Mystic Chemist: The Life of Albert Hofmann and His Discovery of LSD

Overview

Mystic Chemist begins at the start of the twentieth century, in the Swiss town of Basel which is evolving from a popular health spa into a major industrial city. The story concludes more than a century later, after celebrating Albert Hofmann's 100th birthday. It tells the unique story of a soon to be famous scientist, highlighting his academic journey, his research at Sandoz and then, as the discoverer of LSD, his meetings and interactions with illustrious writers, artists and thinkers, from all over the world, ...
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Mystic Chemist: The Life of Albert Hofmann and His Discovery of LSD

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Overview

Mystic Chemist begins at the start of the twentieth century, in the Swiss town of Basel which is evolving from a popular health spa into a major industrial city. The story concludes more than a century later, after celebrating Albert Hofmann's 100th birthday. It tells the unique story of a soon to be famous scientist, highlighting his academic journey, his research at Sandoz and then, as the discoverer of LSD, his meetings and interactions with illustrious writers, artists and thinkers, from all over the world, whose common interest is a fascination with the new wonder-drug.

Luminaries like Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert appear on the scene and Hofmann begins a prolific correspondence with them and other interested parties.
Sometimes he sends a sample, other times he hears of their "trips” on LSD or other psychedelic substances, like mescaline or psilocybin. From the beginning he takes a positive view towards efforts by physicians and psychotherapists to include LSD in new approaches to the treatment of illnesses. He sees the "psychedelic" potential of this "wonder drug" as beneficial to all.

And he expresses his conviction that mystical experiences and trips to other worlds of consciousness are the best preparation for the very last journey he and every one of us well must eventually make. At the age of 102, Albert Hofmann dies at home. His vitality and open mindedness stay with him until his last breath.

The life of Albert Hofmann, the Mystic Chemist, is a testimony to how one can reach a great age all the while remaining physically and mentally fit and spiritually aware.

Mystic Chemist: The Life of Albert Hofmann and His Discovery of LSD tells the story of Albert Hofmann's life and the parallel story of the wonder-drug, LSD. The book runs to 408 pages and contains over 500 color and black and white photographs, illustrations and drawings; some of them never published before. With a foreword by world renowned Czech psychiatrist Stanislav Grof, Mystic Chemist will be published in May 2013, and is available in hardcover and softcover editions.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
08/26/2013
This detailed account of the career and influence of the Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann captures the character but not the brilliance of its subject. Born in 1906, Hofmann's life spans over a period of unprecedented technological change and industrial advancement but marred by the devastation of the world wars. Hagenbach and Wertmuller cover Hofmann's early discoveries up to the twenty-fifth attempt at a derivative, the one that would make him famous and infamous, LSD-25. They follow the thread of his discovery into 1960s, the Beats, the CIA, and further, including the eventual imprisonment of users, many of whom Hofmann contacted sympathetically. At times the book comes across as pre-emptively defensive, written like a strange leaflet handed out in the street. The authors fail to sound credible, for example, when describing a conference attended by "more than eighty well-known scientists, drug experts, artists and observers from around the world." Dozens of boxed quotes— from random cultural figures of the time—distract from the main text and undermine the authors' attempt at a comprehensive biographical or even cultural study. (June)
From the Publisher
"Albert Hofmann's discovery of LSD, the most potent mind-expanding substance ever found, was an event of multiple synchronicities...the story of LSD and its potential role in society is however far from over."
-- Ralph Metzner, Ph. D., Author of The Unfolding Self and Green Psychology

"This book is more than a superb biography of Albert Hofmann, it's the story of LSD and pretty much covers everything of importance in the scientific, social, spiritual and artistic realms that resulted from his epochal discovery."
-- Michael Horowitz, Psychoactive Drug Historian, Editor

"Much more interesting than a conventional biography, this book is a grand sweep of how his discovery affected civilization. That they chose to highlight how his work affected vast areas of world culture makes this a reference book as well as a history of one very long and valued life.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780907791447
  • Publisher: Synergetic Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2013
  • Pages: 383
  • Sales rank: 1,420,112
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Dieter Hagenbach was born 1943 in Basel, Switzerland and studied in architecture and the arts at the Academy of Fine Arts, Düsseldorf, Germany. In 1975 he founded Sphinx publishing house, with works by Joseph Campbell, H.R. Giger, George Gurdjieff, Jean Houston, Timothy Leary, John Lilly, Terence McKenna, Alan Watts, Robert Anton Wilson, among others. From 1977-1986 he was editor of Sphinx magazine and the German language edition of the Brain/Mind Bulletin.

Dieter Hagenbach met Albert Hofmann in the mid-1970s and remained his friend until his death.

Lucius Werthmüller was born 1958 in Basel, Switzerland. He is a consciousness researcher and parapsychologist. Since 1991 he has been president of the Basel Psi Association with over 1,200 members, the largest organization in the field of the paranormal and the spiritual in Switzerland, and is editor of the Psi-Info, a magazine. In 2000 he was awarded the "Swiss Foundation for Parapsychology” prize. For eight years Lucius was project manager of the "Basel Psi-Days,” a congress with the reputation as the most important public congress on "border areas” of science worldwide.

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Read an Excerpt

The Mystical Wonders of Nature

The distant battlefields had little effect on eight-year old Albert. Despite the horrors of war, those years spent with his parents and siblings on Martinsberg were happy ones for him.His love of nature was reinforced by the plants and animals surrounding him. Nothing pleased him more than to wander through the fields and forests, alone or with his pals, and look out over the valley below through which the Limmat River wound its way to Zurich. He was a keen observer of the changing seasons, the greening of spring, the long summer days, the withering foliage in fall, and the winter snow that magically blanketed the fields and meadows in white. "I promised myself then that one day I would again live in country like the Jura.”

Each spring, Albert returned to walk through the forest on Martinsberg. There, he felt free yet secure and forgot all worries. One sunny morning he would remember the rest of his days, his perceptions sharpened acutely; he had a spontaneous mystical vision of the unity of all being that would shape his life ever after. He can vividly recall it in great detail: "The beauty of nature was revealed to me in the miracle of creation and defined the basics of my world view.” He could not recall the year but knew it was on a May morning and the particular place it happened. As he walked through the forest, he began to hear birdsong more clearly, the fresh green of the trees and the sparkle of leaves seemed more intense. Everything shone incredibly clearly. He wondered if he hadn't looked or listened carefully until then or whether, on that particular morning, the springtime forest first revealed itself in actuality. He felt his heart surge and was filled with bliss more profound than at any time before in his life, a sense of affinity with his surroundings, absolute emotional security as part of creation.

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