Eliot Curtis accidentally tripped on LSD while fixing a vintage Buchla Model 100. He was tasked to repair a piece of history, but he didn’t expect to begin seeing history and time in front of him as tripped on acid. With his experience, he added another story to the history of the synthesizer, and it’s probably a good idea to making cleaning old equipment with gloves on a standard procedure.
The Buchla Model 100 was invented in the 1960s by Don Buchla of Berkeley. He completely immersed himself in counterculture, and in 1966, his synthesizers were put on a school bus converted to play music. The iconic bus of counterculture, Furthur, was purchased by Ken Kesey, an advocate for using acid. Among their crew was Owsley Stanley, a sound engineer and manufacturer of a potent strain of LSD. While these links can explain how the drug could've gotten on the synthesizer, it’s still unclear exactly how the LSD got on this specific one.
Curtis, the Broadcast Operations Manager for KPIX Televsion, was tasked with repairing the vintage analog music modular instrument they found in a closet at Cal State University East Bay’s music department. It was acquired by two music professors who taught in the university during the 1960s. During his repair, Curtis found something stuck under one of the knobs, and it appeared to be a crystal. He sprayed cleaning solvent on the residue to dissolve it a little bit, then he dislodged it from the knob to continue cleaning the area.
45 minutes later, Curtis began to feel strange tingling sensations. He speculated that he was tripping on LSD but thought that’s probably just his imagination. His original inkling, however, was true. His unexpected LSD trip lasted around nine hours.
Authorities later confirmed that residues of LSD were present on the instrument. According to reports, the place the synthesizer was stored made it possible for the LSD to remain potent. The machine was resting in a cool, dark place, so the drug’s potency was preserved so well that it was possible for the residue to be ingested through the skin. With his unexpected trip, Curtis learned a lot more about the 1960s counterculture than he could have ever imagined.