Timothy Leary’s Wild Ride and the Folsom Prison Interview

Timothy Leary had a wild ride. He started as a Harvard psychology professor, then went counterculture in 1960s and advocated the therapeutic and spiritual benefits of LSD. Before too long, his legal problems began. In 1965 and 1968, he was arrested for possessing marijuana (less than a half ounce) and given a 10 year prison sentence. But he escaped from a low security prison and fled to Algeria with the help of The Weathermen (anyone remember Bill Ayers?). He moved then to Switzerland, Lebanon, and eventually Afghanistan. But, being the “most dangerous man in America” according to Richard Nixon, Leary was deported back to the US. And his next stop was Folsom State Prison, where, starting in 1974, he was locked in solitary confinement and even housed next to Charles Manson for a time. Above, we feature a clip from a Folsom prison interview. The complete 27 minute interview can be watched over at the Internet Archive, which has created a big Timothy Leary Video Archive. As a quick footnote, Leary was released from prison in 1976 by Governor Jerry Brown (who is now the Attorney General of California).

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