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Book Nook: Acid Hype - American News Media and the Psychedelic Experience, by Stephen Siff

Dec 7, 2015

Americans of a certain age might recall that the psychedelic drug LSD was once the subject of some extremely negative press coverage. During the late 1960's the press was filled with horror stories about LSD. Supposedly LSD usage could lead to insanity or even worse. But that was then. Public opinion and the media coverage of LSD has shifted and changed over the years. 

Stephen Siff has documented how these viewpoints about LSD and some other psychedelic substances like mescaline and the so-called sacred or magic mushrooms have varied significantly over time. He looked back at the early media coverage and public opinion about these substances and found some very surprising things.

LSD was not declared to be an illegal drug in the USA until the 1960's. Siff discovered that the initial media coverage of LSD ranged from curious to fairly positive before it was designated as an illegal substance. In his book "Acid Hype - American News Media and the Psychedelic Experience" Siff produces documentation that reveals that LSD had some influential advocates and that it received glowing reviews from some users. Did you know that the publisher of Time Magazine thought that LSD was a wonderful thing and that his publication's coverage actually echoed his enthusiasm?

Some very famous people tried LSD and liked it. The movie star Cary Grant was a regular user and he made public claims that LSD had changed his life for the better. One wonders what happened? What caused public opinion and media coverage about LSD to suddenly become so negative? Siff shows his readers when it began to change and how quickly it did. This is a fascinating study.