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Published on Jan 18, 2011
From a television programme, circa 1956, about mental health issues. Dr Sidney Cohen, was dosing volunteers at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Los Angeles. Dr Cohen, seen sitting at a table and wearing a lounge suit - his legs crossed in the classic I'm-a-scientist pose - interviews the unidentified housewife, who is dressed in her best black frock. She tells the doctor: 'My husband is an employee here at the VA and he said they were looking for normal people, so I volunteered.' Dr Cohen asks: 'How do you feel about coming here and drinking this strange material?' She replies: 'A little nervous, perhaps.' In the unintentionally comical manner that seems to be the preserve of 1950s training films, the camera zooms in on an innocuous-looking glass of clear liquid on the table, as the good doctor says: 'Well, I think it's time for you to have your lycergic acid. Drink this down and we'll be back after a while and see how you're doing.' As the housewife obediently drains the glass and Dr Cohen smiles benevolently, a dramatic voice-over explains: 'This is a glass of water, colourless, tasteless. It contains 100 gamma of LSD 25. One tenth of a milligram, the equivalent of one 600th of a grain. 'An ounce of this material will make 150,000 such doses. Let us observe the affect some three hours later.' Unsurprisingly, three hours later the housewife is insanely high. She says: 'Everything is in colour and I can feel the air. I can see it, I can see all the molecules - I'm part of it. Can't you see it?' Dr Cohen asks: 'How do you feel inside.' She replies: 'Inside? I don't have any inside.'