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Ken Kesey we miss you
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Ken Kesey is for sure one of the fathers of the "Counterculture" of the 1960s. Kesey wrote the best
selling novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which was published in 1962. In July of 1964 Kesey
and a group of his friends loaded up in a 1939 International Harvester school bus, "That they had painted
fully psychedelic and equipped with sound systems, platforms on top and, added to the rear, turrets to
climb up and down from the top platform, a windshield on top to break the wind and a generator on the
back to power their equipment. The word "Further" was painted on the destination shield to show their
confidence in the old bus. They recruited Neal Cassady (from Jack Kerouac's On The Road) to be the
driver of Further," as described by Levi Asher.
They were known as The Pranksters and their journey inspired Tom Wolf to write 'The Electric Kool-Aid
Acid Test' about this journey. It was on this journey that Timothy Leary the prophet of LSD was part
of the fun. Ken Kesey prior years had volunteered at Menlo Park VA Hospital in a government-
sponsored program to study the effects of hallucinogenic. During these experiments he was taking
some of the best LSD made by the US government labs.
Kesey also wrote "Sometimes A Great Notion," he later published "the Further Inquiry," a screen play
with many photos from the bus trip which Kesey, Cassady and others. During a part-time orderly job at
the psychiatric ward of the local VA hospital, while still feeling the effects of these chemicals, he began
to have hallucinations. He envisioned an Indian sweeping the floors; it was just what had been missing for
his current writing project. His new novel needed a narrator to keep the story in third person and "Chief
Broom" became the vital ingredient for his new novel, "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest."
The pranksters began to organize "Happenings" at local halls, with sound effects, wild light shows,
film, costumes, strobes, poetry and music. A local struggling band known as the "Warlocks" played
their Psychedelic-Sound, they would later become the Grateful Dead. This bohemian community lived
in a placed called Perry Lane. Parties were known for certain chemicals that were being put into the
punch. Eventually the government decided to make LSD illegal and Ken and the Pranksters ran off to
Mexico. They came back to the U.S. to do a performance called the "Acid Test Graduation," Ken and
a few others were busted on a 420. After jail, Ken moved to a farm in Pleasant Hill, Oregon and
settled down. By Buffalo Benford
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