|Albert Hofmann is credited with, or notorious for, the accidental discovery of
LSD at Sandoz Labs, resulting in the most (in)famous bicycle trip of all time.
The real story, however, goes a little deeper and has a very long list of characters,
including writers, artists, mystics, magicians, secret agents, religious leaders and
Michael Hollingshead (nee Shinkfield) is also said to have taken an accidental
trip - up on the roof - after licking the spoon he used to mix up his massive jar of
icing sugar and Sandoz acid, obtained for him by Dr John Beresford.
“Leary learned that the Swiss Sandoz company had synthesised the active
ingredient of psilocybin, so he obtained a batch of pills. He got some advice on using
them from Aldous Huxley.”
Leary and his colleagues began a research programme, the Harvard Psilocybin
Project, to analyse the effects of psilocybin on human subjects (first prisoners,
and later, students) from a synthesised version of the drug (which was legal at
the time), one of two active compounds found in a wide variety of hallucinogenic
mushrooms, including psilocybe mexicana.
When beat poet Allen Ginsberg heard about the Harvard experiments
(probably from his uncle, Oscar Janiger), he asked to join the project, and they
set about their task of introducing intellectuals and artists to psychedelics.
Nigel's first connection on the London drug scene was John 'Hoppy' Hopkins,
but later he obtained his acid from John Esam who was supplied by Michael