Timothy Leary Simulated Head Removal

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Psychedelic promoter Dr. Timothy Leary, the defrocked Harvard psychology professor whom President Nixon called "The Most Dangerous Man Alive," planned for his head to be frozen upon death. Famous for coining the phrase "Turn on, Tune in and Drop Out," Leary contracted with Alcor cryonics company for post-mortem decapitation and brain freezing, so that perhaps he could be brought back to life in the future. This notorious scene (view here, use password: LEARY) from the 1996 Paul Davids Film "Timothy Leary's Dead" is not real; it is a shockingly realistic "psychedelic simulation" of the death Leary meticulously planned. It uses a remarkably lifelike reproduction of Leary's head, made by a major Hollywood special effects company from a plaster cast months before Leary died.

The head is being auctioned by Heritage Auctions of Beverly Hills and Dallas in its Hollywood & Entertainment Memorabilia Auction of November 5th and 6th, 2021. Most reviewers thought the scene was real, and it provoked widespread outrage. However, Janet Maslin, a major critic of the New York Times who thought the scene was real, praised its inclusion in the film. On June 6, 1997, Janet Maslin wrote that "The film's biggest accomplishment is to make this image (of Leary's preserved head) seem a logical extension of Leary's escapades and create one last trippy frisson: He's not gone. He's waiting. That's the right final image of Leary and his times."

More on the Leary film from guest Paul Davids' 10/7/21 show appearance.

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