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

Rick Doblin's undergraduate thesis (New College of Florida,1987) consisted of interviews and questionnaires administered to most of the subjects in Dr. Walter Pahnke’s study twenty-five+ years after the original experiment in 1962. Rick Doblin’s article expanding on his thesis, "Pahnke's ’Good Friday Experiment‘: A Long-Term Follow-Up and Methodological Critique," was published in The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 1991, Vol. 23, No.1.

Drugs & Mysticism: An Analysis of the Relationship between Psychedelic Drugs and Mystical Consciousness

DOWNLOAD PAHNKE'S THESIS - PDF FORMAT:
Entire Thesis: Drugs & Mysticism (46 MB)

"Drugs & Mysticism: An Analysis of the Relationship between Psychedelic Drugs and Mystical Consciousness"
By Walter M Pahnke, Harvard University, 1963

Tape recordings of Rev. Howard Thurman's actual 1962 Good Friday service are available in 2 parts:

An Interview with Huston Smith by Thomas B. Roberts and Robert N. Jesse from the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 1997, Vol. 29, No.2, entitled ’Recollections of the Good Friday Experiment‘ is also available here as a single PDF file.

Two papers by Roland Griffiths, Bill Richards, and associates about their landmark study on Psilocybin and Mystical Experience at Johns Hopkins (sponsored by the Council on Spiritual Practices) are also available here. This research is the first attempt at replicating the Good Friday experiment in over 45 years. However, the design of this research differed from the original because subjects received psilocybin individually rather than in a group context and in a hospital clinical research setting rather than a religious setting.

  1. Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance [2006]
  2. Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance 14 months later [2008]

Listen to the Radiolab interview with Reverend Mike Young, a man who participated in the Good Friday Experiment, along with psilocybin researcher Roland Griffiths, Ph.D.