Please enable Javascript to use Top Secret Writers to it's fullest. Without it, you will find much of the modern internet doesn't work. I would add a little button hide this message, but that kind of functionality requires Javascript ;)

Project Popeye – Weather Modification and Creating Rain in VietnamPrevious Article
Why Sealed Records Do Not Keep FBI Fingerprint Records From Showing UpNext Article

The FBI Grateful Dead Conspiracy – Separating Fact From Fiction

Line Spacing+- AFont Size+- Print This Article

cia fbi grateful dead

Whilst many of our younger readers may not have heard of The Grateful Dead’s music, there are probably a few that have heard of them because of the stars’ legendary and controversial antics.

This is certainly the case with the Grateful Dead, an American rock band of the 1960s, which was formed in San Francisco. Known for its unique and electric style, the Grateful Dead formed a strong threshold of followers, whose dedication towards the band earned them the name the “Deadheads”. (1)

The Grateful Dead’s roots lie primarily with the singer/songwriter of the band, Jerry Garcia. Garcia’s health and lifestyle remained under intense speculation in the world of the Grateful Dead, and in 1986 the rock star almost died from a diabetic coma. (2)

After years battling with heroin addiction, Jerry Garcia died of a heart attack in 1995 while staying at a drug rehabilitation facility in California.

The Grateful Dead and LSD

In the 1960s, particularly San Francisco’s famous ‘Summer of Love’, it was no secret that the FBI was concerned about the affects that such rock bands, associated with drugs and controversy, were having on America’s youth. The Grateful Dead, alongside Jefferson Airplane, were two such bands that the FBI seemed intent on persecuting.

In obtaining a once secret FBI file concerning San Francisco’s Summer of Love, AB7 News I-Team reported how John Edgar Hoover, the first director of the FBI of the United States had concerted great effort into exposing both bands’ apparent involvement with LSD.
For many years, critics accused Hoover and his ‘G-Men’ of using the FBI to, “harass political dissenters and activists, to amass secret files on political leaders, and to collect evidence using illegal methods” (3)

According to the I-Team report, Jefferson Airplane’s lead singer, Grace Slick had told ABC7 News that she had no idea that J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI had been following her and snooping into her background, including her private school days. (4)

The released FBI file refers to both the Grateful Dead’s and Jefferson Airplane’s alleged involvement with LSD as being a potential “Internal security” threat from the “New Left”, stating that “LSD originated from San Francisco through a renowned rock group known as Grateful Dead.” (5)

Was the Grateful Dead in the Drug Business?

The notion that the Grateful Dead played a dominant role in the LSD movement in America in the 1960s and were having a negative effect on America’s youth culture of the time, has been referred to by some as being ‘ludicrous’ and that the FBI was involved in building a Grateful Dead Conspiracy.

As Dennis McNally, a Grateful Dead historian told the I-Team, “The notion that the Grateful Dead was in the drug business is just ludicrous.” (6)

A report published on in 1999, titled “Did They Spike FBI Agents’ Drinks With LSD”, spoke of how in the 1960s, when much of America was “awash with drug use”, rock bands that were associated with youth counterculture, such as the Grateful Dead, caught “much of the government’s attention”.

The report referred to Jefferson Airplane’s Jack Casady’s comments that whenever the band performed live, shadowy figures would appear in the audience.

“We would hear of it happening, people taking movies or people observing, writing notes, taking picture,” Casady told APB News. (7)

Whilst many band members and fans of rock bands like the Grateful Dead viewed the FBI’s attention towards them as some kind of conspiracy, according to a file titled “The Grateful Dead” that is currently available at The Vault section of the FBI website, the band was allegedly purchasing large quantities of LSD whilst residing in San Francisco. (8)

Whilst much of the information on the file has been blacked out by marker pen, the FBI report viewed the Grateful Dead’s alleged antics as a “dangerous drugs matter”, addressing the file’s attention to the “narcotics and dangerous drugs unit, organised crime”.

cia fbi grateful dead

FBI Scrutiny Went Beyond Grateful Dead

The concluding sentence of the FBI’s ‘The Grateful Dead’ file, states:

“LSD originates from San Francisco, California through a renowned rock group known as Grateful Dead. The Grateful Dead is well known to DEA, San Francisco.” (9)

The FBI’s scrutiny of well-known rock bands and stars, whose drug-infused antics caused much public and media attention, has never been kept a secret. John Lennon, for example, a perceived “threat” to the U.S. government, was also the subject of much FBI harassment.

In the 1970s, Lennon was convinced that government agents were watching him. Almost 20 years after the rock legend’s death, it turned out that Lennon’s ‘paranoia’ that he was being watched by the FBI was true, when an FBI document was finally released containing almost 300 pages containing Lennon-related text.

FBI and CIA Surveillance of the Grateful Dead, which was widely known for using drugs and attracting a drug-using audience at concerts, was substantially more acknowledged. FBI agents would openly appear at Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane gigs so often that there are accounts they sometimes had their drinks spiked with LSD.

As Paul Kantner, lead singer of Jefferson Airplane admitted:

“Our whole generation got away with stuff we really shouldn’t have gotten away with. We broke the laws daily.” (10)

In this sense, the FBI’s surveillance of the Grateful Dead in the 1960s and in subsequent years, far from being a ‘conspiracy’, may have actually been justified.

References & Image Credits:
(1) Wikipedia
(2) Levity
(3) Wikipedia
(4)(5)(6)(7)(10) Spirit Plants
(11) Seattle Weekly

Originally published on

  • Wendybird

    The ‘acid tests’ as anybody who’s read about them knows, were started by writer Ken Kesey back in 65. The Dead were invited to play, as they knew Kesey and liked to do acid. The drugs didn’t “originate” with the band and it’s kind of strange the FBI, who must have known about LSD years before that, would assume that it did.
    Kesey was a veteran of real CIA acid experiments when they were trying to find a “mind control” drug.

  • PanamaRed

    Whoeve wrote this obviously hasn’t got a
    Damn clue

  • Hookar

    yeah fail, write more party line drivel. Everyone knows he worked with the CIA and that the govt was pushing acid on the kids.

  • Jacob Bacchus

    Actually, the CIA did experiment with LSD during the MK-ULTRA program and it is connected to the Grateful Dead, but now how you think. The CIA had hoped that LSD could be used as a truth serum along with various other substances including psilocybin and mescaline. However, they determined that they were not viable for this purpose and caused more problems (in their eyes) then they solved. Ken Kesey had been volunteering for the MK-ULTRA experiments in which he recieved LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline. It was a regular weekly thing and he started swiping some from the lab when they weren’t looking and sharing it with his friends. Jerry Garcia at this time was, to Ken, a “juvenile delinquent” who he didn’t want crashing his parties. He and his band of Merry Pranksters drove the bus Furthur to New York to meet Leary’s group where they were introduced to DMT. Meanwhile, Owsley had also volunteered for some experiments and had gotten a single opportunity to try LSD and thought it was the most wonderful thing in the world and decided he would learn how to make it. He had a friend studying Chemistry at Berkely and sat in on her lectures and used her books and first taught himself to make methamphetamine which he sold to finance his LSD experiments. He finally worked out the formula and went to a party Kesey was having after a Beatles concert in the hopes they would show up. They didn’t, but Owsley introduced himself to Ken and the idea for the Acid Tests was born. Kesey knew of a band that could play very well even when they were tripping their faces off named the warlocks and they were hired as the band for the Acid Tests. Just before the concert the bassist had discovered another band with the name warlocks and so they opened a dictionary to decide their new name and the Grateful Dead popped up. This is all common knowledge and could easily be found out with a little research. If you have any first hand experience with psychedelics you would know that they are very unsuitable for mind control as they tend to have the opposite effect. Someone in the CIA probably left the cabinet open for Kesey to get to, but that is because, like all things, the CIA is a collection of individuals and some of their agents had broke free of the programming due to LSD ingestion. See The Men Who Stare at Goats. Psychedelics have a tendency to free the mind and take it places it would not otherwise have gone. This is detrimental to the concept of brainwashing in which a set of loops is established that keep the individual from accessing various mental pathways.

  • HaywoodZarathustra

    Never trust a Prankster. And I don’t. San Francisco was a giant lab rat cage for CIA drug testing in the middle to late sixties. The late Jim Keith believed spooks tried to direct anti-war radical attention away from demonstrations by making them instead focus on their navels, i.e. “Tune in, turn on, drop out,” like CIA pawn Tim Leary said.
    Part of that new focus was brought about by attention destroying drugs like LSD and DMT, and music by groups like the GD. It’s why music by radical groups like the MC5 never got past “GO”. Look at the GD: Owsley was buying all their necessary equipment. Their equipment was better than anyone’s. Robert Hunter and John Barlow wrote all their songs. The band seemed to always beat drug raps.
    Also, take a closer look at some of the strange things that happened in Wolfe’s book on Kesey and the Pranksters. In addition to Kesey’s volunteering to be a CIA lab rat, he brought his group to an Oakland anti-war demonstration and almost single-handedly broke it up as he played on his harmonica and bashed Paul Jacobs. For what purpose? Then you had the two ex-military guys, Ken Babbs and Ron Bevirt. Babbs drove off in the bus leaving a bunch of Pranksters stranded when they were invited to a photography session. Nobody originally liked Bevirt. He brought a lot of food and gradually won them over. Were they spook plants?

  • bob

    You’re on the right track, but it goes so much deeper than this. Look into Crowley’s “Book of The Law” and his other writings, here you will find the inspiration for Hunter/Garcia lyrics….Lab Rats LSD and LOVE is all you need comrades…Happy hunting

  • John Wesley

    Bob I can see you know much more than about this than most. Any specific additional info would be appreciated

  • Ben K.

    Whoever was this four years ago has no clue, Hoover was a mad man haha!

“The thing about the truth is, not a lot of people can handle it.” -Conor McGregor

BECOME A PATREON SUPPORTER and decide what stories we investigate!

Donate to Support TSW!

Top Secret Editors

Ryan is the founder of Top Secret Writers. He is an IT analyst, blogger, journalist, and a researcher for the truth behind strange stories.
Lori is TSW's editor. Freelance writer and editor for over 17 years, she loves to read and loves fringe science and conspiracy theory.

Top Secret Writers

Gabrielle is a journalist who finds strange stories the media misses, and enlightens readers about news they never knew existed.
Sally is TSW’s health/environmental expert. As a blogger/organic gardener, she’s investigates critical environmental issues.
Mark Dorr grew up the son of a treasure hunter. His experiences led to working internationally in some surprising situations!
Mark R. Whittington, from Houston, Texas, frequently writes on space, science, political commentary and political culture.

Join Other Conspiracy Theory Researchers on Facebook!

Get a Top Secret Bumper Sticker!

Comment on Breaking Stories

Powered by Disqus