Entheogens: What’s in a Name? The Untold History of Psychedelic Spirituality, Social Control, and the CIA


Entheogens: What’s in a Name?
The Untold History of Psychedelic Spirituality, Social Control, and the CIA

By Jan Irvin

November 11, 2014

O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;

William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet


Articles in this Series:
1) R. Gordon Wasson: The Man, the Legend, the Myth. Beginning a New History of Magic Mushrooms, Ethnomycology,and the Psychedelic Revolution. By Jan Irvin, May 13, 2012
2) How Darwin, Huxley, and the Esalen Institute launched the 2012 and psychedelic revolutions – and began one of the largest mind control operations in history. Some brief notes. By Jan Irvin, August 28, 2012
3) Manufacturing the Deadhead: A Product of Social Engineering, by Joe Atwill and Jan Irvin, May 13, 2013
4) Entheogens: What’s in a Name? The Untold History of Psychedelic Spirituality, Social Control, and the CIA, by Jan Irvin, November 11, 2014
5) Spies in Academic Clothing: The Untold History of MKULTRA and the Counterculture – And How the Intelligence Community Misleads the 99%, by Jan Irvin, May 13, 2015
PDF version: Download latest version v3.5 - Nov. 20, 2014

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Français: (Full text translated to French)

Français (French) translation PDF: www.logosmedia.com/txtfiles/Histoire-secrète-spiritualité-psychédélique.pdf



Today there are many names for drug substances that we commonly refer to as “hallucinogens,” “psychedelics,”psychoactives,” or “entheogens,” et al. But it hasn’t always been that way. The study of the history and etymology of the words for these fascinating substances takes us, surprisingly, right into the heart of military intelligence, and what became the CIA’s infamous MKULTRA mind control program, and reveals how the names themselves were used in marketing these substances to the public, and especially to the youth and countercultures.[1]

The official history has it that the CIA personnel involved in MKULTRA were just dupes, kind of stupid, and, by their egregious errors, the psychedelic revolution “happened” – thwarting their efforts. The claim is that these substances “got out of the CIA’s control.” Words like “blowback” and “incompetence” are often tossed around in such theories regarding the CIA and military intelligence, but without much, if any, supporting evidence.

It’s almost impossible today to have a discussion regarding the actual documents and facts of MKULTRA and the psychedelic revolution without someone interrupting to “inform” you how “it really happened” – even though most often they have never studied anything on the subject.

As we get started, I would like to propose that we question this idea of blowback: Who does it benefit to believe that it was all an accident and that the CIA and military intelligence were just dupes? Does it benefit you, or them? It might be uncomfortable for a moment for some of us to admit that maybe they (the agents) weren’t so stupid, and maybe we were the ones duped. Sometimes the best medicine is to just admit “hey, you got me” and laugh it off. For those of you who’ve heard these blowback theories and haven’t considered the possibility that the CIA created these movements intentionally, this article may be challenging for you, but stick with it, as it will be worth your while.

Now we’re ready. Because, defenses aside, a more honest, and less biased, inquiry into the history and facts reveals, startlingly, something quite different from the popular myths. This paper reveals, for the first time, how the opposite of the official history is true, and that the CIA did, in fact, create the psychedelic revolution and countercultures – intentionally.

As I’ll show in this article, the goal had changed and they wanted a name that would help sell these substances to the masses as sources of spiritual enlightenment rather than insanity. In their book The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead, we see doctors Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner, and Richard Alpert explain:

Of course, the drug dose does not produce the transcendent experience. It merely acts as a chemical key — it opens the mind, frees the nervous system of its ordinary patterns and structures. The nature of the experience depends almost entirely on set and setting. Set denotes the preparation of the individual, including his personality structure and his mood at the time. Setting is physical — the weather, the room's atmosphere; social — feelings of persons present towards one another; and cultural — prevailing views as to what is real. It is for this reason that manuals or guide-books are necessary. Their purpose is to enable a person to understand the new realities of the expanded consciousness, to serve as road maps for new interior territories which modern science has made accessible.[2]
—Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner, Richard Alpert

But what was the purpose of all of this? They state “The nature of the experience depends almost entirely on set and setting.” As we’ll discover on this etymological trip, it was all about marketing – the CIA’s marketing – regarding set and setting. Sound like a “whacky conspiracy theory” yet? As we’ll soon discover, it’s not. The CIA’s MKULTRA program was very real, was exposed before Congress in the Rockefeller and Church Commissions, and was all over the news media in the 1970s. But that was 40 years ago and this is now. So why should we care? Because much of the program wasn’t revealed in the 1970s and persists to the present, and it affected just about everyone. It wasn’t limited to just a few thousand victims of the CIA’s secret human experiments. There were actually many more victims – millions more. You may have been one of them.

As we’ll see, this idea that the psychedelic revolution and counterculture were intentionally created affects most of us: the youth caught up in drug use, the parents, the anti-war movement, those involved in the psychedelic revolution or in politics; as well as artists, or people who use these substances for spirituality, or even anyone who’s ever spoken the word psychedelic. It affects us because, as we’ll see, that’s what it was meant to do.

In the early years of research into these drugs, psychology researchers and military intelligence communities sometimes called them, aside from “hallucinogen,” by the name "psychotomimetic" –which means psychosis mimicking. The word hallucinogen, “to generate hallucinations,” came just a few years before psychotomimetic. The same year that psychotomimetic was created we also saw the creation of the word “psychedelic” – which means “to manifest the mind.” The last stage of this etymological evolution, as we’ll see, was the word “entheogen” – which means “to generate god within.” We’ll return to hallucinogen and these other words in the course of our journey.

While these words may have told what these substances do in the intelligence community’s collective understanding, accurate or not, they are loaded with implications. Suggestibility, otherwise known as “set and setting,” is one of them. The study of the history of these words, their etymology, reveals how MKULTRA researchers covered up and kept covered up – until now that is – this aspect of the MKULTRA mind control program.

Psychotomimetic to psychedelic

In the 1950s most CIA candidates and agents were required to take psychedelic or hallucinogenic drugs to prepare them for chemical and biological warfare attack. This requirement didn't turn the agency into hippies. As this article will show, marketing and PR people that the Agency later hired created that end result.

19 November 1953



The Medical Office commented also on the draft memorandum to DCI from Director of Security, subject: “Project” Experimental Project Utilizing Trainee Volunteers; to the effect that it was recommended the program not be confined merely to male volunteer trainee personnel but that the field of selection be broadened to include all components of the Agency and recommended that the subject memorandum be changed as appropriate to the broadening of such scope. The “Project” committee verbally concurred in this recommendation. […][3]

As Jay Stevens, author of Storming Heaven, reveals in the following quote, suggestibility plays a large part in the way psychedelic drugs work.

To drive someone crazy with LSD was no great accomplishment, particularly if you told the person he was taking a psychotomimetic and you gave it to him in one of those pastel hospital cells with a grim nurse standing by scribbling notes.[4]
~Jay Stevens

Psychotomimetic” (psychosis mimicking) is a word loaded with implications, suggestibility being the most important.

This is something that Aldous Huxley, Dr. Timothy Leary, R. Gordon Wasson and others made clear in their books and articles. In order to “suggest” what the creators of the psychedelic revolution wanted, they had to pay particular attention to the name(s) used for these substances.

 What's in a name? ... Answer, practically everything.[5]
~ Aldous Huxley

However, for marketing and PR purposes, the word psychotomimetic was abandoned, or remarketed, not long after it was created in 1957.

But why is all of this important?

As Huxley just admitted above: “What's in a name? ... Answer, practically everything.”

Insanity, or psychosis mimicking, or even generating hallucinations, aren’t attractive terms and don’t work well for marketing purposes – or for the outcome of the “psychedelic” or, more importantly, the “entheogenic” experience.

Though this may sound implausible at first, the purpose of making these substances more attractive was to intentionally sell them, and not just to patients in hospital wards and to those in a chair with their therapists, but, especially, to the youth and countercultures of the world – a nefarious purpose indeed. Here Leary reflects on Arthur Koestler’s work regarding “juvenilization”:

From Koestler I learned about juvenilization, the theory that evolution occurs not in the adult (final form) of a species but in juveniles, larvals, adolescents, pre-adults. The practical conclusion: if you want to bring about mutations in a species, work with the young. Koestler’s teaching about paedomorphosis prepared me to understand the genetic implications of the 1960s youth movement and its rejection of the old culture.[6]
~ Timothy Leary

The understanding of suggestibility, or “set and setting,” including the name given these substances, is everything in how psychedelics work and were studied (and used) by the CIA for social control.

What could the name be replaced with? This was the problem set before those interested in remarketing these substances to the youth, counterculture and artists around the world. When discussing how to market these drugs with Humphry Osmond, Aldous Huxley remarked:

About a name for these drugs - what a problem![7]
~ Aldous Huxley

Over a couple decades this project would be undertaken by two different teams: Aldous Huxley, Humphry Osmond and Abram Hoffer; and the second, headed by Professor Carl A. P. Ruck of Boston University, included R. Gordon Wasson, and also Jonathan Ott, Jeremy Bigwood and Daniel Staples.

Some of us formed a committee under the Chairmanship of Carl Ruck to devise a new word for the potions that held Antiquity in awe. After trying out a number of words he came up with entheogen, ‘god generated within’, which his committee unanimously adopted[…].[8]
~ Gordon Wasson

And though they defend them, Martin Lee and Bruce Shlain reveal some of these remarketing tactics in Acid Dreams:

The scientist who directly oversaw this research project was Dr. Paul Hoch, an early advocate of the theory that LSD and other hallucinogens were essentially psychosis-producing drugs. In succeeding years Hoch performed a number of bizarre experiments for the army while also serving as a CIA consultant. Intraspinal injections of mescaline and LSD were administered to psychiatric patients, causing an "immediate, massive, and almost shocklike picture with higher doses."

Aftereffects ("generalized discomfort," "withdrawal," "oddness," and "unreality feelings") lingered for two to three days following the injections. Hoch, who later became New York State Commissioner for Mental Hygiene, also gave LSD to psychiatric patients and then lobotomized them in order to compare the effects of acid before and after psychosurgery. ("It is possible that a certain amount of brain damage is of therapeutic value," Hoch once stated.) In one experiment a hallucinogen was administered along with a local anesthetic and the subject was told to describe his visual experiences as surgeons removed chunks of his cerebral cortex.[9]
~ Martin Lee and Bruce Shlain

In the following quote the authors reveal their bias in the situation, arguing for the spiritual aspects, while – in the same book – denying the psychosis aspects and that the psychedelic revolution was intentionally created by the CIA:

Many other researchers, however, dismissed transcendental insight as either "happy psychosis" or a lot of nonsense. The knee-jerk reaction on the part of the psychotomimetic stalwarts was indicative of a deeply ingrained prejudice against certain varieties of experience. In advanced industrial societies “paranormal" states of consciousness are readily disparaged as "abnormal" or pathological. Such attitudes, cultural as much as professional, played a crucial role in circumscribing the horizon of scientific investigation into hallucinogenic agents.[10]
~ Martin Lee and Bruce Shlain

Here Lee and Shlain resort to name calling and ridicule, for example referring to “psychotomimetic stalwarts” and “deeply ingrained prejudice,” as the foundation of their argument rather than looking at the evidence itself – which sounds ironic in a book about the CIA using these same substances for mind control. And who were these “psychotomimetic stalwarts”? Was it only Dr. Hoch? As we’ll see, Lee and Shlain seem to also be referring to Aldous Huxley, Humphry Osmond, Albert Hofmann and Sasha Shulgin.

Lee and Shlain, while partially exposing MKULTRA, then promote the idea that the psychotomimetic theory was invalid. They continue:

Despite widespread acknowledgment that the model psychosis concept had outlived its usefulness, the psychiatric orientation articulated by those of Dr. Hoch's persuasion prevailed in the end. When it came time to lay down their hand, the medical establishment and the media both "mimicked" the line that for years had been secretly promoted by the CIA and the military—that hallucinogenic drugs were extremely dangerous because they drove people insane, and all this talk about creativity and personal growth was just a lot of hocus pocus. This perception of LSD governed the major policy decisions enacted by the FDA and the drug control apparatus in the years ahead.[11] [emphasis added] ~ Marty Lee and Bruce Shlain

Here we see the idea that the “psychosis concept had outlived its usefulness.” What does that mean exactly? It’s an ambiguous statement. Most assume it to mean that the substances didn’t actually create psychosis. But is that true? What if, instead, due to the above-mentioned suggestibility factor and “set and setting,” they decided to remarket these drugs as spiritual rather than psychotic? If we entertain this idea, we realize it could take just a new name to change not only everything about the outcome of the experience, but how quickly the youth and counterculture would adopt them. We’ll expand on this idea throughout this article.

On a side note, it should probably be mentioned that it was actually Timothy Leary and Arthur Kleps who went (along with Walter Bowart and Allen Ginsberg) before Congress in 1966 recommending regulation. You can’t have a good youthful rebellion with legal substances!

Senator Dodd. Don't you think that the drug needs to be put under control and restriction?

Dr. LEARY. Pardon, sir.

Senator Dodd. Let me rephrase my question. Don’t you feel that LSD should be put under some control, or restriction as to its use?

Dr. LEARY. Yes, sir.

Senator Dodd. As to its sale, its possession, and its use?

Dr.   LEARY. I definitely do. In the first place, I think that the 1965 Drug Control Act, which this committee, I understand, sponsored, is the high water mark in such legislation.


Dr. Leary. Yes, sir. I agree completely with your bill, the 1965 Drug Control Act. I think this is---

Senator Dodd. That the Federal Government and the State governments ought to control it?

Dr. Leary. Exactly. I am in 100 percent agreement with the 1965 drug control bill.

Senator Kennedy of Massachusetts. So there shouldn’t be---

Dr. Leary. I wish the States, I might add, would follow the wisdom of this committee and the Senate and Congress of the United States and follow your lead with exactly that kind of legislation.

Senator Kennedy of Massachusetts. So there should not be indiscriminate distribution of this drug should there?

Dr. Leary. I have never suggested that, sir. I have never urged anyone to take LSD. I have always deplored indiscriminate or unprepared use.[12]

As the University of Richmond website relates:

Leary was one of many experts who testified at the 1966 subcommittee hearings, which showed both ardent support and uncompromising opposition to LSD.[…] Just several months after the subcommittee hearings, LSD was banned in California. By October 1968, possession of LSD was banned federally in the United States with the passage of the Staggers-Dodd Bill, marking a tremendous step towards the “War On Drugs” campaign that would arise in the 1970s.[13]

But who within the CIA had promoted this term “psychotomimetic”?

For a moment, let’s turn to the Oxford English Dictionary, where, under the definition of psychotomimetic, it states:

psychotomimetic, a. and n.

[Orig. formed as psychosomimetic, f. psychos(is + -o + mimetic a., and later altered to match psychotic a.]

A.A adj. Having an effect on the mind orig. likened to that of a psychotic state, with abnormal changes in thought, perception, and mood and a subjective feeling of an expansion of consciousness; of or pertaining to a drug with this effect.[14]

Under the quotations in the OED for psychotomimetic, we further see that R. W. Gerard is listed for 1955, and the second entry for 1957 is from Dr. Humphry Osmond:

1956 R. W. Gerard in Neuropharmacology: Trans. 2nd Conf., 1955 132 Let us at least agree to speak of ‘so-called’ psychoses when we are dealing with them in animals.‥ Along that same line, I have liked a term which I have been using lately—‘psychosomimetic’—for these agents instead of ‘schizophrenogenic’.    1957 Neuropharmacology: Trans. 3rd Conf., 1956 205 (heading) Effects of psychosomimetic drugs in animals and man.    1957 H. Osmond in Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. LXVI. 417 The designation ‘psychotomimetic agents’ for those drugs that mimic some of the mental aberrations that occur in the psychoses had been suggested by Ralph Gerard and seemed especially appropriate.[15] [emphasis added]

If we read the OED entry carefully, what we see above is that Gerard actually used the term “psychosomimetic” – with an “s”, rather than “psychotomimetic” with a “t.” In fact, it appears from the OED that it was Osmond himself who was first to begin using the term psychotomimetic, which was also adopted by the CIA and military for their purposes. This same Osmond, as we’ll soon discover, just months later created the name psychedelic for these substances. Notice that Osmond states “The designation ‘psychotomimetic agents’ […] seemed especially appropriate.” That Osmond created the word psychotomimetic is a fact that Lee and Shlain seem to want to avoid.

In another interesting quote in the OED from 1970, we see none other than Sasha Shulgin referring to ibogaine as a psychotomimetic:

1970 A. T. Shulgin in D. H. Efron Psychotomimetic Drugs 25 Ibogaine‥is another example in the family of psychotomimetics, with complex structures and no resemblance to known metabolic materials.[16]

Was this a slip by authors Lee and Shlain revealing that Osmond and Shulgin were CIA?

It is true, in fact, that both worked for the government. While Shulgin worked for the DEA, he was also a member of the infamous Bohemian Club[17]; and as we'll see below, Osmond is revealed in the CIA’s MKULTRA documents.[18] But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’ll come back to this shortly.

In 1954, pre-dating the OED’s reference to Huxley’s close friend Humphry Osmond, in The Doors of Perception Huxley stated:

Most takers of mescalin [sic] experience only the heavenly part of schizophrenia. The drug brings hell and purgatory only to those who have had a recent case of jaundice, or who suffer from periodical depressions or chronic anxiety.[19]
~ Aldous Huxley

He continued:

The schizophrenic is a soul not merely unregenerate, but desperately sick into the bargain. His sickness consists in the inability to take refuge from inner and outer reality (as the sane person habitually does) in the homemade universe of common sense—the strictly human world of useful notions, shared symbols and socially acceptable conventions. The schizophrenic is like a man permanently under the influence of mescaline…[20]
~ Aldous Huxley

In Heaven and Hell Huxley went on:

Many schizophrenics have their times of heavenly happiness; but the fact that (unlike the mascalin [sic] taker) they do not know when, if ever, they will be permitted to return to the reassuring banality of everyday experience causes even heaven to seem appalling.[21]
~ Aldous Huxley

In their letters, Aldous Huxley and Humphry Osmond were very concerned over what to call these substances, but why should the public have cared what these two people wanted to call them? They were still mostly secret at this time and hardly anyone knew about them – except through marketing efforts and publications. Furthermore, why were Huxley and Osmond so concerned, and why would it be a problem, unless there were an ulterior motive?

The issue here is a Bernaysian/Koestler-type marketing strategy. With a word like “psychotomimetic” these substances would have never taken hold in the youth and countercultures. It was fine for underground LSD and other studies by the intelligence community, but for the new purpose, they’d need a new name. From Huxley’s letters in a book titled Moksha, we find:

740 North Kings Road,
Los Angeles 46, Cal.
30 March, 1956

Dear Humphry,

Thank you for your letter, which I shall answer only briefly, since I look forward to talking to you at length in New York before very long. About a name for these drugs - what a problem! I have looked into Liddell and Scott and find that there is a verb phaneroein, "to make visible or manifest," and an adjective phaneros, meaning "manifest, open to sight, evident." The word is used in botany - phanerogam as opposed to cryptogam. Psychodetic (4)   is something I don't quite get the hang of it. Is it an analogue of geodetic, geodesy? If so, it would mean mind-dividing, as geodesy means earth-dividing, from ge and daiein. Could you call these drugs psychophans? or phaneropsychic drugs? Or what about phanerothymes? Thymos means soul, in its primary usage, and is the equivalent of Latin animus. The   word is euphonious and easy to pronounce; besides it has relatives in the jargon of psychology-e.g.   cyclothyme. On   the whole I think this is better than psychophan or phaneropsychic. […]

Yours, Aldous

[Phanerothyme-substantive. Phanerothymic-adjective.]

"To make this trivial world sublime,

Take half a gram of phanerothyme.”

(4) Osmond had mentioned psychedelics, as a new name for mind-changing drugs to replace the term psychotomimetics. Huxley apparently misread the word as "psychodetics," hence his mystification. Osmond   replied: "To fathom Hell or soar angelic, Just take a pinch of psychedelic.”

Huxley still did not get the spelling, which he made psychodelic [Smith's note]. Huxley invariably uses psychodelic for psychedelic, as he and others thought the latter term incorrect. Huxley's spelling has been retained, as this was undoubtedly his preference. However, it fails one criterion of Osmond, which is that the term be "uncontaminated by other associations."[22] [emphasis added]

Why was it important to meet the criterion for the new word to be “uncontaminated by other associations”? They don’t say, but we can surmise that it’s because of this remarketing strategy and they needed to be careful of the term chosen. The word “psychodelic” contains “psycho,” but ‘psycho’ carries negative associations. This explains why “psychedelic” is the only word in the English language to use “psyche” rather than “psycho” – the criterion it failed was complete avoidance of any name that could imply a negative experience. Lee and Shlain in Acid Dreams give their version of the story thus:

The two men had been close friends ever since Huxley's initial mescaline experience, and they carried on a lively correspondence. At first Huxley proposed the word phanerothyme, which derived from roots relating to "spirit" or "soul." A letter to Osmond included the following couplet:

To make this trivial world sublime,

Take half a Gramme of phanerothyme.

To which Osmond responded:

To fathom hell or soar angelic

Just take a pinch of psychedelic.

And so it came to pass that the word psychedelic was coined. Osmond introduced it to the psychiatric establishment in 1957. Addressing a meeting of the New York Academy of Sciences, he argued that hallucinogenic drugs did "much more" than mimic psychosis, and therefore an appropriate name must "include concepts of enriching the mind and enlarging the vision." He suggested a neutral term to replace psychotomimetic, and his choice was certainly vague enough. Literally translated, psychedelic means "mind-manifesting," implying that drugs of this category do not produce a predictable sequence of events but bring to the fore whatever is latent within the unconscious. Accordingly Osmond recognized that LSD could be a valuable tool for psychotherapy. This notion represented a marked departure from the military-medical paradigm, which held that every LSD experience was automatically an experimental psychosis.[23]
~ Marty Lee & Bruce Shlain

It’s ironic that they claimed the term psychedelic, for “mind manifesting” is “neutral.” A more appropriate word to describe it would be “ambiguous.” But notice that it’s gone from “mimicking psychosis” to “manifesting the mind.” And just months earlier Osmond was promoting the word psychotomimetic, which he said “seemed especially appropriate.” Here Lee and Shlain admit that Albert Hofmann was involved with this public relations scheme:

Dr. Albert Hofmann, the chemist who discovered LSD, thought Osmond's choice appropriate, for it "corresponds better to the effects of these drugs than hallucinogenic or psychotomimetic." The model psychosis concept was further called into question by published reports demonstrating that in many ways the comparison between naturally occurring and LSD-induced psychosis was facile. During the mid-1950s, researchers John MacDonald and James Galvin pointed out that schizophrenics did not experience the wealth of visual hallucinations common with LSD and mescaline but were prone to auditory aberrations, unlike drug subjects.

Oddly enough, true schizophrenics hardly reacted to LSD unless given massive doses.

As the psychotomimetic paradigm began to weaken, the focus shifted toward investigating the therapeutic potential of LSD. [24]
~ Marty Lee & Bruce Shlain

So weakened was the “psychotomimetic paradigm,” that in 1968 Hofmann decided to use the word anyway and published his essay ‘Psychotomimetic agents’.[25]

I think a possible explanation is that after the CIA did their MKULTRA LSD tests on the French village of Pont Saint Esprit, they realized that their application methods weren’t effective[26], so they had to come up with a way to get youngsters to self-administer the drugs. What they called them to each other, and to the public, as we’ll see more of, were very different things.

Aldous Huxley, an MKULTRA architect for the CIA with ties to British MI6, came up with the unmarketable term "phanerothyme" or “soul-manifester” - which fell on deaf ears. But here we begin to see where they intended to direct their public relations remarketing campaign. Wasson et al., under the leadership of Prof. Carl Ruck, in their 1979 article on this very subject, mentioned that the word actually meant “a drug which made intense emotions manifest,” also relating it to “organ of passion, temper and anger.”[27]

From there they remarketed these substances – they renamed them. At Osmond’s suggestion they changed the name again from psychotomimetic to psychedelic (properly psychOdelic) - “to manifest the mind.” Dr. Osmond was a close friend of Aldous Huxley and his personal doctor and another with many MKULTRA and CIA / MI6 ties. But notice “to manifest the mind” – the question of to whom it manifests is left open, or ambiguous. Does this mean manifest to the CIA’s doctors? To the patient/victim? Of course the latter was the intended target of the marketing. And today we know that hundreds of drugs were created out of the CIA’s MKULTRA studies.

In The Man Who Turned On The World, Michael Hollingshead, one of Leary’s students at Harvard, who also worked with him at Millbrook and helped the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, admitted:

From what I had heard in letters and conversations, the psychedelic movement in England was small and badly informed. It appeared that those who took LSD did so as a consciously defiant antiauthoritarian gesture. The spiritual content of the psychedelic experience was being overlooked.[28]
~ Michael Hollingshead

How could it be that the spiritual content was being overlooked? How could everyone in a country like England just overlook the drug’s spirituality and be “badly informed”? If they were as spiritual as claimed, wouldn’t this fact be self-evident? But instead, Leary gave Hollingshead “marching orders” to get back to London to set things straight – to give them the new suggestibility and “set and setting”:

Tim came to see me on the day of my departure. He was going to join me in London in January 1966, which gave me three months to set the scene for his arrival. The idea was to rent the Albert Hall, or 'Alpert Hall' as Tim called it, for a psychedelic jamboree. We would get the Beatles or the Stones to perform, invite other artists, and, as the climax of the evening, introduce Tim as the High Priest.

Taking a piece of paper from his pocket Tim said, 'These are your marching orders, your instructions.'

What they were I don't know because he decided to scrap them and took a clean sheet of paper and wrote the following on it:


To introduce to London the interpretation and applications and methods developed by and

learned by Michael Hollingshead.


No specific programme of expression can be specified in advance. The Yoga may include

  1. Tranart* gallery-bookstore.
  2. Weekly psychedelic reviews—lectures—questions and answers—Tranart demonstrations.
  1. Radio—TV—newspaper—magazine educational programme.
  2. Centre for running LSD session.'

Thus it was I arrived in London in the fall of 1965, with several hundred copies of The Tibetan Book of the Dead and thirteen cartons of the Psychedelic Review on their way.[29]
~ Michael Hollingshead

Of course every Harvard student of psychedelics had access to bands like The Beatles or The Rolling Stones, and especially to radio, TV, newspapers and magazines – in England, right? This, in my mind, raises questions if those who worked in the Harvard Social Relations Department had possible connections to, not only U.S. intelligence, but also British. We know that at least several in the department, including Dr. Henry A. Murray, Dr. Thomas Chiu, Dr. B.F. Skinner, and Dr. George Estabrooks, were involved in the CIA’s MKULTRA program. Others in this same department at Harvard doing similar work at that time, who also appear to have been MKULTRA researchers, include Dr. Timothy Leary, Dr. Ralph Metzner, Richard Price, Dr. James Fadiman, and one of MKULTRA’s most famous victims – Dr. Theodore Kaczynski, who, in retaliation to their experiments on him, became the infamous Unabomber - and tried to blow the others to smithereens.

I thought for a bit about the ideas of the religious experience with LSD and thought it might be a good idea for us to go back to Albert Hofmann and check the description of his first experience. Does he mention religion or spirituality? This is the official version of the story:

Last Friday, April 16, 1943, I was forced to interrupt my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and proceed home, being affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors. After some two hours this condition faded away.[30]
~ Albert Hofmann

Well, there’s nothing there. Let’s check the second instance of Hofmann’s LSD experiences:

4/19/43 16:20: 0.5 cc of 1/2 promil aqueous solution of diethylamide tartrate orally = 0.25 mg tartrate.
Taken diluted with about 10 cc water. Tasteless.

17:00: Beginning dizziness, feeling of anxiety, visual distortions, symptoms of paralysis, desire to laugh.

Supplement of 4/21: Home by bicycle. From 18:00- ca.20:00 most severe crisis. (See special report.)[31]
~ Albert Hofmann

“Severe crisis” - does that sound like a spiritual experience to you? Though I’m no psychiatrist, it doesn’t to me. In fact, from Hofmann’s description, “visual distortions” could be interpreted as, say, hallucinations; and a “severe crisis” might look somewhat like a mimicked psychosis. Maybe Hofmann was just “badly informed” as the British later were? Ok, now for the “bicycle day” story:

In spite of my delirious, bewildered condition, I had brief periods of clear and effective thinking—and chose milk as a nonspecific antidote for poisoning.
~Albert Hofmann

Delirious, bewildered, and poisoning. Does that sound spiritual? Hofmann continues:

The dizziness and sensation of fainting became so strong at times that I could no longer hold myself erect, and had to lie down on a sofa. My surroundings had now transformed themselves in more terrifying ways. Everything in the room spun around, and the familiar objects and pieces of furniture assumed grotesque, threatening forms. They were in continuous motion, animated, as if driven by an inner restlessness. The lady next door, whom I scarcely recognized, brought me milk - in the course of the evening I drank more than two liters. She was no longer Mrs. R., but rather a malevolent, insidious witch with a colored mask.

Even worse than these demonic transformations of the outer world, were the alterations that I perceived in myself, in my inner being. Every exertion of my will, every attempt to put an end to the disintegration of the outer world and the dissolution of my ego, seemed to be wasted effort. A demon had invaded me, had taken possession of my body, mind, and soul. I jumped up and screamed, trying to free myself from him, but then sank down again and lay helpless on the sofa. The substance, with which I had wanted to experiment, had vanquished me. It was the demon that scornfully triumphed over my will. I was seized by the dreadful fear of going insane. I was taken to another world, another place, another time. My body seemed to be without sensation, lifeless, strange. Was I dying? Was this the transition? At times I believed myself to be outside my body, and then perceived clearly, as an outside observer, the complete tragedy of my situation. […] My fear and despair intensified, not only because a young family should lose its father, but also because I dreaded leaving my chemical research work, which meant so much to me, unfinished in the midst of fruitful, promising development. […]

Late in the evening my wife returned from Lucerne. Someone had informed her by telephone that I was suffering a mysterious breakdown. She had returned home at once, leaving the children behind with her parents. By now, I had recovered myself sufficiently to tell her what had happened.[32]

Dizziness, fainting, surroundings transformed in terrifying ways, the room spun, furniture assumed grotesque, threatening forms, restlessness, a witch, demonic transformations, alterations in perception, a demon had invaded, fear of going insane, the question of dying, intensification of fear and despair, and breakdown. These are all terms that Hofmann used to describe his experience. These descriptions sound exactly like hallucinations and having a mimicked psychotic reaction – much more than a nightmare. Demonic possession, however, could be interpreted as “spiritual” by mental health professionals since these people would see demons, or so-called “spirits,” but I don’t think it’s the type of “spiritual experience” to which is normally referred. Interestingly enough, on the next page Hofmann, as if to anticipate someone figuring out their marketing scheme in the future, claims:

I failed, moreover, to recognize the meaningful connection between LSD inebriation and spontaneous visionary experience until much later, after further experiments, which were carried out with far lower doses and under different conditions.[33]
~Albert Hofmann

He admits that he doesn’t recognize the meaningful connection to LSD and spontaneous visionary experience until much later, though claims this was after further experiments. That’s because this idea had to be marketed, or suggested (as his continued use of the word psychotomimetic in 1968, above, reveals). This is also known as “seeding.” And as will be shown below, Dr. Louis Jolyon West showed drugs as a system of control – but youth don’t take “psychotomimetics” in order to be controlled by them. And as it just so happens, Hofmann’s book, translated by Jonathan Ott (he’s part of marketing team 2), was published in 1979. 1979 must have been an important year. We’ll return to it, and Ott, shortly.

Ironically, Gordon Wasson later accused Huxley, Osmond and Hoffer:

In Antiquity people spoke of the Mystery of Eleusis, of the Orphic Mysteries, and of many others. These all concealed a secret, a ‘Mystery’. But we can no longer use ‘Mystery’, which has latched on to itself other meanings, and we all know the uses and misuses of this word today. Moreover, we need a word that applies to the potions taken in the antique Mysteries, now that at last we are learning what they were. ‘Hallucinogen’ and ‘psychedelic’ have circulated comfortably among the Tim Learys and their ilk, and uncomfortably among others including me for want of a suitable word: ‘hallucinogen’ is patently a misnomer, as a lie is of the essence of ‘hallucinogen’, and ‘psychedelic’ is a barbarous formation. No one who respects the ancient Mysteries of Eleusis, the Soma of the Aryans, and the fungal and other potions of the American natives, no one who respects the English language, would consent to apply ‘hallucinogen’ to these plant substances.[34]
~ Gordon Wasson

Apparently, as we saw above, Wasson is saying that Osmond and Hoffer don’t respect the English language, and that Huxley’s and Osmond’s word “psychedelic” is a “barbarous formation,” and likens them to “the Tim Learys and their ilk.” I wonder why Wasson never discusses entertaining Leary at his home?

In a moment we were heading uptown to Gordon Wasson’s apartment. On the way Tim told me that Wasson had graduated from Columbia’s School of Journalism, then worked for newspapers as a financial writer, and in the thirties was hired by the J.P. Morgan Company. “Sandoz was a client. That’s how Mr. Wasson became a director,” Tim concluded the biographical information, then hurried on. “I keep him posted on everything. I want his guidance on what to do next. Sandoz has invested a lot of money in psilocybin research without getting penny back. Of course, Mr. Wasson’s more aware of this than anyone. He’s a banker. […]”[35]
~ B.H. Friedman in a discussion with Timothy Leary

So Wasson was actually a director of Sandoz via his ties to JP Morgan. And then Leary reveals “I keep him posted on everything.” So then Wasson, who, as it turns out, headed up the CIA’s MKULTRA Subproject 58 program with JP Morgan Bank[36] - for which he was the vice president of propaganda - and knew and also worked with Aldous Huxley via the CIA’s front organization The Century Club,[37], [38] (their librarian sent me Friedman’s citation – who was also a member) was being kept posted on “everything” regarding Leary’s Harvard studies. We’re always given the illusion that Wasson hated Leary, that Leary was the CIA’s guy turned bad, etc. But in actuality, as we can see, Leary was working closely with Wasson and, as we’ll reveal in a moment, Huxley. If Leary was keeping the CIA informed of his actions and working with them on how to create a “psychedelic revolution,” as it appears, then it changes everything regarding our perception of the historical events as related by the official history.

Anyway, I don’t want to digress too far. I should point out here that I had my first “religious experience” with psychedelics or “entheogens” on the very night that I had met Timothy Leary and Dennis McKenna – on April 28, 1993, after the “Gathering of the Minds” convention at Chapman University in Orange County, California. It is possible that it was at this conference where these ideas were subsequently “suggested” to me during Leary’s lecture. I had taken “psychedelic” substances many times prior to this particular night without ever having had a “spiritual” experience.

The idea here is that until the idea is “suggested” or “seeded” into the person’s consciousness they’re unaware of it. But by planting or “seeding” the ideas, these psychologists were then able to direct people’s experiences to the conclusions that they wanted. In other words, using reframing, they label your experience, tell you what it means - and you remain in their box. Here Leary and Dr. Oscar Janiger are bragging about this fact:

A Conversation on LSD, 1979

Leary: Yes, right right. Yeah. And, uh, Ivan. Uh, of course…uh, then, there of course, was part [break in audio – mic muffled] coolness of the Los Angele [break in audio – mic muffled]s, uh, [break in audio – mic muffled] cell, whatever you want to call it. But they kept a, you kept a, uh…

Sydney Cohen: Would you mind not calling it a cell? Let's call it a cluster!

Leary: All right. [Room laughs] Our undercover agents in Los Angeles were very cool about, uh, and yet they did more in a very laid-back way, uh, and it's every bit as public as some of the other, you know, the buses running around the country [Ken Kesey and the Merry pranksters – here identified as undercover agents]….

Janiger: Yeah, and then Zinnberg says that the visionary experience, and all of the things he was doing at Harvard, and the others, his residence, and the rest he was giving LSD to, they never had a visionary, or ecstatic, or mystic experience. That the whole thing was a California invention, he said.

Leary: Wonderful! They're right!

Janiger: The only time it happened, was when you cross the Colorado River.[39]

Osmond was also at the same reunion (A Conversation on LSD, 1979), where Leary admitted he and the others were agents – and as we’ll see shortly, Osmond also worked on MKULTRA. From The Letters of Aldous Huxley and Moksha, Leary’s Flashbacks, and A Conversation on LSD, we may flush out the clues that Huxley and Osmond actually went to Cambridge (Harvard University is located in Cambridge, MA) and hired Tim Leary for the CIA:

Humphry Osmond: Remember the first time we met, which was in Cambridge? On the night of the Kennedy election.

Tim Leary: 1960.

Osmond: 1960. We went out to this place. And Timothy then was wearing his gray flannel suit and his crew cut. And we had this very interesting discussion with him. And when we went… and I don’t think I told you this, Timothy. But the night we went we both said “what a nice fellow he is”. He says “he’s a very nice man”, and Aldous said “it’s very very nice to think that this is what’s going to be done at Harvard”. He said “it would be so good for it”. And then I said to him, “I think he’s a nice fellow too. But don’t you think he’s just a little bit square?” [laughter – no mention of “too square for what?”] Aldous said “you may be right”, he said “but after all isn’t that what we want?” [laughter]

Timothy, when I’m discussing the need for understanding human temperament this is the story I tell. Because I said, yeah Aldous and I were deeply interested in the nature of human temperament and we meet someone who – I think that was probably the least satisfactory description of you ever made, Timothy. I think even your greatest enemies would never make that description. And we made it. We were very very concerned because we held that perhaps you were a bit too unadventurous. [for what?] You see what insights we had.

Al Hubbard: Well, you sure as heck contributed your part, but uh... [8:26][40]
– A Conversation on LSD – 1979.

So Leary was hired or recruited to popularize the newly named “psychedelic drugs.” Popularizing led, seemingly intentionally, to “stigmatizing” the word psychedelic and the drugs and resulted in their outlaw. But as was noted above, in reality Leary was of those who went before Congress recommending regulation in 1966. Why else would they have asked Leary to do this? Rebellious teenagers don't normally retaliate with legal drugs – especially ones named psychotomimetics. Obviously Leary could not have done this job before the drugs were renamed. If these substances were still called “psychotomimetic,” his efforts would have been wasted.

It is also a little-known fact that a close friend of Leary’s, MKULTRA author and researcher Walter Bowart (Operation Mind Control, 1978), as previously mentioned, went with Leary and Kleps before Congress recommending the regulation of LSD and these substances in 1966. Though Bowart’s testimony was definitely the most balanced of all their testimonies, and though they weren’t asked on the record, none of them admit in the hearings that they were all pals – which gives the impression that each of their testimonies was planned and rehearsed.

Bowart’s wife was none other than Peggy Mellon Hitchcock of the Mellon banking and Gulf Oil empires, and Peggy and her famous brother Billy provided the Millbrook Mansion, funded IFIF (International Federation for Internal Freedom), and also the Grateful Dead’s first album. It was Leary who introduced Walter to Peggy. Of course this direct connection from Bowart and his in-laws to the promotion of psychedelic drugs, and his going before Congress with Leary et al., is entirely omitted from his book. The following quote from the CIA’s own MKULTRA researcher, Dr. Louis Jolyon West, who was also a friend of Aldous Huxley, makes clear this agenda:

The role of drugs in the exercise of political control is also coming under increasing discussion. Control can be through prohibition or supply. The total or even partial prohibition of drugs gives the government considerable leverage for other types of control. An example would be the selective application of drug laws permitting immediate search, or “no knock” entry, against selected components of the population such as members of certain minority groups or political organizations.

But a government could also supply drugs to help control a population. This method, foreseen by Aldous Huxley in Brave New World (1932), has the governing element employing drugs selectively to manipulate the governed in various ways.

To a large extent the numerous rural and urban communes, which provide great freedom for private drug use and where hallucinogens are widely used today, are actually subsidized by our society. Their perpetuation is aided by parental or other family remittances, welfare, and unemployment payments, and benign neglect by the police. In fact, it may be more convenient and perhaps even more economical to keep the growing numbers of chronic drug users (especially of the hallucinogens) fairly isolated and also out of the labor market, with its millions of unemployed. To society, the communards with their hallucinogenic drugs are probably less bothersome–and less expensive–if they are living apart, than if they are engaging in alternative modes of expressing their alienation, such as active, organized, vigorous political protest and dissent. […] The hallucinogens presently comprise a moderate but significant portion of the total drug problem in Western society. The foregoing may provide a certain frame of reference against which not only the social but also the clinical problems created by these drugs can be considered.[41]
~ Louis Jolyon West

Marlene de Rios, one of the only early ethnobotanists to be seemingly forthcoming with these facts, states:

Plant hallucinogens appear to have been used by regional religious and political leaders for control of political, psychological, and social arenas using the power made possible in drug-induced altered states.[42]
~ Marlene Dobkin de Rios

More to this story can be found in Letters of Aldous Huxley[43] and in Huxley’s Moksha, edited by Michael Horowitz. These books of Huxley’s personal letters contain additional evidence that he and Osmond went to Cambridge and interviewed Leary for the position, as well as their involvement with key MKULTRA researchers. We also find more information about their marketing of these substances:


Huxley and Osmond visited Dr. Timothy Leary at Harvard, where the Psychedelic Research Project had gotten underway. Here is Leary’s account of his impressions of Huxley upon the occasion of their first meetings in Cambridge.[44]
~ Michael Horowitz

We talked about how to study and use the consciousness-expanding drugs and we clicked along agreeably on the do's and the not-to-do's. We would avoid the behaviorist approach to others' awareness. Avoid labeling or depersonalizing the subject. We should not impose our own jargon or our own experimental games on others. We were not out to discover new laws, which is to say, to discover the redundant implications of our own premises. We were not to be limited by the pathological point of view. We were not to interpret ecstasy as mania, or calm serenity as catatonia; we were not to diagnose Buddha as a detached schizoid; nor Christ   as an exhibitionistic masochist; nor the mystic experience as a symptom; nor the visionary state as a model psychosis. Aldous Huxley chuckling away with compassionate humor at human folly.

And with such erudition! Moving back and forth in history, quoting the mystics. Wordsworth. Plotinus. The Areopagite. William James.[45]
~ Timothy Leary

Notice that Leary named Harvard’s “Psychedelic Research Project” after Osmond’s newly created term. Though Osmond coined the word in 1957, in 1960 Leary at Harvard had already made full use of it. In fact, the Psychedelic Research Project would eventually recruit more than 40 Harvard doctors and hundreds of students. Leary had already been testing this new word – and he was successful.

Also of note is that they claimed they should not impose their own jargon, while making up jargon to convey that it was a spiritual experience, as they did when they changed the name to psychedelic, forcing it one way rather than the other. Due to the suggestibility factor, they wanted to use jargon that sounded spiritual rather than psychotic – it’s just marketing. Spiritual was something they could market. They continued:

Dope ... Murugan was telling me about the fungi that are used here as a source of dope.”

What's in a name? ... Answer, practically everything. Murugun calls it dope and feels about it all the disapproval that, by conditioned reflex, the dirty word evokes. We on the contrary, give the stuff good names - the moksha medicine, the reality revealer, the truth-and­beauty pill. And we know, by direct experience, that the good names are deserved. Whereas our young friend here has no firsthand knowledge of the stuff and can't be persuaded even to give it a try. For him it's dope and dope is something that, by definition, no decent person ever indulges in.” […]

During the weeks of October and November of 1960 there were many meetings to plan the research. Aldous Huxley would come and listen and then close his eyes and detach himself from the scene and go into his controlled meditation trance, which was unnerving to some of the Harvard people who equate consciousness with talk, and then he would open his eyes and make a diamond-pure comment. ...[46]
~ Timothy Leary quoting Aldous Huxley

Here we see Huxley involved in the research at Harvard’s Psychedelic Research Project and helping to guide it, while he’s there recruiting Leary, and this is long before the public had ever heard of MKULTRA. Huxley was the first to sell this idea of soma rewards in his book Brave New World. Later, Wasson, who wrote the book Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality to suggest that the Amanita muscaria mushroom is Soma of the Rig Veda, was to participate in the next team to remarket psychedelics again. Here Marty Lee and Bruce Shlain reveal the underlying agenda at Harvard:

Whereas Huxley had suggested turning on opinion leaders, Ginsberg, the quintessential egalitarian, wanted everyone to have the opportunity to take mind- expanding drugs. His plan was to tell everything, to disseminate as much information as possible. The time was ripe to launch a psychedelic crusade—and what better place to start than Harvard University, the alma mater of president-elect John F. Kennedy? Leary seemed ideally suited to lead such a campaign. A respected academic, he had short hair, wore button-down shirts, and took his role as a scientist quite seriously. How ironic, Ginsberg noted, "that the very technology stereotyping our consciousness and desensitizing our perceptions should throw up its own antidote …. Given such historic Comedy, who should emerge from Harvard University but the one and only Dr. Leary, a respectable human being, a worldly man faced with the task of a Messiah.[47] [emphasis added] ~ Marty Lee & Bruce Shlain

The Macy conferences, including the Control of the Mind conferences, were CIA research projects. Here we see Huxley openly discussing the meeting with Leary just months later in February 1961 – suggesting that Leary must have had clearance to discuss the meetings. This is just one of many of Huxley’s letters which reveal his, and also Leary’s, further involvement with the CIA’s MKULTRA program:

To: Leary

6 February, 1961

Thank   you for your letter of Jan. 23rd, which came during my absence - first in Hawaii, then at San Francisco (where we had a good conference on Control of the Mind).

Alas, I can't write anything for Harpers - am too desperately busy trying to finish a book.

At S. F. [San Francisco] I met Dr. [Oscar] Janiger, whom I had not seen for several years. He tells me that he has given LSD to 100 painters who have done pictures before, during & after the drug, & whose efforts are being appraised by a panel of art critics. This might be interesting. I gave him your address, & I think you will hear from him.

I also spoke briefly with Dr. Joly West [prof. of psychiatry at U. of Oklahoma Medical School – killed “Tusko” the elephant – MKULTRA],   who told me that he had done a lot of work in sensory deprivation, using improved versions of John Lilly's techniques. Interesting visionary results-but I didn't   have time to hear the details.[48] [emphasis added] ~ Aldous Huxley

David Black in Acid confirms that the Control of the Mind conferences were CIA funded through the Macy Foundation:

The speaker was Arthur Koestler, and also present was the anthropologist Francis Huxley. Koestler was also bound for America, for a conference on ‘Control of the Mind’ organized by the Joshua Macy Foundation – now known to have been secretly sponsored by MK-ULTRA.[49]
~David Black

Eugenics and social control have been Huxley family tradition for several generations, and we see Francis Huxley’s name show up at another conference with Arthur Koestler – from whom we previously learned above about paedomorphosis and juvenilization. We’ll leave them for another time. In the following quote from Brave New World Revisited, Huxley discusses his ideas of how to run his “fantasy eugenics”:

In the Brave New World of my fantasy eugenics and dysgenics were practiced systematically. In one set of bottles biologically superior ova, fertilized by biologi­cally superior sperm, were given the best possible pre­natal treatment and were finally decanted as Betas, Alphas and even Alpha Pluses. In another, much more numerous set of bottles, biologically inferior ova, ferti­lized by biologically inferior sperm, were subjected to the Bokanovsky Process (ninety-six identical twins out of a single egg) and treated prenatally with alco­hol and other protein poisons. The creatures finally decanted were almost subhuman; but they were capa­ble of performing unskilled work and, when properly conditioned, detensioned by free and frequent access to the opposite sex, constantly distracted by gratuitous entertainment and reinforced in their good behavior patterns by daily doses of soma, could be counted on to give no trouble to their superiors.[50] [emphasis added] ~ Aldous Huxley

Now that we have some history and context, let’s return to the word “hallucinogen” – yet another word all of these psychedelic social relations experts want users to leave behind.


Before the word psychotomimetic, early marketing first took place with Dr. Humphry Osmond, Dr. Abram Hoffer, and also Dr. John Smythies, who created the word “hallucinogen” sometime in or prior to 1953.

These drugs had earlier been designated hallucinogens by D. Johnson (Johnson 1953), who borrowed the term from Osmond and Americans A. Hoffer and J. Smythies.[51]
~ Jonathan Ott

The OED states the term was first used in 1954, citing quotes from Hoffer and Aldous Huxley himself. The second citation is from Huxley’s Doors of Perception:

1954 A. Hoffer et al. in Jrnl. Mental Sci. C. 30 When the literature is examined to catalogue these hallucinatory substances, which for convenience we have called the hallucinogens, one is struck by their small number.    1954 A. Huxley Doors of Perception 6 Lysergic acid, an extremely potent hallucinogen derived from ergot.
~ OED – hallucinogen


As it turns out, Dr. Hoffer was a CIA MKULTRA doctor and worked with Dr. Osmond performing human experiments in Saskatchewan; as was Dr. John Smythies, who contributed to MKULTRA subproject 8 at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology. As a CIA MKULTRA document of March 25, 1964, exposes, Osmond was further involved with Subproject 47 with Dr. Carl Pfeiffer[52], who wrote the letter on Osmond’s letterhead. In his book The C.I.A. Doctors, Dr. Colin Ross also reveals:

Dr. Abram Hoffer describes LSD treatment he conducted in Saskatchewan in partnership with Humphry Osmond before Osmond moved to Princeton, New Jersey to become the Director, Bureau of Neurology and Psychiatry, New Jersey Neuropsychiatric Institute. The Institute was the site of hallucinogen experiments by Dr. Carl Pfeiffer funded through MKULTRA and MKSEARCH. Along with John Smythies, Carl Pfeiffer was the Editor of International Review of Neurobiology. Dr. Smythies was from the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology, site of MKULTRA Subproject 8. Contributors to the volume included Dr. Robert Heath, who received CIA and military money for hallucinogen and brain electrode implant research at Tulane University. Associate Editors of the volume included Dr. Hoffer. Dr. Heath and the British psychologist, Dr. H.J. Eysenck, the contractor on MKULTRA Subproject 111.[53]
~ Dr. Colin Ross

In this quote the CIA’s previously cited Dr. Jolyon West further discusses Osmond and Hoffer’s human experiments:

Adrenochrome. A trihydroxyindole called adrenochrome (an oxidation product of adrenaline) has been reported by some workers to be hallucinogenic in intravenous dosages of 0.5 mg. Based on these reports (including the supposed discovery of the presence of increased amounts of this and related metabolites in body fluids of psychiatric patients), an adrenochrome theory of schizophrenia was advanced by Hoffer and Osmond (1967).[54]
~ Louis Jolyon West

We just saw how the CIA funded an organization called the Macy Foundation, an organization through which it funded much of the MKULTRA research. Here Jay Stevens discusses Hoffer’s and Osmond’s “massive dose” alcoholic treatment with LSD at another CIA-funded Macy conference:

Besides introducing the word that would ultimately triumph in the public consciousness, Hoffer also briefed his colleagues on the startling way in which he and Osmond were now using LSD. Unlike most of the therapists at the Macy conference, they were not using small doses to "liquefy" defenses, thus speeding up the time needed for a successful treatment. Using Hubbard's curious techniques, they had begun giving their patients massive doses and then guiding them, if they could, into that part of the Other World where egos melted and something resembling a spiritual rebirth occurred. As Hoffer described it, there was scarcely any psychotherapy involved at all: "They come in one day. They know they are going to take a treatment, but they know nothing about what it is.”[55]
~ Jay Stevens

So Hoffer, Osmond’s close friend and CIA / MKULTRA research buddy, in 1953, along with Osmond himself and Smythies, created the first term, “hallucinogen.” And then in 1957 Osmond created the terms “psychotomimetic” and “psychedelic,” with Huxley creating “phanerothyme.”

As if all of this weren’t enough, in 1967 Hoffer, along with (can you guess it?) Osmond, published a book titled: THE HALLUCINOGENS.[56] But by 1957 Dr. Osmond and Aldous Huxley had already decided the word “hallucinogen” was bad! And Osmond’s new word “psychedelic” was good! But here, a decade after Osmond himself created the word psychedelic, we see him reverting back to hallucinogen – which is older than his other word, psychotomimetic. Could this be because, as Osmond knows, the substances are actually psychotomimetics and hallucinogens as he had originally stated?

And as it turns out, Hoffer was also the president of the Huxley Institute of Bio-Social Research (great name, huh?), and Osmond was a director. In 1964 Julian Huxley, Aldous’s brother, along with Osmond and Hoffer would publish the controversial paper Schizophrenia as a Genetic Morphism.[57] Psychedelics + paedomorphosis + schizophrenia + genetic morphism = bio-social control.

If we can’t trust them regarding the word “hallucinogen” being bad, then why should we trust them regarding the word “psychotomimetic” (or any other), especially when we see none other than Sasha Shulgin, above (who died during the writing of this article) calling ibogaine a “psychotomimetic” in 1970? The obvious question is then, are these substances being “suggested as spiritual when they really are hallucinogens and psychotomimetics? Or is there something additional going on here?

And here again, Huxley and his pals create the words, and then turn and stigmatize them as if someone else had created them, as if they hadn’t hired Leary to do the job. I know, you can hardly maintain your astonishment. But there’s more.

As we’ll see in just a moment, in 1979 Huxley’s friend R. Gordon Wasson, along with Prof. Carl Ruck and his team, would attempt to rename them yet again to “entheogens.”


In 1979 Prof. Carl A. P. Ruck of Boston University, R. Gordon Wasson, Jonathan Ott, Jeremy Bigwood and Daniel Staples, in an article published in The Journal of Psychedelic Drugs, Vol. 11, attempt to rename these drugs as “ENTHEOGENS,” meaning “generating god within.” So now let’s turn to the original paper published by Ruck and Wasson et al., introducing their word “entheogen,” to see what they have to say regarding the above facts:

When the recent surge of recreational use of so-called “hallucinogenic” or “psychedelic” drugs first came to popular attention in the early 1960’s, it was commonly viewed with suspicion and associated with the behavior of deviant or revolutionary groups. Apart from the slang of the various subcultures, there was no adequate terminology for this class of drugs. Words were manufactured, and in their making they betrayed the incomprehension or prejudice of the times.

Out of the many words proposed to describe this unique class of drugs only a few have survived in current usage. It is the contention of the authors who have subscribed their names to this article that none of these terms really deserve greater longevity, if our language is not to perpetuate the misunderstanding of the past.[58]
~ Carl Ruck, Gordon Wasson, et al

Actually, hallucinogen and psychedelic are still in common usage in 2014 and many scholars, due to the obvious religious connotations of the word entheogen, have refused to adopt it. But so far the authors don’t even mention these facts. And even the above-mentioned journal which published their article, The Journal of Psychedelic Drugs, changed its name but chose not to use “entheogen” per the authors’ recommendation. In 1981 it became instead The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

And just to remind the reader, we saw above that R. Gordon Wasson is heralded as the so-called “discoverer” of magic mushrooms, and headed up the CIA’s MKULTRA Subproject 58 program with JP Morgan Bank – which became ‘Seeking the Magic Mushroom’ in Life Magazine May 13, 1957.[59]

Wait, I know, it’s a coincidence theory! They all just happen to work for the CIA’s MKULTRA program… There’s nothing to see here, folks. Move along…

I have written several articles as well as produced several interviews and documentaries that expose these facts regarding Wasson, et al., through primary CIA and various university archive documents which anyone may verify.[60]

Anyway, we’ll come back to their entheogen article in a moment, but in the meantime, do you think they’ll discuss all those facts we presented above?

In Jonathan Ott’s book Pharmacotheon he discusses their creation, as well as his use, of the word entheogen:

As is immediately obvious from my title, I use the neologism entheogen(ic) throughout this book, a new word proposed by a group of scholars including Dr. R. Gordon Wasson, Prof. Carl A. P. Ruck and me. As we know from personal experience that shamanic inebriants do not provoke “hallucinations” or “psychosis,” and feel it incongruous to refer to traditional shamanic use of psychedelic plants (that word, pejorative for many, referring invariably to sixties’ western drug use), we coined this new term by 1979 (Ott 1996A; Ruck et al. 1979; Wasson et al. 1980B).[61]
~ Jonathan Ott

The word pejorative, as defined by Oxford’s OED, means:

a.a adj. Tending to make worse; depreciatory; applied especially to a derivative word in which the meaning of the root word is lowered by the addition of a suffix or otherwise.

When we see a definition like this, then we must ask: exactly what was the use of the word “psychedelic” making worse? In whose opinion and for what purpose? I think we’re able to see the agenda now of suggestibility and their marketing strategy.

When we consider these ideas in terms of a marketing strategy by Huxley, Osmond and Hoffer, and by Ruck, Wasson and Ott, and their friends, to promote the use of these substances as “spiritual,” then the agenda begins to come clear.

For a moment I want to turn to a quote by the founder of public relations, Edward Bernays. I mention Bernays here, because, as I’ve exposed in two previous articles, he was a close friend of Gordon Wasson.[62] In the following quote regarding fluoride, Bernays gives us an example of some of the media tactics he employed:

We would put out the definition first to the editors of important newspapers. Then we would send a letter to publishers of dictionaries and encyclopedias. After six or eight months we would find the word fluoridation was published and defined in dictionaries and encyclopedias.[63]
~ Edward Bernays

Here we see Ott defining the word for himself and his group in his own dictionary The Age of Entheogens & the Angel’s Dictionary:

Entheogen nov. verb. –Plant Sacraments or shamanic inebriants evoking religious Ecstasy or vision; commonly used in the archaic world in Divination for shamanic healing, and in Holy Communion, for example during the Initiation to the Eleusinian Mysteries or the Vedic Soma sacrifice. Literally: becoming divine within. Hence: Age of Entheogens nov. verb., Entheogenic nov. verb. See: Enthusiasm, Hallucinogen, Phanerothyme, Phantasica, Pharmacotheon, Psychedelic.

1979 Ruck, J. Psychedelic Drugs 11: 145. In Greek the word entheos means literally ‘god (theos) within’ … In combination with the Greek root –gen, which denotes the action of ‘becoming,’ this word results in the term that we are proposing: entheogen.

1980 Wasson The Wondrous Mushroom, xiv. We are now rediscovering the secret and we should treat the entheogens with respect to which they were richly entitled.

1986 Wasson Persephone’s Quest, 31. We must break down the ‘Drugs’ of popular parlance and according to their properties and overcome our ignorance, which in this field is monumental. “Entheogen” is a step in that direction.

1993 Ott Pharmacotheon, 19. I have been privileged to be initiated into the sacred realm of the entheogens… have imbibed the amrta of Indra, the ambrosia of the Olympian gods, Demeter’s Potion; have for brief blessed instants gazed into Lord Shiva’s blazing third eye. [64]
~ Jonathan Ott

Notice that Ott refers back to himself and his own crew whenever referring to the word entheogen. This type of argument is known as “begging the question” or “circular reasoning,” referring to themselves to prove the whole of their argument, and we’ll show more problems with this in just a moment. The reader may have noticed Huxley and Osmond using this same tactic above. Ott doesn’t mention that the word was created intentionally in an effort to remarket these substances, again, to teens and young adults – but now as “spiritual tools” to “generate god within.”

As was shown above, Huxley and Osmond (who created the word psychedelic) had recruited Timothy Leary for the CIA, and we know that Leary was pursuing Huxley’s and the CIA’s goals – as shown in their letters we read above discussing the CIA’s Control of the Mind conferences. We also saw above how Leary and Janiger bragged, regarding the spiritual experience, that the whole thing was “a California invention” and that no one at Harvard had a mystical or religious experience – all through the 1950s. Why is that? It’s because, in this author’s opinion, these substances had not yet been remarketed. Again, the key issue with these substances is suggestibility. They needed a name – and psychotomimetic and hallucinogen wouldn’t create spiritual or mystical-type experiences. But we see Leary admit: “Wonderful! They’re right!”

Leary, the author of Interpersonal Diagnostic of Personality; Leary, the no-nonsense behaviorist: Leary, the number one American expert in personality testing.[65]
~ Michael Hollingshead

Yeah, that Leary. Leary is also the same man who created the CIA’s entrance exam, known, fittingly, as “The Leary.” Seriously, it’s no joke. I bet you must be thinking “how serendipitous!”

It was Dave McGowan who, in his book Weird Scenes inside the Canyon, showed that “serendipitous” came up too often during “unexplainable” events written in the official “histories.” The same thing is found throughout psychedelic literature as well. So here I’m going to use it for fun, taking McGowan’s lead.

We are supposed to believe that all of the musical icons who settled in Laurel Canyon in the 1960s and 1970s just sort of spontaneously came together (one finds the word “serendipitous” sprinkled freely throughout the literature). But how many peculiar coincidences do we have to overlook in order to believe that this was just a chance gathering?[66]
~ Dave McGowan

Coincidently or, I mean, serendipitously, in 1979, the same year that John Marks (Director for the Bureau of Intelligence and Research) published his book on MKULTRA, The Search for the Manchurian Candidate, Gordon Wasson, Prof. Carl Ruck and Jonathan Ott, et al., published their paper ‘Entheogens’ in The Journal of Psychedelic Drugs, arguing to rename these substances yet again. We also saw, above, that this was the same year that Hofmann published LSD: My Problem Child. The timing seems just so, well, serendipitous. Or maybe it’s because Wasson and Hofmann just so happen, serendipitously, to be listed in the introduction to Marks’ book for their “assistance” in its writing:

My thanks for their assistance to Albert Hofmann, Telford Taylor, Leo Alexander, Walter Langer, John Stockwell, William Hood, Samuel Thompson, Sidney Cohen, Milton Greenblatt, Gordon Wasson, James Moore, Laurence Hinkle, Charles Osgood, John Gittinger (for Chapter 10 only), and all the others who asked not to be identified.[67] [emphasis added] ~ John Marks

I bet you’re probably thinking something along these lines right about now: “The head of MKULTRA Subproject 58 and the so-called inventor of LSD helping the Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research author a book on MKULTRA, and they changed the name proactively to avoid the damage from exposure – I knew it!” Let me just say that I totally agree with you.

Above we saw Jonathan Ott create his own dictionary to define these words, similar to the ideas suggested by Bernays. In my 2012 article titled R. Gordon Wasson: The Man, the Legend, the Myth, I revealed how Wasson, with the help of Allan Nevins, had also used these same tactics to cover up the “Hall Carbine Affair” for JP Morgan, after which he titled his own book.

August 15, 1939

Dear Mr. Andrews:

I hasten to write you to assure you that Allen [sic] Nevins treated my manuscript exactly as I would’ve wished him to do. He refers and is taxed to a “careful investigation” which “has shown that he must announce transaction and was really prudent and commendable.” In an appendix he summarizes the episode in two or three pages. He doesn’t identify “the recent investigation”, and for this I am very glad. Since his revised Life came out, he and I had an exchange of cordial letters on the subject. [emphasis – mine] ~ R. Gordon Wasson

October 28, 1941

I am most grateful to you for your comments on the Hall Carbine paper, and we shall give earnest consideration to your advice. I have sent a copy of it to Allan Nevins, with whom I have often discussed it, and also to our good friend Steve Benet. We wish to think out carefully our procedure, and, fortunately, we can choose our own time. Perhaps after we let the matter simmer for some months we may bring out a second and larger edition.[68] [emphasis – mine] ~ R. Gordon Wasson

It should now be coming clear that these same public relations techniques were intentionally used against the people in this remarketing of psychotomimetic to psychedelic and then to entheogen.

Just as Osmond introduced psychedelic to the psychiatric community, above, Gordon Wasson, Carl Ruck and Jonathan Ott would introduce their new word to the psychedelic community, using almost the same arguments (and tactics), and arguing that these older words were now legacy, or tainted – no matter if by their own agents.

We commonly refer, for example, to the alteration of sensory perceptions as “hallucination” and hence a drug that effected such a change became known as an “hallucinogen.”(1) The verb “hallucinate,” however, immediately imposes a value judgment upon the nature of the altered perceptions, for it means “to be deceived or entertain false notions.” It comes from the Latin (b)al(l)ucinari, “to wander mentally or talk nonsensically,” and is synonymous with verbs meaning to be delirious or insane.

How can such a term allow one to discuss without bias those transcendent and beatific states of communion with deity that numerous peoples believe they or their shamans attain through the ingestion of what we now call “hallucinogens? The other terms are not less damning.”[69]
~ Carl Ruck, Gordon Wasson, et al

Here the authors use a loaded question, one which we’ll cover in just a moment. But damning for what? Also notice their bias to sell them as spiritual rather than “hallucination” causing. They appeal to “numerous peoples” – a non-specific appeal to popularity, while ignoring any scientific literature to the contrary.

Then the authors continue, making a statement that, from the evidence already presented, is completely false:

During the first decade after the discovery of LSD, scientific investigators of the influence of these drugs on the mental processes (most of whom, it is clear, had no personal experience of their effects) had the impression that they seemed to approximate deranged and psychotic states.[70]
~ Carl Ruck, Gordon Wasson, et al

Are they trying to claim that, of all people, Huxley, Hoffer and Osmond had no experience with these substances? That’s, of course, ridiculous. Everyone knows that Huxley wrote The Doors of Perception, and Osmond gave Huxley the mescaline! And Hoffer worked with Osmond and the Huxleys. And should we believe them when they say “scientific investigators […] had the impression that they seemed to approximate deranged and psychotic states”? Was it really only an “impression that they seemed to approximate”? At this point would you prefer to call it incompetence, or lies? It’s obviously part of their marketing strategy.

And, ironically, in an interview with Prof. Carl Ruck at his home in 2008, I specifically asked him if he’d ever tried mushrooms, to which he said no. He also admitted to having only tried LSD once in his life. LSD was made in a laboratory and is not a shamanic sacrament. It was Ruck who, as he admitted in his interviews with me and was noted above, was the primary developer of the word “entheogen.” So shouldn’t he, by his own words, have experience with these substances before trying to name them? I can’t help but wonder if his one experience with LSD was due to the CIA’s requirement for new recruits mentioned at the start of this article? Here’s more from their paper “Entheogens”:

Psychology, which is etymologically the study of the “soul,” has until recently concerned itself only with mental illness and aberrant behavior, and all of the terms formed from the psycho- root suffer from this connotation of sickness: psychotic, for example, cannot mean “soulful.” Osmond attempted to avoid these adverse associations when he coined “psychedelic,”(2) the only word in English that employs the anomalous root psyche- instead of psycho-, in hopes that this term, as distinct from "psychotomimetic,” might indicate something that “reveals the soul.”[71]
~ Carl Ruck, Gordon Wasson, et al

Notice how, just as with phanerothyme and psychedelic, above, the idea is to promote these substances as “spiritual.” Notice also that Ruck confirms what I’ve stated about the marketing strategy, above, that Osmond’s rules about the new word were “in hopes that this term, as distinct from "psychotomimetic,” might indicate something that “reveals the soul.””

Some of you may be thinking right about now, or you have been for some time, “well, psychedelics and mushrooms DO generate religious and spiritual experiences!” Well, as we’ve seen throughout this paper, and it really shouldn’t be all that much of a surprise by now, much of that assumption appears to have been public relations too. The topic of dark shamanism should also be mentioned, but is too vast for this article, so I offer a brief quote from Prof. Neil Whitehead and Dr. Robin Wright instead:

Amazonian shamanism is not a loving animism, as its middle-class urban vulgate want us to believe. It is better understood as a predatory animism: subjectivity is attributed to human and nonhuman entities, with whom some people are capable of interacting verbally and establishing relationships of adoption or alliance, which permit them to act upon the world in order to cure, to fertilize, and to kill. […]

Whereas neoshamanism is turned on the remodeling of individual subjectivities, indigenous shamanism is concerned with producing new persons and social relationships from the stock of human and nonhuman subjectivities existing in the cosmos.[72]
~ Neil Whitehead and Robin Wright

To summarize these ideas further, it was weaponized anthropology being used against us and the Mazatec peoples; it was what Gregory Bateson coined as “native revivalism” being remarketed to the public – which later became the “Archaic Revival.” Prof. David Price cites Bateson’s declassified OSS memo on these ideas. Unfortunately we don’t know exactly what this “significant experiment” was, or where its findings were published. This is something that anthropologists serious about getting to the truth need to investigate and make public:

The most significant experiment which has yet been conducted in the adjustment of relations between “superior” and “inferior” peoples is the Russian handling of their Asiatic tribes in Siberia. The findings of this experiment support very strongly the conclusion that it is very important to foster spectatorship among the superiors and exhibitionism among the inferiors. In outline, what the Russians have done is to stimulate the native peoples to undertake a native revival while they themselves admire the resulting dance festivals and other exhibitions of native culture, literature, poetry, music and so on. And the same attitude of spectatorship is then naturally extended to native achievements in production or organization. In contrast to this, where the white man thinks of himself as a model and encourages the native people to watch him in order to find out how things should be done, we find that in the end nativistic cults spring up among the native people. The system gets overweighed until some compensatory machinery is developed and then the revival of native arts, literature, etc., becomes a weapon for use against the white man (Phenomena, comparable to Ghandi’s spinning wheel may be observed in Ireland and elsewhere). If, on the other hand, the dominant people themselves stimulate native revivalism, then the system as a whole is much more stable, and the nativism cannot be used against the dominant people.[73] [emphasis added] ~ Gregory Bateson

For a closer look at this “native revivalism” and how it was used in the West, let’s get back to Gordon Wasson and the Mazatec mushrooms.

Although Dr. Andy Letcher overlooks Wasson’s ties to public relations and the CIA’s MKULTRA Subproject 58 program, he reveals Wasson’s hype of the mushrooms as spiritual. In his book Shroom Letcher states:

That Wasson was captivated by her [Sabina] seems understandable, given these qualities [charismatic]. What is less understandable is why he dismissed the other curanderos he encountered as second rate, practitioners of a degenerate tradition: their standing was as high as Sabina’s within their respective communities. […]

But I think it most compelling that Wasson alighted upon Sabina as ‘the archetypal shaman’ because she neatly fitted his preconceptions about what a priestess of his old religion should look like. On finding Sabina, his heart must have skipped a beat, for in her he saw the missing link for which he had been looking. […]

Devout, suffering, compassionate, generous, humble, a loving and devoted mother, a mystic, a woman without stain: she was a most Mary-like figure, and as such she slotted so very easily into Wasson’s High Church expectations. […]

The only problem with all of this was that the veladas were not religious ceremonies. That is, though each was framed within a unique and adaptive blend of Catholic and pagan ritual actions – prayers to Christian saints and Mazatec spirits, for example – they were not performed as an act of worship, or to induce mystical experiences of God: they were performed for the serious and pragmatic purposes of healing. Sabina was clear on the matter: ‘the vigils weren’t done for the simple desire to find God, but were done with the sole purpose of curing the sickness that our people suffer from’. To find God, Sabina – like all good Catholics – went to Mass. […]

The anthropological heresy that Wasson committed, therefore, was that he forced these complex indigenous healing practices to fit in with his own preconceptions rather than attempt the more difficult task of trying to understand them on their own terms. He went to Mexico with his vision of the ancient mushrooming cult fully formed, and projected the priestly role onto Sabina […].[74] [emphasis added] ~ Andy Letcher

Citing Maria Sabina’s own 1981 interview and book with Alvaro Estrada[75], Letcher accuses Wasson of “anthropological heresy,” words that certainly ring true here with regard to native revivalism, and we’ll see more of this “weaponized anthropology” as we progress. Another accurate word that Letcher used regarding Wasson’s selling the mushrooms as spiritual was “lies.”[76] Also, did you notice how Letcher pointed out that Maria Sabina was a “very Mary-like figure”? She even had the right name – Maria is Spanish for “Mary,” making a subtle suggestion to a religious experience. How serendipitous! And it gets even better. Maria belonged to…oh, I’ll just let her tell you herself:

I’ve belonged to the sisterhoods for thirty years. Now I belong to the Sisterhood of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The sisterhood is composed of ten women. […]Each member is also called mother. Our task consists of making candles and gathering money to pay for the mass that is given monthly in thanks to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.[77]
~ Maria Sabina

Maria Sabina was a devout Catholic. There is no evidence that she had ever used the mushrooms for anything other than healing. Nearly all of the lyrics for her so-called “veladas” are the names of Christian saints (including Jesus’s) mixed with words for healing.[78]

During my vigils I speak to the saints: to Lord Santiago, to Saint Joseph, and to Mary. I say the name of each one as they appear. I know that God is formed by all the saints. Just as we, together, form humanity, God is formed by all the saints. That is why I don’t have a preference for any saint. All the saints are equal, one has the same force as the other, none has more power than another.[79]
~ Maria Sabina

Mycologist Dr. Brian Akers, who also possesses a Master of Arts in Anthropology and a degree in Comparative Religion, and who’s worked on various projects with Prof. Ruck, in The Sacred Mushrooms of Mexico, admits:

The mushroom indicates what made the person sick, and is able to say what the witchcraft was, who did it, on what day, as well as the motive, and can well indicate whether it pertains to a fright (un espanto) or sickness that can be cured with other medicines.[80]
~ Dr. Brian Akers

In Persephone’s Quest, Wasson himself admits these facts:

I have one more publication to report in the Mexican field. In 1958 I taped a complete ceremony of Maria Sabina’s velada, as we have come to call the customary night-time session. A boy about 17 years old had contracted a serious illness when working down in the hot country: something was gravely wrong with his liver or kidney. Maria Sabina would devote her healing velada to asking the mushrooms whether the boy would live or die, and if he was to live, what he should do to recover. The verdict however was that the boy had to die: within weeks he was dead.[81]
~ R. Gordon Wasson

Wasson admits that it was a “customary night-time session” and that Maria was healing a 17-year-old boy who died weeks later. Furthermore, curandero, from cure, means “a healer.” And while Maria Sabina appeared as a religious, godly figure that Wasson could market to the public, in 1953 Wasson met another curandero and did a “velada” with him as well. Unfortunately for Wasson, this curandero was a “one-eyed butcher” and didn’t fit the saintly image he would a few years later play up with Sabina:

The velada was held on the night of Saturday, 15 August 1953 stretching into the early hours of the following day, in Huautla de Jimenez, Oaxaca. We were talking with one of our best informants in Huautla, don Aurelio Carreras, a one-eyed butcher. […] He had furnished us with entheogenic mushrooms of two species and clearly meant us well. He had no success in finding shaman […] As we chatted with Aurelio, quite casually, don Roberto asked,

‘And tell us, Aurelio, when you give treatments (hace curaciones), are they successful?’

‘Always’, he answered.

For days we had been talking to a cotacine (‘one-who-knows’ in Mazatec, ‘shaman’) all unawares.[82]
~ Gordon Wasson

So in in 1953 Wasson and Weitlaner had already met a “shaman,” Aurelio, and had already seen a “velada” and decided that Aurelio wasn’t a marketable figure. “Aurelio, the one-eyed Mazatec butcher from Huautla de Jimenez” doesn’t sound as charming as “Maria Sabina, the sabia,” does it? In fact, he sounds more like Jack the Ripper. Furthermore, Aurelio “smoked a big, black, strong cigar all night” and “sweated profusely.”[83]

But to further prove that these substances were used for healing, notice above that Aurelio would “give treatments,” which sounds strikingly similar to something a doctor would do. Furthermore, Aurelio had asked what problem troubled Wasson and Weitlaner, to which Wasson replied:

We said we wished to have news of our son Peter, age 18, from whom we had not heard for many days. (Peter did not know our address.) This seemed a legitimate reason.[84]

Later, regarding lost objects, Wasson admits:

The natives told us of other wonders within the power of the mushroom: 1) if a young wife vanishes, the mushroom tells in a vision where she is; 2) if money has disappeared from a secret place, the mushroom reveals who has it and where it is; 3) if the burro has disappeared, the mushrooms says whether he is stolen and toward what market he is being driven for sale, or else whether it has fallen into a barranca where he lies with a broken leg; 4) if a boy in the family has gone away into the world, perhaps to the States, the mushroom will bring news of him. The Indians are agreed on these matters.[85]
~ Gordon Wasson

Aside from healing we have: finding a young, cheating wife, looking for stolen money, finding a missing jackass, and tracking down a boy in the family who’s gone into the world – these uses are what Wasson and Ruck seek to rename “entheogen.”

Embellishing the story to its furthest extreme, in his best Wassonian prose while referring to Mexican author Fernando Benitez, Akers states: “Benitez was personally referred to the curandera Maria Sabina by R. Gordon Wasson” and continues on, and quite falsely I might add: “Benitez presents an accurate picture of the sacred mushroom complex of the Mazatecs” […] - but Akers’ claim couldn’t be further from the truth:

Unconstrained by formal stylistic conventions of strictly scientific or anthropological investigations, Benitez here gives his sensibilities as a writer free reign […]. In particular, Benitez’ account brings out one inescapable feature of the experience brought on by ingestion of the mushrooms, namely its intensely personal quality. As a result, Benitez powerfully draws the reader into his narrative, offering observations that dovetail those of authors such as [are you ready for it?] Aldous Huxley, Alan Watts, Huston Smith and R. Gordon Wasson. He paints an especially compelling portrait of Maria Sabina, whose essential character seems to emerge as a sort of native Mexican version of St. Theresa of Avila, humbly living a life of complete fidelity to her mystical visions, recognizing in their inspiration an overwhelming reality beyond the reach of doubt. In this respect, this account foreshadows the book Maria Sabina: Her Life and Chants by Alvaro Estrada (1981), which first appeared in the original Spanish in 1977. Benitez’ contributions have been widely acclaimed. As noted by anthropologist Peter Furst, a leading expert on the indigenous context of hallucinogens, such as the ritual use of peyote and the Huichol (1972, 1976).[86]
~ Brian Akers

Akers states that Benitez is “Unconstrained by formal stylistic conventions of strictly scientific or anthropological investigations,” which normally translates to “you’re about to hear a lot of poppycock.” Akers then claims that Benitez: “powerfully draws the reader into his narrative,” and has “observations that dovetail those of authors such as Aldous Huxley, Alan Watts, Huston Smith and R. Gordon Wasson.” “He paints an especially compelling portrait of Maria Sabina,” the “St. Theresa of Avila,” and an “overwhelming reality beyond the reach of doubt.” We’ll see about that.

He also claims that “this account foreshadows the book Maria Sabina: Her Life and Chants by Alvaro Estrada” but he doesn’t mention that, as we’ll see below, Sabina entirely contradicts Benitez’ version of the story. And that’s not all.

A startling discovery by anthropologist Prof. Jay Courtney Fikes in his book Carlos Castaneda: Academic Opportunism and the Psychedelic Sixties, 1993,[87] revealed that Prof. Peter T. Furst, Dr. Barbara Myerhoff, and Dr. Carlos Castaneda had collaborated together to mislead their readers regarding the Huichol for decades and had committed academic fraud.

When Fikes first went public with the information in his book, Furst threatened to sue his publisher. Rather than standing firm, Fikes’ publisher panicked and pulled his book from print. And Fikes and other anthropologists had already brought charges of academic fraud against Furst to the Ethics Committee of the American Anthropological Association in 1992[88], which also backed down due to Furst’s threats. Due to the depth of this scandal as we’ve been revealing here, we’re beginning to understand what was most likely the underlying cause that got the Anthropological Association to back down. Furst will have no such luck here. I’d love to get this scandal on the official record. Attempts to interview Furst have failed.

In a July 2011 interview with me, Fikes stated:

Neither Furst or Myerhoff or Castaneda had any field notes or tape recordings and nobody else among the Huichols who has studied them has found anything like that. It's not part of any Huichol ritual. So there is no basis for it at all. It's a fabrication and it's a fabrication in that we have three people who knew each other very well-- Castaneda, Furst and Myerhoff--all writing strikingly similar reports about waterfall jumping (Fikes 1993: 70-75).
~ Jay Courtney Fikes

Akers’ claims are quite overreaching, to say the very least. Fikes published his book in 1993, and Akers published in 2007, so there’s no reason for Dr. Akers, with a Masters in Anthropology, to not know the facts when he claims “Peter Furst, a leading expert on the indigenous context of hallucinogens, such as the ritual use of peyote and the Huichol.” And (for this article) Huxley’s and Wasson’s integrity are under question (we’ll have to leave Watts and Smith for another time), and now we see that Benitez fits tightly into their camp, as, seemingly, does Akers. But again, we can see what appears to be Akers and Benitez steering the conversation in a predetermined direction (just as Huxley and Wasson), which is behavior unbecoming academia. Though I’ll let the reader be the judge, it appears that Benitez (and Akers –if he knew) have committed the same “anthropological heresy” that Wasson did, above. In the following Benitez quotes (translated by Akers–we verified his translation and it’s accurate) we see Benitez acting seemingly as a good PR man, literally taking as much fictional liberty with the anthropological facts regarding Maria Sabina and the Mazatec as he possibly could. In this first quote he admits that he couldn’t understand the Mazatec language:

Unfortunately, the fact that Maria speaks Mazatec exclusively has prevented me from knowing her in all her spiritual wealth and depth. Not without overcoming an old distrust, she agreed to tell me her life story in three sessions, and although she had as a translator the intelligent teacher Herlinda, a native of Huautla who speaks Mazatec perfectly, it was quickly revealed that not only was she incapable of translating Maria’s poetic thought, but also distorted the meaning and originality of her story in passing it through the filter of another culture and sensitivity.[89]
~ Fernando Benitez

So Benitez couldn’t understand a single word Sabina said: “Unfortunately, the fact that Maria speaks Mazatec exclusively has prevented me from knowing her [...]”. He then states “Not without overcoming an old distrust,” but he doesn’t state an old distrust of what. Was it Wasson? As we’ll see in a moment it likely was. After all, Wasson sent him there. He then claims that the translator “who speaks Mazatec perfectly” was “incapable of translating Maria’s poetic thought,” and then says she “distorted the meaning and originality of her story.” But how could Benitez possibly know this if he didn’t speak a word of Mazatec? And, ironically, Benitez provides no detailed notes or recordings of his conversation with Sabina. He then uses assuming words: “in all her spiritual wealth and depth.” The question then becomes: Was Benitez a willful idiot? Or, like Furst, Myerhoff, Castaneda, Wasson, and, apparently, Ruck, a willful participant? Above we saw Akers state: “Benitez was personally referred to the curandera Maria Sabina by R. Gordon Wasson.” And would you believe it? Serendipitously, Wasson had worked with Furst and Castaneda. From The Valley News, March 27, 1970:

The uses of hallucinogenic drugs by other societies will be investigated by a group of scholars […]. Titled “Hallucinogenic Drug Use in Non-Western Cultures,” the series starts March 30 in Woodland Hills […], and March 31 at UCLA […].

Films, Slides and discussion will supplement the lectures, and among the films to be shown will be the first documentary on the Huichol Peyote cult of Mexico. […] Coordinating the program will be Peter T. Furst, research anthropologist at UCLA.

In the first lecture of the series, Carlos Castaneda will discuss the concept of a separate reality through the use of hallucinogens, relating his experiences as an apprentice shaman in Northern Mexico. […]

Peyote use among the Huichols of Mexico will be seen in a film and lecture by Peter T. Furst. “The Sacred Mushroom of Mexico” is the topic of a presentation by R. Gordon Wasson, who began research in 1927 leading to his famous studies of the mushroom and botanical identification of Soma, the sacred substance worshipped by ancient Indo-Europeans, on which Wasson will give a second lecture for the final meeting of the series.[90]

And although I’ve truncated the news article for brevity, other scholars in the lecture series were Weston Labarre, Marlene Dobkin de Rios, James W. Fernandez, Richard Evans Schultes, Michael J. Harner, and William A. Emboden, Jr.

We also have Carlos Castaneda meeting up with Wasson at the Century Club, a CIA front organization that I’ve exposed previously, which appears from documents was headed by the Director of Central Intelligence, Allen Dulles. Just one of the letters between Wasson and Dulles released to me through CIA Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, states:

3 April 1957

Dear Gordon:

It was a great pleasure to write a letter of recommendation on behalf of my good friend, Ellsworth Bunker, to the Century Association. I enclose a copy. It was good to hear from you. Let me know if you are in Washington.[91]
~ Allen Dulles

Here is Wasson reminding Castaneda that the two had met up at the Century Club, as well as at Furst’s conference, above:

10 January 1976

Dear Mr. Castaneda:

After these many years may I remind you of some exchanges, mostly epistolary, that we had at the time of the publication of your first book. You sent me with a long letter a dozen pages of your field notes, not the scribbled notes that you made in Don Juan’s presents, but the ones that you wrote out within hours of the end of your session with them. Then, later, you came and had drinks with me at the Century Club in New York, and some months afterwards we saw each other briefly at the series of lectures that Peter Furst organized at UCLA.[92]
~ Gordon Wasson

But before I digress too far, let’s get back to Benitez. He continues:

First we note that the curandero, to commune with these gods, undergoes a transformation by which he himself becomes a god. No effort is necessary to demonstrate the existence of these gods. To this day in Huautla proof that the mushroom is sacred is established by the incontrovertible fact that eating it is sufficient to feel its supernatural effects.[93]
~ Fernando Benitez

Benitez later claims:

On the whole, the most important thing in this religious mixture is the ecstatic experience, “considered as the religious experience par excellence.”(17)

Therefore the ones who dominate in the Sierra are not the curanderos or Catholic priests, but the ones who resort to the sacred mushrooms, being—within a variety of techniques poorly studied—the specialists “of a trance during which the soul is believed to abandon the body and undertake the ascents to the sky or descents to the underworld.”[94]
~ Fernando Benitez

Though no page number is given, the above footnote 17 by Benitez references the Spanish edition of Mircea Eliade’s book Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, where on page 401 Eliade states:

The phenomenology of the trance underwent many changes and corruptions, due in large part to confusion as to the precise nature of ecstasy….Concerning the original shamanic experience … narcotics are only a vulgar substitute for “pure” trance.  The use of intoxicants is a recent innovation and points to a decadence in shamanic technique. Narcotic intoxication is called on to provide an imitation of a state that the shaman is no longer capable of attaining otherwise. Decadence or vulgarization of a mystical technique – in ancient and modern India, and indeed all through the East, we constantly find this strange mixture of “difficult ways” and “easy ways” of realizing mystical ecstasy or some other decisive experience.[95]
~ Mircea Eliade

In citing 16th century Franciscan friar Motolinia, Benitez reveals:

They had another way of getting drunk that made them crueler: it was with certain fungi or small mushrooms (unos hongos o setas pequeñas), of which there are such in this land as in Castile; but those of this land are of such quality that eaten raw and being bitter, they drink after taking them and eat them with a little bee honey; and in a little while they see a thousand visions and especially snakes; and as they go out of their senses, their legs and body appear full of worms eating them alive and thus half raving they leave the house wanting someone to kill them; and with this bestial drunkenness and thing they felt (trabajor que sentian), it sometimes happened they would hang themselves and they were also crueler toward others. With these mushrooms, called teunanacatlh in their language, which means flesh of the god or the devil which they worship, and in this way with this bitter delicacy they communed with their cruel god.[96]
~ Motolinia

As it turns out, Friar Motolinia was one of only two existing citations of the early use of the word “teunanacatlh” (teonanacatl) or “flesh of the gods” – a name which has become highly popularized in “spiritual mushroom” pop-culture today. As we can see, Motolinia’s description mentions nothing even remotely spiritual as was being sold by Wasson, Akers, Benitez, Ruck, et al. Ignoring statements like “made them crueler,” “go out of their senses,” “wanting someone to kill them,” “bestial drunkenness,” and “it sometimes happened they would hang themselves,” dismissively Benitez gibes while letting the truth slip out:

Communion. Not with God but with the Devil, that terrible active Devil who impregnates the chronicles with his smell and always shows his horns and tail behind all the events. How we recognize the prose and spirit of the sixteenth century in those fragments! Other than the vision of future wealth and a peaceful death, the informants of Sahagun or Motolinia did not communicate any beautiful hallucination[…][97]
~ Dr. Brian Akers

Had the Aztec, in reality, used these substances to suggest their victims into human sacrifice? Interestingly, the anthropologists and ethnographers should also be aware of their biases, not only toward the indigenous, but toward the Spaniards as well.

But what did Maria Sabina have to say about all of this? In direct contradiction with all of the above claims from these “scholars,” in Maria Sabina, Her Life and Chants, she unequivocally states:

After those first visits of Wasson, many foreign people came to ask me to do vigils for them. I asked them if they were sick, but they said no…that they had only come “to know God.” They brought innumerable objects with which they took what they called photographs and recorded my voice. Later they brought papers [newspapers and magazines] in which I appeared. I’ve kept some papers I’m in. I keep them even though I don’t know what they say about me.

It’s true that Wasson and his friends were the first foreigners who came to our town in search of the saint children and that they didn’t take them because they suffered from any illness. Their reason was that they came to find God.

Before Wasson nobody took the mushrooms only to find God. They were always taken for the sick to get well.[98]
~ Maria Sabina

She further states:

For a time there came young people of one and the other sex, long-haired, with strange clothes. They wore shirts of many colors and used necklaces. A lot came. Some of these young people sought me out for me to stay up with the Little-One-Who-Springs-Forth. “We come in search of God,” they said. It was difficult for me to explain to them that the vigils weren’t done from the simple desire to find God, but were done with the sole purpose of curing the sickness that our people suffer from.[99]
~ Maria Sabina

So much for Akers’ statement that Benitez’s description was “beyond the reach of doubt.” In an interview with me in March 2009, Akers admitted:

And human beings, for all our talk about human worth and dignity and meaning and what’s important, for all our big brains and opposable thumbs, we’re really just smart two-legged animals, who wander the face of the earth scheming and dreaming in vain. Because the truth is there is no truth, except that we’re basically all fools and nothing matters. And the sooner you realize that the better for you. Because what it comes down to is, people are either going to be sheep, or they’re going to be shearers of the sheep. You know, you can be prey species, or you can be predator. That’s the choice that we have. And I personally would rather wear silk and gold and be one of the predators not the prey. So if you’re smart, that’s the point of view you’ll take.
~ Brian Akers

How spiritual! And back to Wasson: so Wasson and Weitlaner made up an illegitimate reason to have Aurelio perform a “velada” for finding their son! In fact, after all of this, using loaded wording, Wasson says: “his divinatory powers, put to this test, had seemed to us thin, but of course we had duly entered in our notes all that he had said.”[100] Of course the word divinatory implies that something is inspired by a god.

Let’s turn for a moment to Wasson’s book The Wondrous Mushroom (notice that word “wondrous”? He loves loaded terms like: “magic,” “wondrous,” “sacred,” “divine”). In this text Wasson is discussing the early 16th century reports of Diego Durán:

We come now to the coronation of Montezuma II in 1502 when no one in Aztec country had yet heard of the Spaniards. For four days there was feasting and celebration and that on the fourth day came the coronation followed by human sacrifices in numbers. Then follows this paragraph where the sacred mushrooms enter.

The sacrifice finished and the steps of the temple and patio bathed in human blood, they all went to eat raw mushrooms; on which food they all went out of their minds, worse than if they had drunk much wine, ie fermented drinks, so drunk and senseless were they that many killed themselves by their own hand, and, with the force of those mushrooms, they could see visions and have revelations of the fugue, the Devil speaking to them in that drunken state.[101]

~ Gordon Wasson citing Diego Durán

Dismissing Durán’s quote out of hand, Wasson states:

Durán’s tone here is so out of harmony with what he had previously said that, were we not dealing with the holographic manuscript in his own hand, I would ask whether we had to do with an interpolation of a priestly redactor. Such a violent statement – many men drunk and senseless killing themselves is repeated by white men unacquainted with the hallucinogenic mushrooms, or who have possibly been ill-prepared for the experience and been drunk from alcohol when they took them. [102]

Since the passage is known to be of Duran’s own hand, Wasson can’t claim it’s a forgery. So when he claims that “many men drunk and senseless killing themselves is repeated by white men unacquainted with the hallucinogenic mushrooms,” this is actually what is known as a circumstantial ad hominem attack. Wasson’s tactic is arguing that because these men were white (Wasson was also white), their whiteness prevented them from properly seeing the natives eating mushrooms and, using suggestibility, influencing victims to commit sacrifice and suicide. None of this fits into the “spiritual” imagery Wasson is trying to force on his readers. It’s an absurd argument, and then he speculates about their use of alcohol to further his unfounded attack. Above I stated that anthropologists and ethnographers need to also be careful of their own prejudices against the Spaniards and using loaded language against them, but Wasson was, after all, the Vice President of propaganda for J.P. Morgan Bank and the head of the CIA’s MKULTRA Subproject 58 program. He has to promote this stuff to the youth. Wasson continues further down the page:

Such passages in the chronicles of the Aztecs astonish us: the number of human sacrifices that are set forth in detail, the way in which they are keyed to the religious calendar, the variety of methods used in taking the lives of the victims many of them cruel taxing belief and, perhaps strangest of all, the presence at their deaths, on the invitation of the victorious Aztec king, of their kin and friends. All these elements leave us in a quandary. A well-known mycologist has expressed his view- that the victims, to prepare them for sacrifice, were fed massive doses of mushrooms:

It now becomes comprehensible how the sacrificial feasts of ancient Mexico were unable to provoke any defense from the thousands of chosen human victims that were sacrificed in a cruel and bloody manner: they won the full cooperation of the victims, according the all appearances after massive orgies of mushrooms.

There is no support for this conclusion in either Duran’s Cronica X nor in the testimony of Sahagun’s Nahuatl informants nor anywhere else. This mycologist was giving circulation in a scientific journal to his own idle fancies. He did not know his sources, readily available though they were to him.
~ Gordon Wasson citing a “well known mycologist”

Wasson just ridicules this unnamed and “well known mycologist,” but now we also know about suggestibility, and didn’t we see Fernando Benitez citing Friar Motolinia above regarding the mushrooms? “…half raving they leave the house wanting someone to kill them; and with this bestial drunkenness and thing they felt (trabajor que sentian), it sometimes happened they would hang themselves and they were also crueler toward others.”

Then why is Wasson pretending that “There is no support for this conclusion in either Duran’s Cronica X nor in the testimony of Sahagun’s Nahuatl informants nor anywhere else”? So is Wasson attempting to claim that Friar Motolinia is not support for this conclusion and that there is none?

Of course Wasson is lying. That’s what PR guys and CIA spies do. And I won’t even bother to cite the archeology of these facts, and I won’t bother to call it incompetence because it’s just lying. The sweet irony is when Wasson states “This mycologist was giving circulation […] to his own idle fancies. He did not know his sources, readily available though they were to him.”
I just love the double meaning of his “this mycologist”. Was Wasson referring to himself when he said “this mycologist”?

We also saw Benitez cite Sahugun and Motolinia:

Other than the vision of future wealth and a peaceful death, the informants of Sahagun or Motolinia did not communicate any beautiful hallucination[…][103]

And above we saw that Wasson had referred Benitez to Sabina. And here we also see Wasson citing Benitez:

When asked by Fernando Benitez how she viewed the Sacred Mushrooms, Maria Sabina had said, as rendered into Spanish by Herlinda Martinez:
I see the mushrooms as children, as clowns. Children with violins, children with trumpea child-clowns who sing and dance around me. Children tender as sprouts, as flower buds, children that suck out the evil humors, the bad blood, the morning’s dew. The bird that sucks out illness, the good hummingbird, the wise Hummingbird, the face that cleans, the face that heals.[104]
~Wasson citing Benitez citing Herlinda Martinez translating for Maria Sabina.

Of course we already saw how Wasson had to omit all of Sabina’s other comments against mushroom spirituality and seeking god from this same book that didn’t support his claims. This was the only quote from Benitez that Wasson could try to cram into his fabricated version of Mazatec beliefs.

In any case, remember that word “suggestibility”? They label your experience and tell you the experience you're going to have:

It is probable, moreover, that even its anomalous formation cannot isolate it from confusion with the psycho- words, so that it suffers from the same problem as “psychotropic,” which tends to mean something that “turns one toward psychotic states” instead of merely toward an altered mentality.

We therefore, propose a new term that would be appropriate for describing states of shamanic and ecstatic possession induced by ingestion of mind-altering drugs. But notice that their own word, entheogen, suggests “generating god” – and not just an “altered mentality”.[105]
~ Carl Ruck, Gordon Wasson, et al

We just saw how Wasson (and Benitez in Akers) lied and faked what Maria Sabina and the curanderos used mushrooms for – which was not a spiritual experience by anyone’s wildest imagination. So then, why, based off their own work and using circular reasoning, are Ruck and Wasson then citing themselves as reason to create this new word entheogen?

They state:

In Greek the word entheos means literally “god (theos) within,” and was used to describe the condition that follows when one is inspired and possessed by the god that has entered one’s body. It was applied to prophetic seizures, erotic passion and artistic creation, as well as to those religious rites in which mystical states were experienced through the ingestion of substances that were transubstantial with the deity. In combination with the Greek root gen-, which denotes the action of “becoming,” this word results in the term that we are proposing: entheogen.[106]
~ Carl Ruck, Gordon Wasson, et al

Huh? Do I need to ask: Have these authors intentionally misled their readers? Have they committed academic fraud? Comparing this to what we just read from Dr. Andy Letcher, Maria Sabina, Motolinia, et al, does anything they wrote make any sense? Their “facts” don’t check out. Their reasoning doesn’t check out. Their friends don’t check out.

Ruck, Wasson, et al., continue misleading their readers:

In a strict sense, only those vision-producing drugs that can be shown to have figured in shamanic or religious rites would be designated entheogens, but in a looser sense, the term could also be applied to other drugs, both natural and artificial, that induce alterations of consciousness similar to those documented for ritual ingestion of traditional entheogens.[107]
~ Carl Ruck, Gordon Wasson, et al.

As cited above, Martin Lee and Bruce Shlain state in their book that it was the transcendental insight that was overlooked:

Many other researchers, however, dismissed transcendental insight as either "happy psychosis" or a lot of nonsense. The knee-jerk reaction on the part of the psychotomimetic stalwarts was indicative of a deeply ingrained prejudice against certain varieties of experience.[108]
~ Martin Lee and Bruce Shlain

Or, based on the evidence and obvious public relations tactics I’ve shown here, was it the psychosis (not to mention curing) that was intentionally suppressed? So it appears. And, ironically, Michael Hollingshead, a friend of Timothy Leary and Aldous Huxley, quotes Harvard professor David McClelland. Prof. McClelland may be the only academic over the last 55 years to (even if only as a Hegelian dialectic) tell the truth of this agenda:

One of the most vocal of the critics was Professor David McClelland, a professor of psychology, a protestant-ethic man, highly intelligent, an expert in the psychological basis of
'fantasy', a prominent Quaker, dedicated to external achievement.

McClelland had decided to bring matters to a head by calling a meeting of the staff of the Center in which he revealed in no uncertain terms his growing concern over the Psychedelic Project. To judge by the behavior of Mexican curanderas and Indian mystics, he said, one would expect the chief effects of psychedelic substances to be to encourage withdrawal from contact with social reality and to increase satisfaction with one's own inner thought life. Research reports from the current Harvard project, he said, 'are not inconsistent with these expectations'. And went on to note that 'initiates begin to show a certain blandness, or superiority, or feeling of being above and beyond the normal worlds of social reality'. He was concerned about a developing interpersonal insensitivity, about the 'inability to predict in advance what the social reaction of a "psilocybin party" would be'. And religious and philosophical naiveté: 'Many reports are given of deep mystical experiences, but their chief characteristic is the wonder at one's own profundity rather than a genuine concern to probe deeper into the experience of the human race in these matters', and impulsivity: 'One of the most difficult parts of the research has been to introduce any order into who takes the drug under what conditions. Any controls have either been rejected as interfering with the warmth necessary to have a valuable experience or accepted as desirable but then not applied because somehow an occasion arises when it seems "right" to have a psychedelic session'. He concluded his statements with this warning: 'It is probably no accident that the society which most consistently encouraged the use of these substances, India, produced one of the sickest social orders ever created by mankind in which thinking men spent their time lost in the Buddha position under the influence of drugs exploring consciousness, while poverty, disease, social discrimination, and superstition reached their highest and most organised form in all history.'[109] [emphasis added] ~ Michael Hollingshead.

After Pont Saint Esprit, and after a successful remarketing slogan was created, the CIA and intelligence communities decided to do a much larger mind-control test – this time on major metropolitan populations of many millions. In 1965 the CIA launched the world's largest mind control test on the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. Armed with their new marketing tools, slogans and words, their mission, by the summer of 1967, would be largely successful. As propagandist and media expert Marshal McLuhan stated over lunch with Tim Leary:

The lunch with Marshall McLuhan at the Plaza was informative. “Dreary Senate hearings and courtrooms are not the platforms for your message, Tim. You call yourself a philosopher, a reformer. Fine. But the key to your work is advertising. You’re promoting a product. The new and improved accelerated brain. You must use the most current tactics for arousing consumer interest. Associate LSD with all the good things that the brain can produce—beauty, fun, philosophic wonder, religious revelation, increased intelligence, mystical romance. Word of mouth from satisfied consumers will help, but get your rock and roll friends to write jingles about the brain.” He sang:

Lysergic acid hits the spot.

Forty billion neurons, that’s a lot.

“The problem is tricky,” I said. “The opposition beat us to the punch. The psychiatrists and police propagandists have already stressed the negative, which can be dangerous when the mind is re-imprinting under.

They may be deliberately provoking bad trips. They never mention the 999 good experiences. They keep repeating ‘LSD: jump out a window.’ When some ill-prepared person goes spinning into new realms, he or she wonders what happens now? Oh yeah. Jump out a window. It’s like the over-solicitous mother who warned her kids not to push peanuts up their noses.”
“Exactly,” agreed McLuhan. “That’s why your advertising must stress the religious. Find the god within. This is all frightfully interesting. Your competitors are naturally denouncing the brain as an instrument of the devil. Priceless!

“To dispel fear you must use your public image. You are the basic product endorser. Whenever you are photographed, smile. Wave reassuringly. Radiate courage. Never complain or appear angry. It’s okay if you come off as flamboyant and eccentric. You’re a professor, after all. But a confident attitude is the best advertisement. You must be known for your smile.”
[…] “You’re going to win the war, Timothy. Eventually. But you’re going to lose some major battles on the way. You’re not going to overthrow the Protestant Ethic in a couple years.[…][110] [emphasis added] ~Timothy Leary

Serendipitously, here we see McLuhan giving Leary the exact instructions that he and Kleps used in the 1966 Congressional hearings, above; not to mention every time Leary was ever in the media or public.

And the serendipity was dripping when The Beatles came out with their Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album in 1967. And, by serendipity it must have been, that The Beatles got Marshal McLuhan’s message to Leary, using lyrics such as “picture yourself in a boat on a river” which falls right into the suggestibility factor we’ve been discussing, when McLuhan told Leary “get your rock and roll friends to write jingles about the brain,” just in time for the Summer of Love, and, by serendipity it must have been that Leary just happened to know such bands as The Beatles:

Picture yourself in a boat on a river
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes

Cellophane flowers of yellow and green
Towering over your head
Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes
And she's gone

Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
~ The Beatles, Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds

For those of you who don’t already know this might come as a shocker, but “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” is a sales pitch, a jingle for their product – LSD. In The Beatles and McLuhan: Understanding the Electric Age, Thomas MacFarlane says that by 1966 The Beatles knew exactly what McLuhan meant. Serendipitously, in 1969, Marshal McLuhan would have a filmed conversation with them.

Later, in Mission Mind Control, a 1979 ABC Television special on the CIA’s MKULTRA program, Leary admitted that the CIA originated the entire movement while at the same time using the very sales methods mentioned by McLuhan, above:

I give the CIA a total credit for sponsoring and initiating the entire consciousness-movement counterculture events of the 1960s… the CIA funded and supported and encouraged hundreds of young psychologists to experiment with this drug. The fallout from that was that the young psychiatrists started taking it themselves discovering that it was an intelligence enhancing, intelligence raising experience.[111]
~ Timothy Leary

And bringing it full circle, notice, above, that McLuhan stated: “That’s why your advertising must stress the religious. Find the god within.” “Find the god within” in 1979 became “generate the god within.” Today the CIA’s and Huxley’s dream of mind controlling the masses for the “Brave New World” has continued forward under the new moniker “entheogen.”

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:1

And so it seems, with a little public and social relations and marketing strategy, the fruit of the tree was remarketed in a fashion so suiting the Serpent – a rose.

Wait… the Serpent!? I wish I were kidding.

Flashback to the beginning

In Leary’s book Flashbacks he cites a very revealing conversation he had with Aldous Huxley:

These are evolutionary matters. They cannot be rushed. Work privately. Initiate artists, writers, poets, jazz musicians, elegant courtesans, painters, rich bohemians and they'll initiate the intelligent rich. That's how everything of culture and beauty and philosophic freedom has been passed on

Your role is quite simple. Become a cheerleader for evolution. That’s what I did and my grandfather before me. These brain-drugs, mass-produced in the laboratories, will bring about vast changes in society. This will happen with or without you or me. All we can do is spread the word. The obstacle to this evolution, Timothy, is the Bible”.

“I don’t remember any discussion of brain-change drugs in the Bible.”

“Timothy, have you forgotten the very first chapters of Genesis? Jehovah says to Adam and Eve, ‘I’ve built you this wonderful resort eastward of Eden. You can do anything you want, except you are forbidden to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.’”

“The first controlled substances.”

“Exactly. The Bible begins with Food and Drug prohibitions.”

“So the Fall and Original Sin were caused by the taking of illegal drugs.”

By this time Aldous was chuckling away very pleased with himself, and I was rolling on the floor with laughter.[112]
~ Timothy Leary in a conversation with Aldous Huxley

But why would Aldous Huxley say “The obstacle to this evolution, Timothy, is the Bible”? They state:

“The first controlled substances.” Exactly. “The Bible begins with Food and Drug prohibitions.” “So the Fall and Original Sin were caused by the taking of illegal drugs.”

Leary states “the Fall and Original Sin were caused by the taking of illegal drugs” and then admits “Aldous was chuckling away very pleased with himself, and I was rolling on the floor with laughter.” I can’t help but think with these words that this was intended to be some form of Crowleyan-style black magic ritual trying to recreate the Fall of humanity.

I’ve been an admirer of Aleister Crowley. I think that I’m carrying on much of the work that he started over a hundred years ago.[113]
~ Timothy Leary

The psychological implications on these men’s mental health are astonishing to contemplate, if this theory is correct.

To understand all of this in context, including Huxley’s comments to Leary regarding the Bible and his subsequent “chuckling,” we need to go all the way back to the beginning, to the Genesis of the entire story.

Genesis 3:1-11:
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

Well, I did say to the beginning of the story! It is likely that Gordon Wasson, too, used the biblical narrative from Genesis as the origin, or “genesis” of his mushroom story. For some additional context here’s his version of the story as he told it in the May 13, 1957, edition of Life magazine, wherein his version of the myth seems uncannily like the biblical Genesis story:

It was a walk in the woods, many years ago, that launched my wife and me on our quest of the mysterious mushroom. We were married in London in 1926, she being Russian, born and brought up in Moscow. She had lately qualified as a physician at the University of London. I am from Great Falls, Montana of Anglo-Saxon origins. In the late summer of 1927, recently married, we spent our holiday in the Catskill Mountains in New York State. In the afternoon of the first day we went strolling along a lovely mountain path, through woods criss-crossed by the slanting rays of a descending sun. We were young, carefree and in love. Suddenly my bride abandoned my side. She had spied wild mushrooms in the forest, and racing over the carpet of dried leaves in the woods, she knelt in poses of adoration before first one cluster and then another of these growths. In ecstasy she called each kind by an endearing Russian name. She caressed the toadstools, savored their earthy perfume. Like all good Anglo-Saxons, I knew nothing about the fungal world and felt that the less I knew about those putrid, treacherous excrescences the better. For her they were things of grace, infinitely inviting to the perceptive mind. She insisted on gathering them, laughing at my protests, mocking my horror. She brought a skirtful back to the lodge. She cleaned and cooked them. That evening she ate them, alone. Not long married, I thought to wake up the next morning a widower.[114] [emphasis added] ~ R. Gordon Wasson

“The first day,” “mountain path, woods,” “the slanting rays of a descending sun,” “young, carefree and in love,” “my bride abandoned my side,” “spied mushrooms in the forest,” “knelt in poses of adoration,” “called each by an endearing name,” “she caressed the toadstools, savored their earthly perfume,” “the less I knew about those putrid, treacherous excrescences the better,” “She insisted on gathering them, laughing at my protests, mocking my horror,” “she ate them, alone.”

Some readers may think I’m reaching, but I think the similarities in the stories are uncanny, if not obvious. If Wasson had included a serpent it would have given it all away. And as I showed in my book The Holy Mushroom, never once in all his years of research and writing, did Wasson go beyond the Genesis story. Furthermore, he publicly attacked other scholars, like John M. Allegro, who did.[115] In Storming Heaven Jay Stevens reveals a similar biblical theme with Moloch (such as at Bohemian Grove):

From their [Jack Kerouac’s, Gary Snyder’s, Allen Ginsberg’s] days with Burroughs they knew that one of the quickest ways to disrupt the rational mind was with drugs. But not all drugs. Marijuana worked fairly well, but an even better disrupter was peyote, and its synthetic cousin, mescaline. LSD didn’t enter the Beat scene until the end of the Fifties, but when it did it quickly became the tool of choice for achieving “that ancient heavenly connection.”

Ginsberg took some peyote in the fall of 1955, […].Looking out his window, he [Ginsberg] had a vision of Moloch, the biblical idol whose worship was distinguished by the burning of children. Moloch was America, Ginsberg flashed, and he began writing a poem about this intuition.[116]
~ Jay Stevens

And so the Fall… Oops, I mean “the psychedelic revolution,” began.


In this study of ethnomycology we’ve explored two primary myths. One concerns the origins of the words psychedelic and entheogen. We found how suggestibility and “set and setting” are the chief factors in determining the outcome of taking the drugs; and how these substances were promoted to the public with weaponized anthropological tools such as “native revivalism.” The second myth concerns the origins of the so-called “psychedelic revolution” and “counterculture,” and we found that much of this myth seems to be based on biblical ideas of the Fall – though Christians might suggest it has more to do with the anti-Christ – in the flesh.

Marlene de Rios, mentioned previously, reflected:

De Rios and Grob in 1992 discussed the role of hallucinogenic plants in adolescent rites of passage in three traditional non-Western societies of the world. In the West, individualism is an undisputed value. Since the end of World War II, the empty self has emerged among the U.S. middle classes, with the breakdown of family, community, and tradition. Alienation, fragmentation, and a sense of confusion and meaninglessness pervade Western society, which particularly affects young people. There is a compulsion to fill up this emptiness, reflected in various ailments of our society: eating disorders, consumers’ buying sprees, and the perceived need for mind-altering substances.[117]
~ Marlene Dobkin de Rios

I’ve shown that the official history is contrived and that it appears that those involved have, in my opinion, committed academic fraud, not to mention working for the CIA’s MKULTRA program and intelligence. Further extensive investigation with regard to those who are still in academia, such as Prof. Carl Ruck at Boston University, and who participated in these matters, ought to be pursued. People who do not work in the best interests of our children’s minds and education have, obviously, no place in academia.

I still haven’t figured out if Wasson actually believed himself to be Satan or Adam – or both. Offering the fruit to humanity for the Fall, or the hapless victim of Eve’s, a.k.a. Valentina’s, desires? It’s possible, from their above statements, that Wasson and Huxley were challenging each other for the position of Satan and launching the Fall –crazy it may seem, but it doesn’t seem that we’re writing about sane men.

What is likely the hardest thing to understand is who the real target is. But once we understand that the real target was us –you and I, the “masses”– then we may begin to see things from a new perspective. And just because you’re not capable of thinking in such a destructive way and doing such horrible things to others, does not mean that others are incapable of doing so. In clinical terms such people are known as sociopaths or psychopaths – a personality type that everyone should research and become completely familiar with in order to protect themselves. Though not always, they’re often in places of power such as: CEOs, presidents and politicians, psychologists and psychiatrists, marketing and social/public relations experts, law enforcement and… intelligence.

I suppose the true implication here is that Aldous Huxley and Gordon Wasson, as well as Tim Leary and the others, like Satan of the Bible, were psychopaths. Stevens quotes Leary in Storming Heaven:

“You know, I really am a psychopath.” “I know you are,” replied [Charles] Slack, “but I’m one too.” “You aren’t in my league at all,” Leary said.[118]

It also seems possible that all of their “marketing” and lying and attacking the youth was a form of ritual magic or religious war to destroy humanity–outrageous as this statement may seem. I draw this conclusion from their actions here presented and their own words regarding the Bible, the Genesis story, Moloch, etc. Megalomania is a psychopathological condition which is defined:

Megalomania is a psychopathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of wealth, power, genius, or omnipotence – often generally termed as delusions of grandeur. The word is a collaboration of the word “mania” meaning madness and the Greek “megalo” meaning an obsession with grandiosity and extravagance, a common symptom of megalomania. It is sometimes symptomatic of manic or paranoid disorders. [emphasis added]

I suggest that telling stories in which they place themselves into the Biblical narrative as Wasson has apparently done, and alluding to recreating the Fall as Aldous has obviously done, are symptoms of extreme cases of megalomania. Their actions against humanity are solid evidence of their paranoia.

Furthermore, both Gordon and Aldous were members of the CIA’s Century Club,[119] which is basically a secret society. Such groups are known to often use this type of ritual.

Let’s briefly summarize the key tactics exposed in this essay:

‘Set and setting’ is the key component to suggestibility with these substances, and through studying the etymology and history of these words we saw ‘neologisms’ – or new words, psychedelic and entheogen, that were used for marketing purposes and to “seed” the idea of the type of experience one should have while under their influence: If you told them it mimicked psychosis, it mimicked psychosis. If you told them it was mind manifesting, they had a mind-expanding experience. And if you told them it was a religious experience, well, they just might have a religious experience.

We also saw “juvenilization” and “paedomorphosis”, or child morphosis – promoted by Arthur Koestler – which was directly targeting youth to encourage their drug use and destructive behavior: “if you want to bring about mutations in a species, work with the young.”

What is beginning to become apparent is that a destruction of the self is being sold as a method of so-called “spiritual progress” and “enlightenment” by people who are lifetime actors and social/public relations experts.

And contrary to common understanding, we saw the prohibition of drugs as a tool of drug use enticement and control for rebellious youth to consume these substances with Leary going before congress, as well as with Louis Jolyon West: “The total or even partial prohibition of drugs gives the government considerable leverage for other types of control. […] To society, the communards with their hallucinogenic drugs are probably less bothersome–and less expensive–if they are living apart, than if they are engaging in alternative modes of expressing their alienation, such as active, organized, vigorous political protest and dissent.”

And from his declassified OSS letter we also saw Gregory Bateson’s native revivalism: “what the Russians have done is to stimulate the native peoples to undertake a native revival while they themselves admire the resulting dance festivals and other exhibitions of native culture, literature, poetry, music and so on. […] The system gets overweighed until some compensatory machinery is developed and then the revival of native arts, literature, etc., becomes a weapon for use against the white man.”

And lastly we saw the targeting of: “artists, writers, poets, jazz musicians, elegant courtesans, painters, rich bohemians […]. That's how everything of culture and beauty and philosophic freedom has been passed on.”

So it appears that Huxley’s idea of beauty means the degradation of society. You destroy one part (the masses) to elevate the other (the elite) – which does not seem able to elevate itself on its own.

If the masses were really dumb as we’re led to believe, all of this effort wouldn’t be spent by the intelligence community and people like Huxley, Wasson and Ruck, et al., to manipulate them and destroy their minds. As Sir Thomas More once wrote:

For if you [the rulers] suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners to be corrupted from their infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded from this, but that you first make thieves [and outlaws] and then punish them.[120]
~ Sir Thomas More

How these substances were studied from the 1940s onward might seem like a cart-before-the-horse type of situation by defining the drugs and then getting the expected results, rather than clinical, unbiased trials and reports of what they actually do. But what they do is increase suggestibility. This is why set and setting is so important – because in a relaxed set and setting you’re suggestible and they can get you to believe, under the right circumstances, just about anything.

Within the next generation I believe that the world’s rulers will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience.[121]
~ Aldous Huxley

One thing that is clear is that nothing from any of the above-mentioned scholars should be trusted without serious scrutiny.

Then, late in the 1930’s, we held a fateful meeting to decide our course of action, either to launch a systematic and massive assault on many fronts, or abandon the quest entirely.[122]
~ Gordon Wasson

Our appetite for simplicity has caused us to compress the chaos of the ‘60s into one monolithic “Youth Revolt.” But there were two philosophies then among the revolutionaries on how the world might be remade. One path, endorsed by political power and using the vantage to raise consciousness and save the world. The other path proposed an attack on the consciousness itself using a controversial and soon outlawed family of psychochemicals-the psychedelics. [123] [emphasis added] ~Jay Stevens

We can see that their aim was to attack and destroy not only the youth culture, but also Christianity and religion in general, while selling their own New Age version.

You’re not going to overthrow the Protestant Ethic in a couple years.[…][124]
~ Marshal McLuhan to Timothy Leary

With all of this what we begin to see is a pattern, and possibly one that’s been used throughout history with these substances. All of the above begs the question, was it a religious/racial war? In the opening paragraph of their landmark book In Darkness and Secrecy: The Anthropology of Assault Sorcery and Witchcraft in Amazonia, Prof. Neil Whitehead and Dr. Robin Wright provide this warning:

Shamanism is a burgeoning obsession for the middle classes around the globe. It's presentation in popular books, TV specials and on the internet is dominated by the presumed psychic and physical benefits that "shamanic techniques" can bring. This heightened interest has required a persistent purification of the ritual practices of those who inspire the feverish quest for personal meaning and fulfillment. Ironically,[…] given the self-improvement motivations that have brought so many into popular understanding of shamanism, two defining aspects of shamanism in Amazonia: blood, ie violence, and tobacco, have simply been erased from such representations. Such erasure is not only a vein self-deception, but more important it is a recapitulation of colonial ways of knowing through both the denial of radical cultural difference and refusal to think through its consequences.”[125]
~ Prof. Neil Whitehead and Dr. Robin Wright

We’ve seen how weaponized anthropology and native revivalism were sold to the masses. It appears that the “religious experience” sold to the population via the drugs, neo-shamanism and Eastern mysticism was something else entirely, a wolf in sheep’s clothing – the Fall (and Aldous Huxley was a Fabian Socialist whose logo is a wolf in sheep’s clothing). It was the intentional recreation of the Dionysian mysteries –and fall into debauchery we did.

Epsilons (singing)

No more Mammy, no more Pappy:
Ain't we lucky, ain't we happy?
Everybody's oh so happy,
Everybody's happy now!

Sex galore, but no more marriages;
No more pushing baby carriages;
No one has to change a nappy–
Ain't we lucky, ain't we happy:
Everybody's happy now.

Dope for tea and dope for dinner,
Fun all night, and love and laughter;
No remorse, no morning after.
Where's the sin, and who's the sinner?
Everybody's happy now.

Girls pneumatic, girls exotic,
Girls ecstatic, girls erotic–
Hug me, Baby; make it snappy.
Everybody's oh so happy,
Everybody's happy now.

Lots to eat and hours for drinking
Soma cocktails–no more thinking.
Everybody's happy now.[126]
~ Aldous Huxley

At least Aldous would be happy with no more thinking, no more thinking but his, anyway. It’s a sort of self-appealing ad vericundiam fallacy. And I suppose for those who are psychopaths, they might find humor in his tune. But for the rest of us, it’s nothing but the cries of a petulant, sick and decayed, mind.

The last thing that readers are missing is how could creating hippies be a CIA tactic and how would such a tactic affect them?

If we consider that by having people “navel gaze” and focus on psychedelics as mind expansion, as opposed to real solutions to problems like social stratification, dumbing us down, and the like, then it distracts them from focusing on these real problems as the source of all of society’s ills, and more importantly, taking action to change them. With this in mind then it starts to become obvious that by focusing on psychedelics or spirituality as an answer to our problems we are distracted away from what the real problems are:

It is probably no accident that the society which most consistently encouraged the use of these substances, India, produced one of the sickest social orders ever created by mankind in which thinking men spent their time lost in the Buddha position under the influence of drugs exploring consciousness, while poverty, disease, social discrimination, and superstition reached their highest and most organised form in all history.[127]
~ David McClelland

What may help stem the tide of this Fall into debauchery, in this situation, is a word that is not loaded with any agenda to the intelligence community or otherwise. What we need is a word that truly warns potential users of these substances what they’re in for.

Because of the research in this article I suggest something along the lines of “suggestogens” (an English / Latin mishmash) or “suggerogens”. At least such a word, whatever it ended up to be, would inform potential users that whatever someone suggested to them regarding their experiences with these substances was likely to be close to the experience they would have. Such a word would be void of hallucinating, psychotic, mind-expanding, spiritual, or any other form of (mis)leading jargon. The OED’s definition, among several provided for the word suggest, much to my surprise, seems very fitting for the circumstances of our study:

suggest, v.

[f. L. suggest-, pa. ppl. stem of suggerĕre, f. sug- = sub- 2 + gerĕre to bear, carry, bring.]
  1. a.1.a trans. To cause to be present to the mind as an object of thought, an idea to be acted upon, a question or problem to be solved; in early use said esp. of insinuating or prompting to evil. In extended application, to propose as an explanation or solution, as a course of action, as a person or thing suitable for a purpose, or the like.

b.1.b Said of the conscience, feelings, etc.; hence, of external things, to prompt the execution of, provide a motive for.
[…] d.1.d To utter as a suggestion.

e.1.e refl. Of an idea, proposition, etc.: To present itself to the mind.

†2.2 a.2.a To prompt (a person) to evil; to tempt to or to do something; to seduce or tempt away. Obs.

†b.2.b To insinuate into (a person's mind) the (false) idea that, etc. Obs.

3.3 To give a hint or inkling of, without plain or direct expression or explanation. […]

It was by total accident that I came up with this idea, based on the simple fact that in researching, considering and writing this article the concept kept coming up as to how these substances really operate. After repeatedly writing the word “suggest,” there occurred to me “suggestogens” or (pig?)-Latin - “suggerogens” – and feel free to correct my non-existent Latin. Suggestogen and/or suggerogen prompt us to be aware “of insinuating or prompting to evil” – which, as we can see above, was the purpose of the so-called “psychedelic revolution” and the agenda of men like Huxley, Ruck and Wasson.

As the CIA’s MKULTRA psychiatrist, Dr. Sydney Cohen, stated before Congress in 1966:

May I add something to what you have just said, Senator? I think another thing that has to be pointed out to these young people is that the LSD state is a completely uncritical one, a hypersuggestible one, and that what happens there can overwhelm some people and yet be quite illusory. There are insights here to be found and examined, but also the great possibility that the insights are not valid at all and overwhelm certain credulous personalities.[128]
~ Sydney Cohen

Here we also see Prof. Marlene Dobkin de Rios discussing the hyper-suggestibility factor:

Psychedelic substances like ayahuasca create a state of hypersuggestibility in which persons are very open to being influenced by others. Many traditional cultures have utilized this condition to inculcate cultural values and behaviors in young people as they receive initiation into adulthood. In the West, countercultural values can be inculcated in young people when using these psychedelics, especially when using them in an antinomian context.[129]
~ Marlene Dobkin de Rios

Here it is. In one paragraph Marlene de Rios clarifies the historical use of ayahuasca, peyote, and even the ancient Eleusinian mysteries – all at once she makes clear this historical agenda. And “antinomian” means: “of or relating to the view that Christians are released by grace from the obligation of observing the moral law.”

While in this view suggestibility is used to destroy Christianity and Protestant moral values, we can see that at one point the opposite must also have been the case within Judeo-Christianity as well, as I have written so much about–all of this new research forces a new look at my past books and writings, especially in Astrotheology & Shamanism: It would seem that the mystery of the secret societies, too, as well as early Christianity, was that these substances were used for the purpose of suggestion and control, for inculcation, rather than actual religiosity or spirituality.

So suggestogen(s) or suggerogen(s) would be roughly defined as:

  1. A substance or substances formerly known as hallucinogens, psychedelics, entheogens, schizophrenigens, psychotomimetics, psychotropics, psychoactives, adaptogens, empathogens, fantasticants, enactogens, psycholytics, and many other various names, that have been used historically to suggest a person to someone else’s will, often to do evil, while under the influence of such substances, which generate hyper-suggestibility in the taker. Hyper-suggestibility is so increased by such substances that their mere name can affect the outcome of the experience of their use – hence (pl.) suggestogens. Historically, in the 1950s and 1960s, such substances were used in an attempt by men such as Aldous Huxley and Gordon Wasson, along with the CIA’s MKULTRA program, to re-create the biblical Fall.

Adj. suggestogenic/suggerogenic: capable of being used for such purposes.

If there are negative connotations to this word that somehow do not reveal the suggestibility factor and/or other dangers with the use of these substances and perpetuates their misuse, it is by accident, and any use of the word should be discontinued immediately.

If, however, the mere use of the word, a correct formation or not, wakes people up and frees them from this slavery, then allow it to be adopted for this use.

What’s in a name? Practically everything.


There was one last disturbing notion that kept creeping up as I researched and wrote this article. And now that we have the context, and being that so much of the psychedelic experience is based on suggestion, I thought I had to ask: Had Maria Sabina, being unlettered, suggested that 17-year-old boy to his death? Had this incident led Wasson to understand the mushroom’s full potential for social control? And what about the ‘December 21, 2012, end of the world’ movement, supposedly based on the Mayan calendar? As Wasson stated: “[T]he number of human sacrifices that are set forth in detail, the way in which they are keyed to the religious calendar…”

I leave it for the reader to decide.


[1] Timothy Leary in Flashbacks, pp. 387, J. P. Tarcher/Putnam books, 1983/1990, pp. 387. ISBN: 0-87477-4977
[2] Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner, Richard Alpert, The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Kensington Publishing Corp., 1964/1992. pp. 11
[3] CIA MKULTRA records, Mori ID#: 145021, Filed: 11/19/1953
[4] Jay Stevens, Storming Heaven, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1987, pp. 59. ISBN: 0-87113-076-9
[5] Aldous Huxley, Moksha, Park Street Press, 1977/1999, pp. 181-182. ISBN: 978-0-89281-758-0
[6] Timothy Leary in Flashbacks, P. 387, Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam books, 1983/1990, pp. 251-252. ISBN: 0-87477-497-7
[7] Aldous Huxley, Moksha, Park Street Press, 1977/1999, pp. 107. ISBN: 978-0-89281-758-0
[8] Gordon Wasson in Persephone’s Quest, Yale University Press, 1986, pp. 30. ISBN: 0-300-05366-9
[9] Marty Lee & Bruce Shlain, Acid Dreams, Grove Press, 1985, pp. 38. ISBN: 0-8021-3062-3
[10] Ibid pp. 68
[11] Ibid pp. 70
[12] Leary in The Narcotic Rehabilitation Act of 1966. Hearings before a special subcommittee, Eighty-ninth Congress, second session. [89] Y 4.J 89/2:N 16/3. pp. 246, 250
[13] “Dr. Timothy Leary Defends Responsible Use of LSD, May, 1966” University of Richmond Virginia website: https://historyengine.richmond.edu/episodes/view/5257
[14] Oxford English Dictionary, “psychotomimetic”
[15] Ibid
[16] Ibid
[17] Alexander and Ann Shulgin, Pihkal: A Chemical Love Story. Transform Press, 2000, ISBN 0-9630096-0-5. pp. 65
[18] Colin Ross, The C.I.A. Doctors, Manitou Communications, Inc., 2006, pp. 83. ISBN: 0-9765508-0-6, see also CIA MKULTRA Subproject 47 letter of March 25, 1964 on Humphry Osmond letterhead, declassified June 1977.
[19] Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell, pp. 54
[20] Ibid, pp. 56
[21] Ibid, pp. 139
[22] Aldous Huxley, Moksha, Park Street Press, 1977/1999, pp. 107. ISBN: 978-0-89281-758-0. See also Letters of Aldous Huxley, ed. by Grover Smith, Chatto & Windus Ltd., 1969, pp. 795ff
[23] Marty Lee & Bruce Shlain, Acid Dreams, 54-55 Grove Press, 1985, pp. 54-55. ISBN: 0-8021-3062-3
[24] Ibid PP. 54-55
[25] Albert Hofmann, Psychotomimetic agents. In A. Burger (Ed.) Chemical Constitution and Pharmacodynamic Action, Vol. II, Dekker, New York, 1968.
[26] Created by Dr. Frank Olson – murdered by the CIA for threatening to go public – eventually exposing MKULTRA and leading to the Church Commission
[27] Carl Ruck, Gordon Wasson, et al, The Journal of Psychedelic Drugs, Vol. 11(1-2) Jan-Jun, 1979, pp. 146
[28] Michael Hollingshead, The Man Who Turned on the World, Abelard-Schuman, pp. 144. ISBN: 0-200-04018-9
[29] Ibid
[30] Albert Hofmann, LSD My Problem Child, J. P. Tarcher, Inc., pp. 15. ISBN: 0-87477-256-7
[31] Ibid, pp. 16
[32] Ibid, pp. 17-19
[33] Ibid, pp. 21
[34] Gordon Wasson in Persephone’s Quest, Yale University Press, 1986, pp. 30. ISBN: 0-300-05366-9
[35] B.H. Friedman, Tripping: A Memoir, Provincetown Arts Press, 2006, pp. 48ff. ISBN: 0-944854-48-6
[36] Irvin and Atwill, Manufacturing the Deadhead: A Product of Social Engineering, Gnostic Media, 2013.
[37] Psychedelic Intelligence, produced by Jan Irvin, Gnostic Media, May 2014.
[38] Gordon Wasson presenting to the Century Club, The Century Club, 04-01-1971. Audio. Hear the introduction by the president of the Century discussing Aldous Huxley’s membership along with Gordon Wasson’s. Available through the Century Association library archives.
[39] Youtube video: A Conversation on LSD – 1979, A “reunion” filmed at Oscar Janiger’s house with Tim Leary, Humphry Osmond, Sidney Cohen, et al.
[40] Ibid
[41] Louis Jolyon West in Hallucinations: Behaviour, Experience, and Theory by Ronald K. Siegel and Louis Jolyon West, 1975. ISBN 978-1-135-16726-4. pp. 298 ff.
[42] Marlene Dobkin de Rios, Hallucinogens: Cross-Cultural Perspectives, University of New Mexico Press, 1984, pp. 16
[43] Letters of Aldous Huxley, ed. by Grover Smith, Chatto & Windus Ltd., 1969, pp. 795ff, letter #744.
[44] Aldous Huxley, Moksha, ed. by Michael Horowitz, Inner Traditions, 1977/1999, pp. 180. ISBN: 978-089281758-0
[45] Ibid, pp. 181
[46] Ibid, pp. 181ff
[47] Marty Lee & Bruce Shlain, Acid Dreams, Grove Press, 1985, pp. 78. ISBN: 0-8021-3062-3
[48] Aldous Huxley, Moksha, Park Street Press, 1977/1999, pp. 186. ISBN: 978-0-89281-758-0
[49] David Black, Acid, Vision Paperbacks, 1998/2001, pp. 49. ISBN: 1-901250-30-x
[50] Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited, Harper & Row, Publishers, 1958, Ch. 2, 1st paragraph.
[51] Jonathan Ott, Pharmacotheon, Natural Products Company, 1996, pp. 103. ISBN: 0-9614234-9-8
[52] CIA MKULTRA Subproject 47 letter of March 25, 1964 on Humphry Osmond letterhead, declassified June 1977.
[53] Colin Ross, The C.I.A. Doctors, Manitou Communications, Inc., 2006, pp. 83. ISBN: 0-9765508-0-6
[54] Louis Jolyon West in Hallucinations: Behaviour, Experience, and Theory by Ronald K. Siegel and Louis Jolyon West, 1975. ISBN 978-1-135-16726-4. pp. 293 ff.
[55] Jay Stevens, Storming Heaven, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1987, pp. 85. ISBN: 0-87113-076-9
[56] Abram Hoffer, Humphry Osmond, The Hallucinogens, Academic Press of New York and London, 1967.
[57] Julian Huxley, Ernst Mayr, Humphry Osmond & Abram Hoffer, Schizophrenia as a Genetic Morphism, in Nature 204, 220 - 221 (17 October 1964); doi:10.1038/204220a0
[58] Carl Ruck, Gordon Wasson, et al, The Journal of Psychedelic Drugs, Vol. 11(1-2) Jan-Jun, 1979, pp. 145
[59] Irvin and Atwill, Manufacturing the Deadhead: A Product of Social Engineering, Gnostic Media, 2013.
[60] Jan Irvin, R. Gordon Wasson, The Man, The Legend, The Myth, May 2012; and Joe Atwill and Jan Irvin in Manufacturing the Deadhead: A Product of Social Engineering, May 2013, at www.logosmedia.com
[61] Jonathan Ott – Pharmacotheon, Natural Products Company, 1996, pp. 15. ISBN: 0-9614234-9-8
[62] Jan Irvin, R. Gordon Wasson: The Man, the Legend, the Myth. Beginning a New History of Magic Mushrooms, Ethnomycology, and the Psychedelic Revolution. May 13, 2012
[63] Edward Bernays in The Fluoride Deception, by Christopher Bryson, Seven Stories Press, 2006, 158ff. ISBN: 1583227008
[64] Jonathan Ott, The Age of Entheogens &The Angel’s Dictionary, Natural Products Company, 1995, pp. 88-89. ISBN: 0-9614234-7-1
[65] Michael Hollingshead, The Man Who Turned on the World, Abelard-Schuman, pp. 15 ISBN: 0-200-04018-9
[66] Dave McGowan, Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon, Headpress, 2014, pp. 59. ISBN: 978-1909394124
[67] John Marks, The Search for the Manchurian Candidate, Times Books, 1979, pp. ix. ISBN: 0-8129-0773-6
[68] Andrews archive, Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library, Box 40: folder 441; Box 42: folder 460.
[69] Carl Ruck, Gordon Wasson, et al, The Journal of Psychedelic Drugs, Vol. 11(1-2) Jan-Jun, 1979, pp. 145
[70] Ibid
[71] Ibid
[72] Neil Whitehead and Robin Wright, In Darkness and Secrecy, Duke University Press, 2004, pp. 171. ISBN: 0-8223-3345-7
[73] Gregory Bateson, (1944) Office of Strategic Services South East Asia Command: Interoffice Memo from Gregory Bateson, To Dillon Ripley, Subject: “Your Memo No. 53” Dated 11/15/44. Released by Central Intelligence Agency, under Freedom of Information Act request August 1994. FOIA Reference F94-I51 1. Found in Prof. David Price’s article: “Gregory Bateson and the OSS: World War II and Bateson’s Assessment of Applied Anthropology”, Sept. 2010, at: http://www.currentconcerns.ch/index.php?id=1110
[74] Andy Letcher, Shroom: A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom, HarperCollins Publishers, 2007, pp. 102-104. ISBN: 978-0-06-082828-8
[75] Alvaro Estrada, Maria Sabina. Her Life and Chants. Santa Barbara: Ross-Erikson, Inc., 1981.
[76] Andy Letcher, Shroom: A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom, HarperCollins Publishers, 2007, pp. 110. ISBN: 978-0-06-082828-8
[77] Maria Sabina in Maria Sabina Her Life and Chants, by Alvaro Estrada, Ross-Erikson Inc., 1981, pp. 74. ISBN: 0-915520-32-8
[78] Ibid, pp. 105-190.
[79] Ibid, pp. 63
[80] Brian Akers, The Sacred Mushrooms of Mexico, University Press of America, 2007, pp. 49. ISBN: 978-0-7618-3582-0
[81] Gordon Wasson in Persephone’s Quest, Yale University Press, 1986, pp. 24. ISBN: 0-300-05366-9
[82] Ibid, pp. 33-35
[83] Ibid, pp. 35
[84] Ibid, pp. 35ff
[85] Ibid, pp.37ff
[86] Brian Akers, The Sacred Mushrooms of Mexico, University Press of America, 2007, pp. 81-82. ISBN: 978-0-7618-3582-0
[87] Jay Courtney Fikes, Carlos Castaneda, Academic Opportunism and the Psychedelic Sixties, Millenia Press, 1993. ISBN: 0-0696960-0
[88] http://www.jayfikes.com/Home_Page.html
[89]Fernando Benitez, ed. by Brian Akers, in The Sacred Mushrooms of Mexico, University Press of America, 2007, pp. 97. ISBN: 978-0-7618-3582-0
[90] Hallucinogenic Drugs Use by Other Societies Studied, The Valley News, March 27, 1970, Van Nuys, California. (What section is hard to read – it appears roughly as – 10-A-Central, 12-A-?, 14-A-?, 14-A-North, 16-A-West, 14-A-East.)
[91] Documents and letters from the CIA archives on R. Gordon Wasson – FOIA request, February 2012. Approved for release 2003/05/05 : CIA-RDP80R01731R000700100003-5
[92] Richard DeMille archives, UC Santa Barbara: Box 1, folder 26, pp. 9.
[93] Brian Akers, The Sacred Mushrooms of Mexico, University Press of America, 2007, pp. 95. ISBN: 978-0-7618-3582-0
[94] Ibid, pp. 110
[95]Mircea Eliade, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, Princeton University Press, 1964, pp. 401. ISBN: )-691-01779-4
[96] Brian Akers, The Sacred Mushrooms of Mexico, University Press of America, 2007, pp. 84. ISBN: 978-0-7618-3582-0
[97] Ibid
[98] Maria Sabina in Maria Sabina Her Life and Chants, by Alvaro Estrada, Ross-Erikson Inc., 1981, pp. 72ff. ISBN: 0-915520-32-8
[99] Ibid, pp. 86
[100] Gordon Wasson in Persephone’s Quest, Yale University Press, 1986, P. 36. ISBN: 0-300-05366-9
[101] Gordon Wasson, The Wondrous Mushroom, City Lights Books, 1980/2013, pp. 201ff
[102] Ibid pp. 202
[103] Brian Akers, The Sacred Mushrooms of Mexico, University Press of America, 2007, pp. 84. ISBN: 978-0-7618-3582-0
[104] Gordon Wasson, The Wondrous Mushroom, City Lights Books, 1980/2013, pp. 122
[105] Gordon Wasson, Carl Ruck, et al, The Journal of Psychedelic Drugs, Vol. 11(1-2) Jan-Jun, 1979, pp. 145
[106] Ibid
[107] Ibid
[108] Marty Lee & Bruce Shlain, Acid Dreams, Grove Press, 1985, pp. 68. ISBN: 0-8021-3062-3
[109] Michael Hollingshead, The Man Who Turned on the World, Abelard-Schuman, pp. 34. ISBN: 0-200-04018-9
[110] Timothy Leary, Flashbacks, J. P. Tarcher/Putnam books, 1983/1990, pp. 251-252. ISBN: 0-87477-497-7
[111] Timothy Leary in Mission Mind Control, ABC Television, 1979. 16:58ff.
[112] Timothy Leary in a conversation with Aldous Huxley in Flashbacks, J. P. Tarcher/Putnam books, 1983/1990, pp. 44. ISBN: 0-87477-497-7
[113] Video: Timothy Leary & Satanism, "I’ve been an admirer of Aleister Crowley. I think that I’m carrying on much of the work that he started over a hundred years ago." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ky0saKkfig
[114] R. Gordon Wasson, Seeking The Magic Mushroom, Life magazine, May 13, 1957
[115] Jan Irvin, The Holy Mushroom: Evidence of Mushrooms in Judeo-Christianity, Gnostic Media, 2008.
[116] Jay Stevens, Storming Heaven, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1987, pp. 112ff. ISBN: 0-87113-076-9
[117] Marlene Dobkin de Rios, A Hallucinogenic Tea, Laced with Controversy, Preager, 2008, pp. 104. ISBN: 978-0-313-34542-5
[118] Jay Stevens, Storming Heaven, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1987, pp. 132. ISBN: 0-87113-076-9
[119] Gordon Wasson presenting to the Century Club, The Century Club, 04-01-1971. Audio. Hear the introduction by the president of the Century discussing Aldous Huxley’s membership along with Gordon Wasson’s and their regular discussions of Soma and mushrooms. Available through the Century Association library archives.
[120] Sir Thomas More (1478-1535), Utopia, Book 1
[121] Letters of Aldous Huxley, ed. by Grover Smith, Chatto & Windus Ltd., 1969, pp. 604, letter #572.
[122] Gordon Wasson in Persephone’s Quest, Yale University Press, 1986, pp. 18. ISBN: 0-300-05366-9
[123] Jay Stevens, introduction to The Invisible Landscape, 1993 edition, by brothers McKenna, pp. XII.
[124] Timothy Leary, Flashbacks, J. P. Tarcher/Putnam books, 1983/1990, pp. 251-252. ISBN: 0-87477-497-7
[125] Neil Whitehead and Robin Wright, In Darkness and Secrecy, Duke University Press, 2004, pp. 1. ISBN: 0-8223-3345-7
[126] Letters of Aldous Huxley, ed. by Grover Smith, Chatto & Windus Ltd., 1969, pp. 809, letter #757.
[127] David McClelland in Michael Hollingshead, The Man Who Turned on the World, Abelard-Schuman, pp. 34. ISBN: 0-200-04018-9
[128] Sydney Cohen in Organization and Coordination of Federal Drug Research and Regulatory Programs: LSD. Hearings, Eighty-ninth Congress, second session. May 24, 25, and 26, 1966. [89] Y 4.G 74/6:L 99. pp. 157
[129] Marlene Dobkin de Rios, A Hallucinogenic Tea, Laced with Controversy, Preager, 2008, pp. 16. ISBN: 978-0-313-34542-5

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Articles in this series:
1) R. Gordon Wasson: The Man, the Legend, the Myth. Beginning a New History of Magic Mushrooms, Ethnomycology,and the Psychedelic Revolution. By Jan Irvin, May 13, 2012
2) How Darwin, Huxley, and the Esalen Institute launched the 2012 and psychedelic revolutions – and began one of the largest mind control operations in history. Some brief notes. By Jan Irvin, August 28, 2012
3) Manufacturing the Deadhead: A Product of Social Engineering, by Joe Atwill and Jan Irvin, May 13, 2013
4) Entheogens: What’s in a Name? The Untold History of Psychedelic Spirituality, Social Control, and the CIA, by Jan Irvin, November 11, 2014
5) Spies in Academic Clothing: The Untold History of MKULTRA and the Counterculture – And How the Intelligence Community Misleads the 99%, by Jan Irvin, May 13, 2015

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