Reel and Meal at the New Deal

Take a trip through the psychedelic 1960’s on Monday, July 15, when the Reel and Meal at the New Deal Cafe screens Psychedelic Mysticism: The Good Friday Experiment & Beyond. The 46-minute documentary will be shown following an optional vegan meal (&14.00), which begins at 6:30pm.  The New Deal Café is located at 113 Centerway in Greenbelt’s Roosevelt Center.

Psychedelic Mysticism chronicles a controversial 1962 experiment in which 10 Boston- area theology students received 30 milligrams each of the powerful drug psilocybin during a Good Friday church service. Psychiatrist Walter Pahnke wanted to know whether psilocybin – a mind-altering substance based on the active ingredient in a Mexican mushroom – really spurred the genuine mystical experiences that Harvard professor Timothy Leary claimed it did. 

Pahnke’s ultimate findings would challenge both science and religion. But mind-altering drugs like psilocybin became associated with the era’s turbulence and research funding dried up. By the time of Pahnke’s disappearance in 1971, legal research was ending, and his work seemingly forgotten.

But a 21st century resumption of legal psychedelic research has placed his ground- breaking study in a new light. In Psychedelic Mysticism, renowned Johns Hopkins investigators William Richards and Roland Griffiths explain how Pahnke’s study helped lay the groundwork for their own research into therapeutic use of the powerful drug psilocybin. 

Filmmakers Susan and Frank Gervasi will lead a discussion following the film. This month’s program is sponsored by Utopia Film Festival. Other sponsors of the series are Beaverdam Creek Watershed Watch Group, Green Vegan Networking, and Prince George’s County Peace and Justice Coalition.  For more information on this event contact

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