Albert Hoffman, LSD Inventor, Dies at 102
Albert Hofmann, who accidentally invented the most popular hallucinogenic drug ever, has died.
Hofmann died Tuesday at his home in Burg im Leimental, said Doris Stuker, a municipal clerk in the village near Basel where Hofmann moved following his retirement in 1971.
For decades after LSD was banned in the late 1960s, Hofmann defended his invention. “I produced the substance as a medicine. … It’s not my fault if people abused it,” he once said.
The Swiss chemist discovered lysergic acid diethylamide-25 in 1938 while studying the medicinal uses of a fungus found on wheat and other grains at the Sandoz pharmaceuticals firm in Basel. He became the first human guinea pig of the drug when a tiny amount of the substance seeped onto his finger during a laboratory experiment on April 16, 1943. “I had to leave work for home because I was suddenly hit by a sudden feeling of unease and mild dizziness,” he subsequently wrote in a memo to company bosses. “Everything I saw was distorted as in a warped mirror,” he said, describing his bicycle ride home. “I had the impression I was rooted to the spot. But my assistant told me we were actually going very fast.” Upon reaching home, Hofmann began experiencing what he called “wonderful visions.”
Three days later, Hofmann experimented with a larger dose. The result was the world’s first scientifically documented bad trip. “The substance which I wanted to experiment with took over me. I was filled with an overwhelming fear that I would go crazy. I was transported to a different world, a different time,” Hofmann wrote.
Just think how long he might have lived were it not for his drug experimentation.
And, so far as I know, he’s no relation to Abbie Hoffman, the founder of the Yippie* movement.
*The original identified Hoffman as the founder of the older Hippie movement rather than its radical political offshoot.