Albert Hofmann, a Swiss chemist was working with a chemical he’d developed, “lysergic acid diethylamide, abbreviated LSD-25 (Lyserg-saure-diathylamid)” when this happened:
Last Friday, April 16, 1943, I was forced to interrupt my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and proceed home, being affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors. After some two hours this condition faded away.
LSD, My Problem Child: Albert Hofmann
He thought the LSD might have been the cause, so he purposely consumed a very small quantity of it and saw proverbial pink elephants. After his second experience (supervised by his assistant, just in case something bad happened) he let his superiors know. After testing on animals (including tests on spiders – who ended up weaving drunken webs), he released a paper on its effects.
Used for psychological treatments at first, it gained notoriety as the drug of choice for the 60’s counter-culture movement. It is, of course, now illegal in the United States due to its harmful effects.
Just for kicks, LSD came from tests on Ergot, the fungi thought to be responsible (by some) for the witch hysteria in New England in the 1600’s.
Albert Hofmann: LSD, My Problem Child
History Channel - LSD
Wikipedia - LSD
Blotter Barn – the artwork of LSD
Erowid LSD Vault – Blotter Art examples
Wikipedia – Albert Hofmann
Albert Hofmann Foundation