Saturday, July 04, 2020

Blind Items Revealed #17

January 16, 2020

Most of the materials of a long time retired professor are at his archive here in Los Angeles. However, that is not the only place he taught. Last summer at a Southwestern university, a treasure trove of documents were discovered. Many of those had also previously been seen. What had not been seen were several letters between the professor and his handler at the CIA. Even though the professor had long denied working for the CIA, other letters have been found over time, proving that to be a lie. The CIA also funded one of his most famous studies.

In this series of letters, the CIA is asking for his help. They wanted him to take a sabbatical from school for a year and offered to pay his salary plus expenses. The reason they wanted him to go on sabbatical? Several months earlier they had contracted out some work in San Francisco to a group who were conducting tests on people taking LSD that were designed to look like parties. Their experiment had two groups that were essentially divided in the room. One half was involved in more of a hands on kind of listening experience/spoken word performances and the other half would listen to a band. More often than not, the band was this permanent A list band that had been formed specifically for these experiments.

Apparently the groups listening to the bands had the kinds of results that made the CIA want more like that, so they sent this professor out there for a year to take charge of the experiments and look for further applications. Meanwhile, the CIA would continue passing out free LSD to concert goers to not only the permanent A list band but dozens of others at that time.

Unlike his previous big experiment, it is unknown if there is a report he wrote to the CIA after the year. He definitely went and definitely lied to his contemporaries and even to his bosses at the university about what he was doing there. Those lies were discovered many years later, but no one knew exactly what he was doing there or this band's involvement until the letters were found this past summer.

Louis Jolyon West/University Of Oklahoma/Grateful Dead

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