Hollywood Hospital’s Acid Room: LSD, Dali, and Bach

The Acid Room, Hollywood Hospital, New Westminster, Canada

I know a place, a place where, for a price, you can take LSD and be guided on your trip by the “Johnny Appleseed of LSD” while listening to Bach on thehifi and staring at Salvatore Dali.

Al Hubbard, the gregarious owner of a Vancouver-based uranium mining company and a devout Catholic, first experienced LSD in the late 1940s, and had made it his life’s mission to spread the gospel of psychedelics around the world. Though he hailed from the backwoods of Kentucky, Hubbard was a full-blown mystic. He’d discovered that a massive dose of LSD opened up a profound and terrifying spiritual awareness, and he’d started developing techniques to guide patients to the Other World – getting them to write out extensive autobiographies recounting their hang-ups and traumas beforehand, and then, while they were on LSD, using religious icons, the music of Bach, or artwork (Salvador Dali’s vertigo-inducing “Christ of St. John of the Cross” was a favourite) to evoke spiritual associations. ~ B.C.’s Acid Flashback, By R.C.

Founded in 1957 by eccentric American entrepreneur Al Hubbard, Hollywood Hospital catered to a mixed clientele of American celebrities and Canadian politicians given LSD to treat alcoholism, drug addiction and psychological burn-out. For almost a decade after LSD was criminalized in North America in the late 1960s, Hollywood Hospital served up therapeutic LSD before the provincial government pulled funding in 1975 and the hospital closed. ~ Psychedelics Could Treat Addiction Says Vancouver Official, By Danielle Egan

According to Dr. Abram Hoffer, “Al had a grandiose idea that if he could give the psychedelic experience to the major executives of the Fortune 500 companies, he would change the whole of society.” ~ The Original Captain Trips – Who Was ‘Captain’ Al Hubbard?, By Todd Brendan Fahey

Alfred M. Hubbard reportedly turned on over 6,000 people to LSD including Timothy Leary and Aldous Huxley. He was born in 1901 in Kentucky, was visited by angels (twice), was a rum runner during prohibition, an inventor of a free energy motor and an Internal Combustion Engine Spark Plug, made millions, owned and lived on a private island off Vancouver, was the North American Distributor for Sandoz LSD-25, owned a Uranium mining company, worked for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), was “peripherally” involved in the Manhattan Project as well as the CIA mind-control project known as MK-ULTRA and died nearly broke in a mobile home in Casa Grande, Arizona on August 31, 1982.

Aztec Medicine Goddess

Of course this notion of using hallucinogenics as cure is nothing new. The Tarahumara, an indigenous people of Mexico, are known for their peyote rituals and radiocarbon dating of peyote buttons found in archaeological digs dates their use to 3780 and 3660 BCE. Antonin Artaud, the French author and artist, traveled to Mexico in 1936 to witness the Tarahumara’s sacred peyote dance. Aldous Huxley ingested mescalin, a peyote derivative, as impetus for his influential text The Doors of Perception (Jim Morrison’s inspiration for the band’s name) while Henri Michaux does the same as impetus for his work Miserable miracle (mescaline) as well as his mescaline drawings.

Henri Michaux. Mescaline Drawing. (1960)

What’s old is new again. From an NYU article, The Underground World of Psychedelics and the Potential of Plant Medicine, dated June 19, 2018:

Hallucinogenic drugs are having a moment. A series of recent studies suggests that psychedelics may be useful for alleviating depression and anxiety, PTSD, and addiction. A 2017 book by Ayelet Waldman chronicled her experience microdosing (or taking a very small amount) of LSD to treat her mood disorder. More recently, Michael Pollan’s new book on the science of psychedelics—in which he personally tries LSD and psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, in guided sessions—has enjoyed four weeks on the New York Times best-sellers list since its release last month.

NYU, among others, are currently performing clinical trials based on microdosing psilocybin…