Watching the nightly news with my family was one of the highlights of my preteen years. Often there were scenes of hippies taking LSD, smoking pot, burning bras or protesting related subject matters associated with the 70’s. I recall watching the daily body count of soldiers who died in the controversial Vietnam War.
I remember watching a news story about the ill-fated suicide of Diane Linkletter, the daughter of the famous Art Linkletter. She jumped to her death from the window of her sixth-floor apartment in West Hollywood, California. Her dad said it was the evil influence of LSD that took her life—a bad trip.
The impact of this horrific story forced our family to discuss the destructive effects hard drugs have on people. I made a promise to never ingest LSD or any other damaging “dope” into my body. My parents frequently mentioned Diane Linkletter’s misfortune as my older siblings were about to go out for the evening to hang with their friends.
Like most of the people I chose to be friends with, I experimented with alcohol at an early age. Soon this vice was replaced with marijuana. I convinced myself that nobody ever died from a bad trip under the influence of weed, so I continued getting high throughout my high school years and beyond.
A few of my friends started experimenting with cocaine, psychedelic mushrooms and acid (LSD). Some tried to get me to take a hit of acid while assuring me it was harmless, and I would only laugh and have a good time. Soon they gave up asking when they realized I was not going step into their realm of nirvana. The news story about Diane was still forefront in my memory.
I became real close with two guys Chis and Stew. They were a couple of years older than me and I would often heed their advice. Chris kept sharing funny stories of how he and Stew laughed uncontrollably whenever they dropped a hit or two of acid. I expected their school grades to drop, but the seemed to excel in most of their classes.
Eventually, my curiosity and interest to experience a laughing buzz overcame the pledge I had made several years earlier. The plan was to spend a weekend under the influence of LSD together at Chris’s house. Although the flashback reminder of the Linkletter story amplified loudly in my head, I succumbed to the influence of peer pressure and took a small amount of acid. Not feeling the effect right away, I took another small dose and sat back in a chair and waited.
The following twenty hours permanently changed my view about LSD. So many things happened that weekend that this short blog cannot contain the words. I consider my experience with drugs a platform to help others understand the consequences of prolonged drug use.
Please download my new book “30 Years High” and read what it was like to experience a bad trip on LSD.
D. Jack Oswald