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The Breaking Convention conference featured a number of psychedelic illuminaries who were present via Skype, a modern solution which I support. Dennis McKenna spoke about the history of ayahuasca research, it was fairly introductory stuff that anyone familiar with McKenna and ayahuasca already knows. I found his observation that there are more than 100 academic papers dealing with ayahuasca in Medline for the 2000-2013 period interesting and encouraging.
Tim Scully (of Owsley and Orange Sunshine legend) also skyped in with an excerpt from his ongoing research into the early days of black market LSD, and this reading contained highly useful material which included several details that I was unaware of, and which may in fact never have been documented before. I'll let Mr Scully present the full monty in his upcoming book and restrict myself to things that complement or correct my own pre-Owsleyan LSD research in the Psychedelia book. Thus...
Government made Eli-Lillys research industrial as a response to fears of LSD manufacture behind the Iron curtain. The government code name for LSD-25: EK 7029 (poss. misheard)
Regarding "the two Bernards" who have been credited with the first ever underground LSD synthesis in 1963, Scully offered several pieces of vital data.
- Bernard Copley met the legendary LSD advocate/psychologist Oscar Janiger in the late '50s
- Bernard Roseman in turn met Copley in Joshua Tree circa 1957
- In 1958 Bernard Roseman brought with him a Dr James Grossman(?), an agriculture specialist from Philadelphia, to meet Copley--the three of them shared a peyote ceremony
- Copley & Roseman claimed to have made LSD as early as 1960 in a lab in LA where they lived at the time
- Scully refers to the "two Bernard" LSD as "impure" and "very impure" throughout
- When Copley and Roseman were arrested for selling bulk quantities of LSD, it was Myron Stolaroff who had tipped the FDA off, possibly on advise from Al Hubbard. I bring up the fact that Stolaroff's name occurs in the investigation in Psychedelia, but I did not have enough data to take it further. Scully does, however, and this casts a problematic light on Stolaroff's position and presumed service to the psychedelic field. I wonder if this old informer role is the reason why several people in recent decades have been eager to defend and exalt Stolaroff, even when he hasn't being accused of anything. I've always found this lauding of Stolaroff a mystery, not least since his book on psychedelic therapy struck me as unimpressive and almost counter-productive. It's not Stan Grof for sure.
Continuing the LSD history, Scully brings up a name that is unfamiliar to me: one Douglas George (?) in Los Angeles, who heard an early '60s lecture about LSD and how it was easy to make. He tried to synthesize LSD but failed repeatedly, until he was informed that the patent document he followed deliberately omitted a step.
After receiving the missing process instructions George manage to produce LSD . It wasn't very pure but he reasoned that since such small amounts were needed, there wouldn't be any toxic risks with the impurities. He had to triple the amount of his impure LSD to get the desired trip effect.
This occured in the Fall 1963 at Hermosa Beach, and so represents the second successful (more or less) underground LSD synthesis anywhere, preceded only by the two Bernards. Again, to my knowledge this is previously undocumented.
In late '63-64 word got around on Berkeley University, inspiring students to travel south and buy LSD from Douglas George. Among them was Owsley, who noticed the difference between George's LSD and industrial LSD, and figured he could make black market LSD that was as good as the industrial. Owsley was partly inspired by newspaper writings about the Copeman/Rosley trial.
Here my commentary ends. There are many among us who look forward to Tim Scully's book!