Take a Trip to the LSD Museum, the Largest Collection of “Blotter Art” in the World


“When Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters kicked off Haight-Ashbury’s counterculture in the 1960s, LSD was the key ingredient in their potent mix of drugs, the Hell’s Angels, the Beat poets, and their local band The Warlocks (soon to become The Grateful Dead). Kesey administered the drug in ‘Acid Tests’ to find out who could handle it (and who couldn’t) after he stole the substance from Army doctors, who themselves administered it as part of the CIA’s MKUltra experiments. Not long afterward, Grateful Dead soundman Owsley ‘Bear’ Stanley synthesized ‘the purest form of LSD ever to hit the street,’ writes Rolling Stone, and became the country’s biggest supplier, the ‘king of acid.’ Whatever uses it might have had in psychiatric settings — and there were many known at the time — LSD was made illegal in 1968 by the U.S. government, repressing what the government had itself helped bring into being. But it has since returned with newfound respectability. ‘Once dismissed as the dangerous dalliances of the counterculture,’ writes Nature, psychedelic drugs are ‘gaining mainstream acceptance’ in clinical treatment. Psilocybin, MDMA, and LSD ‘have been steadily making their way back into the lab,’ notes Scientific American. ‘Scientists are rediscovering what many see as the substances’ astonishing therapeutic potential.’ None of this comes as news to San Francisco fixture Mark McCloud. ‘In the same moralistic manner many San Franciscans pontificate on the health benefits of marijuana,’ writes Gregory Thomas at Mission Local, ‘McCloud and his friends tout the merits of acid.’ Next to curing ‘anxiety, depression and marital problems,’ it is also an important source  of folk art, says McCloud, the owner and sole proprietor of the informally-named ‘LSD Museum’ housed in his three-story Victorian home in San Francisco. … McCloud has faced intense scrutiny from the FBI, and on a couple of occasions — in 1992 and again in 2001 — arrest and trial by ‘not very sympathetic’ juries, who nonetheless acquitted him both times. Despite the fact that he has a larger collection of blotter acid sheets than the DEA, he and his museum have withstood prosecution and attempts to shut them down, since all the sheets in his possession have either never been dipped in LSD or have become chemically inactive over time. (The museum’s website explains the origins of ‘blotter’ paper as a means of preparing LSD doses after the drug was criminalized in California in 1966.) …”
Open Culture (Video)
Inside the LSD Museum That the DEA Somehow Hasn’t Torn to the Ground (Video)

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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