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Psych psychiatry at the Wellcome

9 Feb

News just in via Radionic pal and Wellcome Research Officer Ross Macfarlane… a very interesting archive has recently appeared at the Wellcome Library:

In 1952 psychiatrist Ronald Sandison, based at Powick Hospital in Worcestershire, embarked on a study tour of Swiss psychiatric hospitals. It was during this visit that he met Albert Hofmann and became aware of the therapeutic potential of LSD.

Returning to England with a supply of the drug, Sandison developed what he referred to as “psycholytic therapy”, using small amounts of LSD to assist patients in exploring their subconscious. By 1958, Powick Hospital had a dedicated LSD treatment unit, where Sandison worked until he left the hospital in 1964. LSD therapy continued at Powick for a further two years after Sandison’s departure. The increasing publicity around recreational use of LSD by figures such as Timothy Leary and Aldous Huxley, along with tighter regulation of its use, led to Sandoz withdrawing the drug from the market.  After leaving Powick Hospital, Sandison never again used LSD therapy. However, he continued to believe in its value as a treatment when used in a clinical setting.

Full story at the Wellcome Library blog

As a bonus, here’s an in-depth interview with Sandison about his LSD research, conducted by Dominic Streatfeild for his excellent book Brainwash.

The Rot of the Stars

30 Jan

Questions are being asked in Bournemouth this week as to what exactly fell in Steve Hornsby’s garden last Thursday, 26 January. Here’s a BBC report and a photo (above) via Bournemouth University.

Mr Hornsby thinks they might be some kind of atmospheric pollution; a local scientist has proposed ‘marine invertebrate eggs‘, while the most the prosaic explanation is that they gel desiccants of the sort used by local florist Mel Smith [and this – sodium polyacrylate – turned out to be the right answer].

Whatever the Bournemouth blobs turn out to be, I see them as efficiently-compressed, hi-tech descendants of the enigmatic and elegantly named ‘pwdre ser’, the rot of the stars.

Read on for more about these very fortean space jellies… [...]

I wish I could talk in technicolour

25 Jan

An American housewife, pre-selected for her ‘normality’, takes a 100ug (0.1mg) dose of LSD in the presence of UCLA researcher Dr Sidney Cohen in about 1956.

Cohen, who later wrote The Beyond Within: The L.S.D. Story (1972), was an early advocate of medical and therapeutic LSD research, but by the early 1960s began to worry about the impact its unfiltered use would have on the beatniks, and later hippies, being turned on to it by proselytisers like Timothy Leary.

As with the woman in the film above, who, at least in the brief sequence visible here seems to be having a transcendently far out time, Cohen seemed to elicit positive responses from LSD users in therapy, noting that:

under LSD the fondest theories of the therapist are confirmed by his patient. Freudian symbols come out of the mouths of patients with Freudian analysts. Those who have Jungian therapists deal with the collective unconscious and with archetypal images [two key Jungian concepts]. The patient senses the frame of reference to be employed, and his associations and dreams are molded to it. (‘The Consumers Union Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs’, 1972 [link])

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Mr Janus: the spaceman who came to tea

19 Jan

Nightmare #3

…in addition to being disturbed by the realization that Janus was reading his mind, he was even more disturbed by the fact that this extraordinary man ‘knew all Britain’s top-secret nuclear secrets’…. [Horsley was convinced that] they come from another planet somewhere in the universe but not in our galaxy. They are benign, not aggressive and, like us, are explorers.

Nick Redfern on the strange case of RAF Air Marshal Sir Peter Horsley and his visitor from Outer Space, Mr Janus. Was it a high-concept prank, a test of Horsley’s sanity, or of his loyalty to Crown and Country? Or was Mr Janus really who he claimed to be?

Read all about it here

Hessdalen Lights: the documentary

18 Jan

Via the Daily Grail

A refreshingly sensible documentary on the anomalous lights seen and documented for decades at Hessdalen in Norway. The lights would appear to represent a natural phenomenon that is still not fully understood.

The Hessdalen light most often is a bright, white or yellow light of unknown origin standing or floating above the ground level. Sometimes the light can be seen for more than one hour. There are several other types of unexplained lights observed in the Hessdalen valley.
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Sounds of the Sea

17 Jan

From the BBC: Pressure-sensitive microphones pick up the live sounds of everything from whales and shipping to seismic activity and the movement of tectonic plates, and this audio is shared with scientists all over the world. 

It’s also now available to anyone with an internet connection.
Who knows what else we might hear down there – The Bloop?

When you wish on a tattoo…

16 Jan

When this tattooed elbow passed me by in the street last Summer I stopped its owner and asked to take a photograph.

The very friendly man said I was one of very few people who had identified the image as that of the Hieronymous Device, or wishing machine, and told me that he used his own personal wishing machine regularly.

So, what the heck is the Hieronymous Device?

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