Cary Grant and his relationship with LSD

“I learned many things in the quiet of that room … I learned that everything is or becomes its own opposite … You know, we are all unconsciously holding our anus. In one LSD dream … I imagined myself as a giant penis launching off from earth like a spaceship.” – Cary Grant

Cary Grant was the first mainstream celebrity to espouse the virtues of psychedelic drugs. Whereas novelist Aldous Huxley’s famous 1954 treatise The Doors of Perception recounted his remarkable experiences with mescaline, Huxley was hardly mainstream – a darling of intellectual circles to be sure, but a far cry from a matinee idol. Grant was one of the biggest stars Hollywood had to offer when he jumped headlong into Huxley’s Heaven and Hell. His endorsement of subconscious exploration, arguably, created more interest in LSD than Dr. Timothy Leary who was largely preaching to the converted.1 Grant on the other hand was the fantasy of countless Midwestern women. He convinced wholesome movie starlets like Esther Williams and Dyan Cannon to blow their minds. When Ladies Home Journal and Good Housekeeping interviewed him, the topic of conversation wasn’t Cary’s favorite recipe or “the problem with youth today.” Instead, Cary Grant was telling happy homemakers that LSD was the greatest thing in the world.

5 “We come into this world with nothing on our tape. We are computers, after all,” concluded Grant. “The content of that tape is supplied by our mothers, mainly because our fathers are off hunting or shooting or working. Now the mother can teach only what she knows and many of these patterns of behavior are not good, but they’re still passed on to the child. I came to the conclusion that I had to be reborn, to wipe clean the tape … When I first started under LSD I found myself turning and turning on the couch, and I said to the doctor, ‘Why am I turning around on this sofa?’ and he said ‘Don’t you know why?’ and I said I didn’t have the vaguest idea, but I wondered when it was going to stop. ‘[It will stop] when you stop it,’ he answered. Well, it was like a revelation to me, taking complete responsibility for one’s own actions.” He described the feeling of being high, “I passed through changing seas of horrifying and happy sights, through a montage of intense hate and love, a mosaic of past impressions assembling and reassembling; through terrifying depths of dark despair replaced by glorious heavenlike [sic] religious symbolism.”

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