Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fly Like An Eagle

The Legend: People who take LSD jump from windows believing they can fly.

Status: False


This is largely false if you're thinking it means numerous people have jumped from windows, ledges and balconies and flown to their deaths while tripping on LSD. However, we know where this rumor might have started.

In November, 1953, Dr. Frank Olsen, an employee of the federal government, was unknowingly dosed with LSD during a 3-day CIA working retreat. At this time, the CIA was routinely dosing it's employees believing that having this experience would make them better prepared if they fell into enemy hands and the enemy used LSD during interrogation.

Dr. Olsen was understandably angry that he had been given this drug without his consent, so he refused to be cooperative for experimental purposes. Three weeks later Dr. Olsen jumped through a closed window, falling 10 stories to his death.

Dr. Olsen's death wasn't a big news item at the time as the government experiments were quite secret. It wasn't until the late 1960's when the government's LSD research came to an end, followed by Senate hearings and investigations that the LSD connection to Dr. Olsen's death was made. It wasn't long after this that Diane Linkletter's similar jump from her 6th story kitchen window took place and was also linked to LSD use. The public was left with the connection that users of LSD leap from windows.

It is important to know that neither Diane Linkletter nor Dr. Olsen were using LSD at the time of their deaths so they most likely jumped without any belief that they could fly.