Remembrances of LSD therapy past

Betty Grover Eisner, Ph.D.
1447 17th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90404
August 7, 2002

Introduction and acknowledgements

This book consists of my recollections, correspondence to and from me about work with psychedelics, and reports about drug sessions. Its purpose is to not only document work that I and others did, but to also make a case for the therapeutic potential, given the proper circumstances, of the drugs discussed. For further information about my work, I have donated my files to Stanford. Although the book contains biographical material, it is not complete.

Names of researchers or people known to have used the drugs are included as are the names of my husband, Will, his sister, Helen, his brother and sister-in-law, Bob and Vi, my brother, Jack, and our children, Maleah and DB. Other names have been replaced by one or two letters.

I would like to thank all the people who made my work possible. I also thank my children, Dr. David Eisner and Dr. Maleah Grover-McKay, for their help with this book.

Betty Grover Eisner, Ph.D.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Initiation into Infinity
Chapter 2: The Parameters of Infinity
Chapter 3: Our Research
Chapter 4: More Investigation of Parameters
Chapter 5: Exploring the Mind Through Space: The Trip to Europe
Chapter 6: A New Environment, New Direction
Chapter 7: The Researchers Get Together: International Conferences
Chapter 8: The Light of LSD Starts to Go Out
Chapter 9: One Session After Another
Chapter 10: More Sessions

CHAPTER ONE: Initiation into Infinity

"I could feel my tongue getting thick, and I couldn't answer questions quite properly. It felt as though the messages were all coming into the switchboard, and messages were going out all right, but that the switchboard was congested and the two weren't coordinating. As though the operator had something else on her mind or too much to do, and was just letting things get all jammed up" (from LSD session report, October 1955).

The point of the Cohen-Fishman study was to compare the functioning of an individual under the drug and in his individual state. For this a battery of psychological tests were devised to measure the functioning of the individual as himself and after having taken the drug. In order to accomplish this, there were a number of tests chosen for measuring different aspects of the person: general intelligence, psychological functioning, psychological makeup, maturity, and general functioning ability as shown by the difference between the drug and non-drug states. Drug dosage was assigned according to body weight of the subject. Comparisons were made between the drug and non-drug states to get insights on the drug being tested.

In this battery, the individual tests had been given in some of the psychological tests like the "Draw a Person" (DAP), where the individual draws a picture about how he feels about himself and other people. The description of the drug experience continues.

"Then I saw the color of the wall waxing and waning - ebbing and flowing. The extraordinary character of light and color...There was a third-dimensionality to color - and a constant change. And there would be a symphony of variations on what ordinarily is a plain brown wall...This was interesting - how dimension and color all were mixed up in that they were all part of the whole pulsating ebb and flow, and it took enormous effort to try and separate things out sufficiently to describe accurately what was happening."

"Just before the colors hit and the curtain started down between sections of my brain, I had that wonderful relaxation which I had known before - the awe-inspiring relief, the letting go of psychological barriers which has come to be identified in my thinking with the relaxation of the ego. I could feel myself being drawn into a mystical experience - the sense of unity with all things in the universe... But as I felt the relaxing of the self boundaries, there was this flood of grateful tears which I stopped because of the three men present..."

Searching through the accordion-pleated files of time for the context of that experience takes me back to 1955, to the beginning of LSD research in the western United States and to my own first knowledge of the drug. There was that notice on the UCLA Psychology Department requesting a graduate student for a doctoral thesis on the effects of a new and unusual drug. In the recesses of another fold of memory from who knows where or when, came:

"I'll bet that research is about LSD!" (There had been an article in LOOK magazine.)

I yearned to apply to Sidney Cohen, M.D., the author of that request, but I couldn't; I had almost completed the work for my own infertility studies, and the time loss was much too great for my own dissertation on infertility. Next best was to send a friend, and one was handy, Lionel Fishman. He hadn't seen the notice, but was very interested. However, before telling him the details, I extracted his promise that I be the first subject if indeed the research were on LSD. Lionel, or Fish, as we called him, talked to Dr. Cohen, signed on with enthusiasm, and didn't forget his promise. After Dr. Cohen and Fish had their own trial experiences with LSD, I indeed became their first research subject. The original quotation at the beginning of this was part of the report on the LSD session. I remember my intense interest in their study, but I didn't have much time to kibitz, as I was dragging myself out of bed at 4:30 a.m., trying to finish my dissertation. I had passed the write doctoral exams at UCLA the spring of 1955, the same year that my son arrived to join his three-year old sister. (I figured that gave me an M.A. at least twice over - at school and at home.) I was pretty far along on my dissertation, too, as I remember, at the point of getting judges to categorize the Rorschach responses of the women who couldn't get pregnant as contrasted to women who had at least two children and no difficulty getting pregnant. At the same time, I was doing that pre-sunrise scene in order to write on the dissertation. I was in no position to add any other activities.

But I did add just one - serving as subject for the Cohen- Fishman study. Lately, just recently, all I could remember of that first LSD experience was that I was constantly being interrupted in my LSD experience in order to take tests. In the Draw-a-Person I remembered the courtly French cavalier type I drew for the man. (In contrast, my report - thank heaven for the necessity to write a report:

"I wanted to draw Little Lord Fauntleroy...I didn't want to put it down. But my honesty made me do it, although my defensiveness changed it into a courtier at the time of one of the Louis'. That way it was more acceptable.")

With the Draw-a-Person, one first draws the way one sees oneself. I had just remembered the courtier more strongly. Also, as I first remembered, the woman I drew was in a hoop skirt, I remembered this from the same period. (Ah, memory! The actuality of the first figure I drew, a woman, was quite different, thank heavens for records!)

"I drew an old-fashioned little girl - and at the same time I really didn't want to - knowing I was drawing myself. And I came up with a little girl where the head didn't belong to the body. The legs were all grown up but the head was a vapid child's head. And the dress was of the Victorian era."

It was a terrible experience to reveal oneself so clearly, and it was also humiliating to be asked to perform tasks when I couldn't concentrate; I couldn't think; and the tasks seemed meaningless and irrelevant. For instance:

"It was the word association test, and I was completely set to cooperate and to give associations. But with the first word I realized that it was impossible. There was no association present at all. It was as though the word had been released into a great bubble of space-time and hung suspended there. It had no relationship to anything. And since it was completely irrelevant, I couldn't even attempt to find a word to go along with it. It would be like trying to answer a question on color with a bar of music."

"I tried to tell them what it was like - it was as though I was in the middle of a wide wonderful pasture - free and green and full of sunlight, and something was going on back at the fence that they wanted me to do. I was in the pasture, but the word association test was part and parcel of the fence - which is only an artificial barrier with no real intrinsic meaning to the freedom of the pasture. It was trivial, and there was no association of any kind, so I begged off. It was almost impossible to see how intelligent people could expect to find meaning to life (which was the pasture) in contemplating designs of the fence. And suddenly I saw the difficulty. Life is the warmth and the flowing and the three-dimensionality - but it comes overwhelming to a man who must compress it into one dimension and flatness and barrenness in order to deal with it. And this necessity to deal with it comes when he tries to go somewhere. It is the motion of trying to go - trying to get some place is the difficulty - it is the cause of the descent from Eden. Because the minute that one tries to go someplace or to "be" someone or something, then one is not content to let things be. In our ardor to "be" something, we lose personal life - and must content ourselves with this poor, flat, tawdry imitation... the illusion had become a reality."

Pretty heavy material! In the session of January 10, 1957, I remembered telling Sid Cohen that I felt that LSD was a therapeutic drug, and that there were profound therapeutic implications to be examined with respect to its use. After my first LSD on October 10, 1955, I had worked very hard and finished my doctorate - not in March of 1956 because both kids got the mumps - but by the end of July. I had been meeting with Sid periodically about the LSD work because of the fascination I felt after my first session despite the frustration of being pulled back to reality to perform the tasks. Sid gave me numerous reports of people who had taken LSD and what they had to say about their experiences. There may have been some mescaline reports among the LSD reports too.

As I remember, the majority of reports came from Al Hubbard's file. Al was the grand old man of LSD, of consciousness change. How he heard about the LSD, I'm not sure, but he had worked with mescaline and other substances, and he was the first explorer of the LSD universe on the West Coast. He was reputed to be a millionaire, and after he first tried LSD, he reportedly ordered 43 cases from Sandoz, and got them! And, "Captain" or "Dr." Hubbard was the one who first gave LSD to Humphry Osmond, and perhaps Aldous Huxley and Gerald Heard. Al had worked with the mescaline before with Humphry Osmond. In fact, Al met Humphry because of Humphry's report on his working with mescaline. Al also explored every mind-changing drug he heard about. My first memory of him is his arrival at our house carrying a tank of nitrous oxide and conning everyone present to having a whiff by extolling its virtues for psyche and soul. Just wasn't only nitrous oxide that Al had - he had developed his own pharmacopoeia to "blow out the stuff" that stood in the way of a good LSD session, which to him meant having a mystical experience. He was for the preliminary "clearing away the problems," and then giving one large dose to produce a transcendental experience. For instance, he had little white pills, called, I thought, mescaline-amphetamine, which caused people to open up and talk. In retrospect, I think it was methedrine with Al's fancy name. But even more important, as I remember it was on a later visit, he had tanks of oxygen and carbon dioxide. This was the first time he had experienced or seen the Meduna technique of inhaling "carbogen" for altered states of consciousness in order to help deal with psychological problems. I was to find that 6 to 10 inhalations, or "sniffs" helped as preparation for my second LSD session and then was useful in working to dissolve problems which arose afterwards. Much later Ernie Katz and I were taught by Lee Sanella to use carbogen (70% oxygen, 30% carbon dioxide) along with Ritalin - a technique which really "blew out the problems." This was a remarkable technique which patients hated more than any other but also knew how effective it was in helping solve psychological problems. I applaud it for the remarkable work it accomplished. What a buccaneer Hubbard was - large, rambling, and with his own private plane and special island on Puget Sound (which some gossip said belonged to a mysterious sponsor; this was in no way ever confirmed). We all felt as though he traveled with pockets full of magic and gold. From reports that I wrote at the time I can see how much I owe Al and his soft-spoken, insightful wife, Rita, for all they taught us about using drugs and also all the help they game me when I was going through the aftermath of that traumatic second LSD session. The following gives a flavor of Al:

September 23, 1957

Dear Dr. Betty (which he always called me),

"It gave us great pleasure to read your last letter, and to realize that my last one to you somehow jumped the semantic barriers and put across even in a small way which I desired to express..."

"I think I know that you believe I have some sort of block towards academic people, but really Betty, I do not. I think it is just that I expect so much more from them than they are able to give, and it is such a shock sometimes to realize how little it all really counts that I do perhaps rather take the attitude, `Oh Hell, another dough-head.' Perhaps part of it is the years I have had in this work, and being only human after all, many times have had the experience of knowing that I have done a really good job, and it would not have cost some Doctor anything at all to have said it was good. After all, that is all outside of the knowledge that we are doing good work, and that is all I get out of it. I suppose as I advance in my own development this will all pass away, I sincerely hope so..."

May 7, 1957

"...I have no trouble in Canada as I work under authority of the Government of Canada..."

"As to your reference to Catholic doctor, I think this is an excellent idea...I am perfectly aware that most of our people with their little personal God do now know my God of the Galaxies, and there is such a vast chasm between their God and my God that in most cases it would be impossible to bridge. The small group of mystics in our church who know what I am talking about and within whose authority I operate, are not very many compared with the five hundred million members..."

Al formed The Commission for the Study of Creative Imagination with himself (and his questionable Ph.D.) as research director, with Humphry Osmond, Abram Hoffer, John Smythies, Sidney Cohen, Aldous Huxley, Gerald Heard, Henry Puharich, Hugh Keenleyside and W. Kluhauf of Mexico City on the Board.

October 28, 1957

Dear Dr. Betty,

"...I believe there are certain common experiences for all people in these things, and I believe as I believed before, one must have spiritual grace to allow them to enter into certain dimensions or levels or what you will to call them. Then they have to have the intellectual capacity to turn it into current language of our day, describing the symbolic experience that they went through. Some minds are just not capable of doing this and look upon the enormity of the things brought before them with its fringe of illusion mixed up with some hallucinations, and just say, `Yes, I have lived many times before.' Then proceed to confabulate until they complete the `acceptable experience of the objective mind.' This does not mean that the experience has not been valuable to them, but the capacity to appreciate it in full is missing..."

Al Hubbard was a real and daring pioneer in drug work. He was first with so many things, and he never received the credit he deserved. But there were a lot of pioneers - Humphry Osmond, with his quiet and charming English gentlemanly way, his penetrating ideas, and his courageous spirit. He and Al Hubbard used to play intricate games in the cosmos after having taken LSD or mescaline. Next there was Aldous Huxley; no need to describe him - everyone knows of his scintillating mind, and what a path-forging person he was. He was also very kind to all of us who worked in the area. In fact, I never knew Aldous to be anything but kind to everyone. I'll never forget an argument he had with Tim Leary - a discussion as far as Aldous was concerned - about the role of the cellular intelligence, to which Tim was assigning total credit with much heat and emphasis. "But, Timothy," Aldous said patiently and gently, "the cellular intelligence is important. But there are other forms or intelligence, too."

Gerald Heard, the English philosopher who was very interested in the LSD work at this time, was just as brilliant as Aldous, but he talked in paragraphs that ran for a page or two, and always had an esoteric association to the insight at hand. I had met Gerald Heard at Trabuco, a meditation retreat he and Felix Greene founded and built in southern California in the 1940's. I will never forget the Benedictine silence at Trabuco, and the meditation room, built in the three descending circular levels and fitted with black curtains so that it was a place where no light could ever penetrate - of the worldly type, that is. Gerald was very shy and reclusive in those days, but the consciousness-changing work made him much more outgoing and more inclined to work with others.

I realize that all this time I haven't described Sid Cohen, who at the time I met him was head of Psychosomatic Medicine at the Brentwood Veterans' Administration. He was the main rock-hard researcher who did not tolerate fools lightly. Sid had the look of an eagle about him, and much of the sharp-eyed, hard-nosed skepticism that might be said to accompany it. He was also enormously subject to data and facts, which made him a true scientist and opened his mind to experiences beyond those with which he might be familiar. He was also a penetratingly intelligent researcher and research supervisor; he should have had legions of devoted researchers to follow their combined hunches - something which he was able to do only for a certain period of time.

But something happened in later years, and Sid, who had done the definitive work on toxic psychosis, all sorts of research on psychedelics, and also wrote articles and a book on LSD, seemed to have his perception change as time passed, into a bias against psychedelics. This might well have developed because of the wide- appearance of the drug culture in the later years of his life. But then he was as excited as all the rest of us about LSD, levels of consciousness, our psychotherapeutic work, and the work and thinking of anyone who was using psychedelics creatively - and properly.

During this period, the fall of 1956 and early 1957, there was a boiling activity. We read report after report - dozens - of people who had taken LSD and/or mescaline. And we discussed them, Sid and I - and Al, and Humphry Osmond when he visited, and people like Tom Powers who came from the east coast to experience LSD, bringing W. Wilson from AA on several trips. Every one of the people wanted to talk about their experiences, experiences which were so unique that each one of us was busy trying to make sense of all the phenomena which were occurring, and to fit them into some intelligible description, category, and understanding.

Through the fascination of all of the personal reports of LSD sessions ran the thread of the therapeutic possibilities of the drug, which confirmed my own intuition from my first experience - fragmented though it was from all the tests I had taken. The more I read, the stronger I felt. I shared my feelings with Sid, and he agreed.

Little did I know though, what I was getting into when I agreed to serve as the first subject (as far as we knew) to test the possible therapeutic potential of LSD. If I had known what was going to happen I doubt that I ever would have taken that fateful 100 gamma, the same dosage I had had at my first LSD session. (The report says my first time I was given 70 + 30 gamma, split.)

This time there was a difference, however. I was at least a little more prepared. I had the good sense to arrange for sitters for the children; I planned nothing for after the session, having learned from the experience following my first LSD. I ended up in chaos and total confusion and found myself putting the undried clothes carefully back into the washer after I had put them from the washer into the dryer.

After that first LSD session, I had to call my husband home from work because I was such a complete mess; I had no conception of what a disorienting experience LSD could be. No one had told me that - or that it could go on for hours or actually even days!

Lucky that I made those arrangements! After the second LSD I ended up, not in chaos and confusion but with the blackest depression that anyone could dream up. Depression had never been a symptom I suffered from.

Many hours afterwards, in despair, I finally forced myself to especially call Sid for help. Sid sat through much of my session. It was shattering to find that our phone was out of order when I went to call. In profound physical and psychological distress, I walked to the corner to a pay phone, forced myself to wait in line, and called, finally reaching Sid.

He refused to take me seriously saying to get a good night's sleep and all would be well in the morning. I clearly remember telling him that it wouldn't look good for the research if the psychologist who was the subject committed suicide. He was unimpressed.

Then I called my closest friend who had been with me through the whole eight hours of my LSD experience. She had taken a sleeping pill and was exhaustedly on her way to bed. The pill had begun to work, and not only was it impossible for her to come and help me, but she couldn't even talk long and coherently enough to help make sense of where I was. I can't remember what I did then in my despair, but I must have walked home. I know that I felt the universe had collapsed on me.

But our hypothesis had been proven! My friend told me as she delivered me home after the session that I had gone through the equivalent of 500 hours of analysis, something she knew only too well since she had been in analysis for many years with Dr. Otto Fenichel, a disciple of Freud's. Fine thing! The experiment was a success, but the patient was about to die!

In any case, in the midst of the profound depression, I may have saved my life and I certainly saved my sanity, by searching through our library, book by book until I came upon what finally helped. All night long I submerged myself in the writings of St. John of the Cross - that long, long night of the dark of my soul!

Thirty five years later, these are the memories which come into being about that session: the beginning with Mozart where there were all sorts of gleaming insects attacking my head, beautifully-colored insects which drilled into my skull; the ice princess and the gingerbread (man) - northern part and southern, warmer parts. But, as before, I had mostly forgotten. From the report, written within the first 24 hours of the session, dated January 10, 1957:

"Actually, I sort of expected a repetition of the freedom from self of the first session. But in reality I lived through a massive reduction of my defenses and habit patterns back to the very beginning of family identifications. All of these appeared in brilliant color, so, although I was conscious of what was going on, I might be said to have been hallucinating. I could stop the process when I wanted to, but I tried to ride the emotional and symbolic wave down to the bottom to understand the whole story."

"Almost the whole process was acute agony - pure hell or purgation - and I realized it as such and spoke of it thus. It was purgation of the spirit through self-knowledge; not just insightful knowledge, but also emotional knowledge of a direct and actual and acute sort. Almost the whole time I realize that I was enclosed in a wall of the defense: I could see and feel the limitation. But several times the light broke through, and at the end when I was beaten and spent I began the ascent to the light of wholeness and integration..."

"I remember having the feeling of waiting, waiting - waiting for I knew not what. Then I saw spots of brilliant color in small flecks or squares - the pure color made when a prism diverts pure light. The flecks danced all over to the music and everything in between was gray. To the left was a sly fox with a bushy tail. I realized with anguish - because it became painful at the very beginning - that analysis is my first line of defense: I take reality and break it up into pieces because I cannot deal with it whole and pure. This makes flecks of extraordinary brilliant color, but the whole interplane is gray. And how foxy I think the defense of analysis is!"

"Then I saw a white church and spire against a mauve background, and this reminded me of a cardboard cover for a record - again, a defense against the pure music itself. I fought throughout the session to understand and associate to these symbols. The little white church with the high steeple at times had a woman standing beside it. She was all bundled up in warm clothes - mauve with a white trim - and it was cold. The woman became in turn a madonna, a snow maiden, a snowman, and a gingerbread man...Sometimes the church would show just its bare bones - the ribbing like the prow of a ship, and then the woman became a figurehead. And at times the bare bones of the church changed into a magnificent cathedral with the shadow of the structure still upon it. And I realized that these were the planes of the prism which contaminated the pure soaringness of the church - the bones of my defensive system."

"As I experienced these symbols I relived the myth of Nordic supremacy - to my horror. I was made to feel the coldness, the austereness, the separateness of the myth that Nordic people are superior to others. I realized that this had been built into me from earliest childhood. I felt its austerity and its coldness - anyone who must be superior pays the price of snow and ice. And through these symbols I released the racial intolerance back and down to my childhood where I was brought up in the South - and I loosened part of my own need for feeling superior. The first line of defense: analysis. The second line of defense: prejudice and intolerance..."

"In understanding the symbols I found the madonna and the gingerbread man were two halves of myself which I could not get together into a whole - they were stereotypes of my misperceptions of the masculine and feminine parts of my nature."

"We followed this down - down through my relationships with sensitive men whom I had manipulated so that at times I felt I had driven them to the brink of death or insanity. I felt this in a violent way because the guilt and the misery of manipulation of the vulnerable was so overwhelming for me to face. I felt that I should be my brother's keeper, but instead I had used my brother to my own advantage. I saw this with terrible and excruciating clarity in terms of how I had sided against my brother and father; I who knew how he felt and should have protected him! And how this relationship of fundamental competitiveness had become displaced with the years onto my relationship with men."

"As the guilt piled up, I felt that I killed my father, turned my mother toward insanity and made my brother neurotic and latently homosexual. And it was too much. I went off into a tangential world and knew that I was insane. I could feel the enclosedness of it, the separateness, and worst of all - the symbolization. I saw giant mosquitoes which drilled into my skull and sucked out the brains. They were not alive but were mechanical - huge, impersonal, glittering insects with the flecks of brilliant color that were the sign of my analytic tendencies as decorations on their transparent, beautiful but completely dead wings. And they swarmed around in complete silence. I told the therapists that they would have to pull me through - or I didn't know what would happen."

Well, pull me through they did, by showing me that as a little girl I couldn't have been responsible for all those problems, but enough was left of the massive dose of self- awareness that it precipitated me into that profound depression.

I swore that I would never do that to a patient!

And we never did.

CHAPTER TWO: The Parameters of Infinity

Letter to Ewing W. (Zip) Reilley of New York who funded our research at the V.A. Saturday, January 12, 1957

Dear Zip:

"And the top of the New Year to you -- and all good wishes for each and every day of 1957."

"I am writing you for several reasons: first to tell you how much Will and I enjoyed meeting you and Tom last week. Secondly - - aren't you the sly one! Here I talked practically all evening about my absorbing interest in the therapeutic application of LSD and even mentioned that Sid needed money for a study, and you didn't say a word about your good deed and the fact that you will make all this possible..."

"I thought you might like to know that we have in effect started: Thursday I took LSD with a therapeutic orientation with a friend of mine (with whom I've worked out a number of problems in the past) and Sid present. The equivalent of four years of analysis in six hours. And it's still coming..."

"There were so many things I learned for subsequent therapy. First, the preparation before taking the drug is of utmost importance. It sets the whole frame of reference. Nothing can happen at all, to speak of, if the person is unwilling to go into problems -- or is closed to the possibility of religious experience. Both aspects seem to be necessary. It is quite possible that with patients preliminary sessions of small amounts of LSD to get the problem areas out into the open and cleared up will prove to be the optimal way of proceeding."

"Then I learned something about the well defended, successful people: they are more difficult to open because their defensive system has been so beautifully rewarded and sanctioned by society. And their anxieties are deeply buried along with their unacceptable drives. I also have a hunch that individuals in the psychiatric field or allied ones are also more defended along these lines. I want to test some of these hypotheses -- another of which is that alcoholics, with proper preparation -- are almost the best possible subjects -- A.A.'s that is. They've been living through their hell on earth and if really close to accepting the third step are really open to what LSD can do for them... if you have any questions I'd love to try to answer them..."

"For now -- blessings on you for all your good works -- and for making this possible for us. Will joins me in all good wishes. Betty"

Letter from Zip Reilley postmarked January 27, 1957

Dear Betty and Will:

"I am sorry to have delayed so long in answering your wonderful letter. It `rang such a bell' with me that I wanted to be in a position to do justice to it..."

"The reason your letter made such an impression is that it served to crystallize the realization that I am an example of `the well defended, successful people'...who are `more difficult to open because their defensive system has been so beautifully rewarded and sanctioned by society etc'. I have been working on this problem in a groping and not very effective sort of way for years. So LSD holds out for me the hope of accelerating this process..."

"I am delighted by your reaction to the opportunity to work with Sid in the exploration of the therapeutic potentialities of LSD. And it was a great privilege to have been able to play a small part in furthering the work. I hope that I will have an opportunity to do more. (And who knows, I may have been `casting my bread on the waters' personally as well!) If LSD can do generally what it did for you of accomplishing in six hours the equivalent of four years' psychotherapy, I cannot imagine a greater boom to mankind. Certainly this is something we can all get very enthusiastic about and contribute to in whatever way we can..."

"All my best to both of you...Zip"

Wednesday, February 13, 1957

Dear Zip:

"I can't tell you what a pleasure it was to have your good letter..."

"First -- we all send greetings. Sid said to tell you that your gift has been accepted (many thanks again) and my contract is in Washington for approval just now. It is to run from March l to July l with privileges of renewal. My office is just about ready, and we hope to start soon on our first official subject. Because in the meantime we have been experimenting unofficially. The picture becomes much clearer, and the necessity of the problem- centered LSD experience emerges even more strongly...I feel, and I think that Sid does too -- that the best possible therapeutic LSD experience is one in which a subject glimpses the unity of the cosmos and his own place in it, and then sees and tackles his problems in relationship. And it can be done and that is what we are going to be doing..."

"I have high hopes (and some concrete evidence) that small doses of LSD are most efficacious in beginning the lowering process of the defenses; the next step is to test this out precisely..."

"I shall leave room for a note for Will... And now with best love from us both -- until soon - Betty"

Letter from Tom Powers, dated January 22, 1957

Dear Betty,

"Thank you for your letter of the 12th and for letting me share what you wrote Zip. I would like to know much more about what happened when you took LSD..."

"Even after the quite literal miracles with which my life has been blessed, I am still a person of so little faith that when the hand of God becomes obvious in certain events, I experience a kind of delightful uneasiness. It was so in our meeting with you and Will. After all that had happened on our trip, it seemed almost too good..."

"The evening after I returned from California I had a wonderful talk with my Mother and Dad. I told them about the new LSD experience, and we talked particularly about the beauty of the worlds which are revealed and how these undoubtedly are the worlds in which the soul finds itself when it leaves the body for good. The next day at l:00 in the afternoon quite suddenly and unexpectedly my Dad died. He went very quickly and gently and easily. Very much happened then and in the days immediately following that I would like to tell you about, but not now and not in a letter anyhow..."

"I do not have an extra copy of the report on the first experience but please do if you wish to make a copy from the one which is available out there for your own use in any way you see fit."

"Sincerely, Tom"

Friday, January 25, 1957 (my reply)

Dear Tom:

"We were so pleased to have your letter..."

"It was very extraordinary about your father...Sometime I should like to hear what happened; the death of a man's father is a very important event in his life and I am sure that there was on the one hand much involvement...and on the other hand much freeing."

"I have taken you at your word that you wanted to know about my LSD experience; I feel perhaps that it will be helpful -- if only to show what people are defending against. With the postulates for the session -- what I hoped of it -- I asked for whatever I should have -- for the strength to cope with it-- to see the problems through..."

"Thank you for permission to reproduce your report and to have it for very special occasions. It is truly an extraordinary and freeing and integrating one to read..."

"Al Hubbard came back from Texas -- although everyone expected him to go straight on north from there. I don't quite know where our research -- or rather our attempt to get information from him -- is going, but perhaps we can see him with a few other patients. As to the project with Sid, it is in Washington, I guess, to get an okay for the VA. Sid has an office for me in his building, and he is going to gather some furniture for us -- a tape recorder, and a phonograph. We can't really start with subjects until we have the official okay, but it shouldn't be too long in coming."

"This is so important to me -- it is hard to think about much else. There is some key to its therapeutic use which lies just outside our grasp -- but somehow I feel that we have almost all the pieces assembled and that the insight will eventually come. If only we can learn to use it with all the power implicit in the intimations we have seen!"

"Will sends his best to you -- as do I. With affectionate regards, Betty"

January 29, 1957

Dear Betty,

"Just a note to tell you that your LSD material has arrived and I would like to ask your permission to keep it for ten days or perhaps two weeks. I have read the material, but it bears so directly and powerfully upon areas of this whole problem that I am most deeply interested in that I want an opportunity to study it carefully."

"You are a good soldier and a good reporter, Betty. I have been through exactly the same places you describe so faithfully; the details of my experience do not match yours of course, but the essence does. I went there via the use of alcohol, metrazol shock, and some other means. You went there via LSD. That doesn't matter. The important thing is to get there -- and to get through. Not out (that's what the ego is always clamoring for) but through."

"I think you are coming through -- really, honestly, deeply I do. And then, when you have come through, the way lies open to the fulfillment and the incredible joy that the human heart is really made for..."

Tom

"The key is surrender -- at every stage. Let the ego go; let it die. It always makes a mess of dying, but what of that? (Suicide, of course, is not the death of the ego; very much the contrary. The ego is an awful ham. It always tries to make a tragedy out of its own death. But this, as everything egotistical, is also false. At the death of the ego, the real self laughs. Actually the real self laughs well before the ego- death and this brings on the happy event as nothing else can. The ego can not stand being laughed at; it sill go to any lengths to avoid it.)"

Saturday night -- February 2, 1957

Dear Tom:

"Your two letters came today, and I hasten to answer them. First -- my very deepest and heartfelt thanks for your kindness and understanding. I can't tell you how much it means..."

"Of course keep the stuff as long as you need it and find it helpful. Another chapter will join it toward the end of next week. Like a dope I made only one copy of the sequel which occurred last Wednesday. This friend and I both took 25 gamma expecting to loosen inhibitions and to get further into our problems. (January 30, 1957) I hoped that I might pick up the thread of my father relationship and be able to carry it on further because its unresolvedness has been like acid deep inside. I was therefore totally unprepared to have a completely positive experience -- with nothing about problems whatsoever. Just pure light, integration -- and pleasurableness. But you will see. I haven't talked to Sid yet, but we are both very curious about the whys of this -- whether following the problem-solving session -- then the integrating -- or whether the small dosage for me or just what. We shall have to experiment with this and see because it is of extreme importance for our work therapeutically. Interestingly enough, we had given 100 gamma to a psychiatrist the day before -- who had a mixed reaction... I felt guilty I had to leave him (which we had all known because I had a prior appointment with a patient) after lunch -- at a time which coincided with Sid's leaving him for a while. And his feeling of isolation and depression I think were a direct result of this -- or at least this intensified it. The one thing I have noticed is that the subject who takes LSD should be the whole center of attention for as long as the process goes on and should have any and all necessary support for as long as he or she needs it. I don't think Sid realizes this as much as I do, but I've seen it both objectively and subjectively... also I think it is better when working therapeutically for only one subject to take the drug. If people are on the same level -- all right, let several take it -- and it might well be that smaller doses would work just as well. Dr. Humphry Osmond told me that when he was down, but when I checked with Hubbard, he said no. But after my experience, I believe Osmond."

(Discussion of Load Carrying followed in response to his mention of Contagion)

"For one thing, I have found -- and Sid agrees with me -- that one should not try more than one LSD session a week. It just takes too much out of you no matter what kind of thing it is. I know that in these sessions there is some sort of bridge constructed -- or rather a bridge comes into being between the subject and me -- they have all spoken of it and talked of how I knew what was going on in them and they could communicate with them (me?). I can feel it too, but not as overtly as they think. However -- this seems to be important for the therapy -- and through it I seem to operate intuitively as a therapist. Certainly it is not anything very planned --what is to be said comes from the unconscious -- and if it is not right, one knows immediately. Anyway, I find that this demands great psychic energy -- and as such it would be helpful if there were ways to channel this -- or help it along..."

"I do thank you for your concern about me. I was very touched. But perhaps it would help to know that I have worked as therapist with psychotics, with sexual psychopaths (legal terminology, not psychological) and naturally with neurotics. I really feel that although LSD brings much more out much faster, it is the same process. The interesting feeling I have, however, is that it is not my experience which is insulating from the infection -- not the therapeutic experience, that is -- but... the fact that one knows and feels deep down through the layers of the unconscious the power of the good and tries to operate out of this center..."

"Anyway, the important thing I see as a therapist is to give an individual an LSD experience which combines optimally the integrative and the problem oriented...I am trying to sort out the conditions which make it possible. It obviously depends on the state of the individual, his openness, his own physical and mental condition as he takes the drug, and on the therapist, too. And one large and important element is that of trust. In fact, after my own last experience I would say that this is almost paramount. Because if we have a bridge of trust from one individual to another, it can so easily extend to God."

(From a report of 25 gamma session January 30, 1957: "If one can build a bridge of trust to another human being, then the bridge needn't be much longer to go to God. Or maybe even shorter. But suddenly I saw that that was what Al has told us in hundreds of different ways. He 'processes' people until they trust him implicitly before he gives them the 'materials' -- or else he doesn't give it to them...this may very well be a key and crucial point on which the type of reaction under LSD swings.")

"And now it is late and I am tired and I don't know whether I am making sense any more or not. But I do want to say one more thing. Thank you very much for your note about surrender... But by golly -- until it is over -- just how does one surrender? Not with the conscious mind, certainly!? And who can control the unconscious...All I think that I can do is to try to stay open -- and to ask desperately for help from anyone who knows. Friends can really help at times...Probably, however, the most helpful comes in the daily exchanges and contacts if relationships are as honest as they can be..."

"Thank you again for everything...Betty"

Wednesday, February 13 (1957)

Dear Tom:

"It was wonderful -- I can't tell you how wonderful -- to have you-all here..."

"Of course there is no problem with LSD -- or with those who work with it (or) don't work with it -- if it is only the means. When it becomes the end, then the difficulty arises..."

"I have been busy the past few days keeping relationships up to date -- as you call it... you might like to know that I called and went out to see Gerald (Heard, English philosopher) this afternoon. I picked up his reports to classify and told him how much I needed his help in the work which Sid and I will be doing... I went on the say that I was sorry about Sunday night and told him the circumstances...(which) arose from my own questions about parts of my own experiences and where they fit into the scheme. The only time that you were mentioned was when he said that you felt that the difficulty had to do with Al. He went on to discuss the assembly of people...and he drew the analogy of the elements...which in combination make gunpowder. Of course in my naive way I had thought that those of us with deepest concern about LSD should be gathered to communicate...It is just that the communication became warped because it was grafted on past currents and eddies of great strength and force. However, all seems well...Gerald had to leave for an appointment, so M.G. and I went for a lovely walk. Her third LSD experience was very similar to my problem-centered one..."

"I saw Sid today and also my office -- which begins to look like a habitable (though far from esthetic) place...I think that the large sessions will be held away from the hospital...I'm going to start seeing our first subject soon; also I plan a trip to Long Beach to see the head of the VA Hospital1 there who has been using LSD therapeutically with great success (reported) on all kinds and number of patients in group situations. Then Sid gave me a brief report of 500 LSD sessions on 40 patients at Pinebluff Sanitarium, Pinebluff, North Carolina which reports many of the improvements which we have noticed with therapy..."

"Driving home from dropping you off at the Miramar I had the sudden flash that -- although you speak well about knowing that you are unable to help W. (W. Wilson, founder of A.A.) the words are not yet synchronized to the music. This may not be an accurate observation and I offer it only tentatively..."

"Please give our best regards to W. and tell him that it was a real pleasure to meet as interesting, extraordinary, and powerful (and challenging as a problem to himself and others) person as he..."

"With love from us both, Betty"

(From LSD report of February 16, 1957, which turned out to be the

1 1 The head of the VA Hospital was Oscar Janiger, MD who made an extraordinary contribution with his world-wide work. He was fascinated by LSD and gave it to whomever he could, possibly between 200 and 1000 doses. He had artists do painting of kachina dolls before and after LSD sessions. Oz said he planned on studying creative people and their reactions to their sessions.

first group session we ever did):

"When I talked to Tom about his coming out...the idea of all of us taking 25 gamma experimentally to see what would happen. Since all of us had had it at least once -- in larger doses, it would be interesting, I thought, to see what the small dose would do... So unconsciously or rather half consciously I probably had hopes of help from Tom either in the problem area or in the integrative..."

"But when W.W. (Wilson) walked into the den...I knew this was his session..."

"Sid was waiting for us in his office at the hospital and there were warm greetings to Tom and W. At 12:20 we took the drug...W. had taken 50 gamma -- the rest of us 25. When offered the little blue pills and was told by Sid to take what he wanted, he said -- 'Never say that to a drunk,' and took two...it was 35 minutes later when he said he felt stirred by the music, and 10 minutes after that when he began talking. Throughout the session he rarely would admit feeling the drug or its action, but about the time he started talking quite a bit in a more relaxed way his face changed, he looked much younger, and the tension began to go."

"Tom and I took alternating roles of therapists; Sid for the most part sat very quietly. I felt pulled in different directions at times by the three of them...the problems seemed to be in the mother-father area from the masculine aspect. Sid was very open to the whole thing...and I felt that many of the things which were said to W. he felt were said to him, too. And Tom seemed to identify a great deal with the problem and at one point cried. W. came close only twice -- once in relation to his mother and once with his father, I believe. I kept having the feeling that my role was that of therapist -- this wasn't my time to experience the drug, and then I consequently examined myself as to whether this were a defense against the drug..."

"...Gregorian Chants, and these moved Tom profoundly. He seemed to take onto himself the suffering of humanity and particularly with respect to a mental hospital...I think he actually was open to the surrounding suffering and as such felt it. This is important with respect to where we hold our massive LSD experiments..."

"I hesitate to enter into the dynamics of the problem(s) as they were uncovered. I do think that there were two important parts, though -- W.'s experience of himself as unloved -- and the perception that it was not through himself but because of his parents that this occurred...It was interesting to see how the therapy went -- at times I felt that Tom jumped too many levels and lost W.; at times he felt that I was off the beam..."

"At about four or shortly after W. seemed to be coming out and rebuilding his defenses (but one can still get through, Tom -- as we found at dinner: both Will and I did.)...Sid had to go to a military ball, and so we decided to leave. Now that the session was over, I suddenly began to feel the drug -- four hours after I had taken it. (Both Tom and I had full LSD reactions 5 hours after the drug had been administered.)...I really didn't feel that I should drive, but W. is ticky in LA and Tom wasn't in much better shape than I. So I crawled down San Vicente concentrating on all aspects of driving and had a terrible time figuring out where to go...But we finally made it to Tali's, and while we sat drinking and talking the drug really hit me. The color and room approached and receded in waves -- it was just like the first time I had had the drug from the sensory aspect -- the slugging on the back of the head, the nausea, etc. And I knew I was in for a bad reaction because there wasn't the concomitant freeing experience."

"I felt progressively worse as we came home -- and since the sitter had to leave almost immediately, I was projected like a missile into the domestic situation. Nothing was done that should have been done, and everything was a mess, which I tried to keep from Tom and W. (the old perfect hostess operating) and I felt worse and worse and worse...But I couldn't put a name or reason to it -- there didn't seem to be anything related to my suffering...I had to retire to the bedroom...I sobbed and sobbed in terrible anguish over -- I didn't know what! And I still don't really. Tom suggested that it might have been a reaction from the session since I was carrying a heavy load of masculinity -- one of me and three of them..."

"So -- Will came home and we had drinks -- hard and soft -- and talked and talked. And then to the Miramar for dinner where Will really got through to W. a couple of times on the bridge between them of depression. I got through to him once, too, although Tom didn't think we could do it... And we talked about trust, and the difficulty is that W. doesn't trust anybody: he can't let them close because he doesn't trust himself -- that he may kill them, in effect. Because those of us with 'paranoid' tendencies will kill before being killed, and the 'depressive' will kill himself first. And I think that is all there is to different psychiatric classifications in this area. And perhaps there is only one: the ego when attacked will defend itself to the death. And this violence and basic urge to kill (basic to the ego, not the self) is so appalling to the 'depressive' that he shrinks back and turns the point of the weapon toward himself while the 'paranoid' on the other had tries to rationalize it and make a pretty picture of it for society or whoever to see..."

"And when we got home at one or after I was still so disturbed and upset and in such suffering I cooked until 3 and soon I felt peace and release and back to creative reality again. Cooking is a sacrament; I never knew before."

February 26, 1957

Dear Betty,

"I wrote a brief note the other day... I've had too much work the past six weeks, and I'm really a little punchy."

"Your report of our 25g session came today, together with the earlier report. I'll return all of these along with the other material I have to send back to you..."

"I think both you and Will are wonderfully good for W. because you are among the very few people who are interested enough and loving enough to deal with him forthrightly and outside of the highly forced and artificial context of his position in A.A. Something did him a whale of a lot of good -- obviously, visibly so -- while he was out there this last time, and I think you and the LSD are very largely responsible..."

"The great thing about LSD for me is that it permits the realization that Reality is here and now and that only the thinnest kind of dream separates the ego-bound consciousness from the always-existent free child of God. Our experience together was no exception, and I am grateful to have been with you and Will in your lovely home when the clearest of the glimpse was open to me."

"Something persists after the experience, too, and it persists this time more strongly than before. The drug is a wonderful help but it is a crutch, and I'm sure the time would come when the crutch would not longer be needed."

"My love to Will." Tom

March 22, 1957

Dear Folks,

"Please forgive this late response in thanking you both for all the friendship you gave me so freely on my last trip to the Coast. More often than you can guess, I have continued to think of you."

"Since returning home I have felt - and hope have acted! - exceedingly well. I can make no doubt that the Eisner-Cohen- Powers-LSD therapy has contributed not a little to this happier state of affairs."

"It looks like the contract for our television show is about to be signed. One of the best things about this is that it may bring Tom and me within sight and sound of you both once more."

Devotedly yours, W. (W. Wilson)

April 13, 1957

Dear Betty,

"Thanks for you(r) letter. Sorry for this delay in answering..."

"Thank you very much for the memorandum on the conditions contributing to an optimum LSD session. It is helpful, particularly with our meeting in June coming up here. Do send along anything you think would be of help. My interest continues to be very, very keen. The total effect of the three sessions on me has been striking, and steady. It has profoundly changed me for the good; and the change extends to a considerable extent to the physical level; a bad allergic situation which had existed for ten years is about 95% cleared up and slowly improving more with time. W. is strongly affected for the good. Everyone notices how much better he is. He himself is very happy about it and realizes clearly what it is that has done it."

"We are all very excited about Sid's coming here. Let me know what is happening there. Best to Will and the kids."

Love, Tom

Thursday, April 18 (1957)

Dear Tom:

"I hope you won't mind my answering your letter so quickly..."

"I have thought of you so often -- and come so close to writing you to ask for your help. But things seem better now, and I hope that I am past that part. But I have walked so close to insanity, Tom -- and it was only my responsibilities which at times seemed to hold me back from driving a car over a cliff. I guess I took so much guilt so fast -- and then environmental conditions seemed to converge on me...But as I said, events changed...and also I have been reading up on conversions (both Sid and I have because it bears on the LSD work and also on schizophrenia.) And half of the world's conversions have no element of feeling of personal sin at all. That is our heritage from Christianity -- and also especially the Reformation and Luther and Calvin. But no matter. Oh yes, one more important insight -- the Gregorian Chants are not good LSD music; they have invariably projected the subject into strong feelings of guilt, just as they did you that day: that was the Chants you got the reaction to -- not the hospital -- because I have had it happen several times until I realized what it was. The music is very important: if the subject doesn't have any preferences, I've found a Mantovani record of classical selections is good to start -- and then Chopin's first piano concerto is better than anything. Pablo Casal's Kol Nidrei is good, too, and several of Beethoven's concertos. Also some Mozart -- just so it isn't done mechanically. I want to talk to you about this at length. In fact I have a number of things to say about LSD sessions but tonight I'm very tired. I had a session yesterday, and another today, and then I had a post LSD subject in and a meeting last night. I'm handling the session(s) by myself most of the time now..."

"We seem to have hit on the technique of getting people past any possible bad effects of a session with the graduated dosage sessions. But must run a larger sample. I feel we can do it for anyone -- if one is willing to risk the investment of time and energy -- any non-psychotics, that is, because I don't know about them."

"Will joins me in sending best -- and bless you for your letter." Betty

April 27, 1957

Dear Betty,

"Sorry to hear that you have had a few rocky spells lately. But I am not surprised. I think you are carrying a very large load. An LSD session in which one takes the kind of interest and responsibility that you do is liable to draw off a lot of energy and vitality. I do hope you will not over-do."

"I still have more work than I can do right, but it is nearly all work that I love and I am glad to have it..."

"My love to Will. And please do not try to do too much too soon. This LSD work is hard work and difficult work, and I think the first saying of A.A. applies very directly to it: Easy does it. Tom"

May 14, 1957

Dear Tom:

"Again bless you for your letter..."

"I am not working too hard -- really don't think I am. It's just that life has had a whole lot of things piling up for me just recently. At the moment it isn't overwhelming. But if you remember, I told you and W. that I wasn't ready for this work; my children are too young, etc. And you both laughed and said it was always that way. On top of everything else there has been great difficulty in getting responsible and kindly women to stay with the children. And as you know, I feel my first responsibility is to them and to Will -- workwise, that is."

"Of course the main difficulty is myself and the particular problems I am trying to work through. One does the best one can. I eagerly await your arrival out here -- whenever -- so that I can take one more LSD..."

"This week I start a hospital patient and a patient who did not benefit at the alcoholic clinic... So we go into the pathologies, and I'm excited to see how it goes. I hope my feeling of confidence is borne out. I really feel, Tom that we have the method licked. But we need more cases to test this. And we are planning a really long-range study with other therapists too, if we can get the details worked out, because we feel this is so important. If it's to be, it will."

"Best love to you. Will would join me, except that he is in Washington on his way to Orlando, Florida for some military meetings along with a whole bunch from Rand. Betty"

P.S. "Work is also a defense for me: when things go awry if I can do helpful work the situation mends."

Thursday, June 6, 1957

Dear Tom:

"...I have just finished my third session, today, in as many days...The man today is finished after four sessions -- he didn't really need the fourth one, but he went higher and experienced more deeply. This was my first hospital patient and it was his second hospitalization (last 1954) and now he seems a different man. It makes one very humble and joyful."

"I await your arrival with eagerness. If you can possibly arrange it, could you manage to wait until after the fourth of July? I have a heavy schedule as a man is coming down from Palo Alto the week of the 24th for three treatments; the week of the 17th will be Sid's first week back at the hospital and I am scheduled for three sessions then, too..."

"Come as much ahead as you can spare the time -- sit in on a session with me if you like -- or anything that would be helpful. And save one day for me. I await your arrival eagerly (now I'm repeating myself). Best love from us both -- Betty"

Western Union June 25, 1957:

TRIP POSTPONED UNTIL AUGUST LETTER FOLLOWS TOM

Saturday, June 29, (1957)

Dear Tom:

"I didn't know how much your coming meant to me until I had your wire that the plans were changed."

"Is there any possibility that you and W. Wilson might be coming out on the TV show? In July? You see, I'm leading a psychotherapeutic seminar for the Rathbuns (Sequoia Seminar) in Ben Lomond from August 18th to August 25th... After the seminar we have a few days in Los Angeles and then leave for New York. Our American Psychological Association meetings are over Labor Day, and I think I'm going to be presenting a paper. I'll be in New York from about the 30th to September 5th; Will will go down to Washington on business after a few days in New York and I'll join him there. I was hoping to see you while I was back there, but it wouldn't do for my LSD session. Nor would it work between Ben Lomond and New York..."

"Is it at all possible to make your trip the first part of August rather than the latter?"

"Thomas Merton just isn't a substitute for Thomas Powers -- much as some of his things help."

"With love, and please let me know. Betty"

July 17, (1957)

Dear Betty,

"Yes, it will be very good to be with you again. A lot has been happening both here and there. I'm sure we won't have anywhere near enough time to get talked out, but we'll make a dent in the situation anyhow."

"The greatest effect of the LSD experience for me has come in the past two or three months. A lot of what I knew under LSD is coming back, not as a permanent state, but as quite steady intermittent awareness. It isn't like a recurrence of the experience, of course, but it comes pretty close to it. The net result is a drastic de-problemizing of my whole life. Things are still tough here and there, but it is a matter of dealing with conditions, not problems. It is hard to describe, but the connection with LSD is unmistakable. I think it will be years before we really begin to know what the possibilities of this experience are."

"Love to all. Tom"

July 15, 1957

Dear Zip:

"It was good to have your letter in May and to have more direct news of you from Sid..."

"Both Sid and I are extremely grateful to you for your confidence on our LSD work as demonstrated by the extension of the grant. As the main (or should I say sole?) beneficiary of it, I want to thank you especially. And I guess Sid wrote you that he put through a rise in rate and a change from 16 to 20 hours. I leave all that up to him because I love the work so much and find it so fascinating...all the ideas appearing on schizophrenia, hypnosis, the mystic experience, and all the rest. I think we have a pretty good idea now of how to make it work for almost everyone (psychotics excepted) and the point now is to demonstrate on a number of patients. Which I hope to continue to do. In the fall we plan to limit ourselves almost exclusively to hospital patients for several reasons: not the least of which is that they are easier to discuss when trying to communicate what we have learned..."

"And so -- until some time in August -- our best good wishes, and again all sorts of thanks for everything."

"Affectionately, Betty Eisner"

(A number of letters between Tom and Betty about plans for the coming visit and the scheduling of activities)

LSD SESSION -- Wednesday, August 28, 1957. These are from both my and Tom's notes. Tom's notes are marked with "'", mine with

""" and direct quotations are marked with "'"; my interpolations are marked with "()".

"My memories today of the session are vivid but limited. First I was in `hell' and in pain for what seemed like one eternity after another. Finally, when I had made up my mind that I would be in hell forever and accepted that fact, it was over. And then I remember going to `heaven' which was beautiful clouds and `cosmic' scenes which turned out to be nauseating to me, and meaningless. Out of this grew the Tower of Babel with everyone speaking their own language and no one understanding anyone else. I can't remember the transition, but the awareness grew in me that something had to be done about dependency."

There was a great deal on dependency/addiction. Besides the importance of experiencing the unreality of both "hell" and

"heaven" was the insight that I must make a symbolic sacrifice so that I could communicate with my mother (a very difficult job). I hit upon giving up alcohol, a valid symbol of dependency/addiction. Following the session I didn't drink any liquor for a year and a half. This "sacrifice" actually did enable me to get along with my mother until her (to me) entirely unnecessary death, which she seemed to bring on herself by insisting on an incorrect operation and then dying on her wedding anniversary from the embolism which followed.

"75 gamma taken at 9:18 a.m." Tom listed the music which was used during the session.

"I lay in silence almost for the whole first two hours. I can remember the first powerful impression I had was of Tom. I said 'I can feel you, Tom; you're an extremely powerful person.' To which he replied that he could feel me, too. I can remember wishing that he would play the music in certain order but feeling that I shouldn't interfere. Finally I asked him to put on the Chopin first concerto...then the Beethoven Fifth Concerto."

"It may have been the Beethoven. During this time I was feeling the action of the drug. I felt first a sort of disengagement -- a going with the music. And I remember that the field in front of my eyes was of the color of eyelids with light shining against them. Slowly I became aware of the fact that my body felt as though it were disintegrating. This proceeded very smoothly until the process got to my head. There was trouble there: it was too hard. I remember smiling about this. In fact I reacted with smiles at times and at other times tears slipped down my cheeks, and sometimes they made a river..."

"About this time I began to feel pain in the back of my head and also in my left arm and hand... It was as though I were being told that I must see, and yet I was not allowed to see. In other words that I must see what there was to be seen, but I was not allowed to understand it -- to see it with all the logical questions answered. The pain in my arm became excruciating and as I tried to `see' what I was supposed to...elbow bending, or the alcoholic, of dependency...The pain was almost unbearable, and...I became aware that I was to consider myself an alcoholic -- just like Tom. That it was involved in my dependency problem, and that I had to be content to accept the pain and allow it to continue forever with no way out. But the pain was too great; I couldn't bear it alone. So I finally asked Tom to put his hand under my left elbow where it was at its worst..."

ll:ll 'Wants T.P. to put hand on (under) left elbow briefly. Says will explain later. Says is a good joke on her.'

'`The purgation of the alcoholic...will explain it later. It is hell being an alcoholic.''

"`I am an alcoholic.'"

'`Everyone is an alcoholic -- Wherever the dependencies are, whether family, children, or whatever.'' (Dependency leads to addiction.)

'`I ran right up against Jehovah of the Old Testament....Guilt is not just in the person or the personal unconscious. A cosmic thing -- involving other lives. Even hell is pleasant, if you accept it.''... He did not say pleasant, as I remember, but that it can be tolerated. And in order to go through an experience, one must accept that experience as though it is for the rest of life and as though there will be no other.

'`There is a place where one is not allowed humor. Because that is also an escape.''

"`I know. I have been there.'"...

'`I keep thinking of Job. You can't understand him, just live through it.'' (This is being broken on the cosmic wheel, which I was.)...

11:35 '`We are brother and sister. A cosmic relationship.'' (Working out of sibling business on here and now level, too. As Tom says, when all the levels are in line -- the here and now up to the cosmic -- that is the reality. Also seeing kinship of where we are and what we are doing.)

ll:50 '`These worlds seen in LSD are not the Reality. They are designs. We (T. and B.) know that there is only one Reality. Dependency has to be burned out.''

'`Other levels are kind of nauseating. Hell is not the only false level. All these other levels are not important, not real....''

"`The Maya of the Tree of Life.'

'B. gets a bad taste for some of these levels -- archetypes, etc.' (Heaven is as nauseating as hell is painful. There is only one reality --God. That is all that counts.)

12:20 '`In time, we cover up the crying need to live with God, masking it under the dependencies, and then hating the dependencies.''

"Addiction is not necessary or desirable. (I think what I said was that addiction arose when one misinterprets the one dependency as being other than on God; then addiction follows inevitably.) Responsibility is the important thing..."

12:25"...`The cosmic levels are magnificent. But they are just smoke.'..."

"Have to accept heaven and hell. Other was painful, the hell experience. This is nauseating. This is heaven, but it is smoke, too. Have to be willing to live in it, knowing it's not the real. It is wrong to cling to religion." (I had to accept and be willing to live on the symbolic or heaven level even if that were all there were.)

"The wheel. The cycle of rebirths. The Maya. Why the illusion? Must be willing to live in each level."

1:30 "`It is all a process of purification to make us able to love... Unless we've lived through it in the here and now, we can't love...The only horror is not to be able to love. We make all our mistakes because we do not love each other...Have to take up our burden in the here and now and clean up.'" (Clean up one's own dynamics.)

1:35 "Still `stuck in heaven'. Experiencing heaven as `purgation'. ..." (Nauseating.)

'B. thinks she may have to give up drinking... Sees the implications (of giving up) all the way up to the top and all the way down to the bottom.'

"`I never have seen it this way before.'..."

4:10 "`How many lifetimes I have lived today!'"

4:30 "`The whole idea of ritual sacrifice. Give up drinking not to save your soul, but lovingly for someone else.'" (And not for any rational reason, but simply because the evidence presented is overwhelming that it must be done although the reason why is not vouchsafed. And this sacrifice was for mother.)

"Marked difference in level. Much more use of the scanning and rational facility -- return to a much less deep level."

"Discussion: whether there is a pattern to going into and coming out of the experience."

4:50 "And then M. came and she could see what I had been through. And when I described the long purgation, Tom couldn't believe that I had been through at least two solid hours of pain. `But you looked so peaceful,' he said. Tom was tired, and M. took over. It is good to have someone fresh come in at the end to take over and carry the subject further. And the next four days were the ecstatic and the light. And I needed an enormous amount of sleep for the following week. I tired greatly and my arm was very sore. And since then I have felt the boiling of the internal levels, settling down to the alcoholic restriction. With luck they should settle within three to four months, as they did with the smoking before. But we shall see."

The schedule was a busy one that August: Monday, August 26, Tom arrived by train and Zip by plane. On the 27 Zip took LSD at Gerald Heard's, with Gerald, Tom, and Sid there (I was not invited to these Gerald Heard sessions; the all-male sessions didn't seem to want an interfering feminine touch). On Wednesday, August 28 I had my just-described LSD session with Tom sitting with me. And the next day, Tom took mescaline at Gerald's with Zip present.

September 4, 1957 Dear Betty and Will:

"It was so good to see you if only so briefly; and I feel that I owe you an explanation of why I was so withdrawn on Monday."

"For some time prior to going to California I had been under a good deal of pressure; getting only about six hours sleep a night. Then I flew out on an overnight coach getting no sleep. This was my only vacation so I had counted on doing some relaxing out there. But I found myself on the go more than I was able to handle. So my nerves were rather jagged. Finally, the L.S.D. experience opened up some areas that were rather intimate and personal. And the "ego" was counter-attacking, which I was not fully aware of until afterward. As a result I now realize that I may have created an impression that was very far from my intentions and true feelings. If I did I hope you will accept my apologies."

"I hope to be back in California between Christmas and New Years and am looking forward to seeing you then. Meantime my fond regards and wishes for all the best of everything to both of you."

Sincerely Zip

September 11, 1957

Dear Zip:

"Thank you for your very sweet letter of the 4th. Of course we understood about your being so busy when you were out..."

"Actually, I've found that I'm not good for much of anything in the practical sense after taking LSD..."

"I don't know whether this is pertinent or not, but I should like to try to communicate to you something as have learned from the research which you have so generously made possible: and that is the extreme value of the low doses (25 and 50 gamma) for clearing up the personal problem areas which are of a pressing nature so that the large dosage LSD experiences can be really creative and integrating. There is also a symbolic and guardian level which must be penetrated, but it yields to traversing with devoted friends once the here and now problems have been understood and largely cleared up. I hope that these observations will be helpful to you..."

"Meanwhile best of everything, and take it easy so you can get the good of your LSD work."

"Sincerely, Betty"

(Alas, Zip was unable to profit from the research he had made possible! Only large dosages, and no "therapist" present.)

October 2, 1957

Dear Tom:

"This has been a long time in the writing; my desk is still piled with things I didn't get done before my seminar."

"But I do want to thank you for all the wonderful help you gave me in my LSD session. I never would have made it as I did without your help. I hope someday to be able to type up your notes. Do you want a copy then -- or at least to see it?"

"Enclosed is a blue line of our current LSD thinking which I have just revised. You will find that there is not much fundamental change, but there are some additions which are important to put into writing."

`I've been getting some very interesting things in sessions lately: did several Sequoia Seminar people, and they were very remarkable One a full experience on his first 25 gamma session -- and reenacting many of the Freudian-posited dynamics on the way, but going far beyond that. I'm glad we have all these on tape."

"Have you started work yet? Do let me have news of what goes on. We are having two sessions a week, and sometimes I can manage three if they are 25 gamma ones. Hope to get the article in shape before too long. In checking up our subjects seem to show continued change for the better. Which is very exciting."

"Best love to you and it was wonderful to see you in August. Betty"

10/10/57

Dear Betty,

"Thanks for `current thinking on LSD'; it is very good and will be really helpful if and when something gets going in the way of actual sessions here..."

"I was a long time getting back to normal after the mescaline experience this time. This one was a real earthquake, and some pretty large chunks of life were shaken up and are even now still settling... I have great difficulty this time in trying to say anything about the experience. I just feel that everything I say is wrong; not false but hopelessly and almost offensively inadequate."

"Your work sounds even more exciting than ever, particularly the fact that the subjects continue over a period of time to show change for the better."

"Affectionate regards to Will and the kids, and to Sid, to whom I shall be writing one day soon. Tom"

1/30/58

Dear Betty,

"Good to get your note."

"When Sid and I looked in on your patient and particularly during the time I held her hand, I felt a tragedy in the process of being resolved. Then I saw clearly something that was very like Blake's picture of the light angel subduing and binding the dragon. Enclosed is a report on my own last LSD experience."

"Hello to Will and the kids."

"Love, Tom"

February 28, 1958

Dear Tom:

"Thank you for your note and the report. I was very moved by it. It is such beautiful simplicity and so full of what it is. It was a bridge for me, also."

"I was interested in the description of what was happening with my patient. You were so right. I was almost out of energy when you came in, and it took both of us and Sid, too, to pull the trick. She had one final session in SF with a group and hit the mystical transcendence and is now cured. But without that particular session I don't think she could have."

"We are publishing the article and hope soon to have it submitted for publication. It goes well and is fun to write with Sid."

"We plan to come East the 15th of April... I would like to see you if you are not too busy around that time... I also want to see Dr. Denber at Manhattan State Hospital if he is not in Rome. Otherwise we shall be visiting friends..."

"I want muchly to discuss the integrative experience and its effectiveness, personality-wise, too. Best to you from us all. Love, Betty"

Sunday, June 8, 1958

Dear Tom:

"...I was deeply sorry not to have seen W. Wilson; at the hospital they didn't know we were just back from the Midwest. Please tell him to call us at home next time..."

"I have been looking for an office and picking up my practice. Also trying to get some of my thoughts on paper. If the Rome trip works out (that I can get away, that is) I would like to go SAS directly and then come back via NY and then I would see you then..."

"There are a number of interesting things going on: foremost is the fact that I am getting LSD-like phenomena (low dose equivalents) without the drug at all. It is relatively easy in people who have had LSD, either with or without music, but I have one patient who has never had any sort of drug like this and who does wonderfully. It certainly does speed the therapeutic process for those who are open to interpretations of their own symbolism. Several friends who have had LSD are also noticing this with their patients."

"Had lunch with Sid the other day and it was great fun. Our article has been submitted to J. of Nerv. and Ment. Dis. and this month we give the paper in SF at the AMA. He is very kindly letting me read it, which I shall enjoy. I hope to give several sessions in SF; have been away from the drug too long with only a couple of sessions since March. And I find it makes a difference. Have talked to Gerald but not seen him, but I did have lunch with Aldous Huxley and we talked about drug work, what should be done, and I asked his advice on all the material I have which I think would be helpful if in print. There is a writer who is interested too, Anais Nin, and we are going to see what might be possible. She had quite an extraordinary inward-turning, creative experience."

"It would be lovely to be able to see you; barring that to talk to you. But sooner or later you will be out or I shall be back. Until then we all send you our best love. Plus heartfelt wishes for a lightening of your load."

"Regards to Zip and W. Wilson. Love, Betty"

Two notes from Anais Nin:

Dear Betty Eisner:

"As I am leaving for Europe for July and August (leaving June 23), I am sending you these books for yourself, and I hope we will see each other when I return. I was very impressed by your attitude as to the positive value of LSD -- and hope I can give you some support as a writer, or in publishing -- at least believing in you!"

Anais Nin

July 8, 1958

Dear Anais Nin:

"I don't think you would have dreamed of how much your note and the books did for me. Just after I had written you that we would see you soon, I was called in the middle of the night and told that my mother had died very unexpectedly..."

"Somehow your books and your kindness conveyed a special message to me when I returned..."

"I was particularly touched and quickened by what you had written on the fly leaves. I suppose I had never thought particularly of it outside of my own psychological bias, but it had not occurred to me that one would render less creative by analysis. I can see how this thought would arise within the confines of resistance or lack of knowledge; however, if such a process occurred, it would be because the creativity of the individual was made available through neurotic means, rather than through an opening process. And if the analysis or whatever process of maturing were continued far enough, I should think that the creativity would reappear, many times refreshed. I know nothing of your life, although somewhere back in the recesses rings a tiny bell which connects you with Henry Miller and with that time of his life in Paris. I have found him an inspired writer, and one time Will and I, accompanied by Rajagopal who took us there, called on him high on the hill of Big Sur. He had been asleep and he awakened so gently and so penetratingly insightfully that the afternoon is framed in my remembrance... So there is some part of you which fits in there somewhere, I think..."

"Next, I was struck by your observation that your analysis was your method by which the negative aspects were prevented from taking over in an individual always close to her unconscious. This is extremely meaningful to me and I should very much like to pursue it sometime at length with you. Sid and I...had an LSD study all set to try to get some insights into creativity by the use of painting and artists as contrasted with the paintings of schizophrenics at the hospital. Alas, the National Institute of Mental Health had other places for its grants..."

"There is another whole aspect by which the negative can become understood and used creatively instead of being limiting and destructive: this has become clearer to me with continuing experience with LSD. I think this occurs when the individual makes contact with the deep Innerness -- call it what you will -- which lies within us all and which probably has some common ground. Perhaps it is something as simple as what Dr. Osmond calls the transdimensional vector: love...LSD when used properly enables the individual to make contact with this and to experience it so that life can become very different..."

"I am also finding that for certain levels of the unconscious, drugs are not necessary. I know this has been self evident for you all your life, but for those of us who never had an image, a vision, or a fantasy in color until LSD, it is a revelation that such an infinity of worlds exists within us, accessible to us at almost any time under proper conditions..."

"With great affection and gratitude. Betty"

(Undated; probably December, 1958)

Dear Betty:

"I didn't write you after your gracious dinner because I thought you were leaving for Mexico -- and I was so touched when I received your letter - Particularly when I know how busy you are - This was the first year when faced with growing burdens of correspondence I gave up sending holiday greetings - perhaps also because I felt they can be offered all through the year."

"I was very exhilarated by our talk. I feel that you are very creative in your work with a fine blend of intellect and intuition. And you do write well. And in yourself there is the aliveness which could make these experiments fascinating. I do want to help you with your book in any way I can -- even if it is only as a fiction writer encouraging the case history to put on flesh, color and identity - It is time we reject the convention of fiction itself and unravel the truth about human beings, but it is true we have to bring to it the artistry which makes the truth alive - We have a lot to talk about and so little time. Both of us fulfill our women's role and you besides that of a mother -- but let us not for lack of strength or time, lose contact - If you are able to get your cases to fill out - perhaps I can then help you with suggestions - Some evening when R. plays near you I'll run in for another talk -"

"Affectionately, Anais"

Tuesday, August 12, 1958

Dear Tom:

"Your letter was carried up to Ben Lomond with me in the fond hope that I could answer it there. Actually it arrived when I was in Kansas City because of the unexpected death of my mother. Fortunately we had been back there in late April and early May and she had had two weeks with Maleah and DB who were her real loves. Her death was one of those unnecessary and completely unexpected things medically... Thanks to you and the session of just about a year ago I was able to handle it all. You will never know how grateful I have been for that session on so many levels, Tom; it really was an extraordinary one."

"As far as my plans now are, subject to anything happening such as measles, I leave here Sunday, August 4th and go directly to London. A couple of days in Worchester with Sandison, a couple in London with Dr. Ling, I hope a day in Hamburg with Frederking, some time with my brother and friends, then Rome on the 7th. The conference is the 8th to 12; my paper is on the 12th...then I have alternative routes home. One is go to London and back over the pole; the other has me leaving Rome the 14th, I think, for New York... The whole trip is very delicate, and I must feel my way along. But IF all goes well, and IF I can make it home via NY, I have planned the two days so that I can be just with you...I have a great deal more information about the drug -- and in fact about doing the same thing as 25 or 50 gamma sessions without any drug at all. We call this deep fantasy out here and a number of us who have worked with LSD are able to do it for patients..."

"I also want to write Humphry (Osmond) before you and W. Wilson go there...Give him a big hug for me; he has kept me alive in heart during many dry times of these last few years. He is a wonderful person, and really knows about love -- which, after all, Tom, is all there is worth knowing about. I think all the rest of this we do is just embellishment on the theme -- and usually the theme of resistance."

"The seminar this summer was remarkable in many respects, one of which was the level of drug dosage. We used 10 gamma two days, interspersed with 22 mg. of mescaline and 5 mg. of methedrine two other days. Then the group had 25 gamma (except two refractory ones had 50 gamma) and I 10 the last day. It was the most remarkable group sessions I have ever seen for getting down to basic dynamics. I'll try to write some clues to Humphry you might use in AA groups. Certainly I think low dosages are your answer - - particularly things like methedrine which open rapport among people -- plus a little mescaline if 10 gamma LSD is hard to get...Best love to you, Tom, and let me know your plans. Betty The kids are wonderfully well -- growing muchly -- very great fun."

It was August of 1958, and I was in transition: we had finished the research at the V.A., and I was getting my own office and going into private practice. Also, I was on my way to Rome to give my very own paper on LSD. Pretty exhilarating. But before we go sailing off to new worlds to conquer, it seems appropriate to see what our research had been about.

CHAPTER THREE: Our Research

When we started "treating" the subjects of our research at the Brentwood V.A. to examine the therapeutic potential of the new drug LSD, the first session we gave them only 25 gamma of LSD, approximately one-fourth the amount that I had taken in each of my LSD sessions. And while it wasn't enough for the strongly- defended subjects (the alcoholic, the salesman, and the schizoid), it worked well for the majority of the 22 subjects we had in our initial study. And if the 25 gamma wasn't effective that first session, a week later the 50 gamma was, or certainly the 75 gamma the third week. Because we met the subjects weekly, and raised the dosage each time until we reached 100 or 125 gamma in most cases, and 250 gamma with a few recalcitrant subjects. At the time, incidentally, we didn't know anything about Ron Sandison's work in England where he started with 25 gamma with patients at Powick Hospital and gradually increased the dosage. But we found out from his articles, from letters, and then, finally, by visiting him in England.

Dr. Ronald Sandison worked with Drs. Spencer and Whitelaw at Powick Hospital north of London, where a whole ward of the hospital was reserved for patients undergoing LSD therapy. While their dosages began at 25 gamma, sometimes they increased more rapidly than we, and sometimes went as high as 150 to 400 gamma. Their "team" consisted of a psychiatrist, nurses who stayed with the patients through the whole session, and therapists who conducted group therapy between drug sessions. Two-thirds of their 94 patients were reported improved with follow-up periods of six months to five years. However, "We would stress that all our cases were in danger of becoming permanent mental invalids, lifelong neurotics or suicides." (Sandison, R.A., Spencer, Andy and Whitelaw, J.D.A.. The therapeutic value of lysergic acid diethylamide in mental illness. J. Ment. Sc. 100: 491-507, 1954.)

Dr. Joyce Martin, also in England, treated 50 chronic neurotic outpatients at a day hospital with gradually increasing doses of LSD and found lasting improvement two years later of 68%.

"The therapeutic effect of LSD-25 would appear to be in the reliving of early experiences, particularly if accompanied by release of repressed feeling... the presence of the psychiatrist helps him to act out and work through the experience in an environment of security not present at the original experience." (Martin, A.J. LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) treatment of chronic psychoneurotic patients under day-hospital conditions. Internat. J. Social Psychiat., 3; 188-195, 1957.) Alas, there is no readily-available record of Tom Ling's work which was carried out primarily in private practice in London.

Our own experience was somewhat the same and somewhat different. Because earlier reports of Al Hubbard had shown that the setting and the people present made a difference in the experience the subjects had under LSD, we fixed up a hospital room to be as attractive as possible. (In fact, it ended up not looking like a hospital room at all. Al had found music to be effective in enhancing the action of the drug, which we corroborated personally and with our first subjects. In fact, we found that the type of music and the period when it was played in a session could have a profound effect. We developed a set of pieces, mostly classical, which aided the drug in its effectiveness and direction. Also, we let subjects bring their own music, which sometimes was helpful, sometimes not. We found that "light" classical music was good at the beginning of a session, and that concertos were really effective in the deepening and integrative periods of the drug action. Concertos seemed to express and enhance the relationship of the individual to the environment as expressed by the interaction of the soloist with the orchestra. Piano concertos were particularly good, especially Chopin's First and Second, and Beethoven's Fourth and Fifth.

Sessions lasted from four to eight hours. I was with the subject the whole time while Sid joined us periodically and always for the simple sandwich lunch, eaten there so that the subjects didn't have to leave the room. The presence of both a man and a woman seemed to help resolve problems, especially during stressful times. We also used other aids such as photographs, especially of family and early life situations, and a large, hand-held mirror. After the sessions the subjects were taken to the art therapy clinic to draw or paint, as they chose. Their productions make a fascinating record of the course of their therapy. Even later, when I was in private practice, photographs of the patient and family members were found to be especially helpful in resolving early problems. While there was no art clinic at that time, pastels and paints were made available, and many patients chose to draw or paint following a session.

Of the 22 subjects in the study carried out at the Brentwood V.A., five subjects were neuropsychiatric hospital patients and 17 were volunteer outpatients. Problems ranged from depressive states to borderline schizophrenic patients in the hospital. Our improved rate was just over 72%, as judged by the two doctors, the patient, and the individual closest to the patient. Follow-up interviews were held over periods ranging from six to 17 months, continuing success in behavioral adaptation being the criteria of improvement. For instance, one of the "non-improved" category, a hospital patient, was cured of his alcoholism, the reason for his admission, only to become a compulsive gambler two years later. The rate of improvement was 16 out of 22 patients. (Eisner, B.G. and Cohen, S., Psychotherapy with Lysergic Acid Diethyllamide, J. Nerv. and Ment. Dis., Vol: 127, #6, December 1958)

Probably our most dramatic patient was an alcoholic who had been hospitalized 23 times for bouts of drunkenness during which he usually became violent. J.D. had seven LSD sessions with discussions in between when he requested them. He improved to the point of being discharged from the hospital and has never been rehospitalized -- some 35 years later (although, he did drink again). His weekly productions in the art clinic are a fascinating record of the drama of his recovery, although they do not picture the event which made his recovery possible: the abreaction of an incident where he had been captured by the Germans in World War II and had had to kill two Germans in order to escape and return through enemy lines to his own Air Force unit.

Another interesting case was a hospitalized patient who was obviously on the verge of a psychotic episode.

"I'm afraid we'll blow him into a paranoid schizophrenic psychosis with LSD," I told the ward doctor.

"Well, he's going to have a paranoid breakdown anyway if we don't do something," the doctor replied, "and there's nothing lost if we try."

So with Sid's approval, we gave the patient a series of LSD sessions of gradually increasing dosage and walked him past his psychosis so that he was able to be discharged the following month. Again, we have a record of his progress in the pastel drawings he did each week. With respect to approval, Sid and I had decided that no subject would be approved for the study unless interviewed by both of us, and we agreed that the person was appropriate for the study. The agreement was breached twice: once when we accepted a patient by phone without having interviewed him; and Sid's solo approval of a patient who later, after I had gone into private practice, broke into my office back door and knocked me out of my chair from behind. This was a schizoid patient who was almost impossible to tolerate until he was under LSD, and then he could be related to. He had been unable to get a job or to maintain a relationship, but after 16 LSD sessions, he was able to do both. However, evidently we didn't drain the reservoir of his hostility enough during his sessions. Incidentally, it was interesting to note how LSD lowered an individual's barriers enough to make the person possible to relate to. No matter how unpleasant or hostile before, all patients were "lovable" once the LSD was working strongly.

It was a fascinating and absorbing time during that first study of LSD. Sid and I were very involved with the psyches and complications of our subjects/patients, our colleagues, and almost anyone who had had LSD or was working with it. Certainly our study proved to both of us beyond the shadow of a doubt that LSD was one of the most potent therapeutic tools in existence. Also that it was a powerful drug for teaching: observers could watch as patients went through levels of their defensive system, layer by layer, down to core problems. It was amazing how observers could follow, see, and understand the structure and the process. We also learned about the power and the process of abreaction of past traumatic events as we watched and recorded successful solutions of difficulties emerge from the recapitulation of past- time events, accompanied by emotional turmoil and often explosive actions and vocalizations.

Usually the insight(s) came to the person himself or herself. However, with difficult problems, sometimes insights and interpretations from one or both of the "therapists" could resolve the difficulty. But the main technique which was found effective for basic problems which presented themselves in symbolic terms -- such as raging fires, the void, dragons, a vortex -- was to instruct the individual to move toward whatever appeared. On consideration, this is an extremely valuable piece of advice for anyone with a difficult problem: to face the difficulty head on, and to move toward it. In the first place, if we run from a problem, we can't see just what it consists of, how threatening it is, whether it is going to devour us, or what. When facing away and running, the problem always feels insoluble, and the terror increases as we retreat, being all the more terrifying because it is unknown. When we turn to face the problem, we become aware of its nature and are able to deal with whatever it is in the best possible manner. Furthermore, and most important, as the individual under LSD "walked" toward the fire in order to be consumed, the flames which appeared to be of hellish intensity, suddenly changed in the moment of impact, of stepping into their midst, and were transformed, as though miraculously, into a situation capable of resolution.

As Sid and I finished our absorbing study, we began to write up the experience. Also, we collected everything we could find which had been written about LSD, especially anything which had any bearing on therapeutic changes in subjects or patients. And we read and reread the reports of our subjects/patients, the necessity for a written report of each session having been one of the requirements for the subject's participation. About this time, Dr. Herman C.B. Denber of Manhattan State Hospital suggested us as participants in the upcoming meeting in Rome on September 13, 1958 of the First International Conference on Neuro-psycho-pharmacology. That was a pretty heady business for me -- the prospect of a trip to Rome, and to give a paper at an international conference! There was a paper to be written, but that wasn't all. In getting to Rome there was the possibility of visiting all of the LSD workers in Europe!

But before Rome and the exciting business of getting there on the way to the meeting, it seems a good idea and might be interesting to review some of the correspondence from those exciting first days of trying to understand LSD.

CHAPTER FOUR: More Investigation of Parameters

June 25, 1957

Dear Dr. Osmond:

"I have been contemplating this letter with pleasure for weeks; I'm glad that it is finally becoming actual."

"In the first place, I didn't think it was fair for me to get so much pleasure out of your letters to Sid and Gerald (which they have kindly let me share) without telling you about it. Sort of like watching the neighbors without their being aware of it..."

"We have been doing such fascinating work, too, that I want to tell you about it...As you know, Sid and I became interested in the therapeutic possibilities of LSD through you, Gerald, Al, etc. We read every report we could get out hands on... We even tried a few patients ourselves, and got good results. The big question was whether we could make it work in every case; and make it work without throwing that percentage of people who seem prone to unpleasant reactions into a tailspin. We think we have both of these factors licked by a simple device: we start the subject at 25 gamma and increase the dosage each week..."

"Sometime I'd like to tell you about the process of our therapy; about the mystic or interactive experience which I believe is at the core of any therapeutic change which is lasting, and talk to (you) about so many things which bear on this area -- like hypnosis, for instance. And depersonalization..."

"I have noticed that the course of the drug seems somewhat the same from subject to subject if there is no interference from the therapist. I think the function of the therapist is to optimize conditions for the LSD to work... In tracking down the records of subjects with bad experiences and in talking to them, I have found that they were holding out and fighting with all their might against accepting some aspect of themselves -- and letting go to the drug. And they fight by regressive modes of defense: catatonia, paranoia, depression, etc."

(long discussion of schizophrenia and Humphry Osmond's theory)

"...If only I could talk to you about this -- Sid and I really have at it, but how we would love to have you here, too...please give my best to Dr. Hoffer. I liked him immensely when I met him -- just like with you. And now -- Best regards from us all -- Betty"

Box 1056 Weyburn 30:6:57

Dear Betty

"(I hope you will forgive the familiarity but if in doubt look on it as a bit of cuneiform or cryptography). I was delighted to hear from you. I enclose a copy of the key to the short hand to help your ciphering; you might let Gerald and Sid squint at it when in doubt...I am very much interested and encouraged at your account of the work you are doing. It seems to me much more sophisticated than Abramson and Sandison (in England). Paul Bergman (of the Pinel Clinic in Seattle -- possibly you might like to write to him) has suggested psychoanalytically that this mass "integration" of id, ego, and super-ego seems to take place -- Your idea of starting with a small dose, working up is very sensible. I suspect that it reduces the anxiety giving a patient a sense of mastery and achievement which makes the experience very much "his own show"...I am much in agreement with your views on the need to allow the process to unfold and developing its own way. It may become possible to intervene when we know more, but possibly when we know more we shall be less keen to muddy the waters. How should we interpret the psychotic-like effects? I am not altogether sure that they are really all of one sort..."

"Your model of schizophrenia is a convincing one and very congenial to me... (long and fascinating discussion of schizophrenia; he really seems to understand the aspects from the biological, psychological, perceptual, etc)..."

"It will be very interesting to see how LSD works with early and borderline schizophrenics. It may well be that a discovery on their part of the `naturalness' of their strange experiences may well make it easier to cope with it. And what may be as important may make communication possible because of the recognition that if the therapist has taken LSD too there is then a common language as it were. I believe this opening up of communication between the ill person and the therapist who has become an honorary psychotic may play a large part..."

"I have not seen Al yet, but hope to do so. Abram Hoffer saw him last week and he seems more settled. I think we may slowly get him to realize that the professional and business worlds differ in their customs and that piracy still does not very often pay steady dividends even though it may be a good short term investment. He does not understand the patient and prolonged work necessary to turn a hunch, however good, in (to) a working hypothesis. Yet I believe he has been very helpful in churning up good ideas and could be even more useful in the future if he can learn that we live in very different worlds... However in the past explorers have not always been the most scientific, excellent or wholly detached people. They have often been quite wrong in their estimates of the country into which they pushed. Christopher Columbus believing that he was in the Indies...(Al) is much more likely to receive recognition for his considerable achievements than poor Columbus was. Ever, Humphry"

July 11, 1957

"Dear Humphrey: (and I would have done it last time if I'd had the nerve)..."

(long discussion about communication, schizophrenia, adrenochrome, perceptual anomalies, etc)

"And may I venture an aside here and agree with you wholly and completely that love is the transcendental (how did you put it -- transdimensional?) vector by which any salvaging (or salvation?) can occur. But it takes great time and enormous energy for the channel through which it comes and cannot be maintained indefinitely, I believe...Love is somehow the bridge by which the sick person finds his way back..."

"I think I mentioned that there was a schizophrenic whom I wanted to give LSD to...the three borderline ones we have worked with have given us enormous insight -- and a healthy respect for the amount of after-hours work when the subject is a `normal' or outpatient referral. We hope in the fall to concentrate fully on hospital patients whereby the individual will be transferred to Sid's ward and we can really see what is going on and be assured that there is good care 24 hours a day..."

"I wrote Al just yesterday and took the liberty of mentioning that you had called him an explorer like Christopher Columbus... I hope you don't mind my quoting from you to give grandeur to my suggestion of where he can contribute the most. I think that you and I are the only two who see both sides of Al and are able to deal with them simultaneously; he does stir up such a fury of reactions at either one extreme or another. And then perhaps I am calmer about him because he has been most helpful and kind to me, really..."

"So with great good wishes for your trip to Zurich and many thanks for making such a pleasure my attempt to communicate. And with love from us all, Betty"

Box 1056, Weyburn, 21/7/57

Dear Betty,

"...delay in answering...a project which I have put to have Francis Huxley (Julian's son) work 6 - 9 months on a very chronic ward and look at it as he would the Urubu...who are an Amazonian excannibal tribe. Huxley would live on the ward and would confer with Kyo Isumi our architect to enlarge the architect's idea of people and space. From this we hope to enlarge our thinking on this topic and maybe make minor changes using Hediger's (Zurich Zoo) principles and see where we can make better social conditions at minimal expense...Our objective is to take the running of mental hospitals out of the sphere of intuition and put it slap into learned techniques. There are far too few intuitive people for us to depend on them..."

"Of course you must develop a new lingo for the LSD work -- you don't want it confused and contaminated. I suspect however that some of the existentialist or phenomenologists work might be useful...I don't think you can or indeed should pretend that those who have not taken LSD 25 or something similar can possibly understand. I don't think they should be allowed to use it as a therapy and they should be most strongly discouraged -- Hard words, but what is the point -- they will just use words about words and we have so many of them already..."

"I am sure that you are right LSD 25 properly used by those who are prepared gives immense self understanding. But as the mystics insist, this is never absolute or permanent, but then in life nothing is. It has to be used and good habits built on the new foundation..."

"I am very glad you did write Al and mention C.C. as a parallel...I know him well and love him, but whether I can influence him to see things as they are I don't know. Possibly he has no motive for seeing things as they are. It is much easier to feel that `I am right' and the island, the aeroplane and the Rolls Royce are mute and not inglorious evidences that not I, but the other fellow is wrong. However Abram and I hope to see him soon. He wants to contribute, he is able to, he has a variety of gifts..."

"Good wishes to Sidney, Gerald, and all. Ever, Humphry"

August 3, 1957

Dear Humphrey:

"I do hope that you have a chance to see Jung in Zurich. He lives in a suburb called Kusnacht -- on Seestrasse 228... I was moved to drop him a note telling him of my admiration of his intuitions regarding the impersonal or racial unconscious and intimating at levels beyond. That and individuation appear to me to be well substantiated by the LSD work we've been doing and by the many reports of subjects which have passed through my hands...in the years to come I think that his contribution will be more recognized and he will stand with Freud rather than being mentioned almost apologetically by categorizers as though he belonged in a footnote..."

"It was interesting to have your report on the two psychologists who got into the paranoid area and kept at it hour after hour. This `schizophrenic belt' (Al's term, as I remember) is one of the aspects of LSD and it is of immense fascination to speculate on just why and when its doors open to engulf the intoxicant. I went into it and came out by myself, but had to be pulled back from the area by interpretations by Sid and my friend; we have had one patient go into it in the form of severe depression; and one just the other day who happens to be a good friend of mine went through it to the experience of relatedness to humanity. Again it was interpretations of what she was worried about which brought her out -- that and the physical contact with Sid and me. This latter appears to be of extreme importance... she needed both a man and woman present to pull her out quickly. The trip through that to the other proved the most beneficial experience she has had therapeutically so far; I look to her next (and last, I think) session for the furtherest advance which I think will be preceded by her depersonalization. Because it seems that the extreme mystic benefits to be obtained from LSD are available only after some form of depersonalization is experienced by the subject. The razor's edge in a way: on the one side one tumbles down the precipice to psychosis if the shock of `not being one's self' is too great; on the other (side) one is projected upward to another level of consciousness and understanding. Do I make too much importance of this as the unlocking phenomenon for the mystic area? Please check my observations on this."

"Of course the `cure' isn't permanent. But at least one can see where the sun rises and sets and the horizons and the galaxies and know the infinite peace of liberation. And since the air is purified by truth, it gains something for use in everyday living. And one can never be content to live always in the valley at sea level when one has experienced the rarefied ozone of the higher altitude. So it serves as a map left in the intellect, as a warmth or remembered radiance in the emotions, and as a still small voice or an agonizing goad in the conscience and a longing in the heart. I really mixed up levels of abstraction in that one didn't I? I think I mean to say that one can never be the same after going through self understanding (of the outstanding problems of the moment) to the experience of the Other under LSD. At first I felt reluctant to exercise the responsibility I felt was in my hands at setting another individual's feet into the path which must inevitably become straighter and narrower as the perception clears. But if the individual is sent to us, who am I to send him away?..."

(Description and discussion of three borderline cases, and of paranoid schizophrenics)

"Now my observations may not be wide enough, but it seems to me that temperament may set the direction -- certainly the biochemical is the substrate -- but the early environment showed the direction in which the twig was bent. A willow may lean further and bend back on itself in spirals, but an oak will have only a slight curvature. Actually, I think Freud was extremely perceptive and accurate on many things. I think there is a good deal more to the levels of psychosexual development than the opponents of psychoanalysis would like to admit (and a great deal less than the devoted brethren would like to think, too). I feel that early experiences plus temperament give the form and design of the ego structure. Heavens -- end of page; so end of letter. With great good luck and fun in Zurich and best love - Betty"

August 11, 1957

Dear Humphrey:

"This is in the way of addenda to my letter of the 3rd. We have just done two extraordinary women subjects with LSD, increasing doses, and the steps they went through were so startlingly similar -- with variations for their own individual dynamics, of course -- that it seemed perhaps there was a rough sort of map here for our inspection."

"With the 25 gamma both women relived incidents from their past -- and both of them spoke of it in terms of the unrolling of microfilm. Both are extremely intelligent people, and the details remembered from half a century ago, even, were extraordinary. The microfilm story unrolled -- not in the sequence or steadily, but jumping from recent past to deep past, but concentrating more as time went on, on the deepest past. And there were many tears and laughs accompanying it. This continued until in both cases repressed incidents were relived with strong affect -- what I call a massive abreaction. In both cases these early incidents had served as a crystallization point for later emotional distortions."

"Once they were remembered and relived, there came a peacefulness; then the scene appeared to change to a different level of consciousness -- the symbolic. Both women experienced extremely frightening `apparitions' which appeared to be symbolic representations of their own guilt. The younger woman went into the schizophrenic area; the older one experienced it more like hell with Mephistopheles present..."

"Getting through this aspect of the unconscious entailed moving toward the difficulty and the help of both Sid and me. In both cases they needed both a man and a woman, and the time element ran about 45 minutes...And part of the most effective help is through the `laying on of hands'. That, encouragement, and the aid in moving toward the frightening apparition rather than away from it. Then it changes its face and reveals itself. Another help is the letting the frightening animal or incident fall away and recede into perspective, which comes with the help of the therapist."

"Once through this level, comes the experience of the solution of the problem through the ages: one subject experienced the full family circle first in Biblical times, then Egyptian, then Grecian. Both started with the Biblical level and then experienced peace, the unity of humanity, and the solution of the outstanding problem in different ages. This has been true of a number of reports I have read of sessions that Al has conducted. I suspect that this is the area of the impersonal unconscious wherein one experiences other times and the personal problems are solved at a different level."

"After this, the rising to the light -- and the going as high as the person is able to. But the oneness of humanity precedes this -- and seems to stem directly from the impersonal level. Perhaps that is the level of human unity; the cosmic one arises from that."

"When people jump past one of the levels, could it be possible that they either have worked through that one, or are in some way open to the other one at this time? Some for instance go straight to the ages; some straight to the light...I think maybe with time our understanding of the layers of the unconscious will be clearer... With best love... Betty"

Box 1056, Weyburn 10:8:57

Dear Betty,

"Yours of the third August to hand -- and being in the mood and having just had Al here for a couple of days, I feel I must hurry and answer before the pre-Zurich rush clamps down..."

"We had a delightful visit. I think I have unraveled much of the California debacle and it was in some ways highly successful; because even if Al did not do all he hoped at least he seems to have added a good push to your work and helped it along...He brought his old fireman's hat along and I must admit that he has no false ideas about it. It is a Ph.D. It is recognized by the state of Tennessee (it has their seal on it). Al seems to recognize quite clearly that it is not quite the same as some Ph.D.'s but it is recognized by state and so with limitations by federal law. And hell, Al is better than 100 Ph.D.s or M.D.s, much shrewder, too! His lawyers have examined it carefully and tell him that he is entitled to call himself Dr. H. if he wishes. However now he seems happy enough to be Captain! I am curious to know what happened. But it does seem that K. Ditman was ill advised to hold up Al's LSM. It was an arbitrary, improper, and probably illegal act. It was above all the one sort of action which would set Al moving along his tycoon lines... What Al did not quite recognize was that in his new surroundings such behavior was a trifle outre. Yet looking at it from his point of view it was wholly commendable and really very moderate. So I suppose Wild W. Hickock would have been commendably moderate if he had shot off someone's hat rather than his head...Al signaled quite clearly that he would get his property back and this meant that he would act in accordance with common business procedure. I don't think that anyone heeded his signals... Anyway, he is very happy getting news of your work and of course I am too..."

"I think you are perfectly correct (and the mystics bear you out on this) that there is a psychotic belt lying between normality and what my colleagues Duncan Blewitt (one of the two bedeviled psychologists) calls the golden strand. Physical contact may be very important..."

"I do hope to see the great old master of Zurich. He has written too much, but he is so exuberant and seems to have no critical friend who can hack off some of the pudding. Indeed rather the reverse. The faithful are inclined to encourage him to great diffuse tomes! I had a notable three hours with him almost two years ago, but I fear that I won't be so lucky this time. Jung is greatly pleased at our work on toxin X whose existence he predicted about 50 years ago in spite of Freud's opposition..."

"My good wishes to Sid -- and of course to Gerald, Margaret, Will and Michael when you see them. Let me know if my hunch is right about the Ditman episode. I'm pretty sure what you saw was another convention being played. It looked like nursery, but it is orthodox business. Ever Humphry"

Box 1056, Weyburn. 15:7:(should be 8):57

My dear Betty,

"Now you have got something. That clicks..."

I think that we must realize that not only are there specific difficulties at each level, but there is a very real possibility of a scrambling of levels -- being in two places at the same time. We experience this in a mild way with the cinema and television now, but we have very quickly learnt how to cope...Now what determines our capacity for changing levels and being able to accept "other realities"? There are clearly two great dangers which have to be guarded against: 1. the incapacity to accept another reality other than the culturally sanctified one, i.e., one learns society's way so well or so painfully that one either dare not or can not look elsewhere...2. The incapacity to have a relatively stable `here and now', so that the other levels become here and now and can swamp here and now. What has to be done is to steer a course between these two and it is not and can not be easy. The administrator has usually fallen into error l., the artist or saint into error 2..."

"There must, surely, be a variety of hells depending upon the levels involved. I suspect that one level is very simply the non expression of the cosmic in one who has once experienced it. Hell can be here and now, in the personal subconscious, in the impersonal symbolic, and in impersonal humanity ages. I don't believe that it is in the cosmic because it is essentially only the absence of the cosmic. Does that sound right?"

"The great virtue of impersonal (humanity-ages) is that it gives one perspective. We are not alone, we can not be alone. There is no personal tragedy, the only personal tragedy is the result of confining oneself and one's experience to the levels of personality at which we normally function -- I wholly agree. First we must discover that no man or woman is an island, but we are parts of the main. After this it is possible for us to begin to appreciate those levels which you label cosmic. To me this does not mean that we have reached THE ABSOLUTE, as some would have it, but as Raynor Johnson wisely suggests, we have reached the limit of our perceiving and communicating apparatus. In other words our 3-4 dimensional brain has limitations beyond which it can not go. This does not, I am sure, apply to our souls, but however as far as we in our here and now are concerned it is important because it sets a limit on our experience. The limit is so vast and generous as to be no limitation, but it has some important practical applications. The best that we can know of God is the most that can be revealed in our 3-4 dimensional continuum -- beyond that we can not and will not be able to go. However by understanding our limitations we can be splendidly free. We do not need to heed those who peddle distorted visions of God, they have partly sprung from subconscious levels and though they may be useful and even necessary at certain times as guide posts -- only an idiot mistakes the guide post for his final destination. -- I suspect that therapy which will emerge will aim at first allowing the person to orient himself and find out where he is vis-a-vis the various levels; second to explore them with a greater or lesser freedom; and lastly to learn how to relate the cosmic levels through the others to the here and now, and to live so that all are attuned. Enough to do? ..."

"I was greatly pleased to have your news and look forward to further news... Good wishes to Sid and Gerald when you see him. It looks as if we are soon going to be ready for a good push on all fronts and push back our ignorance some distance. Ever Humphry (on with the last bit of the budget)"

September 8, 1957

Dear Humphrey:

"So much has happened in the past few weeks that I doubt that I shall be able to communicate it properly..."

"I think I wrote you that I was going to conduct -- by the way, I hope that you are comfortable because I have a feeling that this is going to run on tonight -- so get some good stout ale at your elbow or a pot of delicious English tea. I figure it must be the water because I never had any like that in England. Anyway, I had a psychotherapy seminar with some of the Sequoia Seminar people -- ten of their leadership group, in fact. I did one last year as a trial and there seemed to be great possibilities...I had long wanted to try some experimentation with group therapy, and this seemed to be my chance...There has been a gradual movement of the group away from the strict consideration of the teachings of Jesus to a combined study of the best method of living life...and self study. Because through the years it became apparent that one might decide to live the good life, but there was some little nuisance inside who didn't get the word and really raised havoc when the chips were down in important decisions..."

"Last summer I had tentatively planned with one of the members of the seminar who is an art teacher that we would combine art and therapy. There has always been music at the seminar...So we have a situation with many factors: a group of ten people deeply interested (and committed) to living the best life they know of and at the same time dedicated to finding out about whatever elements of themselves prevent this; a gorgeous natural setting -- redwoods, beautiful country in the Santa Cruz mountains and no household chores or interruptions from mundane affairs; the combination of therapy, art, and music. And I added another variable: a drug. Sid had had some mescaline (20 milligrams), dexedrine (10 milligrams) capsules made up for our use at the hospital...I had noticed in sessions where he (Al) used the pills (methedrine) that there was more openness, and that I, for one, was able to "go along" with the person getting LSD much more easily. So we had enough pills to try them out with half a capsule to start to see that there weren't any ill effects, and two full capsules for two different days. (All covered by medical Rx.)"

"I couldn't believe what happened. We started out with a schedule of two hours of really concentrated therapy (at which time I did much more interpretation at a deep level than is common in group therapy situations), then went down to the art and they could paint or use pastels on wet paper or mold clay. There was no talking at all -- and music part of the time. After lunch two more hours of therapy, and then art again if they wanted (on the days they had the pills we ran all morning in session (8:30 to 12) and afternoons l:15 to 6 and had to make up the art the next day. Truly, Humphrey, on the second day when one of the group started into the psychotic belt, I was surprised, and then when the group began painting series of pictures from their unconscious...which showed their basic family identifications, the state of the problem as far as the unconscious, the working out of problems in a series of paintings, and the projection of the solution in the future (all these are not necessarily connected -- nor separate) I was overwhelmed. And then another member really went into the schizophrenic level. We saw it begin (thank god for LSD so I knew what was happening and could steer it), we helped him go down, and then when he was there with the ego completely shattered and feeling alone, abandoned, and insane, we all went and put our hands on him and within a few minutes he had come up with great rapidity into the light, and was a completely changed person due to the reintegration following the shattering -- reintegration on a new level. There was one further journey into the psychotic -- and these three trips demonstrated to me LSD mechanics in slow motion -- that and what happens afterwards because several people were having extra-terrestrial, if I may use the word, experiences with the combinations of therapy, art, and drug."

"I was deeply in awe during the whole week... The days that we took the pills the group oneness was palpable; otherwise, without the support of all, some of them couldn't have gone where they did and effected the work they managed. The great boon of the week for my work was that it showed me in slow motion what it is that projects people into the psychotic. You know, not everyone has to go there. And it also demonstrated to me about the importance of something I can only call commitment. This is relative to your question of changing levels and what makes it possible..."

"Briefly, what appears to project an individual into `insanity' is the cracking (for whatever reason) of his picture of himself -- the disintegration of his ego, I suppose it might be called. I have a certain idea of myself, and when that is destroyed -- or when the cornerstone (the whole thing need not be shattered) is pulled down, then I am suddenly left adrift -- not knowing who I am, where I am or what is reality. One of the most touchy areas is that of basic identification: masculine vs. feminine -- (and I have a new one I observed -- neuter). They are the ones who are really in trouble because there has been so much threat from both the masculine and the feminine in their early learning situation that they have had to make themselves neuter and then it becomes of prime necessity to protect the self from the knowledge of this dastardly fact by acting out strongly in the direction of the desired identification. Another area that is explosive is one's basic goodness. And the area which can hit the insanity button every time is the recognition that one is unlovable. (I am so terrible no one -- not even God can love me). Now it is interesting to observe that not everyone seems to have to deal with the disintegration of the ego on the insane level. This probably has something to do with biochemical levels, but somehow I have a hunch it is more basically related to the temperament and defensive system of the individual involved. Those who must most strongly defend on the intellectual, controlled, rational level (against the other parts of themselves -- really against their own unconscious) seem to be the ones who are most likely to hit the skids in this direction. In examining myself, for I was an insanity belt girl, it seems to me that it was in some way related to fear -- fear of unreality, or the unconscious -- of not being, etc. I mean when it is definitely experienced as insanity and not as symbolic hell or purgation. This latter gem comes to everyone some time, it appears to me..."

"Now -- the commitment. All the members of the seminar are extremely committed to the best possible way of life -- no matter what the cost. That is, intellectually. Of course the unconscious commitment may lie at any number of different levels; rather, one may reserve one or a thousand things from the abyss while thinking intellectually one is willing to dispense with all. And it appeared from my observation of the group that individuals are able to enter into their own unconsciousness to the extent to which they are basically committed -- that is once they have survived or been led through the insanity or symbolic purgation belt..."

"You must help me out on this commitment business. That is not a good word because it is probably too religious. There should be something about willingness to pay the cost in order to know the truth...I do know for sure now that dosage has to do a lot with the level available, up to a certain point: 25 gamma for personal unconscious, and sometimes 50 gamma, too; 75 gamma up to the impersonal and symbolic up to the cosmic depending on the state of the individual at the moment."

"And here I must digress a moment. I almost wrote you another letter before the seminar to tell you that the levels were interpenetrating. And then you talked about that in your letter to me... I discovered that before the really traumatic repressed memory (personal unconscious) could be released and abreacted, the subject had to live through some symbolic purgation. One of the two also had to go through the insanity business..."

"And here I come to the question of guilt. I certainly had a lesson about my much too easy statement about perhaps hell being personal guilt or whatever it was I said in one of my last letters. This is true -- yes, in some limited form in the personal unconscious. But how right you are and how extraordinarily insightful (or is it personal experience, too!) for you to note that each level has its own symbolic hell or purgation. I was taught this lesson -- and well, just about ten days ago."

"For you see, Humphrey, when I got home from the seminar I took 75 gamma of LSD. (session with Tom Powers, which is discussed)...I felt that I had understood the third of the borderline schizophrenics I told you about and why it was that none of us could tell what was operating. I felt, Humphrey -- and you may well think that I misread my experience and I may well have -- I felt as though I were experiencing purgation for events and circumstances which were not "mine" -- that is related to this present here and now of mine...I did feel as though I were accepting things for others or that I was accepting the responsibility or the results or the penalties for actions of my own in another lifetime..."

"And oh, Humphrey, of course you are right. The only hell is the absence of the cosmic; the clearer one sees the sharper the pain. On the other hand the light descends into the simple things to help us finish whatever it is that we have yet to unravel...It is a cheerful, soaring burden when one is close to the love, but so many things can obscure it and the mist creeps in so subtly along with the darknesses..."

"I shall run over the questions in your letters and not do any of them due justice, for which please forgive me. But the hour dawns...I was interested in your feeling that one can exist on several levels simultaneously; I think I understand but you may have some nuances of which I am unaware. Certainly with LSD one exists on multitudinous levels at once; the great boon is that one sees it from so many levels. The point really is that they are all aligned -- and then we can transcend them. But of course the point of transcendence is in the time-space of the instant here and now; that is of ultimate importance on the one hand and yet is as smoke and clouds on the other. But unless it works here, nothing has been effected...(As to Sheldon... I did write to Jung, since we had met him, and I had an interesting letter back which was rather strongly anti-drug...As to Al...)"

"Do have a wonderful vacation, most successful paper, and all love Betty"

Box 1056, Weyburn 22:10:57 Letter all about Al

Saturday night, November 16, 1957

Dear Humphry: (I have been endowing you with an extra "e"; pardon)...

"First, many thanks for all of the articles; I enjoyed each immensely and was awed anew at your scope and breadth. I was so happy to have the Academy reprint; it is one of the finest articles of its kind I have ever seen. Thank you. And the grand strategy for Mental Hospitals I found intensely interesting. I was particularly struck by your pointing out of the devilish pair, degradation and disacculturation, which haunt the long corridors of our present institutions..."

"I could have given you a huge hug when I read `LSD is an instrument... as an instrument it is neutral'. I should like to see this in neon letters over every office which engages in research with LSD. And, incidentally, we tried some acetyl lysergic acid a couple of weeks ago. It was 500 gamma, one ampule, and Sid had the information that it should act just about as 100 gamma of LSD. We gave it to a subject, an inadequate schizoid character whom we have been bringing along for some 14 treatments. It blew him right through the sound barrier, but was so strong and projected him through so fast that he was confused a great deal of the time and the clarity and space for therapeutic manipulation were lacking..."

"And before I go into the past existence bit, let me communicate a small bit of information which I picked up in Savage's 1952 article in the Amer. J. of Psychiat. #108: page 899). He reports that he had two diabetics who had to return to medical service before their LSD treatments were completed. `Curiously, their insulin requirement was lowered temporarily after taking LSD.' I thought this might be a little piece which would fit into that gigantic jigsaw puzzle of yours..."

"It is of sad interest that we have so far confused ourselves with the `rational' and the `materialistic' approach since the `renaissance' that we have progressively banged steel doors shut between layers of our mind. So much so that the more intelligent and the more scientific a man, the more likely that he must become mad before he can become himself."

"I had an interesting session on Thursday. I had been up late the night before and so had taken a 15 mg. dexedrine spansule at breakfast. This potentiates empathy, I have noted, but this time, it really was as though I had taken LSD. I had a continuing series of visions (always within the framework of the defenses -- only one break through into the cosmic level and nothing into the humanity-ages). But the interesting thing about this was that it was not my symbolism; it was the subject's. We were startled at the similarity all through the day -- it appeared to run concurrently. And one time I had a real anxiety attack on a subject which I have really cleared up because his problem hit a hook in me on the periphery of the problem...I thought you would be interested in this intensification of direct transmission from one unconscious to another. My observation of this in the past, which was corroborated on Thursday, is that his visions or symbolism are received by me, and in the straining through my perceptual apparatus become distorted with aspects peculiar to me. But to the best of my knowledge what I was receiving on Thursday was from him and not from my dynamics..."

"Another question I should like to ask -- an unimportant one, but one which has puzzled me and which you might have a clue on. Do you have any idea what is operating when the reality of other levels of consciousness or of the defenses is seen upside down or on its side? This has happened to me several times, and usually when I am receiving someone else's symbols...it has also happened with hypnogogic images a couple of times just before sleep..."

"I must confess that I was startled by your suggestion of the possibility of the neuter being an expression of consciousness before sexual bifurcation. My intuitive feeling was to reject this, and I still do not feel it is companionable, but I shall try to keep an open mind on the subject and see what occurs. It makes much better sense to me to posit an exact balance of ambivalences at the two poles: the male and female having exactly equal pulls toward identification..."

"With all good wishes from both Will and me -- Sid you have heard from directly and I presume that is true also of Gerald. And with myriads of congratulations on the APA silver plaque, the triumphal tour, and most of all on the return home and the resumption of the exciting voyages into the stratosphere. Love, Betty"

January 25, 1958

Dear Humphry:

"What good and wonderful news that you will be down sometime in February, probably the latter part..."

"I have missed hearing from you. I presume the Thanksgiving- Christmas axis descended as heavily on Weyburn as it did on Brentwood; anyway, I am just beginning to work my way out. I have just completed the third draft of an article describing our study. Sid is working on it this weekend..."

"The study has gone well this year; I hate to see it end. Sid feels that we have completed our research and didn't ask the donor for more money, although I feel that for it to be completely finished we should examine the parameters of schizophrenia under the drug. I am doing the first one now -- schizophrenic of two years' duration who came into the hospital suicidal. Three treatments to date: 50, 75-25, and one ampule of ALD. He does magnificently under the drug, but the residual gain is small, although he was taken off suicide status after the second treatment. But he has a very immature streak -- what I call the `spoiled brat' syndrome, and he just doesn't want to work hard enough to change himself to get well."

"This business of the spoiled brat, I should like to discuss it sometime. It is actually one of the hardest of the therapeutic tasks I have been called on to tackle..."

"(So many questions to discuss) And also on our Current Thinking. Incidentally, you will be interested to know, I think, that Sid gave it to Carl Henze who showed it to Dr. Abramson. He was quite interested; in fact he made a tape with one of his assistants, which Dr. Henze transcribed for us. He was very puzzled by the religious implications of the work, which is only natural since he works with low doses in the psychoanalytic setting. But he is open enough to be interestedly questioning and seemingly eager to find out what we are saying... What a frame of reference will do! I wrote Abramson back, trying to make semantic bridges with his `ego enhancement' and our `integrative experience'. I hope that it works. Somehow, Humphry, I want very much to help bring the integrative experience back into psychiatry; to put that wedge into the door so that the unconscious can flow through and science can take a look at how constrictive the present psychiatric concepts have become; and how lop-sided."

"I think that is why I am sad that our research is coming to an end, too. Because to me the ideal research setting into the unconscious appears to be LSD therapy under progressively increasing dosage. It seems to bring out such an orderly progress of events and the process comes so clear...a mystic needs the hard- boiled realist to make him convert hunches to data. Sid is an excellent foil but I think that the material we have been getting makes him uncomfortable. In fact he has said as much. He is for controlled experiments rather than empirical ones and he feels that what I am contaminates the LSD research. And of course he is right, in a way and on one level...it is my feeling that it takes a mystic-therapist to get consistent data on the other and cosmic levels of the unconscious; the analytic frame of reference used as a base of therapy stops the individual at the symbolic level and only the Jungians such as Sandison get into archetypal material, which is only the second level, it seems to me. Incidentally, I was strongly moved to write to Dr. Sandison, and have just completed a letter to him enclosing our Current Thinking..."

"Herman Denber was out for the WPA in November, and you would like him, Humphry. He is almost as nice as you are. Poor man, he is being dragged into the mystic by the seat of his pants, and he finds part of it hard going. However he is wonderful about it and admits the data although he is reluctant to discuss any of it with people who haven't been having comparable experiences...His thinking about schizophrenia runs much the same as ours about the lostness when there is no communication -- after the odd things have happened to the individual. He seems to have great good luck using mescaline and aborting it with chlorpromazine..."

"I am engaged in speculation as to what makes the difference between whether a subject uses the insights gained under LSD progressively to transform his life. I have observed that immaturity mitigates against it; also the schizoid personality. Perhaps the `I can't' of the schizoid and the `I won't' of the immature. Also perhaps the ongoingness of the pathological process. And certainly how many swacks life has taken at the individual which have landed. Both Sid and I feel that the most important single factor is motivation -- the desire to get well. This is necessary for the person to want to pay the price, in suffering, of change. So many sick people only want to make the effort intellectually..."

"With best wishes from us all -- to the whole family of you and all of your retainers such as dogs, cats, fish, and the rest. Love, Betty"

Box 1056 Weyburn, 3:2:58

Dear Betty:

"I have been remiss, but much afflicted by busyness and travel... I was interested in your account of Herman Denber whom I have only met once, hastily and without any real contact. I must see that I repair that mistake. If on experiencing one is forced to think or repress the trouble, for the analytically trained is that he has been taught to learn not to repress, but when he thinks, experience does not fit into any of the pigeon holes. It is all very well trotting out the old oceanic uterine womb life stuff but far from explaining anything that only makes it all the odder. So we have to start on that toughest of all tasks, overhauling preconceived notions...Your remarks about your contaminating your research are absolutely true. The artist contaminates the picture, the analyst contaminates the analysand. The observer alters what is observed. However we must recognize this and make allowances for it..."

"I was much struck by K. Ditman's groups of 3 - 6 alcoholics. That may be the clue which you have been looking for with your spoiled babies, perhaps they have to be involved in mankind and not only symbolically but in some other "real" bit of mankind that knows the score. What we have to ask is what are the special circumstances which allow us to become involved -- possibly some sort of ritual. Or look at it the other way round -- what stops us from becoming involved? -- I must agree with your diagnosis on unwillingness to give up our old preconceptions because they are so cosy and because they smell of us! But that is only diagnosis; the question is how do you get them to make the first step. It can only be through trust in someone or something. Worry that one around and you will have something. It is not the visions and the marvels that matter -- it is a quality of feeling, very simple and appallingly difficult. Feeling the transdimensional vector..."

"Deeply interested in the previous existences business - but the great danger that it may become just a fad. It is now that matters. Truth has no special time of its own..."

"Good wishes to Sid. Let me know how Al gets on. I suppose we should cease hoping that he will try to do something and maybe he will, just to surprise us. He is a lovely old rascal. Ever, Humphry"

March 1, 1958

Dear Humphry:

"I have just finished transcribing your letter and I am struck anew at how extraordinary you are at transmitting the transdimensional vector, even within the harsh confines of cuneiform cryptography! ..."

"First, the work goes well. We are polishing the article and trying to say as many things as we can about deeper matters while just reporting the study. And in the examination of semantic methods, we have had to organize our thoughts more rigorously. Several other events have contributed to this: I have been in correspondence with Sandison; Abramson sent us a tape-recorded reaction to our Current Thinking; and Denber's 1956 round-table at the APA on Psychodynamic and Psychotherapeutic Aspects of Mescaline and LSD...arrived. You have probably noted already the articles, and I was particularly interested in the one by Ian Stevenson...He so simply discusses the therapeutic aspects in terms of the additional beauty, the distortions in perceptions teaching us the effemeralness of our rigidity and indirectly leading to peace of mind, and the Atman and non-Atman aspect of experience... With Savage I read his article very carefully, and Sid and I went over it paragraph by paragraph: we both feel very strongly that the results he gets are the result of his own dynamics projected onto the patient...Sid feels that he doesn't get the results with LSD because he doesn't believe in it really; I feel that it is more fundamental: he is afraid of the unconscious because he is afraid of his own and has never faced himself deeply..."

"In the last few days the whole business about LSD and therapy seems to be falling into place for me; whether we have the right picture or not will have to be seen. I think that the great value of it is to speed up the process of evolution -- the working through of problems toward the clear for individuals -- the progressive sandpapering away of the barriers which prevent the transdimensional vector from operating. Now to an analyst I would say that the process was to help speed the patient through an understanding and unraveling of his problems to a new integration within himself -- an acceptance of himself with respect to his environment..."

"The other half of the process is the willingness to accept pain short-range in order to understand: in other words, just as one must be open to the cosmic, so also must one be open to facing one's own problems -- and one's own self. This can and often is a very painful business, and the secret of this is to go toward the pain; to approach the terrifying and the horrible -- whether under the drug or in active life."

"Now on the one hand we have the analysts who are completely open to the problem area, but almost completely closed to the integrative; at the other end of the spectrum we find Al who yearns toward the religious and will always accept the rain from heaven here, but who feels that the unpleasant floods and typhoons of problems are works of the devil and not of God..."

"As you have so rightly said, LSD (and all the rest of them) are neutral; it is the unconscious with all its wider experiences which emerges. I think of it like a very rusty door which has never been opened before consciously. There are many keys to the door: stress, solitude, meditation, limited sensory environment, drugs, etc. But these don't seem to work until the rusty door has been forced open once. That is what LSD or mescaline can do: force open the long-since stuck-shut door of the unconscious. And then subsequently other keys are able to work...It is my opinion that LSD therapy is ideally conducted through problem areas (of course we let it go where it will and only deal with what comes up; however with troubled people the problems emerge first) up to the integrative experience. And here the frame of reference becomes large enough to encompass any unconscious phenomena which may occur...After all, our unconscious is not a monster lying in wait to devour us if we once relax our vigilance and let him free; it is the extension of reality and the path toward ultimate reality and toward love (the only state of being that is worth while)..."

"I have again digressed somewhat, and I'm afraid that I'm beginning to sound like a sermonizer..."

"You know, Humphry, if I have a mission in life, I feel it is to put the mystic back into the healing: to make the integrative experience lucid and to be desired in psychiatry. And who knows, maybe some small part of the cosmic can be worked in. I don't think I shall get very far with this, but I want to make a start..."

(Discussion of patient who goes to mystic level and "sits there and refuses to look at problems"...and a case of precipitating a patient into a psychosis by a colleague)

"I was particularly struck by your discussion of the weaseling we therapists go thru to put the blame on the patient for `resistance'. It's just that we don't know the particular oil to use to make the key work. I do know that there is such a thing: subjects who have felt nothing on 100 or 200 gamma in other circumstances begin to move in the second session at 50 gamma. But I think that it is, as you say, fundamentally a question of trust...(Discussion of different "oils") I could get my schizophrenic to go along with the drug and get the only relief he knew; to let go and visit heaven and God. But the next day he was just as afraid of his thoughts and just as desirous that I transform him by a miracle without any pain or effort on his part. I do feel that you are so right in saying that maybe some of our patients are not well enough yet to wish to get well..."

"I don't feel that it is the ritual that is important; I feel it is the combined field of the people present. A man and a woman who are truly oriented toward health and open to the mystic are usually sufficient; but the more individuals like this, the greater the field which seems to create the power to sweep people upward. You know, Humphry, it is so simple: when we are loving there is no problem. But it is so appallingly difficult because there can be no resistance at all or the channel is cut off."

"You know, LSD sessions for me are profound meditations. If only that state could permeate our every moment of existence."

"Great good love to you, Betty"

And now to Hy Denber:

Manhattan State Hospital January 3, 1958

Dear Betty:

"I hope you will forgive this delay in answering your letter. It was certainly not one to be thought over very lightly..."

"The description of your spontaneous feelings is very interesting; as a matter of fact, it is fascinating. There was some talk at one or two meetings that I have attended, particularly the one at Keith Ditman's house, concerning the possibility of self-induction of the LSD state. From what you describe on page 2 of your letter, this would seem possible. What seems more important to me, however, are the free associations you might make to the various perceptual changes observed..."

"This question of regression to antiquity (`Greece, Egypt, Jerusalem') that you describe as `a level of the unconscious of the racial type or humanity-ages' is also fascinating. In my own mescaline experience I vividly recall walking around the pyramids of ancient Egypt. However, to get others to believe this is another question; and I doubt if our `scientific minded colleagues' would really believe it."

"I see that we are in agreement on the matter of `what is psychosis.'..."

"The continuation of the discussion I had with Sid concerning the nature of the unconscious will have to wait until we get together again in May. This, without question, is a most extraordinary subject, and studies with LSD and mescaline will go far towards its clarification."

"Best regards and wishes for the New Year. Sincerely yours, Hy (Herman C.B. Denber, M.D.)"

April 10, 1958

Dear Betty:

"There will indeed be a meeting in Rome from September 8-12. Under separate cover, I am sending you the first Information Bulletin and registration cards. Any paper you have to contribute would be most welcome on the fourth day. I will give you further details personally..."

"Best regards, Sincerely yours, Herman C.B. Denber per SS"

Long Island Biological Association May 10, 1958

Dear Dr. Eisner:

"Thank you for your letter of April 18. I have been working with the Macy Foundation on a conference, but things go pretty slowly in this area. You will be interested to know that Sandoz has offered to partly subsidize a conference on therapy in conjunction with supplementary financial support by the Macy Foundation."

"As far as I know I am on one of the panels in Rome this summer and hope I shall have the pleasure of seeing you there."

"Several copies of the reprints you requested will be sent to you shortly."

"I do hope you'll visit New York in the near future. If so, please let me know a little bit ahead of time so that I can make suitable plans."

"Sincerely yours, Harold A. Abramson"

June 17, 1958

Dear Betty:

"I read over your paper with a great deal of interest. You have something very original, which certainly bears reporting at the Rome meeting. I wonder if you would be kind enough to send a one page abstract to Dr. C. Radouco-Thomas, Route des Acacias 44, Geneva, Switzerland, for inclusion in the program. Please do this as soon as possible. As soon as my secretary can retype the corrections in your paper, I will mail it back to you. It will only be necessary for you to hand in the final paper at the time of the Rome meeting..."

"Sincrely yours, Hy"

Hy Denber -- another wonderful mentor --for meetings and later to help me write articles. Also, there was the excitement and anticipation of meetings discussing what was closest to my mind and heart -- and with colleagues who were involved in the same fascinating work!

There were so many reasons to go, but the trip wasn't certain. I discussed the possibilities later with Humphry in a letter dated June 10, 1958:

"...Hy Denber was here just after our return, too, and he also watered the tender shoots of my wild hypotheses. In fact he was so sweet and interested that he asked me to give a short paper on levels of the unconscious in Rome this September. I have written something up for him to see what he thinks although there is only a meager possibility of my going. Will has no desire to go, and I am most reluctant to go without him. Despite the fact that my dearest friend is in Rome and has a place for me, and my brother has offered me his Frankfurst apartment and his Thunderbird. It would be lovely for me, for I could stop and see Sandison, visit Frederking in Hamburg, and then meet all the people who will be there in Rome. And the paper is such a one as would never dared be given in the States; it takes Europe to cushion its iconoclasm. It is much along the lines that I have written to you, toned down, and short to the point of just over five pages... There are a few changes I want to make in semantics at points where Sid objected to my thesis and I realized that I had not put it precisely enough to obviate criticisms such as his." The trip to Rome was not at all certain, despite all the possibilities of visiting friends, colleagues, and my brother.

CHAPTER FIVE: Exploring the Mind Through Space: The Trip to Europe

13th February, 1958

Dear Dr. Eisner,

"Thank you very much for your most interesting letter of January 25th, and for enclosing the details of your personal thought on the question of LSD treatment. It is very encouraging to me to find that other people are obtaining much the same results as we are here with treatment..."

"I think the matter which most interested me in your communication was the use of music to stimulate the response to LSD...We should very much like to make use of this suggestion of yours and will be glad to let you know what results are obtained. You may recall that Kluver, in his book on mescaline, mentions that music can stimulate the effects of mescaline."

"You might be interested to hear about the kind of problems which are exercising our attention at the moment. The first problem is the necessity to attempt to demonstrate conclusively whether or not therapy assisted by LSD is an effective method of treating the psychoneuroses. We have felt for some time that it would be desirable to devise a controlled trial, but the difficulties are formidable..."

"The second question concerns the terms in which the LSD experience can be described. The difficulties arise because those of us using LSD for therapy tend to describe its effects in psycho-analytical terms, whilst physiologists describe these effects in physiological terms, and psychiatrists, whose orientation is more organic, tend to describe the effects in the language of orthodox psychiatric symptomology. Thus the average psychiatrist tends to look upon the LSD experience as a model psychosis and the psychoanalyst thinks of the LSD phenomena as an alteration of the ego and the manifestation of the unconscious and therefore something which is rational and in some way different from psychosis. The physiologist is naturally more concerned with changes in the bodily state and he thinks of the LSD experience as being an alteration of physiological and biochemical balance in the body which reminds him of intoxication. It has for a long time been my desire to try to introduce some terminology which would describe mental processes in terms which could satisfy the physiologist, the general psychiatrist and the psychoanalyst. If this could be achieved much of the confusion which exists in psychiatry would, I think, disappear."

"The third problem concerns the mode of action of LSD. We are increasingly noticing that after-reactions may occur some months after the treatment has been concluded and in some cases the patient has experienced very little in the way of LSD phenomena until several treatments have been given..."

"It will be a great pleasure to hear from you again."

"Yours Sincerely, R. A. Sandison"

Since there were only a handful of us working with LSD as a therapeutic tool, it seemed very important for me to make the trip to Rome, and on the way to try and visit as many researchers who were using LSD as possible. The correspondence with Ron Sandison put Powick number one on the agenda, and going to England may well have turned the decision about making the trip at all. But it was a pretty extravagant ambition, and just a little unrealistic to try to manage to visit everyone on the way to Rome. After all, there was only so much time for a wife and mother leaving family at home to go LSD-knowledge-gathering.

But in the end I did go. I wrote to Humphry from the plane on August 24, 1958. Dear Humphry:

"I hate to inflict the combination of my handwriting and air travel on you; however there just wasn't time to manage at the typewriter..."

"As you can see, I am at long last on the way to Rome. I never thought I would make it, and I have not allowed myself to get excited until after the plane took off. And now I have been keeping the boiling point low by catching up on my correspondence -- and also by sleeping. If I arrive in England with a charge of steam, I'm afraid their reserve will be offended. I do get so excited about new things -- and any possibility to talk about LSD."

"I go first to Worcester to spend two days at Powick with Sandison; then a day and a half in London with Dr. Thomas Ling. Next to Hamburg with the hope of seeing Dr. Frederking. I didn't have an answer to my letter -- so he is either out of town or wary of strange, unattached visiting females. In any case, I understand Hamburg is a lovely city and I shall just explore it if I can't get him to see me -- Then to Munich to see old and dear friends (Max Reinhardt's son and his wife), to Frankfurt to visit my brother between his diplomatic courier trips -- and Zurich (Jung is too frail to see me, his secretary has said, but I shall see what can be done thru Sandison and friends I have in Zurich). Next to Basel to put the screws on the Sandoz people for their timidity about LSD and to Rome the 7th. My dearest friend is there while her husband is making a picture, and it will be lovely to see her..."I am enclosing a copy of my paper for your perusal; if you think I have gone off the deep end, let me know and I shall modify..."

"Not long ago we passed over Branden -- and I thought if only I could jump out and run over to Weyburn for a while with you. I examined your prairies from the air; I was brought up surrounded by prairies in Kansas City, Missouri, the one hilly and rolling spot in the midst of our corn and wheat belt..."

"I was most disappointed that Tom Powers won't see you in Weyburn. He is too busy to see me in New York, too, so I shall come back over the pole the 15th. Just as well for Will and the little ones. My only regret about this trip is that Will couldn't come and the children aren't old enough..."

"The seminar was unbelievable, Humphry. There never was one like it, and there never should be another. This was a group whose repression had been manipulated in the name of God until they were volcanic beneath the impenetrable controls. Also, I have never been afraid of patients acting out -- have never had it until this seminar when I structured it so they could. And I experienced, through the group, the dynamics of the acting out person who has been repressed. I had one boy on the verge of schizophrenia whom I never would have accepted had I known -- not for what we were doing. But with an M.D. there we had barbiturates to calm the cortex and thorazine to slow down the mid-brain. And from this boy and his wife I really learned about the sado-masochistic dynamic...From the group I got many insights re the psychopath. Nuts to the theory he has no guilt. He carries such a load that he can't tolerate a hair-breadth more but must discharge it immediately in action. Also I learned of the necessity of discharge: first of the core (sometimes this must be led up to gradually with drainage of the pus off) and then the day-to-day accumulation of waste products until the spot dries up of itself."

"We worked with 22 mg. of mescaline plus 5 mg. of methedrine alternating with 10 gamma of LSD. The last day they took 25 gamma LSD and those with strong repression (about 3 of 10) had 50 gamma. Don't undersell low doses and intensive psychotherapy. I think lives were changed that week. Now of course the insights must be put into practice in everyday life, but this is possible -- IF the core is discharged enough -- and IF the person is committed (unconsciously as well as consciously) to the process of maturity. These people all are a remarkable group."

"Art -- painting was a wonderful unraveling and -- as it was before -- music as a rest at night from the rigors of the day-long therapy. But the real miracle was clay. It saved us from two violent actions -- served as a surrogate because the people had been so long repressed that once they let it out fully only `killing' would help. I had never seen the deep dynamic of `kill or be killed'. And it made me sick to see it with the real pathology of schizophrenia (usually paranoia) in order to be `saved' (and/or `save the world') I must kill or be killed. One night we pumped the really sick kid full of drugs and put the man he respected most in the cabin with him -- and Will and I hid the axe. Okay after a good night's sleep."

"As I made clear to the group, such a situation is possible only with people who are open in both directions: toward God; and toward knowing themselves. It is only possible in a highly special place: we were in the redwoods in beautiful isolated country where much discussion and prayer and self knowledge to do the best in one's power has taken place. There must be an expert in charge, too...I was almost throttled, and if I had been afraid, he would have hurt me seriously. It was an extraordinary demonstration to me of the power of `resist not evil' -- and what can be done..."

"But the unconscious was operating magnificently. Of course only one thing is important -- LOVE -- the absence of barriers. That is LIFE and that is GOD. With love to you - Betty"

********

The English are reserved, Ron Sandison is shy to boot, and I'll never forget my first meeting with him on that trip to Powick -- after all the scholarly and intellectual correspondence between us.

There was no one at the station in Worcester when I arrived on the train from London. Maybe I had made a mistake in trains?

Spying a schedule high on the wall, I jumped up on a nearby bench to get a closer look. To my embarrassment, as I turned from my undignified position, I saw a head pop out from around the corner, and quickly pop back. This at least gave me time to jump down, rein in my flaring skirt and pull up to professional stance.

"Dr. Sandison?" I inquired tentatively.

It was indeed he, and with a completely straight face, bless him! My fascinating visit of discovery of other people's work with LSD had begun, and Ron never once mentioned my undignified position when first he saw me. True English manners.

(The following is dated September 20, 1958; to Humphry)

"I have never had any people as nice to me as they were at Powick. And was I impressed by the hospital! It looked like something out of Dickens, but the treatments make our VA look like a sterile steam roller. Only one locked ward: the refractory men's. Much enlightened treatment going on: two, three and four LSD treatments a day, pentathol abreactions; all sorts of psychotherapy; and amazing ECT (electric shock treatment). I must say that I was forced to change my mind about ECT after observing their procedure, and the most fascinating LSD group therapy work. Unfortunately Dr. Spencer, who is doing that, wasn't there, but I did get to see the room and to talk to the nurse who sits in. Also saw one patient; the rest were on home leave. It's a group of very sick people, mostly schizophrenic, I would say, some 8 of them, who meet twice a week in the same room and are given huge doses of LSD. There are dummies they can wreak vengeance on, there is sand, water, colors, blocks, darts -- anything you can imagine to help discharge cores of repression which are unreachable any other way. It reminded me enormously of the group therapy sessions I have in the summer -- only under very low doses but with patients who are really 'normal' and just trying to clean themselves up...And to me it touches on the possible key to the acting out person (which anyone is when a deep repression is lifted). The secret is the discharge of the pile (of hostility and guilt) which has fused from long since -- without adding additional guilt."

I can't remember much more about that visit to Powick except for the constant activity with patients, doing an LSD session myself with Dr. Jensen from Norway who was also visiting, discussions with doctors far into the night, and the beautiful English countryside. However, I have burned into my memory the worn steps of the hospital at Powick, concave at their reddish centers from the generations of patients who had patiently trod them almost hollow.

The other strong memory was of seeing the good of ECT, electrical shock treatments, a method which I had felt was one of torture. I saw patients come willingly to have their treatments, in fact sometimes begging for one early and no one with the fear and horror I had seen in the States. Ron explained to me that they used a form of curare and a relaxant so that the patients did not have the traumatic experiences I had observed at the VA at home. But I was puzzled about the LSD dosages they used.

"...my whole time at Powick, and also echoing down to London, was spent puzzling about why they used so much higher dosages than we do and also had longer treatment times. On the whole their patients are sicker than ours; however they are not sicker than the worst ones I did -- they just have more of them. The great difference lies in two factors, I think: the fact that I stay with my patients the whole time that the drug session is in progress; and my use of extra aids such as music, photographs, mirror, etc. I think the continuous therapy is very important. The doctors at Powick see patients only about an hour at the height of the reaction unless the patient calls for them specially. A nurse or nurses aid is with them so they are not alone, but there is no therapeutic manipulation. Nor is there music. And these two factors make an enormous difference in my opinion."

(Letter of September 20, 1958 to Humphry continues:)

"Then I went to London, and Dr. Ling kindly took me in hand. I visited two remarkable places: Marlborough Day Hospital and Bromnley Psychiatric Clinic. I wish that I could institute a combination of the two here in Los Angeles...I was amazed to see that Dr. Ling uses LSD widely not only at the Day Hospital, but also in private practice with at least one patient a night. I didn't feel that he had quite the background of experience with the drug which others have had..."

"From London I went to Hamburg to visit Frederking, but for some reason he wouldn't see me. His English is not good (although better than my German), and his nurse reported that he was

"regrettably, out of town". Shortly after I returned home I had a letter from a friend who did see Frederking, a chemist, and I shall quote from his letter (there was an interpreter). 'He (Frederking) now uses LSD he estimates on 20 to 25% of his patients, usually those that do not respond to the regular psychotherapy. He is not a disciple of Jung but thinks that work with LSD may add support to some of Jung's theories.' Don't we all! And also some of Freud's!"

"To finish up the trip quickly: to Munich to visit a dear friend; to Frankfurt to visit my brother (and seven couriers had to shift trips around to get him there to see me and these other friends of his from Warsaw and Vienna); to Switzerland to hope to see Jung although I had a letter: no luck... (he is not well and was away on vacation) and to Sandoz. As to the latter I shall save my tale to you for some time leisurely. Suffice it to say that I was ready to write the Swiss off my book as being paraAmerican in certain traits. I feel more kindly since Rome and since time has soothed my fevered brow, but I got so charged that I was rather rough with one of the VIPs there. It was along the line of reminding (them) of their responsibility toward LSD and toward the research possible with it, and I think it might have helped because we ended up both friends of primitive art. I had a kind letter from them and Hofmann and Cerletti were very nice in Rome, so perhaps I did some good. I hope so. Thence to Rome."

That visit to England and the subsequent gatherings of those of us working with LSD in Rome were among the most absorbingly interesting times of my life. It was not only hearing what each one of us who was working with LSD had done, it was hearing what effect it had and why, what might have been a different and better way to use the drug, what each of us thought was the optimal method of dealing with different kinds of patients and situations, and basically and continually, the consideration of psychedelics in all their ramifications. There was only one other time as electric in discussion and discovery, the Congress of Social Psychiatry in 1964 when Ernie Katz (the psychiatrist I was to work with), Ron Sandison and I met Stanislov Grof and discovered the whole spectrum of what he had been doing in Czechoslovakia -- healing patients and having them produce art which reflected their condition. And Joyce Martin was there, then, too, and the blonde lady who sat with Joyce's patients whose name escapes me. What fascinating times, and what learning!

Rome was wonderful for other reasons, too -- all the wonders of ancient and modern history, and the fact that my closest friend, M., who had shepherded me through my LSD sessions, was in Rome at the same time as the Conference because her husband was making a movie. They had a villa outside of Rome on the Appian Way, and it was a joy to arrive there and be with friends before the Conference started. After the meetings began, I moved into the penzione that Will and I had loved so much at the head of the Spanish Stairs on the Piazza Trinite de Monte. What better and more romantic place with its view of Rome from the second-story roof garden! And what convenience to be within walking distance of most of the treasures of the city and practically on the bus-line that ran out to the huge Mussolini-built complex where the meetings were held. Every one of my friends who visited my penzione thought that it was the most wonderful spot to stay in all of Rome! Plus the fact that every time I came home and made my way up the Spanish Stairs I was the subject of all sorts of compliments, and sometimes had to dodge to avoid being pinched! Very Italian!

"It was so beautiful, Humphry, and it was either that Will and I had been there in the late fall and between Christmas and New Year's ten years ago -- or else the fact that I've had LSD since, but the colors -- I never saw Rome this way before. In fact the whole trip was one continual pageant of color from the lush green of well-watered England...to the pale white and browns of Rome in the distance AND the orangish browns, the rosy hues, and that indescribable color of old Roman brick. I think their sculpture was terrible and I rather look askance at the architecture, but oh my, how they could put one beautiful brick upon another and make it last! Everywhere one looks in Rome there is some historically jagged monument of the fast-building, long- lasting Romans!"

I reported on everything in that letter to Humphry.

"I scarcely know where to start in reporting to you; I am caught between the dilemma of sounding like an itinerary or hopping about like hot fat on a griddle."

(First, the information papers on adrenochrome: very technical, and I was apologetic.)

"I did do better with LSD, psilocybin, and ololiluqui...First, for the least important. Kinross-Wright of Texas finally found one bush in Mexico producing the seeds (the Cuban ones hadn't worked for people and he thought the Mexican variety might be different). He got quite a lot of seeds and tried them every way that they could and all ended up with negative results. His theory is that the curanderos or the magic men or whoever made use of herbs for changes of consciousness, deliberately misnamed the seeds of riveaucormymbosa (ololiuqui) as the active agent when it was either something from the belladonna plant or else the mushrooms..."

"As to psilocybin, both Hofmann and Cerletti (head of Sandoz) reported on it -- Hofmann on the chemical aspects, and Cerletti on the pharmacology...I had talked to Fanchamps of Sandoz in Basel, and he had been rather unenthusiastic, saying that they didn't feel it was much of a hallucinogen. Although he admitted on questioning, that some who tried it did have hallucinations. I was pleasantly surprised to talk to Hofmann and have him say that he felt it was much like LSD..."

"Delay (of Paris) seemed to feel that psilocybin falls somewhere between mescaline and LSD. He had 20 patients with a daily dose. This latter makes me wonder, because if there is tolerance, this might vitiate his results. He speaks of 'deformed perception -- changes in appearance of objects', etc, but feels that it is more illusion than hallucination -- more a waking dream state than hallucination. But this can be said just as readily of mescaline and LSD; in fact, Frederking does. There is change in space and time; change in size of body parts; depersonalization, etc. Sounds very familiar, n'est-ce pas?... There seems to be enough available now, and Cerletti told me to ask our Sandoz man for some. They suggest about 5 mg. as being the proper dose..."

"So next to the LSD. There are surprisingly many individuals working with it here and there. Most that I heard about in England, and what a wonderfully free hand they have with it, compared to us... There is a man in East Germany named Leuner working with it. He reported at Barcelona (supposed to be one of the two good papers, according to a clinician). Second hand I understand he is getting the same sort of levels of consciousness we are, and is reported to talk in Jungian terms. Then there are two men in Italy, Genoa to be exact, Ghiberti and Gregoretti. Unfortunately, their paper was at a time when mine was also, and I couldn't hear it. Then there is Cornelius van Rhijn in Holland who is putting his subjects into a completely dark room and coming up with nice juicy unconscious things. He seems completely Jungian oriented. He also has some bias which rather disturbs me but which I didn't get to talk to him long enough to unravel...He insists that it is necessary that the subject be in a dark room: that a mask isn't enough. This doesn't make sense to me unless he is saying that he means limited environment by the dark room; in other words that it is a sound-proofed room as well. Wesley, Hartmann, Chandler and the bunch of them working with LSD here all use masks and find it enough for their purposes; they also have a black hole of Calcutta room which they say is even better, but still needs more soundproofing. Anyway, I got van Rhijn together with Abramson, so that he could be on the agenda for May... Abramson has talked Sandoz out of some money and Macy has a little more than matched the amount in order to have a gathering of all of us working therapeutically with LSD. It is to be in May before the Amer. Psych. Assn. meetings, which are in Philadelphia this year. How about your getting a paper to read before the APA and coming to the LSD-therapy conference, too? ..."

"There was one day spent on the old faithful but tiresome: is it a schizophrenic or organic reaction with LSD, etc. I felt called on to get up from the floor afterwards and say that I felt we were asking the wrong question. There was a wonderfully bright young man as reporter -- Joel Elkes, now of St. Elizabeth's in Washington (and most charming, to boot, and I'll bet some kind of mystic)...He also talked about the coding of information and different sets of coders were in control under the drug and non- drug condition...And then there was the usual animal vs. man one. The outstanding speaker here was Jim Olds, who until recently was at UCLA. Another of the enormously bright young men who are going to crack this whole problem wide open -- taken all together, each in his own area of work. He's the one who has found the pleasure centers in the hypothalamus...It is so good to see these young and very bright men really pushing back the horizons and loving every new step revealed by the increasing light of their researches." There were all sorts of activities for those of us attending the Conference -- from the first night welcoming speech at Castel San Angelo,

"all lighted up, and to walk around the ramp in a circle and look down on the Tiber and across to Rome sparkling with lights and lighted monuments...there was a small boat on the river which was a mass of streaming lights and playing bongo rhythms! Then the next day to Castel Gondolfo for a very fine address by the Pope; back to the Campodolio (what a magnificent view from the balcony of the Forum and Coliseum) for a welcome by Roman dignitaries; and then one night to Villa d'Este which was a fantasy of magic light and water and mystic trees. I've never seen or experienced anything like it outside of LSD...All the while that I went places...back to my two most moving sights: Moses and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. It was so much for me that I think I dissociated a little during the week and became part of all the sights and sounds and wonders I was experiencing."

At Villa d'Este, I wandered down the levels of mist and water and light with Albert Hofmann, the discoverer of LSD who also worked out the structure of psilocybin (a charming man whom I had met in Basel), his wife and Ron Sandison. And all of us felt as though we were in an LSD world.

I can't remember the actual reading of my paper. All I remember is a huge vast hall with earphones on every seat for the translations into English and French. I don't remember German and Italian, but maybe they were available, too. It was the last day of the talks, and Sid came just before time to give our papers. I remember telling him that the sound system wasn't very loud, and he might want to speak up in order to be heard.

"Oh, just be yourself, Sid," said Ilse, his German-born wife disgustedly. And I can't remember now whether he actually spoke up or not. I remember that I did, and I really enjoyed it, although there wasn't a huge crowd, it being the last day. But I felt like a true pioneer, reporting the results of my explorations to far and unknown lands. A fitting end to a magical trip. But one must always come back to earth.

CHAPTER SIX: A New Environment, New Direction

First, back to the summer before Rome.

Tuesday, June 10, 1958 Dear Humphry:

"The research contract at the hospital was over the end of March, but I stayed on until about the middle of April to finish up patients. Then we went to the Midwest for three weeks, and since coming back I have been trying to find an office. I'm going to be associated with a friend of mine, P.O., also a clinical psychologist, who has just come out of the army. We found an office which was just right, but alas, the landlord was a tyrant and presented a 7-page lease wherein we couldn't whistle, sing, have a bicycle, loiter in the corridors, sleep, have a get-rich- quick scheme, and generally waived all proper rights of a lessee. So we are involved in inspecting every `for rent' sign we can see in Westwood. We have chosen Westwood because it is convenient for both of us, particularly for me. I can't be too far from home or it cuts down on the hours I can see patients. I have nine hours so far a week, and have turned down more until we are set up and until fall comes when school schedules settle down and we are back on standard (more ways than one) time. The only sad part is that I am not doing any LSD work at all. Several events have transpired to make Sandoz tighten up down here, and they are reluctant to give the drug unless there is a psychiatric set-up, preferably in an institution. I understand the wisdom of this decision, but it seems too bad that all my experience with the drug is at present lying fallow...I have taken to putting patients into an LSD-like state...Hereby hangs quite a tale, and I think presages some important insights into the unconscious."

"Two psychologist friends who had had LSD mentioned that patients of theirs whom they had had for some time suddenly found themselves on the couch seeing visions. The therapists followed the lead quickly and encouraged the patients, with good results as to insights into their problems. They found that the process could be continued for from 20 minutes to an hour, but that if they got uncomfortable, the patient stopped. In other words, there is some indication that it is the openness of the therapist's unconscious which makes this possible, plus of course the willingness of the patient to allow the process to happen...Since then I have used the device periodically, but it is possible for him (a patient) to have the visions without any music, in a bare room where there are just two chairs. I have found it very helpful as a therapist because it always gives the crux of the particular conflict uppermost at the moment..."

Betty

Thursday, July 17, 1958

Dear Humphry:

"The AMA paper went well, Sid and I appeared on television (which was great fun to see how it all worked), and a report of the paper which was greatly garbled hit the front page of the Chronicle. Reports such as that make me ambivalent about publicity. The two discussants were unusually kind, and mentioned the necessity for controlled studies, the difficulty of separating out the variables, etc., which we know only too well..."

"Charles Savage, who is working at the Institute for Behavioral Sciences, commented on the paper, and also Paul Hoch, who was chairman. They came to lunch with us afterwards, and I had a wonderful time. Dr. Savage has a brilliant mind, but prides himself on his iconoclasm while displaying a naive faith in pure Freud (this is how I perceive it). Dr. Hoch, on the other hand, is very wary of anything other than the biochemical; however he had some very good insights...I look forward to renewing my inquiry when next we meet again. I do hope I get to Rome..."

"Best love to you and your family... Betty"

August 24, 1958 (a fragment of the letter on my way to Rome)

Dear Humphry:

"Despite my new -- and wonderful office and burgeoning practice, I have chopped patients off down to the minimum to cover expenses and those I am responsible to. My associate, P.O., is wonderful and takes the overflow..."

October 14, 1958

Dear Humphry:

"There is suddenly a flurry of interest in my working with LSD again. The psychological associations here have made it tough, demanding a hospital setting for patients. We must look around and find a convalescent home that will do. Wish we had some of the great nursing homes I saw in London -- or better yet a day clinic. The only one in operation is owned by a psychoanalyst, and the other one building is part of a mental health center which is being brought into existence by a group of 20 analysts...It really shouldn't be so difficult when one wants to do research into the mind to be allowed to do it. But I am impatient; all these things work out in their own best way.

"Best love to you, Jane, Helen, and 2/3 (the coming baby) Betty"

February 18, 1959

Dear Humphry:

"I have been waiting anxiously for news, and it has been so long that I have become concerned about you and the family..."

"Our correspondence seems to have bogged down ever since your letter written in October to me was locked away by your secretary and didn't arrive until November. I have since had my interest whetted by little remarks dropped by Sid (picked up via Gerald) about the parapsychology meeting...I loved the glimpse into it you gave me in your paper `Not Nearly Crazy Enough', but you only alluded to things -- you didn't spell them out...I have run across a book written on the Amarita mushroom by an M.D. (Puharich) who had been engaged in psychical research...Anyway, he found that the Farraday cage enormously jumps ESP and that so also does the Amarita mushroom..."

"We have had a busy four months -- the loss of a dear friend, Mexico over Christmas and New Years -- meeting my brother and a group of old friends on the island of Cozumel off Yucatan, and then all the bugs after we got back which we hadn't had before. We are just emerging from a violent session with reverse peristalsis, and then a gallopingly infected ear of DB (the four- year old terror of a son)..."

"We loved meeting Nick Chwelos and his wife -- what very nice people. He is doing some exciting things. There was a big fight the night of his talk as there were a couple of analysts present, and they just didn't want to hear evidence of what he had been doing; they just wanted to talk against LSD..."

"I've been working with LSD again (in conjunction with Marion Dakin, M.D.) since before Christmas, and have been running down some very interesting things, I think. I'm after what precipitates people into psychosis -- I know that Sid is, too... There is so much in my head here that I think I'd like to see you before I explode it all. Will you be coming down this way? Will you be going to the LSD conference at Princeton in April, the 23rd and 24th?..."

"But enough, enough. Best love to you from all of us. Betty"

This was a time of beginnings -- a new office, a new practice, a new way of operating.

For the sake of my professional societies, I had to hospitalize the LSD patients, and while we found a small convalescent-type hospital, mostly for mental cases, it was still very expensive for patients to have weekly sessions of gradually increasing dosage. Also, Dr. Dakin was actively involved, and that added even more expense.

So it was with great excitement that I read the report of a talk given at the spring 1959 meeting of the LA Group Therapy Association by Dr. Alvarado Pearson. Dr. Pearson, of the LA County Clinic on Alcoholism, reported that alcoholics would begin talking about their problems after injections of 20 to 50 mg. of Ritalin (methylphenidate). Often there were therapeutic abreactions which were very beneficial. And all this occurred without benefit of any therapeutic work on the part of the doctors.

This report made us think that this might be a very effective, safe method for the temporary lowering of ego defenses which we might substitute for the first one, and maybe two, LSD sessions. Also, all to the good was the fact that Ritalin is a relatively mild central nervous stimulant somewhere in potency between caffeine and the amphetamines. Further, doses of Ritalin can be given orally, intramuscularly or intravenously, with minimal side effects. Alas, the mode of action was unknown, but we found, as we searched the literature, that there were several papers on Ritalin's capacity to enhance verbalization, facilitate the expression of anger, and sometimes lead to "explosive catharsis" which became therapeutic abreactions.

Just what we were looking for! Dr. Dakin and I agreed, and we made plans for me to have a trial dosage, my procedure being never to have any drug given to a patient that I had not first tried myself. But this was not to be; an emergency arose before I could have my trial dose.

We had an 18-year old girl in LSD treatment whose juvenile delinquency covered an incipient paranoid schizophrenia. Her sexual acting out and lying had ceased after six LSD sessions, but she became resistant to moving more deeply into therapy. Unknown to us, she had spit out half of her LSD dosage at the seventh session, but still had a full LSD reaction. At the eighth session (150 gamma), she told me how upset she had been that half the dosage had worked so well. She had planned to play "neutral" at this session, but again she had not counted on the effects of LSD. For six hours she "walked in a gray fog". Hostile and depressed, she spent the night on the locked ward where she refused to speak to anyone.

The next day, Dr. Dakin gave her an injection of 10 mg. of Ritalin intramuscularly, and she was driven by her parents to the appointment with me. She maintained a surly silence until about 15 minutes after the injection when a dramatic change occurred. Her face became flushed, and she burst into tears. A session was held with real affect and insight on her part. Toward the end of the appointment, 45 minutes after she had burst into tears, the defenses began to reconstitute, she began to withdraw, and her insight diminished. Five days later she was given 100 gamma of LSD and was successful in breaking thru her resistance to going more deeply in therapy.

The following week I tried the Ritalin. September 2, 1959.

"Today I had 10 mg. IM of Ritalin at 12 o'clock. It is now 10 pm, and the effects still haven't worn off. Wow!"

"I had foolishly allowed only an hour for it, since I had observed that it lasted about 45 minutes to an hour..."

"About two minutes after the shot, my legs felt weak, and by the time M. and I got back to the office I was beginning to feel physically swamped...Lay down on the couch and was inundated with waves of the drug as with LSD. Only this more like waves of black ocean -- funny it was black in patches, blacker, rather, as though it was different shades of black like an abstract painting. Anyway, it washed over and through me, and my left arm began to hurt like fury, so I knew it was the old dependency problem. There was one center, the hard, practical part, from the eyes up, which seemed not to be affected by the drug. But they finally got some music on, and then it let go with the rest...when music, symbolic on another level, is played, the more controlled part can let go to it. Washed over and over me and disintegrated, but unfortunately the time limit was on my mind, and I couldn't let go to it. I did sway and weave and couldn't walk properly; they tested me...By end of hour I could cope, the motor thing was gone, and I did therapy rest of afternoon by dint of much control..."

"Everything took great effort. I talked as little as possible, but had trouble following what patients said and had to make myself be logical and discriminating...After (last patient's) session...I almost went to pieces. Couldn't coordinate, had to think every move out, was just like after the first LSD experience. Was even afraid to drive home, but did. Incidentally, canceled out all patients who were driving selves for Ritalin...Was sexual stimulation all along, but wasn't a man or any man but seemed to be involved in problem with mother and letting go to her as authority which I seem to feel as something homosexual which must be done...Earlier -- lovely luminous quality of light in everyday, and M. and P.O. look(ed) beautiful."

This was the way that the incomparably useful Ritalin (methylphenidate hydrochloride) came into operation for us and for what soon became "the group". With Ritalin and later adding the body work (deep massage on the order of rolfing), we soon had an extraordinary tool for helping people to change and grow. Further, when LSD was withdrawn from use by Sandoz, we had an alternative drug for our purposes and one which could be used in many ways.

In fact, Dr. Dakin (and later Dr. Maynard Bransdsma and Dr. Ernest Katz, and I -- and two other psychotherapists who began to work with Ritalin) did a fairly exhaustive study on Ritalin. We tried different methods: 1. orally, in dosages from 10 mg. to 70 mg.; 2. intramuscularly in single injections ranging from 10 to 50 mg, and in the earliest work in split doses with an interval of half an hour to an hour between injections which ranged from 20 mg. + 20 mg. to 200 mg. + 200 mg.; 3. intravenously from 15 to 50mg., the usual dose being 25 mg. Further, oral, intramuscular and intravenous Ritalin were used in combination with psychedelics: 103 individual treatments with LSD, 15 group sessions where everyone (except me) took the drug, 5 group sessions with Sansert and Ritalin, one each with psilocybin, peyote and mescaline. It was also used in rigorous sessions, that most patients hated but which were extremely beneficial for them, Ritalin with carbogen (70% oxygen, 30% carbon dioxide; 402 treatments). Intravenous Ritalin was also used eleven times with sodium amytal or pentothal. One might say that our studies covered the water front! Or certainly the Ritalin spectrum.

In fact, if you like statistics, from August 1959 to July 1968 there were a total of 1,246 Ritalin administrations, alone and in combination with other drugs. And there were more after that, continuing until injectable Ritalin was withdrawn from the market by Ciba. In case one is curious about the subjects, there were a total of 138 patients during that first nine years, 67 women and 71 men, aged 15 to 72. All patients were in long-term therapy, and we found that a series of Ritalin sessions, appropriately spaced, was ideally suited for character analysis, and was an ideal precursor for LSD sessions.

However, I got a little ahead of my story when I mentioned group sessions, when I hadn't even mentioned the group.

The "group" occurred quite by chance. In January of 1960, we were well established at the hospital and doing so many sessions that I needed an assistant in order that two sessions could be held at the same time. One morning, my assistant, L.A., was delayed by a freeway accident and was late getting to the hospital. Since two patients had been given their dose of LSD by the head nurse, and one of the cardinal rules we had established was never to leave a patient who had had a drug alone, there was no alternative other than to put the two patients together.

One patient was a youngish "Peck's bad boy" with underlying access to his feelings, and the other was a beautiful starlet who lived through her superficial image. I had expected the combination to be disastrous, but to all of our surprise, it speeded up both sessions. Both patients broke through previously- held resistances. As family members and friends arrived at the hospital (we had found it helpful to have invited people come toward the end of the session to participate as the session wound down), they were included in the double session with added therapeutic gain.

It was a short step from there to having specially-invited people present at sessions and for participants to gather after the sessions were over for potluck dinners and to discuss the unusual happenings of the day. We soon observed that the group of patients undergoing drug-potentiated therapy formed creative relationships with each other, and together formed a matrix within which therapeutic change was greatly enhanced -- a matrix which was able to encompass and allow the rapid changes which were occurring with the patients. Individuals might come and go, since patients came from out-of-town for drug work, but a certain number of people stayed together to form the basis of a continuing group.

It was only a matter of time before group drug sessions were given. Actually, the very first "group" drug session was the one that occurred in Sid Cohen's office with W. Wilson, the founder of A.A., his friend Tom Powers, Sid and me. While that was the

"first" group session, the most awesome one was the one held on Halloween in the mid 60's when 22 participants took LSD. I didn't have any drug because I never took drugs at group sessions. Those who were present at that wild Halloween session well remember the actress who refused to come out from under the piano, and the patient who talked in voices and had to put her hands in pans of water to disengage from the witch inside or wherever it was. Along with other major occurrences!

The important work of the group was that it served as a matrix for people going through rapid change, and as an environment where insights could be turned into habit patterns. In fact in the 70's we had a number of different living situations which also helped patients incorporate their rapid change into their everyday lives.

The individuals in the group were also drawn together to try to understand this extraordinary drug and its effects on the mind and psyche, and we had many visitors. Besides doctors from our area and San Francisco, Humphry Osmond came from Canada, Hy Denber from New York, and later Willi Arendsen-Hein visited us from Holland, and Stan Grof, then of Czechoslovakia, stayed with us for about ten days to watch our sessions and observe our methods.

When two RAND engineers and a professor of mathematics from UCLA joined us, the research group was born, although much of what we had been doing all along was research.

Meeting weekly for a number of years, the research group examined all facets of LSD and its effect on interpersonal dynamics and individual growth, while of course translating it into personal terms for every-day applications. In 1967 five of us from the research group even traveled to Huatla in southern Mexico and took the "magic mushroom" with Maria Sabina.

In fact, the whole group became involved with Mexico, and for eight years we had a volunteer school in rural Mexico, during Stateside vacations, teaching English, art and sports. We adults in the group started the school, with the help of whatever group members who could come, helping with the teaching. Later the younger members of group took over. The first year we were arrested three times: by Immigration, by the Army, and by the Federales, but our protector, the Lt. Governor of Nayarit, always got us out of jail and back into operation again, and we never paid a cent of "mordida". Our time in Mexico is a story all by itself, including the 28 children we brought up to live at one of the communes for the school year in order to become proficient in English. Communal living in group houses began when the young students in group, most of the almost dozen of whom were in college, wanted to live together. They found a house to rent in Santa Monica, and later they moved into a house which one of their members bought. As the group living situation proved creative for growth, a young marrieds' house was established, and a third group house came into being with usually four adults there to take care of the Mexican children while they were in Santa Monica for the school year. At one point, group members lived in four communal houses (despite our battles with zoning authorities): the student group; the young marrieds; a complex of apartments; and adolescent girls from several families lived with a group family in the valley; while two adolescent boys joined our son and lived with my husband and me.

Living together in a democratic fashion, working together in the drug sessions, and enjoying recreations together was very growth-producing and provided a situation for dealing with problems 24 hours a day. Sort of like a therapeutic community, but with many varied living possibilities. Although many group members called the group their "real family", people learned through group experience to relate to their biological families with a rapport and understanding generally not available through

"talk" therapy.

Perhaps at this time it might be helpful to describe a typical course of treatment of a patient who came to us for drug therapy/character analysis, patients referred from many sources for the special work we were doing. After an initial interview with me to see whether drug treatment might be appropriate, patients had complete physical examinations by one of the physician involved in our work. With the high-dose Ritalin work, ECGs were given by Dr. Dakin before any dose of Ritalin greater than 50 mg. was injected. At the initial psychological interview, suggestions were made to the patient to help him or her bring more order into their lives: 1. disorder is a poor foundation on which to build creative change; 2. the rapidity of change which occurs with drug-potentiated therapy cannot be incorporated and integrated without a stable base. Later, with the Ritalin and carbogen and the ketamine, Dr. Ernest Katz, a psychiatrist, interviewed and followed every patient, and gave the injections during carbogen and ketamine sessions.

The new patients became immersed in and an integral part of the group matrix of change. They became a part of an ongoing therapy group, all of whose members had had drug sessions. These members had been involved for various lengths of time in the process the new patient was entering; they had experienced the pay-off of what we called "structure" (activities for order), and they had learned by painful experience how best to integrate drug sessions. Most of all, they "cared"; the esprit de corps of a group of individuals undergoing this type of therapy is awesome.

The first session in the sequence of drug treatments, 25 mg. of Ritalin intramuscularly, was used to set in a firm commitment to non-violence. Violence is an increasing problem in our society today, and when drugs which lower inhibitions and dissolve controls are used, both the patient and those around him must be protected from physical harm. Furthermore, violent elements are usually found at the core of a character disorder. By making a commitment to the non-occurrence of physical violence, and by making a clear distinction between physical violence and/or verbal or fantasy violence, the patients became free to discharge hostility up to the point of violence with words, noises, or in fantasy. The commitment was made in the form of a simple statement to each person present at the session in turn: "I (and the person says his or her name) will not hurt myself or anyone else physically during this session."

This initial session of the setting-in of non-violence could last from thirty minutes to the two and one-half hours it took for one dangerously psychopathic patient -- just to repeat correctly the simple one-sentence commitment to six people. Following the successful and correct statement of non-violence to each person present at the session, the patient was encouraged -- even compelled -- to discharge hostility vocally. If he were unable to do so, saying he didn't feel any hostility, he was directed to make any kind of sound. He had to yell, growl, or even shout the alphabet until he reached the point when he could experience the freedom that comes from discharging hostility forcefully but non- injuriously and -- with the reward of praise, not the usual blame.

Subsequent sessions followed at weekly intervals until (when it was available) an LSD session was given, or later with the Ritalin until Ritalin and carbogen or the presenting problem had been alleviated. The timing of these sessions was important, not only because periods of integration were needed following the rapid changes brought about through drug sessions, but also because some of the more important effects of drug sessions, especially with LSD, can occur as long as six weeks to three months after the sessions.

The second session could be a Ritalin-talk session, either alone or with someone with whom the patient was in relationship but where barriers were so high that the patient needed help in lowering them enough to see and feel the situation more clearly. There were also sessions with Ritalin when our trained body workers used deep massage to remove blocks or traumatic events of the past. The removal of psychological difficulties by means of deep work on the body is a remarkable phenomenon.

Wilhelm Reich's theory that the character defenses are set into the musculature of the body seems very pertinent here, and we found later that rolfing, the technique developed by Dr. Ida P. Rolf, could effect change in patients even without drugs, provided the rolfers were specially trained and skilled. Body work was found to be so effective that it was incorporated into almost all sessions, and was particularly beneficial when used with ketamine, the drug which Dr. Katz and I researched for therapeutic use after injectable Ritalin was withdrawn from the market by Ciba. But we shall discuss ketamine later.

Two techniques should be mentioned before we leave our survey of sessions available to remove barriers and to effect deep psychological change: the use of Ritalin with carbogen (70% oxygen and 30% carbon dioxide, the technique most associated with Dr. Meduna); and the injection of intravenous Ritalin into a patient experiencing an LSD session.

Carbon dioxide inhalation was used as early as 1929 with schizophrenics, but it was Dr. J. L. Meduna who in 1947 first employed it with neurotics, using the 70/30 mixture. The fact that it was much more effective when used in combination with intravenous injections of Ritalin was first brought to our attention by Dr. Lee Sannella of San Francisco, who taught Dr. Katz and me the technique of giving from 10 to 50 mg. (usually 25 mg) before the carbogen while the patient rested quietly. After three to ten minutes when Dr. Katz and I felt the time was right, the patient would be fitted with the mask and progressive breaths of gas would be inhaled, depending on what was most effective for the particular patient.

Intravenous Ritalin and carbogen is not a pleasant experience; the degree of unpleasantness appears to vary according to the severity of the problem being worked through. Most patients, contrary to their attitude toward Ritalin alone, approached the gas with loathing and revulsion: if there were any claustrophobia present, any fear of suffocating or drowning, or most important of all, any kind of fear which many patients experienced as a "death experience". However, the Ritalin and gas appeared to be specific for the excision of traumatic experiences. It was as though the individual under Ritalin and inhaling the gas went directly to an area of discomfort and abreacted it, quite often with accompanying body movements. It was the most potent aid we had for early traumatic experiences until we discovered ketamine.

In contrast to the Ritalin and gas, the injection of Ritalin during an LSD session resulted in fragmentation of the ego and either the constellation of psychotic elements, or in about half the cases the Ritalin precipitated what we called an integrative experience -- that state of freedom from conflict in which the individual feels at one with himself and his environment. The experience can be felt anywhere along the spectrum from relaxation to the ecstatic, and up to a full-blown mystical experience.

While there were profound differences between the two techniques, especially with respect to patient comfort, the two, Ritalin/carbogen and the LSD/Ritalin, did have in common the abrupt and sometimes explosive breaching of the individual's control system. Our observations were that therapeutic effects can occur without the loss of consciousness (as opposed to Meduna's thinking): the "letting go" which characterized the breaking of a psychological block was as often a letting go of controls as it was a lapsing of consciousness.

Occasionally the patient remembered the sequence of images and exactly what happened, as with the ex-Marine who "worked through" traumatic battle experiences; often the patient would speak loudly enough to be heard through the mask, such as the one who maintained stoutly, "I won't shit! I won't shit!" And sometimes a patient's body movements would give a clue as to what was occurring -- whether a struggle to the death or the movements of orgasm. However, we found that in many instances the events which were being abreacted took place so early in life that there was no memory or verbalization available to communicate their meaning. There often were no body movements -- or only unintelligible ones.

The sessions were remarkably effective, even though we didn't know the what, the why, or the mechanisms of whatever was occurring. However, patients reported experiencing a fear of dying which might not have been associated with anything in their past. The facing of this fear, as well as the "death experience" itself was undoubtedly responsible for a good deal of the therapeutic action of the Ritalin/gas. When one has survived suffocation, possible loss of consciousness and the feeling of dying, not only is there the relief of surviving these very frightening experiences, but there is also the positive aspect of courage and fortitude which has been added to one's self concept. Certainly, the patients in long-term therapy became very stoical about the Ritalin/gas sessions; they recognized it as very unpleasant but effective and they also learned how much better they felt afterwards and how the sessions effected permanent change, especially when abreaction occurred. But we have gone far afield from the story of the history of our early years with LSD. Perhaps we should go back and remember some of the international meetings of those of us who worked with LSD in a therapeutic setting.

CHAPTER SEVEN: The Researchers Get Together: International Conferences

The 1959 conference on "The Use of LSD in Psychotherapy" of those of us working with LSD as a therapeutic aid took place under the auspices of the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation with financial aid from Sandoz, the manufacturer of LSD. Dr. Harold Abramson, one of the earliest researchers with LSD and famous for his LSDed Siamese Fighting Fish, was the midwife (and Editor) and Dr. Paul Hoch from Columbia, also a very early researcher with mescaline, LSD and other drugs, was the Chairman. Dr. Frank Freemont-Smith, Medical Director of the Macy Foundation, did the MC honors.

There were twenty-six of us primadonnas (it's the best word I can think of) who met at Princeton April 22, 23, 24, 1959. The weather was beautiful, the setting was ideal, and there were 26 different ways of looking at psychotherapy as well as LSD: twenty-six different areas of expertise and experience, and 26 opinions on the drug. These ranged from the hypothesis of

"sensory poisoning" of Dr. West through the old experimental viewpoint of the necessity for all kinds of studies of patient, drug and therapist, to those of us who felt LSD was the most hopeful aid to psychotherapy that had appeared to date.

Those of us who had had spectacular success with patients marched in the camp of Ron Sandison who had been getting favorable results with more kinds of patients longer than any of us. Mort Hartman and Arthur (W.) Chandler from Beverly Hills had learned from Sid and me, and had done far more wild experimenting than we had thought of. Keith Ditman from UCLA had replicated Humphry's and Abram Hoffer's work where Skid Row alcoholics turned dry under one high dose LSD, no-therapy session, and 50% were dry one year later (alas, Humphry was in England, but Abram was there). T.T. Peck from Texas and Robert Murphy of Pennsylvania had even given LSD to young children (T.T. Peck also had a series of pregnant women who had benefited from it). They were on our side of the table. Hy Denber had read Ron Sandison's work and had seen ours; he had worked with mescaline himself, and he could agree with the therapy camp. Cornelius van Rhijn had come from Holland to tell of his dark room experiments and his complicated theories about the unconscious. Gregory Bateson, ex-husband of Margaret Meade and anthropologist in his own right, saw things differently, as might be expected. Charles Savage kept using that bright mind of his to insist on definitions and agreement on psychoanalytic concepts. And Louis J.(Joly) West, later to cause the demise of an elephant from LSD while he was at the U. of Oklahoma and later who was for twenty years head of NPI at UCLA (interested in substance abuse and violence), but who hadn't been working with LSD at that time and kept wanting to "pin things down". Dr. Frank Fremont-Smith had a time with all of us. Certain chosen researchers gave papers, after which there was to be "Group Interchange" but no one got out more than two paragraphs before the group was interchanging only too freely. Dr. Cerletti, in his opening remarks of the Proceedings, spoke about "the mysterious Aztec drug, the so-called ololiuqui... one of the first specific hallucinogens, mescaline, which like ololiuqui had its roots deep in pre-Columbian cultures of America"; about Hofmann's 1943 discovery of LSD, which "is not of natural origin" but of "semi-synthetic origin, since its main molecule is the product of a fungus growing as ergot of rye." Then the newest hallucinogen, from the "sacred mushrooms", whose active ingredient was also found by Dr. Hofmann, interestingly enough, and also noteworthy is the fact that psilocybin and lysergic acid are "the first examples of naturally occurring indoles with substitution in position 4 of the ring. This fact links up psilocybin very nicely with LSD, whereas the mushroom known to botanists as Psilocybe... comes in other respects in close connection with peyotl, the Aztec source of mescaline." It was also Albert Hofmann who made ololiuqui release its secret of structure from seeds that were collected by Gordon Wasson, the

"discoverer" of the magic mushroom. It was surprising to find here also an indole ring: "amide derivatives of lysergic acid could be extracted from the ololiuqui" (the main two alkaloids are lysergic acid amide and isolysergic acid amide). "For the general consideration of our survey on specific hallucinogens it is noteworthy," Dr. Cerletti pointed out, "that the basic chemical structure of the most potent agent, LSD, which itself is not of natural origin has been found in one of the oldest natural drugs used for hallucinogenic purposes."

The prepared addresses were "Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy with LSD" by Harold Abramson, "The Nature of the Psychological Respose to LSD" by Ron Sandison, "Symbolysis: Psychotherapy by Symbolic Presentation" by Cornelius van Rhijn, and "The Study of Communication Processes Under LSD" by Henry Lennard and Mollie Hewitt. A verbatim report was made of the Conference, which fulfilled Dr. Freemont-Smith's initial hope that there would be

"informal give-and-take, in which people really communicate with one another...where we can hope to have...a conversation, a conversation en groupe" but at times there were serious problems of communication, especially didactic point- making rather than two-way flow.

In spite of all this, the exchange of information was amazing, if one could just extract the pearl of knowledge from the underbrush of verbiage and follow its luster into a new realm of experience. When each of the participants spoke of his or her own work with patients, procedure, process, occurrences and outcome, it was fascinating. When theoretical postulates were debated, it was usually dry and dull. But the accumulated experience of the 26 of us provided a wide spectrum of the use of LSD to aid and abet the alleviation and removal of psychological difficulties.

Dr Savage, in a statement made when he had to leave the Conference early said:

"This meeting is most valuable because it allows us to see all at once results ranging from the nihilistic conclusions of some to the evangelical ones of others. Because the results are so much influenced by the personality, aims, and expectations of the therapist, and by the setting, only such a meeting as this could provide us with such a variety of personalities and settings. We still lack adequate controlled studies, but I think that these studies may not be long in coming..."

"It seems clear, first of all, that where there is no therapeutic intent, there is no therapeutic result..."

"I think we can also say that where the atmosphere is fear- ridden and skeptical, the results are generally not good. Finally, with some patients such as chronic schizophrenics, the LSD experience seems of no use, no matter how therapeutic the setting."

"This is all of tremendous significance, for few drugs are so dependent on the milieu and require such careful attention to it as LSD does. This is not to discount the influence of the drug, but to show how greatly the reaction is shaped by the setting."

He summed up his feelings:

"What I consider more important is the therapeutic effect of LSD itself. By that I mean the use of LSD in a therapeutic setting...with no active psychotherapeutic intervention. It seems to me that here LSD may be of the greatest value...(enabling) The more accurate perception and reconstruction of the past...the more accurate perception of the self...But such new self-perceptions are of little value, leading only to depression, unless they are accompanied by a constructive experience, whether we call it transcendental or spiritual rebirth."

This mention of the transcendental was a theme which ran through the Conference, but was unintelligible to those individuals who had not seen it happen with their patients, or who had not experienced it themselves.

"One very exciting thing about LSD," I said toward the end of the Conference (according to the record), "probably the most exciting part, is that it brings the transcendental into psychiatry. I mean this very deeply. It brings together two disparate things, or two things which have perhaps been too far apart in present-day man: the material and the spiritual. I think one must deal with both to have healing." A subject that was dear to my heart, and which I had constantly discussed with Humphry, Tom Powers, and even argued with Sid Cohen. ******

There were local seminars and papers, and in December of 1960 I discussed our LSD work at the California State Psychological Association. But the next really big adventure for me was appearing before the Royal Medico-Psychological Association in London. This was arranged by Ron Sandison, of course, and I felt very proud and excited to be included in the "Proceedings" of their Quarterly Meeting in February of 1961 on "Hallucinogenic Drugs and Their Psychotherapeutic Use". It was interesting that this was the 120th Anniversary of the founding of the Association, and Dr. Alexander Walk, the chairman, mentioned that among the very earliest papers given at one of the meetings were several concerned with the effects of drugs on mental states.

Most of the participants came from England -- I felt doubly honored to be in the company of those from abroad: Willi Arendsen-Hein and Cornelius van Rhijn from Holland, Hans-Karl Leuner from Germany, Jean Delay and Mlle. T. Lemperiere from France, and Dr. Cerletti from Sandoz in Switzerland. As to the English participants, it was such a pleasure to see Ron Sandison again as well as Tom Ling and Joyce Martin, and to meet Francis Huxley and J. R. Smythies -- whom Humphry had spoken about -- as well as all of the other experts. It was also a special pleasure to meet Dr. Spencer, from Powick, and to be able to discuss his exciting LSD group work, whose setting I had seen on my first visit to Powick.

The way the Proceedings were arranged was to have a series of three or four papers on a topic such as the Historical and Psycho- Pharmacological Background (first session), and then to have the papers discussed by two of the participants. The second session, Hallucinogenic Agents and their General Application, began with Ron's "Certainty and Uncertainty in the LSD Treatment of Psychoneurosis", followed by a paper on Psilocybin by Dr. Delay and one on Phencyclidine in Psychiatry by Dr. R.M. Davies from Bethlehem Royal and Maudsley. I wish I had realized that this was a golden opportunity to learn about ketamine, but, alas, our knowledge of that fascinating drug was to be delayed another 13 years until we heard about it from Mexico and Iran (!)

The third session, "Techniques and Methodology" was illuminated by Dr. Spencer speaking about his group therapy and Hans-Karl Leuner's paper on 64 patients on whom LSD, psilocybin and mescaline were used. There was also a paper on "Abreaction and Brainwashing" and one on the techniques of Phencyclidine. The fourth session was on "The Use of Hallucinogens in Specific Conditions": depersonalization, criminal psychopaths (Willi Arendsen-Hein), adolescent boys, and a case of a psychopathic personality and homosexuality (treated by LSD) given by Joyce Martin.

My paper, "The Influence of LSD on Unconscious Activity", was the last one in the fifth session of "Clinical Observations and Phenomenological Interpretation" -- ("Any resemblance between this paper and its title is, I am afraid, purely coincidental," I told them, since Ron gave me the title after the paper was almost finished.) But I did "cover the water front" as I shall report shortly.

February 9, 1961 letter to Humphry:

"Finally have a first draft of my London paper -- not good but I hope to improve it. Ron Sandison asked me to tell the 150 British psychiatrists all I know of LSD in simple language and under 2,000 words. Title 'Effect of LSD on Unconscious Activity.' I give up, but he assured me my 'charm' would carry me through. How do you like that? It should be fun, though and will be wonderful to see him."

The sixth session was a group of four lay people, members of the media mostly, on "The Moral, Religious and Social Significance of Experience Under Hallucinogenic Drugs" -- mostly discussions of how taking psychedelics had changed the authors' lives.

And now, some quotations from my paper:

"Probably the most fascinating aspect of close association with psycholytic drugs, and particularly LSD, is the almost miraculous way in which human dynamics are laid bare and levels of consciousness become available to scrutiny."

"LSD and related agents appear to be research tools far beyond present-day conception -- even the conception of those of us who have been working with them for years. Controlled journeys are made possible into the psyche: into the individual or personal unconscious; into the racial and collective unconscious; even into cosmic levels. This is possible through manipulation of the environment, the dosage, and the condition of the patient..."

"It further seems apparent that LSD, when properly used, contains a great potential for the treatment of mental illnesses which may not be amenable to conventional methods. It appears to work specifically on the two essentials for true healing: the handling of problem areas; and the potentiating of the integrative experience whereby the individual feels himself at one with his environment."

"There has been continual if not unanimous observation that the therapeutic setting may be the optimal situation for research into the layers of human dynamics and of the many levels of consciousness. We are fortunate to be the explorers of inner space and the first voyagers who can make planned and often predictable trips into areas where time and space seem to have no bearing..."

"There are also unusual, little-known areas which have emerged with sufficient frequency as to appear just as real in the infinity of the psyche as Hawaii is in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, and Venus in the sweep of the heavens. These 'places', if one may so define them, seem to be perceived by patients as though existing in space -- and in relatively similar positions. This is, paradoxically, despite the fact that when any moment is felt totally under any of these drugs the experience appears to transcend time and space. We have, for the sake of communication, and with temerity and perhaps some levity, assigned names to some of the most frequently-appearing places: Cosmic Rejection or Limbo; Chaos; the Black or Schizophrenic Belt; the Desert; the Ice Country. In addition to these are the two which have occupied man's attention since the birth of self-consciousness: Heaven and Hell."

"The secret of experiencing these 'places' creatively seems to be the patient's total acceptance of their 'reality' and one's presence there as fully as though for 'eternity' if necessary. In fact, one of the techniques for maintaining a deep psychic level of drug operation is to have the individual 'move' toward that which appears repulsive, painful, or frightening, and to continue the experience as long as it is." (Resolution, transcendence)

"In the course of five years of work with the psycholytic or mind-changing drugs -- LSD, mescaline, psilocybin, Ritalin, and the amphetamines -- one can only be awestruck by the genius of Freud, Adler, and Jung -- and be saddened at the forces which split apart this trinity..."

"Freud is recognized as the cartographer of the personal unconscious, although if one reads him carefully it is apparent that he recognized the racial and perhaps the collective unconscious in his use of the terms archaic mind and biological heritage. Adler saw the vast importance of the siblings: our observation is that as often as not the triangle of relationship, which Freud too narrowly named oedipal, is worked out through the siblings either totally or supplementarily to that of the parental. Jung perceived the importance of racial inheritance, the collective unconscious -- and most importantly to me, the cosmic levels of consciousness and man's need to turn toward them at least by mid-life..."

(Then I described our therapeutic methods)

"The main process is the allowance of the patient's unconscious to reveal itself in its own sequence. Direct interpretations -- used at appropriate points to clarify and to slice away misperceptions -- have been found effective in taking the patient deeper into the drug experience. Recently we have been experimenting -- successfully, we believe -- with non-verbal techniques: physical contact for anxious or fearful patients; the presence of both male and female therapist even if one or both seldom speak; hostility discharge by throwing clay or by beating cardboard boxes; reduction of inhibitions and extension of emotional range through feeling difference textures and materials -- to 'feel' tactilely seems closely related to 'feel' emotionally; the presence of additional individuals personally familiar with LSD in difficult cases -- this technique in addition to but distinct from group therapy where all individuals except, or course, the therapist are under a low dose of LSD; and physical containment -- to break certain refractory defense patterns, for example at the extreme, passive resistance to the point of suicide."

"There are other experimental but efficacious techniques which are little understood and as yet not named or categorized. One of these is eye-to-eye non-verbal communication. This may sound strange; it is strange how well it works."

"It is becoming increasingly clear that a large part of the interaction between doctor and patient takes place at a non-verbal level. This is disconcerting in our highly-rational, over- intellectualized society where semantics seem to act as the cement of human relationship. However, much better results are observed to occur when the wisdom of the deep unconscious is allowed to take over -- with the therapist acting more as guide and interpreter."

"In the course of our therapeutic work, a number of startling phenomena have been observed. We may have a milieu in which such little-understood phenomena as ESP, `sensitives', laying on of the hands, so-called faith healing, hypnosis, and other uncharted border-line states of consciousness may be systematically examined. In this, as in all research, it is imperative to keep an open mind -- to be willing to look at any data which emerge -- no matter how contrary to traditional beliefs."

The only phenomenon which occurred often that I didn't mention because I didn't dare: past lives. Not only we, but everyone else with whom I communicated were getting so much data on what appeared to be past lives. But that is an entirely different story, and one which belongs, primarily, to Dr. Ian Stevenson who has spent a life-time demonstrating the occurrence of such phenomena with 3,000 verified case histories, mostly of children, from all over the world.

The effect of my paper was a little strange -- it was as if they didn't quite know what to do with it or with me. Dr. Frank Lake from Nottingham said,

"We shall not have the proper language until we become familiar with the work of the existentialists. And then again we've had Dr. Betty Eisner's jeux d'esprit, lifting us up to her own happy empyrean height. One thing is quite certain -- that if people have anything to do with LSD in therapy they seem to enjoy the experience; perhaps we shouldn't, but I think we do. There is sometimes thought to be a scientific virtue in not enjoying things." Hear! Hear! and Tut! Tut!

Why shouldn't a scientist enjoy his/her work? (I report on the meetings to Humphry in a letter dated April 12)

"Incidentally, at the London meetings, it was decided (informally) to call the drugs psycholytics following a long thrashing out of the problem at Gottingen last November. Have you heard from anyone about the APT, the Association of Psycholytic Therapists? Ron is the new president, Cornellius van Rhijn VP, Hans Leuner from Germany something (maybe I have these mixed up). Anyway, it came into being the weekend after the meetings when we all went up to visit Ron in Powick. Anderson of Copenhagen was there, too, and also Arendsen-Hein of Holland. We had a wonderful time seeing LSD at the hospital; also we are very fond of the Sandisons and enjoyed so much seeing the boys and Evelyn as well as any moment that we can see Ron. I almost didn't make it as one of the `founding fathers' of the APT (I'm not sure who they all are: just know in the US they are Hy Denber, Joel Elkes, Sid, and me). For a long time there was quite a fight about me because I am a PhD. I wasn't in on this, but Will was, said a few pertinent things, and then left the meeting. The next day three of them tried to get me to go back to medical school and get an M.D. (to which I replied I was too old and would be more valuable spending the time in research then in repeating schooling). When Dr. Anderson of Copenhagen found it would take me at least six years, he immediately saw the senselessness of it. The others, I'm not sure, ever did. It does get discouraging to run into the prejudice which judges more from the initials after one's name (or one's sex, because I'm afraid this had some bearing, too) then by what the individual is and can do. At times I get tired of carrying the torch and fighting the battle..."

"The meetings were really wonderful. Best of all was to be with a group of people who were doing what I was, were intensely interested, and to whom I wasn't a nut. There are a group of young people -- those who are getting together in the APT -- who are very active and enthusiastic about LSD. I think I mentioned most of their names in the earlier part of the letter I had started...Incidentally, I met Dr. Spencer, the head of the hospital at Powick, and he is one of the sweetest and finest men I have ever met. Do you know him? He offered me a job at Powick, and if it weren't for the family, by golly, I would take it in a minute. What a wonderful thing it would be to be able to work in an atmosphere where it was considered normal to give LSD rather than abnormal..."

(Report on group; discussion about Al and DMT, and schizophrenic gene)

"As for me, I can't figure myself out. I seem to be a sport; I don't have the schizophrenic gene, although LSD changed my life and enabled me to do these things which the gene usually allows. I think I'm just a queer duck who immediately brings up any latent problem in people merely by being (and when I start operating therapeutically, even more so). So that when patients come to me, those who have a necessity to go all the way are constellated around me. Maybe just as I said, Cosmic Crud Cleaner -- just another name for therapist. The Cosmic doesn't mean that I clean up cosmic crud, just that I have to do it on a cosmic scale..."

My slight depression about my difficulties of degree and sex with respect to my work had elements of premonition about the difficulties I would encounter when I arrived home. But let's deal with the next Conference first.

On April 19, 1962, I was part of a symposium at the Western Psychological Association in San Francisco. I don't remember whether the whole symposium was on Ritalin, but I know that my paper was. It seems to me that later on, there was another symposium, this time in Los Angeles, on Ritalin. Virginia Johnson, who had researched Ritalin in a most fascinating way, was chairman. I can't remember the other participants. But it was all very interesting.

"The Mind and Its Capabilities" was the title of an Interdepartmental Seminar held on October 7 (1963) at the RAND Corp. in Santa Monica. "Talks were delivered by four researchers into matters of the mind," reported the Random News.

"All speakers seemed to agree on a few basic points: that work on the mind is indeed exciting -- if frustrating. It may rival, perhaps even surpass, Space as the next frontier for a breakthrough in knowledge... And the study of the mind is in the process of changing from an art to a science..."

(The seminar itself seemed to present bits of each.)

"In line with a not unfamiliar pattern, one speaker noted that the Soviets have more than three hundred people engaged in research in parapsychology, and about the same number in research on mind-affecting drugs, whereas the U.S. has very few researchers in these two 'way-out' fields..."

"The suggestion of a developing dichotomy seemed to hover over the discussion in approaches to mind research... Thus, biochemical-model-oriented Dr. Denber and experimental psychologist Dr. Gengerelli appeared to be pressing mind research along one pattern; Dr. Osmond, with his interest in exploring the ionosphere, appears to set a course in a different direction; Dr. Cohen and his interest in mind-controlling drugs falls somewhere in between..."

From my letter to Humphry of August 12, 1963:

"...official notice. That should be to you in this mail or even earlier. It has gone out from RAND from W.M., a member of my group. It is going to be a very impressive seminar: Hy Denber will talk on the mind (you know besides being a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and head of clinical research at Ward's Island, he has just gotten his MS in molecular biology in order better to understand what goes on in schizophrenia at the cellular level.) Sid has been invited to speak on the mind in unusual states such as psychosis, especially toxic, LSD, etc; and Gengerelli, one of the most brilliant experimental minds (who is at UCLA) will handle the experimental end. He is a rare combination of a magnificent computer, experimentally, a clinician at heart (which he won't admit) and an open mind which enables him to talk to sensitives I bring over to him and also to have done research on comparative palm prints). He found a statistically significant difference between those of schizophrenics and Kiwanis Club members. Not astounding, I know, but the Kiwanis Club followed the trend of the normals, and the schizies were specific to mental illness, as I remember. He has never published this, and you can guess why. If all goes well, and he is willing, Aldous Huxley will introduce you or say some sort of initial words, I hope..."

And from September 15, 1963 letter to Hy Denber from me:

"...Humphry can't come, alas. So it will be you leading off, then Sid Cohen on Unusual States of the Mind, then Bob Lynch (Menninger-trained psychiatrist who has worked with LSD, whose specialty is creativity, and who practices in La Jolla) will read whatever remarks Humphry puts together on Potentialities of the Mind (creativity, ESP, whatever) and then Gengerelli, an experimental psychologist at UCLA...and a very funny and sometimes lewd man, will talk about Difficulties in Research with the Mind..."

And from a letter to Hy of October 28, 1963, after the Seminar:

"...The back-wash of the seminar seems very favorable, and there will be an article about it in the next Random news. We are on the trail of several possibilities and will let you know as soon as we sock one in..."

November 2l, 1963

Dearest Humphry:

"At last! At long last!! I-"

December 15: "...I was just getting ready to write when the double blow of President Kennedy and Aldous hit. I don't think that I have yet recovered from Aldous' death; I was able finally to write to Laura last night. However, I had talked to her just the week before, and we had made a tentative date for the week following, providing he felt stronger. I knew that he was seriously ill from other sources, but was lulled into a false security by talking to her. What I mean is that it came as a double shock. Not only have we lost an extraordinary human being, one totally clear in one aspect of humanity, but also one of the most kindly men I have ever known. Plus the fact that he was the champion of anyone on the forefront of research and particularly those of us working with LSD. With all of the bad publicity about LSD I feel that we are sorely pressed (I was kicked out of my hospital for the fourth time on Friday, but I did manage to give the particular patient a session); I feel that with Aldous gone I have lost a shield and a protector. As well as a friend and wonderful father figure..."

"But life goes on and one must manage; must take on the front ranks of the battle even though not feeling ready or able..."

"There is so much to tell you...First about the seminar. It was good, but in many ways a disappointment. The RAND people expected something tight and with real meat, just as they are forced to give in their briefings. Alas, as the chairman pointed out, study of the mind is more of an art than a science. We had a bad blow in that he was very favorable to us and to moving into research in the area, and he is leaving to take an important job with the government. And the other best bet is ill with diabetes and doesn't yet have the energy to consider and shepherd a project about ESP through the channels...Actually, the research through my practice is incredible, and L.K. and W.M. sit through many of my Ritalin sessions. Have I told you that I am getting 75 and 100 gamma LSD effects with 15 and 20 mg. of IM Ritalin?"

"We are also going ahead on the ESP research, after many or rather a few consultations with Gengerelli...We did a batch of ESP experiments on Saturday...and found that we could send non-verbal messages for movement of body parts, just as the Russians have reported under hypnosis. This was under a very low dose of LSD. But there is something operating here that no one has hit...I think it is a new form of energy, and probably one which occurs just past the speed of light, so that we actually would experience it as simultaneity..."

"...as an aside, we are getting so much on what we call load carrying -- which actually is the explanation, mostly, of psychogenic illness or at least a large part of them..."

"It is getting on toward the holiday season, so the most MERRY OF NOELS, and HAPPY, HAPPY COMING YEAR, AND MOST OF ALL LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, AND HURRY OUT. Betty"

The Rand seminar was a small one, although very interesting. But the next one -- an international conference in London -- was not only huge, but fascinating: The First International Congress of Social Psychiatry August 17 to 22, 1964. It was a most exciting one for me -- with W.M. and L.K., two members of the research group, there with me, and also Dr. Ernest Katz, who had begun to do Ritalin and carbogen with us. And that conference was when we met Stanislov Grof, among others. There was also much opportunity to meet with researchers from all over the world and also to see the sights of London with them.

Letter of August 30, 1963 from Dr. John Buckman:

"You may have already been informed that, on the initiation of the International Journal of Social Psychiatry, the First International Congress of Social Psychiatry is being convened in London, 17th to 22nd August, 1964. The response so far has been an overwhelming one."

"The problem of drug treatment in psychiatry is part of the programme. It is my task to contact workers in the field of hallucinogens, especially L.S.D., who would like to attend the Conference..."

"I have during the past three years been in touch with some workers in this field, and the International Congress next year might be a good opportunity for all psychiatrists to discuss the problems not just of L.S.D. or other drug treatment, but the whole concept of evolving effective and short methods of psychotherapy..."

"Dr. Joshua Bierer and all of us on the Organizing Committee would like to have as soon as possible a reply from all interested who propose to attend..."

"With kind regards, Yours sincerely, Dr. John Buckman"

52 Welbeck St., London, Wl 30/3/64

Dear Dr. Betty Eisner,

"You may remember me at the Congress of Hallucinogenic Drugs three years ago in London, when I met you and your husband, and we had our interesting talk on LSD. I believe you are also coming this year in August to the First International Congress of Social Psychiatry, and I hope you have contributed a paper on `LSD'. I expect you have already booked your hotel, but if you wished to stay with me for a few days, I would be delighted to put up you and your husband."

"I have been going ahead with `LSD' and have had some most rewarding results by using a combination of the direct or behaviorist approach in breaking down old frustrations and establishing new positive responses, and later giving interpretations and developing insights. We develop the new responses by direct gratification of their needs at an oral level by giving warm milk from the bottle, and supporting them physically, but not at the later levels of development when it might make the transference too difficult."

"I am planning to come to New York on May 6th and staying there ten days, and then coming to California for a few days. I want to see the LSD unit at Stanford University. Do you know anyone working there? Would there be any chance of seeing you and having a chat? I should so much like to."

"Very best wishes, Yours Sincerely, Joyce Martin"

March 5, 1964

Dear Joyce:

"I was delighted to have your letter of March 30th and to know that you will be in the States, not only in New York but also in California..."

"I assume that you mean the clinic in Menlo Park (on Advanced Humanity or some other such name). I do indeed know people working there; I know the man who founded it (Al Hubbard)...and I know Dr. Charles Savage, the MD head of the clinic. I could send letters for you up there or call for you if you would like..."

"I would like to have you for the weekend with me...I want you to meet my research group; we meet every Friday from 5 on, and I think you will enjoy them. They are the ones who work with me with group drug sessions..."

"There is something which you can do for me which is very crucial...On August 30th Dr. John Buckman wrote to me, asking me to be a participant in the Conference. On September 14th I replied to him, stating that I would like to be part of a seminar on LSD and other hallucinogenic drugs. On September 2nd you wrote to me asking me to contribute to the session on LSD and drug therapy. I replied on September 10th... Unfortunately, to date I have not heard from either of you as to what my role in the Conference would be. I have a paper on Ritalin, LSD and mescaline which I could give, but I would prefer to be part of a symposium or something like that. Would you PLEASE do me a favor and find out what I am to do, if anything. Otherwise I don't see any reason for coming. Best wishes to you, Betty Grover Eisner"

52 Welbeck St., London Wl 12/4/64

Dear Betty:

"Thank you very much for your letter and your invitation to come down on May 15th and meet your group and stay the weekend. It is terribly sweet of you, and I would love to do so if I can get a plane OK..."

"Please accept apologies regarding your letters to John Buckman and myself which we have never received due to rush on the Congress Secretary, who apparently has not dealt with it. The Dr. in charge of our Section is Dr. Frisch, but he also had not received either of your letters, so I asked him to write to you apologizing, and saying we would very much like to have your paper on "Ritalin, LSD and Mescaline". All the papers are being circulated for the members of the group previous to the Meetings, so that we can meet as a seminar, knowing the papers the members have written, so do send your paper as soon as possible to Dr. Frisch..."

April 29, 1964

Dear Joyce:

"I am overwhelmed that I have been so long in answering your letter. On the way to the office the day I received it, I was in an auto accident (a young boy dropped a cigarette and turned his car into ours while bending to retrieve it), and I have had to have whiplash treatments, dentist for the split tooth, X-rays for the fractured cheek, etc..."

"Enclosed are letters to Charles Savage and Myron Stolaroff. I didn't know whether you would want to take the letters with you or mail them ahead, so have sent them on to you...I don't think that there is any LSD work being done at Stanford; however, Dr. Leo Hollister at the Palo Alto VA has done a bit of work on all of the hallucinogenic drugs."

"Dr. Mort Hartman is practicing in New York City now, and I understand he isn't using drugs at all. You might get in touch with him when you are there..."

"Thank you for speaking to Dr. Frisch about my paper...Really looking forward to seeing you. Let me know when and where you arrive. Best regards, Betty"

52 Welbeck St., London, Wl (postmarked: June 11, 1964) After her visit to Los Angeles and San Francisco:

Dear Betty,

"I was delighted to get your letter...I must say I have retained a very warm feeling towards the group still and feel sort of lost without them?! and yet I feel they are still there and its nice to belong. You certainly have got something in that group most valuable, and I shall look forward tremendously to having further talk about it."

"I do hope you have persuaded W.M. and L.K. to come to the Conference, tell them I shall be delighted to put them up here if they don't mind sharing my large attic room, or if Dr. and Mrs. Andersen from Copenhagen do not come they could have the other guest room. I will also offer Dr. Trabulus a bed in the consulting room if he wishes to have one. I was so pleased to hear you had invited him to your dinner group. I am sure he enjoyed it immensely."

"Regarding the Proceedings of our Conference, the only fixed date we know at the moment is Thursday, August 20th for the Reception Dinner..."

"I was so sorry to hear about your husband's operation. I do hope all is well now...Greetings to all from Joyce"

June 11, 1964

Dear Joyce:

"I am a week late. Last week I was up in Palo Alto with Will. He was operated on for a tumor -- lung cancer. He has irradiation this week and next. If it doesn't work, the prognosis is not good. Please don't talk about this; he doesn't want people to know."

"On Monday a car two cars back at a stop light rammed the car in back of me which hit me. Another whip lash and more damage to the car. There seem to be destructive forces abroad."

"Keep your fingers crossed that I will make it to the Conference. Love, Betty"

"Despite all this, I have finished the paper...I probably will have no reputation and be considered crazy after this one, but I put in it all that I know and have found out -- covered it all briefly..."

"Keep your fingers crossed that I will make it to the Congress. Love, Betty"

52 Welbeck St., London, Wl 9/8/64

Dear Betty:

"Just a line to say I wonder if you would be willing to report on Dr. Leary's paper, "A New Behavior Change Program using psilocybin" which describes the change brought about in a small group of criminals treated with psilocybin 2 - 3 times + group discussions, and I think you might have a lot in common with his method, and if you could collect the paper from me on Saturday or Sunday, you could read it in 1/2 hour and decide if you would like to report on it. Dr. Leary himself and his colleagues are not coming to the Congress but have submitted this paper, which I think very good and important. I do not want to report on it myself as it is so different from my method but more in common with yours...Best wishes and love from Joyce"

I don't remember whether I reported on Tim Leary's paper or not; it might have been not because he and Richard Alpert were making a lot of noise/trouble, and one of the times he had been in Los Angeles, I had felt a change in him and been upset.1 But I do remember what a wonderful time we all had at the Conference. Somewhere there is a picture of all of us after we had been out for a Chinese dinner, and we are all grinning like Cheshire cats. My paper was called "Psychedelics and People as Adjuncts to Psychotherapy." It might be interesting to quote from parts of it:

"In the search for biochemical means to facilitate psychotherapy, a number of drugs have been used singly and in various combinations: psychedelics such as mescaline, peyote, DMT (di-methyl tryptamine), ibogaine, ololiuqui, psilocybin, and LSD-

1 December 15, 1962 letter to Humphry: "Tim Leary was out for a weekend of lectures and workshops -- he and Richard Alpert, and it was fun to see them. Virginia Denison had a gathering of people interested in drug work -- Aldous Huxley came after his participation in a Conference on peace, I think it was, in Santa Barbara. He certainly is a wonderful person. There seems to be quite a movement developing around Tim and Dick for personal research in expanding of consciousness. You probably have heard about their place they rent in Mexico in the summers. There was something that bothered me about the whole thing -- some sort of separateness or rather a special sort of language which seems to be developing. I wonder why so much of the drug work has led to fractionation rather than fusion. There is much to-do over here in the wake of banning of LSD for clinical work in the US and Canada...The Undergraduate Dean at Harvard has been making front-page-hitting headlines about 'mind distorting drugs'. There has been such a swing behind the conservatives that it is disappointing..." 25, and stimulants such as the amphetamines and Ritalin. Colleagues have reported on the use of the above drugs as well as others such as meretran, ditran, CO2, and nitrous oxide in various combinations. Over the past twelve years of research, LSD has been found to be the most effective pharmacological aid in consistently lowering ego defensiveness, enhancing rapport, and making unconscious material available..."

"Almost as important, intramuscular Ritalin was found to be an excellent substitute for the low-dose LSD treatments which had been used to lower defensive barriers in building toward a high- dose session..."

"In our observation, psychedelics form a spectrum qualitatively. All appear to lessen psychic controls so that defenses are lowered and unconscious material becomes more available. All enhance rapport and make accessible other levels of consciousness which range from heaven to hell to the silent, imageless mystic experience. All contribute to the plasticity of space and the fluidity of time..."

"The qualitative differences among the psychedelics become considerably blurred and sometimes totally obscured in the presence of strong individual differences and unusual emotional states. Our observation has been that the most important determinants of strength, duration, and type of drug reactions are the total state of the individual taking the drug, and the situation in which the session takes place, including the people present..."

"It is this manipulation of the environment -- particularly of the individuals present -- which has been found to be the most effective potentiator and direction-determiner of a drug session. People are the best potentiators of drug action, direction, and depth..."

"It was early observed that the presence of both a male and female doctor deepened the drug experience and greatly speeded up the therapeutic process. With the introduction of additional members, often a group, to individual LSD sessions, further acceleration was noted. The effectiveness of adding just the 'right' individuals to a drug session has been most dramatic since the use of Ritalin..."

"While this 'people potentiation' occurs according to the depth and extent to which the patient is ready, timing is also important. It is most effective to introduce group members early in the course of therapy if there are unusually strong defenses to overcome, or even more importantly near the point of breakthrough (usually the third or fourth Ritalin session) when the effects of the group members are maximum..."

"...it has become increasingly clear that individuals familiar with drug techniques who have themselves gone through the process of drug therapy in order to overcome pathology -- and who continue the process in the service of removal of barriers to psychotherapy -- even more important at times than the drug itself..."

"...the advantages of LSD therapy as compared to conventional therapy: l. "LSD therapy is far faster than conventional psychotherapy...it effects basic personality change which has been intractable to conventional methods..."

2. "LSD therapy is safer than conventional psychotherapy provided the therapist is experienced both as a clinician and with drugs..."

3. "LSD makes available, from the very first session, other levels of consciousness which might require months or years of conventional therapy to effect. Rapport is greatly enhanced, transference is speeded, and material from the past is far more accessible."

4. "LSD therapy makes available for treatment areas not usually subject to inspection...material from the collective unconscious or racial heritage...genetic heritage, material which seems to come from past lives...outer space." 5. "Perhaps the most unique aspect of LSD therapy is the impetus and accessibility it provides for the mystic or unitive experiences from the simplest feeling of deep empathy between two individuals...to the magnificence of multidimensional unity."

"Finally, there is a further value of LSD in research. It is a tool beyond parallel for uncovering the dynamics of the human mind in a controlled fashion..." As to the Conference itself, there were piles of papers that were to be read before the specific session, and then there were seminar-type discussions. My memory is not of the seminars or the talks or who said what, but of the people -- all of us who knew each other and then those we met at the Conference. And I can remember standing in endless lines -- to collect papers, to get into Conference rooms, to meet people one wanted to see. However, the time that is etched indelibly in my memory is one of the first days, when I was with Ernie Katz, W.M., and L.K. We were talking about carbogen or LSD or some aspect of our drug work.

"Pardon me," said a voice behind us. "Are you by any chance Dr. Betty Eisner of Los Angeles?" My mouth fell open in amazement. I turned around to see a tall, handsome, very serious young man standing behind me. I had never seen him before.

"You see," he continued apologetically, "I heard what you were discussing, and I figured it must be you." And then he went on to introduce himself: Stanislov Grof from Czechoslovakia. I don't think I had heard of him then, but after he described his work, we were all fascinated. It was somewhat like Ron Sandison's and mine at the VA. (Ron, incidentally, was at the conference but staying with his English colleagues.) When we asked Stanya, he told us of his research, and we saw the pictures that his patients had drawn and painted -- just like those Ron had, and also like the patients I had done at the VA who went to the art studio after sessions. His success rate was like ours, too. In fact, we had met a fellow traveler of LSD therapy! It became international old home week, and Stanya joined us for the rest of our activities in London, and we were instrumental in persuading him to come to the United States in order to continue his work. The next time we were to see him was when he came to visit us in Los Angeles the following year. During this summer, I had been under particular pressures because Will had been found to have a malignant tumor at the apex of his left lung. He had been operated on while I was with him in Palo Alto, before we left for England, and then he began a series of radiation treatments from the Linear Accelerator. It was a very difficult decision for me, but Will insisted that I carry out my plans to go to the Europe, taking the children with me. I can remember my relief in London when I received an air letter from him saying that he was being discharged as "cured". It was therefore a devastating shock when I was in Paris with the children to have a call from the friend whose apartment we were staying in and who was in our home in Santa Monica that I should come home immediately because Will was dying. It took some time to get a connection to Will by phone. He said that he was fine, and that I should finish the trip with the children. I didn't know whom to believe. Will was emphatic that he was well; my friend was skeptical; but she also felt that we should finish our trip. We arrived home just before Labor Day, and Will came down to see us and to hear about the trip. I was shattered when I saw him. My friend had been right. Although the lung cancer was cured, it had metastasized to the brain. In a little over four months, Will was gone. We had been married 28 years.

*******

The last important conference for those of us who had worked with LSD was "The Second International Conference on the Use of LSD in Psychotherapy and Alcoholism", held at the South Oaks Hospital in Amityville, New York. Dr. Harold Abramson was South Oaks Research Director. At times the Conference seemed somewhat redundant since by that time virtually all LSD for clinical work had been withdrawn. But we were to have one last hurrah!

July 1, 1964

Dear Dr. Eisner:

"On June 12, 1964 the Planning Committee met in New York City to decide on the details for the SECOND CONFERENCE ON THE USE OF LSD IN PSYCHOTHERAPY..."

"The Conference will be held under the auspices of the Foundation (South Oaks Research Foundation, Inc.)...The length of the Conference will be two and a half days starting at 10:00 A.M. Saturday, May 8th and lasting until noon Monday, May 10, 1965..."

"Although the organization will be somewhat similar to the First Macy Conference, the Second Conference will differ in one very important aspect. Participants will not present their papers orally, but are expected to submit manuscripts in duplicate to me on or before January l, 1965. These manuscripts will be either mimeographed or printed and distributed to all participants one month before the Conference begins. These PREPRINTS then will be available for study by members of the Conference who may come in with prepared discussions or discuss the papers spontaneously during the Conference."

"The Planning Committee felt that the primary purpose of the Conference had to do with psychotherapy, but that mechanisms of action would be a most suitable supplementary topic."

"It is anticipated that the proceedings of the Conference will be published with each submitted paper followed by its appropriate recorded discussion. In the last Macy Conference on LSD, members presenting papers were often unable to finish their presentation because the discussion often went far afield. For this reason the early distribution of the PREPRINTS will give maximum time for discussion and assurance that each participant will have his presentation available in full to members of the Conference..."

"With kindest personal regards, Yours Sincerely, H. A. Abramson, M.D. Director of Research (South Oaks Research Foundation, Inc.)"

Since I had accepted the Conference before I knew the seriousness of Will's illness, and the paper was mostly finished before his death, it was felt by the research group that I should go to the Conference, but that one of the group should go with me. Dr. Abramson was willing to have a silent participant under the circumstances. L.K. was not able to go, so W.M. from RAND accompanied me. W.M. and L.K. had met many of the participants the summer before in London where they were when I was there with the children for the Social Psychiatry Congress. There were fifty-five of us gathered at Amityville, New York, almost every single therapist who had used LSD. Sandison, Ling, Buckman, Martin and McCririck, plus others I didn't know from England; Arendsen-Hein and van Rhijn from Holland; Leuner from Germany; Johnsen from Norway; Grof from Czechoslovakia (which we had happily managed); several groups from Canada plus Abram Hofer, and Humphry, although by that time he was Head of the Bureau of Research in Neurology and Psychiatry in New Jersey; one man from Italy; and then besides the old guard from the US (Cohen, Ditman - - paper, not in person, Savage, Elkes, Murphy, Rinkel, Fremont- Smith, etc). John Lilly reported on his LSD work with dolphins, making some of it sound just like psychotherapy; in fact, one participant drew a parallel between dolphins and the delinquents she works with. Walter Pahnke stunned us all with his brilliant controlled and double-blind study on the comparison of the mystic state under psilocybin with non-drug mystic states in men seminarians.1 And of course, many others, too numerous to mention. (My paper, "The Importance of the Non-Verbal", described a number of unusual and effective techniques we had evolved in individual and group sessions. It elicited a rousing discussion!) The fifty-five of us produced an enormous tome of just under seven hundred pages -- with Harold Abramson's hard work and good editing. Actually, it is a virtual text-book on the use of LSD in psychotherapy -- and alcoholism -- "written" by the people who developed the methods they used. Dr. Frank Fremont-Smith, who chaired the Conference along with Dr. Abramson, said:

"It is to be hoped that the research and clinical studies reported in this volume will serve to bring into better perspective the use of LSD in particular and the proper management in general of governmental restrictions upon drug research by qualified physicians." Alas, at that time, none of us could obtain LSD for our work. Leary, Alpert, et al. had wreaked havoc with legitimate, ongoing research with their refrain of "Turn On, Tune In, and Drop Out!"

1Summary from his "The Contribution of the Psychology of Religion to the Therapeutic Use of the Psychedelic Substances": "Data were presented to show that psychedelic drug experience can be very similar to if not identical with the experiences described by mystics. A nine-category typology of mystical experience was defined and a double-blind controlled experiment was described in which normal subjects were given psilocybin in a supportive, religiously meaningful setting. The experiences of the experimental subjects were more like the mystical typology than those of the controls at a significance level well below expectation (.001 mostly)." The therapeutic implications of this kind of psychedelic drug experience were discussed in regard to the best way to facilitate mystical experience, the most effective means by which to aid the work of integration, and the optimal number and frequency of sessions. The challenging possibilities of future research in this area were suggested, and the possible dangers mentioned. All of this after their very interesting research with criminals and psilocybin. But they took the drug along with their subjects, and got off-track with the idea of salvation through psychedelics, for which they were kicked out of Harvard. There was a media blitz; they had centers in Millbrook, New York, and in Zijuatenejo for a summer and a half, Tim Leary's group, the IFIF, and traveling psychedelics shows -- all of it outraging the establishment and scaring Sandoz silly. On December 2, 1965, The New England Journal of Medicine published an editorial under the title, "LSD -- A Dangerous Drug", which ignored the entire body of published data, including the report of our first Macy Foundation Conference on "The Use of LSD in Psychotherapy" and went on to say "...today there is no published evidence that further experimentation is likely to yield invaluable data." Incredible for the outstanding medical journal in the US to so ignore facts! W. McGlothlin in the first paper of the Conference, "Social and Para-Medical Aspects of Hallucinogenic Drugs" had written:

"...The purpose of the present paper is to provide a perspective on the long-term effects and social implications of the protracted use of hallucinogenic drugs through a review of the extensive literature on peyote and cannabis sativa (marihuana)... Since hallucinogens are known to have been in use for over four thousand years, there is no need to restrict our data to the very limited information available on the uncontrolled use of the more recent additions to the hallucinogen family...There are many other hallucinogens that have been used to alter mental states, but only peyote and cannabis are sufficiently well-documented for the purposes of this paper." In other words, peyote and marijuana -- over the centuries - were found to be safe, non-addicting, and consciousness-changing. During the discussion of this yeoman review of W. McGlothlin, he said:

"...There is a fair amount of LSD and other hallucinogens being taken under unsupervised conditions, in this country at least, and there is every indication that this use will accelerate rather than drop off. There is a lot of speculation about what the various adverse social and medical effects are that might result from this... I think we know quite a bit; I mean, we can supplement a limited knowledge on the social use of LSD simply by looking at some of these older drugs, such as peyote and cannabis...The other point is that I think the attitude many of us take about misuse is to some extent erroneous...Most of these people, as I say, however ill-advised you may feel that it is, are nevertheless genuinely interested in taking it because they think it will in some way benefit them in a lasting way. I think it well to understand that many people dismiss the whole issue as related to a group of people who are just interested in kicks and cults. And I think that is not quite correct." Every paper, every participant had something to add to the general knowledge out of his or her own experience. And what a variety of methods, environments, adjuncts, sessions! But the results were there for anyone and everyone to see and to assess. As I have mentioned, that lengthy report of our Conference, so laboriously put together by Harold Abramson, contains the distilled knowledge from lifetimes of work with psychedelics. When once again society sees fit to use psychedelics for healing and for knowledge, this book might well serve as an operational text, written by people who were there and who lived and worked it, themselves, to achieve the outstanding results described.

******************

There was only one more conference -- and it didn't happen. The European Psycholytic Congress was due to meet in Prague, Czechoslovakia the end of September, 1968. Dr. Milan Hausner had invited me to give a paper, and I was going to report on our Ritalin work. The title of the paper was "Observations on the Psychotherapeutic Use of Ritalin Alone and in Combination with LSD, Carbogen and Other Drugs". I had carefully culled all of our work with Ritalin, adding the use with LSD (which produced dramatic, ego-shattering results) at the request of Dr. Hausner. The organizing committee wanted LSD, which was still in use in some places in Europe, to have a place in the papers. It was to be quite a trip to Europe: first, the placing of my two children, Maleah and David, and C.L.'s daughter, R., in school in Paris. C.L. was to stay in Paris for at least three months to make sure that the three of them were settled with respect to board and studies. Meanwhile, W.M. (whom I had married in Mexico and then again in Las Vegas, just to make sure) and I were going to attend the Congress and hope for a reunion of all of the old researchers: Ron Sandison, Stanya Grof, Cornelius Van Rhijn, Willi Arendsen-Hein, and whoever else was there. Alas, the news began to worsen before we left Santa Monica; in fact, we felt that it was necessary to make alternate plans to visit the Greek Islands if the Russian-provoked turmoil did not abate. As the news got worse and worse, our hearts became heavier and heavier. And our forebodings were justified. In August, Russian tanks moved into Czechoslovakia.

"The European Psycholytic Congress" never was held. The use of LSD was to be eliminated in Europe, too, with the exception of Holland. There one man, Dr. Jan Bastiaans, used LSD to help rehabilitate concentration camp survivors and victims of hijacking, torture, and hostage-taking from 1961 to 1988 when he reached mandatory retirement age. Films showing his work are heart-wrenching. At about this time, Swiss psychiatrists were becoming interested, and in the 1980's, LSD, MDMA and psilocybin were allowed in Switzerland for psychiatric treatment. Today Dr. Peter Baumann, President of the Swiss Association of physicians for Psycholytic Therapy, and six other psychiatrists are licensed to treat patients with these substances. May their tribe increase! And may the good word spread again into all of the countries, and the psychedelics regain their rightful status as outstanding aids to psychotherapy and extraordinary research tools.

CHAPTER EIGHT: The Light of LSD Starts To Go Out

Today in 2002, hopefully, we see small indications of growth in the use of psychedelics. Certainly in Europe, and especially in Switzerland, an increasing number of psychiatrists are using LSD, psilocybin and MDMA to help patients, and to shorten the course of therapy. There are indications that in Germany and Holland, psychiatrists may soon be able to use LSD to help their patients. Even in the US, there are initial applications to the FDA for the use of MDMA and LSD. It is possible that the climate against the psychedelics is about to change. Thirty years ago it was just the opposite situation: the curtain was beginning to come down on psychedelics, eliminating the healing and research we had done with these drugs -- all of the exciting discoveries -- all of the ferment of a wide spectrum of research into the unconscious. Coming events began to cast their shadow earlier, just as some of the most creative and brilliant work was being done with LSD. First came the attack on any of us who were not boarded psychiatrists. The following is from my letter of April 11, 1961, written to Humphry Osmond in two sections on my return from the successful London Royal Medico-Psychological Conference; this part dated April 24, 1961:

"Briefly, while we were gone, the hospital put in a Medical Director -- something new. When I got back and went to give LSD, the arrangements for which had been made the day before at the hospital, they said no more LSD. And me with my patient there. The head nurse and admitting office stood by me and admitted the patient. The Medical Director called and tried to make me leave the hospital after the patient had the drug in him! I naturally refused and asked if he wanted to have the patient's stomach pumped."

"The reason he gave for no more LSD was that his personal malpractice insurance doesn't cover him against experimental drugs used at the hospital! When I questioned this, he said he didn't want to discuss details with me. Then he privately told Marion Dakin (and rumored it around the hospital) that he was going to get all Ph.D.s out of the hospital. There were several of us using LSD under Marion Dakin. He tried to kick her out of the hospital too, but she just laughed at him and pointed out that he had given me no notification (he kicked me out), but that had nothing to do with her. Further, Harry Althouse (Sandoz' representative) who supplies LSD to the whole western region told Mike (Agron, SF psychiatrist) that he was going to see that every clinical psychologist (Ph.D.) was taken out of drug work. He just allows psychiatrists with boards -- the main one being the one who caused all the scandals and gave LSD such a bad name; and for six months I begged Harry to come down and see what was going on, and he refused to. It took letters from both Marion and Sid (and Sid wouldn't write for months) to get him down, and then I think since they didn't specify, that he thought it was something with respect to me that he was to investigate. Anyway, he has told Marion that we can't have any more drug until we have a psychiatrist who puts the pills in the patient's mouth. This he has been kidded about until he says that maybe they don't have to put the pill in their mouth, but they have to supervise us. He wants to get rid of Marion and have a psychiatrist. Which is absolutely mad because one needs a complete physical with a competent internist most of all for LSD work from the medical side. And there isn't a psychiatrist in LA who can "supervise" with respect to the work we are doing because we know a great deal more about the drug than they do. It must be a time for me to stop a lot of work and write -- certainly work has been made almost impossible for me lately by forces utterly beyond my control. It is very discouraging to be doing really sincere work and to be hampered on every side..." And from earlier in the letter:

"It was particularly disheartening to come straight from the London Conference where everyone was so nice, and England where LSD isn't a nasty word, right back into the worst prohibitions, restrictions, and real bias. Well, there are always such times. I, personally, have had to give up work with LSD three separate times (when the research with Sid ended, when I temporarily had to stop doing therapy because of Will, and between M.D.'s), and each time a way has opened so that I did not need to. But now I am tired... and I don't think I have the strength to fight the damn thing any more. I know it's always this way when one is working on the frontiers of the new, but it is doubly hard when there is the additional prejudice of the medical profession -- and unfortunately the prejudice against me as a woman. I hate to have to say that, but that is part of it, too..."

Humphry answered me immediately, April 27, l961 -- with support:

"...Let's come to first things first. I agree with you that professional prejudice (in this case psychiatric) is one aspect of the matter. Psychiatrists in the US have for so long emphasized that psychiatry is psychotherapy that they have begun to believe this themselves. Mind you, they have been aided and abetted by psychologists and sociologists who have fallen for this same argument...The present wrangling is idiotic and sordid because it means that we are prepared to rid ourselves of your remarkable knowledge simply because we are inflexible and silly... I can't believe that the answer to this is your getting a medical degree - - just another bizarre answer to the simple question of thinking more clearly. I also agree about the sex prejudice. I've always liked to think this wasn't so, because I was brought up by 2 Scotch aunts who clearly weren't inferior to men and live with my 3 girls who are as sharp as pins. I can't maintain these illusions...It is hard to realize that women are and have been the largest single depressed and exploited group of humans in the world...Then you are very intelligent, and intelligence of whatever sex isn't welcome, but has to be put up with..." And from my reply of May 15, 1961:

"...First I want to tell you about the burning of Aldous Huxley's house, which made us all absolutely sick. It happened Friday night, and we were at L.A.'s and could see it happening just one ridge over. We didn't know it was Deronda Drive; we did know that it was violent, magnificent, fast-moving, very destructive, and that we weren't going to leave L.A.'s until we were sure that it wouldn't go over the intervening ridge to hers..."

"Thanks for your offer to `do' something for me; I hadn't intended to ask you anything like that. I just needed your moral support...As to the local situation, I'm in the process of trying to find a psychiatrist who will `supervise' our project. You'd be surprised how hard that is, as there is such a prejudice against LSD here in LA. Understandable in a way became of all the fringe operations, and also because we are a bastion of psychoanalysis... Marion Dakin has found a little sanatorium not far from the hospital which will take us grudgingly if they happen to have a room open...I have the feeling that this is the time for me to slow down work-wise -- and to write, but so far it hasn't worked that way because extra time has gone into finishing the house, taking extra time with DB, and other odd jobs that I haven't had time for many months..." But the situation didn't apply just to me and to psychologists. We were just the first to be under attack. Hy Denber wrote on November 2, 1962:

"...How has the current hubbub regarding LSD affected your work? I heard at a recent meeting in New York that Sandoz would no longer furnish the drug for anything else except animal experimentation. As a matter of fact, when I saw Dr. Bircher yesterday at a meeting in the city, I mentioned it to him and his reply was `for animal work only' We were told that Sandoz was no longer interested (I also heard that their patent has run out and this is probably why they have no further interest). It also was said that people were smuggling the stuff in from Europe in letters). As a matter of fact, there is a very curious trend going on in psychiatry at the moment -- anti-drug; and it is being aided and abetted by the same powers that were screaming about the virtues of drugs not too long ago..."

From my letter of January 12, 1963 to Hy:

"...You indeed had heard truly about LSD and no more for distribution clinically. I understand some of the animal work has been brought to an end, too. Fortunately, this friend of mine, who admires my work, had bought quite a batch and will transfer it to my MD and me along with the FDA papers so that I can go on working."

From a letter to Humphry, dated March 5, 1963

"...As for me, there is a new doctor in colleaguery on the research; the onus of LSD just got too much for Marion Dakin to carry. It has been pretty bad out here, but I've tried to keep working quietly. I have sworn off any papers in local, or psychological associations or meetings on my work, as it is just too unpleasant. I finally consented to discuss the research for my LA colleagues in clinical society (Sid Cohen and Murray Korngold were on the program, too), and the first man jumped up and said he didn't know anything about this, but it had to stop. That week I had a letter (as did all people working with `psychoactive drugs' asking my fees, my M.D., my problems, my private life history, etc. I wrote back wearily, saying that colleagues were supposed to support and not to harass; that my work was on record at the meeting where I spoke and in various publications; it was on record on the tapes of all my patients, and that I welcomed observers who really wanted to know. I have heard nothing further. You shouldn't take this too seriously; I really am much happier about the whole thing than it would appear. It's just that with Oscar Janiger going into a mental slump and cutting out for England, Tim Leary having the rug pulled out from under him at Harvard and setting out for Mexico, the big stink about your place in Menlo Park, etc., etc. It all just seems so unnecessary..."

And a letter to Hy, dated March 14, 1963:

"...Being a leper and a pariah in the community, I have become more or less accustomed to it with allied disciplines, but I found it hard to swallow when one of my own societies invited me to speak on LSD, nay, begged, almost blackmailed; and when I did, there was a letter the following week to all workers in drugs with snide questions from the Head of the Ethics Committee. Incidentally, I was on the program with Sid -- or did I tell you? Have been seeing quite a bit of him; he is very busy, at times seems tired, but has the most extraordinarily penetrating mind and the best knowledge of LSD in these here parts. What a pleasure to read his contributions to Coughlan's article in the current LIFE on LSD. I thought the two-part article on the brain and control of behavior was excellent. I now have a favorite part of the brain that I beam all the focus of my energy on when I'm using one of our new non-verbal techniques, the amygdala. I have a hunch that the crossed wires, love-hate and black-white, is set in here or in the neighborhood. Interesting to see and take a patient through this point of uncrossing the wires..."

And Saturday, June 22, 1963, again to Hy:

"...I'm not worried about drugs. During the long drought we had to get used to working with other drugs. Haven't you heard about Ipomea tricolor, the morning glories? Oliliuqui, and works fine for groups. Also, I've found that present-day patients move as far and as fast with IM Ritalin as earlier patients did on small doses of LSD. We've tried just about every drug in the book, the group and I have...and lots of the time we can go pretty far without anything at all. There seems definitely to be a learning process with hallucinogens -- one which can be extended to the bringing of unconscious processes to awareness without any drugs at all..."

"As to the attacks on LSD, they've been there right along. I've been very fortunate in that all the people who got off the track were reluctant to quote me as one of the sources for their research; thus I missed all the mess that the blowing up of Hartman and Chandler spread around in print. Also, last November, when Tim Leary was out, I felt him getting off the track and very quickly disengaged; I've never given IFIF money, and I wouldn't have a group of people in to meet him when he was here just after Easter. Sid and I have been predicting that he would get into trouble in Mexico; we have a couple more we think are going to be in trouble before too long. Which doesn't leave many of us left. Sid and I have taken to shaking our head while looking at each other and wondering when or which of us will be next. Now it won't be easy, working with those drugs; but it never has been. There was a man out from NIMH not long ago, and he felt there had been a shift toward LSD with them (Cole less anti, etc.). All of this was before Tim and Dick shot up the national magazines with their movement to expand consciousness, however. Well, no one said it would be easy, and I'm sure it could be worse, but actually it has seemed better for me since I'm working very quietly out of the main stream."

"As to the home front, it has been very rough. Just because I don't write about it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I just think it's a bore to keep having the same problems. It will be better when Will finds a job; nine months of "looking" is wearing on all concerned...The kids are in wonderful shape. They were disappointed about our European trip falling through, but we are hoping to go to Tahiti in August...to meet my brother, who will be coming back stateside from Manila on his way to a post in Panama. Maleah finished elementary school this year; DB did wonderfully in his research class...It will be a little rough if Will comes up with a job outside of the LA area -- hard enough on the family, but it would be tragic for him to have to leave his analyst -- the first one who has really helped him. No point in solving problems before they are presented, however..."

July 2, 1963 to Hy:

"...Ogden...I don't know who the man is; I am enclosing my reply to him. I don't think I really intend to send him anything; he came on the heels of a man from Saturday Evening Post whom I tried to avoid and finally had to see because he had dinner with the Fadimans and A. is an old friend of mine from college days and put him onto me after Sid had, too. What I'm trying to say in a round-about way is that he tried to engage me in controversy -- first with statements of Rinkel and Hoch; then he tried to pump me for movie names with LSD; then he tried to catch me about my operational situation. When he found I give LSD in the hospital and work always under an MD, he was very surprised and lost interest...I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm sick to death of people making capital on LSD and in the name of wanting to do an `honest and fair' article -- or a `book' trying to start fights or whatever they are trying to do. I had fun writing the letter to Ogden; I particularly like the part about the cow. You probably don't approve, but what the heck, I have to have my fun someplace..."

Humphry Osmond worried about Tim Leary; May 26, 1963 letter: My Dear Betty:

"...Have got some LSD groups going with alcoholics -- quite simple affairs because we have to get our people interested before elaborating. Straight-forward goals of stopping drinking and joining AA. We can do more refined work later on. Am concerned about Tim Leary, but have found it hard to maintain contact with him, and since much work has to be done, have left his affairs alone lately. Tim failed to get an adequate adviser on psychopharmacology and has acted as if these powerful chemicals, many of whose actions are still obscure, were harmless toys. They aren't. In grave illnesses like alcoholism, they may be harmless relative to the likely outcome, which is something different." In 1962 and 1963, Sid Cohen began to have tremors about LSD, and published several papers warning about the growing misuse of the drug. One of the articles dealt with nine cases of adverse reactions to LSD and predicted that as the use of LSD spread, there would be more difficulties. He advocated "responsible" therapists and the use of the drug in hospitals where there could be maximum protection for the patients. However, in June of 1963, a law giving the FDA control over all new investigational drugs went into effect. Passed in the summer of 1962, and aimed at amphetamine abuse, the outcome of the bill was that all research with experimental drugs would have to be cleared through the FDA. And in the fall of 1962, agents of the FDA made the rounds of investigators and requested the remaining supplies of their drug. They didn't come to me, but I wasn't a principal investigator. However, in the meantime our group work had shown the efficacy of using Ritalin in place of the low-dose LSD. No hospitalization was necessary with the Ritalin, and the patient could get a shot in Dr. Dakin's office and walk the half block to mine. We had also begun to use the Ritalin in conjunction with what we called body work, or deep massage, which appeared to remove psychological problems when used in conjunction with Ritalin. After Dr. Dakin found the supervising of three of us who used Ritalin too difficult, Dr. Maynard Brandsma stepped into the breach -- he was the executives' doctor at the RAND Corp. -- and was our supervising doctor. But the work with LSD was less and less, and the negative publicity was growing stronger by the month.

Dr. William Frosch's report of the increasing number of psychotic admissions to Belleview appeared in 1965, along with other local, and usually exaggerated, reports of the difficulties of people who had ingested LSD. All this time Tim Leary1, Dick Alpert and Ralph Metzger were extolling its benefits and shouting the chorus of "Turn on! Tune in! Drop Out!" And Ken Kesey and his

1Letter from Humphry, March 31, 1992: "...Where both Al (Hubbard) and Aldous disagreed with Timothy Leary was that they believed that he had got the time scale wrong, and that the US had a much greater inertia then he supposed. They both believed for quite different reasons that working inconspicuously but determinedly within the system could transform it in the long run. Timothy believed that it could be taken by storm. Hindsight is so much easier than foresight..."From my April 6, 1992 reply: "...You didn't say so, but I couldn't agree with you more than that LSD is a religious drug, a growth drug, an initiation drug, and the best aid we have to enhance spiritual growth. To say nothing of it being the ideal teaching drug for psychiatry -- or the best method, let alone drug. But of course Timmy Leary stopped all that with his wild campaign. Both Al and Aldous were right in that the work should have proceeded quietly and from within to change people and, through people, our very Merry Pranksters were font page news doing just that and more. It was about that time that Ken got into legal trouble; Tim Leary's trouble came a little later. In March of 1966 Time magazine reported that the US was suffering from an LSD epidemic. By June both California and Nevada had legislated against LSD, and by October, LSD was illegal in the whole country. All this was too much for Sandoz, which had been taking an increasing amount of flack because of LSD and psilocybin, and in April of 1966, Sandoz terminated all research contracts involved with the two drugs and indicated their willingness to turn over all their supplies to the FDA. For 26 years there was no more legal psychedelic research in the United States. But that didn't mean that the use of LSD came to an end. There was a flood of black market drugs, and it seemed that everyone, especially on campuses and in the Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco, was into "expanding consciousness" or tripping out. The high point, for the "flower children", who came to be known as "hippies", was in June of 1966 when 20,000 people, in a haze and daze of love and good feelings, took part in the First Human Be-In at the Polo Field in San Francisco. The situation could only go downhill from there -- it having been steeply downhill already for those of us who were interested in

sick society. But Tim had too much 'show biz' in his nature to allow him to pursue such a reasonable and gradual approach..." and trying desperately to do scientific research with psychedelics and allied drugs.

**********

It has been a long time, and many researchers went under the bridge or into the river or just retreated quietly to the shore. Today, however, it appears that there is a changing attitude. In September of 1992, the first study was approved by NIDA of the FDA, a preliminary study examining dosage (!) and then for use on liver cancer patients. Meanwhile, LSD work never entirely ceased in Europe: In England it was used for several years longer than in the US, in Holland Dr. Ian Bastiaans until just recently, successfully used LSD on concentration camp victims, and in Switzerland, five doctors have been licensed for the therapeutic use of LSD with patients, and two more are about to join them. In the intervening years, it was only in our acting-out United States that its use with patients had to be totally prohibited, thanks to the giant circus made around its extraordinary effects -- and also thanks probably to the fibers of our Puritan background, fibers which have been forged into cables by the religious right. But during this period of no LSD, psilocybin or mescaline, Ritalin was working well for us, and after Lee Sanella taught Ernie Katz and me to work with Ritalin and carbogen for the really recalcitrant problem areas, we were managing to change people's character structure almost as well as with LSD and sometimes even better. And then Ciba removed injectable Ritalin from the market because of abuse on the streets! It was a terrible blow to us, and wiped out the work on core problems. Although by this time we had learned about rolfing and had seen how its deep-tissue body work could remove long-buried traumas and other problem areas. But it wasn't enough; we needed a drug which could relax the tightly-held controls of the individual so that deep letting go could occur. In February of 1974, my husband, W.M., was in Mexico, and he heard about and then experienced a brand new drug: ketamine. We first heard about ketamine when we were in Mexico for Christmas, 1973. Ketamine is a very safe anesthetic drug, being safe for children and pregnant women. When used in amounts one- third the anesthetic dosage, patients have access to unconscious material which is otherwise unavailable, making possible the abreaction of early traumatic events and putting the individual in touch with suppressed or repressed feelings and memories. All of this we were to discover subsequently, but meanwhile, we heard that Dr. Salvador Roquet was doing extensive work with ketamine, datura and LSD at his Instituto de Psicosintesis in Mexico City. We knew several people who had been there, and I had later heard Dr. Roquet speak and saw his films at the house of a colleague in Hollywood. W.M. went to Mexico City in February of 1974 to experience datura, but was given ketamine instead, and had an amazing experience with Dr. Salvador Roquet. He was able to buy some of the drug, sold at the local farmacia under the name of Ketalar. Meanwhile I had told Dr. Katz about ketamine, and we began a review of the literature, focusing especially on those articles which dealt with any psychiatric aspects of the drug. At this time, he found an article in Psychosomatics (Khorradzadeh, E. and Lotfy A.O., The use of ketamine in psychiatry, Psychosomatics, XIV: November-December 1973, 344-346) about the actual therapeutic use of the drug successfully with 100 mental patients in Iran. It was the end of May when Ernie injected me with a small dose, 40 mg. intramuscularly of ketamine, and I went through a period of imagery, insights and problems for about 45 minutes. I felt that here was a most valuable tool for access to the unconscious. Shortly after that we tried a low dose on four members of the research group, and a few days later, Ernie had 50 mg. IM himself. We all felt that we had found our therapeutic drug -- one which worked much like LSD but more concentrated and for a much shorter duration of time. In fact, in listing the benefits of ketamine, eight were mentioned: l. the ability to enable abreaction; 2. access to feelings; 3. access to the unconscious and the ability to deal with problems which is not usually available; 4. relaxation of deep characterological tension; 5. recapitulation of levels of psychosexual development; 6. ability to regress; 7. resolution of relationship difficulties; and 8. unusual insight. Dr. Katz soon switched to intravenous injections because ketamine is more effective at lesser doses and for a shorter duration of time when given intravenously. Dosages ranged from 10 to 55 mg. of ketamine, depending on the body weight of the patient, with the patient lying on a thick foam rubber pad and covered by a blanket. If there is an abreactive experience (very common) it usually helps to have people holding the patients hands or arms, or even lying on them. We found with work at a deep unconscious level that there is a feeling of security and reassurance and support to proceed through the difficult work when there is body contact. Further, we found that the presence of an individual lying on top of the patient helps prevent schizoid dissociation. The active period of the drug varied from five to twenty minutes, and it is during this period that strong abreactions occur (when there are repressed traumatic events to be discharged). This active period, during which a patient may slip over into unconsciousness but very rarely does, is followed by a period of creative rumination during which insights, intuitions, images and feelings occur. This insightful, creative rumination period may last from half an hour to three hours, and is characterized by the patient lying quietly with eyes closed, occasionally asking a question or responding to some stimulus in the environment. Music is played during all of the session (usually a Mozart Concerto) because music was found to be useful in helping the patient "let go". During this ruminative period, rolf-type or deep massage was used if the patient requested it. The body work is very helpful in releasing blocks to the expression of feelings, and is helpful in "draining" material which manifests itself as bodily pain. We found in the many years that we worked at deep level therapy with character disorders that many of the problems are set into the body and that psychological change follows body work. The rolf technique is particularly helpful to patients with psychological problems. (I very commonly referred a new patient for the rolf series, along with a session "structuring" their life patterns. Frequently, at the end of these series, the presenting problem was solved.) The work with ketamine was extremely successful and lasted from June, 1974 through June, 1978. There were 563 separate ketamine sessions; some patients had just one; many had a number of sessions. Ketamine was found by us to be the ideal drug for abreacting trauma, helping people let go of controls, and dealing with character disorders. It is a shame that it is no longer used for that purpose or to help people who want to effect basic change. Let's hope that this situation is only temporary, and ketamine will come to assume the valuable role which it can so effectively fulfill.

*******************

Change must be implemented by translation into everyday action; LSD sessions can remove trauma, change perception and clear the slate, so to speak. But then changed habit patterns must be initiated (embedded) and sustained so that deep basic change can take place. The human being is an odd combination of past, present and future -- of perceptions, biases and character structure. To change this ponderous (for an adult) and complicated entity into creative and sustained growth toward fulfillment of potential is a combination of clarity of perception and continual and continuing action in the direction of that growth. Perception grows by implementation -- and is rarely a magical act of complete transformation for the foreseeable future (except, perhaps, in the cases of saints, sages and sometimes mad people).

CHAPTER NINE: One Session After Another

This section contains an account of further drug sessions that I have experienced. The first sessions are to be found in order in the main text.

March 16, 1959

Dear Humphry:

"HOORAY and WELCOME to Miss Euphenia Janet (otherwise known as Jenny Wren). I wonder if she knows what a fortunate creature she is, being born into such a receptive and sensitive family? ..."

"You might be interested in the fact that I tried some ibogaine the other night; Gerald and Sid tried it and had no luck except toxic side effects. However, I know that both of them have a high threshold to drugs. I had been delayed with my experiment and gave it to a psychiatrist who is amazing in his LSD reactions at dosages from 25 up to 650. He took 450 mg. (enough to knock a horse out) and reported an LSD effect of lesser magnitude, a heightened color effect (even beyond LSD and once he tried it in conjunction with LSD and found the color heightened further), but high toxic side-effects such as nausea, sheet lightning and dizziness. I had 100 mg. and found it greatly like a mild LSD reaction -- particularly good at releasing emotions, and at that dosage the toxic effects did not bother me."

March 13, 1959 Report on ibogaine experience

"Great inertia. Body felt heavy just as LSD. No nausea. Some 'sheet lightning' I guess it's called because it looks like that (as though glass is crazing in front or to side of eyes as they are squinted)...I went back to myself with my hair cut" (father cut hair short and square just before a professional photographer was to take pictures)..."I felt myself as... Young man who would never actually be man. This connected with the DAP (Draw a Person) I had done under my first LSD when I drew `man' as a chevalier...I knew I was a combination of the little girl and the knight of pure heart...Above reproach and dedicated to service of God to find the holy Grail...Then saw myself alone in front with the terrible haircut Dad gave me. I was alone -- people loved me, but no one understood because I was isolated by service to my father. Saw what that meant on level of Dad, and also of God -- Dad being the neurotic overlay. This latter a sexual thing and the Grail the phallic symbol; but this only one aspect...I dedicated to service of my father but no one to take care of me. Wept bitterly at this, with much relaxation..."

"Shift to deeper level with darkness, fluidity, 'suspended animation'. Described it, but it took some time to realize that this was the womb. Here I had been crying to be taken care of, and here was total dependency and care, and I didn't like it. Much too passive for me. Not that I felt restrained, but just that I wasn't fulfilling my function in limbo like that...and I realized that I had been under a serious delusion that the violence belonged to the feminine side -- mother nature stuff, where actually it is an extension of the active (or masculine) principle)...So it was the active vs. the passive that I was concerned with. Complete independence vs. the womb; and seeing the delusion that I had wrongly imputed violent destruction and aggression to femininity (mother, Emilia, etc.) where it actually was an extension of masculinity and Dad, and perhaps Jack...Drug stopped abruptly at 10 (4 1/2 hours) because of long distance phone call...Interesting session. Not as compelling as LSD and effects not as lasting next day. But something emerging psychological with respect to violence."

(mid March, 1959)

"The next experience was 50 gamma of LSD in the office with M., mostly -- also Will and P.O. some...My memory is that I started out with violence, aggression -- and the worst was to a tiny baby. Something to do with (brother) Jack, I think. Then a long time spent in trying to find the time when I didn't know better...the only thing I could get back to when I didn't feel guilty was a small period when Mother and I seemed to be one. And then I quickly put her above everything, knowing that this was wrong because that relationship could only be held by God. There was something about milk versus mashed potatoes. Know I was breast fed for a year and was allergic to milk and was 'weaned on mashed potatoes'...But the strongest feeling was that all along I knew better; I was born knowing better and thus it was worse when I did something I shouldn't. Then there were long periods when I felt the survival drive: the terrible nausea and revulsion that my necessity to survive at all cost gave me. I don't know where it stopped short -- if it did. I think it did -- short of knowingly giving someone pain. Then the experience of terrible pain as though I were alone and dying on a snowy hillside -- after some sort of accident. It might have been a plane accident or something like that...Intervening time since this session psychically upset; so took 50 gamma here at home one night with Will. He was tired and rather rough, so sent him to bed. Fell asleep, which unusual both for LSD and me, and awoke with the most terrible anxiety attack. Felt things all around to destroy or harm me, and my picture by G. (schizophrenic patient at VA Hospital) kept changing into a death mask. I must listen to this tape, too, because I remember only the death masks and crying uncontrollably over pictures of the family..."

Psilocybin Report -- September 3, 1959 -- 6 mg. orally 9:00

"It took about 15 minutes for the psilocybin to start acting. I felt it first with a sort of letting go of the body. Then the rather swamping...of the body, then nausea...and then the visions. There were a great many visions, more than I have ever had before; and much more color. This seems to be particular to the drug and that, and the shorter acting time, seem to be the only differentiating factors I could find from LSD. I would say that the dosage resulted in a reaction comparable to one of 75 gamma for me, except that it was all over in 4-5 hours while my 75 gamma sessions went on far into the night..."

"The visions started with designs which very soon became ribbons of color -- from the Amazon or South American jungle, from Switzerland, May poles, etc. I didn't know what it all meant and had to let it go on a long time with the chaos, distortion, revulsion, lack of meaning before I began to see what the pattern was...The general theme was slavery to the body; we are a prisoner of our senses. Along with this came the red and gold and oriental splendor of the Arabian nights, and I think my first letting go -- my first real burst of emotion (other than the initial lightness and smiling and alternate smiling and tears) was with a real wrench and sobbing that I would rather be dead. It was as though I couldn't stand being a prisoner of the flesh -- of the senses... I tried to go along with it, but this whole jungle, mountain top, colorful ribbon May pole, Arabian night business was a hell for me just as the physical pain had been in the past and also the nausea of the saccharine heaven. Anyway, I said that they could have it -- I had tried, and it just wasn't me; I'm just not sensual and had tried to go along with it, but couldn't. I saw that the alternative I had wrongly learned in my youth was that the defense against the red was grey, not of neutrality but of the nun's costume -- of the aesthetic...I was crying out against my burden. The rest of the session was in seeing that the ego (doing things my way) is very subtle and says, all right, I see that I have to do as you say, but I won't like it. Actually, this is our only freedom of choice, the choice of whether we like what we are and must be and do -- or not."

"Specifically, and on a more superficial level, and with respect to my family, I attacked sensuality for several reasons; first because it was a way of attacking mother and her powerful position with Dad; secondly as a way of getting in good with his Spartan side; thirdly as a way of defending against both his sexuality (sensuality-hostility) toward me and mother's sensuality-over-attachment toward me. I became grey or neutral between them. The red was also too much for me -- I can't compete with Mother's or M.'s red part of the spectrum -- they are far too splendid for me..."

"In working out this set of relationships, I suddenly saw what my role in the early family was -- the peacemaker. It was a huge load off my mind. For some reason I had gotten the idea that I had to control Mother's insanity and Dad's violence and both of their sexuality; but not at all. My role was -- and is -- to show people what part of the spectrum they are and how they need not infringe on any other person's part as each has its rightful place. Not control, but reflection of the basic truth...One must perceive separateness as the truth in order to differentiate as an individual; otherwise one remains a baby or a psychotic. But one must then see and experience thru the illusion of separateness to the fundamental fusion of all."

"Earlier, and with respect to this necessity to control, I squeezed out my emotions in ribbons like the ones I saw -- streamers of color rather than the whole swirling business... something to do with the anal stage of development and independence...This need to control disappeared as I let the red of the Arabian nights come, also pure colors to sweep over in swatches and swirls and inundate me...There was also an insight about how we balance things: one must learn to balance totally as far as one can -- but then to be willing to let go to the greater balance without understanding why, if it is not relevant to know. It is important that a child learn to be just, just as he must learn to be truthful..."

"After the peacemaker insight...my role is not to fight, but to reflect the truth. One is never allowed to attack; anything which is defensive is an attack; it is a resistance; it is a violation of someone else's territory. Then I got up and the drug seemed to be wearing off...This period of greyness will be the one I'll be working with and in for the next months; it has to do with freeing those resistances which I cannot control or will away -- those resistances to love -- to loving my discipline, the conditions of my life. It can't be done through anything other than myself; and yet I cannot do it. I must accept full responsibility while knowing that I have no control over it; that I can only keep going, working, being responsible, and perhaps the grace of God will occur which will allow me to love. I am very thankful for the session."

Report on DMT (Di-methyl-tryptamine) February 23, 1960. One cc. intramuscularly at 7:05 p.m. in Dr. Janiger's "silent room". Will and M. present.

"Since this is the first time I have had an hallucinogen by injection, I cannot compare the rapidity of onset, although it didn't seem much more speedy that LSD or psilocybin. Something over 5 minutes, and I have felt LSD in just under 10 minutes. The duration was extremely different, however, as the height of the drug reaction occurred for about 25 minutes, and the total reaction was virtually over within an hour."

"This is an extraordinary drug and unique among the hallucinogens which I have had...The color and imagery more closely resembled psilocybin in brightness and rapidity of flow; the color was like that of psilocybin and also mescaline; however, the great difference is that I can find no comparable reality equivalent of the quality of the reaction in my experience of other levels of consciousness. It was as though there had been a biochemical imposition on my perceptual mechanisms, and that as consciousness flowed through it there was a fractionation of consciousness... There was a sense of separateness, not depersonalization or isolation, but of separation from the reality of unity and with no corresponding reality experience. This is very difficult to describe. Another way would be a child's jungle gym of different heights, and as though this were imposed on the flow of consciousness, thus breaking up the flow and continuity where the flow hit the iron structures. Like a template of structured steel imposed on a flowing stream and thus fractionating the reflection of light between the bars. Each square within a bar would be exact, however..."

"It appeared also to have a toxic element: as it wore on I became cold, with duck bumps and felt clammy to M. There was slight nausea just after the peak of the reaction. Further, at one point I slipped over into unconsciousness and then slipped right back."

"The imagery was extraordinary for its variety, color and speed of change. However, the whole feeling was a most unpleasant one...Certainly the horizons do not expand as with the other hallucinogens, rather it appears to contract to a non-existent reality -- non-existent in that it has no comparable level of consciousness. Hell was just as franctionated as heaven; so also 'reality'...I remember thinking that I was very glad I went in knowing dimensionality and direction in consciousness because it would be very disturbing if one did not...Another way of describing the (fractionation) would be as if one took one frame from a movie or rather slowed its going thru the projector so much that it looked as though the frames were the reality -- each one exact in itself but not the whole picture. Although motion was translated into dimensionality."

"Dimensionality was strongly characteristic of the reaction; almost as much as color. At first the ceiling began to change into incredibly complicated patterns, after the color became greenish or fern color. The intricate scroll-like designs had much more dimensionality than with other drugs. Also I was able to have imagery with my eyes open wide...realized that communication inhibited the action of the drug, so let go to it entirely and allowed it to work to the fullest. It became an Aztec scene, which is from my dynamics, and the light became the giant inquisitor (symbolic). At one point I remember checking to see whether there actually was this light on the ceiling at all. It was malevolent and ringed in black and violently bright. There were flashes of sacrificial maiden sort of stuff, which I dismissed as reactions to the strongly unpleasant effects. All this time there was incredible motion and color...Then, as the drug hit more centers, the fractionation process began. It was in this period that I slipped over into unconsciousness and immediately back. It was as though I had gone out of one side of a room and immediately back..."

"Every once in a while I would wonder why anyone would want to take this in the sense of for religious or other ceremonials. The sensory I could see, but it was not worth it at all. The scenery changed to brilliant colors...a fractionated approximation of hell. Red, white and blue bat-like things flew by, but they were in segments with each rectangle of color which made up their reality outlined in black lines. This was also true of all the imagery from then on, barring one change to pure color which was formless which came as the drug was wearing off...It is interesting how brilliant the colors were -- just as with the psilocybin, but where there I had streamers of beautiful ribbons (like May poles, etc.) here there were the same streamers of color, but in rectangular pieces of color -- mostly red, white and blue toward the end, and it was obvious that some sort of caricature of a stereotype was flowing in consciousness but was so broken up that no meaning was possible."

"I could come out if I wanted to...I could hear voices in the room next door which sounded queer and maniacal, but Will and M. reported that that is just what they sounded like..."

"I did not feel the horror or terror or complete reluctance to take it again as Oscar reported of other subjects. Nor was it ego disintegrative; nor depersonalizing as others have reported. But vastly unpleasant, to be avoided...He (Oz) said this was only one of the ingredients, and if there were a euphoric quality to one of the others, perhaps this would change the mood enough so that the sensory changes could be enjoyed."

LSD report 100 gamma at 8:55 -- October 24, 1960 -- Southern California Hospital. Written August 21, 1961.

"The immediate question is why this report has not been written for this long a time. The answer is not simple. In general it is that there were too many things going on in my life; I chose to keep current on the patient notes and the group session reports. Beyond that, and perhaps more important, is the relationship with J. -- although the LSD had nothing directly to do with that...if anything the session indicated I should continue. After all the vicissitudes of the relationship, it's breaking up, and the consequences to all concerned, I feel that it was inevitable that it should have happened in some form or another, and I am very grateful to God that it was J. I loved J. then and I love J. now; I shall never cease to love J. But perhaps I love him as a freeing agent for me..."

"I, as patient, didn't want 100 gamma -- 50 seemed plenty. But I as doctor said 100 gamma. So 100 gamma it was..."

"As I remember, the LSD started working very rapidly; I think it was about 8 minutes. I remember L.A.'s surprise, and I remember my own wonderful feeling of, my God how good it is to be going 'home' at last -- it has been much too long that I have done this for others and have not been able to have the experience for myself. It was with such welcomeness and pleasure that I felt the onset of the drug."

"Unfortunately, the details are not clear in my mind; after I finish this I plan to listen to the tape. As I remember, I had pains in my head, but...it went to the eye teeth...I remember associating that I use my perceptual ability at times unconsciously for hostility...This did not last long nor seem to be a major lesson; just one in passing. The real lesson was something entirely new in LSD for me -- muscular contractions. This was true also for the May session (to be reported) which then went into the 'purging' of the skeleton. In retrospect it looks as though the visual associational areas were cleared up (session with Tom Powers) along with the perceptual mechanism, and then the muscles, then the skeleton."

"The contractions began slowly and then became harder. It was as though it were a reverse birth, a gathering in. And the place it was gathered was through the solar plexus. It was as though the cornucopia of life which had spilled out all of its abundance was having to reverse and the point of the cornucopia was at my solar plexus with all of the abundance being forced through the small aperture there...at times it was what I called 'forced integration'. It seemed to come, as I remember it, with a spiral motion, and it was as though all of the multiplicity, the variety, the abundance were being brought to oneness by gigantic force. It was very painful, and yet the pain was the clean pain of 'purgation', which I have grown to love for the subsequent good it does in getting rid of the dross. As the contractions became so strong, almost violent, I had L.A. go down and ask people to come up..."

"There were three distinct parts to the LSD: the muscular contractions of 'forced integration'; the carbon people, center- of-the-earth period; and the working period with people after I had examined what B.D. had to say about what she misperceived as my misperception. This latter also had to do with geometric shapes; the triangle, for instance. I kept yoking people together with myself as the plow (first Will and J. who were the black and white oxen); then others more as triangles."

"During the muscular contractions B.D. came in. She tried to make it birth -- either my giving birth or being born. It was not this at all: it was...some sort of integration which was being forced on me; perhaps the abundance of the world was being fed under pressure into my solar plexus so that I could know it first- hand. I do know that there were tremendous insights about the nature of the universe and time. The question of the expanding vs. the contracting universe is a misstating of the problem, as I perceived it then: there is a breathing out and then a breathing in..."

"During the muscular contractions I didn't want anyone to touch me. When the LSD experience changed (and I felt it was when B.D. came in) I started into the world inside the earth -- the people who live in the center of the earth and don't even know that they are not up in the air outside -- the carbon people... The middle of the earth thing began as I remember it with black oxen and then people painted black (Hindu?) which I had seen in some illustration but could not remember then or now. They were Egyptian in character, but black in color. The world inside the center of the earth was a busy and modern place...but all in blackness and dark although the people thought they were on top of the world. I marveled at this and understood it as strange for me and as something I would not have known or experienced if it had not been for others...B.D....began to raggle at me and say that this was my problem...and I was avoiding it. She was projecting all over the place and trying to play therapist invalidly..."

"When she came at me so fiercely, I stopped to consider what she said. I said I would go into the drug to see whether she was right. Then I had...two sequences, both superficial, and neither belonging to me...In trying to make sense of it, it seems to me to be fantasies about love by people caught in the encapsulated relationship: pseudo high adventure and pseudo love. I went into it fully -- letting the drug take me where it would, and I went into it for as long as it seemed to be necessary, and I felt that that was the truth of it..."

"...Will and J. were on either side of me holding my hands. I do know that after they were there whatever was going on fused them. I didn't do it; it was done...Then I can remember fusing the others...This one is not clear and I'll need the tape...These details of the third part of the session I shall have to recapture with the rehearing of the tape. I know I was very tired after the session...Anyway, the good of the session was marvelous for me. If it got screwed by the group, well, that is life. I felt I learned and certainly they could have too from it. One does all one can - - on all levels -- for oneself, for others, for the over-all situation. When there is no more energy, that is all. It is then time to rest, and whatever is uncompleted for whatever reason, must be understood in the light of its lack of completion -- not used as a lever of blame or rejection -- both of which are meaningless."

(The next is a mescaline session January 12, 1961. Written August 20, 1961)

"I have just finished my report of the mescaline session July 29 for the whole group, and I think that the deck is clear enough and I am tired enough at this point to write about the mescaline where Mike (Agron, psychiatrist) brought down mescaline for J. and for him and for me and we took it at J.'s..."

"Mike and I had long had an argument over mescaline; I had said that all of the drugs served to work well for psychic work; they each had their individual variations, but in the main were similar. He felt that mescaline was entirely different -- a more cosmic experience through nature. He has since begun to change his mind or opinion closer to mine. But no matter. At the time I was deeply in love with J...However, I refused to get a divorce and marry him, for which he was pushing very hard..."

"The three of us decided to take the mescaline the day before the group session...Mike had told us it would take two hours for the drug; I reminded him of how fast things worked for me, and he said we should count on an hour then. We took the two capsules (100 mg.) at 10:20 on the Ridge. We were driving home when mine started to work, and it was just 10:40. Mike wouldn't believe it when I said I felt it. Then when he saw me have a hot flash he did, and we went to J.'s as fast as possible. They put me to bed with a blanket, and I had only a moment of nausea, which passed very fast...Mike was very sweet as I was going into the drug, but as it began to take a turn for the problem-oriented, he tried to make me turn it outside instead and go out of doors. I just couldn't; it would have violated something in the reaction and in me, and so I just stayed and told him I must work. They both went out and then made jokes about how I was a scab and that they should insist that I go out..."

"I can't remember the imagery well. It seems to me that I saw a dragon first -- all covered with jewels. So that it was two sides of what the dragon represents -- the fear and the riches- fertility. Very quickly the imagery turned into deep emotional feelings, however, and I began crying deeply and with all of me at the terrible lack I felt. It was like the psilocybin session when I cried so hard and desperately and said that they could have the red and the gold -- the riches of the world -- let them have them, but to take from me the pain of desire. Anyway, I had been crying and tried to crawl under the blanket and just let it happen so it wouldn't bother them. Mike kept trying to pull me out of it, but J. understood and put his arms around me and just held me...It was filling something in me which I had been born wanting and which I had more and more yearned for. It was the coming home...Anyway, after my crying ceased and the relationship-fulfillment began to come through, I curled up, and I think they went out...and Mike showed J. how to relate to the trees and the grass and nature. I finished up my work by myself, then went out to be with them. I sat for a while, seeing nature move and the colors, but they were very engrossed, and mescaline for me is a relationship drug. I then came inside with A., as they were relating deeply with each other and nature, and I somehow was in the way and having a different kind of experience."

"As I sat by A., who had on a blue shirt, jeans, and blue zoris -- and the blue of the robe I had on and her blue eyes shadow, she suddenly became the most extraordinary 'Study in Blue'. I saw as Picasso might have in his blue period. The blue surged up from my robe through all the blues which surrounded her, and the planes and the angles all became shades and variations of blue in an extraordinary complexity and richness. It was one of my unforgettable drug experiences..."

"We were sitting on the couch, and over my right shoulder, there was the fern from the large jar. I put out my hand and held it under one of the fern fronds. As I did this, the separate fronds seemed to curl up and shrink away and die. Tears began to roll down my face; everything I come close to withers and dies, I thought. A. asked me as she put her own hand on the fern. She said that everything she touched withered and died, too. I looked closely and said that she was quite wrong; as I saw it she brought things into independence; the fronds stood up and out as though they had been startled into being themselves. This was extremely meaningful to us both..."

"There isn't much more. As I remember when I went out into the kitchen with them they were having something to eat and drink, and I joined them...I had asked Will to be part of this session; I think when he refused -- or to come at all -- it was at that point that I gave way inside and the crying for what he wouldn't do and what I couldn't have with J. came through...We had to go to a cocktail party at the Freemans, and I remember the enormous amount of control I had to exercise to seem entirely normal at the party...I'm not sure I did seem entirely normal -- in fact I didn't feel so for several days -- but I did manage well enough so that no one noticed anything strange..."

"It was real and wonderful and did an enormous thing for me - - as the whole relationship with him did. I am very grateful and only hope that it helped him, too, in the long run. I know it did short run, but I mean even now."

Time out from my reports to quote from a letter from Humphry Osmond about mescaline. His recent letter is dated June 17, 1992:

My dear Betty,

"My first mescaline experience was undertaken in London 1951 when I was on the verge of leaving for Canada with Jane and Helen, then nearly two. John Smythies and I had written but not published a paper called "Schizophrenia, A New Approach" in which we hypothesized that schizophrenia might be a consequence of what Jung had called Toxine X in about 1907. This toxine X was, he suggested, released by some people under stress. In 1907 or so Dale and Barger had not yet published their work on adrenalin, but clearly if the flight or fight hormone turned into a relative of mescaline, then many of the experiences of schizophrenia would be easier to understand. In fact, one can imagine adrenalin being transmethylated into something like mescaline. We called this hypothetical substance M Substance."

"We both decided that we ought to take mescaline and see for ourselves. I did so early in Septembeer, 1951 in London. I was a well-trained and, for my age, experienced psychiatrist. Many others had recognized that the mescaline experience had something to do with schizophrenia or delirium (Kaarl Menninger once called it a long delirium, and was much pleased when, a few years before his death I quoted an amended version to him "a long delirium in slow motion". My mescaline experience convinced me that most of our schizophrenic patients do their best to tell us about their long delirium, but it is disquieting for us to hear about it and also their own experience with its distortion, even disintegration, of space-time, thinking and language are anchored in sensory perception, and if it begins to falter, they, too, become unreliable and hard for others to understand. Mescaline also gave me access to visual imagery of a vivid kind unavailable to me since childhood."

"Indeed, early on in the mescaline session I was looking at a piece of torn wall paper in John's rather shabby mews flat and began to see in it a torpedoed US freighter sinking into a foaming winter sea. I had watched that happen on St. Patrick's Day in 1943 during what has been called the Battle of St. Patrick's Day, the great submarine-escort battle in the Atlantic."

"I realized that I had other things to do with the experience, and so removed myself from the winter sea, the drowning sailors, and the smell of oil smoke swept across our bridge by a stern wind...It would be exaggerating to suggest that one mescaline experience made all the texts on schizophrenia totally irrelevant, but I felt for the first time that I understood how much greater patient's difficulties were than I had supposed. Very few people without the benefit of psychedelics have a clue as to the experiences which bemused and sometimes terrify our patients. The enormous literature of writings by schizophrenics is seldom consulted by either psychiatrists or psychologists. Even when it is, most of us shrug off the strange reports as being fantasies. We do not consider them as frontline stories from an alien world, our own world with its space-time changed. In that first experience I noticed, although I didn't grasp its significance or even know much about it, that constancy of perception was disturbed...It isn't easy to maintain even simple social relationships if you are unclear who you are and who the other person is."

"Psychedelic experiences have provided me with many chances to see the world in a different way..."

"Love to y'all. Ever, Humphry"

(My next session was May 29, 1961 -- Will had 50 gamma and I 25. I wrote the report the next day, May 30, 1961)

(From a letter to Humphry dated June 20, 1961)

"I am enclosing a few notes taken from my last LSD session, which came on me without warning (I started going into it on the way to pick up children in the car pool. Fortunately Will was with me and driving, and L.A. was at the house.) We went out for lunch and I had such contractions that I had to go out into the car; when we got back I took 50 gamma of LSD and Will 25. I have not sent you the 7-page report out of deference for your shortness of time and unwillingness to plop you right into the middle of all of my inner dynamics. However, it was fascinating, and I had a 'geological fault' burned out of my skeleton (mostly head and skull structure and lower body); I found that I had been mothered by an 'abstraction'...I was raised on the book of schedule, for which mother later apologized; fortunately there was a lot of love around as well as mixed-upness..."

"...Can't remember just how it started, think there was some blue and green -- of darker color than I have seen before, very quickly in abstractions. Then the greyish-white scene with the arches of time -- that I must endure...This all had to do with the fact that I had to endure; that I had been banished from the family and from God and just had to endure it. The only way it not absolutely unendurable was to help people, but when I hurt them, their pain became mine and it was terrible...also a crack in the earth -- 'geological fault' which is something that I have in my structure which must be corrected...then I saw stylized feathers as would be in helmet of Apollo, as though if one puts helmet on to protect head, then must use stylized means of femininity to decorate..."

"It came, and I contracted and must have held it for an incredible time. It just didn't seem possible to me that it could be done. After a point I wasn't holding it, it was being held for me...Then the heat or fire or light came right up through me and -- no, it was more as though the contraction or light came right up through me and met the light coming down from above which (was a) combination of light and fire and which burned (with light) the top of my skull. While this was the strongest, there was burning in all of skeleton. The next contraction it was as though my uterus burned with light-fire and the whole lower part of my body was 'burned'...away, and I was two arms and top torso with nothing below...However, the images became unimportant; it was the experience of the contractions and the correction of the 'geological fault' through the burning. It also burned out all of my skull -- around the eyes, through the sinuses, and especially the top of the head and later the whole skull. As though the whole skeleton was purged or purified and something burned away in the uterus, gut, lower body. The geological fault was being corrected. I think that it was too great susceptibility to rejection so that I unable to reject anyone because I had been so rejected; also too sensitive to it myself...I realized...that this was an archetypal kind of experience. The prior one where I had 'forced integration' was somehow necessary for my experience with J. and for this one..."

"...the contractions continued periodically along with insights working their way out. There seemed to be enormous heat...I felt the sweat dripping from my face...At one point L.A. said it was like the heat coming up from the center of the earth...it is as though a force coming up from the earth were contracting me and pushing me upward to meet and be fused into a force coming from above my head (fire-light or white heat) which was forced into me, burning that which was not 'pure'...Is it possible that evolution can come under control of the will once one has cleared up the crud of past time..."

"You know, I think that the triangle must change to a square and then the square must transcend into a circle...in talking to L.A. I realized that the star of David is an invalid way of transcending the triangle: it is the superimposition of the triangle with another; the siblings onto the parental. Actually, one must expand and add someone from the outside to open the triangle and then it will gradually open to the circle, in a series of progressive additions until the polyhedron smoothes out the angles to a curve..."

"In the examination of the whole business of my feeling of rejection -- I who can endure more than anyone I know, and yet am more sensitive -- I realized that I didn't have an actual mother - - I had an abstraction for a mother. I recalled that the first time I cried I was put in a room by myself and it reports in my baby book that I cried for four hours straight and then never cried again...This was further set in by my mother raising me 'by the book' as she so often told me. She said she regretted that she had raised me on schedule and by the clock rather than allowing my body demands to tell when I should be fed, etc....Thus the body was enormously disciplined even before differentiation of the ego; also I had to come to terms with an abstraction before I came to terms with people...thus it never occurred to me that there is anything wrong with commitment to an abstraction above people; although I knew that people had to be put in the equation...But cause and effect, law and order, obedience, etc. came to me before knowledge of different people did, even though it came in an atmosphere of love. And I have been unable to perceive in the past that other people don't understand the abstraction as I do: that to them commitment to authority -- the line of authority -- means subjection to irrational domination. To me the irrational is always because I don't know enough; to them the irrational is in the service of some other individual's control or exploitation. Thus I have unconsciously demanded too much of people..."

"As the insights came in and settled together, I began crying out of gratitude to Will and L.A who had seen me through this -- and also to J. who had been willing to take on the burden of giving me a mother's love when all the doctors I had gone to had not..."

"In the feeling and examination of this rejection mechanism, I suddenly had the enormous insight that the capacity to withstand rejection is one of the selective mechanisms by which evolution of consciousness operates. Then, after one has been able to endure the huge rejection...the 'geological fault' must be healed and the evolutionary process continue. Another selective mechanism of nature is in structure: the capacity to have backbone and guts. Or rather the moving of the strength (endurance, calcium, etc.) from an outer shell (like the crab) to an inner structure (the vertebrate)..."

"An extraordinary session, and one in which we all seemed to be stretched enormously, psychically. And I think that, thank God, my 'geological fault'-- the fault in my structure -- was corrected through the fire-light. There must be an easier way, and I am dedicated to find it. I don't mind going through the pain and travail, but I don't feel that I have the right to ask anyone else to do so except from out of their own center. True direction must come from inside, but once started down the path -- after a certain point -- it is suicide to try to stop. One must continue. Maybe we can find the way to make it less painful."

December 21 1961, at M.'s. Written January 22, 1962. (Peyote)

"...we took peyote. I had never had any, nor had she. She had been wanting LSD, but I didn't feel right giving it to her, and she was content to try the peyote. Actually...afterwards she said that it was just as good as LSD. It was a wonderful session for her and an interesting session for me, but it got me into the middle of a problem which I have not yet worked through."

"...I took 3 peyote capsules and M. took 6. I lay on the couch and she on the floor. There is a recording of part of the session. The beautiful relaxation hit both of us, and it was a wonderful thing. Then I started into serious concern with the urethral problem (I guess that's what it is) and still am not out of it. M. in turn experienced the depths, and fish of all kinds and the predator and prey, and she saw there was no difference, and came up with the answer that she was a human being; if God had wanted her to be a fish he would have made her one. I think this was the overcoming of her fear."

"I can't remember any of my imagery...Most of the day, however, I was in acute and agonizing pain. The main pain seemed to be in my back and through to the front -- as though the base of my spine were fused to the organs in front -- probably bladder. The whole urethral area was incredibly painful. It was as though my parents had taken a set of sharp knives -- like a mixmaster -- and mixed it around in my lower pelvic area so that the ureter, the fallopian tubes, the uterus and the bladder (but particularly the tubes) were all cut up and mixed together. It was a mess so that control of the bladder might be overcontrol of the genital area, etc." (My baby book proclaims me 'toilet trained' at six weeks.)

"It was from this session that I brought the profound feeling that there is in addition to the anal level of development a urethral one wherein we learn to discriminate the urinary function. Primitive man didn't know there were two holes down there: after all, semen and urine come out of the same orifice in the man's penis, and it is hard to tell that urine doesn't come out of the vagina. So that waste, menstrual blood, babies come out of the same hole, seemingly -- and it's the same hole the penis goes in. No wonder our society had generalized its cleanliness complex onto sex and made it dirty with the aura of excretions. Anyway, I was having this area purged clean and differentiated, and it hasn't yet happened. It must have been about six hours of pain; finally I had M. call Will..."

"...before he got there I knew he wouldn't be enough to pull me out of it. I would also need someone like A.M....Will was wonderfully sweet...and put his hand under the small of my back, and for the first time the pain started reversing. It did not entirely go away, however..."

"As for me, the following week A.M. did help me. His face started changing in his regular interview. It felt right and fused, and I was able to run it down and see the black-bearded, black-haired...bearded Semite that he is at the bottom -- all the strength and dedication and kingliness, although I don't know who it was. And this relieved my pressure somewhat. It also helped him in that I recognized him for what he was and did not get it mixed up and think it was I..."

LSD - 25 gamma - January 6, 1962, I think.

"This is very hazy in my memory. It is very like the LSD 25 gamma I took one time by myself...and was half sleeping, half waking, and saw the picture of me that G. (schizophrenic) had painted as death. That was an anxiety session; this one was a partial alleviation of something."

(There had been a difficult series of events.) "...I felt as though the weight of the world were on me; also felt very close to tears. Finally the weight, psychically now translating into the physical, was so heavy that I had to go up and lie down..."

"It got heavier and heavier and worse and worse, so I took 25 gamma. Will came up from time to time and was very sweet and solicitous. There was the same back-urinary-genital pain as in the peyote session, but not so bad. There was very little imagery -- sort of slipping between levels of drug, consciousness, and sleep. But while it was going on, I knew that one of the pieces of it which made it so hard from me to manage was being lifted. It makes no rational sense and I can't explain it, but some part was lightening for me, thank heaven."

"It still isn't good, and I'm not functioning top level, and when Will gets into one of those projection things I am devastated. In fact, last week I spent most of two days crying helplessly. But finally I got to the bottom of it and it turned for the better. Also, Will's projection... evidently resolved on Friday with Mott before he picked up Carl Rogers. Things have not been so bad since...and we had the first successful sex we have had for me since he heard that he had to go into analysis."

February 8, 1962 (Pot and oliliuqui/morning glory seeds)

"Since I am going through so much just now I had probably better record it. The present series started with my peyote session at M.'s...As I perceive it, I got half-way through the urethral state of development or hang-up and am in the process of working my way through it. It has something to do with the core of inadequacy and...it is the initiation point of the necessity to control: out of which can arise projection and all sorts of mechanisms...I don't think I project in space (perceive hostility or sexuality of mine as belonging to someone else), but I probably project in time (see and feel and experience someone in the present as the way that someone else was experienced in the past). I think I usually have inklings that I am doing this; as with J. when I recognize the parts that belonged to my brother and definitely to my mother..."

"Anyway, what I have to report concerns several incidents. Things have been on the rough side for Will and me since Dr. Mott said he felt he needed analysis...There had been a bad time the week before I went to SF...But from the moment he called his mother until he saw her several days later he was loaded with hostility toward me...After he saw his mother and stood up to her, it went away. We did have a good time at the meetings, and I think he was very glad that I had gotten him a ticket..."

"Digression first to report incident in SF. Tony Sargent supposedly arranged for me to meet Frank Barron; actually it was Stirling Bunnell who loused it up. It was almost a disastrous evening; Stirling had told the Barrons a different time from us. Tony had given us some Alice B. Tokla hashish (!) on the way over, and Mike and I after hesitating and finding out what was in it took it under the misunderstanding that everyone was and that we would be staying at the Barrons. What the candy balls contained was half a joint of pot and 50 seeds of what he called oliliuqui; actually it was morning glory seeds which seem to have the same consistency or something the same as oliliuqui. When we arrived at the Barron's he was loaded with hostility (we didn't know we were over an hour late); his wife is a neurotic babe who got things mixed up; and they were rightfully so upset about our coming in having taken drugs. Stirling was supposed to have cleared this with Barron and he didn't. Anyway, when the drug started working, it was as though something cut across down underneath the mood I was having...and I wasn't sad any more. I wasn't happy either; it was a sort of floor under my feelings so they couldn't fall below a certain point, but not much upbeat."

"Then there was a feeling as though something cut the threads of responsibility that I felt toward the other people. Instead of being sensitive to what they were feeling and wanted and doing it at cost to myself, I didn't want to move. When I found they were going out to dinner, I asked if I could stay there. This created consternation. Mike said he would stay with me. They wouldn't let us stay in the house...we ended up following a white line to a little place where we had tea and brandy and he had a hamburger. I felt the opening of the drug, and at one point the real sweeping openness like LSD. So I think that these seeds may be our answer, for the group..."

Report of May 16, 1962

"...During the peyote session at M.'s it was as though my whole lower abdomen were carved up with knives by my family when I was a child. I felt that the lines were interrupted, so I didn't know (through feeling or whatever) the connection between the bladder and urethra -- the uterus and the vagina. Also, I postulated that this cutting of connections leads to or rather sets in great feelings of inadequacy (Inadequacy is probably first felt when the child is born and must breathe, eat and eliminate for himself). Thus the inadequacy that a child might feel when he is expected to control his bladder (too soon, developmentally, the child being physiologically incapable of it) will generalize to the sexual area and there will be feelings of sexual inadequacy which are intensified the more the individual acts out, because he will feel that he is out of control or unable to control himself, which is the initial (developmentally understandable) difficulty."

"Anyway, after the night of working through the blocks, the next morning it was as though there were warmth down in the lower abdominal area (bladder and uterus) -- as though a healing process were going on. And it felt as though the area were breathing in - - were pulsating like a flower or a flower-like mouth -- taking things into itself legitimately. In other words, I guess it was the experience of the right to be nourished in that area...Anyway, the wonderful thing for me is that there was warmth, healing, growth, and an incorporative movement which was wonderfully pleasant and right. Also, for the first time in what seems eons, I was growing through pleasure rather than pain; or rather through something that felt good rather than feeling bad. This should be helpful in uncrossing crossed pleasure-pain wires."

"One other point that I made a short note about. I still have remnants of the feeling of tragedy that it is not going to work out between Will and me -- that something will happen to prevent it. I feel it is tragic; it will be something like an accident or something beyond our control...This feeling is so disturbing...that I am considering talking to Dr. Mott about it, if he will see me. I don't want to interfere in any way with the ongoing process of Will's; that is most important. But this would help me enormously..."

In early September 1962, Will was fired from his important executive job, a job which had been his stability factor for over 16 years. It came, according to him, without any apparent warning. And just when his analysis with Dr. Mott was really beginning to help. We were in for some very bad times. However, my next LSD session was an oasis in the desert.

(LSD session on my birthday, September 29, 1962; I took either 100 or 125 gamme; Will took 25 gamma.)

"...as the drug took hold, I was wracked with nausea. It was first the reptiles: I had to swallow reptiles. It was this way on all levels: the little girl who couldn't stand lizards and snakes and things; the built-into-the-protoplasm fear-hatred or rejection of the reptilian by the mammal. And I saw that when one becomes a reptile too early, then one is cold-blooded and calculating; after having become fully a mammal, one must incorporate the reptilian so that pain doesn't hurt so much."

"The next things I had to swallow were the rodents; then the insects. This went on for a long time with much dry heaving and much violent crying. I think it bothered Will terribly, but I was so much into it that I couldn't know or couldn't stop; nor should I have stopped. I was not permitted to vomit; I had come to a point in my development when I must incorporate all of living things, even those which are found repulsive by man."

"After a while Will talked to me, and I got the impression that he felt I should vomit; that vomiting would be the sign that I had let go of controls. I tried everything I could, sticking my finger down my throat, etc. But nothing would come up. Will misinterpreted this later as though I could not vomit up the repulsive part of myself; perhaps, but this doesn't feel right. Because one of the great insights that I saw was that I, as majority had picked and chosen and had rejected and vomited the minorities; now I had no longer a right to do so. He, on the other hand as a member of a minority, must vomit up the poison that society tries to make him take in the form of scapegoatism and guilt-carrying as a Jew."

"Anyway, we talked, and I was back as a child in the crazy world of my crazy uncle and my crazy mother, trying to make sense of it. It was as though I had the responsibility to see that everything came out all right, and I had to come up with something that wouldn't hurt anyone and would solve it all...He asked what I was, and I paused and told him a glass window between the parents and the new babies in a nursery. In other words, somehow whatever had happened to me with Uncle Ben and Mother (and the interaction of their relationship) I tried to prevent happening to Jack. And as such I got frozen into glass -- I couldn't let go of control. This on top of having early control of crying...(and) the too-early bowel and urinary control. So not only could I not let go because of training; I couldn't let go because it would hurt Jack (I'm sure I did let go first and funnel the sex onto him and got hell for it, but somehow it protected him somewhat from Uncle Ben). I saw the big insight of one of my control mechanisms: I controlled the adults around me by controlling myself...I realized that I had done this to Will without realizing it; I swore I would do it no more. This was the really big insight from the session."

"The emotional experience was the having to accept the reptilian, the rodent, the insect side of life...I saw this acceptance...as an evolutionary thing...During this time of trying to vomit, Will kept trying to get me to let go of control. I cried in anguish and asked him what to do; saying I didn't know how. Then he went into anger and said I was just like all the rest of them, I wanted a specific. Actually, the odd thing was that there was a specific on one level -- there is some repressed incident, and I got the general feel of the Uncle Ben-Mother-Jack constellation, but there is still one with a doctor. However, one has to go on living until that can be vomited up; in the meantime one has to act as well as possible..."

"(He) asked me to throw something through the glass window. I said okay, and then he said maybe that was enough, to be willing. I closed my eyes after looking at his face and seeing it change and then not being strong enough to follow it all the way down. And the glass cracked up, and it all became chaotic, and I knew that behind it was some fear-panic of insanity..."

"The working through to Jack also broke down barriers... I realized that what I envied Jack was his capacity for joy. That I bitterly resented because he was automatically loved, and I had to work so hard for love...Anyway, at one point after we got through this, I said I had always wanted an older brother, and Will took me in his arms and cried and said he had had an older brother, but wouldn't accept him. And in some way I came to peace with Jack -- his is the joy of the burbling brook; mine is of the quiet pool..."

"...back to my early childhood, the granite of the dependability and integrity of my father arising out of the mists and miasmas of the crazy uncle and crazy mother. But I had to maintain an illusion, and this was probably the second most freeing insight; I had to maintain the illusion that Uncle Ben didn't go away (to war); that somehow he was there or was the Prince Charming...Thus I took the responsibility for his and my mother's actions...I took the load of their relationship, and along with taking responsibility for war and all conflict. It was here that my responsibility for other people's problems was really set in. Also set in was the illusion that Uncle Ben was Prince Charming, and Dad was the dragon. However, Dad was the rock of Gibraltar, and I knew this on one level as a child..."

"I put on the Kol Nedri, and immediately I began to free and to rise. It is my music, the Jewish, and is joy for me, even though it is atonement for them; so that Will and I must remember that because we are two halves of a coin, what gives joy for one may not be joyous for another..."

"Will was just wonderful in bringing me just what I wanted to eat...and taking care of me and the children, and he wouldn't let me do anything. Sometime later we were exhausted and showered, and then we had the most extraordinary sex relationship when I could really let go more than ever before. I think he did, too, and enjoyed it. I was so grateful to him, and because he had done so much for me, the barriers were down, and I could honestly tell him I loved him."

In January, 1963, a fellow researcher from the north transferred his drug supply to me, under FDA forms. However, the LSD was in a slightly different form from that which I had been using, and it seemed wise to test the new drug on myself before we tried it out with the patients. B.H. and M. volunteered to help, and since we all had been working hard, we felt that this was the time to have a lovely restful session. Ha! Little did we know!

I had wanted low doses, but they wanted more, so I ended up taking 50 gamma, M. 75, and B.H. 100. Although my researcher friend had said that they had experimented and found the free form about equal to the tartarate, we found it about one and one-half to two times more powerful. Of course it might have been something about the interaction among the three of us -- all very strong women -- but it appeared to be the drug.

B.H. dealt with time-- everything going so fast she couldn't deal with it; M. dealt with the ego -- seeing all facets of the ego over and over; and I appeared to deal with being a discharge from the collective unconscious -- a "gadget" for discharge, something like a lightning rod. Everything that was right for B.H. appeared to be wrong for M., and vice versa. Finally we sat on the floor around the coffee table and focused on a central point. "As we focused, order began to come into being, and all of us could feel ourselves grounded." (I felt we needed a fourth, however, and a strong masculine presence.) "B.H.'s slowed down enough for her to be able to get hold of some of it; M ...allowed the ego to run its story out, pausing now and then to go outside and have some respite..." and from time to time we all collapsed into laughter.

"In retrospect: the dosage was far more than we had anticipated; the interaction of the three of us was far more powerful than we could have expected; we evidently were ready to go, psychically; we activated a load from the collective unconscious by our being load carriers and being 'ready'; and we didn't have a ground." And there were some fascinating insights. Two weeks later something let go for me, and I felt free of a very heavy burden with respect to Will.

The next session was May 10, 1963 when I took 10 mg. of methedrine, followed by 250 mg. of sodium pentothal (I don't know what amounts in what series)

"It comes up through the mid-brain to the cortex. Then there's a general relaxation through the whole body. Marvelous relaxation of the whole body... (Doctor directed counting to 10; pt. slowly and laboriously reached 4. Then was out. Stayed that way for about 4 to 5 minutes)..."

"It's as though -- you know how the barriers go down with LSD -- with pentothal the barriers go down with the body. The body has a sort of mystic experience...we are all related at some level...it's all one, and the very phenomenon of being separate gives us the misperception that our body organism is separated from those of others."

"The pentothal gives us the feeling body-wise that we are not separate -- we are all part of the whole...It is incredibly therapeutic -- to hell with repressed early memories -- the point is to live life more fully, and if you can lower the barriers -- not necessarily sexual, but the barriers we feel..."

"I see how addicts hook into barbiturates -- capacity to unite with body. Alleviates cultural and environmental inhibitions falsely put on us...The difficulty is that it doesn't have the clarity of consciousness of LSD...The cortical inhibition against the body is in abeyance...(Doctor gives new syringe full)"

"It allows the rational mind to accept the body as a working partner...Allows one to accept body in relationship to environment - - joyous, not reviled, not ridden by Puritanism...Maybe the early sexual experiences of these patients which they can't bring up are so extremely set because of Puritanism. If an individual acknowledged the body wholly, it wouldn't matter what happened in childhood...One of the blocks of this society is the terrible degradation of the body. The mind is intensified or somehow made into a deity."

"Pentothal brings a person back to his own body without guilt -- because the body feels good and feels in relationship. It is in relationship with things as they are -- in the environment... It is a physical mysticism, and I see the secret of the drug addict. I am sure when he gets morphine it is the same way. It allows his body to come alive and be accepted and part of the universe...I understand the drug addict. Their bodies are dead, and the drug brings their bodies alive again. When your body feels dead, you feel dead. When the psyche feels dead, you feel dead. It is a cellular thing almost, and the same warmth which I know as love in relationship and sexuality, pentothal gives you biochemically the warmth...it counteracts the isolation..."

"Sexuality is one channel, and if we channel everything into it, we lose the multiplicity of the sensuality. This is a physiological feeling of oneness, and the Puritan society has denied us this. It makes clear why the Indian mystics do better than mystics of the West. They allow the body warmth into the psychic warmth...It is as though I feel color in my whole body. The point of this is physiological integration...Body counts more than mind, and this gets both together -- like getting male and female together. To hell with repressed memories. People can accept themselves operating in their environment...Almost mystic experience with pentothal making the unity. Step to ultimate integration..."

Many years later the importance of the body was to be

"rediscovered" through body work and rolfing, and change was to result from work on the body as dramatic in effect as that of the drug work.

The next important session was the group session at Tecate, Mexico on June 8, 1963 (report written July 28, 1963) which turned out to have been far more important than we ever could have guessed at the time. LSD was illegal in the US at this time, but not in Mexico. The summer before Tim Leary and his group had gone to Zihuatenejo and had a series of sessions while living communally. We decided to go to Tecate for our session, and a psychiatrist (J.W.) flew in to supervise medically.

What appeared to happen was that, at one point, the Leary group must have been having a big session in Zihuatenejo, because we had to hold -- without any movement at all-- for what seemed like an eternity -- during which time it seemed that we were under

"attack" from something from somewhere else.

"I remember recognizing the schizoid 'thing' - it looks sort of like a white ghost parrot -- whitish with a large beak which hooks into people. Then there was quite a bit of the blood red- orange...some sort of rage. There were other important things, but many of them were beyond my present knowledge or experience to identify. It was as though they came from other places; other planets, and we as yet cannot identify them..."

It was as though we were kept from harm by not moving at all. Later, when it was over and we all compared notes, it was as though we had been under attack by "outside forces", and we had to keep completely motionless for an interminable period or "they" would have attacked or landed. All this may sound like craziness, but we all felt it strongly. The odd part was that the same weekend, someone was found murdered outside the Leary compound in Zihuatenejo, and the group was forcibly ejected from Mexico. It was as though, we all felt, that these "others" were going to attack, but by our group being under authority and not moving at all, we were spared, and whatever difficulty there was, landed on Zihuatenejo, not Tecate.

There were other important occurrences during that session -- earlier working through repressed incidents for people, later an exorcism performed by half the group under W.G.'s authority (he was magnificent through the first no-movement part and the exorcism) -- and then a violent episode with our ex-schizoid. But that also was handled creatively, his hostility was accessed, he got it out and broke down in tears -- completely different. It was an unbelievable 36 hours!

The next session was another drug-testing session. We had a new batch of supplies" from T.S. The date was July 27, 1963 (report written 7/28), and I took 15 gamma LSD and 5 mg. methedrine. W.M. and W.S. also had the same, although I took mine earlier to see how it felt.

"It came in terms of nausea -- of L.Z., load, of Will, and I cried. It was that the heaviness of having to do absolutely everything myself for the children with Will going up to Palo Alto" (to SRI) I felt such sadness also that Will was beginning to change, to do the things which I had tried to get him to do -- but too late! This really hit me... I had the feeling that the weight of the load would never end; also felt very clearly where my hook-in was -- that I didn't want to let go of help in relationship in life and with the children. Will is a wonderful father and helps with many things...my flip into seeing that the battle was just about over and that actually, it was just that old cliche, darkest before the dawn. I let go and cried about this... After I got through to the good of it, I began to laugh and it was great fun... We soon went back to the M.'s and tried to eat something but weren't hungry...Mine attenuated around D.B....W.M. had put the stereo on, and he had D.B. try the earphones, which he seemed to enjoy...(we curled up on the floor to listen, and the drug action flooded back). As I looked at D.B. I began to cry to know that I had brought him through the difficulties; it was rough, but I was being freed, but not at the price of the kids because we had made it through the Scylla and Charybdis. I told him I wasn't crying because I was sad, and he said that he knew; he was very carefully looking at me and seeing how right the situation was for me and how it was a help for me. He is really gaining wisdom far beyond his years."

"I don't know whether the archetypal business started then or later... I suddenly saw that I must accept the power of death... It was like two huge monolithic stones facing each other -- the white of life; the black of death. Life is the female power and black the male...I saw Armageddon...I was the angel of death...And suddenly it went from the Judaic tradition into the Hindu and I was Krishna instructing -- no, I was the boy Arjuna being instructed in the Bhagavad Gita, and suddenly I saw beyond war and killing to the interplay of the forces of life and death...It went on then into the male and female; how the woman so personifies the power of life that she cannot see the power of death and so lives half a life, archetypically. One of the reasons for us is our physiological structure: we can only look and move forward...Thus we can only see from our own female or male bias, and we miss all that goes on behind our back (like Jung's idea of the shadow, but much more integral in the concept of the flattened sphere.) The bilateral symmetry which occurred evolutionarily when motion was necessary for man has skewed us into seeing only where we are going or the front side and not the back side. Incredible insight."

"We had to leave about then to go to the airport, and E.E. drove with D.B. in the front seat and W.S. held me. His drug was working strongly, too, but mine was so overwhelming that I couldn't stop to see what his was. As he got loadings, I told him to pass them to me, and I realized that his left hand was holding my right hand, and since he is left handed, we were making a perfect circle...the answer to loading is to find someone with the opposite arc and give your loading to him so that it becomes energy...But even more important, I had the real flash of the new dimension, which isn't to the n power as Einstein and the others have said. It is a horizontal dimension on the x axis and lies from side to side. The two poles are life and death; the energy extends in a circular plane between them. The closest picture of it, of the universe, seems to be a gyroscope...But what is important for us is that this new dimension is an energy dimension, and it can use the collective unconscious creatively; it is the matrix for ESP and such phenomena, and it has in it the answer to loads, psychosomatic medicine where the illness belongs to the other person, and to evolution...I think that we are a combination of many half circles, the more complicated ones of us, and therefore we must find a lot of halves to mesh with. Something about the three making a whole; because there is very rarely complete meshing -- two perfect complimentary halves, often one needs three people. As we have been finding out for quick working through of repressed material...But the amazing thing is that when the two halves mesh, there can be enormous energy, and one can move either way in time. W.S. saw a totem pole; that past time he felt -- in the up direction; something more, about primitive. He and I really make two halves, especially because of his left handedness. Amazing... Some 15 gamma..."

The next three sessions were mainly testing of the drugs.

October 24, 1963. Crestline. I had 30 gamma #2; W.M. had 30 + 25. The session seemed to have to do with the difficulty of human relationships.

"It was as though I had spent most of my time out in time- space during the LSD experience, and I saw things from a different aspect...that is hard to describe...I remember making a big production and crying a lot, and then laughing at projecting my middle-aged, menopause problems up on the cosmos...it was in the understanding of relationship as lines intersecting each other -- as curved lines in time and space...it wasn't lines that the individuals were -- it was more planes...Anyway, the resolution was that the planes just appear to intersect; it is from our frame of reference in third dimensional reality that they seem to intersect. The point of intersection is the conflict, but if we were able to be in larger time-space or to see from a different point, we would see that each plane is in its own path and orbit and is not hitting into any other..."

"The other part of the experience had to do with feeling that God was not just love -- God is all of emotion. Emotion comes from motion, and there is some sort of connection here..."

"The next session was December 5, up at Crestline, and W.M. and I were testing the new batch (third) of LSD. I had 10 gamma, and he had 10 + 10...and I had that wonderful feeling of letting go. Then something seemed to happen, and I felt blocked, and finally in trying to see what could be done about it, I asked W. to roll me up in a sheet. He did, and I immediately was peaceful and calm and knew that this was entirely right...it was as though I were being immobilized so that he could be free. He put candles at my head, and it was sort of a ritual that evolved-- one which was extraordinary to me...It feels as though it was one of the last steps in the mysteries of Eleusis and Isis...That session and its aftermath...were instrumental in breaking some limiting barriers for him, I think..." Following this, on a trip to Big Sur, on January, 1964 I went through what seemed to be a reenactment of repressed incidents (and past life pieces?) through what appeared to be a form of suffocation...I think that they (W.M. and L.K.) helped me work most of the way through this block. "My God but that suffocation thing was terrible, and I really had to force myself to do it each time." There was no drug involved for any of us on this occasion.

During this time, and for the last year or so, we had been having group drug sessions every week. (As group members came from out of town to join our sessions, the sessions became biweekly, or even monthly.) How we managed, I don't know. But the procedure was to have dinner at someone's house after the Friday drug session (there was always one drug session every Friday), to have fun at the dinner and to clear things out so that the session the next day would start fresh.

At those weekly, sometimes biweekly, and toward the end monthly, Saturday sessions, most people had drugs; I never had anything other than a 15 mg. dexedrine spansule. And often, others joined me in not taking a drug - M.G and J.S. when they were pregnant, W.K. when she didn't feel like it, A.C., who didn't really like drugs; most of the men had at least some drug (group sessions were always low-dose) most of the time.

The group drug sessions took many forms. I remember that we were always hoping for a "fun" session; alas, most of them were work sessions. But there was one in particular, February 29, 1964, where:

"Well, at last we had our good feelings session: How long has it taken? Eons, it seems...we couldn't have it until after we had worked through most of the problems; and also until we had grown up to a certain point of maturity. Of course we could always have good feelings at different times, and we might have moved toward them faster if we'd had some of our present techniques then -- but still the problems have to be pretty well in hand in order to have such a session."

The prior January 25 session had cleared a lot of problems. That was when A.M. was the authority for the whole session, and slipped over into invalidity several times. He was called by different members of the group from time to time, but it took a rehash of everything before the sequence of events was clear where he got off (and others, too). The February 29th session dealt with the problem of authority, and since authority is a central and crucial point in the process of growth toward freedom and creativity, it seems appropriate to quote from that session report.

"...I made the point that the group process as a whole is greater than the authority. There is a very subtle but important difference here -- distinction: there must be total commitment to the line of authority, but there can never be total commitment to any one individual. Out of this grew one of the most important points of the session -- in fact of many a long session -- and I think helped to clarify the authority problem. It came up in relation to W.G. and how he felt about my trouble with Will -- as though this made me less valid as an authority. The point is that the authority is not always right 100% of the time -- they wouldn't be human if they were; however, the authority -- in order to be valid -- must be 100% committed to change. In other words, if a mistake is called to the attention of the authority, he or she has the responsibility to gather all the evidence on the subject in order to see where the truth lies, and if the authority is mistaken, then he or she must change in conformity to the facts."

"The line of authority is reality; the commitment of an authority -- a valid authority -- must be 100% to the truth, to reality -- and to change consonant with reality. This seemed to clarify a number of fuzzy areas of authority, or perception and action with respect to it...any lag between perception and action shows a lack of commitment to the line of authority. Because if one were totally committed to the truth (reality, line of authority) when perception occurs, action inevitably occurs immediately. Not to act immediately on perception shows a manipulation of time in the service of avoidance of authority."

Strong words, those, but accurate ones -- and valuable to recognize and live by.

The next report is dated March 12, 1964. I took 40 mg. of Ritalin IM, and the whole session was tape recorded. There must have been some reason that the session was held -- for the answer to some problem or other. The fact that it was Ritalin was possibly because, in an earlier session when I was first trying out Ritalin (I think it was oral Ritalin, highish dose), I went to what I called "the place of all knowledge". I think this session was an attempt to recapitulate those earlier circumstances.

During the session, a number of topics were touched on -- areas of concern for the individual and the group. Also, there were personal insights mixed in. The report reads like stream of consciousness fruit cake, with embedded insights and personal and transpersonal observations. Ritalin does make one talkative!

The first topic, after the induction of the drug which began with contractions for me, was how eugenics could help select for evolution of consciousness. The contractions were like the ones I had had with patients under high doses of Ritalin when they were working through something. I had the insight that "this is one of the several methods by which the character problem is handled. The neurosis is set into the musculature of the body. The problem is pushed out or worked out, and another way is the shaking, the trembling..."

Then there was the discussion of Jung's insight about the inward turning at mid-life.

"He saw that this was the time when men and women have the chance to turn inward and evolve themselves and solve their problems with integration with their relationship with God."

I went on to say, "It is time that the race -- mankind -- turns inward. The species no longer is in danger of not surviving, reproductively -- there is overpopulation. Our world has come to the menopause, the change of life and must turn inward. Sex must have a new function -- not just procreative...Sex used for evolutionary growth -- growth toward evolution of consciousness...Homosexuals are legitimate hybrids on the way of evolution of consciousness...One of the ways of equalizing sexual drive concerning individuals who are mated is for them to have homosexual relationships...There is something...contrary to the evolution of consciousness to have more than one mating relationship."

"...we are at the point in transition where the race has to shift from survival of the race per se biologically to survival of the race in the service of the acceleration of evolution of consciousness...whether we are a channel (or not) for evolution...of consciousness, what we are going to bring to humanity is joy...if we are successful. But our function is to learn the techniques of JOY, the gimmicks, the games, the techniques of play in the service of evolution of consciousness."

"...There must be a commitment above all to truth. To truth and to learning and to change. Those are it! Truth, learning and Change...some part of you may not know the truth. Rigorous self- examination and complete acceptance of whatever is perceived. Now how do we do that? One is the open mind...Let's see, commitment to the open mind, commitment to change. You know what? I think change, God is Change. God is Emotion. God is Motion. God is Change. It's a whole new concept. We have to commit to change, not to God because when people commit to God they get heaven and fulfillment and pearly gates and all that junk involved. The primary commitment has to be to change."

"...That the imperative of growth is that I become the joyful loving person...Because of the roles in the family and everybody reinforced the whole family, the whole neurotic interaction reinforced the differentiation between the two of us -- a temperamental differentiation. It was set in as a limitation, and you notice...this is a misperception a basic misperception of society: you cannot change your basic temperament...that's inaccurate. We can transcend temperamental limitations: the serious can become the loving, and the loving can become the deep; and the confused can become the clear, and the clear can become the confusion in a translogical sense, meaning the irrational which has meaning on a higher level of abstraction..."

"I am avoiding something. Am I avoiding the imperative to love my brother? Now what am I not doing that I could do? It's as though I am pushing him to communicate on my own terms...I know what I am not doing. I am not writing, and I can't remove the block toward allowing the love to come through my brother until I have become a writer...The written word becomes rigid in a sense the written word is of the status quo as opposed to change. In other words, something that is written, it gets an air of magic about it..."

"It's some confusion of communication with the method of communication. It's a mixing up of the imperative to communicate with the method...It's like God and Change. It isn't literacy that is important, it is communication. That's it!...The categorical imperatives are love: to live, because if we don't live, (we) can't do anything else. Second, to grow and develop; because if you don't grow and develop physically and psychically in the proper sequence, you can't (grow and) evolve. And a third categorical is to evolve the evolution of consciousness...The main implementers of these categorical imperatives, either commitment to the open mind, to change, and to communication, that's all that is necessary...Because it is only in this way that the circle comes full and that we can know who we are. It's in knowing who we are that we know where we are in time-space and where others are in relationship to us and which direction the appropriate vector of motion is. And it is only (then) that the circle comes full. I can't put it properly..."

"We have to experience ourselves! Man says 'know', meaning the mind, and woman says 'feel', and it has to be both. It is here that the male and the female come together and the dichotomy is resolved in the unity of thinking and feeling."

"Wait a minute. Experiencing isn't enough. I want to say solution -- disintegration -- I think it is only then, when we transcend the dichotomy that we have the privilege of disintegrating, of disintegration, and that is a privilege to be earned and not an escape to be sought or an adversary to be fought. A privilege of death. Now, wait a minute, there is a possibility of masochism here. It isn't death that is the privilege, something about making the circle...When the bonds of time are transcended, one has the privilege of living every instant in the completion of the circle. There is no time... Something like the privilege of instantaneous and consistent continuing. It's the lifting of the burden of time..."

(Discussion of specific actions to be taken and relationship with mother and father.)

"It's so hard. It's much easier to discover the cosmic truths than to find the block in myself..."

"I should talk less and write more. I am awfully tired."

*****

(The above constitutes about half of the sessions where I took some drug. The next is a fascinating group session, which I shall report when there is an opportunity. More to come!)

CHAPTER TEN: More Sessions

The next session occurred on Mother's Day -- May 9, 1964 -- and was a whopper! Contrary to custom, because it was a group session, I alone took the drug, with members of the group taking dexedrine or methedrine. The unusual circumstances which had caused this departure from custom arose from a series of accidents and near accidents which had happened to group members. The first accident was a serious one where a young boy crashed into me head- on, and my face was injured, there were several rear endings, and the week before a drunk driver crossed the white line and crashed head-on into T. Fortunately, no one was injured in this last crazy collision.

The session was in preparation for two weeks; at one point we had the idea to make clay dolls onto which the negative forces would be deflected "reverse voodoo" style. Even so:

"The Tuesday before (May 5th), I was driving along Sunset, about a mile past where I had had my accident, when a man traveling the same way I was in the left lane and just slightly ahead of me suddenly swerved. The path of his car was much like that of the previous one; there was very little space. I turned the wheel hard to the right and braced for the impact. Suddenly, I was amazingly past -- how it happened I don't know. I didn't see him swerve back, and I thought there was no chance whatsoever of missing him. But I guess higher cause and effect took over. Then Friday night, as A.M. was leaving E.E's, a drunk almost ran him down as we waited to cross the highway to his car. He thought it was a group member playing a trick first, and then realized and ran for his life. The drunk was turning in and didn't see him."

"...What happened to the dolls is very interesting: each woman's doll had something -- the hands of mine kept falling off, no matter what I did... They would be on...at 9:15, and when I got there at 9:30, one had dropped off and the other fell when I tried to put the first one back. C.L.'s hand fell off, then the arm twice; A. lost hands or feet; W.M.'s (man) feet fell off; and J.'s broke in two just where the legs join the body. A.M.'s (man) doll disappeared entirely, and he had to make a new one Saturday morning; H.C. (man) made two, and he had to grind them up and made a new one Friday night. It was from the remains of his two ground-up ones that patching material came which finally did stick the broken parts together so the dolls were intact for this session..." (patching dolls which broke when one fell over and rolled and a couple which just broke.)

The report states that there was so much going on that we had

"reservations" (group members reporting on anything which bothered them about any other member of the group or the upcoming session) three times: at the regular Tuesday night research group meeting, on Friday night at our customary pre-session get-together, and then again at the start of the session. There was a break after the Saturday reservations, some prayers, and A.M.(the authority for the reservations) directed any of the negative forces away from us and toward the dolls and insisted we cut any identification with them. And then the drugs -- methedrine, dexedrine, and my 100 gamma of LSD were taken. There was more ritual, where the group was aligned like the spokes of a wheel around me, as the hub, lying tightly rolled up in a sheet.

"...when the drug was just beginning to work, it was as though I had to go through several experiences. One was of being throttled to death -- I don't know whether it was that I was hanged or throttled. Then there was another form of death which has already receded into the amnesia which has accompanied this LSD experience...Following this (I think) the accident began to come back. There was great pain concentrated in my upper lip and cheek; it was swollen, and I knew we were at the boundary-barrier I had hit with the accident. It was getting very painful, and I felt it was dangerous when suddenly A.M. broke it with humor. He put on some sort of production...and suddenly I found myself rocking with laughter. It seemed to be the answer we were looking for about accidents: it is with humor that the destructive forces are destroyed -- rather they are fragmented enough so that one can deal with the pieces. Accidents occur when many destructive forces, for some reason or another (magnetism, discharge, fate, whatever) weld together in one thunderbolt of powerful destruction...The humor fragments -- it 'breaks people up'; it also breaks up strongly-welded-together negative forces which could be lethally destructive if they landed..."

"Along with the progression of the drug, I had extremely strong feelings of sexuality. It was as though I were identified with the ground...Also I was fire from time to time -- the energy source. It was very rarely red fire; that is the purging fire, and I seem to have done that (two sessions that I can remember: one on the musculature; one on the skeleton; part of a session on the pelvic area). It was mostly blue fire and white fire..."

"When I was the fire, I could feel it all through my body. The whole thing was wonderfully ecstatic third-dimensionality; not the ecstasy of the updraft and the cosmic (which is pale and white like air) but of the ground. I can remember now thinking when the 'transformation' started, thinking what a magnificent relief it was to be able to go beyond words, beyond images as I had not been able to do in that LSD with Tom Powers in 1957 when I felt so constrained because I was stopped by the clouds and heaven."

"The fire, the ground, the sexuality, and the all-consuming laughter were the main feelings of the session. I was immersed in them; I was the experience..."

"As always with LSD, time was endless and yet was instantaneous; and the levels would shift. I would be very near the surface and very involved with the fun and humor of the situation...at other times it would be as though the force would draw back into itself and I would feel deeply interned with the force concentrated, although I was still present and could hear and understand, and I was part of what was going on. Very curious, almost indescribable double function or double state which actually was but one."

(From earlier in the report) "...the theme of the day presented itself: I was with them totally, and yet not with them. I participated totally in everything they did, experienced it deeply, and yet was not in interaction with them. It is very difficult to describe: but it is as though I were some source of energy which pervaded everything and because of which I experienced all that was going on in everyone and the whole of the group. Afterwards, when they all touched me, and when they came up, one by one, to look at me and put their arms around me, it was as though I became what each of them were, felt that which each of them felt, adding it to my own experiencing and feeling. It was as though I had myriads of rainbows, different from mine, added to the spectrum of my experience...I could live a thousand lives and feel multi-dimensional feeling because they lived and felt; their island joined with my island and it made a multi-faceted continuum."

******

In July the children and I went to Europe, on Will's insistence and the news from him that the cancer had been stopped by the linear accelerator treatments. There was the conference in London, which Ernie Katz, L.K. and W.M. also attended, and at which we met Stan Grof and many others. And then I took the children sightseeing.

"...On August 22nd the children and I were at Stratford-on-Avon to see Richard III. W.M. was there, too, and we hired a car the next day to go out to Anne Hathaway's cottage, to drive to Stonehenge, and to London that night...we arrived at Stonehenge at 6:45, not knowing that the monument closed at 7. It was just as magnificent as I had remembered it from the distance; when we got there W.M. and I took 5 mg. methedrine/10 #3...We took it expecting to be able to stay several hours...by dragging our feet to be there about 30 minutes in all...I began to feel mine just before we left. It was a clear day but with clouds as though there were rain in the offing and the sun came down steel gray with yellow and some purple. It was magnificent -- the wind, the feeling of clean- sweptness on the plains and the uninterrupted expanse of sky like a crystal bowl over us. And the overwhelming feeling of Stonehenge. However, the real experience was to come...When we went back we found everything locked up and supposedly electrified wire around. The monument was illuminated as though by floodlight -- cars would park and leave their headlights on...It was eerie, spectacular, awesome and magnificent...Even more inside...We went far upfield, crawled over and around barbed wire, then ran across the field, being very careful to step over the wires which were possibly electrified...We had to be careful not to be caught in the headlight beams, so this meant dodging from huge stone to huge stone, but we were able to stand beside the center ones and see it bathed in the floodlight-- and then over across the field the moon broke through a rift in the clouds -- not the moon itself but the rays of the moon. It was indescribable; I wish the Druids could have seen it this way -- or whoever put up the monument...not much evaluation of propellant effect, but profound effect."

"Not so for Chartres. (August 26, 1964) There the propellant really added to the majesty of the cathedral and wafted me upward into the transcendental, but including the horizontal in a great unity. It was the second time this particular European trip we, the four of us, had been in Chartres [which] was profoundly moving, and we were in tears. The kids took a look and went off poking around the town...We had taken the propellant just before going into the crypt (of the pagan virgin on whose shrine the church was built), so it was about 45 minutes later in the church. It was working strongly for me (I think I had the same light one and W.M. two of the light ones), and I have never experienced Chartres cathedral so deeply and so fully...the whole experience was a totality of all the unities which are possible...there were certain windows which I found more transporting than others. There was also the sweeping height of the columns straight to the arched roof which seemed to be in the firmament. It is difficult to describe the exalted, unitary whole (as in full) feeling. Also the altar of the dark virgin with all its candles alight was very moving. We lit candles there for everyone, just as we had before, but this time I put my candle on the top row and it stood tall and high with its flame the first to pierce the darkness. Then suddenly we heard singing, and it was a procession of nuns. They were evidently practicing for some consecration of commitment and sat and then a few would go up at a time and go through a ceremony. We stood, sat, and knelt through this extraordinary experience -- alone in the church with them (we found ourselves locked in when we started to leave, and it was like something suspended in time of which we were a part and yet not a part."

When we returned to Paris, I had a phone call from La.B. at our house that we should come home immediately, as Will was dying -- a completely opposite message he had sent us in a letter. WATER SESSION at W.S.'s, September 26, 1964 (written (10/4)

It was what we called a work session -- a real work session. In fact, almost all of them were. I can't count the times when we swore that we were going to have a fun session -- no problems -- only to work throughout the whole group session on one problem after another. But there was one session that was almost pure fun -- which we called "The Water Session" on September 26, 1964.

I returned from five weeks in Europe -- mainly attending the Conference in London -- to find Will desperately ill (contrary to the letter I had had from him) and the fact that a number of members of group had been acting out while I was gone. I thought for a while that the session wouldn't take place at all because of Will's critical illness.

"By Saturday morning, everything was done...Everyone had pulled up and was eager to participate. As soon as I saw that morning that Will was going to live through the day (and when) I visited him, he had no objection to the session, in fact was somewhat interested, I looked forward to (the session) as much as everybody else..."

"After the reservations -- or was it before? we set the theme of the session. The code word of the week had been obedience -- that theme occurred in all of us over and over in conjunction with ourselves and each other. When W.M. awoke that morning the analogy of the orchestra came to him and he told us of it and developed the theme beautifully."

"It is as if we are all playing instruments, and we must play the instruments with which we come to the concert -- if a string breaks, one does the best one can. It is the harmony of the whole which counts; it is the order of the music which one must obey. The conductor is just as much under authority as any of the musicians -- the music is the higher order, the harmony of law and order and performing in unison. If the musicians disagree, at the concert they don't get into a fight with each other; they follow what the conductor indicates. No one instrument predominates when all are playing together -- sometimes as in concerti, there is a soloist...sometimes there are passages where one instrument or another plays solo. But the solo part is always subordinate to the harmony of the whole. Also, for a concert, every musician is expected to have his instrument tuned and in condition; he comes and takes it out of its protective covering -- at the session we open ourselves, and the music plays itself -- it plays the musicians, plays though them and via the conductor." Wonderful analogy.

"I think then they had me say something further about the irrational...And then we talked again of how structure sets in habit patterns so that energy is released for further exploration and growth. The child takes much energy to plant one foot in front of the other when learning to walk; it takes time to decide which sock to put on first. As we incorporate these into automatic action, energy is freed for more creative actions, explorations, growths. We progressively set order into our lives -- order, truth, simplicity -- so that we can go beyond. And I explained again how I see the value of obeying what we think to be irrational authority. If we obey only the known, we live only within the realm of logic, the mind, our own knowns. Obviously we defend against the unknown, against change. However, in committing to an authority we trust, a situation we have found to be valid (the group) we can afford to obey instantly no matter how irrational (or shitty) the order appears to be. This experience gives us trust of the unknown; it opens us up to the irrational. When we obey instantly, then we are indeed on the way to becoming instruments of the creative -- instruments for expression of the deeper unconscious -- and true creative productivity begins to flow through us. The creative begins to use us and express itself through us..."

"Before this wears out one more inch of ribbon I want to go on record that this session was the most unmitigated fun of any we have ever had -- barring none..." (In the session, there were rituals, and the group was in its usual spokes of a wheel.)

"First we went around relating what had happened with the bread (ritual taking of nourishment), and as the discussions (and interpretations) progressed, there was progressively more hilarity. Finally we were roaring and rolling with laughter that seems to be the whole keynote of the session. Whoa -- I've forgotten the real keynote -- sounding the 'A' which E.E. did; that was his prayer. And we all tuned our instruments in to his, into the 'A', and sounded together -- at the beginning of the session and many times after." There were a series of playful incidents, people helping each other, and long periods of child-like play, especially with water.

"It was marvelous, elegant, transcendental -- and most of all, just plain fun...Evidently the evening went on from one hilarity to another, and it was the gayest, freest, most play-full and fun-full session to date. Evidently it went on far into the party; unfortunately, I had to leave for children, hospital, etc., so didn't get to see the continuation and culmination of water therapy -- the leveler, expresser, and inhibition-removed (but validly now) of all times. Good-byes were said into a steaming room and a mass of naked therapy, but I missed the teaching of proper hat-purse inhibition later on in the evening. Well, ubiquity always was difficult to achieve. Maybe after levitation."

Will's Remarkable Change (10/18/64)

The events connected with the reversal of Will's cancer are,

or seem, remarkable enough to me that they should be recorded.

"There was no doubt in our minds who saw him two weeks ago yesterday (October 3rd) that he was dying. He had a fixed stare; he spoke in monosyllables, if at all; he seemed to suffer from aphasia earlier, and when he did say words, they came out twisted and thick. He was not in control of his excretory functions, and he was unable to swallow medium-sized pills; in fact, he had trouble with the smallest sips of water. Bob and Vi had been down to see him and to do what they could for all of us, and they went back Saturday, never expecting to see him again. The night before, Bob had talked to me about insurance, money, burial arrangements -- all those unpleasant details connected with death which must be dealt with."

"Sunday morning, October 4th, there seemed to be no change -- or maybe one for the worse, as the saliva kept dripping out of the corner of his mouth. However, Miss Willenborg, one of his two marvelous nurses, decided to get him up and get him outside of the room. She had had him up in a chair with the help of an Attendant on Saturday, I think, while she changed the bed. Sunday afternoon DB, Maleah and I were there. We put him in the wheelchair, Maleah supporting his head, and took him out on the patio. It was about 2, and there were a number of other patients out there. Will began to cry, and I couldn't find out whether it was to see so many old and sick people or whether he wouldn't be able to grow old himself. He wasn't talking at all, even yes or no."

"Miss Willenborg suggested that we take him outside the building, which was a wonderful idea. Once there, he began to cry again when he saw a father with five children pass by. This gave me the first opportunity I had had to speak about death to him, as he had avoided the subject with me. I didn't mention the word, but I put my arms around him and said that it wasn't the duration of the relationship which counted, but the depth; that time was irrelevant where deep feelings were concerned. This seemed to help him. Then the three of them wheeled him around the block while I went to get some grapes for him. When we all got back he was exhausted and went to bed and as (if) I remember right to sleep. Mrs. Lucas came on then, and she and Miss Willenborg are two of the most marvelous, devoted, skillful nurses I've ever seen."

"We came back at dinnertime, but he was too deeply asleep or out to know that we were there. Usually he would wake up for a while and look at us. I came back that night with W.G., asking him to come in and just hold one of Will's hands while I held the other and try to give him some energy. When we arrived, Mrs. Lucas had him up in the chair. He wasn't watching TV -- he stopped that several days before; he was just sitting there. W.G. took his right hand and I his left, and I started telling Will about W.G.'s new job and the details and how he hated it. W.G. and I sort of put on a fun act for him to entertain him, all the while holding his hands. At one point I felt the contact that we do in our drug work, and I looked at W.G. His eyes met mine, and I knew that he, too, had felt it -- which feels like some sort of circuit closing and the current going through. About that time there was a pause while we all sat in silence. Suddenly Will said the first sentence in about four days -- certainly the first spontaneous sentence in longer than that. `Have you seen Ensign Pulver?' he asked W.G.. We didn't quite know what he meant, but figured it had something to do with someone else who didn't like detail work, a sort of Peck's Bad Boy."

"The next morning when DB and I came in, Will said, `I'm back in Santa Monica today. I've been away a long time, but now I'm back.' I nearly fell over in amazement. I assured him that he was back in Santa Monica and that he had been away for a long time. I asked him where he had been, and he said in Washington. He got confused when I asked questions about it, so I let it drop. He did say something else, which I didn't quite understand about his work being nearby, `just up there' as though on a hill or up the street. He was a totally changed person from that morning on. He was alert, his eyes focused, he made sense when he talked, and he talked quite a bit. I stayed an hour at lunchtime, and the children and I stayed longer that afternoon. Then W.G. met me after my office appointment, and we again worked with him - W.G. giving him a hug when he left as he had the night before. I had called Dr. Brandsma the first thing in the morning to tell him of the remarkable change, and he said that it was just one of the fluctuations of the disease."

"Monday his mother went home to S.F. Tuesday morning when I came in Will said he had been at the beach. Then as we talked and again at noon he said he hadn't really been at the beach but right here. He said he had been traveling but that it was all right here. Since the phenomenon of being outside time and space occur very often with patients under the drugs I work with, I was able to discuss this with him to his satisfaction since I understood just what he meant and could comment on it. On Monday and Tuesday I had noticed something which had happened once or twice in the time since we had been home and he was so sick: he would look over my shoulder as though at something behind me. Before he had refused to comment or acknowledge that he saw something; Tuesday or Wednesday, I forget which, he did admit that he saw something, and I had an intuition of what he saw." Since he didn't comment on this, I prefer to leave this undiscussed.

"As he improved daily, I spent more and more time there. I would sit and hold his hand, and we would talk or be silent. There was a lot of the sort of thing which routinely occurs with the non-verbal therapy characteristic of the research group. I would have the same physical sensations of heat and the muscular contractions which signal working through past-time things, and I know (as well as I can know from experiencing it many times with patients) that I worked him through several things. However, the last time this happened was on Wednesday, and we were interrupted and it got hung up. There was a projection loaded with hostility which we couldn't get through. I tried later on, but couldn't break it. Tuesday night, I think it was, H.C. who went over and worked with Will with me, Wednesday it was W.G. again, Thursday night I didn't have anyone with me, and Friday night I took E.E. over from the party. This went very well, and E.E. established real contact and there was a very strong current." (Correction: Tuesday night no one; Thursday night H.C. was with me, and afterwards we went over the insurance picture.)

"One other night Will `traveled'. This time I don't know as much about it; Miss Joubert told Miss Willenborg. Will had been awake most of the night, and he told me in the morning that he and Miss Joubert had `traveled all around -- all over Europe.' It would be in the nurses; notes -- either Wednesday or Thursday, and I'm wondering whether it was in conjunction with his 45 minute call to C., as it was Wednesday the 14th that he was awake most of the night (this time working on SRI work) and that morning early he called her."

"There isn't much more. During the first part of the change he was very open and loving toward me -- quite a change. In fact, the night before he called C. he even kissed me, and I could feel the sexuality for the first time in months (seems to me this was Tuesday just before dinnertime). After hang-up he became needling and hostile in subtle ways. After he talked to C., this seemed to fall away again until last Thursday the 15th when he said he wanted to see A.M. and not me, and I waited in the car an hour and then that afternoon when I walked in to find C. and the kids there together. He was at his most hostile that day. Since then I don't know because I haven't seen him [he went north with his sister Helen to be with C. Against Medical Advice). Another remarkable change is that ever since he has been ill this time, he has welcomed seeing group member -- has really seemed to enjoy and get help from it, where before he had only scathing things to say about them. And W.G. was one of the ones he hated the most." Strange isn't it? All of it.

The next session was "Halloween, Harvest, Divorce" on October 31, 1964 (report written Nov. 9) At the beginning I note my "monumental resistance toward writing this report". "Much of my nervous tissue" had attritioned by the time I came to write the report, and "it signaled the most difficult personal time of my life -- just about" plus things had changed by the time I came to write the report. Will was up in Palo Alto with C., having been taken by his sister Helen, but the main part of the pain of the session and afterwards until he had his own session, was the hostility -- overt and covert -- of W.M.

There were 22 of us at the session, the Los Angeles contingent meeting at RAND and proceeding to the airport to fly up, and the northern contingent meeting us in Petaluma. I fell asleep when we got there, and when I woke up everyone was

"relating in the other room with fire, drinks and hors d'oeuvres."

"The reservations Friday night were handled by D.H. with finesse and dispatch...it was incredible how we all fitted in all weekend and flowed together and didn't get into hassles about who had coffee in the morning and why someone ran out of eggs or who didn't get any. I've never seen any group who could live together so well in such close contact -- with flowing instead of friction."

"We had decided that we would be under way by 10 the next morning. By the time we took the propellant it was 2...I asked H.C. to do the reservations and A.C. the ritual with a request that E.E. and C.L. do something about music and A.M. handle the themes of divorce and All Hallow's Eve. There was also the harvest in there, and A.M. did an inspired job of weaving them together and speaking to the heart of all of our conditions..."

"H.C. handled the reservations beautifully. Most of them had been beaten out Tuesday night; Friday night or in the morning...with one exception -- A.M. and his problem with the siblings...The whole discussion of A.M.'s role (and how people set him up as a father figure and shoot at him as they shoot at me as mother) was extremely important because it pointed up the family situation of the siblings growing up to the stature of mother and father and the roles shifting from an autocracy (when a child is an infant) to a democracy when they are peers...Lee Sanella was particularly clear in pointing out the joint responsibility of all of us and how it is usually much easier to hate momma and displace on her than to face the inter-sibling problems."

"I think that next was the break when we decided on amounts, and also Lee Sanella cut up an Amarita muscaria for us to share in the eating part of the ritual. Then A.M. spoke on the theme and tied together divorce and harvest with a simile of threshing. Psychic divorce is threshing the wheat, separating the chaff (neurosis) from the grain (relationship)...Then they asked me to speak on psychological divorce, and I outlined the committed relationship (my idea of marriage) which occurs when two people want to walk the path toward creativity together; the commitment needs to take place within the matrix of the larger whole -- or a larger whole (God, church, the congregation, the group); divorce appears to be in order and necessary when the creative relationship has fulfilled its purposes; when it develops that there is a basic divergence of pathways of the two people (this eventuates in real divorce, case in point Will and me); and when there is a temporary cessation of the relationship in order for each individual to make his own pathway through problems -- whether the two reunite depends on life and circumstances...divorce, particularly psychic divorce, is an unraveling, a working through, a separation of the husk from the ear and the wheat from the chaff. They asked me then that I read from "The Prophet" on Marriage, which I did. Then I think J.S. said her prayer for all of us for openness and for our merging with nature, and G.G. played with C.L. singing "Panis Angelicu". I don't know about the rest of the group, but I had tears in my eyes after this."

"It was startling to me how little effect of the propellant there was, overall. I think it is the group which counts, and we actually could do all of this on ritual wine or just our own propelling...There was then a time when they had me read more from

"The Prophet" then there was the wonderful interplay of dress-up, acting, projection, and reading, as everyone passed around C.K.'s black hat and became something entirely alien to himself but somehow revealing an unplumbed depth..."

We began to "break up into smaller groups as the work part of the session began. The recurrent theme of the whole day was molests: and the irony of it for me was that this was my day of molest; I had planned the session with the hope that I would get through mine, and I spent the day and part of the night working other people through theirs." People worked very hard, and some, like C.K. and M.G. worked almost all day to get rid of the series of their molests. After much hard work on everybody's part, everyone helping everyone else, G.G. played the piano, and others, mainly L.B. and E.E., on the drums.

I was so exhausted that after the clean-up, whose crew I was on, I turned in. But first I spoke with A.C. and G.G. who were co-authorities

"...to make sure that the post-session interactions were fun. That seemed the most important point...Before they came in I can remember lying there and thinking that it was actually logically correct for me not to be in the interaction -- too many projections and transferences on me that it might have flipped people; but emotionally I needed interaction and wanted to be a member of the group rather than the always-responsible one...W.M. finally came in to see what he could do, but he went into paralysis at the sight of my pain. He got L.K., and we worked and worked but couldn't get through to him...L.K. was just marvelous and saw very clearly. He was as appalled as I was at our inability to get through to W.M....Something suddenly snapped in me, and I knew it was the end of the relationship. I told him, and sent him back out to be with the others and to interact sexually, as that was what he wanted...The pain had been incredibly bad; it was only with the coming of the rain (before I went to sleep the first time) that I felt some abeyance of the agony."

"It was equally bad the next day, and the next. There was some alleviation at the Tuesday night meeting when W.M. finally spoke up and took responsibility. The next day he had his Ritalin, and praise Allah! and the good group members (L.K., G.G., L.B., W.S., M.H. and H.C.) who did a magnificent job -- he died the two deaths that had to be done and was reborn anew and a completely different man. What a differences. L.K. helped me help W.M. keep it working and integrating, and it was one of those miraculous changes. So life is again wonderful -- especially since the rump meeting Sunday night when I was admitted as a member of the group and our creative, ongoing, committed relationship was acknowledged and allowed."

AFTERWORD

During the final editing of this book, I had a stroke. I have progressed from being unable to communicate, because I could neither speak nor write, to speaking and writing with some difficulty.

What I have attempted to do with this book is to document the intellectual interactions among some of us working with what can be extraordinary therapeutic tools when used appropriately. I have also provided a glimpse into my own experiences with psychedelics. I hope what I have written will prove useful not only as a historical document but also as data to provide for future explorations.