The Brotherhood of Eternal Love
Stewart Tendler and Davaid May
Almost forty years after the discovery of LSD's powers, Dr Albert Hofmann, the scientist who accidentally uncovered the mysteries of compound 25, is retired and living in Switzerland, He rose at Sandoz to direct the company's research into the medicinal properties of plant life, earning honorary degrees for his achievements. in 1979, he published his own account of the early history of LSD in a book wryly entitled LSD, My Problem Child. In it he concluded: 'I see the true importance of LSD in the possibility of providing material aid to meditation aimed at the mystical experience of a deeper comprehensive reality. Such use accords entirely with the essence and working character of LSD as a sacred drug.'
Hofmann expressed the hope that if LSD were used in the right conditions, 'then in the future this problem child could become a wonder child'. His optimism is echoed by several American academics in recent years, but the chances that serious work on LSD will resume seem slim. Several institutions in the United States hold licences but lack funds or incentive to take up LSD again. Only one researcher is still licensed in Britain, but no work is being undertaken.
Things might have been different but for the rise in nonmedical use of LSD in the 1960s. Ken Kesey and Timothy Learytwo figures who dominated the spread of lay use, especially among the younglike Hofmann have both retired. Kesey, leader of the Acid Pranksters, lives on a farm in his native Oregon and continues writing. The Pranksters' bus is stored in his barn.
After the Sand-Scully trial in 1973, Leary, through Joanna Harcourt-Smith, is alleged to have talked to DEA agents and given information. He appeared as a prosecution witness in a drug case against his own lawyer who worked for the Brotherhood. The authorities also used Leary's help to try and stitch together a case against those who helped him escape from prison. Friends were split over Leary's volte-facehe told newspapers to pass on the word to radicals that 'the war is over'-some argued that the pressures of his position were too great, while others were less charitable. The Berkeley Barb, still publishing, did not mince words. Their headline in the summer of 1974 announced 'Leary the Fink'. At a meeting in a San Francisco hotel, supporters and opponents under the banner of PILL, 'People Investigating Leary's Lies', argued the case in a press conference cum mock trial.
In 1976, Leary was paroled. Once free, he lost Joanna who returned to Europe, and divorced Rosemary. He then married again, for the fourth time. Settled in Los Angeles, he took up new intereststhe psychological problems of space travel, the connection between the human nervous system and outer space, and futurology. In 1979, Leary toured clubs and halls in the United States as a 'stand-up philosopher and comic'. He continued to churn out writings, helped in part by Kesey and appears in a film with Gordon Liddy.
Like Hofmann, Leary mulled over the results of his work in the 1960s. Soon after he returned to the United States in 1973, he admitted he might have made a mistake in encouraging LSD use to spread so wide. In a British television interview, he said he had never really liked the hippies, but later expressed continued admiration for John Griggs and the original Brothers.
By and large, Leary believes the psychedelic movement's achievement was the raising of consciousness and understanding of the human body. With his customary verbal flourish, Leary said recently: 'Flowers produce seeds and there are millions of seeds from the flowers of the 1960s. Every aspect of American society is being run by the seeds of the flowers of the 1960s. We are the establishment and we are doing a good job.'
Richard Alpert, who travelled on the early psychedelic road with Leary, left the entourage during the chaos at Millbrook to follow Eastern mysticism. Today, he is the guru Baba Ram Dass. In the early 1970s he said: 'All of us who know Timothy know that one of the qualities where he is not really cooked is discipline... Suddenly I saw that there was a destructive quality in Tim's game and no matter how beautiful it got it kept being converted into some horror.'
William Hitchcock, Leary's landlord at Millbrook, will not comment on the past. He has settled down to make money rather than LSD. Owsley still lives in the San Francisco area, shy of publicity or interviews, although he can sometimes be found following the fortunes of the Grateful Dead.
Scully, his apprentice, was released from the federal prison on McNeil Island, Washington State, in 1979. He worked on drug rehabilitation while on bail awaiting an appeal against his convictionthe sentence was eventually cut to ten years. As a prisoner, he became a model inmate, building a computer system for the staff, helping design machines for a handicapped young woman, teaching other prisoners, and taking his doctorate. The subject was drug rehabilitation. He developed the idea of using biofeedback methods to control drug abuse. On his release, Scullynamed Man of the Year by the Junior Chamber of Commerce for Washington during his time at McNeilcontinued his work.
Scully also thought long and hard about his years with the psychedelic movement. 'I thought', he said, 'that folks would generally use psychedelics pretty much in the way I and my friends were using them, which was a healthy way of using them for personal and religious experience. People used them pretty frivolously and often dangerously.' Scully felt that he and others ended up with a distorted vision of reality which obscured how the psychedelics were really being used and how users went on to other drugs. 'I met a lot of people in prison deciding that drugs like cocaine were wonderful... I met one guy who ran a natural food store in New York, an acidhead, and I met him years later in prison and he was a junkie bank robber: typical of the harm that the psychedelics have done. People started out saying since the government has lied to us about marijuana we will just go on ahead and try everything else. I met a small number of people who got into trouble just for taking psychedelics, mostly it was from taking other drugs too. Certainly a lot of harm came out of the whole psychedelic movement, but I have also met a lot of people who say all that is good in their lives came from psychedelics. They got set on the right path with various skills and professions I have a lot of respect for. I think it is much too early to weigh the good against the harm. A lot of people would like to believe a lot of the changes in consciousness that have happened in the last ten years could be attributed in part at least to the psychedelic movementthe end of the Vietnam War, Women's Liberation, modern music, concern for the environment-but it is hard to know. I think it will be another ten or twenty years before we can look back.'
Scully's former colleague Nick Sand is not available to comment. Still a fugitive, he was reported to have been sighted in the San Francisco area in 1981 at a rock concert. Lester Friedman, the Case Western University professor, will not talk either. He lost his academic post and went to live in southern California. Peter Buchanan continued as a lawyer. Michael Druce, the chemical supplier, also moved, leaving Britain for a job in Saudi Arabia. Ronald Craze, his former partner, went into business in Cornwall. Paul Arnabaldi has never been found.
Some of the principal figures in the British LSD operations were still in prison in 1983. Gerry Thomas, who betrayed them, lives with his family in Texas. The men who investigated them left the police service. Derek Godfrey became a security officer for a British bank and Dick Lee a freelance journalist and shop-owner. After leaving the police, his book on the investigation drew sharp criticism from former colleagues who felt he had gone too far in describing police operations such as telephone tapping, not normally discussed publicly.
Lee was not the only person to put secrets into print. George Wethern, the Hell's Angels drug dealer, wrote an account of his life in A Wayward Angel, published in 1978. Terry the Tramp, John Tracey, the leader of the Angels' drug network, died after a drug overdose in 1970. Wethern believes he was killed by his Angel colleagues. Dennis Martino, who travelled with Leary in exile and became a DEA informant, died in 1975; his body was found in a Spanish hotel room. The local coroner put his death down to natural causes. Joanna Harcourt-Smith thought otherwise.
Of the others who talked to the police and juries, little more emerged, dramatic or otherwise. Patrick Brennan and Robert Ramsey disappeared into private life. Glen Lynd was released from the protection programme, although his new identity and whereabouts were secret.
The men who used the informers so effectively against the Brotherhood and its LSD suppliers continued as policemen, and narcotics agents. Richard Rathjen stayed with the IRS and now works near Seattle. Neil Purcell is acting chief of police in Laguna. Doug Kuehl is a DEA supervisor in the San Diego area. Gary Elliot moved to Las Vegas as a special agent, and Terence Burke left Afghanistan for The Hague, eventually moving to DEA headquarters in Washington as an internal security official.
In the 1980s, the DEA view of the psychedelic movement and the decade in which it thrived is mixed. The economic and social circumstances of the time created a unique upsurge in drug use which is unlikely to occur again, but a new illegal drug industry was established and entrenched over the years.
Late in 1979, the United States Controller General issued a report on the problem of drug use in the United States entitled, rather woefully, 'Gains made in controlling illegal drugs, yet the drug trade flourishes'. Little mention was made of LSD, but the report estimated that 43 million people had tried marijuana, 10 million had used cocaine and 1.7 million had tried heroin. The marijuana market alone consumed 60,000-91,000 lb. per day at an outlay of $13-21 billion per year. Overall, heroin, cocaine, marijuana and hash generated up to $51 billion per year. The report noted: 'Drug trafficking today appeals to people from all walks of life including doctors, lawyers, accountants, businessmen...'
Businessmen like the Tokhis were still going about their trade, at least until the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1980. According to DEA information, the Tokhis were nearly closed down by the arrests of the Brothers, but they recovered. By 1977, Ayatollah was doing his own smuggling and is said to have expanded from campers and Land Rovers to oil-tanker lorries.
The fortunes of his former customers have been mixed. Some of the Brothers have retired, others apparently have not, as Doug Kuehl has discovered. The Brotherhood is dead but the alliances flourish.
Bobby Andrist was arrested in Oregon in 1980 and charged with conspiracy involving 800 lb. of hash. The charge was dismissed because of difficulties over a witness. Later in the same year, a group of former Brothers including John Harrington, one of the founder members, was arrested in California after planning to smuggle 8 tons of hash by ship. Agents seized $400,000 and seven guns. Using telephone taps, the agents uncovered a member of the conspiracy called Donald Graves living in New Mexico. They failed to arrest Mr Graves and missed the chance to capture Michael Randall, living under yet another alias and still a fugitive, but in July 1983, the DEA finally caught up with him near Denver, and he has been held on a variety of charges.
In April 1981, John Gale was arrested in Laguna, and agents took over 23 kilos of cocaine worth $9 million and precious stories worth $1 million and two Ingram M10 miniature machine-guns. At the time, Gale was using the services of two bodyguards. He was killed in June 1982 when he crashed his Mercedes convertible. His lawyer said: 'He had lived life in the fast lane, and apparently ended his life in the fast lane.'
In November 1981, three former Brothers were arrested in raids in California aimed at halting plans to import marijuana from the Far East. As a result of the raids, property worth $8 million was taken by the State of California.
The US Comptroller's report included a quotation from President Carter. He said: 'Drugs cannot be forced out of existence; they will be with us for as long as people find in them the relief or satisfaction they desire.' The climate of the 1980s is far removed from that of the 1960s, but a United Nations survey in 1982 reported that for the first time for many years, LSD was reappearing in noticeable amounts'.