Saturday, August 21, 2010


It was always a fond and favorite scenario among us anarchists of the psychedelic left. Dump a mind-melting quantity of LSD-25 into the public water supply and, while the squares went tripped-out, terminal insane, we would establish an hallucinogenic youth oligarch and take over the city, the nation, and finally the planet. (Five to one, baby!) The idea would immediately be borrowed by low-budget Hollywood for the 1968 Barry Shear movie Wild In The Streets, but, even by the time that drive-in wonder came out we’d fondly dismissed it as a stoned absurdity. What we didn’t know at the time, however, was that CIA had been working with total seriousness on the same concept since as early as 1953. (And, of course, there was always the popular theory that the entire Summer of Love and San Francisco in 1967 was an MKULTRA mind-control experiment that ran globally and quantum amok.)

“The psychedelic water saga arose at the height of the Cold War in 1953, when the intelligence agency approached Dr Nick Bercel, a Los Angeles psychiatrist working with LSD in a psychotherapeutic context. After querying him on the possible consequences if the Russians were to put LSD in the water supply of a large American city, the spooks demanded Bercel calculate how much LSD would be needed to dose Los Angeles’s water supply with acid. Bercel dissolved some LSD in a glass of chlorinated water, which promptly neutralised the psychedelic, leading him to tell the CIA the idea was not worth pursuing. The spooks were unconvinced, allegedly designing another version of LSD that was not neutralised by chlorine. Yet although the experiment had failed, the idea that LSD could be used to mass-dose the population had been created – and even though scientific opinion was against it, the notion was just too powerful to give up and started to take on a life of its own.” Click here for more.

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The secret word is Psycho

1 comment:

Munz said...

The mere boast by the Yippies to dose Chicago's water supply at the Dem Conven in August '68 led Mayor Daley to post cop sentries at strategic spots. Interesting that the CIA and the Underground have always had a symbiotic relationship, as you point out vis-a-vis Summer of Love theories.