Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes of Harvard Medical School inhaled ether
at a time when it was popularly supposed to produce such mystical or
"mind-expanding" experiences, much as LSD is supposed to produce such
experiences today. Here is his account of what happened:
"I once inhaled a pretty full dose of ether, with the determination
to put on record, at the earliest moment of regaining consciousness, the
thought I should find uppermost in my mind. The mighty music of the triumphal
march into nothingness reverberated through my brain, and filled me with a
sense of infinite possibilities, which made me an archangel for a moment.
The veil of eternity was lifted. The one great truth which underlies all
human experience and is the key to all the mysteries that philosophy has
sought in vain to solve, flashed upon me in a sudden revelation. Henceforth
all was clear: a few words had lifted my intelligence to the level of the
knowledge of the cherubim. As my natural condition returned, I remembered
my resolution; and, staggering to my desk, I wrote, in ill-shaped, straggling
characters, the all-embracing truth still glimmering in my consciousness.
The words were these (children may smile; the wise will ponder):
`A strong smell of turpentine prevails throughout.'"
- -- The Consumers Union Report: Licit & Illicit Drugs