Monday, October 04, 2010

Purveyor of LSD to the Royal Family

"I took acid with the Queen in 1963"
Transcript of conversation with Dr John Mehmart

In the early sixties I had a job as a research psychologist in Cambridge testing out LSD on students, trying to find out if we could use it to treat depression or alcoholism. It was an exciting time, because everyone involved could see straightaway that here was a treatment with absolutely stupendous potential, and although the research results were mixed, there was no doubt that LSD induced a very powerful experience and the question had become about how to go about harnessing that. So one day a call came through from Buck House asking if someone would meet a royal officer to discuss this new drug, and this very odd chap who was clearly utterly against the whole idea came to my office for a meeting where I explained that physically it was safe and that in the right circumstances and with the correct precautions it was totally safe, not realising they were asking me to take responsibility for the Queen. I hate to think what would have happened if she'd gone completely stark raving mad, I'd have probably been guillotined; but in those days no-one had heard of bad trips, they were just called bad reactions and were normally over after a few hours. Admittedly, the CIA had killed a few but, you know, Americans.

So a few weeks later and after feeling a bit suspicious that my phone was being tapped and letters being opened suddenly I got a call to come up to London and, as it turned out, meet the Queen, although I didn't know that before I got there. She was very nice, disarmingly so, a bit like I thought Diana was portrayed later on, very pleasent but somewhat otherworldly, not really like anyone else you've ever met. After some preliminaries she asked me a lot of questions about LSD, and it turned out she was a great fan of Aldous Huxley - who of course had first got me interested in the psychedelic experience as a PhD student - and then she told me she was interested to try some and could I get some and sit with her during the experience. So, I obviously said yes of course and we made an arrangement for a Saturday in May, after she'd returned from some colony or other and I went up to Buck House and it was a lovely day so we sat in the huge garden with all these 200 and 300 year old trees just the two of us with a servant close by and everyone else even Phillip banished and she took a 100µg dose which I think was quite high for a starter but not excessive and we sat and discussed African independence and the trees and so on and she enjoyed it, let down her hair a bit and we sat on the lawn and played games and the servant brought some food and she ate it giggling and he gave me dirty looks and later on I had some paint and paper brought over and she drew these quite pretty pictures of her and Jomo Kenyatta in some kind of embrace and quite soon after she asked when it would finish and I told her to take it easy for the evening, but she told me she had to host a banquet for 150 and there was a moment of anxiety then, until we agreed that she could just keep quiet throughout the evening if necessary. Then she asked could I come back with some more the next week. As a matter of fact it wasn't until the next month that I returned and we both took 250µg this time and again we sat in the garden and she drew mountains and talked about her father and we ate houmous and pita which she'd brought back from Greece and which I'd never seen or heard of before then, and which was like eating lava. She did complain after several hours that it wasn't stopping but I reassured her and we went and watched the fish in the water fountain which she found enjoyable. The most significant thing I can remember was her saying was "Oh how awful it must all be for Charles" and at one point she declared "you know, everything is one" and for a moment I didn't know if she was talking about herself or the universe, and she found that hilarious and kept repeating "yes, one is at one", which I found quite funny. She did get anxious at one point when we were talking about what it was like being the Queen, and she kept saying things like "Who's Queen? Who is the Queen? What is Queen? Who is the Queen?" and started to get upset, but she soon calmed down. Mostly, she was quite good company and of course very well educated and informed on every topic you could think of.

So I returned to work and some time later received a request from the Queen for a few doses of LSD that she could share round at a party she was having at Windsor with a list of luminaries who were all keen on trying it. I was invited along to observe but I think I was busy, at a wedding or something, anyway I couldn't go but I supplied her with 10 doses of 200µg Sandoz acid and bid her good luck. So what should happen but I get a frantic phone call on the night from a servant saying a car is coming to drive you to Windsor because the Queen, thinking the trip wasn't working, took another one and now has climbed a tree and is cackling at the (full) moon. So we drove to Windsor at top speed but when I got there Malcolm Muggeridge had talked her down and she was making a house out of leaves and clay with him and Lord Mountbatten. Anyway she wasn't much interested in me and it was quite dull watching them stare at the sky and laugh so I left them to it and that was the last time I met Queen Elizabeth, although shortly after I got a nice note from her saying wasn't it a shame the Americans were going to criminalise it and what did I think and so on, and it was made illegal over there and soon after over here and I was out of a job. Now, a few years later Prince Phillip came to open a new ward at the hospital I was working at and he took me aside and said now look here Lizbet wants to know if you can get any more of that stuff, and I said I obviously couldn't but I put him in touch with a guy I knew in London called Acid Dave and Dave supplied the royals with loads and never suspected who it was for.

Some years after that I met the servant from Buck House in a pub on Victoria and he said that throughout the 1970s the queen constantly took doses of acid to perk up dull state visits and the like and that they used to refer to it as her remedy and were under instruction to give it to her if she said "one is feeling a bit heavy". He also said that they'd once accidentally given a dose to Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and there'd been fears of a diplomatic incident but he'd turned out to be an old hand at LSD and the pair of them had a gay old time. Apparently she was awesome at Balmoral shoots after taking 120µg, but her favourite place to go in London when high was the Natural History Museum, which she referred to as the huge arcade machine. I asked him if he thought she'd changed much through her LSD experiences, and he said that as well as a brief interest in Indian philosophy, she had become more open-minded and considerate, but it didn't last long after she gave up the drug. Acid Dave had got busted in 1978 and the Queen felt it was the universe telling her to pack it in. Poor old Dave did 15 years at her Majesty's pleasure, little knowing it was the second lot of her Majesty's pleasure he'd supplied. I became fascinated with ketamine in my later years and ended up dying in a chainsaw and petrol incident. The Queen is still going, and how awful it must all be for Charles.