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Observations placeholder

Williams, Esther – Has LSD Therapy



Type of Spiritual Experience



Esther Williams was the darling of the MGM lot during the late forties and early fifties. Louis B. Mayer built a magnificent custom-made swimming pool on the Metro Goldwyn Mayer backlot specifically for the swimmer turned musical star. Mayer was a conservative man. He encouraged his employees to vote against FDR and re-elect Herbert Hoover during the Great Depression. He also worshiped Esther Williams. Had he lived long enough to hear it for himself, he surely would have been horrified to learn that his darling young starlet was dropping acid. Esther Williams tells the story:

A description of the experience


Million Dollar Mermaid by Esther Williams (1999, Simon and Schuster)

"I picked up a magazine. It was the September 1959 issue of Look, with Cary Grant's startling confession that he had taken a drug called LSD ... Hungrily I read Cary's words over and over. 'I am through with sadness. At last, I am close to happiness. After all those years, I'm rid of guilt complexes and fears.'

This sounded too good to be true, yet there he was, declaring himself a new man
[Grant said] 'Now people come to me for help!' That day, I resolved that I would be one of those people.

Cary and I had known each other for years, having spent time together at many parties and public events ... I said Cary I've got to see you right away ... he invited me to come to his office at Universal the next morning.

 'Cary, I'm at the end of my rope,' I told him the following day. 'I'm deeply troubled about my life, and when I read what you said about how LSD had changed your life, I wondered if it might help me.'

'Esther, it takes a lot of courage to take this drug,' he warned me. 'You may not want to do it when I tell you what it's like, because it's a tremendous jolt to your mind, to your ego.'

This conversation took place long before LSD became the recreational drug of the 1960s that Tom Wolfe wrote about in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test  ... The newspaper articles were always about the young people who misused it, and that is what most people remember ... We seldom heard about the benefits that people such as Cary and I experienced. All I knew was that my life was falling apart and I needed some answers. If LSD was the key, then I wanted it.

The Psychiatric Institute of Beverly Hills was tucked away on one of those quiet back streets ... After a cursory interview Dr. Hartman asked, 'Are you ready?' I answered with a fervent, 'Yes!'

He led me to a small room in the back. It was darkened with blackout drapes ... He gave me five little blue pills with a glass of water and told me to lie down and close my eyes. 'Now I'm leaving you alone for two hours. Let it take you wherever you want it to take you. Don't be afraid.'

Then he closed the door behind him. I was about to take the most amazing journey of my life ... I felt my tension and resistance ease away as the hallucinogen swept through me. Then, without warning, I went right to the place where the pain lay in my psyche. The first thing I saw was my father's face the day my brother Stanton died. My brother had been just sixteen when it happened; I was only eight ... 

At the end of the session, Dr. Hartman ... warned ... that some afterglow would stay with me, and that it wouldn't be until the next day that the drug would be out of my system. This LSD trip ... explained so much about my life's script ... [It was] such a breakthrough for me."


The source of the experience

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