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Dear Drug Merchants of the World
by Luther Butler
Dear Drug Merchants of the World,
In August of 1954, I was a patient at Bethesda Naval Hospital with a neurological problem that partially paralyzed my leg after a diving accident. Without my knowledge, the S.O.B. who was taking care of me, had me sit in a corner an hour a day and drink orange juice and meditate on what trauma I had in my childhood that was causing the problem. I spent four months in a suicide ward trying to find the answer. A Naval doctor, years later, told me LSD took the swelling out of the brain stem and killed the pain so I could walk fairly normal. I went into the Navy after college, and had to drop out of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary because I was without funds and could find no work. Before the treatment, I had completed 32 hours of N.T. Greek and had hopes of teaching. After the LSD, I couldn't remember the Greek alphabet. The Navy discharged me with a C.O.G. and I went through hell trying to finish school. I couldn't find a church because I had the shakes all the time I tried to stand before people. I never established a sleeping pattern because I was constantly searching my psyche. When the Navy discharged me, they gave me the message that if I talked about what happened they would come after me. Let me tell you this, I am 67 years old [at time of writing], and I don't give a damn! I almost went blind after the LSD. My shipmates laughed at me. I was a screaming psychotic, but I have earned two degrees and I have gained some repute as a writer, and I am going to tell my story. The doctor (CIA Agent) who gave me the LSD was on temporary duty at Bethesda, and he told me he had given the same treatment he gave me to soldiers who had combat fatigue in Korea. The poor sons of bitches, I would like to know their story. I still can't remember what the date is. What I understand it was a bunch of Ivy Leaguers who were turned loose with a new toy, and didn't have sense enough to know they were hurting human beings. If I had been killed in the line of duty, I would have given my life willingly for my country that I love dearly. Did the pigs who were conducting the LSD experiments find out one iota of information that helped the human race? By the way, I have had gall stones removed along with my appendix, and I have suffered. I hope you take into account what you did to me before you do it to another human.
Note 5/8/2001 This isn't a pretty
picture, but it is my gut feeling. When I was finally readmitted to Bethesda
in January of 1955 they put me in a locked ward. Aside from turning suicidal
I don't think this was necessary. I have the feeling the Navy was trying to
cover up a mistake. The doctor who gave me the LSD was called back for a hearing.
The second doctor I had testified that the treatment for the paralysis worsened
my condition. Some strange things happened in the locked ward. In the women's
ward there was a young lady who I washed dishes with. It was pretty obvious
one of the doctors was trying to get us interested in each other. After some
display of affections on my part she went to her ward and killed herself. I
don't know if she was a part of the LSD experiment./ I am not sure if the diving
fall caused the paralysis. My records show Gullian Barrie syndrome after an
initial diagnosis of polio. Some of the doctors I have seen seem to think it
was polio, others MS. I still become unable to walk normally after strenuous
exercise./ Before I had to go to the hospital with the paralysis some of the
petty officers refused to go to Bethesda for treatment because they loudly complained
about the experiments that were being conducted on patients./ When I was placed
back on active duty after the hospital I was given less taxing work. They sent
me to the Navy Gun Factory to work on a magazine for the Navy Ball. This is
ironic in that three months later at Bethesda I was listed as a danger to others
and I had just came off duty serving Navy officers' wives as a secretary./ While
in the psychiatric ward I did become very suicidal. Whether this was from the
trauma of being locked up or from the LSD I don't know./ If anyone cares to
know more about my life, under LaPlata County Series there is a novel Homesteaders
and Sheepherders and DH, and also I Knew a Man Who had Six Sons.
Although I fictionalized the characters there is the same pattern of how I was
raised. Without the LSD I could never have written these books because like
most people I had sealed my growing up days in separate compartments in my mind.
The LSD certainly opened these compartments./ This type of experiment must never
be used on Servicemen again.
Luther Butler was born of southern parents in Alamosa, Colorado in 1929. He holds degrees from Eastern New Mexico University, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Tarleton State University. He served in the US Navy and has ranched, worked in a mental hospital, in inner city slums, and was with the Texas Department of Agriculture for 23 years. He is married to Jo Butler and has one son.
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