The Homopathic Proving of
D-Lysergic Acid Diethylamide
1. How LSD Originated by Dr Albert Hoffman
2. Provers' Previous Experiences with LSD
3. Toxicological reports
How LSD Originated by Dr Albert Hoffman
In the realm of scientific observation, luck is granted only to those who are prepared. (Louis Pasteur)
Time and again I hear or read that LSD was discovered by accident. This is only partly true. LSD came into being within a systematic research program, and the "accident" did not occur until much later: when LSD was already five years old, I happened to experience its unforeseeable effects in my own body - or rather, in my own mind.
Looking back over my professional career to trace the influential events and decisions that eventually steered my work toward the synthesis of LSD, I realize that the most decisive step was my choice of employment upon completion of my chemistry studies. If that decision had been different, then this substance, which has become known the world over, might never have been created. In order to tell the story of the origin of LSD, then, I must also touch briefly on my career as a chemist, since the two developments are inextricably interreleted.
In the spring of 1929, on concluding my chemistry studies at the University of Zurich, I joined the Sandoz Company's pharmaceutical-chemical research laboratory in Basel, as a co-worker with Professor Arthur Stoll, founder and director of the pharmaceutical department. I chose this position because it afforded me the opportunity to work on natural products, whereas two other job offers from chemical firms in Basel had involved work in the field of synthetic chemistry.
First Chemical Explorations
My doctoral work at Zurich under Professor Paul Karrer had already given me one chance to pursue my interest in plant and animal chemistry. Making use of the gastrointestinal juice of the vineyard snail, I accomplished the enzymatic degradation of chitin, the structural material of which the shells, wings, and claws of insects, crustaceans, and other lower animals are composed. I was able to derive the chemical structure of chitin from the cleavage product, a nitrogen-containing sugar, obtained by this degradation. Chitin turned out to be an analogue of cellulose, the structural material of plants. This important result, obtained after only three months of research, led to a doctoral thesis rated "with distiction."
When I joined the Sandoz firm, the staff of the pharmaceutical-chemical department was still rather modest in number. Four chemists with doctoral degrees worked in research, three in production.
In Stoll's laboratory I found employment that completely agreed with me as aresearch chemist. The objective that Professor Stoll had set for his pharmaceutical-chemical research laboratories was to isolate the active principles (i.e., the effective constituents) of known medicinal plants to produce pure speciments of these substances. This is particularly important in the case of medicinal plants whose active principles are unstable, or whose potency is subject to great variation, which makes an exact dosage difficult. But if the active principle is available in pure form, it becomes possible to manufacture a stable pharmaceutical preparation, exactly quantifiable by weight. With this in mind, Professor Stoll had elected to study plant substances of recognized value such as the substances from foxglove (Digitalis), Mediterranean squill (Scilla maritima), and ergot of rye (Claviceps purpurea or Secale cornutum), which, owning to their instability and uncertain dosage, nevertheless, had been little used in medicine.
My first years in the Sandoz laboratories were devoted almost exclusively to studying the active principles of Mediterranean squill. Dr. Walter Kreis, one of Professor Stoll's earliest associates, lounched me in this field of research. The most important constituents of Mediterranean squill already existed in pure form. Their active agents, as well as those of woolly foxglove (Digitalis lanata), had been isolated and purified, chiefly by Dr. Kreis, with extraordinary skill.
The active principles of Mediterranean squill belong to the group of cardioactive glycosides (glycoside = sugar-containing substance) and serve, as do those of foxglove, in the treatment of cardiac insufficiency. The cardiac glycosides are extremely active substances. Because the therapeutic and the toxic doses differ so little, it becomes especially important here to have an exact dosage, based on pure compounds.
At the beginning of my investigations, a pharmaceutical preparation with Scilla glycosides had already been introduced into therapeutics by Sandoz; however, the chemical structure of these active compounds, with the exception of the sugar portion, remained largely unknown.
My main contribution to the Scilla research, in which I participated with enthusiasm, was to elucidate the chemical structure of the common nucleus ofScilla glycosides, showing on the one hand their differences from the Digitalis glycosides, and on the other hand their close structural relationship with the toxic principles isolated from skin glands of toads. In 1935, these studies were temporarily concluded.
Looking for a new field of research, I asked Professor Stoll to let me continue the investigations on the alkaloids of ergot, which he had begun in 1917 and which had led directly to the isolation of ergotamine in 1918. Ergotamine, discovered by Stoll, was the first ergot alkaloid obtained in pure chemical form. Although ergotamine quickly took a significant place in therapeutics (under the trade name Gynergen) as a hemostatic remedy in obstetrics and as a medicament in the treatment of migraine, chemical research on ergot in the Sandoz laboratories was abandoned after the isolation of ergotamine and the determination of its empirical formula. Meanwhile, at the beginning of the thirties, English and American laboratories had begun to determine the chemical structure of ergot alkaloids. They had also discovered a new, watersoluble ergot alkaloid, which could likewise be isolated from the mother liquor of ergotamine production. So I thought it was high time that Sandoz resumed chemical research on ergot alkaloids, unless we wanted to risk losing our leading role in a field of medicinal research, which was already becoming so important.
Professor Stoll granted my request, with some misgivings: "I must warn you of the difficulties you face in working with ergot alkaloids. These are-exceedingly sensitive, easily decomposed substances, less stable than any of the compounds you have investigated in the cardiac glycoside field. But you are welcome to try."
And so the switches were thrown, and I found myself engaged in a field of study that would become the main theme of my professional career. I have never forgotten the creative joy, the eager anticipation I felt in embarking on the study of ergot alkaloids, at that time a relatively uncharted field of research.
It may be helpful here to give some background information about ergot itself.[For further information on ergot, readers should refer to the monographs of G. Barger, Ergot and Ergotism (Gurney and Jackson, London, 1931) and A. Hofmann, Die Mutterkornalkaloide (F. Enke Verlag, Stuttgart, 1964). The former is a classical presentation of the history of the drug, while the latter emphasizes the chemical aspects.] It is produced by a lower fungus (Claviceps purpurea) that grows parasitically on rye and, to a lesser extent, on other species of grain and on wild grasses. Kernels infested with this fungus develop into light-brown to violet-brown curved pegs (sclerotia) that push forth from the husk in place of normal grains. Ergot is described botanically as a sclerotium, the form that the ergot fungus takes in winter. Ergot of rye (Secale cornutum) is the variety used medicinally.
Ergot, more than any other drug, has a fascinating history, in the course of which its role and meaning have been reversed: once dreaded as a poison, in the course of time it has changed to a rich storehouse of valuable remedies. Ergot first appeared on the stage of history in the early Middle Ages, as the cause of outbreaks of mass poisonings affecting thousands of persons at a time. The illness, whose connection with ergot was for a long time obscure, appeared in two characteristic forms, one gangrenous (ergotismus gangraenosus) and the other convulsive (ergotismus convulsivus). Popular names for ergotism - such as "mal des ardents," "ignis sacer," "heiliges Feuer," or "St. Anthony's fire" - refer to the gangrenous form of the disease. The patron saint of ergotism victims was St. Anthony, and it was primarily the Order of St. Anthony that treated these patients.
Until recent times, epidemic-like outbreaks of ergot poisoning have been recorded in most European countries including certain areas of Russia. With progress in agriculture, and since the realization, in the seventeenth century, that ergot-containing bread was the cause, the frequency and extent of ergotism epidemics diminished considerably. The last great epidemic occurred in certain areas of southern Russia in the years 1926-27. [The mass poisoning in the southern French city of Pont-St. Esprit in the year 1951, which many writers have attributed to ergot-containing bread, actually had nothing to do with ergotism. It rather involved poisoning by an organic mercury compound that was utilized for disinfecting seed.
The first mention of a medicinal use of ergot, namely as an ecbolic (a medicament to precipitate childbirth), is found in the herbal of the Frankfurt city physician Adam Lonitzer (Lonicerus) in the year 1582. Although ergot, as Lonitzer stated, had been used since olden times by midwives, it was not until 1808 that this drug gained entry into academic medicine, on the strength of a work by the American physician John Stearns entitled Account of the Putvis Parturiens, a Remedy for Quickening Childbirth. The use of ergot as an ecbolic did not, however, endure. Practitioners became aware quite early of the great danger to the child, owing primarily to the uncertainty of dosage, which when too high led to uterine spasms. From then on, the use of ergot in obstetrics was confined to stopping postpartum hemorrhage (bleeding after childbirth).
It was not until ergot's recognition in various pharmacopoeias during the first half of the nineteenth century that the first steps were taken toward isolating the active principles of the drug. However, of all the researchers who assayed this problem during the first hundred years, not one succeeded in identifying the actual substances responsible for the therapeutic activity. In 1907, the Englishmen G. Barger and F. H. Carr were the first to isolate an active alkaloidal preparation, which they named ergotoxine because it produced more of the toxic than therapeutic properties of ergot. (This preparation was not homogeneous, but rather a mixture of several alkaloids, as I was able to show thirty-five years later.) Nevertheless, the pharmacologist H. H. Dale discovered that ergotoxine, besides the uterotonic effect, also had an antagonistic activity on adrenaline in the autonomic nervous system that could lead to the therapeutic use of ergot alkaloids. Only with the isolation of ergotamine by A. Stoll (as mentioned previously) did an ergot alkaloid find entry and widespread use in therapeutics.
The early 1930s brought a new era in ergot research, beginning with the determination of the chemical structure of ergot alkaloids, as mentioned, in English and American laboratories. By chemical cleavage, W. A. Jacobs and L. C. Craig of the Rockefeller Institute of New York succeeded in isolating and characterizing the nucleus common to all ergot alkaloids. They named it lysergic acid. Then came a major development, both for chemistry and for medicine: the isolation of the specifically uterotonic, hemostatic principle of ergot, which was published simultaneously and quite independently by four institutions, including the Sandoz laboratories. The substance, an alkaloid of comparatively simple structure, was named ergobasine (syn. ergometrine, ergonovine) by A. Stoll and E. Burckhardt. By the chemical degradation of ergobasine, W. A. Jacobs and L. C. Craig obtained lysergic acid and the amino alcohol propanolamine as cleavage products.
I set as my first goal the problem of preparing this alkaloid synthetically, through chemical linking of the two components of ergobasine, lysergic acid and propanolamine (see structural formulas in the appendix).
The lysergic acid necessary for these studies had to be obtained by chemical cleavage of some other ergot alkaloid. Since only ergotamine was available as a pure alkaloid, and was already being produced in kilogram quantities in the pharmaceutical production department, I chose this alkaloid as the starting material for my work. I set about obtaining 0.5 gm of ergotamine from the ergot production people. When I sent the internal requisition form to Professor Stoll for his countersignature, he appeared in my laboratory and reproved me: "If you want to work with ergot alkaloids, you will have to familiarize yourself with the techniques of microchemistry. I can't have you consuming such a large amount of my expensive ergotamine for your experiments."
The ergot production department, besides using ergot of Swiss origin to obtain ergotamine, also dealt with Portuguese ergot, which yielded an amorphous alkaloidal preparation that corresponded to the aforementioned ergotoxine first produced by Barger and Carr. I decided to use this less expensive material for the preparation of lysergic acid. The alkaloid obtained from the production department had to be purified further, before it would be suitable for cleavage to lysergic acid. Observations made during the purification process led me to think that ergotoxine could be a mixture of several alkaloids, rather than one homogeneous alkaloid. I will speak later of the far-reaching sequelae of these observations.
Here I must digress briefly to describe the working conditions and techniques that prevailed in those days. These remarks may be of interest to the present generation of research chemists in industry, who are accustomed to far better conditions.
We were very frugal. Individual laboratories were considered a rare extravagance. During the first six years of my employment with Sandoz, I shared a laboratory with two colleagues. We three chemists, plus an assistant each, worked in the same room on three different fields: Dr. Kreiss on cardiac glycosides; Dr. Wiedemann, who joined Sandoz around the same time as I, on the leaf pigment chlorophyll; and I ultimately on ergot alkaloids. The laboratory was equipped with two fume hoods (compartments supplied with outlets), providing less than effective ventilation by gas flames. When we requested that these hoods be equipped with ventilators, our chief refused on the gound that ventilation by gas flame had sufficed in Willstatter's laboratory.
During the last years of World War I, Professor Stoll had been an assistant in Berlin and Munich to the world-famous chemist and Nobel laureate Professor Richard Willstatter, and with him had conducted the fundamental investigations on chlorophyll and the assimilation of carbon dioxide. There was scarcely a scientific discussion with Professor Stoll in which he did not mention his revered teacher Professor Willstatter and his work in Willstatter's laboratory.
The working techniques available to chemists in the field of organic chemistry at that time (the beginning of the thirties) were essentially the same as those employed by Justus von Liebig a hundred years earlier. The most important development achieved since then was the introduction of microanalysis by B. Pregl, which made it possible to ascertain the elemental composition of a compound with only a few milligrams of specimen, whereas earlier a few centigrams were needed. Of the other physical-chemical techniques at the disposal of the chemist today - techniques which have changed his way of working, making it faster and more effective, and created entirely new possibilities, above all for the elucidation of structure -none yet existed in those days.
For the investigations of Scilla glycosides and the first studies in the ergot field, I still used the old separation and purification techniques from Liebig's day: fractional extraction, fractional precipitation, fractional crystallization, and the like. The introduction of column chromatography, the first important step in modern laboratory technique, was of great value to me only in later investigations. For structure determination, which today can be conducted rapidly and elegantly with the help of spectroscopic methods (UV, IR, NMR) and X-ray crystallography, we had to rely, in the first fundamental ergot studies, entirely on the old laborious methods of chemical degradation and derivatization.
Lysergic Acid and Its Derivatives
Lysergic acid proved to be a rather unstable substance, and its rebonding with basic radicals posed difficulties. In the technique known as Curtius' Synthesis, I ultimately found a process that proved useful for combining lysergic acid with amines. With this method I produced a great number of lysergic acid compounds. By combining lysergic acid with the amino alcohol propanolamine, I obtained a compound that was identical to the natural ergot alkaloid ergobasine. With that, the first synthesis - that is, artificial production - of an ergot alkaloid was accomplished. This was not only of scientific interest, as confirmation of the chemical structure of ergobasine, but also of practical significance, because ergobasine, the specifically uterotonic, hemostatic principle, is present in ergot only in very trifling quantities. With this synthesis, the other alkaloids existing abundantly in ergot could now be converted to ergobasine, which was valuable in obstetrics.
After this first success in the ergot field, my investigations went forward on two fronts. First, I attempted to improve the pharmacological properties of ergobasine by variations of its amino alcohol radical. My colleague Dr. J. Peyer and I developed a process for the economical production of propanolamine and other amino alcohols. Indeed, by substitution of the propanolamine contained in ergobasine with the amino alcohol butanolamine, an active principle was obtained that even surpassed the natural alkaloid in its therapeutic properties. This improved ergobasine has found worldwide application as a dependable uterotonic, hemostatic remedy under the trade name Methergine, and is today the leading medicament for this indication in obstetrics.
I further employed my synthetic procedure to produce new lysergic acid compounds for which uterotonic activity was not prominent, but from which, on the basis of their chemical structure, other types of interesting pharmacological properties could be expected. In 1938, I produced the twenty-fifth substance in this series of lysergic acid derivatives: lysergic acid diethylamide, abbreviated LSD-25 (Lyserg-saure-diathylamid) for laboratory usage.
I had planned the synthesis of this compound with the intention of obtaining a circulatory and respiratory stimulant (an analeptic). Such stimulating properties could be expected for lysergic acid diethylamide, because it shows similarity in chemical structure to the analeptic already known at that time, namely nicotinic acid diethylamide (Coramine). During the testing of LSD-25 in the pharmacological department of Sandoz, whose director at the time was Professor Ernst Rothlin, a strong effect on the uterus was established. It amounted to some 70 percent of the activity of ergobasine. The research report also noted, in passing, that the experimental animals became restless during the narcosis. The new substance, however, aroused no special interest in our pharmacologists and physicians; testing was therefore discontinued.
For the next five years, nothing more was heard of the substance LSD-25. Meanwhile, my work in the ergot field advanced further in other areas. Through the purification of ergotoxine, the starting material for lysergic acid, I obtained, as already mentioned, the impression that this alkaloidal preparation was not homogeneous, but was rather a mixture of different substances. This doubt as to the homogeneity of ergotoxine was reinforced when in its hydrogenation two distinctly different hydrogenation products were obtained, whereas the homogeneous alkaloid ergotamine under the same condition yielded only a single hydrogenation product (hydrogenation = introduction of hydrogen). Extended, systematic analytical investigations of the supposed ergotoxine mixture led ultimately to the separation of this alkaloidal preparation into three homogeneous components. One of the three chemically homogeneous ergotoxine alkaloids proved to be identical with an alkaloid isolated shortly before in the production department, which A. Stoll and E. Burckhardt had named ergocristine. The other two alkaloids were both new. The first I named ergocornine; and for the second, the last to be isolated, which had long remained hidden in the mother liquor, I chose the name ergokryptine (kryptos = hidden). Later it was found that ergokryptine occurs in two isomeric forms, which were differentiated as alfa- and beta-ergokryptine.
The solution of the ergotoxine problem was not merely scientifically interesting, but also had great practical significance. A valuable remedy arose from it. The three hydrogenated ergotoxine alkaloids that I produced in the course of these investigations, dihydroergocristine, dihydroergokryptine, and dihydroergocornine, displayed medicinally useful properties during testing by Professor Rothlin in the pharmacological department. From these three substances, the pharmaceutical preparation Hydergine was developed, a medicament for improvement of peripheral circulation and cerebral function in the control of geriatric disorders. Hydergine has proven to be an effective remedy in geriatrics for these indications. Today it is Sandoz's most important pharmaceutical product.
Dihydroergotamine, which I likewise produced in the course of these investigations, has also found application in therapeutics as a circulation- and bloodpressure-stabilizing medicament, under the trade name Dihydergot.
While today research on important projects is almost exclusively carried out as teamwork, the investigations on ergot alkaloids described above were conducted by myself alone. Even the further chemical steps in the evolution of commercial preparations remained in my hands - that is, the preparation of larger specimens for the clinical trials, and finally the perfection of the first procedures for mass production of Methergine, Hydergine, and Dihydergot. This even included the analytical controls for the development of the first galenical forms of these three preparations: the ampules, liquid solutions, and tablets. My aides at that time included a laboratory assistant, a laboratory helper, and later in addition a second laboratory assistant and a chemical technician.
Discovery of the Psyhic Effects of LSD
The solution of the ergotoxine problem had led to fruitful results, described here only briefly, and had opened up further avenues of research. And yet I could not forget the relatively uninteresting LSD-25. A peculiar presentiment - the feeling that this substance could possess properties other than those established in the first investigations - induced me, five years after the first synthesis, to produce LSD-25 once again so that a sample could be given to the pharmacological department for further tests. This was quite unusual; experimental substances, as a rule, were definitely stricken from the research program if once found to be lacking in pharmacological interest.
Nevertheless, in the spring of 1943, I repeated the synthesis of LSD-25. As in the first synthesis, this involved the production of only a few centigrams of the compound.
In the final step of the synthesis, during the purification and crystallization of lysergic acid diethylamide in the form of a tartrate (tartaric acid salt), I was interrupted in my work by unusual sensations. The following description of this incident comes from the report that I sent at the time to Professor Stoll:
Last Friday, April 16,1943, I was forced to interrupt my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and proceed home, being affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors. After some two hours this condition faded away.
This was, altogether, a remarkable experience - both in its sudden onset and its extraordinary course. It seemed to have resulted from some external toxic influence; I surmised a connection with the substance I had been working with at the time, lysergic acid diethylamide tartrate. But this led to another question: how had I managed to absorb this material? Because of the known toxicity of ergot substances, I always maintained meticulously neat work habits. Possibly a bit of the LSD solution had contacted my fingertips during crystallization, and a trace of the substance was absorbed through the skin. If LSD-25 had indeed been the cause of this bizarre experience, then it must be a substance of extraordinary potency. There seemed to be only one way of getting to the bottom of this. I decided on a self-experiment.
Exercising extreme caution, I began the planned series of experiments with the smallest quantity that could be expected to produce some effect, considering the activity of the ergot alkaloids known at the time: namely, 0.25 mg (mg = milligram = one thousandth of a gram) of lysergic acid diethylamide tartrate. Quoted below is the entry for this experiment in my laboratory journal of April 19, 1943.
4/19/43 16:20: 0.5 cc of 1/2 promil aqueous solution of diethylamide tartrate orally = 0.25 mg tartrate. Taken diluted with about 10 cc water. Tasteless.
7:00: Beginning dizziness, feeling of anxiety, visual distortions, symptoms of paralysis, desire to laugh.
Supplement of 4/21: Home by bicycle. From 18:00- ca.20:00 most severe crisis. (See special report.)
Here the notes in my laboratory journal cease. I was able to write the last words only with great effort. By now it was already clear to me that LSD had been the cause of the remarkable experience of the previous Friday, for the altered perceptions were of the same type as before, only much more intense. I had to struggle to speak intelligibly. I asked my laboratory assistant, who was informed of the self-experiment, to escort me home. We went by bicycle, no automobile being available because of wartime restrictions on their use. On the way home, my condition began to assume threatening forms. Everything in my field of vision wavered and was distorted as if seen in a curved mirror. I also had the sensation of being unable to move from the spot. Nevertheless, my assistant later told me that we had traveled very rapidly. Finally, we arrived at home safe and sound, and I was just barely capable of asking my companion to summon our family doctor and request milk from the neighbors.
In spite of my delirious, bewildered condition, I had brief periods of clear and effective thinking - and chose milk as a nonspecific antidote for poisoning.
The dizziness and sensation of fainting became so strong at times that I could no longer hold myself erect, and had to lie down on a sofa. My surroundings had now transformed themselves in more terrifying ways. Everything in the room spun around, and the familiar objects and pieces of furniture assumed grotesque, threatening forrns. They were in continuous motion, animated, as if driven by an inner restlessness. The lady next door, whom I scarcely recognized, brought me milk - in the course of the evening I drank more than two liters. She was no longer Mrs. R., but rather a malevolent, insidious witch with a colored mask.
Even worse than these demonic transformations of the outer world, were the alterations that I perceived in myself, in my inner being. Every exertion of my will, every attempt to put an end to the disintegration of the outer world and the dissolution of my ego, seemed to be wasted effort. A demon had invaded me, had taken possession of my body, mind, and soul. I jumped up andscreamed, trying to free myself from him, but then sank down again and layhelpless on the sofa. The substance, with which I had wanted to experiment,had vanquished me. It was the demon that scornfully triumphed over my will. I was seized by the dreadful fear of going insane. I was taken to another world, another place, another time. My body seemed to be without sensation, lifeless, strange. Was I dying? Was this the transition? At times I believed myself to be outside my body, and then perceived clearly, as an outside observer, the complete tragedy of my situation. I had not even taken leave of my family (my wife, with our three children had traveled that day to visit her parents, in Lucerne). Would they ever understand that I had not experimented thoughtlessly, irresponsibly, but rather with the utmost caution, and that such a result was in no way foreseeable? My fear and despair intensified, not only because a young family should lose its father, but also because I dreaded leaving my chemical research work, which meant so much to me, unfinished in the midst of fruitful, promising development. Another reflection took shape, an idea full of bitter irony: if I was now forced to leave this world prematurely, it was because of this Iysergic acid diethylamide that I myself had brought forth into the world.
By the time the doctor arrived, the climax of my despondent condition had already passed. My laboratory assistant informed him about my selfexperiment, as I myself was not yet able to formulate a coherent sentence. He shook his head in perplexity, after my attempts to describe the mortal danger that threatened my body. He could detect no abnormal symptoms other than extremely dilated pupils. Pulse, blood pressure, breathing were all normal. He saw no reason to prescribe any medication. Instead he conveyed me to my bed and stood watch over me. Slowly I came back from a weird, unfamiliar world to reassuring everyday reality. The horror softened and gave way to a feeling of good fortune and gratitude, the more normal perceptions and thoughts returned, and I became more confident that the danger of insanity was conclusively past.
Now, little by little I could begin to enjoy the unprecedented colors and plays of shapes that persisted behind my closed eyes. 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. It was particularly remarkable how every acoustic perception, such as the sound of a door handle or a passing automobile, became transformed into optical perceptions. Every sound generated a vividly changing image, with its own consistent form and color.
Late in the evening my wife returned from Lucerne. Someone had informed her by telephone that I was suffering a mysterious breakdown. She had returned home at once, leaving the children behind with her parents. By now, I had recovered myself sufficiently to tell her what had happened.
Exhausted, I then slept, to awake next morning refreshed, with a clear head, though still somewhat tired physically. A sensation of well-being and renewed life flowed through me. Breakfast tasted delicious and gave me extraordinary pleasure. When I later walked out into the garden, in which the sun shone now after a spring rain, everything glistened and sparkled in a fresh light. The world was as if newly created. All my senses vibrated in a condition of highest sensitivity, which persisted for the entire day.
This self-experiment showed that LSD-25 behaved as a psychoactive substance with extraordinary properties and potency. There was to my knowledge no other known substance that evoked such profound psychic effects in such extremely low doses, that caused such dramatic changes in human consciousness and our experience of the inner and outer world.
What seemed even more significant was that I could remember the experience of LSD inebriation in every detail. This could only mean that the conscious recording function was not interrupted, even in the climax of the LSD experience, despite the profound breakdown of the normal world view. For the entire duration of the experiment, I had even been aware of participating in an experiment, but despite this recognition of my condition, I could not, with every exertion of my will, shake off the LSD world. Everything was experienced as completely real, as alarming reality; alarming, because the picture of the other, familiar everyday reality was still fully preserved in the memory for comparison.
Another surprising aspect of LSD was its ability to produce such a far-reaching, powerful state of inebriation without leaving a hangover. Quite the contrary, on the day after the LSD experiment I felt myself to be, as already described, in excellent physical and mental condition.
I was aware that LSD, a new active compound with such properties, would have to be of use in pharmacology, in neurology, and especially in psychiatry, and that it would attract the interest of concerned specialists. But at that time I had no inkling that the new substance would also come to be used beyond medical science, as an inebriant in the drug scene. Since my self-experiment had revealed LSD in its terrifying, demonic aspect, the last thing I could have expected was that this substance could ever find application as anything approaching a pleasure drug. I failed, moreover, to recognize the meaningful connection between LSD inebriation and spontaneous visionary experience until much later, after further experiments, which were carried out with far lower doses and under different conditions.
The next day I wrote to Professor Stoll the abovementioned report about my extraordinary experience with LSD-25 and sent a copy to the director of the pharmacological department, Professor Rothlin.
As expected, the first reaction was incredulous astonishment. Instantly a telephone call came from the management; Professor Stoll asked: "Are you certain you made no mistake in the weighing? Is the stated dose really correct?" Professor Rothlin also called, asking the same question. I was certain of this point, for I had executed the weighing and dosage with my own hands. Yet their doubts were justified to some extent, for until then no known substance had displayed even the slightest psychic effect in fractionof-a-milligram doses. An active compound of such potency seemed almost unbelievable.
Professor Rothlin himself and two of his colleagues were the first to repeat my experiment, with only one third of the dose I had utilized. But even at that level, the effects were still extremely impressive, and quite fantastic. All doubts about the statements in my report were eliminated.
Provers' Previous Experiences with LSD
A few highlights of some experiences with the crude drug as recounted by some provers.
My initial experiences relocated some of my early childhood perceptions of reality: unbounded wellbeing, awe and wonder in each and every fragment of the world. I choose the word 'fragment' because my attention was riveted upon tiny things. These were apprehended in spot-it clarity, my vision having been brought forward into the microscopic realm where detail hitherto forgotten (since childhood), transfixed me in reverential delight at the inventiveness of creation. Not only this, also I perceived things, as it were, alive, animated by an inner luminescence and dynamic. So great was this inner force that that which I examined began to move, to open and close in gradual and rhythmic pulse, as do underwater organisms when swayed by soft currents or their own muscular propulsions. Everything 'breathed' in slow motion. Soon the whole of my vision was thus affected: the whole world was alive! Not only this, also the 'breathing' activity joined all things together in wonderful harmonic sway. Since these LSD experiences I have retained some of the freshness of this 'vision of the world' and when I view certain cloud formations, then the pulsing, breathing movements readily become perceptibly once again. Apropos of which: it is easy to understand how flashbacks to drug induced experiences occur (by a trigger experience) and to appreciate that were they characterised by horror, then that memory and state would be reactivated.
I had a notable experience with moon light on one occasion while on LSD. The light radiated from the moon like that of the sun's corona during a total eclipse. The corona expanded as, stock still, I watched, filling me with expectation, wonder, fear. Then a force which I could not resist, flung me forward onto the meadow. My face was pressed into the dewy grass, into the sweet smell of earth. I lay there for some time before I dared look up.
One day when tripping with my friend in a mountainous region we embarked upon a climb which took us some hours. I remember that we proceeded slowly, being guided by instinct as well as by the smallest crevices in the rock face. These foot and hand holds were more than adequate for our purposes because they seemed large. Thus we were propelled by total confidence and supported by the flimsiest of roots and branches, cracks and crevices. None of this would be of particular note, excepting, perhaps the absence of anxiety, the single minded concentration and lack of usual verbal communication between us. All our 'talk' was by glances, feeling sense and telepathy. What was of note, is that upon reexamining our point of departure on the climb a few days later, we were unable to find a single hand or foot hold. We could not even begin to imagine how we had done it! To verify our experience, to be sure that this was not an hallucination, we took a much longer route to the summit, finding evidence there of our buried pack-lunch paper bags. Later on the day of our trip, we entered the village cafe, and were amazed to notice that everything had shrunk to a fraction of its size: tiny cups and saucers, tiny rolls and tea cakes. The folks had also miniaturised and seemed to us like pixies and dwarfs. We laughed like children, having so much difficulty in ordering that we finally gave up and ran out of the place convulsed in giggles.
I was in a London suburb living room with a group of stoned hippies. Everything and everyone was 'breathing' in a slow pulse. A sound like that of the wind circling, getting close and circling far away, then returning in a rush, accompanied the visual effect of 'breathing'. I 'became' each of the other people in turn. As if moving upon a slow roundabout, I entered the being of each of the others. Through their eyes I saw myself, as well as, through shifted viewpoint and perspectives, I saw the room. The effect made me giddy and disoriented. But worst of all, I had lost myself. I was not ready for this. This was horrifying. The worst experience I had ever had!
I was in a Los Angeles back yard listening to radio music, distant conversations, birds, traffic, someone having a quarrel with his wife. The music 'became' visual: twirling, unfurling, fern-frond shapes in ever changing colours. It was like a Walt Disney cartoon. I was at once engaged by this display and appalled by the vulgarity of the colours. Then, somehow, the bird song got caught up in the cartoon. Multi-coloured feathers in kaleidoscopic array danced in step to the music. The vulgarity reached fever-pitch. At last the noise of traffic 'scratched' across the visual field: the animator had trashed his drawings! The sounds of the warring couple now took up centre stage, they were quarrelling in my head, the cartoon master was inside my brain, the husband and wife were boxing it out in my skull.
My last experience with LDS occurred while I was holidaying in Pembrokeshire. Nothing had happened for some hours after taking the dose and I had begun to think that this trip was a dud. I was sitting in a relaxed half lotus asana when I found my awareness suddenly raised out of myself. I was at a point of awareness some great distance above myself. As if from a balloon cradle high in the sky, I had a spherical perception of the scene: sun, clouds, birds, ocean, ships, land, trees, gardens, houses, people. Then, it seemed to me, a rainbow bridge extended itself from where my awareness was. It was like peacock's wings unfurling in a perfectly symmetrical and spherical array. I was the single point of awareness and at the same moment I was those myriad rainbow colours. I do not know for how long I retained this dual consciousness. It was interrupted by my three year old son who entered the room with some urgent request. I was instantly recalled; my full attention rested with him. Satisfied, he withdrew. Now a presence seemed to advise to me, telling me that while I was here (in my body), the essential practice was to keep my back upright and my energy aligned.
A few years later, I was called to attend to an accidents. He had been tripping and preaching, very loquaciously. He was viewing what he described as, 'the spider's-web of the world'. He had stepped out upon it and fallen from a second story window. Undeterred by his broken leg, he had climbed the stairs, repositioned himself at the same window ledge, and stepped out upon his hallucinatory platform. Why had he done it a second time, I asked him, 'because it beckons me,' he explained, 'because I am holy'. His house mates had been too paranoid to call an ambulance, besides which, he felt no pain. I gave him Stramonium (I cannot remember which potency) and called the local hospital!
We went to see a Japanese drummer/ percussionist, and
we both started to "come up" in the theatre. This was a feeling of
excitement and anticipatory anxiety, sights and sounds began to take on a more
vivid and acute quality. The percussionist, Stomo Yamashta, had sparks flying
from drum sticks and the concert was amazing. The major effect began once we
left the theatre. It seemed that the enclosed space of the theatre had made
the sensory experience more controllable, but once outside things felt different.
We had to walk for ages because we could not go home. We walked out of the city
into some tree-lined green space, it felt like leaving this world behind. The
surroundings took on a more menacing appearance, trees with laughing faces,
my scarf brushed my face and I thought it was a hand. Perceptions became mixed
up. It was still exciting, it was indeed a trip into somewhere unknown. So much
was comical, I formed a close relationship to my bicycle, which I pushed home.
We spent the morning wandering around the town admiring
the sights which were more colourful and interesting than they should have been.
We felt separated from the world around us, not part of it. We were completely
unaware of danger and walked out into the middle of busy roads as cars screeched
around us. One friend wondered if stubbing out a cigarette on his hand would
hurt and so he tried it. It did but was still hilarious. We were aware that
we were doing something wrong and when we saw a policeman on the other side
of the road, we walked by on tiptoe, fingers to lips, going, 'shhhh' to each
other and laughing hysterically.
We went to a pub for lunch. Our sober friend went to purchase beers. He returned with a tray containing a pint of Guinness and three halves of bitter. It seemed grossly unfair that he should have this enormous glass, it appeared several feet high, of rich black beer while we had thimble sized glasses of gnat's piss. All three of us seemed to have had the same hallucination and the same reaction to it.
We spent the afternoon at a film. It was a terrible farce but seemed to be both deep and hilarious. But the dark contained space brought us down a bit.
Interestingly, soon after starting work on the proving I spoke to two of these friends for the first time in more than 25 years.
There are many descriptions of LSD trips available in literature and on the internet.
The following extracts are taken from peoples experiences posted on the sites www.lycaeum.org and www.erowid.org both of which have a large number of drug experience of all sorts.
The brief extracts have been chosen because they are particularly descriptive or because they are good examples of experiences that have been described many times by different people.
Releasing a Soul Into the Rainbow Dome by Zen
1995 was the year of acid for me, a doorway into places I am certain I dreamt about in my childhood, crystal dimensions, where I could taste colors and touch sounds and smells with my hands from the very first trip on, I felt great amounts inhibitions and unresolved issues from my shitty past leaving me, literally 'enlightening' me. I was like a snake shedding skin and slithering into a newer safer place. I stopped being afraid of who I had become.
I could not register the cold in my body though mentally I KNEW it was freezing!! D and I looked at each other in frozen silence, reading each other's minds.
I had lost my pregnancy two weeks ago, and today's purpose was to let go. We approached this seemingly dreary mission with intense peace and love. Looking up, I saw an overpoweringly large dome of rainbow criss-crossing and enveloping us. From the middle of the field, a silver chord leading into the eternal nightsky. I fell in and out of sounds and sights, at some point I had a conversation with the child I had lost, voices whispered from beyond the sphere; it was so sad and elating at the same time.
Under the covers, to celebrate our 'letting go', we had very emotional, yet detached 'can't feel my dick' sex. I never felt closer, yet never felt further apart from D. Throughout sex, I smelt sandalwood all over the place, on our bodies, in the music.
Brain Wrapped Around the Universe by G 96
My first reaction was a sense of horror because I had forgotten the hellish feeling of Metaphysical Emptiness I had associated with this before. The feeling that all is an empty illusion, and the only truly existing thing was just a brain/thought process that happened to be in a particular configuration in the pre-determined cycle. Instead of seeing the world, I saw the underlying reality behind the world, namely, the amorphous tissue behind the retina a total deconstruction of reality into the ugly, raw input. I was a mere detail, a mere surface expression of this inevitable program. For the next few hours I explored my brain as if it were physical territory. I thought my God, it is so dirty in here. How could I even see correctly with all this gunk here? It occurred to me that cleaning it out would clear up my perception of reality.
I become strangely 'inverted', outer and inner reality were somehow reversed. I could 'see' my brain 'out there' (even though it looks like ordinary reality for the most part, I 'knew better'), and it was kind of hard to make sense of ordinary tactal input. I think there was something weird about left/right being reversed that confused me.
The Hurried Treadmill Stopped by Big J
We went for a walk to the other end of the field. We suddenly stopped as the darkness felt like liquid enveloping us and reading our every thought. The usual field was now a horizontal cliff which frightened us even though we still can't recall why. Perhaps it was fear of the unknown or a projection of some fear embedded in our conciousness we were not ready to face. Anyways,we unanimously decided to make our way back to our campsite. Our pace became hurried. It felt as if the faster I walked, the faster the 'object' that was back there was coming faster and faster. Regardless,we strained to walk casually. I looked at the ground and my feet to keep focus on the task at hand. An old corn stalk on the ground suddenly turned into a corpse and grabbed my ankle. It finally let go and I hauled back to the warm shelter of the campfire which nestled us from the darkness of the unknown.
I felt as if the universe had been passed into the neurons of my brain and engraved in my gentics. Preconscious cellular processes were now understood to me. I could feel the platlets in my blood cells forming. The quick of my fingernails pushing and growing every so slowly.
Fundamental Sensations by Anonymous
I prepared for the 'experiment' with a checklist of questions to myself about my experiences. The questions were in the nature of 'How does the visual world look?' 'How do you experience sounds?' 'can you compute 345/15?' and the like. When I finally got aroud to the questions I discovered a fact that leaves me astounded to this day. I answered every one of the perceptual questions exactly as I would have while stone cold sober. The reason why this was so surprising was that I was actually feeling very very different. In fact I was feeling exceeding peculiar. In fact words cannot express how strange I was feeling, and yet, my sensations of the world around me were exactly as they are normally. So, I asked myself, what is it that is actually different? Well, the sights and sounds and smells were the same. It was my perception of them that was different. This experience gave me a new appreciation for the word perception. Normally we think that if we observe an object, a pencil in your hand for instance, we see exactly that, a pencil, the real pencil, and nothing but the pencil. It came to me that that is not the case. Even when regarding as matter-of-factual an object as a common everyday pencil, we perceive it through a filter of our own perspective, our own view of things. This perspective is normally so ordinary and unremarkable that we are not even aware of it, but it was exactly this perspective, our view of the world around us, that is altered by the drug. It brought my attention to something that I had been totally unaware of although it has been in front of me all my life.
1 Blotter, 2 Nutters and a Telephone Call by Anonymous
One of their friends, who I hardly new, was a bit of a ruffian. He had also had the acid and was going a bit mental. He was talking constantly to the group pacing the garden. The group listened to him and laughed occasionally. I laughed along with the group politely while looking for an excuse to leave as it was obvious that this guy was losing it and could turn violent. Whether he could sense my uncomfortableness or just didn't like the look of me I don't know, he suddenly stared at me and asked what I was laughing at. Where there was laughter it fell into intense silence. It is hard to explain the sudden dropping feeling that came over me as he made his challenge. There was laughter and a warm fuzzy feeling, then suddenly a deep dropping sensation, silence, a sudden sharp coldness, and a feeling that I was on the spot and had to respond as a failure to could result in violence, to me by him. This sudden flip of events shocked me so severely that I could only manage that I was laughing at nothing. This didn't help matters much and it was only the intervention of mutual friends which calmed the mad fucker down.
Local Teen Claims to be God by Anonymous
James trold the cops that he didn't care what they did to him because he was God and he created everything. And he kept yelling that he had figured 'IT' out and that he was the smartest man alive. The cops thought that it was kind of funny.
The Bad Candyflip by Scotto
The sensation was of being suddenly and vigorously pursued by vast collections of entities that were very specifically bent on doing us grievous harm. We fled through psychedelic corridors and churning maelstroms of energy, and the terror in me gradually increased over the course of what I'm guessing was a half an hour, maybe more. The intensity continued to build, and it seemed extremely relentless; I could feel them shrieking as they chased us, these horrible 'alien' monsters. I had never encountered such mayhem before, and was frightened beyond belief.
Impossible to Understand Reality by G.T. Currie
Cory and I sat down in a hallway of the residence, it was time to try our time perception experiments. A friend of ours, Sean, had sat down next to us to chat (but had no idea what we were up to). The experiment was as follows. Person A would have the watch, pen, and journal. Person B would have to estimate the elapse of 30 seconds by any means possible to them and tell person B when that time had elapsed. Person A would then right down the elapsed time and ask person B how much time they estimated had actually passed. I was first to be person B and Cory was first to be the recorder.
'Ok, start....now!' Cory said. '1 and... 2 and... 3..', I thought but was then distracted. 'I'm sorry Cory,' I appologized, 'there's no way I can do 30 seconds... We've got to cut it down to 10 seconds...' 'No, keep going Greg, you can do it...' 'No, seriously, there's no way I'll make 30 seconds...' Cory smiled, 'I'm still timing you!' 'Stop! Stop! Now!' I shouted. Cory looked at the watch and wrote down the elapsed time. 'What's your estimated time?' Cory asked. 'Oh my gods! Atleast 5 minutes have gone by!' I exclaimed. Cory shot me a strange look, wrote down my time, and said, 'Actual time...11 seconds...'
Cory didn't believe me, he thought I was just pulling his leg. So he became person B and I became the recorder. 'Ok, start....now!' I said as the second hand reached 12. Cory started to talk to our friend Sean. They talked and talked. All of a sudden Cory looked alarmed and turned towards me, 'Stop! Stop! Oh no! I forgot all about the experiment!' I wrote down the actual time and asked him for his estimated time. He replied, 'Oh man! Atleast 15 minutes have passed by!' I grinned, 'Actuall time: 15 seconds!' The time dilation was fantastic!
I Think I'm Going to Die by Anonymous
I thought for some reason that I was going to die. I would close my eyes for awhile, then open them to make sure I wasn't dead yet. My whole life started flashing before my eyes. They carried me to an ambulance and I don't remember anything else except arriving at the hospital and looking up at doctors who were strapping things with with wires attached to them on my chest a poking me with hard objects. I was strapped down on my bed and I kept trying to get up. An old ugly nurse kept coming over and asking me the same questions over and over and it was driving me insane. 'This is hell.' I thought. I've already died and I'm in hell. You don't (or maybe you do) know what it's like thinking your in hell. I started crying because I was so scared.
My Language by Vera Lynne
I acquired the most wonderful feeling. I, in about 10 seconds, figured out everything. I discovered the language that human should be speaking. It was the most perfect laguage. It was so perfect though, and it was all jetting through my bring so incredibly quickly, that I could not relay it to a single soul. My thoughts were not compatible with any known words. In this time, I had discovered how to obtain perfection in the world. I found the beauty in every single image that flashed through my mind. I realized the perfection in all life, which is normally viewed as just the opposite.
For a Short Time I was There by Sean Le Blanc
I could see this huge octagonal carpet suspended in the blackest darkness. The colors blended from one corner to the next, and I knew that each of the eight corners was emotion; the burgandy corner was guilt, the maroon was shame, the dark purple was frustration, and so on. Slowly, one of the corners started to droop down, and as it did I could feel the associated emotion welling up inside me. Suddenly the corner plunged into the void and I was wracked with overwhelming guilt, so much so that I would violently shake and moan on the bed.
... all I could think of was how much I loved my daughter and at that instant my daughter came straight out of her room and climbed into my lap. She stared long and deep into my eyes and said, 'Daddy, you have rainbows in your eyes' and I realized that I was not made of flesh anymore, I was a giant, glowing, sunshine-filled diamond, and fear fell away. Pain fell away. And I was filled with the power of the Universe. Even weeks later I could feel it. I had the power to look inside people and see their fears and weaknesses and I knew they were totally powerless against me. Of course, all the power I had was light and love and all I wanted to do to people was to love and heal them and bring them into the light. It was truly magical.
Beyond Our Grasp by Bill
Then I started to taste the colors. It didn't taste like chocolate or cheese, but it was a 5th taste. Like the four are Salt, Sour, Bitter, and Sweet; well Color was a fifth taste, really creamy and smooth. I mostly tasted Red, Green, and Purple. They were trying to mix together but couldn't and constantly swirled.
My First Freak Out by Cope Head
I somehow convinced myself I was in mortal peril. I was convinced I was dying.
And what did I see? A giant snake crawling right towards me and my roommate leaving with my ride.
My roommate was deathly afraid of snakes, which is why he left. The neighbors had brought over a bull snake to show us. The guy who it belonged to had thought it would be funny to let it go so it would crawl over to me. I just thought that was the final straw.
I spent the next few hours in hell. I was certain I was dying, or had already died. I kept thinking about heaven and hell, and lots of Christian religious themes. I was raised Christian, but had rejected it long ago. Not as fully as I had presumed, apparently. I was certain that since I was not 'good' as the churches of the Christian world defined it, I must be 'evil'. I went through hours of agony and terror. At some point, I apparently pissed my pants in fear. I thought when I ran out of cigarettes, I would simply cease to be. At this point, the idea didn't frighten me any longer. Death would have been a relief. The thought crossed my mind that maybe I was supposed to do some symbolic suicide to move on, and I looked for a gun or knife to do it with. Luckily, there was nothing like that present.
Am I Going To Die? by siren
As I got up, I saw everything distorted, words did not makes sense, and I lost myself in my brain and the drug completely. I called out to my friend, and said 'I'm going to die'. She took me for a walk, and I saw colors and with every step I took, I sunk farther in the ground. I looked at my friend, and she had no body, just a huge face. A car was coming straight at me, and I just stared, she had to pull me out of the way.
As I sat on the carpeted floor, my bones were seeping through my skin, I felt knives stabbing at me, and felt the pain. I literally went crazy. The words didn't come out,the pictures I saw were flashes of the devil, angels, clouds, knives ... all I could think of. My body felt like jello, then rock hard.
Why I'm Never Touching LSD by Anonymous
I flew out of my own body and out the back of the car and I could see myself in a way weirder than an out-of-body because I could see my body in the car and I could see my soul floating above the car all from a different perspective. Everything shifted into cartoon form and looked very fucked up, everything became 2-D and flat. The part of me that was floating above the car changed form so it's now 2-D face grew a zig-zag mustache and one of its eyes became a spinning spiral while the other became a flickering eye of horus, which shot occult symbols out (the symbols were constantly floating around the head). Then the soul's head began spinning and turned into a top on which there were various changing 2-D cartoon faces all with the mustache, eyes, etc. Finaly the face stayed the same, it was the face of my father!
Then a strange 'electrical tornado' crashed down upon the 'top' head. Both bodies crumbled to dust and blew away. My position then shifted so I could see out of every dust particle. The particles then spread throughout the universe and absorbed into everything. I have had near death experiences before and this was exactly the same as the others. I existed in everything simultaneously yet I did not exist myself. I could only experience, I could not act.
Visions of Blood and Warriors by Michael
Then we went upstairs and started playing a multi-player game on my Nintendo 64 and then it started to begin.
I had the most intense feeling to kill everyone in the game. I started shooting anyone and everyone while watching light spectrums on the big screen zooming in and out. I saw tracers fly past every bullet. My heart pounded.
It began with seeing players from the game in the house. I was starting to feel as if I was in the game and I had a gun of my own. I then without any reason at all stuck my face to the tv and for about an hour I thought I was in the game. My friend D. told me I was sitting the whole time but in my mind I would fly around corners shooting my bullets with tracers golare.
When I got hit with a bullet I could almost feel it in my body. I started to get upset and started to go insane. Running all over the map shooting anyone and everyone who opposed me. I begain screaming wildly. I remember once I was being chased so bad I aimed the gun at my head and pulled the trigger four times. Each time I could feel the bullet pierce my skin but when I checked nothing had happened. I turned around fell over and began to throw up humungous chunks. I thought I was dying in real life or at least something bad was going to happen. I came down to my computer and wrote the following lines.
'As I sit here I feel as if I am going insane. I see visions of blood, god, warriors and war. I cannot escape it and I fear I will be in this world for the rest of my physcotic life'
Trip from Hell by Anonymous
Then I was overcome with depression and had to walk out. I sat on the interior stairs of the center and cryed, telling my friend what a looser I thought I was, and how my life was worthless. Then I thought I was going to quit breathing,
A Sudden Respect for the Complexity of Things by Anonymous
I was looking up at the trees again. It occurred to me how much the trees did look like fractals, and suddenly the mathematical beauty of the trees was clearer to me. The complex mysterious equations that dictated how the trees were pushed up out of the ground towards the sky were suddenly more apparent; and I also realized how these equations dictated the growth of the grass, the rolling of the hills, even our very bodies. I had a sudden respect for the complexity of things, with an intensity that I hadn't had before, and this complexity seemed sharper in everything I turned my eyes towards.
Mother Nature and the Mountain by e is4 Pete
It was amazing how much like a dream the past 18 years of my life were. Reality wasn't reality at all, and I was finally awakened from it, into a far better place where reality is constantly changing at the touch of a thought.
We were surrounded by miles of wilderness all around us and we could look down on it all and command it. As supeior beings we watched the sun slowly rise and light the valleys below, feeling a bit like Zeus must have on top of Mount Olympus.
Talking to the ranger was fun as it turned out. It felt like my mind was so expanded I could understand anything in an instant, while his was compressed and slow. He was just checking to see if we were OK as it turned out, and gave off a good vibe.
It was the perfect trip. We did everything: traveled to new worlds, met mother nature personally, talked to her trees and rocks and mountains. Practiced telepathy. We met new people experiencing the same things as we were. We danced. We discovered new ways of thinking. We bonded. No matter what happens many years from now, The four of us will always have that night to look back upon. Everything was perfectly synchronized.
My Trip To Hell by A.J.H.
I kept dazing off and suddenly the room went dark and colors of neon green and pink were everywhere. I felt like I was all alone and nobody else realy existed but they were all just images. I was looking at my arms and they turned into clay and crumbled to the ground. Everybody's hair was changing color and everyones faces were scrambling around. I was feeling very scared.
He said that the demons were coming and I was going to go to hell. Suddenly I saw a flash of light and D.B. became a demon. The veins were popping out of his head and his eyes were dripping blood and horns came out of his head.
Kind of Happy by Trip
D started staring at his hand, he told my to come over there and look at his hand so I did and I noticed what he was talking about. His hand would become horrificly misshapen.
We went to the mirror and looked at ourselves, we were transforming into trolls or something it looked really weird. The whole night everything had something to do with trolls and it felt like we were in a different universe, like a parallel universe or something. I had no track of time.
LSD: Rainbow style by Sandoz
I could hear a girl breathing across the road from me. I moved closer to her. I felt that I needed to protect her. I was her bodyguard. I had no idea who she was. I asked her name and she told me it was Amy.
He talked to me for a little bit and I asked him to help me find my clothes. After a while he looked down at me and exclaimed 'You don't have any clothes!' 'I know! Help me find them, they're lost!'
I stumbled into the brush, and I remember crashing over and falling down. I was dying.
I saw Einstein as he arrived in heaven. He asked God what the answer to life was, and God said 'YES'.
A Horrific Trip by Psycho-Dale
I would look through the passenger's side window and I got the fright of my life when I did. I saw the most evil looking demonic figure when I looked out the window. It scared me really bad. This thing was so scary to look at that when I would look at it an make eye contact with it it would actually make me go into convulsions. I lost all control of my body when this would make eye contact with me. Then it got to where when I would try to look away it would follow and if I waited to long to move away again it would catch up with me again and do the same thing.
I imagined that we had driven head on into an 18 wheeler and got killed. I could hear the screeching metal, then everything got quite a peaceful, but dark an evil quiet. I was terrified at this point. I actually thought we where dead, it was like I was outside of my body looking at us from a different perspective. I thought we where doomed to hell for sure! I kept asking him if I was alive an if we had been killed. I asked him about the wreck an he said what wreck. The demonic figures reappeared and this time more scary than before. This time I remember claws on this creature. I kept thinking I would be dragged away.
All I saw when I looked in the mirror was a horribly drug ravaged corpse, like it was me but I was transparent, like some kind of spirit of evil decent, very evil. It scared me so bad.
Well after this experience I still kinda thought I might really be dead and for about a year I wouldn't go into any cemetary because I was terrified I would find my own grave and that is when I thought I would have to finish with the death part of the trip. This permanently damaged my brain people.
Rite of Passage by John Q Public
Both of us experienced tremendous distortions in time. I remember lighting a cigarette and tripping for an eternity on the surrounding countryside, returning to my cigarette only to discover that less than a millimeter had been burned.
My father had told me that one thing he really enjoyed when doing LSD was looking at himself in the mirror and watching the flesh on his face melt off. Sure enough, when I tried, I got the same results. I haven't been able to reproduce it since. I thought it was hilarious.
Are you familiar with the film editing technique of fading out from the edge of the screen inwards until the image is reduced to a tiny dot in the center? This is essentially what happened to my consciousness over a period of a few minutes. First my peripheral perceptions blurred and contracted, then my primary senses, my connection to my body, and finally my sense of "me". There was absolutely nothing scary or uncomfortable about this sequence of events; it felt completely natural and benign. At the end of this process, I was nothing but a single, dense, tiny point of consciousness in the midst of a vast, multidimensional, seemingly empty space. Then that vanished, and with it went the last vestige of observer consciousness and individual identity. At this point I felt that I had traveled back to the primordial, undifferentiated oneness of being that preceded the big bang and the creation of the manifest universe. There was nothing to see or interact with; I had penetrated a level prior to any sort of subject/object distinctions. The universe was all one thing, and I was it!
I wasn't afraid of losing my mind, but I was suddenly afraid of dying. That's not a usual fear for me, but at the time one of the girls was carrying my child and I didn't want to leave yet. The death trip took hold because of the fear, and I became convinced I was dying.
I was lying on my girl's stomach. Our child moved inside her, right under my head. That light left my head and entered her, going directly to the child.
I suddenly sat upright and announced "our son just woke up." I could see him in there, and I knew he had just become aware. When he was born, he never cried. From the first, his eyes focused and he looked around. I was the oldest child in my family, among my siblings and my cousins I had seen many babies. This was the oldest baby I ever saw. There was a fully formed person in there, not the proto-person I'd seen in so many other babies.
About three years ago 14 people and I took two "test-tube" blotter papers Rather than splitting up individually, we split into groups of three or four - not based on gender, age or friendship, but somehow individual people "called" to us and we were off.
Immediately, like square dancing, we switched groups, and formed into other little circles of energy. The wandering in and out of groups lasted all night, and amazingly, no cliques formed it was a beautiful example of free social acceptance and energy exchange.
I could see little lines or strings connected between everyone. Amazed, there were 13 strings coming into ME from the other people in the group, all different colors, ebbing and flowing as their "group" morphed into another state of consciousness. In rapture, I watched, most of the night, people walking between groups, the morphs changing each time a new person entered or left it. Even the people who were sitting alone were connected to everybody in the group, even if they did not realize it.
It was like watching a lava-lamp, but I decided to check out if the colors (that were also feelings) had any validity if I walked into a group of people. Sure enough, the group that was morphing with yellow and green (which to me felt lack of intellect, high emotion) was in the land of OZ, not thinking, not rather just sitting and feeling the world. The group with red and purple were all a little scared, and the group with brown and green were all talking rapidly, building a concept and quickly losing it.
Wet Thug to the Brain
Had a tremendously awful non-lsd trip a couple days ago. I was open to the universe, emotionally, mentally, and physically. I had great set, setting and a stack of carefully selected CD's and Art Books, and I got a big sticky wet thug to the brain instead.
Imagine a thick force field, with the consistency of mashed potatoes. Very little visual distortion, ZERO trippiness or weird thoughts. Unpleasant and chemically and toxic feeling. On good acid thoughts begin from point a and on the way to point b they go bzziing wheee pop swirl wow and maybe never get to point b. On this foggy stuff, thoughts went right from a to b but had to go through thick spacy nothingness on the way. I felt very high but there was nothing interesting about it and it was nothing like LSD should be. I was very disappointed and upset.
Shot to Hell
The walls melted and the controls on my audio mixer became the throttle for a spaceship. I knew immediately I was in for something much deeper than I had planned. The grid which reality is imposed upon was incredibly clear and intuitive. It seemed that with a few more minutes "in there", I could have had the ability to rearrange molecular structure to my satisfaction. The lines in the grid are a glowing yellow, by the way.
The typical LSD white-yellow morphing snowflake pattern was everywhere. It always starts on the floor, even on the lowest of doses. This time it was so thick, so vivid, and it was breathing. The pattern seemed to be getting thicker, while it is usually two-dimensionally mapped onto a surface. However, it continued to expand until it seemed to be hovering above the floor like traces of fog.
A chunk of this "fog" seemed suddenly autonomous, and moving against the grain of the rest of it. Intrigued, I studied it. What resulted was possibly my first "encounter" with a psychedelic entity.
The thing looked like a monkey. It had a round head, two long legs, and tail or some sort of appendage. It moved like monkey, jumping with blinding speed, and running up walls. I thought it was a silly visual, until I realized it was aware of me and was starting to interact. "What kind of chemical can do this?" I remember wondering. This is just a hallucination, right? Well, it didn't matter if it was a hallucination or a flesh-and-blood rhesus monkey, because this thing was chasing me and I was terrified. I was temporarily convinced that some sort of evil was toying with me. My response was typical, I tried to physically escape. It was naive of me to think that a bathroom door might provide a layer of protection from a psychedelic demon, but it was my only strategy. Of course, the thing came right through the door, and as I collapsed on the floor in fear, surrendering, it vaporized. I was quite relieved that it was finally gone. However, a tower of greenish gel-like substance was in my bathroom. This was remarkable, the only "tactile" hallucination I had ever had. This stuff was really there, I could feel it and spread it around. I don't have any clue what it was and have never heard of anything similar appearing during an LSD trance. It has never happened again. Anyway, the jello from beyond was very ephemeral, it also vaporized within seconds of appearing.
Some mild synesthasia was starting to occur, as I noticed the visuals I had were beating and cycling in response to the music. I tried to enjoy it. It occured to me that death would be the only escape, and thought about suicide in a most analytical, unemotional manner.
The plan seemed great, complete escape and minimal pain if done properly. However, it was intuitively obvious to me that death would only be the beginning, and I would actually only be accelerating the arrival of the next phase of suffering. This became a kind of suffocating feeling, I was trapped in life and death was no escape. I felt strangely immortal, and this led to a very bizarre perspective. Suddenly, history made sense. A process which could only be viewed in its entirety, and with the help of LSD, I knew the conclusion. I was wondering why I was "given" this information, and realized it is locked in each of us, waiting for release. So that is what happened to Jesus and Buddha, they released it. I felt like Christ myself, despite an extremely secular personality on a day-to-day basis. I have sense read of this phenomenon as being common on LSD, in fact it is called by some the "Messiah phenomenon". It was true that I felt like I had a message to give to all mankind, and I couldn't believe I was the one who had been "chosen" to do it, of course I forgot this message by the time the trip was over.
Heading Towards Dissolution
It seemed an increasing amount of "myself" was being replaced by this random stream of human consciousnes. The process which I felt was divine, yet cruel and terrifying now seemed to be attempting to dissolve me. In several intense moments in which it seemed all time was frozen and I was utterly paralyzed, the process which I now perceived as the acid itself and as something evil seemed to inform me that it could not proceed without me severing my attachments to those I loved. I wished me to sever them, and would continue making the experience an utter nightmare until I did.
At one point, I had one of the most powerful hallunications I've ever experienced. I opened my eyes and watched my friend transform into a Chinese woman, grow a pointed nose, a third eye, and then turn into a monstrous baboon-like demon.
As the dissolution continued, I felt as though my body was becoming posessed by random personalities that flowed in from the stream of core human consciousness. I remember looking at my friend with the consciousness of others, touching him as though he was some remarkable alien thing.
The urging toward dissolution become so intense that I was sure that "I" would not return from the trip. I was terrified I didn't want to die. I thought I was literally losing my mind, and losing it permanently.
Everything around me seemed utterly alien; once, when my friend tried to talk to me, I felt I had lost the ability to apprehend language.
My friend was eventually able to get through to me, to talk me back to a state of semi-sanity. It took a tremendous amount of will on my part to cling to his words and make sense of them and as I did so, I felt I was the whole of the universe clawing its way out of darkness and madness toward a divine radiance and sense of health and salvation. This continued for some time; it was utterly exhausting, and I didn't know how long I would be able to bear it. The feeling of dissolution had taken on a physical character a searing iciness seemed to be taking my body over.
My friend continued to reassure me that I'd be okay. Eventually, I began to feel like it. I had made it "to the light", it seemed, and felt a peace return and saturate my being. Concentrating on the light, I was able to manifest it in greater and greater degrees. It seemed I had turned my soul which was also the soul of the universe away from drowning in a river of fragments of human consciousness toward something that I could only call the genuinely Divine.
The ego-dissolution continued now, but peacefully. Whatever parts of me left were replaced by that Divinity. Visions of joyously dissolving into the sun and the sky accomanied the experience and there was an unutterable feeling of the infinite and the sacred.
I encountered the stream of human consciousness again, but this time I looked on it with what I felt to be the love of God. It was beautiful, touching, precious beyond all description.
Nothing Fun About It
I found it disturbing, i.e. threatening and anxiety-inducing, that I found myself losing touch with my hands and my feet, i.e. lost my interior "map' of where my body was.
I was looking out over the leaves and a little stream when suddenly my reality fragmented. It was harsh and total. I was completely unprepared. I had taken LSD enough times to be familiar with the spectrum of effects, but this caught me completely off guard. Everything turned into black and white shards in my vision and I couldn't talk, I was so frightened. I had never had this happen before, usually things would shift, melt, but still look more or less like I had expected. not so this time.
I turned around, nearly crying, to try and tell my friends what was happening, and found that they were experiencing the same sort of phenomena that of reality dissolving and becoming what our minds created. It was horrifying for me. I felt my skull open to the cold outside and my vision dissolved into empty, howling nothingness.
Over the last month or so I had a pretty good friend of mine start taking more and more acid, intensely pushing the envelope of the real in his world until about two weeks ago, when it all came apart in his hands. He landed himself in an endlessly visionary, but predominantly peaceful, psychosis in which he many times surrendered to and encountered God, was repeatedly picked apart by demons of 'every color under the sun', and, as he reports it, 'was never in less than three simultaneously occurring worlds', of which this world was only rarely one. he remembers having his entire soul history laid out before him in absolutely glaring and unbelievably painful and ecstatic detail, and says there were many times in which he would remember the "Ericness" of himself, and thus was able rip out those parts of himself that he no longer wanted and heal those parts that so definitely needed healing "constipated energy" he called it. He describes it very physically, but it sounds like the pain was beyond what we know on the physical plane. The most amazing thing though is that he was in a mental ward for a large part of this time, had no one wise to guide him through vast parts of it, and yet came back, reintegrated all this transcendent experience, and is in every way a better person for it. He is still a little bit easier to spook at times, but his posture is completely straight and clear now (he used to be hunched a bit), his chronic acne disappeared (just plain gone), and he has a mellow, gentle glow around him that is completely new. he feels better than he has ever felt in his life. life is 'holy and new'.
The surrounding walls started to melt. The bricks within the wall started to fall out leaving gaping holes in the wall. These holes were soon magically repaired as the wall melted more to cover them. Brian flicked on the lights and showed me how to see worms in the ceiling. I also checked myself out in the mirror, which was blew my mind because I was able to see through my reflection's eyes for quite a distance.
At this point, B. and I discovered a bunch of magazines on the floor and began looking through them. Suddenly, the pictures of people in the magazines began making faces at us, and both B. and I went into fits of laughter for about 20 minutes. I ended up in a study lounge sitting at a round table. The top of the table was a pool of water. I could see through the table down to the floor, and when I looked up from underneath the table I could see the ceiling. I tried sticking my hand through the table, but to my disappointment that didn't work. However, I could blow into the water and cause ripples to spread throughout the tabletop. In addition, there were hundreds of tiny brown frogs swimming in the tabletop as well. I acquired X-ray vision for a small point in time. I was able to see through my hand. Rather than seeing flesh on my hand, all I was saw was the bone structure and blood vessels. It was awesome to watch the blood flow around my hand, and whenever I bent my fingers, I would see my bones move to accomodate. As the music began I had the most earthshattering visual and audio experience of my life. The back of my eyes became a projection screen for an incredible laser shower. I was treated to a kaleidoscope-like show with millions of every changing and shifting patterns of color and light. It was almost fractal-like because the images kept zooming in towards the middle of the existing pattern I saw. Whenever the pace or tone of the music changed, so did the patterns. Everytime I was about to distinguish a pattern, it morphed into something else. Meanwhile, the music was bathing my body with pleasure. I could feel each beat of the music in rhythm with my own heart beat. The vocals rang throughout my head, vibrating along my entire body.