San Francisco Engineer Accidentally Dosed by LSD While Repairing a Vintage 1960s Buchla Synthesizer

While repairing a vintage Buchla synthesizer from the 1960s, KPIX broadcast operations manager and instrument repair volunteer Eliot Curtis came across an unknown substance and wiped it away with his finger. With this single motion, Curtis unexpectedly ingested lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), which had somehow been preserved on the synthesizer since the last time it had been played.

“There was like a residue … a crust or a crystalline residue on it,” …About 45 minutes later, Curtis began to feel a little strange. He described it as a weird, tingling sensation. He discovered this was the feeling of the beginnings of an LSD experience or trip. The sensation lasted roughly nine hours.

The synthesizer belongs to the music department at Cal State University East Bay and had been kept in a closet for a very long time. This cool, dark environment provided the right circumstances for the LSD to remain intact. How the drug got onto the instrument in the first place remains a mystery to this day.

Was the red module used to stash the drug? Did an accidental spill result in the drug seeping through to the circuitry or was it a source for chemically-induced and mind-altering inspiration? No one knows.