American counterculture owes an enormous debt to LSD. In Acid Dreams: The CIA, LSD and the Sixties (Grove Press), authors by Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain present a definitive history of the spread of LSD in America. In Part Four of our series of excerpts, originally published in July, 1986, the acid dream turns into a nightmare with the rise to power of Charles Manson and the popularity of a real downer, STP. (In case you missed it, read Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.)
In September 1967 the Beatles went on an adventurous trip modeled after the Merry Prankster’s odyssey. Loading a large school bus with freaks and friends, they headed for the British countryside. Like the Pranksters, they also made a movie —an ad-lib, spontaneous dream film entitled Magical Mystery Tour (with an album of the same name). During this period there was an abundance of LSD in the Beatles family thanks to Owsley, who supplied several pint-sized vials of electric liquid along with a…
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