Weyburn Mental Hospital photographed by Peter Fraser

"After the war, Humphry Osmond and his colleague John Smythies perceived a similarity between the effects of LSD and the early stages of schizophrenia. In 1951, Osmond and Smythies moved to Saskatchewan, Canada to join the staff of a large custodial mental institution in the southeastern city of Weyburn, Saskatchewan. At Weyburn, Osmond recruited a group of research psychologists to turn the hospital into a design-research laboratory. There, he conducted a wide variety of patient studies and observations using hallucinogenic drugs, collaborating with Abram Hoffer and others. In 1952, Osmond related the similarity of mescaline to adrenaline molecules, in a theory which implied that schizophrenia might be a form of self-intoxication caused by one's own body. He collected the biographies of recovered schizophrenics and held that a psychiatrist can only understand the schizophrenic by understanding the rational way the mind makes sense of distorted perceptions. Osmond is also known for a study in the late 1950s in which he attempted to cure alcoholics with LSD, claiming a fifty percent success rate."



Tracey Moffatt, Laudanum, 1998

Albert Hofmann portrait by Peter Fraser


IS LOIS, 24, VICTIM NUMBER SIX OF ‘LEGAL HIGH’ MEOW MEOW DRUG? A 'quiet and lovely girl' who lived in a small rural market town was named yesterday as the latest suspected victim of the deadly 'legal high' mephedrone. The death of 24-year-old Lois Waters, a bacon factory worker, was confirmed as MPs attacked Home Secretary Alan Johnson for his continued failure to ban the so-called party drug. Meow meow, as it is nicknamed, has now been linked to at least six deaths.

Devil's fountain

"Moth collection uses a common entomology setting, to lay bare the hubris of narcotic use. Using the shade of night the moth and the addict share their obsession of getting closer to the light, that light which can on occasion eradicate."

Stephen Shanabrook, Devil's Fountain, 1997
Stephen Shanabrook, Heroin Shroud, 1996
Stephen Shanabrook, Moth Collection, 2001

Art or Drugs?

August 25, 1995


Press Release, Kinz and Tillou Gallery, 1995

"Have you heard of the white light?"

"Once you've lost the fear of death it doesn't matter" (Larry Hagman, 2010)


LSD and cheap champagne

"There were always a few people living there with me, they floated in and out, but a pretty lesbian named Babette who never wore a shirt indoors, and a homeless philosopher hippie named Nash were permanent fixtures on the sofa. We lived primarily on LSD, poppy seed buns and cheap champagne. Nash sold LSD from the place, so this paid the rent." (Cookie Mueller)

Tom Friedman, Untitled 1995

Tom Friedman, Untitled 1997

Georgina, Brixton

"Diary represents 10 years of my life of which I kept an intermittent photographic diary of friends, family, experiences and places I've been. Good friends make you face the truth about yourself and you do the same for them, as painful, or as pleasurable, as the truth may be." (Corinne Day)

Operation Midnight Climax

"In another experiment, labelled Operation Midnight Climax, CIA agents rented an apartment in San Francisco and hired prostitutes, who picked up citizens and brought them back to the space. The subjects consumed drinks spiked with LSD and tried to have sex while agents filmed the proceedings through a one-way mirror."

"Mind-Bending Disclosures" Time Magazine, 1977


I am not a demon, I am a lizard

"I am not a demon. I am a lizard, a shark, a heat-seeking panther. I want to be Bob Denver on acid playing the accordion." (Nicolas Cage)


A free & high government

Take a trip/welcome back


It is not opium which makes me work but its absence, and in order for me to feel its absence it must from time to time be present. (Antonin Artaud, 1934)


divine smoke


live from color tv


Au Pays de Cocaine



My direction in life was permanently altered by taking LSD. In a way, the rides at Disneyland kind of prepared me for my LSD experiences. But almost every time I took it, at some point I'd find myself on my hands and knees, puking my guts out and asking, "What the hell does it all mean?" I took some bad acid in November of 1965, and the after-effect left me crazy and helpless for six months. My mind would drift into a place that was very electrical and crackly, filled with harsh, abrasive, low-grade, tawdry, carnival visions. There was a nightmarish, mechanical aspect to everyday life. My ego was so shattered that it didn't get in the way during what was the most unselfconscious period of my life. I was kind of on an automatic pilot and was still constantly drawing. Most of my popular characters - Mr Natural, Angelfood McSpade, the Snoid, Shuman the Human, Devil Girl - all suddenly appeared in the drawings in my sketchbook in this period, early 1966. LSD put me someplace else. I wasn't sure where. All I know is, it was a strange place. Psychedelic drugs broke me out of my social programming. It was a good thing for me, traumatic though, and I may have been permanently damaged by the whole thing. I see LSD as a positive, important life experience for me, but I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anybody else. (R. Crumb)


In the winter of 1964, on DMT and LSD, Lenny Bruce fell backward through the window of his San Francisco hotel room. At the precise moment that he was suspended in midair, he uttered: "Man shall rise above the rule!" Then he surrendered to the law of gravity and plummeted to the sidewalk below. Both legs had to be put in casts.
The only time in my life I smoked angel dust was by accident and it was on a double date with Andy Warhol and Michael Jackson. We all went to Studio 54 and people were passing drugs all over the place. Michael Jackson had just finished doing the movie The Wiz and still looked like Michael Jackson back then – he had an Afro and he was still black. He passed me a joint and I thought, well OK, we don’t have marijuana in Ohio so I’ll try it. (Mark Mothersbaugh)


A gram of speed and two microdots

I met Mamie White back in 1989 when I was making a documentary about Boone County's famous rockabilly singer, Hasil Adkins. Hasil and D. Ray White, the famous tap-dancing patriarch of the White family, used to perform together, so the Whites were good friends of Hasil's. I was shooting Hasil's concert and a crazed catfight broke out between three female fans of Hasil. This fight was like something out of an old western and went on forever. Finally Mamie jumped in and broke it up, tossing each woman to a different side of the bar like they were baby dolls. She was on acid that night and was pissed the catfight was ruining her good party. A week later, I saw Mamie again and she was on acid again. She kindly invited me to her birthday party, where she promised me she would have a "cake with tits and a pussy on it." (Julien Nitzberg)

That cat tape was a tape that a friend of mine had given me, of him doing acid with his sister. They were in a garage band and there was a shot of their kitten. That [phasing] was an in - camera mistake. The editor, Chris Tellefsen, caught it and said, "That's kind of interesting." (Harmony Korine)
Everything in this movie is about access, the trust that they give me. If an actor is a crack smoker, let him go out between takes, smoke crack, and then come back and throw his refrigerator out the window! Let people feel they can do whatever they want with no consequence. (Harmony Korine)

“I remember tripping so heavily that her kisses felt like raw meat and teeth against my mouth.”


mushroom magick

Mushroom Magick: A Visionary Field Guide by Arik Roper

dolphin group mind

I took ketamine by the tank at Marine World in Redwood City. I got in to the tank and I had a microphone near my head and an underwater speaker that went down into the dolphin tank. My microphone hit their loudspeaker under water. So I waited. Then I began to feel that I was in direct contact with them and as soon as I felt that one of them whistled, a long whistle, and it went from my feet right up to my head. I went straight out of my body. They took me to the dolphin group mind. Boy, that was scary! I shouted and carried on. I said, "I can't even handle one dolphin, much less a group mind of dolphins!" (John Lilly)

stars on the other side

DJB: Have you ever given ketamine to a dolphin?

JOHN: No. I gave them acid to see if it would knock out their respiration. It didn't. I couldn't understand what was happening to them on LSD except for one thing they did. They turned around along the tank at the same time, and suddenly they turned their beaks down and turned on their sonar straight downwards. I remember on my first acid trip that suddenly the floor disappeared and I saw the stars on the other side of the earth, so I stamped my foot on the floor to find it. That's what they were doing.


acid international





"The metaphysical change ... is a horrifying experience — an experience in which he relives some of the most unendurable moments of his long life, including the galactic war. It is as if he has had the LSD drug and instead of experiencing the kicks, he has the hell and dank horror which can be its effect."

having been there always

At some time in the middle of the twentieth century, upon an afternoon in the summer, we are sitting around a table on the terrace, eating dark homemade bread and drinking white wine. And yet we seem to have been there forever, for the people with me are no longer the humdrum and harassed little personalities with names, addresses, and social security numbers, the specifically dated mortals we are all pretending to be. They appear rather as immortal archetypes of themselves without, however, losing their humanity. (Alan Watts)


letter to courtney

Out of all the times I've been on acid, I've never been able to hallucinate with such repetitive control. I'm hallucinating at will, over and over again in this English shoebox with pastel curtains and normal little Victorian lamps and drawers. It's all too normal and impossible to explain. I'm not very drunk. It's like controlled bedspins, and I'm the Exorcist. My throat is a swollen tumour, Blood sausage, colon. I puke air after coughing. It was morning by the time I fell asleep after talking to you. 200 lbs. I thought of a great idea for our video. Oh forget it. (Kurt Cobain)


polish acid gathering