Friday, May 14, 2010

Peyote to LSD: A Psychedelic Odyssey

Peyote to LSD: A Psychedelic Odyssey - DVD

The History Channel has released its feature-length documentary Peyote to LSD: A Psychedelic Odyssey on DVD. The documentary is written by Peter von Puttkamer and botanist Wade Davis and follows Davis as he reconstructs the travels and discoveries of his renowned mentor and fellow botanist Richard Evans Schultes, the father of modern ethnobotany. Or as von Puttkamer puts it:
Plant Explorer Richard Evans Schultes was a real life Indiana Jones whose discoveries of hallucinogenic plants laid the foundation for the psychedelic sixties. Now in this two hour History Channel TV Special, his former student Wade Davis, follows in his footsteps to experience the discoveries that Schultes brought to the western world. Shot around the planet, from Canada to the Amazon, we experience rarely seen native hallucinogenic ceremonies and find out the true events leading up to the Psychedelic Sixties. Featuring author/adventurer Wade Davis (“Serpent and the Rainbow”), Dr. Andrew Weil, the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir and many others, this program tells the story of the discovery of peyote, magic mushrooms and beyond: one man’s little known quest to classify the Plants of the Gods. Richard Evans Schultes revolutionized science and spawned another revolution he never imagined.

I haven’t watched the documentary yet but can’t quite see how LSD relates directly to Richard Evans Schultes. Of course he worked with Albert Hofmann, the discoverer of LSD, on several occasions but to the best of my knowledge all of Schultes’ work were based on botany and dealt with botanical compounds (some of which have properties similar to LSD, granted). I hope this angle is not “forced” upon the documentary in an attempt to draw in more viewers (I’m imagining arguments like “botany? arrrr that’s too boring - let’s throw in some LSD” ;-) ... but I guess I better watch the documentary before jumping to conclusions ;-) I’m also wondering about the wording: “the discovery of peyote” - peyote (Lophophora williamsii) use is documented back to prehistoric times so it doesn’t really make sense to award the honor of “discovering” peyote to anyone.

Peyote to LSD: A Psychedelic Odyssey is available from Amazon.

Peyote to LSD: A Psychedelic Odyssey
Peyote to LSD: A Psychedelic Odyssey

The History Channel.
IMDb on Peyote to LSD: A Psychedelic Odyssey.
The images used in this post are taken from here and here.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds interessting. But as always with every documentary made for or by the History Channel there's always something in them which I profoundly disagree with... particulary when it comes to tell history...

    Nice cover though!


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