The First Time Oliver Sacks Saw Heaven (1964)

My friend Oliver Sacks was at home, hoping to glimpse the color of heaven. It was 1964. He was in his kitchen in Topanga Canyon, preparing a cocktail. It wasn’t an ordinary cocktail, being part amphetamine (“for general arousal,” he told me), part marijuana (“for added delirium”), and part LSD (“for hallucinogenic intensity”), and his plan was to gulp, wait ... and then command heaven to appear.

Oliver was not a believer. I’m sure he didn’t imagine a heaven with white clouds and angels darting about. White wasn’t his color. If heaven existed, he thought it would be bluish—not a pale blue, but “true indigo,” ...

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