“He blew in with that uniform…Laying down the most incredible atmosphere of mystery and flamboyance, and really impressive bullshit!” Leary recalls. “He was pissed off. His Rolls Royce had broken down on the freeway, so he went to a pay phone and called the company in London. That’s what kind of guy he was. He started name-dropping like you wouldn’t believe…Claimed he was friends with the Pope.”“The thing that impressed me,” Leary remembers, “is on one hand he looked like a carpetbagger con man, and on the other he had these most-impressive people in the world on his lap, basically backing him.”
Meet ‘Captain’ Al Hubbard, the latest seminal CC figure we’re going to treat. I’d have to say, after looking at Al a little more closely, I had one of those moments where as they say, ‘the penny dropped’.

In the context of the some of the research I’ve done in the past, and will do in the future, and especially in light of some the ambiguous roots of the so-called counter culture, Captain Al raises some troubling and inspiring questions about our human destiny and whether there really is a clear line between the magnanimous and the malignant.

When I talked about Lilly earlier I sort of discussed how I thought the drug approach to illumination is a kind of mixed blessing. It certainly helps to open people up in a way that may have been impossible otherwise, but it does that in a way that, if you never outgrow the drugs, subtly erodes your ability to achieve your own innate capacities.

What makes this somewhat more disturbing, and fascinating, is that Captain Al, who was about as ideal a vehicle to bring the acid revelation to the people as you can imagine, was apparently selected and motivated to do so by some kind of otherworldly presence.

This man who started out a ‘barefoot’, dirt poor, Kentucky hick, at the age of 18 was instructed ‘by a pair of angels’ on how to construct a simple kind of radioactive battery, which patent netted him a small fortune, and was never seen again.

He then goes on to storied career in covert operations, pre wwII, which lent him the support of no less a political figure than the president himself, followed by entrepreneurial ventures in the uranium business which made him a millionaire.

To his credit, Captain AL wanted more a purpose than to live as one of the idle rich. Another angelic revelation kicked off his search for the ‘sacrament’ of LSD which became his lifelong quest to pass on to the world.

Now one estimate of the number of people Captain Al turned on ranges into the thousands. And Al was not like Leary, throwing the stuff onto the winds to whoever cared to try it. He was very selective. In many cases he administered it to alcoholics and depressives of various stripes, and apparently had a great deal of success with that, mostly through skilled use of what Leary would later term ‘set and setting’. I think Captain Al was very aware of the sensitivity of a person in a state of drug induced boundary dissolution and how important it was to orchestrate the experience carefully. But I digress…

The larger part of his recipients were what you might call ‘the elite’. Scientists, artists, academics, celebrities, even a politician or two. Thousands of them. And because he was working on his own, with no real oversight, protected by his contacts and money, we may never know how many people Captain Al actually turned on.

And here’s the thing: he had even bigger plans. He wanted to expand the use of LSD into the medical establishment full speed ahead. But he knew he had to be careful. He deeply resented Timothy Leary for invoking the panic that brought his work to an end. How many more politicians, scientists and businessmen would he have turned on, if he had been able to finish his life’s work? We know about Aldous Huxley, Ram Dass and Timothy Leary. We know the impact they’ve had on our culture. Imagine that ten fold, twenty fold, a hundred fold. Where would we be now?

We can theorize about whether or not the counter culture was co-opted from the outset. We can argue that the co-opters were themselves co-opted. Tim has covered that ground before in some detail. But, what if the whole thing has been co-opted by a source that isn’t even human?

It wouldn’t be the first time. Rene Descartes. Buckminster Fuller. Jack Sarfatti. Aliester Crowley. And on and on…. All touched by voices from beyond the human realm, or so we are told. And if we add the latter day UFO ‘revelations’ how many more is that?

We tend to circumscribe artificial lines around ‘counter culture’. We want to believe that it is populist, egalitarian, spiritual, non materialistic, peace loving, democratic. So what are we to make of the ‘Johnny Appleseed’ of LSD? This undereducated military veteran, covert operator, staunch Christian, uranium millionaire, and psychedelic elitist. Who just so happened to be taking pointers from something that crosses all our arbitrary political fences without a care in the world. We know Captain Al was protected by his contacts and money, but it seems like he had even bigger backers than that, doesn’t it?

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3 thoughts on “Hi. An Angel told me to give you this acid…

  1. http://www.well.com/user/davidu/tmalchemy3-2.html

    secondary source where mckenna mentions it as being in descartes own hand… not sure where exactly.

    ” Till recently, I thought that that was the end of the story but there is a coda that is very amusing, if nothing else. In that Hapsburgian army, there was a young soldier of fortune, only 19 years old, still wet behind the ears, knowing nothing, happily soldiering and wenching his way around Europe while he decided what to do with himself and his name was Rene Descartes, a Frenchman. Descartes, in his later years, reminisced about his period as a soldier in this army and I like to think that it was Descartes who actually murdered Maier. One of my ambitions is to write a play or a novel in which these two confront each other in a back alley of burning Prague and carry on a debate about the future of Europe before Michael Maier falls to the sword of Descartes. That may be apocryphal, but what is not apocryphal is that this Hapsburgian army, having laid siege and destroyed the alchemical kingdom, began to retreat across Europe that Fall and by Mid-September was camped near the town of Uolm in Southern Germany. By a strange coincidence, Uolm is the birthplace of Einstein some hundreds of years later. But on the night of September 16th, Descartes had a dream and in this dream an angel appeared to him, this is documented by his own hand, and the angel said to Descartes, “The conquest of nature is to be achieved through measure and number.” And that revelation lay the basis for modern science. Rene Descartes is the founder of the distinction between the res verins and the res extensia, the founder of modern science, the founder of the scientific method that created the philosophical engines that created the modern world. How many scientists, working at their workbenches, understand that an angel chartered modern science. It’s the alchemical angel which will not die. It returns again and again to guide the destinies of nations and peoples toward an unimaginable conclusion.”

    the surrounding lectures on alchemy are top notch as well.

  2. LSD prevented me from suiciding in my teens. It then went on to give my life meaning. I have taken it more than anyone in the second-generation of psychedelists, most likely, and that’s not a boast, it’s merely a statement about my truly flukily positive relationship with drugs in general, and this one in specificity. I had severe problems as a child that had no traceable source: I had perfect, well-to-do parents who were attentive, permissive and responsible. But I had scarce interest in life, hardly any topics I could converse with anyone about other than snakes (which I was somehow totally obsessed with) and as an atheist by raising with zero interest in human beings….I was virtually autistic for 16 years, with no friends, no ambitions, goals, affiliations.

    I managed to hook up at age 16 with a semi-mentally-retarded slacker and when he asked me to marry him after graduation I agreed. But things fell apart as he was schlanging another chick less than two months into the engagement, and soon it was two and then three of them.

    Having been taught very little about about sex, love, flirtation etc. beyond the basics (that which I did know being taught by soap operas since my mom was addicted to TV 24/7) I regarded My Boyfriend’s Sex With Another Woman as the worst tragedy possible in life and calmly started planning to exit it before I had to start thinking about what to do with myself. Having an intense curiosity about hallucinogens (spawned by – you guessed it – those anti-drug films they flooded my brain with at school) I obtained some acid, because I didn’t want to die without experiencing this.

    Caveat: Suicidal people should not take LSD unless they’re me. For some reason all the normal rules just didn’t apply. I found out – primarily – that this event was NOT worthy of self-extinction over. Getting grades higher, acceptance into university and hanging out with countercultural people WAS worthy of continuation of it.

    I learned empathy, which led to a passable interest in the emotions and experiences of those around me. And about 5000 other things…all of which dissolved the autistic wall and allowed me to touch “God” in a meaningful non-religious way.

    Also, I had cibophobia all through childhood – an unreasoned dysattraction to the act of eating unrelated to weight gain issues, and marijuana cured that.

    Knowing I’d either be dead or damn close to it if I’d never taken drugs gives me a distinctly unique attitude about them…I understand their faults and their gifts. Very little if anything in life that is good is free of negative aspects and anything that is profound, that is effective, is by default also potentially dangerous.

    Hoffman’s 100th birthday was duly celebrated in joy and colourful rapture. I am 40 now and crazy as a loon, but it’s good crazy.

    Thanks to the man who took a bike ride…and apparently this angelspoken individual discussed here.

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