Remembering Duncan Blewett

Spring/Summer 2007 Vol. 17, No. 1 The Chrysalis Stage

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ON February 24, psychedelic research pioneer Duncan Blewett passed away at Nanaimo Hospital, British Columbia, after two years of loving post-stroke care at his home on Gabriola Island. Dr. Blewett was an athlete, husband, father, PHD from University of London (UK), WWII veteran, founding chairman of University of Saskatchewan’s department of Psychology, and one of the earliest western scientists to study the effects and therapeutic applications of psychedelics. Blewett published numerous books, such as Handbook for the Use of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide-25: Individual and Group Procedures and The Frontiers of Being. Handbook for the Use of LSD-25… is available in electronic format in the Free Books section of the MAPS website.

Blewett and a team of forwardthinking research psychologists were recruited to work at the U. of Saskatchewan’s (later known as the U. of Regina’s) Weyburn Hospital by Dr. Humphrey Osmond in the early 1950s, where they conducted a wide variety of patient studies and observations. Osmond, who passed away in 2004, is known for introducing Aldous Huxley to psychedelics (as described in The Doors of Perception) and for coining the term ‘psychedelic,’ in addition to his myriad research.

According to the Gabriola Sounder, Duncan ‘lived his life fabulously in the moment to the very end: the power of his joy will resonate on for many lifetimesÉ The afterlife just got a little lighter.’ Following Duncan’s death, longtime friend and associate, University of West Georgia Professor of Psychology Larry Schor wrote: ‘Duncan was a trickster, a magician, an alchemist. In his company and under his spell, you could almost witness reality and imagination dancing together on the head of a pin. With Duncan by your side, you were always capable of more. More love. More compassion. More courage. One of his favorite quotes was of the Chinese philosopher Mencius, who said, ‘The ways are but two, love and want of love.’ For Duncan, the only path was love.