The US government has always been shady, but in the 50s, at least some of the shady stuff they got up to was interesting.
Like the weird LSD experiments they did where they fed humans measured quantities of the hallucinogenic while monitoring their behaviour.
One particularly shady but intriguing experiment was administered care of University of California-Irvine psychiatrist and acid enthusiast, Oscar Janiger. Janiger gave an unnamed artist ‘military strength’ LSD-25 in controlled doses over an eight-hour period, and asked him to use some crayons to document his surroundings throughout his trip. He chose to draw the administering doctor eight times.
Somehow, the illustrations surfaced and were uploaded to the internet, and now we can all bask in the infinite glory of his sixth drawing, accompanied by these notes from the doctor:
Patient tries to climb into activity box, and is generally agitated – responds slowly to the suggestion he might like to draw some more. He has become largely none verbal. ‘I am… everything is… changed… they’re calling… your face… interwoven… who is…’ Patient mumbles inaudibly to a tune (sounds like ‘Thanks for the memory’).
God Bless the USA.
First drawing is done 20 minutes after the first dose (50ug)
An attending doctor observes – Patient chooses to start drawing with charcoal. The subject of the experiment reports – ‘Condition normal… no effect from the drug yet’.
85 minutes after 1st dose & 20 mins after a 2nd has been administered (50ug + 50ug)
The patient seems euphoric. ‘I can see you clearly, so clearly. This… you… it’s all … I’m having a little trouble controlling this pencil. It seems to want to keep going.’
2 hours 30 minutes after first dose
Patient appears very focus on the business of drawing. ‘Outlines seem normal, but very vivid – everything is changing colour. My hand must follow the bold sweep of the lines. I feel as if my consciousness is situated in the part of my body that’s now active – my hand, my elbow… my tongue.’
2 hours 32 minutes after first dose
Patient seems gripped by his pad of paper. ‘I’m trying another drawing. The outlines of the model are normal, but now those of my drawing are not. The outline of my hand is going weird too. It’s not a very good drawing is it? I give up – I’ll try again…”
2 hours 35 minutes after first dose
Patient follows quickly with another drawing. ‘I’ll do a drawing in one flourish… without stopping… one line, no break!’ Upon completing the drawing the patient starts laughing, then becomes startled by something on the floor.
2 hours 45 minutes after first dose
Patient tries to climb into activity box, and is generally agitated—responds slowly to the suggestion he might like to draw some more. He has become largely none verbal. ‘I am… everything is… changed… they’re calling… your face… interwoven… who is…’ Patient mumbles inaudibly to a tune (sounds like ‘Thanks for the memory’).
4 hours 25 minutes after first dose
Patient retreated to the bunk, spending approximately 2 hours lying, waving his hands in the air. His return to the activity box is sudden and deliberate, changing media to pen and water colour. ‘This will be the best drawing, like the first one, only better. If I’m not careful I’ll lose control of my movements, but I won’t, because I know. I know’. (This saying is then repeated many times). Patient makes the last half-a-dozen strokes of the drawing while running back and forth across the room.
5 hours 45 minutes after first dose
Patient continues to move about the room, intersecting the space in complex variations. It’s an hour and a half before he settles down to draw again – he appears over the effects of the drug. ‘I can feel my knees again, I think it’s starting to wear off. This is a pretty good drawing – this pencil is mighty hard to hold’.
8 hours after first dose
Patient sits on bunk bed. He reports the intoxication has worn off except for the occasional distorting of our faces. We ask for a final drawing which he performs with little enthusiasm. ‘I have nothing to say about this last drawing, it is bad and uninteresting, I want to go home now.’