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Pahnke's "Good Friday Experiment": A Long-Term Follow-Up and Methodological Critique

Pahnke's "Good Friday Experiment": A Long-Term Follow-Up and Methodological Critique

  1. ZenobiaSky
    Rick Doblin
    Undergraduate thesis 25-year follow-up to the classicPahnke's "Good Friday Experiment": A Long-Term Follow-Up and Methodological Critique, which evaluated the potential of psychedelic drugs to catalyze religious experiences (1991)

    The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 1991, Vol. 23, No.1

    On Good Friday, 1962, before services commenced in Boston University's Marsh Chapel, Walter Pahnke administered small capsules to twenty Protestant divinity students. Thus began the most scientific experiment in the literature designed to investigate the potential of psychedelic drugs to facilitate mystical experience (Pahnke, 1963, 1966, 1967, 1970; Pahnke & Richards, l969a, 1969b, 1969c). Half the capsules contained psilocybin (30 mg), an extract of psychoactive mushrooms, and the other half contained a placebo. According to Pahnke, the experiment determined that "the persons who received psilocybin experienced to a greater extent than did the controls the phenomena described by our typology of mysticism" (Pahnke. 1963, p. 220).