The Weyburn Mental Hospital – Weyburn, Saskatchewan - Atlas Obscura

The Weyburn Mental Hospital

Weyburn, Saskatchewan

Notorious Canadian mental institution, home to some of the first LSD experiments and origin of the word "psychedelic." 

Sorry, The Weyburn Mental Hospital is permanently closed.

UPDATE: Despite efforts to save it, the hospital was demolished in 2009.

The Weyburn Mental Hospital opened in 1921 and quickly became one of Canada’s most notorious psychiatric institutions. It was the site of lobotomies, electric shock therapy, and some of Canada’s controversial LSD experiments. It was here that Dr. Humphrey Osmond coined the word “psychedelic” and was among the first to administer LSD in psychiatric experiments.

Between 1953 to 1960, thousands of alcoholics were dosed with LSD under controlled conditions. Curiously it wasn’t a complete failure, and half of the dosed alcoholics remained sober over a year later. The experiments at Weyburn also piqued the interest of the CIA, who hoped to use LSD as a truth serum. This would eventually lead to the CIA’s infamous MK-Ultra program, which attempted mind-control and chemical interrogation partially through the use of LSD.

In 1971, the Weyburn Mental Hospital closed its doors and patients were transferred to other institutions. The building now stands abandoned as the government plans its demolition.

Know Before You Go

Weyburn, SK.