On April 16, 1943, Albert Hofmann suddenly saw “an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colours”. Hofmann, then a scientist at Basel-based pharmaceutical company Sandoz, had accidentally experienced the first LSD trip after touching a small dose of the substance.
Three days later, Hofmann intentionally took a small amount of LSD and started tripping again. He asked his lab assistant to escort him home (a wartime ban on cars meant they had to use bicycles). On the way he became very anxious, thought his neighbour was an evil witch, thought he himself was going mad and called the doctor.
By the time the doctor arrived, Hofmann had calmed down and was enjoying “explosions of coloured fountains”. LSD fans have named April 19 Bicycle Day to commemorate the first deliberate trip.