The Frank Olson Legacy Project



by Stephan Kimbel Olson

There was a scientist in Switzerland who accidentally discovered LSD from chemicals in his lab in 1938. His name was Dr. Albert Hofmann. He was actually looking for a chemical that would make the blood thicker so you wouldn’t bleed. The LSD came through his fingers into his blood and then he had a trip. But he wasn’t aware of it. He took his bike and rode home on it but he couldn’t ride the bicycle. He crashed into a bush and fell down into a ditch.

LSD stands for lysergic acid diethylamide, but it is commonly called acid. It is the most powerful known hallucinogen. Hallucinogen means that you see things that aren’t real.

LSD comes from a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. LSD is semi-synthetic, which means that it comes partly from nature and partly from chemicals that are made in laboratories. Most of the laboratories where LSD is made are secret and illegal, and some are legal labs where they produce LSD for research.

The effect of any drug depends on several things. It depends on how much the user takes at one time, the user’s past drug experience, and the manner in which the drug is taken. Some of the effects of LSD come right away and some come later. The short-term effects include numbness, which means you can’t feel things. Other effects are things like muscle weakness, trembling, rapid reflexes, increased blood pressure, heart rate and temperature, impaired motor skills and coordination, dilated pupils, nausea, and occasionally seizures.

Also your senses can get mixed up. You can see sounds and hear colors. You can start to lose control of your own mind, which means that different thoughts start coming and you can’t stop them. Another thing that happens is that the feeling of time and space changes. Sometimes you can tell where your self stops and the world begins. Everything starts to mix together. For some people it is like a religious experience because you feel like you are one with everything. You are part of nature and nature is part of you.

This feeling on being one with everything can start to feel bad also and then it can become what they call a bad trip. You can start to get scared that you are losing who you are and becoming nothing. This can lead to more hallucinations and that can lead to violence, including murder and suicide.
The long-term effects of LSD are mostly bad. A person can have flashbacks, which means that suddenly you feel like you have taken the drug again even though you haven’t. The flashbacks sometimes come weeks, months or even up to a year after the last time taking LSD. The long term effects can also include depression and anxiety, which means that you are nervous and jumpy and scared.



Stephan Kimbel Olson, grandson of Frank Olson, lives in Stockholm, Sweden where he will soon enter the fifth grade at Katarina South Elementary School. He is ten years old.