons. The Acid Tests, he says in Signpost, were “our first exposure to formlessness. Formlessness and chaos lead to new forms. And new order. Closer to, probably, what the real order is. When you break down the old orders and the old forms and leave them broken and shattered, you suddenly find yourself a new space with new form and new order which are more like the way it is. More like the flow.”

To put Garcia’s formulation in terms a contemporary Silicon Valley venture capitalist might understand, LSD was a disruptive technology, except that instead of upending mere transactions such as hailing a cab or renting a hotel room, the things being disrupted were the basic conventions of society, which is why mainstream America was, and remains, so terrified of the drug.

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Watch scenes from LSD: The Opera!

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Five scenes from "LSD: The Opera" performed at Los Angeles's REDCAT last month. It ain't over 'til Tim Leary sings? Read the rest

TV documentary about MKUltra (1979)

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Freak out on this classic 1970s exposé about the CIA's Project MKUltra 1950s LSD mind control experiments: "Mission Mind Control (ABC Closeup 1979)" Read the rest

Beautiful microscope photographs of drugs, legal and illegal: LSD, caffeine, GHB, meth, and more.

Caffeine crystals; formed out of 100% caffeine powder dissolved in demineralised water, made visible by using a cross polarised light microscope with an Berek filter.
Who knew caffeine, aspirin, and LSD were so darn beautiful up close?

A portrait artist draws while on LSD... for science! (1950s)

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From the Daily Grail:

An artist --whose identity has been lost-- was administered two 50-microgram doses of LSD, each separated by a lapse of one hour, and was then asked to draw portraits while under its influence, using the doctor who administered the drugs as a model.
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Video: Dock Ellis who pitched a no-hitter while on LSD

In honor of the World Series (Go Giants!), a repost of this classic animation of the great Pittsburgh Pirates player Dock Ellis telling how in 1970 he pitched a no-hitter while tripping balls on LSD. Directed by James Blagden and Chris Isenberg. Read the rest

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