L.S.D. blotter commemorating Bicycle Day. (Psychonaught/Wikimedia Commons)
Hofmann moved on to different compounds, but something kept telling him not to give up on L.S.D. Five years after it was shelved, he produced another batch and sent it off for further testing, and that’s when things got weird.
You might have heard that Hofmann accidentally stumbled upon the formula for L.S.D., but that’s clearly a misunderstanding. By April 16, 1943, he’d been working on it relentlessly for several years. What he didn’t mean to do, on that day or any other, was ingest some of it, but there he was.
He later recorded the experience, noting that he experienced a “not unpleasant, intoxicated-like condition” involving visions of brilliant colors, a kaleidoscope of patterns, and intense images. Three days later, Hofmann made his first conscious decision to drop acid, calculating a dose of 250 micrograms. The effects kicked in as Hofmann rode his bicycle home, which is why April 19 is now known to fans of Hofmann’s work as Bicycle Day.