Who was the first mainstream American celebrity to espouse the virtues of psychedelic drugs?
Carey Grant, one of Hollywood’s biggest stars of the ’30s through the ’60s, who had his “life transformed” by LSD and “arguably, created more interest in LSD than Dr. Timothy Leary who was largely preaching to the converted.” The blog of New York’s WFMU radio examines the crazy saga of Carey Grant and LSD:
I learned many things in the quiet of that room … everything is or becomes its own opposite … You know, we are all unconsciously holding our anus. In one LSD dream … I imagined myself as a giant penis launching off from earth like a spaceship. — Cary Grant
When Ladies Home Journal and Good Housekeeping interviewed him, the topic of conversation wasn’t Cary’s favorite recipe or “the problem with youth today.” Instead, Cary Grant was telling happy homemakers that LSD was the greatest thing in the world.
Cary Grant had been interested in various forms of mysticism throughout the nineteen fifties. Initially he was fascinated by hypnosis, particularly self-hypnosis. While filming a knife fight in The Pride and the Passion (1957), Grant received a series of gashes across the torso. His body was covered with scars for several months. Cary had been practicing self-hypnosis prior to the injuries as a means to achieve “complete relaxation.”
He put himself into a transcendental state to will the scars from his body. Grant said he entered the shower one day with the scars, put himself into a relaxed state, and left the shower without a mark on his body. Apparently his doctors were amazed. Skeptics might theorize that Grant was just covered in dried-out stage blood from the film — and this was the first time he’d showered in several months.
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