Mystic Chemist: The Life of Albert Hofmann and His Discovery of LSD
Dieter Hagenbach, Lucius Werthmüller
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Mystic Chemist begins at the start of the twentieth century, in the Swiss town of Basel which is evolving from a popular health spa into a major industrial city. The story concludes more than a century later, after celebrating Albert Hofmann's 100th birthday. It tells the unique story of a soon to be famous scientist, highlighting his academic journey, his research at Sandoz and then, as the discoverer of LSD, his meetings and interactions with illustrious writers, artists and thinkers, from all over the world, whose common interest is a fascination with the new wonder-drug. Luminaries like Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert appear on the scene and Hofmann begins a prolific correspondence with them and other interested parties. Sometimes he sends a sample, other times he hears of their "trips” on LSD or other psychedelic substances, like mescaline or psilocybin. From the beginning he takes a positive view towards efforts by physicians and psychotherapists to include LSD in new approaches to the treatment of illnesses. He sees the "psychedelic" potential of this "wonder drug" as beneficial to all. And he expresses his conviction that mystical experiences and trips to other worlds of consciousness are the best preparation for the very last journey he and every one of us well must eventually make. At the age of 102, Albert Hofmann dies at home. His vitality and open mindedness stay with him until his last breath. The life of Albert Hofmann, the Mystic Chemist, is a testimony to how one can reach a great age all the while remaining physically and mentally fit and spiritually aware. Mystic Chemist: The Life of Albert Hofmann and His Discovery of LSD tells the story of Albert Hofmann's life and the parallel story of the wonder-drug, LSD. The book runs to 408 pages and contains over 500 color and black and white photographs, illustrations and drawings; some of them never published before. With a foreword by world renowned Czech psychiatrist Stanislav Grof, Mystic Chemist will be published in May 2013, and is available in hardcover and softcover editions.
afraid to take. Many saints would not take this ... If you are in a place that is cool and peaceful, and you are alone and your mind is turned toward God, then you may take the yogi medicine.” He said it allowed one to achieve greater awareness, to welcome the saints and visitors from higher spheres. The disadvantage was that one could not remain in that state; that it was much better to become a saint than to just receive a visit from one, but that “LSD won’t do that for you ... Love is a much
village of Burg in the Leimental, a valley near Basel, the Hofmanns found the area very appealing. Their friends put them in touch with a farmer who wished to sell a large parcel of land above the village called Rittimatte. The property is sheltered by forest and a broad expanse of mountain ridges; from it, one’s eye is led downward on the left to the gentle hills in nearby Alsace, on the right to the foothills of the Upper Rhine Valley; beyond, lie the summits of the Vosges mountain range and
request, the laudation was given by his longtime friend Rolf Verres. Interludes of music by the well-known violinist Volker Biesenbender played in between the speeches. Afterwards, a reception with cocktails was held at the museum’s restaurant, Rollerhof, where Hofmann received warm congratulations. Christoph Eymann, Paul Herrling, Ernst Beyeler, Hans Saner, Martin Suter Albert Hofmann addresses the audience and the media at the end of the LSD Symposium Swiss Television broadcast three
den Curtius’schen Abbau der isomeren Lysergsäu-ren und Dihydro-Lysergsäuren. (12. Mitteilung über Mutter-kornalkaloide.” Helvetica Chimica Acta 30, no. 1 (1947): 44-51. Hofmann, A. Über den enzymatischen Abbau des Chitins und Chitosans. Inaugural dissertation, University of Zürich, 1929. Hofmann, A., and A. Cerletti. “Die Wirkstoffe der dritten aztekischen Zauberdroge oder die Lösung des ‘Ololiuqui’-Rätsels.” Deutsche medizinische Wochenschrift 86 (1961): 885-93. Hofmann, A., and A. Cerletti.
had a positive effect. Within a rather short time, the anxieties and terrifying images subsided and gave way to “feelings of happiness and thankfulness.” Hofmann began to enjoy his involuntary excursion into unknown and unfamiliar realms of consciousness. With closed eyes, he saw a wonderful play of color and forms: “a kaleidoscopic flood of fantastic images dazzled me; they circled and spiraled, opened and closed again as fountains of color, reorganizing and crisscrossing in constant flux.