– A long time ago in 1968, in coastal Texas, I tried LSD for the first time. I think it was very likely a “Owsley” tab since it came to me through musicians playing up in Houston. I’d never tried anything other than alcohol before that. It was an amazing experience.
– UPDATE: Owsley actually died in 2011. The article quoted here did not mention that so I assumed it was recent news. Regardless, he and his LSD adventures are, I think, highly interesting.
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Self-taught chemist Owsley “Bear” Stanley, a legend of the 1960s psychedelic underground who produced the LSD that fueled Ken Kesey’s “acid tests” and the Grateful Dead’s acid rock, died March 13 after a car accident in Queensland, Australia, where he had lived since the 1980s. He was 76.
Mr. Stanley, the grandson of a Kentucky governor, grew up in the Washington area before he found his calling in Berkeley,Calif., as an early patron of the Dead and one of the first people to produce mass quantities of acid.
“I just wanted to know the dose and purity of what I took into my own body,” he told Rolling Stone magazine in 2007. “Almost before I realized what was happening, the whole affair had gotten completely out of hand. I was riding a magic stallion. A Pegasus. I was not responsible for his wings, but they did carry me to all kinds of places.”
Working at first from a makeshift bathroom laboratory in Berkeley, Mr. Stanley produced at least 1 million doses of LSD between 1965 and 1967.
A stubborn, fast-talking perfectionist, he discarded any batch suspected of impurities and soon gained a reputation for producing reliably pure and powerful LSD. His customers were rock stars, Haight-Ashbury hippies and an ever-widening circle of people who wanted to be part of the hallucinogenic era. It made him a fortune.
– More: ➡
– Poetry I’ve written under the influence: ➡