Today is the birthday of Ken Kesey who was a graduate student in 1959 concentrating in creative writing at Stanford University. He volunteered his time with Menlo Park Veterans Hospital, which was testing several varieties of psychoactive drugs at that time including LSD. During his volunteer time Ken would observe the testing patients, ingest these hallucinogens, and then wrote of his experiences. Kesey would go on to write his most famous work, influenced by these experiments, ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’.
Ken Kesey would then form his experimental group the ‘Merry Pranksters’ who through their use of psychoactive drugs, bizarre performance art, and peaceful confrontations of conformity, would eventually move on to the now famous ‘Acid Tests’. Through these series of parties, where guests either with or without knowledge of ingesting LSD, Kesey would continue to push the limits of experimentation while enlightnening many along the way to utilize altered states of consciousness to confront and overcome their fears. The Acid Test also served as the catalyst to launch one of the greatest bands of all time, the Grateful Dead, who served as the house band for many of the Acid Test parties.
Happy Birthday, Ken. And, thank you for your contributions to popular music, culture, literature, and the power of peace. For more on Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters click HERE
S. Remington – Editor
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