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Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Bear Speaks

posted by on July 12 at 14:59 PM


As part of their coverage of the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Joel Selvin tracked down Owsley “Bear” Stanley during a recent visit to the Bay Area. Stanley is the first person to mass produce LSD in the mid-’60s—an estimated 1.25 million hits. He’s notoriously private, Selvin writes, rarely allowing his photo to be taken and spending the last couple decades living in isolation on the tropical coast of Queensland, Australia, waiting out the ecological disaster he believes is impending.

Owsley has subsisted on a meat-only diet for the past 40 years or so, even when things got really bad during a recent bout with throat cancer. Writes Selvin, “At one point, he was reduced to injecting his puree of steak and espresso directly into his stomach.”

Some of Stanley’s words to take to heart: “What I did was a community service, the way I look at it. I was punished for political reasons. Absolutely meaningless. Was I a criminal? No. I was a good member of society. Only my society and the one making the laws are different.”


“Any time the music on the radio starts to sound like rubbish, it’s time to take some LSD.”

Read the whole story here.

RSS icon Comments


i remember back in the 90s when LSD was the new Cocaine... good times.

Posted by kevin jones | July 12, 2007 3:15 PM

Growing up in Oregon in the 80's there was so much plentiful excellent LSD to be had cheaply. I have fond memories of a batch called just made you laugh for hours. Playing music on it was so much fun. I cherish the psychedelic experiences I've had.

Posted by Sally Struthers Lawnchair | July 12, 2007 3:23 PM

LSD was the new cocaine? how does that even work?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | July 12, 2007 3:26 PM

I've always wanted to try LSD.

Posted by monkey | July 12, 2007 3:32 PM

Acid is hard as hell to get nowadays.

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 12, 2007 3:44 PM

see the bust of the silo

Posted by Bellevue Ave | July 12, 2007 3:49 PM

He needs to be put back to work to make a whole lot more. The world needs it.

Posted by j in sea | July 12, 2007 3:50 PM

I want to drop acid and play the Nintendo Wii.

Posted by Hernandez | July 12, 2007 3:52 PM

@5--not so. at least, not in san francisco. you just gotta know people who know people.

Posted by jz | July 12, 2007 4:01 PM

My best dropping-acid story involves a couple bags of potato chips and accidentally running across Kingdom of the Spiders on late night TV.

Actually, all my dropping-acid stories involve William Shatner movies, in one way or another.

Posted by Boomer in NYC | July 12, 2007 4:20 PM

I hear that, BINYC, one of my best involved watching "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" - first time I ever experienced 3-D cinema without having to wear the red-blue sunglasses.

All the other good stories involve volcanic eruptions, however.

Posted by COMTE | July 12, 2007 4:28 PM

the ultimate--and ultimately cliche, but for good reason--LSD film experience is "fantasia." man. we had to stop the movie bt each segment bc it was so intense.

Posted by jz | July 12, 2007 4:56 PM

I dropped in Vegas once. Walked around the casinos, and up and down the strip. Horrible idea. The ugliest people I've ever seen. Who the hell invented stretch pants? The freakiest place I went was the bingo parlor at the Aladdin.

Posted by SteveR | July 12, 2007 5:26 PM

@9, please explain how "you just gotta know people who know people", and be in San Francisco, is not "hard as hell to get nowadays" for your average college student/hippie/fun-lover.

Posted by grumpypants | July 12, 2007 5:44 PM

I dropped acid at 16, before I had ever been properly drunk or even stoned. Substance abuse has been a huge disappointment since then. "Hmm, it's like tripping, except I'm yelling a lot and can't walk straight or talk right." "Hmm, it's like tripping, only I'm really stupid."

Posted by jessiesk | July 12, 2007 6:10 PM

@14--its never been easy to get, has it? i mean, its an illegal drug. but as far as these things go, its out there and can be found. its always a combination of being in the right place and around the right people.

Posted by jz | July 12, 2007 6:10 PM

You could always make a special trip down to the Oregon Country Fair in Eugene and probably get a bunch o' acid there, if you don't mind hanging out with dirty hippies that is. Actually, one of the worst times tripping I had was from acid procured there. I sat in a field in the hot boiling sun, having a death trip on some kind of crappy strychnine acid with dirty naked hippies dancing around me with a paper airplane., maybe I can't recommend going there....although, buying acid is always a crapshoot.

Posted by Sally Struthers Lawnchair | July 12, 2007 6:17 PM


Most of the drugs I use are illegal (imagine that). But I can get a sack of weed in less than 15 minutes. I could probably get shrooms in about an hour, depending on the season. Cocaine is easy to get, but it's most likely ether based and overpriced considering a lot of my runners, and when I use to run, do not want to deal with the type of people who sell the good stuff...ever.

Acid, from what I've been told, used to be easy to get. When I lived in Florida, all it would take was a commute to Miami. Here, I'm not sure. But my husband holds me back from trying at any great length to score hard dope, so I don't anymore. I guess you could say that's a good thing. But still...I wouldn't mind dropping acid annually. It is the only drug that has ever made me actually hallucinate. As in, you know, my door knobs melting and I'm having trouble opening the door. WOOT!

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 12, 2007 6:36 PM

Acid used to be really easy to get. When I was in high school in the early nineties weed, shrooms, and acid were pretty common place, and reasonably priced! I even sold bunk acid once because I wanted to buy dungeons and dragons source books. And then the faucet stopped, which is conspicuously noticeable in a drug city like Vegas.

Posted by Jay | July 12, 2007 6:50 PM

Acid used to flood the market after Dead shows. I hate the Grateful Dead, but drugs increased and prices fell anytime they played- the parking lot at their shows had a whole smörgåsbord of hallucinogens. Good times.

Posted by Jay | July 12, 2007 6:53 PM

@ 20...yes and the DEA knew about this as well and for the last four or five years the band toured probably half the people doing deals in the lots were feds.

There used to be newsletter about Deadheads doing serious time in the federal system. There were hundreds of them.

Bellevue Ave referenced the silo bust...that's a good example of what has happened to LSD in the US over the past 15 years or so. For all intents and purposes, in many areas of the US LSD does not exist these days.

Posted by gnossos | July 12, 2007 7:33 PM

When I was in hs in the late 90's acid was really easy and cheap to get---about $4.00 a hit. Ecstacy was also easy (but never cheap)...but there was a whole summer where no one could get their hands on weed, so everyone was tripping.

Posted by Dianna | July 12, 2007 8:59 PM

Ahh, a great example of context.

While Dianna was paying $4 per hit, friends were paying $25 for a sheet of 100 hits or vials of liquid with anywhere from 100 to 150 doses per vial.

Not trying to one-up Dianna or prove I'm cooler than she is, just trying to illustrate differences in perspective and make a point about the failure of drug war policies. Folks could pay as low as 25 cents a hit (and much lower for higher volumes) and easily sell them for $4 per hit (to folks who thought that was cheap), thus turning a $25 investment into $400. Not bad.

Now translate that to other drugs. Take heroin. Costs $1.00 for a pure gram and by the time it hits the streets of Seattle that gram is now worth about between $350 and $650 per gram.

Legalize it.

Posted by gnossos | July 12, 2007 10:05 PM

Well said, gnossos.

Posted by Dianna | July 12, 2007 10:25 PM

How could the DEA not know about the Dead LSD pipeline? I mean it was right out there in the open. Damn these wasteful federal agencies and their bullshit enforcement strategies, damn them to hell! Seriously.

Posted by Jay | July 12, 2007 10:29 PM

Hey Sally Struthers, I grew up in Oregon in the 80's too. Used to go to the City Nightclub, buy acid downstairs, head up to hollyrock for an hour or so and head home with a brain full. It was everywhere back then, I don't remember the last time someone said they had or did it. Then again, I don't hang out with the same people I used to?

Posted by PdxRitchie | July 13, 2007 3:38 AM

My teenage years involved LP's. The first Dead album I got was Live/Dead. Owsley gets a credit on that album jacket.

Posted by old dog | July 13, 2007 9:04 AM

Hey PdxRitchie--I used to go to the City Nightclub/Hollyrock all the time, probably around 87-89 or so. What an awesome place that was! I got quite a headfull there as well many times. You might have gotten acid from my friend Jim who sold there if you went around the same time...super tall skinny blonde guy. He ended up getting busted at one point and I lost track of him. They weighed the acid along with the metal box he had it in, I believe they used to do that because they'd charge you based on weight, since blotter is just bits of paper or something. Conspiracy to overthrow the government charge too for LSD or something.

I can't imagine taking that trip again at this point in my life, but it's sad that so many people are denied the psychedelic experience. I can't imagine not having those experiences.

Posted by Sally Struthers Lawnchair | July 13, 2007 9:28 AM

agreed, SSL. and i guess my experience is a bit of an exception. it was readily available in south florida when i was in high school (where are you from, poe? i was in west palm beach and was getting good window pane blotter all throughout my senior year) but its still readily available from the peeps i know in san francisco. i just have friends who are into it, i guess, and who do it often. which is a bit unsettling, bc many of them are into their 30s. acid is, in many ways, a young mans drug. but just about every time i go back to SF i end up sitting on someones front step watching the sunrise and laughing my ass off on "family" liquid. these are always wonderful experiences, but at this point in my life, a bit taxing on the brain.

Posted by jz | July 13, 2007 1:50 PM

JZ--I think it is a young person's drug. But, mainly because the young state of mind is so flexible. I'm afraid my mind is so rigid now that it'd break from LSD! But, that'd probably good therapy...I don't see what my somewhat firm grip on "reality" is doing for me anyway. I have an older friend that does it "clear the cobwebs".

I wish someone would dose the hell out of Seattle really could use it here.

Posted by Sally Struthers Lawnchair | July 13, 2007 3:22 PM

My God! Look at his jacket! He is the cutest! Oh, my! He is THE COOLEST!!! ( I am not being sarcastic.) He is totally Fuckable, acid or not. (Suppressed memories from the sixties.)Oh, my gosh!!

Posted by Reminiscing | July 14, 2007 6:27 AM

That guy looks hot. I don't care that it was forty years ago...I want to have sex with that guy. Acid or not, that jacket is cool!

Posted by Reminiscing | July 14, 2007 6:48 AM

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