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Paranoia Magazine Pre-print 2009 -- Sasha's Ecstasy & Neo-Con Agony

Paranoia Magazine pre-print 2009: 4000 words

Dr. Alexander Shulgin, MDMA and the Illuminati
By Iona Miller and Thomas Lyttle, 2008

Discoveries about the functioning of the human mind and psyche must be made in the open - not in hiding... -TIHKAL, Shulgin, pp. 358


The passing in 2008 of Albert Hoffman at 102 years old leaves psychedelic alchemist Dr. Alexander Shulgin (b. 1925 -) as arguably the most eminent living scientist in the entheogen arena. This pioneer is a hero of counterculture but has he been “sleeping with the enemy” all these decades? His work history spans employment by corpoglomerate chemical firms involved in biological warfare, to shadowy black ops backers.

Shulgin also enjoys the politically dubious distinction of being a member of The Bohemian Club of global elites, partaking in the annual revels at Bohemian Grove. How is it this psychedelic chemist has crossed cultural lines from the ivory tower to Chemical Corps firms, to the roots of psychedelia, to rubbing elbows with the transnational meta-controllers of The Grove? Shulgin remains an ambiguous character with a career arc that cuts an influential mercurial path through the psychedelic scene. We might call him the “Einstein of psychoactive compounds,” creating over 200 psychedelic compounds he tested on himself.

World-famous chemist, Dr. Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin holds at least 17 US pesticide and drug patents. Edgewood Arsenal scheduled his synthetic pot for use as a military weapon but it also escaped into local high schools and parts unknown in the late 1960s. There must be some agony when skullduggery control-freaks lose control over their targets.

According to the memoir of retired Colonel James Ketchum, M.D. Chemical Warfare: Secrets Almost Forgotten (2006), military mind meddlers wanted a nonlethal incapacitating agent that would dissolve the will to resist, and funding for chemical weaponry and mind control was readily available in the early 60s. Other “incapacitating” experimental drugs of the era included LSD, PCP, STP, MDA, DMT, BZ and Ritalin. Various agencies tested these brainstorms on witting and unwitting victims, and then they escaped the handlers.

One morning, Ketchum arrived at his office in Edgewood and found "a large, black steel barrel, resembling an oil drum, parked in the corner of the room," he recounts in his book. Overcome by curiosity, he opened the barrel and examined its contents. There were a dozen tightly sealed glass canisters that looked like cookie jars; the labels on the canisters indicated that each contained about three pounds of "EA 1729," the Army's code number for LSD. By the end of the week, the 40 pounds of government acid -- enough to intoxicate several hundred million people -- vanished as mysteriously as it had appeared. Ketchum still doesn't know who put the LSD in his office or what became of it.

Godfather of X

Shulgin is recognized as the “Godfather” of the MDMA, “Adam” or “Ecstasy” movement, which peaked in 1988 in a second “Summer of Love.” Millions of people have taken the psychedelic MDMA and participated in its cultural scene. Burning Man festival is a relic of Ecstasy’s heyday. Even while working for and with the government, to his credit Shulgin was their stringent critic. Is this a case of “keeping one’s enemies closer?” For good or evil, that may also be the psy-strat of globalist meta-controllers.

Dr. Shulgin’s “weapons of mass elation” include synthetic THC, 2-CB (“Nexus”), MDE (“Eve”), MDMA (“Ecstasy” or “X”) and STP (“Serenity, Tranquility, Peace”). Ecstasy is mild compared to other psychedelic substances. Discovered by E. Merck in 1914, MDMA was never marketed. It was manufactured with the help of qualified chemists and used legally by many therapists before it was banned in 1985.

The super “love-drug” Ecstasy, “XTC” or MDMA, is methylenedioxymethamphetamine. The drug became popular at psychedelic dance-clubs and large private parties called “raves.” When MDMA hit the US underground, around 1975-80, it was completely legal to buy and sell. The effects last 3-6 hours, with a 6-24 hour “afterglow.”

MDMA, the ultimate designer drug, has been used extensively in structured radical psychotherapy because of its ability to evoke clarity, deep emotional honesty and psychic bonding. Dr. Shulgin heard about MDMA around 1972 from a student and other chemists interested in psychedelics. Later he gave then-legal samples to his pal Dr. Leo Zeff, a respected psychiatrist who for 30 years used hallucinogenic drugs in radical and experimental psychotherapy.

A protocol for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was developed whose therapeutic potential for the agonies of war is being reconsidered in Britain in 2008. Sufferers of deep-rooted trauma claim they can live again instead of just exist. (Turner)

The Secret Chief by Myron Stolaroff (1998) recounts Leo Zeff’s work. Word spread discretely among freethinking psychiatrists, including Dr. George Greer, who then dubbed MDMA with a code name, “Adam.” Tim Leary praised it as “the sacrament of the 90s,” for its activation of empathic circuits.

Peak X-perience

While speeding metabolism, Ecstasy produces no perceptual distortions, mental disorientation, or “stoned” feelings. It brings repressed emotions to the surface, along with insights into trust and self-image. It produces a heightening of the senses and amplifies feelings of peace and unconditional love, making it a learning tool that facilitates realizations and communication. The “afterglow” period of rebirth and self-healing allows time to digest, consolidate and integrate personal and transpersonal realizations.

Those conducting “bioassays” agreed that this new quick-acting, destressing psychedelic was potentially transformative. Books like Through the Gateway of the Heart (1965) by Sophie Adamson (pseudonym of Dr. Ralph Metzner) described dramatic healings among the incurable and this fueled Adam’s popularity. Reports describe the euphoric “Adamic” (spiritually pure) state of mind. It also relaxes the mindbody’s subtle energy fields in strange ways, enabling a synergetic, telepathic linking in an “overmind.”

Seemingly miraculous cures were reported by psychiatrists and MD’s. By 1985, Adam got its new name, “Ecstasy” to describe its felt-sense. Thousands of people had been treated in therapy with favorable results. Psychotherapist Dr. Philip Wolfson writing in The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs states that, “MDMA is Penicillin for the soul, and you don’t give up prescribing Penicillin once you’ve seen what it can do.”

Around this time another MDMA storyline developed. Thousands of doses were being legally sold in college-town bars and dance clubs, especially around the Bay Area and Dallas, Texas. Also in 1985 the newspaper strip “Doonesbury” by Gary Trudeau ran a several week parody centered on the latest Ecstasy fiascos. A subculture had developed around this drug, filled with its own characters, politics and sub-plots. The Californian “human-potential movement” (centered in Esalen) was completely seduced by this new drug. People could not get enough.

MDMA became a major story. The counterculture was abuzz. But few knew the real mastermind chemist and magician who started it all. They only knew they wanted that experience. Millions of doses of Ecstasy had been sold legally in San Francisco and at Dallas/Ft. Worth nightclubs by 1984. You could even buy Ecstasy with your credit card.

In mid 1985, Newsweek (April 15) and “The Phil Donahue Show” profiled Ecstasy with sensational stories. Major media perked up and suddenly MDMA became front-page news in 50 national magazines, including Psychology Today (May, 1985), Time (June 10, 1985), Life (August, 1985).

The media buzz caught Washington’s embarrassed attention and in 1986 MDMA was made illegal. The powers that be police our nervous systems with “No Exit” strategies. MDMA now shared the same legal category as heroin and LSD, both being “Schedule One” drugs. Research was suspended. MDMA suddenly had no redeeming value whatsoever, according to lawmakers, who emphasized the dangers of overdose, damage to serotonin neurons and a few medical contraindications.

Alchemy of Ecstasy

Non-addictive MDMA is still arguably the most popular psychedelic drug on the planet - and still illegal as ever. At least as popular as LSD, it generates many times the illegal income. In 2002, a solid dose of black market LSD sold for $8.00, a dose of “E” for $25.00. Hundreds of millions of doses have been consumed all over the world. In 1992, Ian Wardle of Lifeline estimated that over a million “E’s” were consumed every weekend in Britain.

In Ecstasy: The Complete Guide (2001), Julie Holland claims that during the Millennium year, 750,000 doses of Ecstasy were used each weekend in NYC alone. Further, 9.3 million Ecstasy “hits” were seized by US Customs.

Several dozen books and several hundred scientific papers exist on MDMA. The topic has both academic and street-chic popularity. “Pursuit of Ecstasy: The MDMA Experience” is a sociological treatise by Jerome Beck, Dr. P.H. and Marsha Rosenbaum, Ph.D. (SUNY Press, 1994). “Ecstasy: The Clinical, Pharmacological and Neurotoxicological Effects of the Drug MDMA” is an academic reference by Dr. Stephen J. Peroutka (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1990).

Many popular books exist as well: Bruce Eisner’s Ecstasy: The MDMA Story (Ronin, 1988, 1999), E For Ecstasy by Nicholas Saunders (Nicholas Saunders Press, 1993, 1999) and Altered States: The Story of Ecstasy Culture and Acid House by Matthew Collin (Serpent’s Tail, 1997) begin a long list. Many websites and forums focus on MDMA research and news.

Popular author Irvine Welsh gained notoriety with his book E. Rick Doblin’s “MAPS” (Multi Disciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) and Bruce Eisner’s “The Island Group” are well-known sources for reliable information on Ecstasy. Many writers have tracked MDMA’s psychedelic pedigree.

The drug is relatively safe, non-addictive and short acting. It promotes healing and the ecstasy that comes from being “spontaneously” healed. It enhances positive communication within the community or the family, or within oneself. MDMA binds the Techno or Rave communities with bonding, groupmind, and ecstatic communion. Many self-medicated with the drug to soothe the agonies of postmodern life.

The MDMA experience is vital, tribal, and ecstatic– lasting around 3 hours, with little hangover. But, we need to ask ourselves “does MDMA really fit the covert plot or secret agenda”? As a drug experience, “E” equates to open communication, trust and empathy. But could it be another deliberately imposed trend fed to an unsuspecting public for covert sociopolitical control?

People connected with secrecy, subterfuge, paranoia and political agendas would find MDMA useless or troublesome as a means of maintaining order, but it may provide a pacifier. We have to dig deeper into the story of Dr. Shulgin’s associations to find questionable connections. Many well-meaning individuals have been involved in shadowy research used for potentially nefarious purposes. The use of drugs in cults and conspiracies is as old as the history of mankind, and so is their use to manipulate and control the populace.

Shulgin’s research and discoveries permeate the entire social spectrum in recursive feedback loops between counterculture, the military/industrial complex, intelligence, and the global elite. He has described his thinly veiled autobiographical experiences in the books PIHKAL and TIHKAL, which recount his experimentation with alchemical compounds.

In a 1994 High Times interview, Dr. Shulgin recounts his alchemical perspectives: “I’ve studied alchemy a bit and it’s very much about feedback. Who cares if you melt and fuse lead 10,000 times? At the end of it you don’t come out of it with anything but melted and fused lead! But in doing that... that’s meditation!”

Dr. Albert Hofmann (the discoverer of LSD and synthetic Psilocybin) calls psychedelic substances works of modern alchemy. In alchemical terms, Shulgin’s work has been described as “crossing the pearl with the diamond.” Blending these yin and yang energies in a Royal Marriage of opposites creates a magical child, a rebirth experience. All magic happens in the Void.

Strange Bedfellows

One of the great chemists of our time, Shulgin has received accolades from professional peers, government agencies and the psychedelic underground. Nobel Prize winner Kary Mullis says that Shulgin single-handedly tried to chart out whole areas of compounds. This represents a formidable goal, as chemists often spend years looking into one class of compounds or one compound alone.

In his youth, Shulgin consorted with. Dow Chemical, Edgewood Arsenal, the FBI, the CIA, even the NSA. In later life, Dr. Alexander Shulgin became a member of the notorious globalist neo-controller Bohemian Club and Bohemian Grove and has proudly fictionalized them as “The Owl Club” in his books TIHKAL and PIHKAL, where he appears pseudonymously as the character Dr. Shura Borodin.

In chapter 11 of PIHKAL, Sasha Shulgin recounts his introduction into The Owl Club:

One evening in the late 1950’s, I was invited to a musical soiree at an old comfortable home in the Berkeley Hills. I brought my viola with me... The only person I can remember from that evening was a handsome, proper gentleman with a small grey moustache and the residues of an English accent. During coffee, after the music was over, he struck up a conversation.

He asked me if I had ever heard of The Owl Club in San Francisco? I had not, so he began painting a picture of a rather fascinating group, with many interests in all sorts of art, drama and music. He mentioned that there was need for a viola player, and would I be interested in sitting in for a couple of evenings? ... The Club proved to be a group of gentlemen from a broad array of political and professional backgrounds, leaning somewhat toward the political right and the well-to-do. ... At my first evening at the Club... Andrew was appointed my Pater Familias ...” - PIHKAL, pp. 60-65

Psychonaut or Cryptocrat?

But this was just the introduction. Dr. Shulgin was not quite in bed with the Bohemian Club. Not yet. What cemented the Bohemian deal was an unexpected subpoena sent to Sasha on behalf of Claude Pepper’s “The House Committee On Crime In America.” This famous witch-hunt of the times was concerned with criminal cartels, illegal drug masterminds and those suspected of being their teachers. According to his autobiography, when Sasha entered the Court House the Witch-finder General scowled, “How can you call yourself a scientist” he demanded, “and do the type of work you do?”

Under oath Dr. Ecstasy was “raked over the coals.” Criminal associations were introduced into testimony, including Sasha’s alleged clandestine association with Owsley Stanley, the infamous LSD chemist who made “Orange Sunshine” LSD. Further, Sasha had once been approached to set up and run an illegal lab in Jamaica, being offered “six million dollars” according to his fictional PIHKAL. Even within the government, whether he was a “good guy” or “bad guy” depended on relative point of view.

Through the Looking Glass

A timely invitation pulled Sasha back towards the mysterious “Owl Club” (Bohemian Club) to play more viola. Life, like music, owes quite a lot to timing. Then again, The Owl Masters might simply have been watching over a fledgling, providing shelter from a storm. “Stay in our good company”, they might have said. “We live in a world beyond Claude Pepper.”

Throughout PIHKAL and TIHKAL, Dr. Shulgin fondly remembers many interesting social meetings, new friendships and his musical contributions to “the Owl Club” orchestra. A man who will be remembered as one of psychedelia’s Grand Masters reveals scrapbook memories. For a moment the clouds part, the weather seems unsure and the wind picks up. Book pages flap, then blow open to Lewis Carroll’s most famous work.

In Through the Looking Glass we read the following: “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more or less.” “The question is”, said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things”. “The question is”, said Humpty Dumpty, “who is to be master, that’s all.”

Characters explain that anything can be called by any name, and doing impossible things just takes mastery. Day after day and year after year, a young master has been practicing. It is almost like wars, genocide and the military-industrial complex never happened. Nor did the CIA. Power elite? The insiders? The Bavarian Illuminati? The Owl Club?

Urban legend claims that the Bohemian Club and Bohemian Grove are Illuminati strongholds. The Illuminati makes its meta-controlling presence felt in America through The Grove. Shulgin’s “Owl Club” is simply the latest and the greatest of the Illuminati’s war-engines.

Owls are not just ‘wise.’ Symbolically, the owl has a sinister reputation probably because it is a bird of darkness, cross-culturally associated with death. But this godlike “bird of doom” is also the “watcher in the dark,” a fitting symbol of omnipresent clandestine surveillance.

The Grove’s occult rituals mirror ancient mystery religion. The giant owl totem is traditionally the bird of Pallas Athena. Athena is the spirit of civilization, strategy, economics, militancy, theatre, empire, and globalization.

Globalization is rooted in the marriage of religion, trade, armies, industry, technology, agriculture and banking. She expertly weaves her far-reaching plans with diplomacy and manipulation. It is Her owl that has become the familiar of global wizards, the ‘makers’ of the world, the technocratic “wizards of Armageddon.”.

‘Occult’ means hidden and these death/rebirth ceremonies are clandestine, actively molding and invoking the future of civilization. They also induce group hypnosis, going through the looking glass into an impressionable, dissociative, altered state. They are the high priests of globalization, the wizards of GMO food and eugenic engineering, the dogs of war, the arms merchants. This is the cult of GOD: Gold, Oil and Drugs.

What should we make of this surrealistic summer camp with red hooded and cloaked men worshiping before a 40-foot giant owl until they are in trance? This is a cathartic cult of the most powerful men in the world, drunk on power. Each is a king among men, the smartest and the bravest - leaders of nations and shapers of history. How society should work is their issue. How nature does work is their challenge. The tragic flaw of self-appointed heroes may be their hubris, believing one is godlike.

Many mythically-based initiations such as the Druidic, the Mithraic, Masonic, the ancient Greek or Knights Templar involve occult drama garnished with embedded occult symbols that sculpt the subconscious mind. An alchemical psychodrama unfolds, designed to affect different parts of the mind and spirit. It is well known that some initiations - especially the Masonic – come with royal-sounding titles, uniforms and honors. One gains a significant role in the elite group.

Ritual psychodrama is a bonding force. Tragedy was viewed as a form of ritual purification and catharsis which gives rise to pathos or instructive suffering. This in itself seems innocuous enough, as ritual of all types is the cornerstone of religion, therapy, art and social custom. And impressing the deep parts of the mind is the cornerstone of psychotherapy, especially the psychedelic psychotherapy championed by Alexander Shulgin and his wife Ann Shulgin.

The Boho Dance

Bohemian Grove is a group that acts beyond ordinary reality concepts, creating global policy, history and consensus perception. Members are a Who’s Who of politics, the military, industry and science. Many share memberships in the Bilderbergers, Council on Foreign Relations, and Trilateral Commission. These globalists bend a good part of reality as we know it, blurring the dichotomies of life in a paradoxical vortex of deceit and clandestine activity.

How can someone create the ultimate “peace pill” like MDMA and mingle with warmongers, nuclear arms dealers, transnational criminals and media manipulators? How can MDMA’s Godfather, Dr. Shulgin, sit through the Illuminati-derived occult rituals of Bohemian Grove and then casually write about this in his books? Did he lose his own conscience in the “Cremation of Care” ceremonies? How can he create a drug that promotes truth and communication and sit in an ultra-manipulative secret society he calls a “private gentlemen’s club,” focused on themes of secrecy, monopolization of resources, war and death?

It makes a mockery of cognitive liberties, when street drug use can also actively subvert the zeal that keeps democracy alive. Remember those nonlethal incapacitants? Many were unleashed on the U.S. public by covert domestic operations such as COINTELL PRO just for such purposes.

The complete history of the psychedelic movement has yet to be told. Pieces of this history involve Aldous Huxley, Gregory Bateson, Captain Al Hubbard, Tim Leary, Ken Kesey, Stanley Owsley, the Brotherhood of Eternal Love and other “heroes” of the psychedelic sixties.

But most of these players can be tied, willingly or unwittingly, to social engineering agendas, originating in the nefarious Tavistock Institute and before. The Summer of Love had a sinister side, involving secret societies, the occult, the CIA, FBI, the Mafia, the right wing and the shadowy forces of darkness. Not everyone got out alive.

Martin Lee and Bruce Schlain’s Acid Dreams gives details as does Brotherhood of Eternal Love by Stuart Tendler and David May. So does Acid: The Secret History of LSD by David Black. An accurate, comprehensive occult history of the psychedelic movement remains to be written. This “history” was spin-doctored by the Neo-CONtrollers from its inception to destabilized and malign the peace movement and radical philosophy. But it went further than even they could have imagined. Perhaps their agony was the footprint of Shulgin’s Ecstasy left in today’s society.

Where the Truth Lies

Consider these deeply troubling connections between the dark side of the occult, secret societies and the history of psychedelics like MDMA. Having seen through the good, the bad and the fantastic, we must pause. History often can be clarified through reflection and the psychedelic movement is no exception. If there ever was a subject riddled with amazing and fantastic mysteries, it is psychedelics. They have been used since ancient times to both illumine and control segments of the population.

Where does Alexander Shulgin fit into modern history? What was his role and motivations? Was MDMA Alexander Shulgin’s attempt to set aright the death-dealing Thanatos archetype as celebrated by The Bohemians with an upwelling of life-affirming Eros? Did he atone for earlier work developing pesticides at Dow, which directly or indirectly nurtured modern chemical warfare, including the horror-weapon Saxitoxin developed from “algae and lichen research” championed by Dr. Shulgin, way back when? This is not to say Sasha did anything wrong beyond opening doors long ago and leaving them open.

Even dropping acid or eating MDMA 1000 times over does not easily answer these questions. Maybe Sasha can explain away these clandestine rituals, the 40-foot giant owl and elitist pacts made in secret by “the dogs of war”, as Bob Dylan calls them.

What alchemy is being practiced at The Grove? Legends of the Illuminati and the occult interests of the CIA, The Watchers and The Controllers permeate the sociopolitical landscape. All helped create and promote the psychedelic storyline but one chemist remains at the top of that pyramid.

For more depth on this story see


Aaron, Herbert and C. Parker Ferguson (while working for Edgewood Arsenal). “Synthesis of the Eight Stereoisomers of a Tetrahydrocannabinol”, The Journal of Organic Chemistry (33) 2 (1968)

Adamson, Sophia. Through the Gateway of the Heart: Accounts of Experiences With MDMA and other Empathogenic Substances. San Francisco: Four Trees Publications (1985)

Beck, Jerome and Marsha Rosenbaum. Pursuit of Ecstasy: The MDMA Experience. New York: State University of New York Press (1994).

Bohemian Club. The 1982-2002 List of Camp and Camp Members and Key to Camp Locations. Sonoma, CA.: Bohemian Club (1982-2002)

Ibid. Grove Midsummer’s Encampment Guest List, 1982-2002. Sonoma,CA.: Bohemian Club (1982-2002) Bohemian Grove Action Network (Ed.). “Bohemian Grove Fact Sheet”, Sonoma County Free Press (Jan. 2001)

Cloud, John. “The Lure of Ecstasy,” Time (June 5, 2000) Cover story about MDMA.

Collin, Matthew. Altered State: The Story of Ecstasy Culture and Acid House. London: Serpent’s Tail (1997)

Eisner, Bruce. Ecstasy: The MDMA Story. Berkeley, California: Ronin (1989)

Guyette, David. “Deep Black: The CIA’s Secret Drug Wars, Nexus (1997)

Hoffmann, Frederich and William A. Mosher “Isolation of Trans-Delta-6-Tetrahydrocannabinol From Marijuana”, Journal of the American Chemical Society, April 20, pp. 1832 (1966)

Jones, Alex. Digital-video footage and photo stills of 2001 Bohemian Grove rituals. Available online at (2001)

Lyttle, Thomas (Ed.). Psychedelic Monographs and Essays Vol. 1-6. Boynton Beach, Fl. and Naples, Fl.: PM & E Publishing Group (1986-93)

Peroutka, Stephen J. (Ed.). Ecstasy: The Clinical, Pharmacological and Neurotoxicological Effects Of The Drug MDMA. Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers (1990)

Romero, Dennis. “Sasha Shulgin Has Worked On This Side of the Law Inventing Mind-Altering Drugs: Should They Be Legal?”, The Los Angeles Times, (Home Page edition, page 1, part E - with photo) (Tues., Sept. 5, 1995).

Saunders, Nicholas. E For Ecstasy. London: Neil’s Yard (1993)

Shulgin, Alexander. and Ann Shulgin. PIHKAL (Penethylamines I Have Known and Loved), Berkeley, Cal.: Transform Press, (1991) Part l of Alexander and Ann Shulgin’s autobiography.

Ibid. TIHKAL (Tryptamines I Have Known and Loved), Berkeley, Cal.: Transform Press, (1997)

Turner, Amy. “Ecstasy is the key to treating PTSD.” The Sunday Times, U.K. May 4, 2008.

Iona Miller, consultant and transdisciplinarian, is a nonfiction writer for both the academic and popular press, hypnotherapist (ACHE) and multimedia artist. Her work is an omnisensory fusion of sacred activism, intelligence, spycology, science-art, chaos theory, plenum physics, and emergent paradigm shift melding experiential psychotherapy, new physics, biophysics, philosophy, cosmology, healing, creativity, qabalah, magick, paranormal, media ecology, mind control, paramedia, metaphysics, and culture change. Rather than specific doctrines, she is interested in the EFFECTS of doctrines from religion, science, psychology, and the arts. Our beliefs are the moldable raw material of the psyche, manipulated by governments, media and culture. How do we become what we are and how is that process changing in the near future?

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