Also known as "Bear", Owsley was and always will be known for his legendary status as a drug chemist. For years, the best acid one could get was considered to be Owsley Purple. He was forever immortalized by the Grateful Dead album, Bear's Choice.

Owsley was, in fact, the soundman for the Dead for several years and designed their famous Steal Your Face skullfuck logo.

Bear's Choice is so named because he recorded the concerts and selected the songs.

Owsley also supplied Ken Kesey with LSD for his Acid Tests, which is where he met the Dead. He was eventually busted and served some time. He also started a sound company called Alembic that produced speakers and sound equipment for the Dead, including their famous 70s Wall of Sound rig.
He now lives in Australia, where he does bronze casting and various other things.

PS Have you ever seen the lyrics to Kid Charlemagne? Check them out. They say ( you know who they are) the lyrics are been inspired by the Bear!

"Chemistry is applied theology"

Owsley "Bear" Stanley

Probably the greatest LSD manufacturer of his time (including Sandoz Chemical Corporation), Owsley Stanley (born Augustus Owsley Stanley III) was a bit of a problem child. He went from prep school to prep school until he was finally placed in a public high school, which he eventually dropped. He was admitted to the Virginia School of Engineering, mostly likely due to his flair for the sciences. (He dropped that too.) Later enrolling in the University of California, Owsley connected with a hippie chemistry major named Melissa.

Together this time, they dropped out of that school and Owsley set up his first (of several) acid lab at 1647 Virginia Street, Berkeley, California. Conducting a huge business at the time, the first lab was raided on February 21, 1965. He was released, however, because California had no laws against the possession, manufacture, or consumption of LSD until October 1966. He moved his operation to Los Angeles and called himself the Baer Research Group, and as said group laid down $20,000 in $100 bills to the Cycle Chemical Corporation for 500 grams of lysergic acid monohydrate, the precurser of LSD. (That's enough to make 1.5 million hits.)

By the time Owsley "Bear" Stanley made his way to La Honda to visit the infamous Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, he had already manufactured several million doses of acid.

And the shit was world famous. When the acid craze spread to England and the rest of Europe, 'Owsley's Acid' was guaranteed, certified, legit. His reputation was so widespread that Owsley was surprised when Kesey didn't recognize his name when they first met in October of 1965.

Owsley joined with Kesey and the Pranksters for a while, then became part of preeminent acid rock band, The Grateful Dead. As part of the Dead he was the sound technician and artist. (On their album Bear's Choice Owsley picked all of the tracks.) Nowadays Owsley is living in political asylum in a far off country that isn't the United States. has a fairly recent interview with Bear himself at
Oh, and uh, he maintains a website at (read the essays).

Compiled from the Electric Kool-aid Acid Test and other various sources.

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