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Books > Drugs & Mysticism: An Analysis of the Relationship between Psychedelic Drugs and Mystical Consciousness

"Drugs & Mysticism: An Analysis of the Relationship between Psychedelic Drugs and Mystical Consciousness"
By Walter M Pahnke, Harvard University, 1963

Pahnke's thesis is better known as the "Good Friday Experiment," which evaluated the potential of psilocybin to catalyze religious experiences. Rick Doblin's undergraduate thesis (New College of Florida), " Pahnke's ’Good Friday Experiment‘: A Long-Term Follow-Up and Methodological Critique," consisted of interviews and questionnaires administered to most of the subjects in the original study twenty-five plus years after the original experiment. This article was published in The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 1991, Vol. 23, No.1.

Tape recordings of Rev. Howard Thurman's actual 1962 Good Friday service are available in 2 parts:

An Interview with Huston Smith by Thomas B. Roberts and Robert N. Jesse from the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 1997, Vol. 29, No.2, entitled ’Recollections of the Good Friday Experiment‘ is also available here as a single PDF file.

Two papers by Roland Griffiths, Bill Richards, and associates about their landmark study on Psilocybin and Mystical Experience at Johns Hopkins (sponsored by the Council on Spiritual Practices) are also available here. This research is the first attempt at replicating the Good Friday experiment in over 45 years. However, the design of this research differed from the original because subjects received psilocybin individually rather than in a group context and in a hospital clinical research setting rather than a religious setting.

  1. Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance [2006]
  2. Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance 14 months later [2008]

Listen to the Radiolab interview with Reverend Mike Young, a man who participated in the Good Friday Experiment, along with psilocybin researcher Roland Griffiths, Ph.D.

 
DOWNLOAD PAHNKE'S THESIS - PDF FORMAT

Entire Thesis: Drugs & Mysticism (46 MB)

Table of Contents & Acknowledgements (< 1 MB)
Summary (3 MB)

Chapter 1: Introduction (< 1 MB)
Chapter 2: Religion & Psychedelic Substances: A Survey (3 MB)
Chapter 3: The Definition of Mysticism (8 MB)
Chapter 4: Experimental Design (4 MB)
Chapter 5: Data Used in Matching of Subjects (1 MB)
Chapter 6: Data from Questionnaires, Interviews, and Content Analysis (10 MB)
Chapter 7: General Discussion and Conclusions (5 MB)
Chapter 8: Suggestions for Further Research and Implications for the Future (2 MB)

Appendix A: Medical History Form for Volunteer Subjects for Psilocybin Research (< 1 MB)
Appendix B: Pre-Drug Research Questionnaire (< 1 MB)
Appendix C: Post-Drug Questionnaire with Significance Levels of the Difference Between Scores of Experimentals and Controls (1 MB)
Appendix D: Follow-up Questionnaire with Significance Levels of the Difference Between Scores of Experimentals and Controls (1 MB)
Appendix E: Content Analysis (2 MB)
Appendix F: Explanation of the Columns and Symbols Used in the Category Tables (< 1 MB)
Appendix G: Data Not Directly Relevant to Categories of the Typology of Mysticism (< 1 MB)