Talk:Louis Jolyon West

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I found no reliable source regarding CIA and MKULTRA involvement. In the MKULTRA report he is not mentioned, therefore I removed it as source. I found no neutral site connecting West with CIA or MKULTRA - they have a decided touch of anti-psychiatry or anti-US conspiracy theories and no one gives reliable sources. With only doubtful third-hand sources, an allegation does not belong into an encyclopedia. --Irmgard 21:44, 26 August 2005 (UTC)

I'm too busy to recollect all my research on this guy. Someone else can find the references, and if you want to remove the claims until then, that is perfectly understandable. --AI 21:47, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

Can someone add data on the Tusko experiment? It's not exactly an important step, but still a well known flub in West's history. -- 22:33, 25 September 2005 (UTC)

The Tusko experiment took place in the 1960's at Lincoln Park Zoo in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It was conducted through the University of Oklahoma Medical Center's Department of Psychiatry. Dr. West was Chief of the Department and was part of a team doing research on LSD. As this hallucinogen was known to be very powerful and dangerous, an extremely small dose -- presumed to be safe based on the subject's body weight -- was administered to an adult male elephant named Tusko. Tragically, Tusko died from the drug. No-one could have predicted that this tiny amount of LSD would be harmful to such a large animal. Dr. West was deeply saddened by this unexpected, unfortunate event. His involvement in the experiment haunted him on many levels. Politically it cost him, by a small number of votes, the presidency of the American Psychiatric Association.

I see in the edit history that reference to this experiment was removed several times by User:Tilman. I can see no justification for removing it. I reinstated the version that had a good cite. --Tsunami Butler 12:25, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
How exactly is this a reliable secondary source? Smee 18:04, 24 January 2007 (UTC).
And I would have reverted it again. Your text is not NPOV, despite you having read the objections in the history and in the discussion. The experiment did take place, but it had a specific scientific purpose (research about musth), it was in a specific year (long ago!), and there were specific reasons for the failure - your text makes it sound if he just woke up with the thought "Hey, lets put LSD into an elephant to see what happens!". I suggest you study these sources:[1][2][3][4][5] and then write a new text, if you feel that the elephant must be in. It should also be mentioned that this failure was used to attack him decades later. --Tilman 19:42, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

I've restored this incident after an Anonymous editor removed it; the story is a famous one that has got into the textbooks as an example of how not to do research. A good secondary source is Schmidt-Nielsen's How Animals Work, which I've cited. Also Harwood's letter to the editor of Science commenting on West et al.'s paper which was the first to point out their mistake. DavidCooke (talk) 06:46, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

I had removed it in accordance with existing talk page discussion. Basically, these are the three alternatives:
  • A balanced and NPOV account of the story, taking into account that there was no intention to do any harm to the animal let alone kill it, and that even today there isn't consensus on what actually killed Tusko, so it's hard to claim that West should have known beforehand that it would kill Tusko;
  • No discussion at all of the incident;
  • Mention of the incident that is skewed to an anti-West perspective by reporting only the negative outcome of the affair, and withholding any sort of context.
Now, to someone who cares about the principles of Wikipedia, those alternatives are listed from most desirable to least. (To a Scientologist, it's from least to most.) Now that we have a good account of the affair, I fully support its inclusion. I simply opposed the biased context-free version. -- (talk) 16:45, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

Missing Information[edit]

Things to be added and sourced:

  • Charlton Heston (John Charles Carter) considered West to be his best friend since the '50s. (Found source.) Kibbitzer 17:05, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
  • His work with Jack Ruby (he was a court-appointed expert psychiatrist).
  • Because I added the New York Times' obituary details to the article (more detailed than the LA Times' obituary), I dropped the word "Jewish". If it can be sourced that BOTH parents or just One was Jewish (and which one), please add that information. Kibbitzer 13:53, 30 November 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kibbitzer (talkcontribs)


Misou, is just an alias for, which pro-Scientology editors use frequently for copies of documents. As for it being a "dynamic URL". (e.g. Well, yes. So is one like In fact, pretty much all non-trivial sites use dynamic URL. Some use a cgi script, some use php, some hide it under the covers, but all use it. AndroidCat 05:27, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

Now, am I supposed to be impressed by "pro-Scientology editors use frequently for copies of documents"? Gerry Armstrong is a private person, making money out of "being a victim" and his site is 100% rah-rah and his personal opinion on Scientology. Non-RS and off it goes. Got it on the dynamic URL. We are on the same page on that. Misou 06:11, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
It looks like the only thing we really know about hism is that he killed that elephant. (talk) 00:28, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

Place of birth[edit]

This Los Angeles Times article says West was born in Madison, Wisconsin (not Brooklyn, New York). --TheCockroach (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 08:50, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Louis Jolyon West/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

*2 references, no images. Smee 07:21, 26 June 2007 (UTC).

Last edited at 07:21, 26 June 2007 (UTC). Substituted at 22:29, 29 April 2016 (UTC)