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Acid-tab-on-tongue drescher.jpg

Acid tab on the tongue.

Photo: Tim Drescher

Indoor-party-scene 0896-1 Chuck-Gould.jpg

Until it was banned by the California in October, 1966, parties like this were places where people could openly take LSD and dance to the new music of the times.

Photo: © Chuck Gould, all rights reserved.


Acid Test front


Reverse side of Acid Test ID Card

Carolyn Adams, aka Mountain Girl on the Acid Tests:

The Acid Tests were about possibilities and opening the doors in people’s hearts and souls to different ways of being, and different ways of being together. The early 1960s were a time of intense pressure to conform. The purpose of the acid tests was to get LSD out to the people, making deep and rich cracks in the social cement that passed for culture during that time. We were heavily influenced by people like the beat writer William Burroughs, Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, and [Whole Earth Catalog founder] Stewart Brand. We were producing them in a fly by-night sort of way, with no advertising, just word of mouth, and they cost $1 to get into. They were a psychedelic free-for-all, lasting from 1965 until the middle of 1966, when we fled over the border to Mexico to escape federal prosecution, what we thought was an impending federal dragnet. They attracted only 200-300 people, and were a brief but glorious series of events in the LA and SF Bay Areas.

They begat the San Francisco happening scene and the Summer of Love, and many people’s careers as psychedelic rangers. It was more about getting the psychedelic experience out into the public, a way to get acid out of the hands of the academics and the CIA and into the hands of the general public and the hands of artists and creative types. We had faith that we were doing the right thing. It was about creating temporary autonomous zones. We planned them in secret, not letting the location be known until the day before or the day of the event. They were sort of like the flash mobs of today.

As told to David Kupfer

Carolyn Garcia a.k.a. Mountain Girl (CG/MG), a friend of Merry Prankster leader Ken Kesey, sound engineer for the acid tests, and widow of Jerry Garcia.

The Acid Test has been conducted in recent weeks at Santa Cruz, San Jose, Palo Alto, Portland, San Francisco, here, and is snowballing fast. Rolling east next month, it will soon be international, if not cosmic.

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