Learning from a '50s Housewife on Acid
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of ABC News
Posted: October 22nd, 2013
A video [that went viral] featured footage of a mid-1950s housewife on an acid trip during an LSD experiment. In the film, a researcher, Dr. Sidney Cohen, is shown interviewing, and then dosing, a volunteer at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Los Angeles. The woman, who is identified only as the wife of a hospital employee, is in her late 20s or early 30s and appears fairly typical of her time. LSD was a legal pharmaceutical drug until 1966. Journalist Don Lattin says he came across the video in the archives of philosopher Gerald Heard while researching a group biography on him, the British writer Aldous Huxley, and Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. In the video that Lattin posted online, [the housewife] is clearly under the influence and appears to be rather enjoying it. She says: "Everything is alive. This is reality. I wish you could see it. I wish I could talk in technicolor." "This shows that very early on in the 1950s, researchers were aware that there were possible beneficial uses, rather than military or more nefarious uses," he says. In the early 1950s and into the '60s the Army and CIA secretly funded a lot of research to see if LSD could be used as a chemical weapon or a truth serum, says Lattin. But Cohen and his ilk were pursuing a different line of study. They wanted to understand how it works, how the mind works and the connection between the psychotic state and a spiritually enlightened state." Indeed, Wilson, the AA co-founder, did a fair amount of LSD in the 50s , says Lattin. "This surprises people, but he wasn't doing it to get high," he adds. "It was to achieve that spiritual awakening."