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 …

Note: You can download Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest as a free audiobook if you sign up for a 30-Day Free Trial with Audible. Find more information on that program here.

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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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