The Merry Pranksters

As pioneers of the 1960's psychedelic counterculture, the Merry Pranksters were a mischievous bunch formed beneath the auspices of their charismatic leader, notable author Ken Kesey. Upon realizing their mutual affection for drugs and nonconformity, the pranksters began to gravitate around their guru, forming a freethinking community in La Honda, California. Arguably the forerunners and enablers of the whole psychedelic movement, the pranksters pulled social stunts beneath a circus haze of lights, music, marijuana, and of course, LSD. In 1964, Kesey famously pulled his cohorts together and launched a cross country trip in a day glow painted school bus with Neal Cassidy at the wheel, stopping in small towns along the way and basically scaring the life out of mainstream America. Numerous Acid Tests and a fugitive trip to Mexico garnered the attention of writer Tom Wolfe, who chronicled the Pranksters in the 1968 documentary book "The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test." Within a couple years, they unofficially dissolved, or evolved, some into members of the Grateful Dead scene, but their legacy remains an integral part of understanding American counterculture.

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