Psilocybin Project at Harvard -1960-1963 – Frank Barron.



Frank Barron.

There’s a lot more to Barron. After graduation from UCLA, he went to work for the Institute for Personality Assessment and Research (IPAR) at UCLA Berkeley and became a nationally renowned expert on creativity. [31] According to Leary, IPAR was a think tank “funded and staffed by former OSS-CIA psychologists”, with his friend Barron twice refusing to become “director of psychological personnel of the CIA.” [32] The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and Ford Foundation were all used as conduits for “Rockefeller CIA” funds to witting and unwitting candidates, so it is hard to figure out who exactly Barron was, especially upon noticing he also was a co-founder of the Esalen Institute. He certainly has “liberal CIA” written all over him.

The relationship between Leary and Barron goes back to graduate school at UCLA, where the two were drinking buddies. By 1959 Leary is concluding a career as director of psychiatric research at the rather elite Kaiser Memorial Hospital. [33] Despite creating a psychology test that has been implemented by the CIA, Leary has developed doubts about the effectiveness of psychology. [34] Also, his wife has just committed suicide. He goes to live with his two children in Florence, Italy.

One day, in Florence, apparently on a sabbatical to this very same town, Barron decides to visit his friend here. He tells Leary about his experiences with magic mushrooms, but Leary is skeptical and advises caution to prevent him from losing his credibility. As a parting gift, Barron offers Leary $500 of his Ford Foundation grant to go and interview Arthur Koestler in London. In addition, Barron informs him that David McClelland, head of Harvard’s Center for Personality Research, happens to be in Florence as well, has read Leary’s book Interpersonal Diagnosis of Personality, and might be interested in hiring him to Harvard. [35] McClelland indeed is in Florence – on a Guggenheim Fellowship. [36]

Leary takes Barron up on this last offer and has lunch with McClelland the very next day. After elaborating a bit more on his very progressive views on psychiatric treatment, McClelland hires him with the remark, “There’s no question that what you’re advocating is going to be the future of American psychology. You’re not a lone voice. … You’re just what we need to shake things up at Harvard.” [37] With that, Leary returns to the United States to become a professor at Harvard’s Center for Research in Personality, where he is allowed to teach graduate students based on his own, modern, practical views of psychology. [38] Alternately, Leary described his assigned as having to come up with “better methods of behavior change” for psychiatric patients. [39]

Timothy Leary (left) and Richard Alpert at Harvard in 1961.

McClelland staffed the Harvard Center with several “maverick instructors”, according to Leary. Among them is a certain Richard Alpert, the well-to-do son of the last president of the New Haven Railroad. This actually is the aspect Leary will end up mentioning in his biography, including that Alpert enjoyed his apartment penthouse and limousines. [40] His father’s wealth also explains why Alpert was in the possession of a pilot license at such a young age, complete with his own Cessna airplane. He used it at one point to pick up Leary in Mexico and fly him back to the United States. [41] A little additional checking reveals that the biography of Richard Alpert’s father, George Alpert, is really impressive. He was one of the leading Zionist leaders of the United States of his time with ties not only extending to the White House, but also to leading Jewish families as Warburg, Bronfman, Lehman and Oppenheimer. It even looks as if Alpert was part of the Mossad-allied Jewish intelligence underground in the United States known as the Sonneborn Institute. It took a while to compile George Alpert’s biography. Here’s what it looks like:

  • Born in 1898. Graduated from Boston University Law School and became a district attorney.
  • Boston lawyer and founder of the law firm Alpert & Alpert with his brother. [42]
  • At the end of World War II, Alpert was a trustee of Associated Jewish Philanthropies, Combined Jewish Appeal and Hebrew Teachers College, a director of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (, as well as president of Middlesex University, all of it in Boston. [43]
  • Trustee of the American Institute for International Information, Franklin Hospital and Temple Ohabei Shalom, also at the end of World War II. [44]
  • Key founder of Brandeis University in Boston and the university’s first chair/president 1946-1954, and after that a lifetime trustee. Elites as Eleanor Roosevelt, Herbert Lehman and Philip Klutznick have been deeply involved in Brandeis over the years. [45] The university used to be known as Middlesex University, of which Alpert was president, and briefly was known as the Albert Einstein Foundation, of which Alpert was a director. It was the first secular Jewish American university in existence. [46]
  • National co-chairman of United Jewish Appeal at the end of World War II. [47]
  • National vice-chairman of the United Palestine Appeal at the end of World War II, with Albert Einstein serving as honorary chairman. UPA’s honorary co-chairman and U.S. Haganah/Sonneborn Institute leader Rudolf G. Sonneborn served as chairman of the national council at the time. [48]
  • Director of the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee from at least 1944 to at least 1961, co-vice chairman in the late 1940s, and chairman of the New England Region. Key names of the JDC in this period (and beyond) were Edward Warburg and wife; Abe Bronfman, Samuel Bronfman, Herbert H. Lehman (CIA-tied), Harry Oppenheimer (1001 Club) and others. [49]
  • Director of the New Haven Railroad 1952-1954 and last president 1956-1961. Went back to his Alpert & Alpert law firm after that.
  • Key founder/fundraiser, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University, in the 1953-1955 period, together with Pilgrims Society members Walter Annenberg, Thomas Dewey and Eleanor Roosevelt, as well as then-U.S. vice president Richard Nixon. [50] Member, board of overseers, until at least 1966, together with Annenberg, Max Stern and Laurence Tisch. [51]
  • Present at a dinner with President Richard Nixon in 1969 with Gabriel Hauge and a number of other influential persons. [52]
  • Died in 1988, with an obituary in the New York Times. [53]

I guess we’re all aware that to a large extent Harvard is reserved for the sons and daughters of the establishment, but these connections still are a little mind-blowing. Most people are looking at Leary and Alpert as anti-establishment figures, yet they themselves, and so many of their closest associates, have the most incredible establishment ties imaginable.

In any case, Leary takes a liking to Alpert at Harvard. At the time, everything still seems relatively mundane. Both professors are guiding graduate students, Alpert still is very much Alpert – instead of “Ram Dass” – and there is little to no talk about psychedelics. Once again, Frank Barron is about to change that.

Six weeks after his own hiring, Leary is asked by his superior, David McClelland, if he knows anyone for a one-year appointment to the Center for Research in Personality faculty. Leary suggests Barron, who is promptly hired as a visiting professor for a year. Leary is surprised at how close the ties are between Harvard’s Center for Personality Study and California’s IPAR, where Barron is working, prompting him to remark:


“At the top level everyone seemed to know everyone. I was interested in how these power networks worked, especially when they involved psychology and the government.” [54]

One thing Leary’s friend Barron and Leary’s boss McClelland certainly have in common is the Ford Foundation. Barron received financing from the foundation when visiting Leary in Florence, while McClelland – coincidentally also in Florence at the time he recruited Leary and that on a Guggenheim Fellowship – used to be director of psychological studies for the Ford Foundation in 1952 and 1953. [55]

As already documented in ISGP’s “liberal CIA” article (a term actually coined by Tim Leary) and The Cold War Rockefeller CIA network section of ISGP’s Pilgrims Society article, the Ford Foundation, even more so at the time, was completely synonymous with CIA operations and completely controlled by Allen Dulles, David Rockefeller (who received full briefings of Allen Dulles and his CIA division chiefs, including on MKULTRA, and had promised Dulles the Ford Foundation presidency if Eisenhower would not make Dulles CIA chief), John McCloy and a number of their friends. “CIA” doesn’t even cut it. Both Harvard and the Ford Foundation were, and are, two of the most valuable pearls in the Eastern Establishment’s power structure. Permanent private sector CIA operations have always been part of that. As documented in the articles just linked, John McCloy at one point argued to staffers who had grown wary of the Ford Foundation’s relationship with the CIA “that if they failed to cooperate, the CIA would simply penetrate the foundation quietly by recruiting or inserting staff at the lower levels.” The only thing McCloy forgot to mention is that he and his closest establishment friends actually were (and are) the CIA, State Department and media – all in one.

That does make one wonder if there was anyone besides McClelland who decided that Leary would be a suitable candidate for Harvard. That doesn’t have to be anything nefarious, certainly not at the time. The CIA and establishment had far less to hide in that period, the internet didn’t exist, and conspiracy thinking, apart maybe from big business influence on politics, hardly existed until the years after the 1963 Kennedy assassination.

Still, the ties of individuals as Anthony Busch, Aldous Huxley, Oscar Janiger, Al Hubbard, Gordon Wasson, Frank Barron and Richard Alpert do make one wonder what on Earth was going on within the early psychedelics community. Even Leary has countless establishment and intelligence ties from birth. These involve General Douglas MacArthur, General George Patton, UCLA, Frank Barron, possibly the Kaiser Hospital, Mary Pinchot Meyer, the Mellon family, the neoconservative Hudson Institute, and Gianni Agnelli-linked Joanna Harcourt-Smith. It’s really too much to discuss here, so maybe we should list everything in appendix B. As the reader will see, this trend doesn’t end here either.

Cuernavaca, South-West Mexico.

As a visiting professor at Harvard throughout 1960, where he sets up a center for drug studies, Barron is able to get Leary excited about magic mushrooms, in no small part by showing him Gordon Wasson’s May 1957 article in Life magazine Seeking the Magic Mushroom. Leary spends the summer of 1960 in Mexico, ingesting the exact same mushrooms as Wasson did. That August, the whole Harvard clique spends summer in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Barron, Leary and Alpert are situated in a villa, along with Leary’s children and a number of associates. McClelland is situated 10 miles away on a working vacation in which he’s trying to stimulate the local economy through psychological means and a supposedly superior Protestant work ethic. It is here that Leary first ingests the magic mushrooms. As with Wasson and Barron, he is sold rather quickly: “In four hours by the swimming pool in Cuernavaca I learned more about the mind, the brain, and its structures than I did in the preceding fifteen years as a diligent psychologist.” [56]

Back at Harvard, Alpert – who didn’t take the mushrooms in Mexico – is quickly won over to the cause. With the consent of their superiors at Harvard, Leary and Alpert begin to include the psilocybin, the synthesized active ingredient of magic mushrooms, in their experimental psychological treatments on volunteer prisoners in the Concord Prison Experiments and with students at Harvard. It is during the beginning stages of these experiments that even more names of the emerging psychedelics scene begin to coalesce. On November 8, 1960, on the day of John F. Kennedy’s election, LSD and mescaline enthusiasts Aldous Huxley and Humphry Osmond arrive in Cambridge (Harvard) where they meet for the very first time with Leary. Huxley is given his first dose of psilocybin and quickly decides to join the prison experiments. [57]

The mysterious Captain Al Hubbard plays a role in the Harvard saga too. He may well have been the first to supply the Leary group with a batch of psilocybin pills or possibly supplied them in a period that they were impossible to get from Hofmann’s Sandoz Corporation in Switzerland. At a 1979 meeting of many psychedelic pioneers, Leary exclaims to Hubbard, “Oh Al, I owe everything to you. The galactic center sent you down at the exact right time!” after which Hubbard explains to have first met Leary around 1960 while providing him with a batch of 500 tablets. As Leary responds a little absent-minded with, “I remember that,” the room bursts out in laughter. [58] A lot of the details of their first meeting appear to be unknown.

Then there are some of the other pioneers, as described by Leary:


“I was visited by a graduate student named Ralph Metzner. … He wanted to work on the prison project. …

“Ralph, Gunther [Weil], and I, feeling a sense of camaraderie as a result of the [psilocybin] session, drove out to the Concord prison to meet the six candidates Jefferson had selected from the pool of volunteers. Two murderers. Two armed robbers. One embezzler. One black heroin pusher.

“[Soon] the convicts spoke about their mystical experiences to … Alan Watts … William Burroughs [and] Aldous Huxley…” [59]

Let’s take a look at these new names in Leary’s circle. Ralph Metzner we’ll meet several times more in this article, but by the 1990s his psychedelics research was co-financed by Laurance Rockefeller through the Heffter Research Institute.

Gunther Weil has been a psychology student at Harvard since 1961 who also served as an elite Fulbright Scholar. A Harvard student until 1965, Weil was not just involved in the Concord Prison Experiments, but also the IFIF project and Millbrook. With Leary and Metzner he edited The Psychedelic Review, an irregularly published magazine in the 1963-1971 period that featured articles of just about every prominent psychedelic researcher and enthusiast: Gordon Wasson, Richard Evans Schultes, Albert Hofmann, Alan Watts, Gerald Heard, Humphrey Osmond, etc. Even the notorious Bronfman agent and CIA asset, Ira Einhorn, who later fled the country for murdering his girlfriend, was published in here. [60] Some of these individuals still need to be discussed.

After graduation in 1965, Weil was invited by Abraham Maslow – the most influential psychologist involved in the Esalen Institute – to teach at the Jewish Brandeis University, where Richard Alpert’s father was deeply involved in. Weil went on to become a successful psychologist with clients that included “JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Credit Suisse … Harvard JFK school [and] MIT Media Lab.” [61]

Meanwhile, Weil kept involved in “alternative” circles. In 1978, for example, UFO researcher Jacques Vallee gave a lecture at his house. Present in the room was the notorious Ira Einhorn, a long-time friend of Weil. [62] In 1981 Weil brought qigong master Mantak Chia to Harvard, taught him how to teach to groups instead of just individuals, and continued a life-long association with him. [63] From 1994 to 1998 Weil was founding chairman of the National Qigong Association. His Media Lab appointment starting in 2012 demonstrates that Weil kept his old friendships even in old age, because he was hired here by director Joi Ito, a godson and very close friend of Timothy Leary. [64]

William Burroughs II was a gay, drunken, heroin-addicted Beat Generation author who back in 1944 shot his estranged wife to death in a failed William Tell enaction. In 1953 he traveled to Peru in search of ayahuasca, sending letters of his travels and experiences with the vine back to the United States to poet Allen Ginsberg, a cousin of LSD pioneer Dr. Oscar Janiger. [65] Ginsberg quickly followed Burroughs to Peru to experience ayahuasca for himself. [66] In 1963 the two men published Burrough’s letter under the title The Yage Letters. By that time both Burroughs and Ginsberg had become intimately involved in Leary’s circle at Harvard. Burroughs was directly part of the Concord Prison Experiments; Ginsberg more on the periphery. Leary and Barron first introduced Ginsberg to mushrooms on November 26, 1960 at Leary’s Harvard residence. [67] Like Alpert and many others, he was quickly won over.

Interestingly, Burroughs came from a wealthy family. He even was a nephew of Ivy Ledbetter Lee [68], a member of the elite Pilgrims Society [69]. In 1914, in the wake of the Ludlow Massacre on striking miners and their wives and children, Ivy Lee became the public relations agent for the Rockefellers. Along with Edward Bernays, he is actually considered the father of public relations and corporate propaganda. At the time of his death in 1934 he was involved in U.S. cartel negotiations with I.G. Farben in Nazi Germany. [70]

As for Alan Watts, we need to spent a little more time on this individual.

Alan Watts’ road to Harvard – and the birth of Esalen

Alan Watts was born in 1915 in faraway England. From an early age he took a huge interest in religion, spirituality and philosophy, so much so that by age 16 he was secretary of the London Buddhist Lodge, a group established by the Theosophist Society. Zen Buddhism always remained Watts’ main interest, but he also became highly educated on Taoism, Hinduism, Theosophy and Christianity, as well as psychology – Jungian in particular. [71]

Still in his late teens, in 1934, Watts also was a follower of Dimitrije Mitrinovic, a strange cult-like figure along the lines of Madame Blavatsky and Aleister Crowley who headed the New Britain Movement. The movement involved author H.G. Wells and future prime minister Harold MacMillan, but lasted no more than a few years. Mitrinovic later set up his very own New Atlantis Foundation. Watts had discussions with Mitrinovic at his home and was quite in awe of him. Despite that, it is clear from his biography that Watts considered Madame Blavatsky and her successor, Alice Bailey and her Lucis Trust, to be complete frauds. He didn’t believe a word of them about secret masters operating from hidden Tibetan monasteries where lost knowledge about (never-existing) lost continents as Atlantis and Lemuria could be found. [72] Refreshing.

Alan Watts, around 1945.

In 1938 Watts moved from London to New York City and lectured around to make some semblance of a living. In 1945 he became an ordained Episcopal priest here, a function he was forced to step down from in 1950 over marriage and personal belief issues. By that time Watts lived in a country house in Poughkeepsie, close to the (future) Millbrook estate, north of New York City, and was becoming a close friend of a certain Joseph Campbell [73], a well-known mythologist who had just finished writing his seminal The Hero with a Thousand Faces book. Interesting detail? Campbell was supported for life by Laurance Rockefeller and Paul Mellon. [74] Mellon was a Pilgrims Society member, with both men later becoming 1001 Club members. Laurance Rockefeller’s brothers, David and Nelson, as well as their father, were Pilgrims Society members.

Watts benefited in kind. He credits Campbell with “saving his life” by arranging for him grants from the Bollingen Foundation, according to Watts, the only foundation to “pay any attention to off-beat people interested in such matters as Oriental philosophy, medieval alchemy, and Egyptian magic” at that time. [75] In turn, Campbell has stated, “I don’t know if anybody would ever have heard of me if it hadn’t been for Bollingen,” a reference to Bollingen publishing his seminal 1949 book The Hero with a Thousand Faces after his initial publisher rejected it. [76] Laurance Rockefeller loved the book. It influenced his thinking, alongside the work of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and, much later, Deepak Chopra. [77]

Watts’ first grant from Bollingen involved researching “spiritual documents of the Orient”, awarded to him in 1951. [78] His publisher became the closely-linked Pantheon Press. He first established a relationship with the owners of Pantheon – Kurt and Helen Wolff – around 1946. [79] The Bollingen Foundation was founded in 1942 by Paul Mellon and his wife Mary [80]. Despite World War II and the foundation briefly having to cease its activities, in 1943 Mary sought out the then-new, small-time Pantheon Press to become the foundation’s (future) publisher. She negotiated the deal with the exact same persons who would soon approach Watts: the then-freshly-immigrated German couple Kurt and Helen Wolff. [81] Unfortunately, Mary died in 1946 and as a result John D. Barrett took the helm of the Bollingen Foundation. Watts, Campbell and Barrett became good friends [82], with Campbell joining the foundation’s board of trustees in 1960. [83] Paul Mellon, Campbell’s benefactor alongside Laurance Rockefeller, always stayed in charge of the foundation until disbanding it in 1973. By that time the foundation had already been winding down its operations for a decade, starting in December 1963. [84]

Mary Mellon’s interest in myths and mystery religions didn’t start with the founding of the Bollingen Foundation. Even before that she was the key financier of the annual Eranos conferences in Switzerland. [85] Founded in 1933, these conferences brought together the psychologist Carl Jung, a major inspiration of Mary Mellon, with leading experts on yoga, meditation, myths, ancient religions and ancient mystery religions. These conferences were interrupted in 1942 due to World War II. Finances had to be cut while Paul Mellon and his brother-in-law, David Bruce, another leading Pilgrim (from an ancient Templar family), became OSS chiefs. The OSS chief in Switzerland, Allen Dulles, a future Pilgrims vice president and CIA director, stood in contact with the Eranos leadership: founder Olga Frobe and Carl Jung. [86]

From 1945 on, the Bollingen Foundation of the Mellons continued its efforts to restart the Eranos Conferences, financially backing its founder, Olga Frobe, and many of the speakers until at least the 1960s. “At enormous expense” the foundation also had numerous Eranos-related books translated into English and distributed in the United States. [87]

Alan Watts had hardly made the “life saving” acquaintance of Joseph Campbell in 1950 and received his first Bollingen grant for studying “spiritual documents of the Orient” in 1951, or he was leaving New York for San Francisco to become the main lecturer of the American Academy of Asian Studies in San Francisco. It appears this move was part of his grant, because Bollingen Foundation funds to Watts only stopped in 1953. [88]

The American Academy of Asian Studies was financed by businessmen Louis Gainsborough, with Frederic Spiegelberg as its chief organizer. [89] Spiegelberg was an old friend of Watts whom he followed from London to New York and then from New York to San Francisco. By the time Spiegelberg brought Watts to San Francisco he was an extremely popular professor of Asian studies – especially Indian – for quite a number of years. In 1948-1949 he was studying Tibetan monasteries and Indian nationalist and spiritual guru Sri Aurobindo on a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation [90], immediately after which he went back to India on an almost equally elite Fulbright scholarship. [91] It is at this point that Gainsborough, about whom not much is known with regard to establishment connections, approached Spiegelberg to set up the American Academy of Asian Studies (AAAS).

Spiegelberg brought his Stanford student Haridas Chaudhuri with him as a main staffer. His old friend Alan Watts he brought in from New York City. [92] According to Spiegelberg, Michael Murphy was the first Stanford student who signed up for classes with the AAAS with Chaudhuri and Watts. [93] Dick Price, another Stanford student, came to study with Chaudhuri and Watts at the AAAS in late 1955 and early 1956 after returning from postgraduate work at Harvard. [94] Allen Ginsberg, the Oscar Janiger cousin who became part of Leary’s Harvard group, is also known to have attended some of the (very popular) conferences at the AAAS in the 1950s. [95]

In 1962 Michael Murphy and Dick Price famously founded the Esalen Institute. Less well-known is the fact that they founded this institute based on advice coming from older generation mentors as Aldous Huxley [96], Alan Watts and Joseph Campbell [97], the latter two supported by Paul Mellon’s Bollingen Foundation, with Laurance Rockefeller being another major supporter of Campbell. Laurance Rockefeller also was an important behind-the-scenes advisor to Michael Murphy since the founding stages of Esalen and donated millions to the institute. [98] The Packard Foundation, Ford Foundation and Carnegie Foundation all had some involvement with the Esalen Institute in the 1960s and early 1970s, which otherwise appears to have been reasonably profitable on its own. [99] It should be clear what forces were behind the founding of Esalen, an institute we will get back to in a later chapter.

Moving back in time a little, in 1953, in addition to his service as dean of the American Academy of Asian Studies, the vocally very blessed Alan Watts was provided with his own radio program at KPFA, greatly aiding him in expanding his audience. KPFA was owned by the Ford Foundation-financed Pacifica Radio. Watts retained his program at Pacifica until his death in 1973. [100]

The LSD years of 1962-1963

In early 1962, Alan Watts all of sudden moves back east again, to New York City and Harvard University, to become part of the Concord Prison Experiments in which prisoners are dosed with psilocybin. As already discussed, these experiments are being carried out by Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert, Frank Barron, Ralph Metzner, Aldous Huxley and William Burroughs, with Al Hubbard, Allen Ginsberg, Humphry Osmond and Gordon Wasson all dropping in on occasion. It actually marks the first time Watts meets in person with Timothy Leary. [101]

Harvard University.

Interestingly, it again appears we find the influence of Paul Mellon in this move of Watts to Harvard, as Watts’ 1962-1964 research fellowship at Harvard coincides with another grant of Mellon’s Bollingen Foundation for 1962-1964. [102] Meanwhile, due to the family wealth of the Alpert family, the Leary group is able to improve its Harvard headquarters to “a three-story six-bedroom house“. [103]

It is only in December 1961, three months after the start of the Harvard Psychedelic Project, that Leary takes his first LSD. That’s quite a surprise considering a number of Leary’s friends have already been exposed to LSD for a number of years at this point. Granted, the Harvard Psychedelic Project of 1961-1963 is what largely brought the East and West Coast psychedelic pioneers together. And it wasn’t until the International Congress of Applied Psychology in Copenhagen, Denmark, that Leary met Aldous Huxley, a key member of “LSD West” with Dr. Oscar Janiger and Al Hubbard. [104] At this conference, Leary, Alpert, Huxley, Frank Barron and a certain Henry A. Murray, the former chief of Leary’s psychological department who by then was creating the future Unabomber in a top secret CIA MKULTRA research project he was running at Harvard, all held speeches. [105] Meeting Huxley appears to have expedited the Leary group’s discovery of LSD.

The immediate person responsible for “turning on” Leary is British aristocrat Michael Hollingshead. Leary receives a first letter from Hollingshead in late October 1961. Soon after, the two meet and Leary invites Hollingshead to participate in the Concord Prison Experiments. [106] On an interesting side-note, Hollingshead’s letter arrived the same day as one from Allen Ginsberg, whom Leary had introduced to psilocybin the previous year at Harvard. This time Ginsberg wasn’t in search of ayahuasca in South America, but was smoking weed on the Ganges in Calcutta with India’s holy men, who “wear beards, long hair [and] don’t wash.” [107]

To expand a little on the Hollingshead story, in 1960 this person became an acquaintance of Aldous Huxley, after ringing up the California-based author in the hope of obtaining a little mescaline. Instead, Huxley made Hollingshead aware of Albert Hofmann and the potency of LSD. Using a friendly doctor, Hollingshead promptly ordered a gram, enough for 5,000 doses. He mixed the LSD with sugar and kept it all in a mayonnaise jar. After his first experience, leading to an instant spiritual crisis, Hollingshead called back Huxley and was given the advice that he should meet with Timothy Leary at Harvard. It didn’t take long for Hollingshead to show up there with said mayonnaise jar under his arm. As LSD had played a major role in him losing his job, he was also broke and desperate for income. That situation played a role in Leary offering him a job. [108]

Michael Hollingshead.

Interestingly, until weeks before arriving at Harvard, Hollingshead had been secretary of the New York City-based Institute for British American Cultural Exchange. Here he shared the board with a variety of Anglo-American elites, including Lionel Trilling, a Cold War Rockefeller CIA asset deeply involved in the American Committee for Cultural Freedom and Farfield Foundation network – not entirely unlike Aldous’ brother, Julian Huxley. [109] The Institute’s headquarters was located in the 50th Avenue office – right next to the United Nations building – of board member Huntington Hartford, a multibillionaire who was a member of the Pilgrims Society, a super-elite group we come across all the time in relation to psychedelic researchers. There’s more. Hollingshead described his daily activities as secretary of the Institute until the summer of 1961, when he forced himself to quit: “Most of the time I spent smoking grass; and, towards the end, getting stoned on acid [LSD]… some of my time was spent meeting and talking with executives of the large Foundations like the Carnegie and the Rockefeller Institute, to try to get more money for our programmes.” [110] There it is again, the Rockefeller connection, not to mention the overall “liberal CIA” one.

Already in late 1960, while still employed at the British American Cultural Exchange for some time, Hollingshead founded the Agora Scientific Trust on New York’s Fifth Avenue. Officially a “research” institute, it is said to have been the site of many parties where anything from doorknobs to the food was laced with LSD. It is also said that quite a few dignitaries, including United Nations officials, were “turned on” in this establishment. [111]

Key financier of the Agora Scientific Trust is obscure Long Island-based millionaire Howard Teague. Another key supporter is Victor Lownes, the number 2 guy in Hugh Hefner’s Playboy empire, which for many years supported LSD and marijuana legalization. Psychologist and former LSD researcher Jean Houston was a co-founder. [112] Houston was extremely close to Margaret Mead of the Macy Foundation conference. She wrote a bunch of new age books and in 1996-1997 worked as a controversial spiritual and psychological advisor to Hillary Clinton at the White House. In no small part through Houston, Laurance Rockefeller got his bogus UFO disclosure initiative to the White House. [113] When the Clinton-Houston cooperation became controversial, Houston complained that she had “lost income, grants and an opportunity to serve on the board of a Laurance Rockefeller foundation.” [114] Considering their shared interests, the link between the Macy Foundation and the Rockefeller family, and Houston’s involvement in the Laurance Rockefeller-backed Esalen Institute since at least the early 1970s [115], one wonders to what extent a relationship already existed between the two. Certainly Houston represents a second important Rockefeller link of Hollingshead.

At the time Hollingshead came to Harvard on the advise of Aldous Huxley, he also served as a semi-personal envoy of Eileen Garrett, a super-wealthy alleged medium and founding president of the New York Parapsychology Foundation, which, along with its Nice, France chapter and the U.S. and London-based Societies for Psychical Research [116], has all the hallmarks of being curious control structures over paranormal thinking. Richard Alpert and others described Hollingshead as a criminal, as “manipulative and immoral”, a “con man” and a “scoundrel”. [117] Even Leary continually wondered about Hollingshead’s theatrics, but gave him a chance anyway. [118] With that, Hollingshead ended up becoming a long-time associate of the Leary group, first at Harvard and later at Millbrook.

Oddly, it actually takes several weeks of persuasion by Hollingshead to get Leary to take LSD. Leary is of the opinion that psilocybin is more than exciting enough for the time being and has the idea that LSD is less spiritual because it has been created in a laboratory. He only changes his mind in early December 1961 after observing a young female friend on Hollingshead’s acid uttering incredibly spiritual words, while in ordinary life this girl, who never finished high school, never even expressed the slightest interest in philosophy or religion. Leary’s LSD session lasts all night.

In the morning Leary goes out for another day of work to the Concord Prison, but his thinking has been completely transformed. From this moment on he feels like he’s just an actor, creating his own reality. Dr. George Litwin, a Harvard colleague of his who happened to be present in Leary’s house the night before and decided to sample from Hollingshead’s mayonnaise jar as well, has also not fully descended to Earth yet. Both men need to spent a few days in contemplation of what they just experienced, away from friends and colleagues. [119] Almost immediately Alpert realizes that with LSD Leary and Litwin have gone beyond merely psychedelic psychotherapy and into something much more spiritual and missionary. Sensing that “LSD spelled the downfall of our plans to win Nobel Prizes and full-professor posts at Harvard”, Alpert is hesitant for a while to take LSD. [120] Eventually he takes the plunge. Whereas Leary came out on the other side of his LSD trip as the “high priest”, Alpert essentially is reborn as “Ram Dass”. It will still take a few years before these men fully take on these respective roles, but the LSD seeds are firmly planted.

In this same period the Leary group establishes connections with the Swiss inventor of LSD, Albert Hofmann, who not only provides the group with LSD, but also psilocybin, the active ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms that chemically is very similar to DMT. In 1959 Hofmann learned to synthesize psilocybin from mushrooms through batches supplied by Gordon Wasson. [121] As Leary explained it, “we owed our psilocybin supply to the diligence of a New York banker [Wasson] and the craft of a Basel chemist [Hofmann].” Wasson would soon visit Harvard for a private meeting with the Leary group. [122]

The first DMT tests

During the first two years of the Harvard Psychedelic Project, rumors begin to surface about a new psychedelic “nuclear bomb” named dimethyltryptamine (DMT). By that time DMT has become known as “the terror drug” due to the enormous amount of intense and negative experiences being reported by people on it. William Burroughs took it in London and fully agrees with the notion. Dr. Oscar Janiger is the one to have introduced DMT into Californian circles some time after 1957. He learned about the potential of DMT, found only two references to it, both Hungarian and dating to 1957; decided to have a batch of it made, and injected himself (more powerful than smoking it). He later admitted it was “a dangerously stupid, idiotic thing to do.” Next Janiger phoned up Alan Watts to “bet him that he had a drug that could finally shut him up.” According to Janiger, Watts indeed didn’t utter a word for the half hour that he was under the influence of DMT. Janiger’s next step was to hand the drug to Al Hubbard – still making monthly supply runs to Janiger’s clique – and tell him to distribute it along his network and gathering experience reports. Apparently, “Everyone who took DMT agreed that it was a hellish half hour, with absolutely no redeeming qualities.” [123]

Similarly, in the fall of 1962 a psychiatrist informs Leary that less than 4% of his more than 100 test subjects have had a positive experience with DMT. Without having taken the drug at this point, Leary suggests that all these negative experiences are simply the result of self-fulfilling and self-sustaining prophecies, in large part due to the clinical laboratory setting. Both men, Leary and the psychiatrist, agree to take DMT at the home of the latter, with a doctor, a Hindu monk, and female companions present. Turns out, both have a very positive experience, with Leary colorfully comparing his experience to “being fired out the muzzle of an atomic cannon with neon-byzantine barreling.” Leary experiences DMT – which also he takes in its most potent form: intravenously – to be even stronger than LSD. Experimental sessions will follow on more than 100 volunteers, this time with over 90% describing their experiences as positive. [124] It appears not only the setting, but also trust in the safety of the drug and the experience matters a lot.

John Lilly: Isolation tanks, Ketamine, dolphins… banker father

Through a close association with John Lilly, the inventor of the isolation tank in 1954, the Leary group is also aware that sensory deprivation can induce altered states of consciousness. [125] In fact, in 1961 Aldous Huxley reports to Timothy Leary that he has spoken with the somewhat notorious Dr. Joly West about the hallucinogenic effects of improved isolation tanks that West is experimenting with. [126]

John Lilly.

Lilly isn’t just seen as a pioneer of the isolation tank, but is also well known for his Ketamine experimentation starting in the early 1970s and his dolphin research. This last type of research is partly funded by new age transvestite Reed Erickson, also one of the discoverers of questionable remote viewer Ingo Swann. Leary and his wife enjoy swimming sessions with Lilly’s dolphins, with Lilly becoming a follower of “Ram Dass”, the Hindu guru Richard Alpert is transforming into. But while Alpert sticks to LSD and the occasional mushroom or DMT trip, Lilly goes overboard with his use of Ketamine (and cocaine, according to his friend Rick Doblin), destroying his mental and physical health. [127]

Ketamine is a very interesting psychedelic for a variety of reasons that are beyond the scope of this article. Unfortunately, and in contrast to virtually all other psychedelics, Ketamine tends to be addictive. It is also increasingly cast into a negative light now that it has become the new drug of choice for many cocaine users looking for something more exciting. [128]

Not entirely insignificant is the fact that Lilly came from one of the wealthiest, most influential families in Saint Paul, Minnesota. His father, Richard C. Lilly, was president of First National Bank of St. Paul from at least the 1920s until 1945 and then chairman from 1945 to 1955. First National Bank used to be an asset of the J.P. Morgan empire, headed by his primary agent, George F. Baker (and his father). George F. Baker, Jr. became a director of the bank in 1949. Both the Morgans and Bakers were Pilgrims Society. The Pilgrim James Stillman Rockefeller was president of First National Bank from 1952 to 1959 – thus during the Saint Paul chairmanship of Richard Lilly – and chairman from 1959 to 1967. First National became Citibank, Citicorp, and eventually Citigroup. Its New York City headquarters has always been dominated by Pilgrims Society members.

Lilly studied at Caltech under Paul Dirac and other famous physicists. This study he could have financed by himself through a scholarship. After that, through his father he was able to have a sit-down with Charles Horace Mayo of the elite-funded Mayo Clinic, who advised him to go to Dartmouth Medical School. Lilly complied, but after two years decided to move to the University of Pennsylvania to pursue a career in medical research instead of therapeutic practice. After graduation here in 1942, Lilly worked at the Johnson Foundation under Detlev Bronk [129], a key and very elite Rockefeller scientist and one of the few with that occupation to join the Pilgrims Society. In the 1950s Bronk joined John D. Rockefeller, III is his Population Council, a project co-funded by the Richard Coyle Lilly Foundation in later decades. [130] For the most part, donations of this foundation aren’t particularly noteworthy, except maybe Planned Parenthood, which is funded by all the top foundations.

John Lilly’s younger brother, David M. Lilly, graduated from Dartmouth in 1939, briefly worked at the U.S. Treasury in Washington, D.C. served as treasurer and chair of the Minnesota Republican State Finance Committee in the 1960s, and eventually, in the 1976-1978 period, was appointed by President Gerald Ford to the board of governors of the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, John Lilly was teaching and participating in seminars at the Esalen Institute. After his Washington appointment, David went back to Saint Paul to serve as dean and vice president for finance and operations of the Minnesota School of Management while also serving on the board of Honeywell, General Mills and other corporations. [131]

As discussed in the book The Search for the Manchurian Candidate, to which Lilly contributed, Lilly actually was extremely close to mind control research, although not voluntarily. In 1953 he worked in the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) on pioneering brain implant research, where “he devised a method of pounding up to 600 tiny sections of hypodermic tubing into the skulls of monkeys, through which he could insert electrodes…” The CIA in particular wanted him to classify his research. Lilly refused and soon found himself shut out of the entire research community, because most had agreed to allow their work to be classified, with the CIA messing around with his security clearance.

Lilly left the field of brain implants in 1954 over ethical concerns and pressure from the CIA, invented the isolation tank, and started working on sensory deprivation. Meanwhile, his next-door colleague, Dr. Maitland Baldwin, quietly “agreed to perform terminal sensory deprivation experiments for ARTICHOKE’s Morse Allen…” Allen was the CIA’s main guy in the search for the Manchurian candidate.

It’s a strange state of affairs. Lilly didn’t want to participate in the mind control programs, but still found himself surrounded by the “liberal CIA” crowd of the Esalen Institute and the like while trying to stay away from CIA. And he came from a rather elite family.

Harvard’s Richard Evans Schultes and pioneering research into peyote, ayahuasca, shrooms and Morning Glory seeds in Latin America; partnership with Hofmann and Wasson

At this point we really should discuss Richard Evans Schultes, a very important Harvard ethnobotanist who operated in close proximity to the Leary group. As mentioned earlier, Schultes studied peyote in Mexico as an undergraduate in 1937. It wasn’t until 1951 that the earlier-discussed Dr. Humphry Osmond would bring mescaline, the active ingredient in the peyote cactus, to the forefront of psycho-medical research.

Richard Evans Schultes.

In 1938 and 1939 Schultes traveled through the wilderness of Mexico’s southern Oaxaca province to help identify magic mushrooms as the Aztec’s “Teonanacatl” and Morning Glory seeds as the Aztec’s “Ololiuqui”. During World War II Schultes was the first westerner to take and study ayahuasca in South America. Only in the 1950s it was the turn of the earlier-discussed William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg to get involved with ayahuasca.

Burroughs and Ginsberg, of course, were intimately part of Leary’s Harvard network by the early 1960s, both professionally and privately. [132] Schultes, a traditional plant specialist with very conservative views, remained a little on the outside, but nevertheless operated very closely to Leary. Hilariously, Leary described his group’s relationship with Schultes as feeling like “novices” and “natives whose drug habits he was observing”. They were very interested in Schultes’ work, treated him with the utmost respect, but due to his “openly expressed right-wing political views” and “continual government sponsorship of his work” also were not surprised to learn “that his reports were used by the CIA in its brainwashing experiments during the 1950s and 60s.” Vice versa, Leary wrote that Schultes “was always cordial to us but distant.” [133]

Schultes apparently got along best with the esteemed Swiss scientist and LSD inventor Albert Hofmann and the wealthy Eastern Establishmentarian Gordon Wasson. In 1959 Schultes sent Morning Glory seeds to Hofmann’s lab in Switzerland for chemical analysis. That same year Hofmann synthesized psilocybin from Sierra Mazateca psychedelic mushrooms obtained by Wasson, who in turn was following in Schultes’ steps by traveling to the region for mushroom research. In the early 1960s, it was through Schultes that Wasson contacted Leary to ask if he could come over for tea. [134] Soon after, Hofmann’s Sandoz corporation began to deliver both psilocybin and LSD to the Leary group at Harvard. Almost two decades later, in 1979 and 1980, Albert Hofmann would write books with both Schultes and Wasson. Clearly there was a long-term, but rather low-profile cooperation between these very important researchers. [135]

The 1962 Hofmann-Wasson quest to find Salvia Divinorum

On September 26, 1962, while Leary’s team is dosing Harvard students with LSD and becoming ever more controversial, Hofmann and his wife touch down in Mexico City to meet with Gordon Wasson for a new expedition to the exact same area where Wasson, and before him Richard Evans Schultes, got his mushrooms from in the 1953-1956 period. They are joined by Mrs. Irmgard Weitlaner Johnson, a person with an interesting personal and family history.

Cloud forest home of Salvia Divinorum in the Sierra Mazateca in South-West Mexico.

In 1936 Irmgard’s father, Robert Weitlaner, at Huautla de Jimenez, became the first westerner to confirm rumors that off the beaten track in the remote Oaxaca province, ancient Aztec mushroom cultism still existed. Specimens he shipped to Richard Evans Schultes at Harvard arrived in such a deteriorated state that they couldn’t be identified anymore. Two years later, in July 1938, while Schultes was running his own expeditions in the neighborhood, Robert took his daughter, Irmgard, and her soon-to-be husband, Jean Johnson, back to Huautla de Jimenez to observe a traditional mushroom ritual (they weren’t allowed to participate). Johnson documented the experience in a Swedish journal in 1939. He also wrote about a tea made of Salvia leaves that the shamans used in the off-season when mushrooms weren’t available. Unfortunately, Johnson was killed during World War II. Irmgard’s father, however, remained a prominent researcher, wrote about Salvia in 1952, and worked for the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.

In other words, the information gathered by the Weitlaner-Johnson family, as well as Richard Evans Schultes, in the late 1930s is what brought Gordon Wasson and his wife to Huautla de Jimenez a first time in 1953. In 1955 they were finally allowed to participate in a mushroom ritual. This time, in September 1962, Wasson and Hofmann are primarily going to try to find specimens of the exact Salvia plant used in Mazatec rituals. They are looking to bring back samples to the West and also to participate in a Salvia ritual. Locals generally refer to the plant as “Hojas de la Pastora”. Later the researchers will determine that Salvia most likely was known by the Aztecs as “Pipiltzintzintli”.

After two days of travel by jeep they arrive in the region. Their government documents ensure the cooperation of the locals. From the first village, they travel on donkeys deeper into the jungle to a second village. Hofmann describes the tiny village as being located in paradise in terms of its surroundings, but at the same time being a little troubled on the social front. Locals explain about one empty hut that a man murdered his wife there and now is spending life in prison because of it. In another hut a man was murdered by his wife over an affair. The village leader doesn’t walk through town without being accompanied by two heavily armed guards for fear of being murdered over the raising of illegal taxes. As with the first village, women do not appear to roam the streets freely. In this village, Hofmann and Wasson are only provided with Salvia samples that have no roots or flowers, so, as already planned beforehand, they meet with a contact and move on to the next village.

In this next village, San Jose Tenango, the duo is provided with plenty of proper Salvia samples to take home, analyze, and hopefully synthesize. The group is really hoping to experience a traditional shamanic ceremony with this plant, but all the “curanderos” they ask come up with excuses. They also can’t get any of the curanderos to tell them where exactly this plant is growing naturally or where they are cultivating it. To understand the reason, we only have to look at Marina Sabena, the curandero who introduced Wasson to magic mushrooms in 1955 through her ceremonies: she had her hut burned down after Wasson published her name in his 1957 Seeking the Magic Mushroom article in Life magazine. The locals, or quite possibly jealous shamans, did not appreciate her handing these “secrets” to the “gringos”.

Luckily for Hofmann and Wasson, word of their arrival and intentions spreads quickly. At the last moment they are invited to partake in a ceremony, led by a sympathetic curandero. At night, they are led hush-hush style though a secret path in the jungle, accompanied by “strange bird-calls from the darkness”, to a secluded hut on a mountainside, just outside the village. You couldn’t write it better for a movie. Hofmann later publishes the name of the curandero in question, so let’s hope she didn’t get her hut burned down too.

Young Salvia plant.

During the Salvia ceremony the curandero and Wasson each drink a tea made of 12 leaves; Hoffman’s wife gets 6 leaves. Unfortunately for Hofmann, he is suffering from a severe stomach upset and has to pass. About 20 minutes after drinking, they start to have psychedelic visions. The effects are not nearly as powerful as those of magic mushrooms, explaining why local shamans only use them in the off-season when the mushrooms aren’t growing. The shamans only chew rolls of leaves or make tea of different numbers of Salvia leaves to supposedly cure various diseases and afflictions. The highest reported doses involve teas of about 120 leaves total. [136] That may seem like a lot, but inhaling the Salvinorin A content of just one leaf would have produced more intense experiences. Salvinorin A, the active component of Salvia, is one the world’s most potent psychedelics.

The following day Wasson and Hofmann travel to Huautla de Jimenez. Here they meet with Wasson’s old friend, the curandero Marina Sabina. They offer her their psilocybin pills. Sabina’s whole family partakes in the psilocybin ceremony, with Hofmann now finally being able to drink a Salvia tea for himself. It is made of 10 leaves and prepared by a 10-year-old virgin, supposedly because this makes the potion “especially active”. Sabina confirms the effects of the psilocybin pills are exactly the same as when using unsynthesized psychedelics mushrooms and is thrilled to now be able to run mushroom ceremonies year round. [137]

Similar to ayahuasca and Ibogaine for the longest time, Salvia has always been among the most obscure psychedelics. Timothy Leary never mentioned Salvia in his 1968 biography High Priest or his 1983 one Flashbacks, but did mention the interest of some of his friends in ayahuasca. In the 1970s and 1980s a researcher named Jose Diaz conducted research on Salvia with Sierra Mazateca shamans, but his work remains obscure to this day. Since the 1990s the main promoter has probably been Daniel Siebert, also not a particularly visible psychedelic researcher. Siebert set up a website called the Salvia Divinorum Research and Information Center, which anno 2017 has the same layout that it had back when it was founded in 1995. In December Siebert attended MAPS‘ “3rd World Conference on Salvia Divinorum” alongside Ralph Metzner. Despite his vague expertise, obscurity and medieval-looking website, in the early 2000s Siebert continually appeared as a spokesman in major media outlets, including the New York Times [138], Los Angeles Times [139] and CNN. [140] I always wonder about that, because none of these outlets have ever expressed the tiniest interest in picking this ISGP admin as a spokesman for “the conspiracy theorists”.

In any case, from Siebert we learn that rooted Salvia cuttings were sold at one place in California for $100 a piece back in the early 1970s. The price went down to $25 in the early 1980s. Eventually Siebert was able to obtain a cutting from a visitor of a Terence McKenna lecture in the early 1980s, who had specifically brought along this plant to share cuttings with anyone interested. From Siebert we also learn that while there were reports going back to the 1970s that students of the National University of Mexico City were smoking dried Salvia leaves, that this practice was completely unknown in the West until the mid 1980s when a poet named Dale Pendall tried it and got an effect. From then on it became more and more common to smoke Salvia, but for the longest time this method was seen as not generating a particularly powerful experience.

By the late 2000s, with the emergence of broadband internet, Salvia was sold more and more on the internet. Soon the potency of the natural product was vastly increased by repeatedly extracting leaves between 5 and 40 times and then dripping the extract back on to a little bit of original dried leaf. That’s why these days one sees “5x”, “10x”, etc. with Salvia products being sold. From that point on Salvia slowly started to get the name of being one of the most powerful psychedelics in existence.

The 1963 booting of Leary, Alpert and Metzner from Harvard

At Harvard in late 1962, in the same period that Gordon Wasson and Albert Hofmann are stomping around in the Sierra Mazateca in search of Salvia plants, Timothy Leary and allies Ram Dass and Ralph Metzner are running into ever more bureaucratic resistance from traditional psychologists at Harvard over their not-particularly well-controlled LSD research among Harvard students. Apart from the break with traditional methods of therapy and doing research, at the personal level these traditionalists see the amount of student volunteers for their own therapeutic programs dwindle. Leary and Alpert, on the other hand, have more volunteers for their programs than they can handle. Leary later describes the situation as follows:


“Graduate students, not yet committed to a system, were lining up at our office doors for neurological fieldwork. Following our contract with [Harvard] University we excluded undergraduates, who were the most interested group of all. Drugs were becoming ultra-trendy. Every weekend the Harvard resident houses were transformed into spaceships floating miles above the Yard. At this point the opposition made its first move.” [141]

This opposition doesn’t just involve regular, traditional researchers. Quite a few of them are linked to CIA MKULTRA mind control research. This may or may not be a coincidence, but at the very least it means that these professors are connected. Dr. Robert Heath, Tulane University’s Department of Psychiatry and Neurology chairman from 1949 to 1980, becomes one of Leary’s better known critics. [142] Back in the 1950s, Heath was involved in LSD, mescaline, psilocybin and brain implant tests on monkeys and mental patients on behalf of the CIA and Army. [143] Dr. Max Rinkel at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center and the first person to import and experiment with LSD, emerges as an important critic of the Leary group. So does Harvard’s Dr. Henry Beecher. Both Rinkel and Beecher maintain CIA MKULTRA ties. [144]

Probably the most important opponent is Dr. Herbert Kelman, positioned in the same Center for Personality Research as McClelland, Leary and Alpert. He’s been worried about the cultic approach Leary, Alpert and Barron have been taking since observing them all together at a May 1961 conference in Copenhagen. [145] Besides having received a small grant from the infamous CIA front the Human Ecology Fund [146], he later has an esteemed career at Harvard’s elite Weatherhead Center for International Affairs [147], founded by CIA officer Robert Bowie and Henry Kissinger in 1958, with Zbigniew Brzezinski and Samuel Huntington being among the elites involved over the years. [148] Curiously, in 1984 Kelman will write an article for the New York Times in which he argues against scholars working with or for the CIA. [149] Controlled opposition under all circumstances and in all situations appears to be the name of the game, as Leary and others already were on to him more than 20 years before:.


“Professor Herbert Kelman stormed into the office of director McClelland, voicing serious complaints about our project. McClelland decided to convene a staff meeting to air the grievances. Graduate students were to be invited — most unusual. The reason for Kelman’s annoyance was apparent. Fewer students were coming to his office to assist on this tame questionnaire projects.

“Kelman was a formidable rival. He had undeniable clout in Washington, as demonstrated by an uncanny facility for obtaining annual grants, fellowships, and visiting professorships in foreign countries. Actually no one could explain why he was in the Center for Personality Research since his field was social and political psychology. Richard and I knew that Kelman was preparing an ambush.” [150]

Kelman largely leads the charge that eventually gets Leary, Alpert and their associates removed from Harvard. The media joins the effort, including Time magazine of LSD pioneer Henry Luce. Time warns that “hallucinogens” are “taken for kicks by beatniks and hipsters” and are “mimicking the psychoses, the most crippling of mental illnesses”. A dose of LSD, so small as to be almost invisible“, can “destroy a man’s mental equilibrium” and “throw an emotionally wobbly individual into a mental hospital.” Maybe not entirely untrue, but at the same time this message of the media is extremely biased and a serious exaggeration. [151]

Apart from just personal grievances, it appears that national security interests are worried that Leary and allies are trying to introduce the masses to LSD, instead of sticking to a small network of elites or a few isolated psychiatric patients. So much is clear from a May 1962 article in the Journal of Atomic Scientists in which Leary, Alpert, Hollingshead and Gunther Weil, almost in the same trolling fashion the media is using to ban psychedelics, are suggesting to add LSD to the water supply of major cities in an effort to “prepare” the American people for potential Soviet attack involving the use of psychedelic agents. [152] Yeah, they wish! It is largely in this period that pressure on the Leary group strongly increases. According to Kennedy mistress and top-level CIA wife Mary Pinchot Meyer, this pressure largely comes from the top of the CIA: men like Allen Dulles, Richard Bissell, James Angleton and Frank Wisner. Leary later recounts Mary Meyer’s words to him:


“Oh, you reckless Irishman. You got yourself in trouble again [with your article in the Journal of Atomic Scientists]. It’s magnificent, these headlong cavalry charges of yours. Mais ce n’est pas la guerre.” … Publicity [is what you did wrong]. I told you they’d let you do anything you want as long as you kept it quiet. …

“You poor innocent thing. You have no idea what you’ve gotten into. … It’s time you learned more. The guys who run things – I mean the guys who really run things in Washington – are very interested in psychology, and drugs in particular. These people play hardball, Timothy. They want to use drugs for warfare, for espionage, for brainwashing, for control. … Until very recently control of American consciousness was a simple matter for the guys in charge. The schools instilled docility. The radio and TV networks poured out conformity. …

“You may not know that dissident organizations in academia are also controlled. The CIA creates the radical journals and student organizations and runs them with deep-cover agents. … [Your] IFIF plan [to set up international psychedelic training centers] was ingenious [but] they would have infiltrated every chapter [and] not [have] let CBS film you drugging people on a lovely Mexican beach. You could destroy both capitalism and socialism in one month with that sort of thing.” [153]

Leary’s appointment at Harvard will run out on June 30, 1963, so the leadership of Harvard is not too bothered with trying to fire him. In early April, however, he decides to go “on leave” to Los Angeles without mentioning anything in advance. [154] As a result the university terminates his position and salary per April 30. [155]

With the help of a snitch named Andrew Weil, Harvard is able to fire Alpert on May 27 for having provided psilocybin to an undergraduate student. It appears the Harvard leadership is taking this highly unusual measure after learning that although Alpert’s appointment at the Center for Personality Research expires on June 30, he has been able to obtain a position at Harvard’s School of Education into the next year. Alpert is fired from both positions. [156]

Meanwhile, Ralph Metzner, who has just finished his Ph.D. at Harvard, leaves of his own free will at this point. Various professors and associates urge him to distance himself from Leary and Alpert, but he has taken too many psychedelics to have an interest in doing that.

The Andrew Weil angle on the Leary-Alpert firing

Harvard student Andrew Weil got Dr. Richard Alpert fired from Harvard in 1963.

The firing of Leary and Alpert from Harvard is often portrayed as having been the result of an article in the Harvard Crimson student newspaper by Andrew Weil, a student at Harvard at the time who later became one of Harvard’s psychedelic researchers. Early 2010 articles in the New York Times about Don Lattin’s book The Harvard Psychedelic Club are a prime example of this. [157] Fact is, that the May 28, 1963 article of Andrew Weil [158] had nothing to do with the firing of Leary and Alpert. Leary was already gone and Alpert was cleaning out his office while this article was published. As the previous section makes clear, both men had been drawing the ire of various influential Harvard professors since at least May 1961.

What is true, however, is that Weil was the snitch that made it possible for Harvard to fire Alpert. As for the story here, Leary and Alpert had refused to take Weil and his dorm mate Ronnie Winston up in the psilocybin project, because they were undergraduates. Undergraduates were banned from these tests, so the hands of Leary and Alpert were tied. By Leary in particular, the students were given the recommendation to try and find their own source of psychedelics, but that was it. Subsequently, Weil in particular really did his best to obtain psilocybin. He even wrote to Aldous Huxley for advice. These efforts failed, but eventually he and Winston were able to obtain mescaline and started their own research circle at their dorm.

Things changed after Winston met Alpert again at a party and the two struck up a homosexual relationship, whether this involved sex or not. Alpert, who wouldn’t openly admit to his homosexuality for another three decades, would invite Winston to lunch, fly him around in his private jet and… hand him psilocybin pills. Apparently Alpert, and possibly Winston, kept Weil away from these pills, so the “jilted lover” squealed to the leadership of Harvard university about the affair. The affair itself was not made public, but the fact that Alpert had provided Winston with psilocybin came to serve as the excuse to get rid of Alpert. A May 27, 1963 press release by Harvard president Nathan Pusay announced that Alpert was fired because he had “violated an agreement which he had entered into in November, 1961, not to involve undergraduates in his work with drugs.” The next day, Weil wrote his devastating article about Leary and Alpert in the Harvard Crimson – once again without mentioning the homosexual affair between his dorm buddy and Alpert.

Arguably Alpert deserved to be fired. Some might say that his love affair with a student violated Harvard’s ethical principles. Another argument might be that Alpert deserved to be fired, because he simply didn’t do things very smart. By starting an affair with one of his undergraduate students and then giving this one student, against regulations, a drug his entire dorm is begging for, is just asking for problems. He wouldn’t be the first person to do stupid things for love – or the first guy to do stupid things for sex – but when you roll the dice, you have to pay the price.

There’s more though. In November 1963 Weil published a lengthy article in Look magazine about the situation at Harvard during the years Leary and Alpert were running their experiments with psychedelics here. It leaves one with the strong impression that the removal of Leary and Alpert from Harvard wasn’t just about CIA mind controllers getting jealous, nor was it simply a case of a squealing “jilted lover”. Points made in the article include:

  • Mescaline and LSD sugar cubes were clandestinely traded at an ever increasing rate on the Harvard campus, to the point that the FDA started to take notice of the black market and preparing to do searches.
  • Already in 1961 two Harvard undergraduates temporarily ended up in a mental hospital after either taking mescaline or psilocybin.
  • Dr. Herbert Kelman complained about a growing “insider sect” of participants in the psilocybin projects who considered nonparticipants “square”.
  • Maybe for obvious reasons, Leary and Alpert refused to give up their personal stash of psilocybin pills to the University Health Services in order to make sure that the pills were only used during controlled experiments.
  • Meanwhile, from October 1962 on Leary and Alpert were setting up their International Federation for Internal Freedom (IFIF), with chapters in Mexico, Los Angeles and Boston. The chapters involved the creation of “multifamilial … transcendental communities” where whole families were supposed to live in one large compound, seeking and experiencing the divine.
  • There was criticism that the experiments of Leary and Alpert largely came down to “cocktail parties” where both subjects and observers were under the influence of psychedelics, with data being gathered in a highly unscientific manner. Leary and Alpert creatively countered with the claim that “no one was qualified to observe people under the influence of psilocybin unless he was in the same state.” [159]

It’s kind of hilarious to read this criticism and the responses of Leary and Alpert, because all of it is so recognizable. People who take too many psychedelics will become thoroughly irrational to outsiders, unless they ignore the messages coming through. Obviously, a situation like this could not persist at Harvard. If you are the president of Harvard, what are you going to tell the parents of a student who is run over by a car while high on LSD? Or if some other kind of accident happens? Or if the student decides to “drop out” after using psychedelics? Even Weil said that he backed off of mescaline use, because he was worried that “any more of these insights might convince [me] that Harvard was a complete waste of time.” [160]

To summarize, it was probably inevitable that Leary, Alpert and Metzner left Harvard. It was a clash between the ultimate in rational thinking versus the ultimate in irrational thinking. Either Harvard was going to control psychedelics or psychedelics were going to take over Harvard and probably, in the end, stop it from being a university altogether.

It’s important to note that there’s something very odd about “Weil the Squeal” that makes one wonder to what extent the Harvard controversy was scripted. 




By: Joël van der Reijden | Date: October 23, 2017 | Updated: February 24, 2022 | ALTERNATIVE MEDIA STUDY CENTER




1983, Timothy Leary, ‘Flashbacks’, p. 17: “[Frank Barron] said [to me] his research on creativity had led him to Mexico, where he interviewed a psychiatrist who had been producing visions and trances using the so- called “magic mushrooms. Frank had taken a bag filled with the mushrooms back to Berkeley and ingested them.”


October 13, 2002, New York Times, ‘F. X. Barron, 80; Studied Science of Creativity’.


1983, Timothy Leary, ‘Flashbacks’, p. 29.

[33] (accessed: January 5, 2017): “Timothy Leary was the Director of the Kaiser Foundation Psychological Research from 1952 to 1958, some reports indicate the years 1954-59. In 1950 he helped found the Kaiser Psychiatric Clinic in Oakland, California. During the next eight years he received nearly one-half million dollars in federal grants at the Kaiser Clinic for research work on mental illness.”


Jessica Locke De Greco (BA in psychology, University of Hampshire),, ‘LSD Research: An Overview’: “One well-known study that Leary conducted at the Kaiser Foundation measured the progress of patients in psychotherapy against that of patients who were on a waiting list for therapy during a nine month period. The psychological community was quite shocked by the results, which indicated that the improvement ratios of the two groups were virtually identical. …
He [also] developed a personality test himself called “The Leary,” which the CIA and other organizations used to test prospective employees. These accomplishments eventually lead Leary to an appointment at Harvard…”


1983, Timothy Leary, ‘Flashbacks’, pp. 17-18.

[36] (accessed: January 18, 2017), David C. McClelland papers: “1956: … Chairman of Staff, Center for Research in Personality [at Harvard]. … 1958: Receives Guggenheim Fellowship… 1959: Travels to Italy with Guggenheim fellowship [Leary is located in Florence, Italy]…”


1983, Timothy Leary, ‘Flashbacks’, p. 18.


Ibid., pp. 19-20.


March 1984 interview of a to the author unknown journalist with Timothy Leary about his new biography ‘Flashbacks’ (YouTube title: ‘Timothy Leary Ph.D – Air date March 1984’): “I was invited to Harvard in 1960 [note: mid to late 1959] to institute “better methods of behavior change.” Give individuals more control and understanding of their lives. They invited me to change things. I guess they didn’t know they were going to get more than they calculated.”


1983, Timothy Leary, ‘Flashbacks’, p. 21.


1968 (1995 edition), Timothy Leary, High Priest, pp. 37-39, 48-54.

[42] (accessed: July 10, 2017):“Born in 1898 and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, Alpert graduated from English High School in 1915 and from Boston University Law School in 1918. From 1924-1927, he served as an assistant district attorney for Suffolk County, Massachusetts; he later opened the law firm Alpert & Alpert with his brother Herbert.”


November 7, 1946,, ‘Einstein Foundation Names Its University After Brandeis; Will Open It Next October’:“George Alpert, prominent Boston attorney and philanthropic leader, was elected to the presidency of the Board of Trustees of Middlesex University. Mr. Alpert, who is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Albert Einstein Foundation, is well known in Jewish communal activities. He is a board member of the Joint Distribution Committee and chairman of that organization’s New England region. He is also a trustee of the Associated Jewish Philanthropies, Combined Jewish Appeal and Hebrew Teachers College, all of Boston. In addition, he is national co-chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, a trustee of the American Institute for International Information, and a director of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.”


*) Ibid.
*) (accessed: July 10, 2017):“[George] Alpert was … a member of the board of trustees of the Franklin (N.H.) Hospital [and] a trustee of Temple Ohabei Shalom…”


*) (accessed: July 10, 2017): “George Alpert was the first Chairman of the Brandeis University Board of Trustees. He held this position from 1946-1954 and remained a Board member for the rest of his life.”
*) (accessed: July 10, 2017): “The Board of Trustees [of Brandeis] began in 1947 with George Alpert as its first Chair. Prominent trustees have included Leonard Bernstein and Eleanor Roosevelt. … Klutznick, Philip M [a fellow and his wife was deeply involved in Brandeis] –Correspondence, 1959-1964. Klutznick, Philip M–Correspondence, 1965-1968. … Lehman, Senator Herbert H.–Correspondence, 1956-1964. … Roosevelt, Anna Eleanor, 1954-1963… “
*) 1995, Abram Leon Sachar, ‘Brandeis University: A Host at Last’, p. 92: “members of our own [Brandeis] board, Senator Herbert Lehman and Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt.”


November 7, 1946,, ‘Einstein Foundation Names Its University After Brandeis; Will Open It Next October’: “Professor Albert Einstein, leading proponent and sponsor of the first secular American university to be established under Jewish auspices, gave his endorsement to the choice of name. … Mr. Alpert, who is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Albert Einstein Foundation…”


1951, Israel Goldstein, ‘Brandeis University: Chapter of Its Founding’, p. 29: “Mr. George Alpert, a prominent lawyer in Boston, who had attained local recognition in the Jewish charities and national recognition in the United Jewish Appeal…”


June 1945, UPA Report, p. 4, ‘Tours Communities in Behalf of U. P. A.’ (Alpert) and officers list in the lower right corner. (Photocopy)


*) November 7, 1946,, ‘Einstein Foundation Names Its University After Brandeis; Will Open It Next October’:“George Alpert … is a board member of the Joint Distribution Committee and chairman of that organization’s New England region.”
*) See the following Joint Distribution Committee officers lists from October 1945April 1949December 1960 and January 1962. In the first three lists George Alpert is serving with members of the Bronfman and Warburg families. In the last list he is serving with Bronfmans and Oppenheimers.


May 12, 1953 letter of director of development Michael M. Nisselson to Albert Einstein about the appointment of George Alpert as a fellow-honoraray chairman of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. All officers are visible on the page.


George Alpert, Walter Annenberg, Max Stern and Laurence Tisch are listed as members of the board of overseers of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University on this photocopy of a flyer of a May 6, 1962 ‘Albert Einstein Commemorative Dinner’.


March 14, 1969, photocopy of President Nixon’s schedule for the day.


September 13, 1988, New York Times, ‘George Alpert, 90, Ex-President Of New Haven Line and a Lawyer’.


1983, Timothy Leary, ‘Flashbacks’, p. 22.

[55], David C. McClelland papers (accessed: January 9, 2017): “1949-1950: Lectures in Social Psychology at Harvard University, then returns to Wesleyan University.
Fall 1950: Becomes a staff consultant for the Social Science Research Council. This was in connection with the Ford Foundation Program for basic Social Science Development…
1952-1953: Serves as Deputy Director of the Behavioral Sciences division of the Ford Foundation…
1956[-]: … Chairman of Staff, Center for Research in Personality [at Harvard]. …”


1968 (1995 edition), Timothy Leary, High Priest, pp. 12-13, 15-17.


1983, Timothy Leary, ‘Flashbacks’, p. 379.


February 16, 1979 reunion video of Leary et al., ‘A Conversation on LSD’, 0:50, 2:54.


1983, Timothy Leary, ‘Flashbacks’, p. 85.


1971, no. 11, Ira Einhorn for the Psychedelic Review, ‘The sociology of the now’.

[61] (accessed: September 12, 2017).


2009, Jacques Vallee, ‘Forbidden Science: Volume Two: Journals: 1970-1979’, p. 441. See here for excerpt.


July 29, 2014 YouTube upload by “HealingTaoSociety”, ‘Gunther Weil Brings Master Chia to Harvard’.

[64] (accessed: September 12, 2017).


August 19, 2001, New York Times, ‘Oscar Janiger, 83, Psychiatrist and Early Advocate of LSD Use’: “Born in New York City, Dr. Janiger, who was a cousin of the poet Allen Ginsberg, moved to Los Angeles in 1950…”


1968 (1995 edition), Timothy Leary, High Priest, pp. 114-115: “Allen Ginsberg hunched over a teacup… started telling of his experiences with ayahuasca. … He had followed the quest of William Burroughs, sailing south [to the Peruvian village] Pacullpo… I kept asking Allen questions about the curandero.” This was during the same November 26, 1960 meeting where Leary and Barron gave Ginsberg his first mushroom trip.


July 1968, Timothy Leary for Esquire magazine, ‘In the Beginning, Leary Turned on Ginsberg and Saw That It Was Good… And Then Leary and Ginsberg Decided to Turn on the World’: “November 26, 1960, the sunny Sunday afternoon that we gave Allen Ginsberg the mushrooms, started slowly. First in the cycle of breakfasts at noon were my son Jack Leary and his friend Bobbie, who had spent the night. … Frank Barron, who was visiting… remained upstairs…”


1998, William Burroughs and James Grauerholz, Ira Silverberg and Ann Douglas, ‘Word Virus: The William S. Burroughs Reader’, pp. 3-4: “William Burroughs’ father, Mortimer… graduated M.I.T. [and] married … Laura Lee… Laura Lee’s brother, Ivy Lebetter Lee…”


Ivy L. Lee certainly appears on Pilgrims Society membership lists 1924 and 1926-1927.


For sources on Ivy Lee’s involvement with the Rockefellers and I.G. Farben, see his biography in ISGP’s Pilgrims Society membership list.


1973 (2011 edition), Alan Watts, ‘In My Own Way: An Autobiography’, p. 365: “It was not until 1958 that I met Jung himself (I had once heard him lecture in London, around 1937), though I had known many of his principal students [mentions five] … But by the time I met Jung I had been exposed to another and very different approach to psychotherapy by Gregory Bateson [and his “double bind”], who had just begun work as consulting ethnologist at the Palo Alto Veteran’s Hospital when I first came to California [in 1951]. … Gregory picked my brains on the techniques of Zen…
The Jungians, also were interested in Zen, and in the spring of 1958 I was invited to give some lectures at the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich…” Watts was partly a protege of Jung student Frederic Spiegelberg, who he followed to New York City in 1938 and then California in 1951.


Ibid., pp. 74, 103-106: “Blavatsky, who founded the Theosophical Society in–of all places–New York City in 1875, thereafter moving to Madras and London. Her story was that, as a young woman, she had gone into Central Asia and Tibet to become the student of supreme gurus Koot Hoomi and Maurya (which are not Tibetan names, and whose alleged photographs look like versions of Jesus)… Blavatsky’s voluminous works reveal only the most fragmentary knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism, but she was a masterly creator of metaphysical and occult science fiction [and an] old lady who spat and swore and rolled her own cigarettes. Perhaps she was a charlatan, but she did a beautiful job of it, and persuaded a goodly number of aristocrats to consider the Upanishads, the Yoga Sutra, the Bhagavad-Gita, and the Buddhist Tripitaka. …
H. P. Blavatsky, who had claimed to be in touch with a universal fraternity of gurus or Masters of Wisdom, adepts in mysticism and occultism maintaining lonely and secret monasteries in the Himalayas, the Andes, and other remote parts of the world. … It was said that on rare occasions a Master would leave a sanctuary and appear in the everyday world, as had happened in the instances of the Buddha, Lao-tzu, Jesus… The fraternity … had been at work in the lost civilizations of Atlantis and Lemuria, and kept its records, written on indestructible paper in the secret language of Senzar, in great underground libraries hewn out in the mountains. Wittingly or unwittingly, Gurdjieff … Mitrinovic … Aleister Crowley [and] Alice Bailey … had the aura of this legend attached to them.”


*) 1991, Stephen Larsen and Robin Larsen, ‘Joseph Campbell: A Fire in the Mind: The Authorized Biography’, p. 357: “Alan Watts … was to become one of Joseph Cambell’s most influential friends… Watts’s first grant [arranged by Joseph Campbell] began in 1951. (Campbell first mentions Watts in his private papers in 1952.)”
*) 1973 (2011 edition), Alan Watts, ‘In My Own Way: An Autobiography’, pp. 216, 219: “Although he [Campbell] has been in New York and I [since 1951] in San Francisco–we have constantly compared notes and exhanged ideas.”


*) October 7, 1993, Los Angeles Times, ‘A Legend in His Own Right’: “Also in the library are Campbell’s private collection of mythic objects, talismans and fetishes, and his lifetime of photographs, trophies, medals and degrees. The cost of shipping the possessions from Honolulu, where Campbell lived, to Carpinteria was paid for by a grant from Laurance Rockefeller. Conversion of the existing campus building into the climate- and temperature-controlled library was paid for by a Paul Mellon grant.”
*) Also note Laurance Rockefeller’s presence on th board of the Joseph Campbell Foundation, their shared involvement in the Esalen Institute and Campbell’s presence on the board of trustees of Paul Mellon’s Bollingen Foundation.


1973 (2011 edition), Alan Watts, ‘In My Own Way: An Autobiography’, pp. 215-216: “Joseph had in fact saved my own life at this time by helping me to get a grant from this astonishing institution … the Bollingen Foundation… Bollingen is a village at the eastern end of the lake of Zurich, where C. G. Jung had his country retreat, and the Foundation was established by Paul Mellon and his late wife, Mary (Mima), who had been one of Jung’s patients…”


June 20, 1982, New York Times, ‘The Bollingen Adventure’.


1997, Robin Winks, ‘Laurance S. Rockefeller: Catalyst For Conservation’, p. 51: “At various times LSR would be influenced by Teilhard de Chardin … Jan Christian Smuts … by Joseph Campbell [with] A Hero of a Thousand Faces … and by Deepak Chopra…”


1991, Stephen Larsen and Robin Larsen, ‘Joseph Campbell: A Fire in the Mind: The Authorized Biography’: “Watts’s first grant was to research “Spiritual Documents of the Orient,” which began in 1951.”


1973 (2011 edition), Alan Watts, ‘In My Own Way: An Autobiography’, pp. 219-220: “It was in 1945 or 1946 that I received a publisher’s announcement from the new firm of Pantheon Books in New York, and was at once struck by the sophistication of its typographic layout. … I knew at once that I would like my own books to be published by this firm. … I had sent the manuscript of Behold the Spirit [published in 1947 by another publisher] to Pantheon and so came to know Kurt and Helen Wolff. How could I have guessed that Helen was so profoundly interested in Catholic mysticism and Oriental philosophy, an interest shared by her husband, Kurt…”

[80] /eadpdfmss/2011/ms011077.pdf, Library oif Congress, ‘Bollingen Foundation Records’ (accessed: July 11, 2017): “The foundation was established in 1942 by Paul and Mary Conover Mellon.”


June 20, 1982, New York Times, ‘The Bollingen Adventure’.


1973 (2011 edition), Alan Watts, ‘In My Own Way: An Autobiography’, p. 219: “I must explain that John, Joseph and Jean [Campbell], and Jack Barrett [executive director of Paul Mellon’s Bollingen Foundation] all became my friends…”


1967, Bollingen Foundation, ‘Bollingen Foundation: Twentieth Anniversary Report of its activities from December 14, 1945 through December 31, 1965’, p. 3: “[Officers:] Paul Mellon, 1945-… John D. Barrett, 1946- … Joseph Campbell, 1960- …”

[84] /eadpdfmss/2011/ms011077.pdf, Library oif Congress, ‘Bollingen Foundation Records’ (accessed: July 11, 2017): “Between 1964 and 1969, financial support granted by the foundation to institutions was gradually phased out. Although the foundation was dismantled in 1973…
BOX I:19 470.062 Watts, Alan W.”


2013, Hans Thomas Hakl, ‘Eranos: An Alternative Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century’: “Suddenly and without forewarning, the Mellons had to cancel all financial support for Eranos. … Already, on 20 March 1942, [Eranos founder Olga Frobe] had written to Jung that Eranos, and therefore she herself, was fully dependent on Mary Mellon.”


Ibid.: “Early 1943, [Eranos founder] Olga Frobe once again [faced] accusations of pro-Nazism… On Jung’s advice she turned to Allen Dulles, head of the OSS in Bern. [The] friend [read: mistress] of Allen Dulles, Mary Bancroft, is also said to have spoken out in Olga Frobe’s favor.”


Ibid.: “This [Eranos] series [of conferences of the 1950s and 1960s] was financed by the American Bollingen Foundation, created by Paul and Mary Mellon, who undertook, at enormous expense, to have works (largely European ones) in the history of ideas and similar fields translated into English [something] that would never have interested a purely commercial publisher. … The founder of Eranos [Olga Frobe] as well as many of the speakers were also supported by the Bollingen Foundation…”


2012, Peter J. Columbus and Donadrian L. Rice (State University of New York Press), ‘Alan Watts–Here and Now: Contributions to Psychology, Philosophy, and Religion’, p. 3: “Watts was awarded research grants by the Franklin J. Manchette Foundation in 1950 and the Bollingen Foundation in 1950-1953 and 1962-1964. He was research fellow at Harvard University in 1962-1964, visiting scholar at San Jose State University in 1968, research consultant at Maryland Psychiatric Research Center in 1969, and guest lectured at leading universities and medical schools worldwide, including Stanford, Berkeley, Chicago, Yale, Cornell, Cambridge and the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich. … He was a member of the American Oriental Society, a board member of the Foundation for Mind Research [of Robert E.L. Masters, Dr. Jean Houston and Michael Hollingshead], sat on the Executive Council of the World Congress of Faiths, was founder and president of the Society of Comparative Philosophy… The Alan Watts Mountain Center, is now under construction north of San Francisco.”


October 6, 2011,, ‘The Roots of CIIS: The Early Colloquia’: “[Photo:] AAAS Founder Louis Gainsborough (far left) and AAAS Faculty Frederic Spiegelberg, Judith Tyberg, Dr. Haridas Chauduri, and Alan Watts.”


*) July 11, 1949, Stanford Daily, ‘Buddhist ‘Dik Cha’ Discovered By Stanford’s Dr. Spiegelberg’: “Dr. Frederic Spiegelberg, [a] member of the Stanford Asiatic and Slavic Studies faculty, who recently returned from a six-month trip, financed by the Rockefeller Foundation grant, in which he visited remote Tibetan lamaseries high in the Himalayas.”
*) (accessed: July 13, 2017; no original source, but managed by the Princeton-educated professor David Ulansey of CIIS): “[Spiegelberg:] I had contact with many Indians, but none of them has made such an impression as the reading of the books of Sri Aurobindo, which I did in Stanford University, where I started teaching in 1942. This led to my eventual visit to India on a Rockefeller grant in 1948 and ’49, where I was fortunate enough to have the darshan of Sri Aurobindo in Pondicherry.”

[91] (accessed: July 13, 2017; managed by the Princeton-educated professor David Ulansey of CIIS): “In 1949 he was awarded a Fulbright grant to conduct research on “The Living Spirituality of India.” During his travels in India, Sikkim, and Tibet, he visited ashrams and monasteries and met many of the prominent spiritual teachers of the time.”


October 6, 2011,, ‘The Roots of CIIS: The Early Colloquia’: “[Photo:] AAAS Founder Louis Gainsborough (far left) and AAAS Faculty Frederic Spiegelberg, Judith Tyberg, Dr. Haridas Chauduri, and Alan Watts.”


2005, Jeffrey Kripal, ‘On the Edge of the Future: Esalen and the Evolution of American Culture’, p. 105.


January – June 2001, The Esalen Catalog, p. 5, ‘An Interview with Dick Price’: “I had been a student at the American Academy of Asian Studies in late 1955 and early 1956. … When I moved back to San Francisco [in May 1960] I started taking the programs with Watts and Chaudhuri again [at their own set ups]. … We had started with the connections we had [to set up Esalen], through people like Alan Watts…”


October 6, 2011,, ‘The Roots of CIIS: The Early Colloquia’: ” Even to get in the room [of the AAAS], you had to arrive an hour early. The attendees included many of the brightest young minds of the time: poets Gary Snyder, Allen Ginsberg, Phillip Whalen, and Michael McClure; Esalen cofounder Richard Price…”


2005, Jeff Kripal, ‘Esalen America and the Religion of No Religion’, p. 86: “In June of 1961, Murphy and Price drove down to Santa Monica to visit Gerald Heard… Huxley, Heard, and Isherwood would eventually have a major impact on the American countercultural appropriation of Hinduism. All three would be influenced by the Vedanta philosophy of Swami Prabhavananda… Quite appropriately, Alan Watts and Felix Greene called them “the British Mystical Expatriates of Southern California.” It was Huxley and Heard, however, who would have the most influence on the founding of Esalen. Although Murphy and Price actually met Aldous Huxley only once… his intellectual and personal influence on the place was immense.


1991, Stephen Larsen and Robin Larsen, ‘Joseph Campbell: A Fire in the Mind: The Authorized Biography’: “It would be out of some inspiring discussions with Alan Watts and Joseph Campbell that Michael Murphy and Richard Price would develop the plans for the … Esalen Institute, where Watts and Campbell would later become frequent lecturers.”


2012, Marion Goldman, ‘The American Soul Rush: Esalen and the Rise of Spiritual Privilege’, p. 144: “Good friends, rather than acquaintances, introduced Michael [Murphy] to [Laurance] Rockefeller in the 1960s, and Michael soon became the billionaire’s trusted adviser for different projects to advance personal and spiritual potential. Rockefeller donated millions of dollars to Esalen for renovations and new buildings, invitational conferences, and Michael’s book about extraordinary human functionin, The Future of the Body (Murphy 1992:xii). With Rockefeller’s support, Michael transferred his personal archive of more than ten thousand documents and case histories about extraordinary human abilities to the Stanford Medical School Library…”


See sources on the Esalen Institute in ISGP’s “Liberal CIA” article.

[100] (accessed: November 21, 2015): “1951: Pacifica receives the first major foundation grant (Ford Foundation) for the support of a non-commercial broadcast operation. …
1953: Philosopher/author Alan Watts [later of the Esalen Institute] begins a regular program on KPFA that continues until his death in 1973.”


1988, Jay Stevens, ‘Storming Heaven: LSD & The American Dream’, p. 115. “It was immediately clear to Alan Watts, when he met Leary a few months later [after November 1961] in New York City, that Huxley [as well as Osmond] had completely misread Leary’s character.”


2012, Peter J. Columbus and Donadrian L. Rice (State University of New York Press), ‘Alan Watts–Here and Now: Contributions to Psychology, Philosophy, and Religion’, p. 3: “Watts was awarded research grants by the … Bollingen Foundation in 1950-1953 and 1962-1964. He was research fellow at Harvard University in 1962-1964…”


1983, Timothy Leary, ‘Flashbacks’, p. 148.


1973, Michael Hollingshead, ‘The Man who Turned on the World’, chapter 1: “Huxley called me back a few days later, having thought over my problem, and suggested that I go to Harvard to meet a Dr. Timothy Leary, a professor there, whom he’d met earlier that year in Copenhagen, when he had presented a paper on induced visionary experience before the Fourteenth International Congress of Applied Psychology. … He spoke very warmly of Leary…
As we parted, Aldous Huxley gave me, as a remembrance of this meeting, a tape recording of his lecture “Visionary Experience,” which he had delivered the week before at an international congress on applied psychology in Copenhagen.”


*) Ibid.
*) 1992, Forrest Glen Robinson, ‘Love’s Story Told: A Life of Henry A. Murray’, p. 336.
*) 1988, Jay Stevens, ‘Storming Heaven: LSD & The American Dream’, p. 46. Herbert Kelman was in the audience and was shocked at the apparent cultic direction Leary, Alpert and Barron were taking.


1983, Timothy Leary, ‘Flashbacks: An Autobiography’, pp. 119-120.


1968 (1995 edition), Timothy Leary, High Priest, p. 234.


1973, Michael Hollingshead, ‘The Man Who Turned on the World’, chapter 1.


1999, Frances Stonor Saunders, ‘The Cultural Cold War’, pp. 115, 131, 134, 179.


1973, Michael Hollingshead, ‘The Man Who Turned on the World’, chapter 1.


1985 (1992 edition), Martin A. Lee and Bruce Schlain, ‘Acid Dreams’, p. 98.


1973, Michael Hollingshead, ‘The Man Who Turned on the World’, chapter 4.


Grant Cameron for his, ‘Extraterrestrial Politics in the Clinton White House Part 6 : Hillary’s Involvement’: “The importance of Jean Houston’s role in the UFO picture came in a fax sent from Rockefeller’s lawyer, Henry Diamond, to Jack Gibbons dated June 6, 1996. … In the fax Diamond thanked Gibbons for the meeting, and told the President’s Science Advisor that the subject Rockefeller wanted to discuss during the meeting was Hillary’s friend Jean Houston. Attached to the fax was an earlier letter from Houston to Rockefeller outlining her views on UFOs and Rockefeller’s effort to effect disclosure UFO disclosure in the White House. …
The Houston to Rockefeller letter was dated March 18, 1996. Houston invited Rockefeller to meet with her at her home just outside of New York in April. The meeting undoubtedly took place and by June Rockefeller thought Jean Houston important enough to arrange a special meeting in Washington with Gibbons.” (accessed: October 7, 2017).


May 12, 2008, Los Angeles Times, ‘An archetypal analysis of Clinton’.


2012, Esalen Institute, ‘Esalen’s Half-Century of Pioneering Cultural Initiatives 1962 to 2012’.


1973, Michael Hollingshead, ‘The Man Who Turned on the World’, chapter 3.


July 11-25, 1996, Rolling Stone magazine, ‘Timothy Leary 1920-1996’.


1968, Timothy Leary, ‘High Preast’, pp. 233-240.


Ibid., pp. 244-255.


1983, Timothy Leary, ‘Flashbacks: An Autobiography’, p. 120.


2011, Julia Buxton, ‘The Politics of Narcotic Drugs: A Survey’, p. 276: “The publication of ‘Seeking the Magic Mushroom’ in a 1957 edition of Life magazine by New York banker R. Gordon Wasson renewed research interest in psilocybin, which was synthesized by Sandoz Pharmaceutical employee Albert Hofmann in 1959. Sandoz began manufacture of psilocybin pills in 1960, primarily for use in psychotherapeutic medicine. In 1961 Harvard University-based psychiatry researchers Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert began experiments with psilocybin under the Psychedelic Research Project. Psilocybin was administered to students and 35 prisoners at the Concored Correctional Institute. Leary and Alpert’s work subsequently focused on LSD.”


1983, Timothy Leary, ‘Flashbacks: An Autobiography’, p. 92.


1988, Jay Stevens, ‘Storming Heaven: LSD & The American Dream’, p. 60. Based on an interview with Oscar Janiger.


November 8, 1966, Timothy Leary in the Psychedelic Review, ‘Programmed Communication During Experiences With DMT’.


1983, Timothy Leary, ‘Flashbacks: An Autobiography’, p. 332: “Our knowledge of experimental access to out-of-body experiences are due to the perseverance of Lilly and his group in their studies of the anesthetic ketamine.”


June 6, 1962, letter of Aldous Huxley to Timothy Leary, “Dear Tim, Thank you for your letter of Jan 23rd… At S.F. I met Dr. Janiger, whom I had not seen for several years. He tells me that he has given LSD to 100 painters…. I also spoke briefly with Dr. Jolly West (prof of psychiatry at U of Oklahoma Medical School), who told me that he had done a lot of work on sensory deprivation, using improved versions of John Lilly’s techniques. Interesting visionary results — but I didn’t have time to discuss the details. … Yours, Aldous.”


Rick Doblin appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, on July 1, 2013 and April 7, 2016. During one of these talks, and I believe somewhere close to the end, he mentions that John Lilly not only had a ketamine problem, but also a cocaine one.


*) December 23, 2008, Daily Mail, ‘Why the wealthy young elite are switching from cocaine to the deadlier drug ketamine, the horse tranquillisers used on injured soldiers in Vietnam’.
*) February 12, 2014, Daily Mail, ‘Ketamine now a Class B drug: People caught possessing horse tranquiliser face five years in prison’.


1975, The American Review of Respiratory Disease, p. 540 (April 1975; page number of entire volume): “John Lilly, in his first postdoctoral year in Detlev Bronk’s Johnson Foundation for Medical Physics at the University of Pennsylvania…”


The 1984, 1988 and 1989 annual reports of the Population Council reveal $5,000 donations by the Richard Coyle Lilly Foundation.


*) (accessed: October 22, 2017).
*) February 15, 2014, Star Tribune, ‘Lilly, David M.’.


January 7, 2010, New York Times, ‘Tune In, Turn On, Turn Page’: Don Lattin’s Harvard Psychedelic Club’: Be There Then’: “Mr. Alpert, Dr. Weil and Mr. Huston all fell, at least briefly, under Leary’s spell [note: this is an understatement, especially with regard to Leary’s life-long friend, Richard Alpert]. So did scene makers like Allen Ginsberg, Alan Watts and William S. Burroughs, all of whom began spending time at Leary’s home. There were late nights, new drugs, unhinged libidos. A version of the 1960s was being invented, one dazzling trip at a time.”


1983, Timothy Leary, ‘Flashbacks: An Autobiography’, p. 92.


Ibid.: “One day we received a call from Schultes’ office at the museum. On the line was Robert Gordon Wasson, made famous by a long article in Life magazine that described his treks to Mexico and his discovery of psychedelic mushrooms. … a Wasson asked if he could come around to visit. We arranged a high-tea ceremony in the Center conference room.”


*) 1979, Richard Evans-Schultes and Albert Hofmann, ‘Plants of the Gods: Origins of Hallucinogenic’.
*) 1980, Richard Evans-Schultes and Albert Hofmann, ‘The Botany and Chemistry of Hallucinogens’.
*) 1978, Gordon Wasson and Albert Hofmann, ‘The Road to Eleusis’.


2014, Ross Heaven, ‘Shamanic Plant Medicine – Salvia Divinorum: The Sage of the Seers’ (Google books).


1980, Albert Hofmann, ‘LSD: My Problem Child’, pp. 95-105.


*) July 9, 2001, New York Times, ‘New Cautions Over a Plant With a Buzz’.
*) May 8, 2002, New York Times, ‘Huautla Journal; The Place for Trips of the Mind-Bending Kind’.
*) September 9, 2008, New York Times, ‘Hallucinogen’s popularity may thwart medical use’.


*) March 17, 2002, Los Angeles Times, ‘Herb Lures Tourists to Mexico for Legal Mind-Bending Trip ‘.
*) December 10, 2010, Los Angeles Times, ‘So that’s Miley Cyrus bong-smoking salvia — and what is salvia, exactly?’.


April 12, 2006, CNN, ‘Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees’ (transcript).


1983, Timothy Leary, ‘Flashbacks: An Autobiography’, pp. 119-122: “Every weekend the Harvard resident houses were transformed into spaceships floating miles above the Yard. At this point the opposition made its first move. Professor Herbert Kelman [received a small grant from the CIA’s Human Ecology Fund, an MK-ULTRA front; chairman of the Middle East Seminar of Harvard’s Weatherhead Center since 1977; wrote the 1986 New York Times article ‘When Scholars Work With the CIA’ in which he claimed academics cooperating with the Agency is something he does not support; director of the Program on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution at Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs 1993-2003] stormed into the office of director McClelland, voicing serious complaints about our project. … Kelman was a formidable rival.
The next day, to our alarm, the Harvard Crimson ran a lurid account of scandal and dissension in the Center for Personality Research. Drug Profs Attacked by Colleagues! … A large majority of the faculty and students backed our position. But it sounded bad in the [international] press.”


*) Ibid.
*) 1985 (1992 edition), Martin A. Lee and Bruce Schlain, ‘Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD’, p. 86: “Dr. Henry Beecher, an esteemed member of the Harvard Medical School faculty who conducted drug experiments for the CIA, ridiculed Leary’s research methodology… Dr. Max Rinkel, a veteran of the CIA’s MK-ULTRA program, denounced Leary… as did Dr. Robert Heath, a longtime CIA and army contract employee. … Dr. Herbert Kelman, recipient of a small grant from the CIA-connected Human Ecology Fund [and later the Weatherhead Center of International Affairs], [also denounced Leary]…”


2006, Colin A. Ross, ‘The C.I.A. Doctors: Human Rights Violations by American Psychiatrists’. Explains the Army contracts of Robert Heath and, based on 1995 interview with Heath, that he also received CIA financing.


*) 1985 (1992 edition), Martin A. Lee and Bruce Schlain, ‘Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD’, p. 86: “Dr. Max Rinkel, a veteran of the CIA’s MK-ULTRA program, denounced Leary… as did Dr. Robert Heath, a longtime CIA and army contract employee. … Dr. Herbert Kelman, recipient of a small grant from the CIA-connected Human Ecology Fund [and later the Weatherhead Center of International Affairs], [also denounced Leary]…”
*) 1983, Timothy Leary, ‘Flashbacks: An Autobiography’, p. 379: “After the fall of Nixon, the Freedom of Information Act made public the fact that Max Rinkel had been a CIA operative assigned to test drugs that could be used in warfare, brainwashing, and interrogation. Rinkel had never taken LSD.”


1988, Jay Stevens, ‘Storming Heaven: LSD & The American Dream’, p. 128.


*) 1985 (1992 edition), Martin A. Lee and Bruce Schlain, ‘Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD’, p. 86: “A number of CIA- and military-sponsored researchers launched vociferous attacks on Leary and Alpert. … Dr. Herbert Kelman, recipient of a small grant from the CIA-connected Human Ecology Fund [was among thme]…”


*) Professor Herbert Kelman bio: received a small grant from the CIA’s Human Ecology Fund, an MK-ULTRA front; chairman of the Middle East Seminar of Harvard’s Weatherhead Center since 1977; wrote the 1986 New York Times article ‘When Scholars Work With the CIA’ in which he claimed academics cooperating with the Agency is something he does not support; director of the Program on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution at Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs 1993-2003.
*) (Dr. Herbert Kelman C.V.): “1947–48: Research Assistant to Irvin L. Child, Psychology Department Yale University, on cross-cultural study of child training and personality. 1948-51: Research Assistant to Carl I. Hovland, Psychology Department, Yale University, on attitude change project. … 1954–55 [and Spring/Summer 1967]: Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California. … 1957–62: Lecturer on Social Psychology, Department of Social Relations, Harvard University… 1962–69: Professor of Psychology, Chairman of the Doctoral Program in Social Psychology (1966-67), and Research Psychologist at the Center for Research on Conflict Resolution, University of Michigan… Spring/Summer 1964: Visiting Fellow, Western Behavioral Sciences Institute, La Jolla, California. … 1980–81: Fellow, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, D.C. … 1980–81 Guggenheim Fellow … Nov–Dec 2000, … Nov–Dec 2004 [and] July 2007 – Visiting Scholar, Austrian Institute for International Affairs… Director, Program on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution (1993–2003) and Member of the Executive Committee (1976–2004), Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; Faculty Associate, Emeritus (2004–)… Chair or co-chair of the Middle East Seminar, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and Center for Middle Eastern Studies (since 1977). Co-chair (with Nadim Rouhana), Joint Working Group on Israeli-Palestinian Relations (1994–2000). Co-chair (with Shibley Telhami), Joint Israeli-Palestinian Working Group on Rebuilding Trust in the Availability of a Negotiating Partner (2004-2013). … Advisory Committee Member, Harvard Faculty Club (2010–2012). … Kelman, H.C. When scholars work with the CIA. The New York Times, March 5 [1986], op-ed page A27.” C.V. indicates Kelman was moving all over the world throughout his life: all over the United States, as well as Norway, Italy, Austria, and Israel.


*) “The Center for International Affairs was founded in 1958 and was renamed the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs in 1998 in gratitude for the magnificent endowment established by Albert and Celia Weatherhead and the Weatherhead Foundation. The Center was created as a means of confronting the world’s condition, a condition diagnosed by Robert Bowie and Henry Kissinger in their gripping The Program of the Center for International Affairs (1958)”
*) December 3, 2013, The Harvard Crimson, ‘Robert Bowie, Founder of Harvard’s Weatherhead Center, Dies at 104’: “Emeritus professor and founding director of Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs Robert R. Bowie passed away early last month at the age of 104. … Bowie was appointed director of the newly-created center in 1957 after serving for four years as the head of the State Department Policy Planning Staff for then-U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. During his time at the helm of the Weatherhead Center, Bowie presided over a number of distinguished foreign policy staff, including former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and former Dean of the Kennedy School Edward S. Mason. Bowie also developed a program to bring government officials from around the world to study foreign policy at Harvard for a year. He remained director for fifteen years and continued to teach international policy at Harvard as the Clarence Dillon Professor of International Affairs until retiring in 1980.Bowie graduated from Princeton University in 1931 before going on to earn his law degree at Harvard in 1934. Upon graduation, Bowie returned to Maryland to practice law as an assistant attorney general before enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1942. … Besides his teaching appointments, Bowie also served as legal adviser to US High Commissioner for Germany John McCloy from 1950 to 1951, counselor to Secretary of State Dean Rusk from 1966 to 1968, and Chief National Intelligence Officer of the CIA from 1977 to 1979. … During his lifetime, he was also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, the American Law Institute and the American Academy of Diplomacy. …”
*) December 28, 2008, Los Angeles Times, ‘Harvard political scientist wrote ‘Clash of Civilizations”: “Huntington was the Albert J. Weatherhead III University Professor at Harvard, chaired Harvard’s government department twice and was director of the university’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs between 1978 and 1989. He also led the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies from 1996 to 2004. He served as coordinator for security planning between 1977 and 1978 in President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Council.”
*) 2010, Dr. Howard J. Wiarda, ‘Harvard and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs (WCFIA): Foreign Policy Research Center and Incubator of Presidential Advisors’, book description: “Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs (WCFIA) is one of the nation’s premier institutions for research on foreign policy, comparative politics, security policy, and international relations. It has also been an incubator of presidential advisors on foreign policy Bob Bowie, Mac [McGeorge] Bundy, Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski. … He looks at the research agenda at WCFIA, how it influences foreign policy, and the “in ‘n outers” revolving door flow of WCFIA scholars and policy wonks into Washington policy-making at the highest levels. In the process the author provides revealing portraits of such eminent scholars and policy influentials as Gabriel Almond, Brzezinski, Stanley Hoffman, Sam Huntington, Kissinger, Joe Nye, Bob Putnam, Lucian Pye, Myron Wiener, and many others.”
*) I was already aware of all these name due to past work on ISGP’s NGO list, in which the Weatherhead Center is listed, along with other names. At the time these names were gathered from the Weatherhead Center’s website going back to the 1990s.


March 5, 1986, New York Times, ‘When Scholars Work With the CIA’. [PDF]


1983, Timothy Leary, ‘Flashbacks: An Autobiography’, pp. 119-122.


March 29, 1963, Time magazine, ‘Psychic Research: LSD’.


May 1962, Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert, Michael Hollingshead and Gunther Weil for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, pp. 26-27, ‘The Politics of the Nervous System’.


1983, Timothy Leary, ‘Flashbacks: An Autobiography’, pp. 130, 154, 174.


November 5, 1963, Andrew Weil for Look magazine, ‘The Strange Case of the Harvard Drug Scandal’.


May 28, 1963, Andrew Weil for the Harvard Crimson, ‘The Crimson Takes Leary, Alpert to Task’.




*) March 19, 2010 , New York Times, Sunday Book Review, ‘Acid Test’.
*) January 7, 2010, New York Times, ”The Harvard Psychedelic Club”.


May 28, 1963, Andrew Weil for the Harvard Crimson, ‘An Editorial’.


November 5, 1963, Andrew Weil for Look magazine, ‘The Strange Case of the Harvard Drug Scandal’.


January 7, 2010, New York Times, ”The Harvard Psychedelic Club”.