Ken Kesey’s First LSD Trip Animated

Back in 1959, Ken Kesey, then a grad stu­dent in Stan­ford’s cre­ative writ­ing pro­gram, start­ed par­tic­i­pat­ing in gov­ern­ment-spon­sored med­ical research that test­ed a range of hal­lu­cino­gens — LSD, psilo­cy­bin, mesca­line, and the rest. As part of the research project, Kesey spoke into a tapere­corder and recount­ed the ins-and-outs of his hal­lu­ci­na­tions. These tapes were even­tu­al­ly stored away, and Kesey went on to write One Flew Over the Cuck­oo’s Nest, a book that now sits on TIME’s list of the 100 Best Eng­lish-Lan­guage Nov­els since 1923.

A half cen­tu­ry lat­er (and ten years after Kesey’s own death), the LSD tapes live again. This week, the film­mak­er Alex Gib­ney will release Mag­ic Trip, a new doc­u­men­tary that revis­its Kesey’s fabled road trip across Amer­i­ca with the Mer­ry Pranksters and their psy­che­del­ic “Fur­ther” bus. (Tom Wolfe, you might recall, famous­ly cov­ered this trip with The Elec­tric Kool-Aid Acid Test, pub­lished in 1968.) Tak­en from the new film, the sequence above mix­es the redis­cov­ered tapes with some art­ful ani­ma­tion, and it cap­tures the whole mood of Kesey’s first trip …

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Beyond Tim­o­thy Leary: 2002 Film Revis­its His­to­ry of LSD

Tim­o­thy Leary’s Wild Ride and the Fol­som Prison Inter­view

via Wired

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Comments (10)
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  • Buz Friedrich says:

    Video not abail­able! Bum­mer.

  • celestial says:

    and this lsd is such a won­der­ful thing you enjoy, over and over, and over and over, and over and over and , over and over, and , over, and, over, and… you begin to have flash­backs, and pret­ty soon you no longer need the drug in order to enjoy the expe­ri­ence of flash­ing swirlie, marsh­mal­low peo­ple who can sing in all octaves at ran­dom times of the night…

  • Jonicles says:

    that was inter­est­ing, brings back mem­o­ries from over 40 years ago.….

  • Paul singletary says:

    I think they spelled the bus was spelled Furthur. I could be wrong but will­ing to stake a lit­tle wager on it. $5?

  • John Richards says:

    I would love to try LSD,because I have heard it con­nects parts of the brain which does not conect lights up the brain like a Christ­mas tree,as told by a doc­tor who was part of an experiment,with a cat scan.what cre­ativ­i­ty and possibilities,as well as some weird hal­lu­ci­na­tions there could be.some great music was made under the LSD.and the colours,I would love to try it,and if auldus Hux­ley tried it,he of so great morale,and human­i­ty and understanding,then it’s good enough for me

  • Gilbert Pilz says:

    If I recall some­thing I read from Kesey (or was it Wolfe?), Kesey was­n’t bowled over by his first trips. The drugs were inter­est­ing, but the set and set­ting were all wrong. White, cold, ster­ile with peo­ple con­stant­ly pop­ping in and out to “mon­i­tor your progress”, etc. Def­i­nite­ly not the sort of place you want to be trip­ping.

  • Thaddeus Greear says:

    AA Founders used LSD to come up with the pro­gram.

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