The Day the Earth Stood Still
It was Feb. 16,1996, that was the day the earth stood still, and these were the elements. Timothy Leary announced he was dying of prostate cancer and that he intended to die gloriously and publicly. Dr. John Lilly and Timothy Leary were associates, colleagues, friends for a long time. Samadhi Tank Co. was producing isolation tanks, floatation tanks since the 70's under Dr. Lily's direction. Glenn and Lee Perry were the producers in the Samadhi Tank Company.
Sometime around February 11, 1996, John Lilly told us (Glenn and Lee Perry) that Timothy Leary was in a great deal of pain and that a tank would be very useful to him. We arranged for Samadhi Tank Co. to rest and take care of itself, rented a van, filled it with tank parts and headed South for Tim's house.
John was staying with good friend Craig Inglis and we were all to meet and get the tank put up as quickly as possible. The epsom salt had been delivered and there were lots of able bodies at Tim's to help with anything and everything.
It takes us about 8 hours to get down to Los Angeles, which is enough time to get road weary. When we walked into Tim's house, the scene was immediately energizing. A video crew recording Tim's world as a stage, small groups of people busily and quietly and attentively doing THINGS. And Timothy Leary himself dressed in a shiny white and bright red baseball jersey emblazoned with the number 69. He had the look of a man who will not be occupying his body much longer.
The guys all went to get the tank ready, and Tim, John and I sat down at a round table at the back of the living room. The table was in front of big sliding glass doors opening onto the patio. It was about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The camera crew set up at the table. Along with the tank, I brought a copy of the "American Book of the Dead" for Timothy Leary. I thought that no glorious death could be without it. He received the book graciously, opened it randomly and read a group of words aloud. He said, "reality is occluded or ignored," isn't that wonderful, reality occluded what a good set of words. He did this 3 or 4 times finding such pleasure and inspiration from these words and weaving them into new forms with other ideas that we soared into the space of his facile mind and his impishness.
John Lily said that he wanted to read something to Timothy Leary from the book. John had written the forward to the book. He opened the book to the foreword and read the last paragraph aloud, "Now read this book cover to cover. Watch out! It can be seductive. ECCO (through Gold) set up a beautiful trap for you. After you read it, ask yourself 'What is the trap?' If you can correctly answer that question, you are free."
The tank was up in the bedroom.
John Lily said that bringing the tank to Tim was one of the greatest acts of compassion he had ever seen and that he felt his work with the tank had been completed by this action.
We were all free, and the world stood still.