• Ethical Aspects of Animal Husbandry
    Ethical Aspects of Animal Husbandry
    by Craig Terlson

    A collection of short stories where the humour runs dark and the slipstream bubbles up.

     

    ...imagine if Raymond Carver called up George Saunders and Joe Lansdale, and they all went drinking with Neil Gaiman.

  • Correction Line
    Correction Line
    by Craig Terlson

    “… it's clear that Terlson is way ahead of the curve in terms of crafting an engaging premise that reaches for elevated territory and reinvents enduring archetypes of action and suspense.”  J. Schoenfelder


    "Sometimes brutal, often demanding and always complex, this novel will repay the reader who likes their assumptions challenged and is happy to walk away from a book with minor questions unanswered but the big ones definitely dealt with! It’s likely to satisfy those who enjoy Hammet and/or Philip K Dick and who like their fiction very noir indeed."   Kay Sexton

     

    "I love a novel that you can't put down, and this is one of them."  L. Cihlar

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Sunday
Sep252016

Through the doors of perception

One of the figures I continually bumped against while researching my novel, was Aldous Huxley. I'd of course heard of him - I tried Brave New World, but never finished it (unlike my son, who I believe this was a significant book.)

I can't recall when I first heard the story of his correspondence and friendship with Dr. Humphrey Osmond (Weyburn), but I do remember going, um, "no way." This of course had to do with the coining of the word "psychedelic."

Osmond's letter to Huxley:

Later, when discussing his flight of hallucinogenic fancy, Huxley, writing to Osmond, penned this bit of verse:

To make this mundane world sublime, / take half a gram of phanerothyme.

The word phanerothyme, cobbled together from the Greek, translates roughly to “manifest spirit.”

In response Osmond wrote some poetry of his own, in the process coining a term that soon spread around the world:

To fathom Hell or soar Angelic, / just take a pinch of psychedelic.


Soon after finding this out, I would often ask people if they knew the word, psychedelic, was coined in Weyburn, Sask., Canada. And when no one believed me, my defense was, "but it's on Wikipedia!" I also recall this was in the beginnings of writing the book, around 2008 maybe. And Wiki was new (need to fact check that.) Anyway, no one believed it - and I doubted it myself.

But back to Huxley. The English writer wove through the story of early LSD testing, and I did end up reading his Doors of Perception.  A book, that with some help from William Blake, gave the band The Doors their name.

Only recently, I found out that Huxley's nephew worked at the Weyburn hospital, and administered LSD to Kay Parley. Ms. Parley, now in her 90's, wrote a book on her experience at the mental hospital, and devotes a chapter to LSD. Her book was published just this March (link below).

Inside the Mental
SILENCE, STIGMA, PSYCHIATRY, AND LSD

 

More on Huxley in my next post.  

Sunday
Sep112016

Let's talk about the Bear

 

"There's nothing wrong with Bear that a few billion less brain cells wouldn't cure."

Here is another in my series on some fascinating LSD Pioneers that I came across in the research for my novel, Fall In One Day.

When I first came across the person either named Owsley Stanley, or Stanley Owsley, I never could figure it out,... he seemed almost mythical. Here was a character linked to Kesey and his Electric Kool-Aid tests, the Grateful Dead, and then overlaps with Aldous Huxley, Leary, and Dr. Osmond back in Saskatchewan - and then the kicker for me, the subject of a Steely Dan tune?

The deeper I went, the weirder it got - provider of the purest LSD in North America in the 60's, probably supplier from everyone in the Dead to Cary Grant (!), inventor of a monitor system that was at least a decade ahead of it time, and and and... my point is not to do an exhaustive treatment of him, more just a flavour of a brilliant, and probably very troubled man, that saw the power of LSD, and the possible goodness in it;

Hard to know where to start with the Bear (his nickname because of a preponderance of chest hair as a teenager). His full name was Augustus Owsley Stanley - often known just as Owsley, or to some friends August. I came across that last bit when deciding how to put him into the novel - but of course, now I can't find that piece of research.

I also recall not finding a lot of articles online about him when I first started researching - but since his death in 2011, there seems to have been an explosion of material written about him.

Here is an excerpt from the start of a piece the NY Times wrote about him after his death.

***

Mr. Stanley, the Dead’s former financial backer, pharmaceutical supplier and sound engineer, was in recent decades a reclusive, almost mythically enigmatic figure. He moved to Australia in the 1980s, as he explained in his rare interviews, so he might survive what he believed to be a coming Ice Age that would annihilate the Northern Hemisphere.

Once renowned as an artisan of acid, Mr. Stanley turned out LSD said to be purer and finer than any other. He was also among the first individuals (in many accounts, the very first) to mass-produce the drug; its resulting wide availability provided the chemical underpinnings of an era of love, music, grooviness and much else. Conservatively tallied, Mr. Stanley’s career output was more than a million doses, in some estimates more than five million.

His was the acid behind the Acid Tests conducted by the novelist Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, the group of psychedelic adherents whose exploits were chronicled by Tom Wolfe in his 1968 book “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.” The music world immortalized Mr. Stanley in a host of songs, including the Dead’s “Alice D. Millionaire” (a play on a newspaper headline, describing one of his several arrests, that called him an “LSD Millionaire”) and Steely Dan’s “Kid Charlemagne.”

***

Yes, that was the Steely Dan tune. And I love how it took a while for Donald Fagen (or maybe it was Becker) to admit that's who they were singing about.

Here's a link to the rest of the NYT article:

And here, of course, is the Dan.

(oh, and a great article that does a close read of the lyrics)

 

Some more about Owsley in my next post. 

 


Wednesday
Aug312016

More Trippy Al

I wanted to continue the story on Al Hubbard - this guy just really interests me.

Here is from the wikipedia entry (which I am fairly sure did not exist when I first started to research Fall in One Day and early LSD history - so is Al becoming more known?)

Motion was said to be among Hubbard's passions. His identity as "Captain" came from his Master of Sea Vessels certification and a stint in the US Merchant Marine.

According to some accounts, Hubbard worked at various times for the Canadian Special Services, the United States Justice Department, the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Office of Strategic Services, or OSS.[1]

Having read in a scientific journal about the then-obscure drug LSD-25, Hubbard felt this was something that he was destined to learn more about and to be involved with. Hubbard found a researcher who was conducting reported experiments on LSD with rats. He was able to obtain some LSD for himself. He believed in its utility for opening the human mind to deeper, broader vistas.

The confident and connected Al Hubbard requested Dr. Humphry Osmond's company for lunch at the Vancouver Yacht Club. Osmond and his colleagues were using the drug, as well as the similar substance, mescaline, in psychiatric research and treatment at Weyburn, Saskatchewan. Osmond later recalled that the Yacht Club "was a very dignified place, and I was rather awed by it. [Hubbard] was a powerfully-built man...with a broad face and a firm hand-grip. He was also very genial, an excellent host."[4] "Captain Hubbard" was interested in acquiring some mescaline, which was then still legal, and Dr. Osmond supplied him with some.

By the time Timothy Leary and his colleagues were experimenting with psychedelic drugs in the psychology department of Harvard in the early 1960s, Hubbard had obtained a supply of Sandoz LSD. Hubbard went there to meet Leary and wanted to swap some LSD for some psilocybin, the synthesized constituent of magic mushrooms identified, and then produced, by Switzerland's Sandoz Laboratories.

The Central Intelligence Agency grew out of the post-War OSS, which was reputed to be one of Hubbard's employers. Under the auspices of MK-ULTRA the CIA regularly dosed its agents and associates with powerful hallucinogens as a preemptive measure against what was alleged to be the Soviets' own chemical technology, sometimes with disastrous results. It is possible that Hubbard had some links with the CIA. But Humphry Osmond doubts that Hubbard would have been associated with a project like MK-ULTRA, "not particularly on humanitarian grounds, but on the grounds that it was bad technique."[4]

"I was convinced that he was the man to bring LSD to planet Earth,"[4] remarked Myron Stolaroff, who was assistant to the president of long-range planning at Ampex Corporation when he met the Captain. Stolaroff learned of Hubbard through a mentor, philosopher Gerald Heard, a friend and spiritual mentor to Aldous Huxley.

According to Todd Brendan Fahey, Hubbard introduced more than 6,000 people to LSD, including scientists, politicians, intelligence officials, diplomats, and church figures.[5]

 

So fascinating - and yes, of course MK Ultra is mentioned - all you conspirator folks, but on your aluminum hats. I'll be posting something about that too.


Sunday
Aug212016

Captain Al - the original captain trips

Well - in my defense, I did go on holidays.

But yes, I do want to get going on sharing some interesting stories that were the backdrop of my novel, Fall in One Day.

 I guess I should finally let some cats out of the bag to say that this book is going to be published within the next year. (cue the huzzahs, even if they are just mine.)

So more in a longer and future post (oh, promises, promises)... but to begin with, Captain Tripps. As I researched and read books on the early history of LSD, I came across a multitude of fascinating characters. 

Let's start with this guy: the Johnny Appleseed of LSD.

Captain Al Hubbard

The stout crew-cut figure riding in the Rolls-Royce was a mystery to those who knew him. A spy by profession, he lived a life of intrigue and adventure befitting his chosen career. Born dirt poor in Kentucky, he served with the OSS (the CIA's predecessor) during the Second World War and went on to make a fortune as a uranium entrepreneur. His prestigious government and business connections read like a Who's Who of the power elite in North America. His name was Captain Alfred M. Hubbard. His friends called him "Cappy," and he was known as the "Johnny Appleseed of LSD."

The blustery, rum-drinking Hubbard is widely credited with being the first person to emphasize LSD's potential as a visionary or transcendental drug. His faith in the LSD revelation was such that he made it his life's mission to turn on as many men and women as possible. "Most people are walking in their sleep," he said. "Turn them around, start them in the opposite direction and they wouldn't even know the difference." But there was a quick way to remedy that--give them a good dose of LSD and "let them see themselves for what they are."

That Hubbard, of all people, should have emerged as the first genuine LSD apostle is all the more curious in light of his longstanding affiliation with the cloak-and-dagger trade. Indeed, he was no run-of-the-mill spook. As a high-level OSS officer, the Captain directed an extremely sensitive covert operation that involved smuggling weapons and war material to Great Britain prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. In pitch darkness he sailed ships without lights up the coast to Vancouver, where they were refitted and used as destroyers by the British navy. He also flew planes to the border, took them apart, towed the pieces into Canada, and sent them to England. These activities began with the quiet approval of President Roosevelt nearly a year and a half before the US officially entered the war. To get around the neutrality snag, Hubbard became a Canadian citizen in a mock procedure. While based in Vancouver (where he later settled), he personally handled several million dollars filtered by the OSS through the American consulate to finance a multitude of covert operations in Europe. All this, of course, was highly illegal, and President Truman later issued a special pardon with kudos to the Captain and his men.

Not long after receiving this presidential commendation, Hubbard was introduced to LSD by Dr. Ronald Sandison of Great Britain. During his first acid trip in 1951, he claimed to have witnessed his own conception. "It was the deepest mystical thing I've ever seen," the Captain recounted. "I saw myself as a tiny mite in a big swamp with a spark of intelligence. I saw my mother and father having intercourse. It was all clear." Hubbard, then forty-nine years old, eagerly sought out others familiar with hallucinogenic drugs, including Aldous Huxley, the eminent British novelist who for years had been preoccupied with the specter of drug-induced thought control.

In May 1953, less than a month after the CIA initiated Operation MK-ULTRA, Huxley tried mescaline for the first time at his home in Hollywood Hills, California, under the supervision of Hubbard's friend, Dr. Humphry Osmond. "It was without question the most extraordinary and significant experience this side of the Beatific Vision," Huxley wrote in his famous essay The Doors of Perception. Moreover, "it opens up a host of philosophical problems, throws intense light and raises all manner of questions in the field of aesthetics, religion, theory of knowledge."

Here is the full article

 

Friday
Jul292016

About to get trippy

As mentioned in my last post, the focus of woofreakinhoo will be shifting over the next while.

Those who have visited the blog (or had coffee with me) know that I worked on a book that had a certain quirky history behind it - that being the history of the drug LSD. Stay tuned to this blog for more info about that book - but first let me tell about the shift.

Over the years, I've researched and read a lot about LSD. Um... why? Well, it turns out that my hometown in Saskatchewan was the first test-site of using LSD for therapeutic purposes. I sort of knew some of this story growing up, or had heard hints of it. But it was only about 5 or 6 years ago that I really started researching the history. Continually, all roads led to Weyburn.

But I digress, or maybe get ahead of myself.

What I plan to do over the next few months is gather some stories, videos, (songs and ditties?), that I came across in my research.

First up is the original Captain Tripps... in the next post.

Welcome to the new dreamy woofreakinhoo