“This is why the FDA needs to continue research in exploring micro-dosing as a possible cure for depression,” wrote one woman. “Not just treatment, but a possible cure.”
The footage, discovered in 2011 by Journalist Don Lattin, was a clip from an eight-part investigative series in 1957 called “Focus on Sanity,” which looked into the state of psychiatric hospitals in California.
According to ABC News, the unidentified woman—wife of a former employee at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Los Angeles—volunteered to be part of a ‘secretly funded’ research experiment, conducted by Dr. Sidney Cohen on behalf of the Army and CIA.
Why? Because the government wanted to know if LSD would make a worthwhile chemical weapon or truth serum and they needed unbiased opinions.
Besides, LSD was still legal back then, so why not take advantage of mind-altering chemicals by performing theatrical tests on someone who is used to sorting colors?
“She had no social cues,” said Lattin. “She didn’t know you were ‘supposed’ to talk like that on LSD.”
The video starts with Cohen offering the woman a glass of water, infused with 100 gamma of LSD-25 (1/10th of a milligram, the equivalent of 1/600th of a grain).
“Well, I think it’s time for you to have your lysergic acid,” he says, lifting the glass and placing it on the table in front of her. “Drink this down and we’ll be back after a while and see how you’re doing.”
She does as instructed, and approximately three hours later—once the medication fully absorbs into her system—the interview begins.
This time, however, the anxious homemaker is calm, joyous and utterly bewildered.
“Everything is in color, and I can feel the air,” she says. “I can see it; I can see all the molecules.”
She then proceeds to compare the “infinite beauty” to a curtain or a spider web.
“Can you see it?” she asks, placing her outstretched hands across an invisible layer of film. “It’s right here in front of me, right now.”
Soon, she begins to squirm in her chair, shouting “no” and “good heavens” while leaning back as far as possible.
“You know, it went through me,” she announces. “It passed right through me!”
Toward the end of the video, Cohen asks if the feeling she has is pleasant or unpleasant.
Confused by his question, she makes one final effort to illustrate her perception.
“Can’t you feel it?” she asks. “Everything is so beautiful and lovely and…alive. You shouldn’t say anything about anything not being—” she pauses. “This is reality.”
Looking straight ahead while pointing a finger toward the ceiling, she tells Cohen to “look” over there.”
“Are you looking?” she asks. “Can you—”
Cohen interrupts, “Yes, what should I see?” he asks.
“I wish I could talk in Technicolor,” she said. “I can’t tell you about it. If you can’t see it, then you’ll just never know it. I feel sorry for you.”
Unfortunately—because the woman’s identity remains a mystery—we have no way of knowing how, or even IF, this spiritual awakening changed her life for the better or worse.
Perhaps one day the answer will be found, probably buried beneath a pile of red tape.