This Weird 1950s Government Experiment Dosed An Artist With LSD

Looking back, the 1950s appeared to be the clean-cut spitting image of the American Dream. Deep inside the inner workings of the U.S government, though, a trippier tale was being spun. During that time, the government conducted all sorts of experiments with psychotomimetic drugs.

One of these such instances involved giving human test subjects a dose of LSD and then examining their behavior through the lens of art.

What happens when you give an artist psychedelic drugs? The next ten pictures will explain just that.

8. The Kid’s Got Talent

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Just for the record, this test subject isn’t a random talentless hippie with a pencil. As you can see, this artist has skill. This sketch proves it.

While it’s nothing mind blowing right now, it’s safe to say this artist likes to get a little experimental with their drawings. It’s only going to get weirder from here.

7. Entering The Rabbit Hole

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At this point, 85 minutes have passed and the artist was administered a second dose of 50ug. Immediately, you can see something is up.

According to the artist, he had “a little trouble controlling this pencil. It seems to want to keep going.” Fortunately, he had the time to do so.

6. The Trip Takes A Turn

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While the artist appears to be very focused on the task of drawing, his work takes a drastic turn at this point. The outline looks relatively normal but you can see they start taking various liberties on other aspects of the face. Suddenly, the glasses are sharp triangles and the ear—well, it’s simply no longer an ear.

As strange as this rendition is, see what happens when the artist restricts himself to just one line on slide number four.

5. We’ve Entered Wonderland

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Two and a half hours into the trip sees this artist past the point of no return.

What was once a well-crafted face is now just a mixture of lines. If you get creative, you can find a face in there, but it’s distorted. Even the artist said that “it’s not a very good drawing.”

4. One Line To Rule Them All

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Following the last failed attempt, the artist tries something different this time around. He now insists on drawing the face in one, continuous line without breaking. Apparently, he found this all too hilarious as he started laughing to himself before getting scared by something on the floor.

The humor doesn’t last too long for the artist though. On slide number two, darkness begins to take over the mind.

3. We Have Lift Off

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Whatever that thing on the floor was must have triggered something because this picture is beyond anything we’ve previously seen. It’s beautiful but what exactly is it? The face has lost all sense of definition. Lines are blurred together and reality is now but a figment of the imagination.

2. The End In Sight

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Right when it seemed like the storm was about to clear, the artist takes a hard left turn back into the strange. The result is this highly, abstract rendition of curves. Despite the psychedelic nature of the drawing, the artist says that he can “feel my knees again. I think it’s starting to wear off.”

With the end in sight, slide number one shows the final transformation of this weary traveler.

1. The Come Down

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By the final sketch, the artist reports that all is (almost) back to normal. You can see that in the drawing. However, it lacks the vibrancy and energy of the first one. Now, the man in the drawing looks tired, bearded and worn.

Perhaps it is representative of the artist himself? He did take quite an emotional journey, after all. He called this final sketch “bad and uninteresting,” and told researchers, “I want to go home now.”


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