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

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I’m sure that all of people who ‘participated’ in Project MKUltra are just so happy that they were there for the birth, eh.

It got weirder than giving college students LSD.

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That’s a bit different than the <a href=“"target=”_blank">Electric Kool-aid Acid Tests. Kesey’s participants were informed volunteers with a pretty good idea what LSD could do.


First concert in 1975, Englishtown, NJ, things ain’t been the same since.

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Is it unusual for interested people to be better-informed than some entrenched government cranks with an agenda? MKULTRA was a glorious backfire in most ways. What made it sordid was the intentions behind it. The CIA (and military) hoped that LSD might make people more susceptible to “mind-control” influence, rather than less. Best case (for them) was results being wildly unpredictable. It would be even better today, considering the drive to computer-model everybody’s behavior.

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Yeah, Tom Wolfe’s Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test more or less covered this a few decades ago. Minus the business jargon.


Hey, given the number of CIA programs that result in other-than-grateful dead; this practically fits under “all’s well than ends well” by comparison.


The title is off, the CIA angle is a tiny bit of the original story.

And that tiny bit was covered in 1986’s “Acid Dreams” which very much
covers the path from lab to street. “Storming Heaven” came out about the
same time, covered some of the same territory if I remember properly.

But it wasn’t just the CIA doing tests, so is it certain that Kesey got it
through their studies?

Leary was doing legit study of acid to counter alcoholism. I have a whole
book published by Sandoz that compiles papers about LSD studies. Some
did think it could be used in therapy, an idea coming back in recent years.

Al Hubbard was giving it away, but his portrayal in “Acid Dreams” was as
someone spreading the news, rather than some deliberate CIA action.
Aldous Huxley, and Cary Grant tried it, but through some
doctor. Didn’t the dentist Dr. Roberts turn on The Beatles?

Memory says that even if Kesey (and others) did take early trips thanks to
the CIA, it was a mundane study. They were given acid, and then watched,
I think asked to write about it during or afterwards. It wasn’t random dosing,
there was no stimulus to see the reaction. So even if that study was paid by
the CIA, it was a general study of people under acid, not a study of how
it could be truth drug or “disruptor”.

Then there is indeed the CIA - Grateful Dead - Unitarian Church connection! Early GD acid test(s) at the Northridge Unitarian Church in '66 for example. My inlaws are Unitarian from that time period … and that explains sooooo much!

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