Michael Hollingshead was a British-born researcher in psychedelic drugs and hallucinogens including psilocybin and lysergic acid diethylamide, among others, at Harvard University in the mid-twentieth century. He is the father of comedian Vanessa Hollingshead.
Hollingshead was the Executive Secretary for the Institute of British-American Cultural Exchange in 1961. Dr. John Beresford received a package of LSD from Sandoz Laboratories in Switzerland at a time when it was still legal to use in experiments, and he in turn gave one gram of it to Hollingshead. One experiment Hollingshead conducted involved studying the effects on web-weaving by spiders under the influence of the drug. He claims to have first tried LSD by licking the spoon of a batch of LSD-laced cake icing he had packed in 2 mayonnaise jars for transport. (This jar was to become an object of psychedelic legend.) After his first experience, he contacted Aldous Huxley who suggested he get in contact with Timothy Leary to discuss LSD's potential.
In September 1961 he met Leary in Cambridge, and was invited to live in Leary's house and teach a course at Harvard. Shortly thereafter, he introduced Leary to LSD. He participated in the Concord Prison Experiment with Leary, Ralph Metzner, and several others in 1962. For the next few years he worked with psychedelic therapists, and lived at Millbrook with Leary and Richard Alpert (aka Ram Dass). He then set up a New York-based project of his own together with Jean Houston, where guided trips were performed and data gathered which, according to Hollingshead's book, formed the core material for Masters' and Houston's book The Varieties of Psychedelic Experience. In 1965 he moved to London where he opened the World Psychedelic Center. He also worked with experimental film, collaborating on the Scott Bartlett short subject "Moon 69", inspired by the 1969 Project Apollo orbit of the moon.
Among those Hollingshead is reputed to have introduced to LSD are: Timothy Leary, William S. Burroughs, Roman Polanski, Allen Ginsberg, Storm Thorgerson, Maynard Ferguson, Donovan, Keith Richards, Paul Krassner, Houston Smith, Paul Lee, Pete LaRoca, Charles Mingus, Saul Steinberg, Alan Watts, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and George Harrison.
Bibliography and articles
- Hollingshead, Michael & Timothy Leary, George Litwin, Günther Weil, Richard Alpert (1962) The Politics of the Nervous System. - The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (1962) by Atomic Scientists of Chicago, Educational Foundation for Nuclear Science (Chicago, Ill.) (response to Psycho Chemicals as Weapons by Dr. E. James Lieberman - January 1962)
- Hollingshead, Michael (1973) The Man Who Turned On the World. Abelard-Schuman Publ. New York (also Blond & Briggs, Ltd.)
- The Sayings of Michael Hollingshead. Blotter magazine Issue #3
- Hollingshead, Michael (1968) Introduction to "Lightshow" Harbinger Magazine (produced by the Oracle staff as their 13th issue and attempted revival of the publication) Harbinger University Press, July 1968. by Michael Hollingshead
- Harris, Lee & Chris Render (1994) Best of Homegrown Red Shift ISBN 0-9524350-0-4 (contributor to anthology of Homegrown magazine)
- Best Sellers (1987) by Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation, University of Scranton
- Robert Anton Wilson: The Author of The Illuminatus Trilogy Expounds on Multiple Realities, Guerrilla Ontology, LSD, Life Extension and Things that Go Bump in the Night by Michael Hollingshead. High Times (1980)
- Booth, Martin (2005) Cannabis: A History.
- Braunstein, Peter & Michael William Doyle (2002) Imagine Nation: The American Counterculture of the 1960s and '70s.
- DeRogatis, Jim Turn on Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock.
- Grunenberg, Christoph & Jonathan Harris (2005) Summer of Love: Psychedelic Art, Social Crisis and Counterculture in the 1960s.
- Harvey, Graham (2003) Shamanism: A Reader.
- Krassner, Paul (2005) One Hand Jerking: Reports from an Investigative Satirist.
- Leary, Timothy (1983) Flashbacks. Tarcher ISBN 0-87477-497-7
- Leary, Timothy (1968) High Priest. ISBN 0-914171-80-1
- Leary, Timothy (1968) The Politics of Ecstasy. ISBN 0-914171-33-X
- Lee, Martin A. & Bruce Shlain Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: the CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond.
- Miles, Barry (2004) Hippie.
- Nocenti, Anne & Ruth Baldwin (2004) The High Times Reader.
- Norton, Robert (1996) Communication and Consequences CL: Laws of Interaction.
- Ronald A. Sandison (2001) A Century of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Group Analysis: A Search for Integration.
- Stafford, Peter G. (2003) Magic Mushrooms.
- Stafford, Peter G. Psychedelics Encyclopedia.
- Stevens, Jay (1987) Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream.
- Young, Paul (2002) L.A. Exposed: Strange Myths and Curious Legends in the City of Angels.