Today is a very important day; One that should be marked on every calendar and recalled in songs from sea to shining sea. Today should be a celebration! And not because of some fictional Artificial Intelligence becoming self-aware in some fictional universe where robots wage war against humans. The war between robots and humans is real and has been happening since the dawn of the industrial age. On this day (April 19th) 1943 Albert Hofmann, a chemist at the Sandoz (now Novartis) laboratories in Basel, Switzerland performed a self-experiment to determine the true effects of LSD, intentionally ingesting 0.25 milligrams (250 micrograms) of the substance. Less than an hour later, Hofmann experienced sudden and intense changes in perception. He asked his laboratory assistant to escort him home and, as use of motor vehicles was prohibited because of wartime restrictions, they had to make the journey on a bicycle. On the way, Hofmann’s struggled with feelings of anxiety, alternating in his beliefs that the next-door neighbor was a malevolent witch, that he was going insane, and that the LSD had poisoned him. When the doctor arrived at his home, however, he detected no physical abnormalities, save for a pair of incredibly dilated pupils. Hofmann was reassured, and soon his terror began to give way to a sense of good fortune and enjoyment, as he later wrote…
“… 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 …”
The events of the first LSD trip, now known as “Bicycle Day”, proved to Hofmann that he had made a significant discovery. A psychoactive substance with extraordinary potency, capable of causing significant shifts of consciousness in incredibly low doses, Hofmann foresaw the drug as a powerful psychiatric tool; because of its intense and introspective nature, he couldn’t imagine anyone using it recreationally.
Cut to 20 years later you have the hippies and Timothy Leary and Ken Kesey, Secret Government experiments and Jimi Hendrix. Cut to 1995 when I took my first four doses and traveled back in time, and into the future, and spent a lifetime sitting in my friend’s car crying about my mother and my life and all the horrible things I saw. I fell in love with acid that night in North Carolina. It was the most refreshing and illuminating nervous breakdown I had ever had up until that point, I hadn’t really allowed myself to break down like that since my mother died two years before. I made a commitment to that drug then and there and it took until my fifth trip which came a few weeks later that I was able to take it without completely freaking out and ending up in tears. After my first good trip I researched the drug methodically learning everything I could about it. I took more samples and soon developed enough connections to start selling it. I did alright but it wasn’t about the money. I would leave a rave at 6 in the morning and invite 30 kids to breakfast on me there by nullifying a chunk of my profit often times placing me back at my initial investment. Between 1995 and 2000 I would go in and out of the business each time I would sell just enough to afford my own habit which got pretty extreme by the end of the century. I would dose myself in the eye with pure liquid acid and then go work two separate jobs totaling 18 hours. I have always had slight insomnia, but during those years I rarely slept for days, keeping a constant circle of partiers around my apartment at all times. It was an intense bizarre ride that culminated in me doing a short stint in Federal prison for violating my probation. All of which were non drug related offenses. I never once was arrested or even under suspicion for the drugs that I trafficked.
I was lucky, but LSD is also super easy to conceal and move. I miss those days; I have spent the years since trying to remember them as best I can. I wish I hadn’t poured all that Tequila on top of it. People think that doing as much acid as I have done makes me as crazy and forgetful as I am, but I was born crazy and I’d remember more if it weren’t for the booze. What I do recall, and what I will never forget are the visions and inner discoveries I made roaming through downtown late at night with my group of friends and acquaintances tripping balls. The laughter and fun and tears, it was the adventures of a lifetime. I’m far too old for all of that now, and besides I wouldn’t even know where to find the stuff. The wealth of it dried up at the end of the nineties when Janet Reno cracked her whip and shut down the biggest producers of the pure 1960s strands. All you have now is offshoots, bastardized versions of the gold that once was. In truth each batch since the first has been more and more watered down. It was discovered on accident, its properties hidden for five years until this very day which we hold high.
I could talk about how each trip made me feel, but it would just come off sounded like some New-Age Ligthworker Ascended Master spiel and that’s not me. I had some very profound experiences that are deeply personal and can’t really be translated into someone else’s world view. I do agree that all energy is one, energy. Mainly because of the first law of thermodynamics! I could talk about the things I’ve seen while hallucinating, like tiles on a floor forming the Mayan face of Death, or dragons made of smoke offering me their advice on love. Faces in the ceiling calling my name or simply watching the wood paneling melt in my apartment. But then it would just come off as crazy. I could wax poetic about my times running naked into McDonald’s, or a yard sale, or behind unsuspecting joggers, but then it would just sound like bragging. And For that I say thank you Dr. Hofmann!