The Bicycle Day: how was the first acid trip ever?

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It was April 19th, 1943. The Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann was experimenting a new acid in the laboratory. Its name will soon become famous as LSD, but at that time the effect on the human body was not very clear. Some days earlier, Hofmann touched accidentally some drops of the acid, and that was enough to feel a weird, strong sensation, that he describer in this way:

In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors. After some two hours this condition faded away.

But those sensations needed to be investigated deeper. That’s why, that day, Hofmann voluntarily ingested 250 micrograms of LSD, a dose that today is considered above the threshold of warning. After that, he took a ride on his bicycle towards home, through the streets of Basel.

That day is known as The Bicycle Day, and it was the first time that a human being voluntarily took a dose of acid.

What Hofmann felt that day is one of the most frequent questions for some small niche of web users. The answer has been depicted in an animated short movie, made in 2008 by three italian students of the Experimental Centre of Cinematography. The short movie (above) shows the colors and the images that Hofmann saw that day, with all the experiences, sensations and stages of a acid trip, and it won several awards. It has been on the web for some time now and occasionally receives new peaks of visibility from magazine that repropose it to the public. You can find it up here.

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