Today is the 50th anniversary of Dock Ellis's legendary baseball no-hitter on LSD

 

On June 12th, 1970, Dock Ellis pitched a no-hitter for the Pittsburgh Pirates against the San Diego Padres while he was high out of his god damn gourd on LSD. As he told the Ottawa Citizen:

I can only remember bits and pieces of the game. I was psyched. I had a feeling of euphoria. I was zeroed in on the [catcher's] glove, but I didn't hit the glove too much. I remember hitting a couple of batters, and the bases were loaded two or three times. The ball was small sometimes, the ball was large sometimes, sometimes I saw the catcher, sometimes I didn't. Sometimes, I tried to stare the hitter down and throw while I was looking at him. I chewed my gum until it turned to powder. They say I had about three to four fielding chances. I remember diving out of the way of a ball I thought was a line drive. I jumped, but the ball wasn't hit hard and never reached me.

Ellis also regaled the tale for a 2009 NPR interview, the audio of which was animated by cartoonist James Blagden into the animated short above, which has long since been one of my favorite things on YouTube.

Follow your dreams, children.

More on Dock Ellis's legacy and drug habit:

The Man Who Pitched a No-Hitter While Under the Influence of LSD Has Found a New Delivery: He Coordinates a Substance-Abuse Rehabilitation Program : Ellis: ‘I Couldn’t Pitch Without Pills’ [Jerry Crow / Los Angeles Times]

The Long, Strange Trip Of The Dock Ellis LSD No-Hitter Story [AJ Daulerio / Deadpin]

How Dock Ellis dropped acid and threw a no-hitter [Larry Getlen / New York Post] Read the rest

Psychedelic pharmaceutical company asks FDA for permission to conduct LSD therapy

A psychedelic pharmaceutical company is asking the FDA to allow it to run a commercial LSD trial to treat people with anxiety, reports Vice. MindMed's CEO is hopeful that his company will get permission to run the trial (dubbed "Project Lucy"), since the FDA has already approved trials with psilocybin and MDMA.

From Vice:

MindMed is proposing a high-dose LSD treatment (200mcg or about two tabs) for people with anxiety. Currently that can’t happen anywhere in the world due to LSD’s Schedule I status, except for Switzerland, where Dr. Peter Gasser has been doing this research for over 10 years.

LSD is still a banned Schedule I substance in Switzerland, but in part because of its unique history as the birthplace of LSD, the ministry of health granted Gasser special permission to use it in his research. In 2007, he began the first controlled trial of LSD.

“When the patient takes the substance, he or she is supervised by a therapist the entire time. They come to the office at 8:30 a.m., they get the drug, and then they stay until 8:30 p.m. That’s 12 hours in our facility in which they are supervised. We watch them, and we guide them through the experience,” Gasser told VICE News.

Image: Jumpstory / CC0 Read the rest

In honor of today's LSD anniversary, a sale on The Family Acid: California

On April 19, 1943, Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman ingested 240 micrograms of lysergic acid diethylamide, a curious compound he had synthesized for possible use as a respiratory and circulatory stimulant. An hour later, Hoffman wrote one sentence in his journal: "Beginning dizziness, feeling of anxiety, visual distortions, symptoms of paralysis, desire to laugh." As he rode his bicycle home, the effects intensified. Eventually though, the fear gave way to wonder.

"Little by little I could begin to enjoy the unprecedented colors and plays of shapes that persisted behind my closed eyes," Hoffman wrote. "Kaleidoscopic, fantastic images surged in on me, alternating, variegated, opening and then closing themselves in circles and spirals, exploding in colored fountains, rearranging and hybridizing themselves in constant flux..."

April 19 is now celebrated as Bicycle Day to commemorate the first intentional acid trip, a hallucinogenic revelation that had a profound impact on art, music, culture, and consciousness.

We can't go out right now, but we can go in. Way in. To celebrate Bicycle Day, my Ozma Records partner Tim Daly and I are offering a 33% discount on The Family Acid: California, a book of marvelous photographs drenched in the psychedelic experience.

For more than 50 years, photographer Roger Steffens has explored the electric arteries of the counterculture, embracing mind-expanding experiences, deep social connection, and unadulterated fun at every turn. After serving in Vietnam at the end of the 1960s, Steffens immersed himself in California’s vibrant bohemia. Since then, with his wife Mary and children Kate and Devon, he has sought out the eccentric, the outlandish, and the transcendent. Read the rest

Counterculture icon and psychedelic pioneer Ram Dass, RIP

Ram Dass -- counterculture icon, psychedelic pioneer, and spiritual guide -- has died at age 88. After turning on with his Harvard psychology colleague Timothy Leary in the early 1960s, Ram Dass (formerly Richard Alpert) became an intrepid explorer of higher consciousness and dedicated his life to teaching what he learned to the world. From Tricycle:

In Be Here Now, Ram Dass‘s first book for the masses, which has sold over 2 million copies since publication in 1971, he offered seekers an engaging, unconventional, slightly zany roadmap for finding a spiritual path and a more enduring connection to higher consciousness than a tab of acid could bring. From then on, in close to a dozen books and countless teachings, retreats, and podcasts, Ram Dass continued to share the wisdom of a journey that had long gone beyond personal transformation to embrace a cosmic worldview and social agenda...

“My life has been a dance between power and love,” he observed after the massive cerebral hemorrhage in 1997 that left the charismatic, preternaturally articulate teacher groping for words. “First part, till Harvard: power, power, power, power. Up until drugs, I thought power was the end all and be all, because I was a little individual. Then drugs: love, love, love, love. My first mushroom trip was so profound that I saw radiance was inside, and I said, ‘I’m home, I’m home, I’m home.'”

Read the rest

JOHN WILCOCK: Paul Krassner and the Birth of the Political Prankster Group, YIPPIE!

A 1967 acid trip during a hurricane at Ramrod Key, Florida, leads Abbie Hoffman, his wife Anita, and Paul Krassner to see the upcoming 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago as a hugely visible moment for political protest.

When home from the vacation, the group has a celebratory smoke, leading to Paul's coining of the term Yippie, for politicized, radical, or activist hippies.

From John Wilcock, New York Years, by Ethan Persoff and Scott Marshall.

(See all Boing Boing installments)

Read the rest

The creepy chemist behind CIA's search for a mind control drug

In the 1950s and 1960s, creepy chemist Sidney Gottlieb headed the CIA's efforts to find a mind control drug. Gottlieb and his delightful associates in the MK-Ultra project thought LSD, still legally manufactured, held the most promise. So they bought every drop of acid in the world and ran numerous horrible experiments on unwitting civilians to test its efficacy. Journalist Stephen Kinzer tells the tale in a new book out this week titled Poisoner In Chief. From an NPR interview with Kinzer:

Some of Gottlieb's experiments were covertly funded at universities and research centers, Kinzer says, while others were conducted in American prisons and in detention centers in Japan, Germany and the Philippines. Many of his unwitting subjects endured psychological torture ranging from electroshock to high doses of LSD, according to Kinzer's research.

"Gottlieb wanted to create a way to seize control of people's minds, and he realized it was a two-part process," Kinzer says. "First, you had to blast away the existing mind. Second, you had to find a way to insert a new mind into that resulting void. We didn't get too far on number two, but he did a lot of work on number one..."

Whitey Bulger was one of the prisoners who volunteered for what he was told was an experiment aimed at finding a cure for schizophrenia. As part of this experiment, he was given LSD every day for more than a year. He later realized that this had nothing to do with schizophrenia and he was a guinea pig in a government experiment aimed at seeing what people's long-term reactions to LSD was.

Read the rest

John Waters' new book, "Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder"

Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder, John Waters' new book, sounds like a demented must-have:

It “serves it up raw: how to fail upward in Hollywood; how to develop musical taste from Nervous Norvus to Maria Callas; how to build a home so ugly and trendy that no one but you would dare live in it; more important, how to tell someone you love them without emotional risk; and yes, how to cheat death itself. Through it all, Waters swears by one undeniable truth: ‘Whatever you might have heard, there is absolutely no downside to being famous. None at all.'”

He devotes an entire chapter in the book to dropping acid at age 70, which he describes in a recent interview with the Washington Blade:

That’s something that I did that I thoroughly enjoyed. I think if there’s a sentimental chapter in the book about friendship, then maybe that is that. If I had known how strong the LSD was that I took, I probably would have been uptight. But I didn’t and it was great. I spent eight months getting the right acid from the purest source I could find, practically from Timothy Leary’s asshole... But the provenance of it was high and it was great. I don’t have to ever do it again. Just like I don’t have to ever hitchhike across the country again. Why would I? I did it...

(RED) Read the rest

Magnificent photos from a psychedelic family's California trip

For more than 50 years, Roger Steffens has traveled the electric arteries of the counterculture embracing mind-expanding experiences, deep social connection, and unadulterated fun at every turn. And he’s captured it all on film. After serving in Vietnam during the final 26 months of the ‘60s, where he won a Bronze Star for founding a refugee campaign that raised over 100 tons of food and clothing, he spent a year lecturing against the war before settling in Marrakech. Finally returning Stateside in 1972, he immersed himself in the vibrant bohemias of Berkeley, Los Angeles, and beyond, touring his highly-acclaimed one-man show, “Poetry for People Who Hate Poetry.” A psychedelic polymath, Steffens worked as an actor, poet, editor, archivist, lecturer, author, NPR radio DJ and interviewer and, yes, photographer. Driven by his own insatiable curiosity and passion, he was on a perpetual quest for the eccentric, the outlandish, the transcendent. Just as often, it found him, smiling, a camera in one hand and a joint in the other.

Roger Steffens is an intrepid explorer of the fringe but he’s also a family man. He met his wife Mary under a lunar eclipse in a pygmy forest in Mendocino, California while on LSD. Soon after, they conjured up a daughter, Kate, and son, Devon. Family vacations took the foursome up and down the West Coast, from the gritty glam of Hollywood’s Sunset Strip to reggae festivals in Humboldt, fiery protests in Berkeley to the ancient redwoods of Big Sur and the wilds of Death Valley. Read the rest

Psychedelics pioneer Ralph Metzner, RIP

Pioneering psychonaut Ralph Metzner who co-led the seminal psychedelic research at Harvard University in the early 1960s with Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (Ram Dass) and co-authored The Psychedelic Experience, has died at age 82. (Above image, Metzner at left with Leary.) Through his life, Metzner helped a great many people through his psychotherapist practice, spoke frequently on eco-consciousness, and also composed visionary ballads. (Erowid)

Read the rest

Fancy apothecary-style jars to hold your peyote, hash, LSD, and shrooms

These porcelain druggist jars by Jonathan Adler are certainly conversation starters but do you really want to label your drug stash so obviously?

Expand your horizons with our Druggist Canisters. Dreamy third-eye mindscapes rendered in Delft-inspired blues and accented with real sparkly gold. High-fired porcelain elevates the experience. Stash your secrets in a single trippy vista, or cluster all four to create your own surreal apothecary.

Prices range from $228 to $298 per jar. Read the rest

The BBC talks microdosing magic mushrooms and LSD in this fascinating video

This video churned out by the BBC in 2017, offers a number of frank, intelligent conversations about the microdosing of LSD and magic mushrooms. Those interviewed seem sincere in how the practice has improved their everyday lives in a manner that's medicinal, not recreational. As a guy who's traditionally limited his drug use to booze and coffee, I was fascinated by what they had to say. Read the rest

Apple's HyperCard was inspired by an acid trip

Pioneering engineer Bill Atkinson was the lead designer/developer of the Apple Lisa graphical user interface, creator of MacPaint and QuickDraw, and part of the original team that developed the Apple Macintosh. In 1985, Atkinson dropped acid and came up with HyperCard, the groundbreaking multimedia authoring program that was really a precursor to the first Web browser. Atkinson recently told Leo Laporte the story of this incredible LSD-fueled eureka moment. From Mondo 2000:

It seemed to me the universe is in a process of coming alive. Consciousness is blossoming and propagating to colonize the universe, and life on Earth is one of many bright spots in the cosmic birth of consciousness....

The street lamps reminded me of bodies of knowledge, gems of discovery and understanding, but separated from each other by distance and different languages. Poets, artists, musicians, physicists, chemists, biologists, mathematicians, and economists all have separate pools of knowledge, but are hindered from sharing and finding the deeper connections...

Knowledge, it seemed to me, consists of the “How” connections between pieces of information, the cause and effect relationships. How does this action bring about that result. Science is a systematic attempt to discover the “How” connections. Wisdom, it seemed to me, was a step further removed, the bigger perspective of the “Why” connections between pieces of knowledge. Why, for reasons ethical and aesthetic, should we choose one future over another?

I thought if we could encourage sharing of ideas between different areas of knowledge, perhaps more of the bigger picture would emerge, and eventually more wisdom might develop.

Read the rest

JOHN WILCOCK: The Diggers' Death of Money & Other Counterculture Moments of 1966

A variety of events from 1966, including Ken Kesey's Acid Test at The Filmore, Charles Whitman's attack at The University of Texas at Austin, and John Lennon's statement about the Beatles popularity over Jesus.

New Netflix series from Erroll Morris about LSD and the CIA

I am ready for a big dose of intrigue, weirdness, and true conspiracies from filmmaker Erroll Morris's new Netflix series Wormwood about the CIA's evil and bizarre 1950s experiments in LSD and mind control. Turn on, tune in, and get creeped out December 15.

Read the rest

Nicholas Sand, creator of famous 'Orange Sunshine' LSD, has died at 75

Legendary chemists and psychonauts Nicholas Sand and Nick Scully created the legendary version of LSD known as “Orange Sunshine” that was so widely used in San Francisco in 1967. Sand died on April 24 at his home in the Northern California community of Lagunitas. He was 75. Read the rest

Today is the 74th anniversary of Albert Hofmann's first LSD trip

To celebrate Bicycle Day on April 19th, the date of Albert Hofmann’s — and the world’s first LSD trip in 1943, we are publishing this excerpt from the forthcoming interview with Michael Horowitz — the third installment of the Acid Bodhisattva series, coming soon to Timothy Leary Archives.

Images: from Lysergic World (April, 1993): Albert Hofmann in 1977 (above), and the route of his famous bicycle ride on LSD through Basel, Switzerland on April 19, 1943, from Sandoz Laboratories to his house.

Below, Leary's archivist Michael Horowitz reminisces about a car ride with Albert Hofmann and Timothy Leary in February 1972.

"Tim and I took the train to Basel where Albert picked us up in his car. He drove, Tim sat in the passenger seat and me in back, trying to manage a super 8mm movie camera with one hand and a tape recorder with the other. Albert told us that we were driving the route of his first LSD trip in 1943, when he bicycled home with his Sandoz lab assistant after testing 250 micrograms. Tim cracked up when I asked Albert if he still had the bicycle. I knew it was gauche of me, but I couldn't resist. A short time later Albert pulled over."

Here is an excerpt of the conversation between Albert and Tim, after they picked us up at the train station. On the way to Albert's estate we passed by his 1943 home.

Albert: That house is where we lived at the time. I never thought I would get home that day. Read the rest

Interview with a man who manufactured 3,000,000 Doses of LSD

UPDATE 3/5/2107 Peter Sjöstedt-H emailed me: "Thank you for promoting my interview with Tim Scully. Tim has emailed me to ask if the title of your article could be altered a little as it is now factually incorrect: Scully did not manufacture "750,000,000 Doses of LSD" but only *wanted to*. He actually only manufactured about 3,000,000 doses of 300 ug.

Peter Sjöstedt-H interviewed famous 1960s acid chemist Tim Scully for High Existence.

In 1977 Tim Scully was imprisoned for the manufacture of LSD, a high-standard variety thereof well known in the 1960s as Orange Sunshine. Following his release in 1980, Scully returned to a life concerned more with electronics than with acid-infused ideology. The story of his acid adventures with Nick Sand have been documented in the new film The Sunshine Makers – philosopher Peter Sjöstedt-H here asks Tim Scully eight questions stemming therefrom.

In the documentary you complained of “bad trips” after your run in with the law. Do you believe that the so-called “bad trip” can be beneficial?

There wasn’t room in a 90 minute film to explain this point fully. During the time from late 1966 through mid-1970 I was frequently followed by federal agents. I had to lose them before doing anything important. They knew that I knew that they were following me and I knew that they knew.

In mid-1968 my 2nd Denver lab was busted as shown in the film when I was out of town. I was arrested by federal agents in the spring of 1969 on a fugitive warrant from Denver.

Read the rest

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