Unsuspecting Engineer Accidentally Dosed with LSD Working on Synth

LSD laced Buchla 100 Model Synthesizer sends engineer into 9-hour trip.
The Buchla 100 Series Modular Synthesizer

We all suffer tough days at the office but probably not ones that take us to the 1960s and back in one day. If you do, then it’s probably because someone in the office is trying to fix the vibes. Nevertheless, Eliot Curtis of KPIX Television can now add some new experience to his resume- time travel. After accidentally absorbing LSD while repairing a vintage Buchla 100 Series Modular synthesizer, he took a ‘trip’ back in time.

It was… felt like I was felt like I was tripping on LSD

Eliot Curtis describing his nine hour ordeal with the Buchla 100 synthesizer

Now, this may come as no surprise to you if you understand the history of the Buchla 100 Series. Reporting on the incident, KPIX 5 reached out to electronic music pioneer Suzanne Ciani for a history lesson. She worked with the creator of the device, Don Buchla, and attended UC Berkely during Berkely’s time at the forefront of ’60’s era counterculture. From this, one can start to piece together how LSD fits into the story. She admits Buchla was not only an LSD user but also close to Owsley ‘Bear’ Stanley. Widely known as the genius sound engineer for The Grateful Dead, he was also known for selling extremely pure acid.

The question still remains, however, of how the drugs get into this particular device. Digging deeper into the lore of the Buchla 100 may quash your skepticism. Apparently, an urban legend alleges Buchla dips his synthesizers in LSD. Furthermore, allegedly, a mere wet finger along the device induces a mind-expanding experience. Additionally, Professors Glenn Glasow and Robert Basart likely commissioned the device in hopes of exploiting this feature. After unwittingly wetting some residue with solvent and attempting to scrape it off, Mr. Curtis possibly just proved it all to be true.

Nine psychedelic hours and three chemical tests later, there’s no question Curtis had an LSD trip. It’s quite remarkable that such an innocuous instrument is actually quite the window into the past. Ciani had a point when she said this:

“It’s a bit like time travel. If you could go back that would be the way to go there. That is, to share the drugs that everybody took at that time.”

Suzanne Ciani on Curtis’ remarkable experience.

Whether or not the Buchla 100 legend is true, we all have to draw the same conclusion: This whole thing is pretty trippy. Check out KPIX 5’s video of the report below.


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