Nineteen-Fifty-Three was a historic, memorable, and intriguing year. On January 7, President Harry S. Truman announced that the United States had added a terrifying new weapon to its growing, military arsenal: the Hydrogen Bomb. Two months later, Soviet Premier Josef Stalin passed away, following the effects of a devastating stroke. On May 5, Aldous Huxley took the hit of mescaline that inspired him to write The Doors of Perception.
Barely a month following Huxley’s spaced-out stroll down Psychedelic Avenue, the Central Intelligence Agency formally approved the use of LSD in one of its early “mind-control” programs, MKUltra. July 27 saw the end of the Korean War. In September, the discovery of REM-stage sleep was unleashed upon the world. And, in October, the UNIVAC 1101 made history when it became the very first commercial computer to use random access memory.