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Former Harvard Lecturer Touts “Consciousness-Expanding” Drugs

Aug. 30, 1963 - A former psychology lecturer dismissed from Harvard over a controversy involving his experiments with “consciousness-expanding” drugs described religious experiences induced by these drugs to psychologists in Philadelphia today. The session was held concurrently with the annual convention of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Timothy F. Leary (pictured), a former member of the Association, said roughly 70% of persons taking the drugs Psilocybin and LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) had reported intense religious experiences. He said these experiences could produce a “changed man and a changed life.” Dr. Leary was dismissed from Harvard this spring when some of his experiments involving students provoked sharp controversy. He now heads the International Foundation for Internal Freedom at Cambridge, Mass. Dr. Leary said that three years of research on the drugs known as “psychedelics” had left researchers puzzled because of this persistence of religious experience. “It is possible,” he said, “that those aspects of the psychedelic experience which subjects report to be religious may involve a direct awareness of energy process which physicists and chemists measure. This poses a problem for theologians,” he said.


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