The notion that JFK experimented with LSD has many intriguing implications, highlighted here by Dr Ben Sessa:

JFK had close relationship with socialite painter Mary Eno Pinchot Meyer and she was also in close relationship at the time with Tim Leary. Mary’s friendship with the president was intimate, and, meanwhile, her regular visits to Leary in Harvard made sure that plenty of cannabis and LSD found its way into the Whitehouse during 1962 and 1963. Mary considered herself on a secret mission to propagate LSD to as many powerful members of the government as possible in order to spread the love and avoid nuclear war. Leary confessed that he felt Mary was at least partially successful in encouraging the president to take a few steps closer to nuclear disarmament because of the transformative influence of LSD. But we may never know the truth of what went on between Mary Eno Pinchot Meyer and Kennedy, as she was mysteriously murdered – a year after Kennedy – in 1964.’


In his 1983 autobiography, Flashbacks, Leary himself refers to a plan amongst Meyer and her socialite friends to give LSD to influential government officials and thereby direct the superpower away from the Cold War and a nuclear Armageddon. He also mentions a phone call from Meyer soon after the JFK assassination, during which she allegedly blurted:

They couldn’t control him any more. He was changing too fast… They’ve covered everything up. I gotta come see you. I’m afraid. Be careful.”


In a biography of Meyer herself, Nina Burleigh draws a strong correlation between Meyer’s visits with Leary and subsequent liaisons with the President:

“Mary’s visits to Timothy Leary during the time she was also Kennedy’s lover suggest that Kennedy knew more about hallucinogenic drugs than the CIA might have been telling him. No one has ever confirmed that Kennedy tried LSD with Mary. But the timing of her visits to Timothy Leary do coincide with her known private meetings with the president.”

Like the assassination itself, we may never know the real truth about any encounter between JFK and LSD. However, like Aldous Huxley often suggested, one cannot help but wonder how different our world might look if all our senior politicians and business leaders were legally required to undergo a supervised psychedelic experience. As anthropologist Wade Davis has pointed out, the time when our culture started to demonise and repress this experience, was the same time at which we completely separated ourselves from Nature and started treating Her like a commodity. Go figure.

To find out more about the therapeutic properties of LSD check out Neurons to Nirvanathe definite documentary on Psychedelic Medicines.


Rory Spowers (12 Posts)

Rory Spowers is a writer, researcher, campaigner and filmmaker, based in Ibiza, Spain. His books include the critically acclaimed Rising Tides which has been compared to Rachel Carson's Silent Spring and Naomi Klein's No Logo, as a 'wake-up call to action'.