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ESP Experiments with LSD 25 and Psilocybin

A Methodological Approach
Robert Cavanna & Emilio Servadio, 1964
The intake o dr!g" in connection #ith divinator$ practice" i" probabl$ a" old a" mankind% &e a""!me
that tho!ght tran"erence i" an archaic mean" o comm!nication among h!man" and thereore #a"
probabl$ m!ch more #ide"pread in primitive c!lt!re"% 't i" rea"onable to think that there #a" oten the
need o ind!cing partic!lar per"onalit$ "tate" b$ interering more or le"" empiricall$, #ith the
ph$"iological "!b"trat!m called to e(tra #ork, i%e% the central nervo!" "$"tem% ' #e con"ider )riental
practice" or introd!cing trained individ!al" into "tate" o contemplation, or "hamani"tic "e""ion" in
primitive c!lt!re", #e "ee that "!ch rit!al" are !"!all$ accompanied b$ emotional "tre"", probabl$
relecting a ver$ partic!lar cerebral metaboli"m%
't i" *!ite likel$ that primitive men in "earch o ood accidentall$ di"covered that, #hen inge"ting certain
plant" or m!"hroom", the$ elt +dierent+ and "tarted +"eeing thing"%+ )ne can po"t!late that the intake o
nat!ral prod!ct" endo#ed #ith "!ch e(traordinar$ po#er" #a" "oon organi,ed in ceremonie" aiming to
#iden kno#ledge on important event" or to "trengthen "el-a""!rance beore taking deci"ion" involving
the #hole comm!nit$% .robabl$, it #a" then reali,ed that "ome men #ere more apt than other" to enter
"!ch "tate", and "o the intake o active prod!ct" became their privilege% 'n "ome in"tance", "carcit$ in
nat!re o a certain plant containing active principle" contrib!ted to reinorce both the belie in it" magic
propertie" and the privilege o it" !"e b$ certain member" o the comm!nit$% Thi" i" a "chematic pict!re o
a highl$ comple( phenomenon involving "everal di"cipline"% /everthele"", #e #ant to empha"i,e that in
the "peciali,ed literat!re "everal ob"ervation" are reported #hich de"erve attention rom the modern
re"earcher in p"$chopharmacolog$, in "pite o their having been collected #ith the p!rel$ de"criptive
method" o cla""ical anthropolog$%
)ne o the late"t ca"e" i" that o the Me(ican m!"hroom teonanacatl !"ed ab antiquo in connection #ith
divinator$ practice"% A e# $ear" ago a team o nat!ral "cienti"t" attended "!ch ceremonie" and the
ob"ervation" made #ere intere"ting eno!gh to prompt the ta(onomic cla""iication o the m!"hroom"
!"ed, their c!ltivation in E!rope, and inall$ the e(traction and p!riication o the active principle% Thi"
proved to be 4-h$dro($-/,/-dimeth$l-tr$ptamine, mainl$ pre"ent in the m!"hroom" a" pho"phoric e"ter0
a novel and "imple indolic compo!nd endo#ed #ith a deinite pharmacologic action on the central
nervo!" "$"tem%
Even i not o!nd in nat!re, another mo"t intere"ting "!b"tance i" the dieth$lamide o d-l$"ergic acid
12S3 456, a derivative prepared in the laborator$ rom the "keleton o nat!rall$ occ!rring ergot alkaloid"
#ho"e propertie" #ere kno#n or man$ cent!rie"% An impre""ive amo!nt o material ha" been p!bli"hed
on the biological activit$ and the p"$chological impact o thi" highl$ active "!b"tance, b!t it" mechani"m
o action i" "till !nkno#n, de"pite e(ten"ive "t!die" on it" metabolic ate%
A""!ming the validit$ o 7e""8 !nctional "$"tem", an intere"ting h$pothe"i" #a" orm!lated on the
interaction o p"$chotropic compo!nd" #ith brain proce""e"% Mo"t likel$ the "tead$ "tate or cerebral
metaboli"m i" a d$namic one in #hich both "$"tem", +ergotropic+ and +trophotropic+ are balancing each
other, and it i" rea"onable to "!ppo"e that the "!b9ective eeling o pre"ence in the #aking "tate i" nothing
b!t the "!bcon"cio!" a#arene"" o "!ch an e*!ilibri!m% Thi" e*!ilibri!m i" pre"!mabl$ controlled b$ a
n!mber o actor", mo"t o them "till !nkno#n, b!t #e can gro""l$ over"impli$ the pict!re and a""!me
that an$ intererence #ith "!ch a highl$ comple( homeo"tatic "$"tem "ho!ld re"!lt in in"tantaneo!"
alteration" o the balance bet#een chemical mediator"% To po"t!late "!ch a "impliied general mechani"m
o action or p"$chotropic compo!nd" i" obvio!"l$ a ver$ ro!gh appro(imation #ith "everal !nctionall$
interdependent ph$"iologicall$ active "!b"tance" e(i"ting in the brain%
'n the ca"e o p"$chod$"leptic compo!nd", altho!gh a e# inve"tigation" on their po""ible intererence
#ith "ome en,$matic proce""e" in the central nervo!" "$"tem have not given concl!"ive evidence o a
direct and "peciic interaction, th!" ailing to help in e(plaining their mode o action, "!ch "t!die" o!ght
to be diligentl$ p!r"!ed bearing in mind not onl$ 7e""8 h$pothetical "$"tem", b!t al"o the operational
interaction" o man$ highl$ "peciic biochemical mechani"m" reg!lating the t!rnover o lo# molec!lar
compo!nd", #hich have a po#er!l central action and are rapidl$ and topicall$ prod!ced, relea"ed and
Thi" kind o interpretation o pre"ence-reg!lating mechani"m" i" obvio!"l$ one-"ided0 #e are a#are that
man$ other approache" are e*!all$ valid and that all o them are needed to complete the general pict!re%
/everthele"", on the a""!mption that a certain degree o lo"" o pre"ence #o!ld avor regre""ion to more
empathic "tate", and that "!ch a regre""ion might repre"ent a avorable gro!nd or the occ!rrence ES.
phenomena, #e attempted to ind!ce "!ch "tate" b$ pharmacological mean", beca!"e #e think the$ have
"everal advantage" over other proced!re"% 'n act, trance-ind!ction, h$pno"i", lack or e(ce"" o o($gen,
h$pothermia, a"ting, "en"or$ deprivation, etc%, be"ide" lacking in "peciicit$ o action, all challenge #ith
a "erio!" "tre"" not onl$ the central nervo!" "$"tem b!t the #hole organi"m, and "ome o them even
9eopardi,e lie% Another negative "ide o the"e proced!re" i" the lack o cooperation o the "!b9ect and the
diic!lt$ in e"tabli"hing good contact" #ith him, #hich render" the perormance o "cientiicall$
meaning!l e(periment" an e(tremel$ diic!lt ta"k%
The !"e o p"$chod$"leptic compo!nd" in "!itable do"e" or provoking a moderate lo"" o pre"ence
enabled !" to overcome the"e diic!ltie", be"ide" being ph$"iologicall$ harmle""% Care m!"t be taken,
tho!gh, to gather all po""ible inormation abo!t the per"onalit$ o the "!b9ect and to have e(perienced
per"onall$ the eect" o each "!b"tance, in order to be able, at the right moment, to co!nteract po""ible
p"$chic tro!ble" re"!lting rom e(periment" #ith "!ch dr!g", #hich ma$ "hake the ver$ core o a
per"onalit$% &e believe that "killed "!pport, ba"ed !pon doc!mented kno#ledge o the per"onalitie"
involved, can "!cceed in re"toring an !p"et balance and even in helping the "!b9ect to t!rn "!ch an
e(perience into a highl$ po"itive and r!it!l event%
The ideal "!b"tance, making po""ible a "ort o +t!ning+ bet#een h!man", ha" not $et been o!nd% &e
cho"e or o!r pilot #ork 2S3 45 and p"iloc$bin, a" both aect per"onalit$ !nction" b$ altering the
balance bet#een coordination and drive"% &e co!ld rel$ on a large amo!nt o credible ob"ervation"
available on their impact on h!man per"onalit$ !nder a variet$ o condition"% :oth compo!nd"
con"iderabl$ depre"" the ego !nction" and !ncover le"" mediated comm!nication mechani"m" even in
ver$ lo# do"e"% 7o# m!ch advantage #e "hall be able to take o it in o!r re"earch, #e cannot tell beore
having thoro!ghl$ "t!died the conditioning o po""ibl$ occ!rring ES. phenomena% State" o regre""ion
are !ndo!btedl$ advantageo!" or the operation o more archaic #a$" o comm!nication, b!t e(i"ting
pattern" o interper"onal relation" contrib!te to the e"tabli"hment and conig!ration o empathic "tate"%
Moreover, the"e interper"onal relation" are not "tatic b!t, d!e to the impact o the "!b"tance" and to more
or le"" con"cio!" manip!lation b$ the individ!al" involved, evolve d$namicall$ to#ard" more overtl$
re#arding relation"hip"%
;or the "ake o "implicit$, #e con"idered onl$ <ES. in thi" ir"t approach, and made e(periment" #ith
one "!b9ect at a time !nder dr!g, or placebo% At the end o thi" vol!me #e report t#o e(plorator$
e(periment" in telepath$, #hich #e made #ith the "ame "!b9ect" !"ing the "ame target"= the re"!lt"
obtained in the"e e(periment" and in previo!" one" o the "ame t$pe made !" a#are o the nece""it$ to
broaden the "cope o o!r pro9ect% The inve"tigation o po""ible ES. occ!rrence" bet#een t#o individ!al"
both !nder the dr!g, #ho"e emotional connection" #ith each other are predictable beca!"e o previo!"
kno#ledge, and can be kept !nder ob"ervation d!ring the co!r"e o the e(perimental "e""ion, "eem" ver$
promi"ing% Mono,$gotic t#in" #o!ld be inval!able in thi" re"pect% :!t #e think that "!ch t$pe" o
e(periment" #ill re*!ire a con"iderable reinement o method" and techni*!e"%
'n thi" ir"t pha"e #e co!ld alread$ detect remarkable dierence" bet#een the p"$chic eect" o 2S3 45
and tho"e o p"iloc$bin, probabl$ relecting the kno#n dierence" in their mechani"m" o action% The
aro!"al pattern o the central nervo!" "$"tem !nder p"iloc$bin i" m!ch milder and le"" irre"i"tible than
that !nder 2S3 45 in comparabl$ eective do"e" and regre""ion i" more ma""ive and primar$ in the latter
than in the ormer% Moreover, e(plorator$ e(periment" #hich #e carried o!t #ith the collaboration o
highl$ "elected "!b9ect", con"i"tentl$ pointed to "triking *!alitative dierence" bet#een the"e eect"%
&hile 2S3 45 !ncover" the mechanic" o the relation"hip ego-e", p"iloc$bin "eem" to di"clo"e another
a"pect o per"onal d$namic", namel$ the interaction bet#een ego and "!perego% The imager$ oten
evoked b$ p"iloc$bin i" more decor-like, richer in ob9ect!al reerence", a" compared to the ego-concerned
hall!cinator$ e(perience" ind!ced b$ 2S3 45% There are pro" and con" in both ca"e" a" ar a" ES.
e(periment" go= i it i" diic!lt to gra"p and de"cribe an image o!t o an over#helming lo# o inner
event", a" !nder 2S3 45, it i" e*!all$ diic!lt to di"cern meaning!l and "el-contained image" in a
contin!o!"l$ "#a$ing, deepl$ inter#oven, decorative pattern, a" !nder p"iloc$bin%
Ma$be other "!b"tance" or combination o "!b"tance", "!ch a" the amide o d-l$"ergic acid 1Sando, 2A
1116, mo"t recentl$ o!nd in the "eed" o the Rivea corimbosa, the + ololi!*!i+ o the Me(ican", and the
monoeth$lamide o the "ame acid 1Sando, 2AE >46 not $et o!nd in nat!re, co!ld bring !" m!ch nearer
to the de"ired "tate o receptivit$% 'n thi" "erie" o compo!nd" the aro!"al pattern ind!ced in the nervo!"
"$"tem, "o impre""ive in the ca"e o 2S3 45, i" directl$ proportional to the n!mber o eth$l gro!p", the
!n"!b"tit!ted amide prod!cing a "ort o "t!poro!", "leep-like "tate accompanied b$ rich imager$% A
#ithdra#al rom realit$ i" ind!ced b$ all the"e compo!nd" , b!t ha" a "trikingl$ dierent character or
each o them= it i", "o to "peak, highl$ active in the ca"e o the dieth$l "!b"tit!tion and totall$ pa""ive #ith
no "!b"tit!tion at all, going thro!gh an intermediate t$pe o reaction or the monoeth$lamide% Eective
do"e" or 2AE >4 and 2A 111 are in the range o 5 to 1? microgram" per kg% ) bod$ #eight, ten time"
higher than tho"e o 2S3 45% Another compo!nd, #hich co!ld be o "ome intere"t in thi" re"pect, i" 1-
1phen$lc$clohe($l6-piperidine h$drochloride 1Sern$l6, reported to ind!ce "tate" re"embling "en"or$
't i" obvio!" that ES. te"t" "ho!ld be de"igned to it the partic!lar t$pe o re"pon"e elicited b$ each dr!g
and "till be le(ible eno!gh to allo# or dierent individ!al reaction" to "!ch dr!g"% At the "ame time, a
con"i"tent methodolog$ ha" to be deined and the "igniicance o the re"!lt" obtained thro!gh it "ho!ld be
a""e""ed% The pre"ent inve"tigation aim" at e"tabli"hing the validit$ o the e(perimental "etting and
proced!re #hich #e devi"ed or te"ting the eect" o vario!" p"$chotropic compo!nd" on the
perormance and o!tcome o ES. e(periment"%
;or thi" introd!ctor$ #ork #e con"idered a pilot c$cle o e(periment" on o!r "!b9ect",
t#o alledged +"en"itive"+, i%e% per"on" #ho had previo!"l$ given "ome evidence o
parap"$chological po#er", and t#o +normal",+ i%e% #ell adapted average individ!al" o
corre"ponding age, "e( and c!lt!ral "tandard"% The choice o "!b9ect" at thi" ir"t "tage
#a" governed mainl$ b$ the "carcit$ o reliable +"en"itive",+ available, and b$ the need
to make a "election o +normal",+ "!b9ect" according to the "en"itive" cho"en%
.reliminar$ "creening took place b$ mean" o inormative per"inal intervie#" #ith the
canidate", in order to a"certain their itne"" and #illingne"" to participate in "!ch a
pro9ect #itho!t ambigio!" motivation"% &e e(perienced remarkable diic!ltie" in o!r
"earch or ad!lt per"on" #ho #o!ld vol!nteer reel$ to participate in "!ch a pro9ect% The
motivation" o mo"t o them did not "tand !p to a deeper inve"tigation and orced !" to
di"card a n!mber o other#i"e intere"ting and promi"ing individ!al"%
The per"on" "elected #ere a"ked to contact the clinician #ho collected their anamne"tic
data and cond!cted a thoro!gh ph$"ical check-!p o each one% To "!b"tantiate thi"
clinical inve"tigation, the "!b9ect" !nder#ent "ome laborator$ te"t" 1"ee Appendix B6
#hich gave !" additional inormation on their health condition #ith partic!lar regard to
liver !nction"% A" a "econd "tep the$ #ere te"ted b$ a p"$chologi"t, #ho applied the
&ech"ler-:ellev!e 'ntelligence Scale1466, the Ror"hach .ro9ective Te"t14B6, the
Thematic Apperception Te"t14C6, and the Ro"en,#eig ;r!"tration Te"t1496, #ho"e
re"!lt" gave !" a airl$ complete pict!re o the per"onalit$ "tr!ct!re and the degree o
adaptation o the "elected individ!al"% 'n order to gain a better in"ight into their deeper
motivation" and to gra"p the !ndamental" o the d$namic" o their per"onalit$, "!b9ect"
#ere then re*!e"ted to !ndergo t#o per"onal intervie#" #ith a ;re!dian
p"$choanal$"t15?6% ater a matching and interpretation o the re"!lt" o the vario!" te"t"
and intervie#", one o the "en"itive", Mr"% M%<%, #a" eliminated rom the e(periment"0
certain per"onalit$ di"t!rbance" 1"ee belo#6 made it inadvi"able to "!bmit her to the
impact o p"$chod$"leptic compo!nd"% Thi" "!b9ect co!ld not be replaced%
The "!b"tance" #e intended to !"e, be"ide" being harmle"", had to be able to provoke
rever"ible alteration" in the per"onalit$ o the vol!nteer" in the "en"e o a regre""ive
detachment rom realit$, b$ mean" o a deinite action on the central nervo!" "$"tem%
Thi" action had to re"pond to o!r main re*!i"ite"= it had to be "peciic, in order to give
!" the po""ibilit$ o developing r!it!l h$pothe"e" concerning the cerebral mechani"m"
#ith #hich it interered0 controllable, in order to enable !" to make "ae and meaning!l
e(periment" #ith h!man vol!nteer"0 tran"ient, to permit ob"ervation o "!b9ect" d!ring
the #hole co!r"e o action, and, inall$, it had to be reprod!cable, "o a" to enable !" or
other inve"tigator" to d!plicate the e(periment"%
The p"$chod$"leptic compo!nd", alread$ clinicall$ te"ted, #hich be"t complied #ith
the"e re*!irement", #ere 2S3 45 1do"age range ?%5-1%? microgram per kg% bod$
#eight6 and p"iloc$bin 1?%15-?%4?6 mg per kg% bod$ #eight6% Tap #ater #a" !"ed a"
placebo, in order to make the "ame e(periment" in the "ame "etting #ith the "ame
proced!re, #itho!t dr!g"% The "!b"tance" dil!ted #ere ta"tele"" and colorle"", "o that
the dierent beverage" #ere indi"ting!i"hable rom one another% ;or thi" pilot #ork,
relativel$ lo# do"age" #ere preerred, beca!"e the$ #o!ld make it ea"ier or the
inve"tigator" to e(amine the mechani"m" involved in deper"onali,ation, pre"!mabl$
more evident in individ!al" con"tantl$ on the verge o lo"ing +pre"ence+ than in
individ!al" no longer ma"ter" o their ego !nction"% :eca!"e o the overt p"$chic and
ph$"ical eect" o the "!b"tance" cho"en, #e made no attempt at !"ing do!ble-blind
proced!re0 the onl$ preca!tion taken #a" that neither the "!b9ect nor the ph$"ician kne#
#hat #a" in the beverage% The ph$"ician #a" inormed ater the "e""ion 1or d!ring it, in
the ca"e o !navorable reaction b$ the "!b9ect6, the "!b9ect" never%
3)SA<E A/3 A3M'/'STRAT')/
( 2 # )( )2 )# '( '2 '#
2S3 45 microgram" ."iloc$bin mg placebo
L.*. 5? n%p%1D6 EE1DD6 1? n%p% n%p% #ater EE EE
+.S. 5? B5 4? 1? 15 EE #ater EE EE
'.$. 5? n%p% EE 1? 15 EE #ater EE no beverage
1D6 n%p%= not perormed
1DD6 EE= not planned
At the beginning o ever$ "e""ion, R%C% prepared the beverage, immediatel$ beore !"e,
b$ mea"!ring the de"ired amo!nt o active "ol!tion b$ mean" o a 1 ml% "$ringe and
dil!ting it in B5 ml o re"h tap #ater% 'n placebo e(periment" onl$ #ater #a" given, a"
the "!b"tance" in the dil!tion" !"ed had no ta"te #hat"oever% 'n act, the "!b9ect" co!ld
never a""e"" #hether the$ had been drinking an$thing b!t plain #ater%
The on"et o a!tonomic and p"$chic reaction" #a" d!l$ recorded and i" "chmaticall$
de"cribed or each "e""ion% ' needed, p"$chological "!pport #a" given, to help the
"!b9ect" to overcome po""ible initial di"tre""% Antidote" #ere available or emergencie"%
&e ob"erved a ver$ e(tended range o per"onal reaction" to the p"$chod$"elptic
compo!nd" !"ed, b!t #e never enco!ntered ma9or diic!ltie"% /everthele"", #e
empha"i,e that one ha" to be e(ceedingl$ ca!tio!" #hen carr$ing o!t "!ch e(periment",
beca!"e even ater a thoro!gh preliminar$ a""e""ment o the "!b9ect"8 per"onalit$, their
reaction" to the impact even o "mall do"e" can "till be !npredictable, d!e to "everal
ph$"ical and p"$chic actor" o!t"ide the control o the e(perimenter"%
A ph$"ical actor co!ld al"o interere
in the relation"hip bet#een "!b9ect and
e(perimenter", namel$ their relative
po"ition" d!ring the "e""ion"1546% &e
"!cceeded in keeping the gathering
ver$ !nited b$ choo"ing or the
e(periment" a "mall living room,
in"tead o a more technical "etting,
"!ch a" a doctor8" oice or a
All "e""ion" took place in an i"olated
top-loor apartment con"i"ting o living room and bathroom 1"ee plan6% The room #a"
air conditioned and the aco!"tical re*!irement" or recording #ere dealt #ith b$ a itted
carpet, a large cork panel on the longe"t #all and #indo# c!rtain"% All piece" o
!rnit!re #ere modern and !nctional, in plain bright color"0 the #all" #ere #hite, the
itted carpet light $ello# and the c!rtain" pale bl!e 1"ee photo"6% The relative po"ition"
o all piece" o !rnit!re and other ob9ect", a" #ell a" mea"!rement", can be !nder"tood
rom the plan and the photo"% /o ma9or di"placement" #ere made bet#een "e""ion", "o
that the "etting remained !nchanged thro!gho!t the pro9ect%