Rest in Peace, Duncan Blewett.
Duncan Blewett, extraordinary psychedelic researcher and pioneer in the early days of this work passed away on February 24th 2007. To honor this great and outstanding man we provide the below texts. Duncan will always be in our hearts and we will do our best to assure that his memory never fades. To those that knew him, Duncan was a very special, kind, wise, and fun loving person. You will be missed Duncan, fare thee well!
Oliver Mandrake - President, Albert Hofmann Foundation=====
Myron Stolaroff wrote the below moving letter to Duncan's wife June:
It is with considerable pain that we learned that Duncan is no longer with us. What a tremendous loss, from such an outstanding person.
I first met Duncan in Al Hubbard's 4th floor apartment. Duncan reached us by telephone, and reported he would make his way up. He entered the apartment as happy as a lark, chewing away on a peyote button firmly gripped in his fist. We spent a few hours getting acquainted, and then we went to Al's favorite club, The Vancouver Yacht Club, where he provided an outstanding dinner. On the way, Duncan insisted that I take a bite of the provided button. At first I felt nothing, but after a while when we where getting well warmed up, I suddenly saw beautiful color all over the superb carpets. Things kept getting better and better, and I new that Duncan would be a lifelong intimate friend.
The more I saw of Duncan, the more I appreciated him. He visited us a number of times in Menlo Park, California, where we where treating subjects interested in experiencing LSD. Duncan was full of wisdom and understanding, and contributed a great deal in the teaching how to get the best results in applying LSD. In fact, with the help of his companion, Nicky Chwelos, Duncan and Chewlos created the most complete and valuable Handbook ever produced for administering LSD. The Handbook, HANDBOOK FOR THE THERAPEUTIC USE OF LYSERGIC ACID DIETHYLAMIDE 25, was first created around the year 1955. It is by far the most complete and accurate Handbook for administrating LSD, despite the fact that it is over 52 years old.
Not only was Duncan a fun/loving, delightful friend, but he has made an invaluable contribution to one of the most powerful and precious aids to humanity. It only now awaits for knowledgeable informed persons to be allowed to proceed this line of work. Duncan has certainly made an outstanding contribution, and we hopes his contributions can be put into effect.
Very best wishes,
Myron and Jean Stolaroff
We would also like to offer the following quote from Myron's book Thanatos to Eros (soon to be re-published by the Albert Hofmann Foundation)
From chapter 10 of Thanatos to Eros, Good Friends along the Way I:
Some of the richest rewards that ensue from pursuing psychedelic exploration with close friends comes from the deep, richly satisfying relationships that develop.
Relationships deepen by way of a two-pronged dynamic. First there is the clearing of individual beings -- the dissolving away of repressed material, the recognizing and dropping of outdated concepts and habits, the dropping of defenses. This opens the space among participants and allows an increasing intimacy. As the barriers dissolve, the energy radiated from each person increases. The combined linking of these radiant sources yields a strong energy field, a field of bonding love that supports and strengthens each one in the group.
The other prong consists in exploring new areas of consciousness, which brings into the group a wealth of new information. Each of course apprehends this in his/her own, unique way. The sharing and discussion of such discoveries leads to greater clarification and understanding in each member of the group. The issues go all the way from personal dynamics to the nature of God and how one achieves and maintains transcendence.
This chapter and the following one are devoted to material gathered from explorations and exchanges with good friends.
One of the fascinating, significant figures in the early days of psychedelics was a psychologist in Canada. In the early 1950's, when LSD was first introduced, investigators were busily engaged in determining the nature of this substance and the results it produced. The medical establishment rapidly arrived at the conclusion that LSD produces a state which mimicked psychosis, and named it a psychotomimetic.
Fortunately there were others who because of some combination of having an appropriate world view, being completely at peace with themselves, having a lively curiosity and a willingness to relinquish preconceived ideas, were able to move into completely different areas of experience with these substances.
Duncan was one of these. Although a brilliant psychologist, he was an extremely lovable, fun-loving person. When he and Al Hubbard came together there was instant rapport. They recognized each other as scoundrels and explorers, and immediately formed a deep alliance. The following excerpts of a letter from Duncan to Al gives the flavor of their relationship:
Hello you old goat!
Whose old uncle forgets him and never, never writes him a letter? My uncle Al - that's who.
What are they doing to you these days that you neglect your fat nephew? I've been watching the incoming mail, meeting all the aircraft and reading the police news regularly in hopes that I'd catch some glimpse of a letter from you, yourself, or your name in headlines. However, despite my vigilance there hasn't been the slightest indication that you are still alive. If I didn't know that it would take a battalion of enraged grizzly bears to do you in, I'd have been so worried I wouldn't sleep by now.
There is another picture that floats through my mind however - in fact a whole series of pictures of Al basking in the sunshine of some Pacific Isle, watching ball games in Witchita, catching huge fish off Boca Grande and generally living a life of idle bliss. . .
How's about a few lines of communication to let me know if we still fly the same flag - and what the latest developments have been.
All the very best of good wishes. May the sound of police whistles cease to annoy you and become music to your ears.
With Al's companionship, Duncan freely explored vast areas of consciousness with wise comprehension. Hubbard was fond of carrying around a little tape recorder playing back a statement that Duncan pronounced during one of his explorations. It ended with the statement: "The true meaning of life is so simple that scientists will never discover it."
I heard many stories about Duncan from Hubbard. Duncan had many gifts and talents, including the Irish ability to eloquently describe the multifarious situations he often found himself in. And his ability to creatively resolve them.
Duncan was quite enthused about the worlds that LSD opened up and the enormous potential such experiences held for the betterment of mankind. Consequently at one psychological meeting where he presented a paper, he recommended that LSD should be available in gum-ball machines in every drugstore. While current American society is shocked by such a suggestion, it must be remembered that at that time LSD was being used very successfully in several areas in Canada as a treatment for alcoholism. Saskatchewan was one of the few places in time and geography when the man on the street recognized LSD as a valuable medicine, and that its use was the most effective treatment for alcoholism then known. As alcoholism was quite a scourge in those cold, northern climates where winters left little opportunity for entertainment, cures were very much appreciated by suffering families.
I looked forward very much to meeting Duncan, and one summer afternoon in Vancouver I had the opportunity. I was visiting with Al and Rita, and was advised that Duncan would soon be arriving for a visit.
We were aware when his car entered the parking lot of the apartment house, and we opened the door of Hubbard's fourth floor apartment. We could hear Duncan tromping up the stairs. As he turned around the last landing, I got my first glimpse of him.
Duncan was a short, stocky man, with short arms. Wearing a sleeveless sportshirt appropriate for the warm, sunny day, he was flamboyantly climbing the stairs, swinging his arms in a way that revealed the engaging movement of his exposed elbows. A happy, fun- loving grin lighted up his face. Grasped in one hand was a large, green peyote button, which he stuffed into his mouth from time to time and chewed happily.
Duncan had also heard of me, and after being introduced, the first thing he did was to offer me a bite of his button. I accepted, and found much to my surprise that it didn't taste nearly as bad as I had been led to believe.
That evening we went out to dine at Hubbard's favorite place reserved for the most prominent visitors, the Vancouver Yacht Club. It was a decorous setting, and an ideal place to get acquainted while simultaneously enjoying an excellently served gourmet meal.
I was thoroughly engaged by the wonderful stories Duncan was sharing. I had had such a small amount of the peyote that I never felt it. So imagine my surprise when I looked at the lush carpet and found all the designs raised in three-D, and with glowing colors! I was delighted, as this was the first time in my life I have observed visual effects without any feeling of ingesting a drug. I felt only the well-being of superb companionship.
Duncan was telling us where he got the peyote. At that time it was possible to procure it from a source in Texas. He and his friends had chipped in and ordered a gunny-sack full. Not sure how it would be accepted by Canadian law, they elected to store it under the front porch of the home of one member of the group. Here they felt it would be safe; this person's father was the local sheriff. They never bothered to tell him about it.
Duncan played an active role in Saskatchewan as a therapist and guide in the experimental use of LSD with alcoholic subjects. Working with other hospital staff, encouraging results were achieved. Duncan wrote a most knowledgeable handbook about the informed use of LSD in a therapeutic setting. Despite it being written before 1960, it is still the most comprehensive, thorough, and knowledgeable treatment of the subject in print today, other than Stan Grof's volume LSD Psychotherapy(1). The work accomplished in the last three decades by other therapists (who have had to work underground because of our repressive drug laws) confirms the accuracy of the information presented.
At one point there was a debate as to whether or not LSD is addicting. Duncan was sure that it was not, so in order to prove it, he and his supervising psychiatrist took it every day as they sat with experimental subjects. At the end of 30 days he declared that there was no change in his ordinary functioning.
However, some of the authorities at the treatment hospital declared that he was addicted because he was taking it every day. So they demanded that he and his supervisor stop taking it. They stopped, and exhibited no adverse effects. Duncan was a bit sad at being deprived of the opportunity to partake.
I had the good fortune to share a few experiences with Duncan, and found him extremely sensitive, aware, helpful, and companionable. He was one of the easiest persons to love I have ever met. I grew very fond of him. I regret the distance that separates us, and the exigencies in life that have widened the separation. I often wonder what has happened to him, and what he is doing now. I believe he retired to a home in Mexico. If he has his way, I am sure that he is sharing a peyote button or two with some new-found friend.
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