British Guy Takes Mescaline, Polite and Measured Reflection Ensues

It’s been said that one of the reasons Humphry Osmond gave Aldous Huxley mescaline was because he knew Huxley had a mastery of language and was uniquely capable of conveying the experience in a way better than most others. The outcome, of course, was hallmark of psychedelic literature The Doors of Perception. Well, here Osmond is at it again with another gent possessing a gift of the gab.

Christopher Mayhew had been the president of a debating society while attending Oxford and at the time of the taping was, believe it or not, a Member of Parliament. Commenting on his experience decades later, he remarked:

“Perhaps half-a-dozen times during the experiment I would be withdrawn from my surroundings and from myself and have an experience, a state of euphoria, for a period of time that didn’t end for me. That didn’t last for minutes, or hours, but for months.”

See some of the original footage, including a follow-up interview decades later, here:

For some more interesting background, from the video description:

Humphry Osmond was the British psychiatrist who coined the term “psychedelic”. This short video documents an experiment in 1955 in which he administered mescaline to Christopher Mayhew, a member of parliament. Mayhew ingested 400mg of mescaline hydrochloride and recorded his experience on camera. The footage was originally supposed to be broadcast on BBC.

Mayhew himself maintains that it was a genuine mystical experience which “took place outside time” and wanted it to be shown. However, an “expert” committee of psychiatrists, philosophers, and theologians reviewed the footage and reached a unanimous verdict that Mayhew’s experience was not a valid mystical experience. So it was never broadcast.

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  • Ted Heistman

    Hey first article? Good job man. Anyway now that I have read this does this mean my brain is now controlled by the CIA?

    • drokhole

      Thanks! Second, actually. Had one posted the other day of a Manly P. Hall lecture:

      http://disinfo.com/2013/08/manly-p-hall-gets-to-the-heart-of-homers-odyssey/

      Just starting to dip a few toes in the water before I tackle lengthier fare (like that rotational grazing topic I mentioned). But Matt’s made the whole process super smooth/easy, and I appreciate your supportive words.

      And yes, your trigger word will be arriving in a subliminal manner shortly. :)

      • Ted Heistman

        Aw, thanks, Man. I need something to do! Unless the CIA activates me I just sit around…

        BTW, lady I work for is getting pigs next spring! Getting some paddocks set up now!

        • drokhole

          That’s awesome!

          I asked the farm I go to if they had considered getting pigs, and they’d said it wasn’t an option. They don’t really have any dense tree/forest cover on their land, and don’t want them rooting up the cow paddocks/pasture. Pretty sure that was the reasoning (or part of it), anyway. Last year they added sheep, though, and the wife just took up bee keeping and brought in some hives.

  • emperorreagan

    I wish I had friends who gave me mescaline.

  • Ian Slayne

    “However, an “expert” committee of psychiatrists, philosophers, and theologians reviewed the footage and reached a unanimous verdict that Mayhew’s experience was not a valid mystical experience. So it was never broadcast.”

    Freakin’ Psychopaths

  • BuzzCoastin

    interesting that aspects of the experience he describes
    match the “enlightenment” experiences
    described by Northern School Chán Buddhism & Taoist Alchemy texts
    e.g: The Secret of the Golden Flower, Understanding Reality, Huang Po, etc

  • Dastardly001

    Very British.This song uses samples form the video. http://soundcloud.com/the-bounder/lord-humphrey-takes-mescaline

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