The Plot to Turn On the World: The Leary/Ginsberg Acid Conspiracy
Ginsberg is always ready to become your personal guru and messiah.
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Steve Silberman interviews Peter Conners, author of the "White Hand Society", and digs into the influences that shaped the formation of the psychedelic counterculture.
Silberman: Until I read your book, I never realized how much of an influence Allen [Ginsberg] had on Leary.
Conners: It was massive. That's really the heart of this book: How Allen Ginsberg enabled Timothy Leary to become Timothy Leary. It goes back to Allen being asked to give a presentation to all these psychiatrists coming in for an annual conference in Boston. Allen gets up there and reads a poem called "Lysergic Acid" and another called "Laughing Gas." After the conference, Allen hears about Leary’s work and Leary -- who was involved in testing psychedelics as "psychotomimetics," substances that mimic psychosis -- hears about Allen. Before then, there wasn’t really any artistic component to Leary’s research.
So in comes Allen, this great networker, this expert at forging connections between people in a very pure and organic way, and he turns Leary onto this idea of getting great artists and intellectuals to take these drugs. They thought that by the time the government caught on to what they were doing, they would have a foundation of prominent intellectuals who supported their work. Leary would later come right out and say, "From the time that Ginsberg showed up on my doorstep, everything changed. After that, the project was different, my life was different, and I was on a different path." That spark drove me to write White Hand Society.
[Thanks Sam Hell!]