out of your mind
It did take too long before people began to notice Ketamine's unusual side effects
A significant number of patients treated with the anesthetic began to report vivid out-of-body experiences. There were tales of fantastical interactions with divine forces and full-on psychedelic weirdness.
These powerful, dream-like insights occurred as patients were regaining consciousness and were consequently termed 'emergent states'.
Doctors began adding a tranquilizer to Ketamine injections to block out the effect, but less scrupulous doctors, dentists, vets and academics were leading the way in experimenting with Ketamine at sub-knockout doses.
After the European origins of LSD, this was the first true all-American psychedelic drug. In the words of DM Turner (author of 'The Essential Psychedelic Guide') they had discovered an "intense, bizarre, and enjoyable" new psychedelic.
down with the dolphins
The most famous K exponent
was John Lilly, a California-based physicist, renowned for his pioneering and fascinating experiments into communication with dolphins. His website is here
At the same time, Lilly pioneered the use of the isolation tank to induce altered states and then developed a serious Ketamine problem himself. Over several years, he had numerous brushes with death, including one when his wife found him floating face down in a swimming pool.
Reflecting on the dissociative nature of the Ketamine experience, Lilly wrote a crazed 1978 autobiography, 'The Scientist,' entirely in the third person.
"With his adjusted awareness through the drug K, John felt and understood the currents of information travelling through the galaxy by means unknown at present. He felt the tremendous variety of intelligences which exist in the galaxy. He became aware of the competitive aspects of survival of solid-state intelligences versus those that were water-based."
From 'The Scientist' (1978).
Lilly's candid accounts of his spells in psychiatric wards around America culminated in a misguided attempt to warn US President Ford about a global network's plot to destroy mankind.
"Dolphins are the only beings that can save us," was his message in a Star Trek IV: The Journey Home stylee.
President Ford didn't appear to act on his warning.