Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Acid Spooks En Francais

I saw this story linked to at Facebook the other day. It's being reported by several newspapers, most notably by the, I mean Telegraph, in the UK. Back in 1951, the residents of a French village started going really loopy. A few critters died and some were confined to institutions. The big mystery over the years has been why the folks of Pont-Saint-Esprit suddenly experienced nightmarish hallucinations and began to behave in highly 'unorthodox' ways.

It was initially thought that the local baker had unwittingly baked some ergot-infected wheat into bread, which was consumed by the locals. The villagers would then have been victims of ergot poisoning, or St. Anthony's Fire--a very not-pleasant combination of hallucinations and convulsions. In extreme cases, gangrene in the limbs develops and death can occur.

New evidence has allegedly come to light now, whereby it's being claimed that there's documentation to show that CIA agents, working in conjunction with some scientists at the Sandoz Laboratories (where LSD was first synthesized), conspired with a few French 'plants' to essentially dose the population with LSD and observe the results. What swell critters, eh?

It definitely seems plausible, given the agency's track record with other experiments of a similar nature. What amazes me is how long it took for the original files to be made public. I suppose it shows a sliver of progress that the Iran-Contra affair was exposed after only a few years of being in operation. Same old CIA. Robert Anton Wilson once quipped that if the gubberment were really fighting a 'war on terror', they would carpet-bomb Langley, Virginia. But of course, like the 'Drug War', it's only a war on some terrorists (mostly brown ones, with funny names, who don't worship the X-tian 'God').

Now, if I lived in a paranoid reality-tunnel most of the time - I'd ask why the Pont-Saint-Esprit story is surfacing now. I'd think that maybe it's another scare-story about psychedelics, to try and put the kibosh on any legitimate research. The Beckley Foundation is starting a research project on LSD and I suspect that M.A.P.S. will be soon, too. Ah well, hopefully humans have learned more and got a bit smarter since psychedelics were demonised by the mainstream press in the 1960s. I say hopefully....

Here's a great little film showing LSD experiments with British soldiers in the early 1960s:


Steve Fly said...

Great post PG. And the date 1951 got me to thinkin'....

In 1953 LSD was used at Powick hospital in the UK by one 'Ronald Sandison', who's book about these sessions can be found by a google books search. (Sandison does not seem all bad, with a background in Jungian' psychoanalysis and a willingness, at least, to explore the unconscious, his own and that of others).

When I discovered how the Government abused these drugs throughout the 1950's I become all the more thankful that for a moment there some cats let the Geni' out the bottle for a while in the 1960's and turned this particular psychological weapon into a new game and 'bliss bomb' to turn on and boot up the massholes.

I found 'The Secret History of Acid' an informative read, and first discovered the Powick' LSD scenario in this book.

Sandison used to work with John Rawlings Rees in the 1940's in London. "Rees became first president of the World Federation for Mental Health"

Rees interviewed Rudolph Hess, along with Maj' Frank Foley of the XX Bureau.

Foley lived a stones through from Powick during the years of the Sandison LSD experiments (approx. 1953-58), in a small town called Stourbridge.

Edward Elgar had a long association with Powick, being bandmaster their in 1879.

...drums please...

Thank GOD for Jimi Hendrix, Ken Kessey, Leary, RAW and the 'psychedelic culture shock' that swept across the world and transformed humanity with new art and new synthesis.

The Purple Gooroo said...

Cheers, Fly!

I'll have to look for that "Secret History Of Acid" book - I wonder if it's in Amazon marketplace. Thanks for the tip!

Bogus Magus said...

Hi PG - you can find the Acid book, but bear in mind it is more of a conspiracy book than a neutral history.

I am currently reading Andy Roberts' "Albion Dreaming: A popular history of LSD in Britain" and enjoying it more.
I don't mean you don't need to read the book Fly mentioned, but perhaps I could recommend Michael Hollingshead's "The Man Who Turned on the World" (for yet another viewpoint) or "The Brotherhood of Eternal Love", for yet another.

We all know you need to compare and contrast people's 'takes' on things (reality tunnels) especially on a subject like this!

When I read "Operation Julie" (tragic though the whole sequence remains) I kept chuckling as the police went to the pub to regroup (they keep doing it), quite oblivious to their own addictions and obsessions - or the circuits they liked activating.


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