By Kristin Leaman
Primary Creator: Pahnke, Walter
Extent: 0.2 Cubic feet. More info below.
Date Acquired: 04/17/2009
Walter Pahnke (1931-1971) earned his Artium Baccalaureus (magna cum laude) from Carleton College in 1952, his MD from Harvard Medical School in 1956, his BD (cum laude) from Harvard Divinity School in 1960, and his PhD from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1964. He completed training in LSD therapy and research with Hanscarl Leuner at the University of Göttingen and completed his psychiatric residency at the Massachusetts Mental Health Care Center. Pahnke’s main research interests were psychopharmacology (especially psychedelic drugs in regard to psychotherapeutic usefulness, sociological abuse, and religious implications), psychiatric and ethical issues in the care of the dying patient, and psychology of religion. He held many esteemed positions in the field of psychiatry and served as the Director of Clinical Sciences at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine before his untimely death in 1971. Pahnke wrote many articles concerning the therapeutic use of LSD including his 1969 article “The Psychedelic Mystical Experience in the Human Encounter with Death.” He was a Phi Beta Kappa member, a Kent Fellow, and an Ingersoll Lecturer at Harvard University. Pahnke passed away at the age of forty in a scuba diving accident in the Atlantic off the coast of Maine on July 10, 1971 leaving behind his wife and three children. Pahnke was “admired by his friends for his boundless energy and enthusiasm and for the diversity of his interests.”
“William Richards Collection of Walter Pahnke papers.” Purdue University Special Collections and Archives.
Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research.
Use Restrictions: Copyright restrictions may apply. Consult a reference archivist for details.
Acquisition Source: William Richards
Acquisition Method: Donation
Preferred Citation: MSP 68, William Richards Collection of Walter Pahnke papers, Karnes Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries
Processing Information: All materials have been place in archival housing.
Finding Aid Revision History: Revised 2/21/2013 EW
Summary of the thesis: Drugs and Mysticism An Analysis of the Relationship between Psychedelic Drug Experiences and the Mystical State of Consciousness by Walter Pahnke, 1963
“Drugs and Mysticism” by Walter Pahnke, 1966
“The Psychedelic Mystical Experience in the Human Encounter with Death” by Walter N. Pahnke, 1969
“The Experimental Use of Psychedelic (LSD) Psychotherapy” by Walter N. Pahnke, Albert A. Kurland, Sanford Unger, Charles Savage, and Stanislav Grof, 1970
“The Use of Psychedelic Drugs in Parapsychological Research” by Walter N. Pahnke, 1971
Walter Pahnke’s obituary in Parapsychology Review, 1971
Hand written letter by Walter Pahnke to himself in the year 2000, 1950
Walter Pahnke’s typed account of his first LSD experience, 1964
Walter Pahnke’s typed account of a disturbing dream he had, 1971
Typed letter from Eva Pahnke to friends concerning Walter’s death and the finding of a file named “Wally – Biographical Material,” which contained Walter’s account of his disturbing dream in 1971. Eva writes a personal note to William Richards at the end of the letter, 1989