CHEMIST WHO MADE PUREST LSD IN 60s

Irish Sunday Mirror - - STYLE ON SUNDAY - BY RACHAEL BLETCHLY Chief Fea­ture Writer

Nick made a com­mit­ment to be­ing a life­long psy­che­delic out­law TIM SCULLY ON DRUG DEAL­ING PAL NICK SAND

HIPPY yoga fan Ni­cholas Sand sat naked in the lo­tus po­si­tion in front of a roar­ing farm­house fire.

It was 1964 and the bright young an­thro­pol­ogy student had just taken his first hit of the mind-al­ter­ing drug LSD.

He closed his eyes and waited for the psy­che­delic ride to be­gin.

It was a jour­ney which al­tered the course of his life and saw mil­lions more “turn on, tune in and drop out”.

“My first ex­pe­ri­ence with tak­ing acid changed ev­ery­thing,” Sand re­called years later. “I was float­ing in this im­mense black. I said ‘What am I do­ing here?’

“And sud­denly a voice came through my body, and it said ‘Your job on this planet is to make psychedelics and turn on the world’.”

Three years later Sand was do­ing just that, mak­ing “Orange Sun­shine” LSD tablets, the purest on the mar­ket, from a lab in the back of an old ice-cream van.

He was a laid-back, loved-up, long­haired pro­to­type of Break­ing Bad’s Wal­ter White. He fu­elled the Sum­mer of Love in 1967 and dreamed of tak­ing the whole world on an acid trip to peace.

CRAZE

And Sand, who died last month at the age of 75, also in­spired The Bea­tles’ leg­endary Sgt Pep­per al­bum and the sin­gle A Day In the Life.

His drug opened the mind of a young geek called Steve Jobs who said the “pro­found ex­pe­ri­ence, one of the most im­por­tant things in my life” in­spired him to change the world.

And the Sun­shine King also helped Jimi Hen­drix set the mu­sic world on fire at fes­ti­vals like Wood­stock.

Of course, the min­dal­ter­ing qual­i­ties of LSD – ly­ser­gic acid di­ethy­lamide – also led to mis­ery, ad­dic­tion and death for many of the hip­pie gen­er­a­tion.

And now there are new safety fears around the drug as “mi­cro­dos­ing” tak­ing it in small quan­ti­ties – has be­come a craze among young pro­fes­sion­als.

Users claim – with­out a shred of sci­en­tific ev­i­dence – that it boosts cre­ativ­ity, im­proves their mood and helps with men­tal health is­sues.

LSD is cur­rently a Class A con­trolled drug in the UK, car­ry­ing a max­i­mum penalty of seven years in prison and a fine for pos­ses­sion, while sup­ply or pro­duc­tion can lead to a life sen­tence.

But the drug played a ma­jor part in the cul­tural rev­o­lu­tion that swept Bri­tain and Amer­ica 50 years ago – and Sand was it’s chem­i­cal Che Gue­vara.

He was born in New York, in 1941, the son of a chemist called Clarence Hiskey who worked on the top-se­cret Man­hat­tan Project to de­velop the atomic bomb – un­til he was caught spy­ing for the Soviet Union.

Hiskey’s wife di­vorced him and gave her son her maiden name.

Sand stud­ied an­thro­pol­ogy and so­ci­ol­ogy at Brook­lyn Col­lege, grad­u­at­ing in 1966.

But sev­eral years be­fore that he be­gan ex­per­i­ment­ing with drugs, mak­ing a hal­lu­cino­genic called DMT in the bath­tub of his mother’s flat and an­other called mesca­line. He even set up a per­fume com­pany as a front for his drug trade. Sand be­came fas­ci­nated with East­ern philoso­phies and took up yoga – which he would per­form naked for the rest of his life.

He be­came friends with the leg­endary Har­vard psy­chol­o­gist Ti­mothy Leary – seen as the fa­ther of psychedelia.

Leary be­lieved that hal­lu­cino­gen­ics, used in con­trolled cir­cum­stances, were a pow­er­ful psy­chi­atric ther­apy, and coined the fa­mous counter-cul­ture catch­phrase, “turn on, tune in, drop out.”

Sands also met Leary’s Har­vard col­league, Richard Alpert and it was at

PART­NER Tim Scully ORANGE HAZE Hen­drix took LSD

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.