Hazy History; of Surfers & The Brotherhood of Eternal Love


ring that bell
ICMag Donor
There's been brief mentions of the BoEL in some of the Haze threads as well as talk of surfers with mystery seeds lately, so I thought I might try, with your help, to tie it all in.

With the upcoming documentary movie, "Orange Sunshine" on the horizon, and Nick Schou's book Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love
and Its Quest to Spread Peace, Love, and Acid to the World, scheduled for release in March 2010, it seems like a good time for an overview.

So let's start off w/ a Wikipedia take:
The Brotherhood of Eternal Love was an informal organization of psychedelic drug enthusiasts and dealers that operated in the late 1960s. The group was founded in Laguna Beach, California. The group was headquartered in the Mystic Arts bookstore on Pacific Coast Highway. At that time, Laguna Beach was a common stopping point for those traveling south from Haight Ashbury to Mexico. Timothy Leary, the excommunicated Harvard psychology professor and devotee of free love and author of "turn on, tune in and drop out," became the godfather of the group.

One contributor writes that the group was composed of local surfers, drug users and rich kids from Orange County, Los Angeles and the Pasadena area. This is contested by another contributor, who points out that the genesis of the Brotherhood was a rag-tag crew of very young street toughs in Compton, California - in a poor neighborhood - who in the course of smoking multiple kinds of vegetation and swallowing random available pills for recreational purposes, accidentally encountered LSD. At least a half-dozen of them found their lives transformed by that experience and, in due time, moved south to modest bungalows in the little-known town of Laguna Beach. They tended to wear simple cotton garments, sometimes robes. Most were vegetarians, and they daily spent considerable time in prayer and simply doing good deeds. Many of them continued to practice their own version of Christianity while opening research into Hinduism, Vajrayana Buddhism, and indigenous and Eastern religions as Brotherhood members happened to find them.

For several years, their psychedelic activities were underwritten by selling high-quality marijuana. As business expanded, they decided to see if they could build a national distribution network. Farmer John and Chuck Scott bought a new station wagon, loaded it up with kilo bricks of marijuana and drove from Laguna Beach to the Holland Tunnel. They took almost six weeks to move the load because New York's hippie market for marijuana at the time of their arrival was small and informal. Distribution of the Brotherhood's first wholesale load began the creation of an entirely new market and sales pyramid.

After sales prospered, the Brotherhood began to send researchers around the world to look into purchasing opportunities. Red Lebanese and black Afghan hashish were favored because of their strength, perfumes, and popularity among buyers in the USA. Other varieties of hashish were also purchased and imported in volume. At a certain point, the cash flow was more than sufficient for them to set up their own laboratory in which to manufacture LSD. The elder chemist was the bright and quirky Owsley Stanley, nicknamed Bear, who favored "cocktails", mixtures of LSD and small amounts of amphetamine, though there was no amphetamine in Owsley's acid. It was pure, and much of it was actually made by Nick Sand.

By the late 1960s, what had begun as a brotherhood of idealistic young pacifists had been infiltrated and corrupted by cynical outsiders, some of them armed. The brotherhood of love was gone; the informal organization's name was arrogated by punks and crooks who soon became notorious and widely detested.

The Brotherhood operated originally as a psychedelics distribution network throughout the United States, most notably in California where the organization received large shipments of hashish from Pakistan and Afghanistan, helped by Welshman Howard Marks, now a prominent figure in the cannabis culture. Some of the best Hashish that was imported were the half circle 'Elephant Ears' in the early 1970s .With funds from their hashish smuggling, the organization produced and distributed large amounts of the legendary "Orange Sunshine" LSD. The organization was headquartered on a ranch in Garner Valley, near Idyllwild. Members paid the Weather Underground to break Timothy Leary out of prison.[1] The organization may have been inspired by, but did not evolve from, Timothy Leary's League for Spiritual Discovery or the International Foundation for Internal Freedom. Many of its members were interested in peace and in ending the Vietnam war. A 1972 Rolling Stone article dubbed them the "Hippie Mafia."

The Brotherhood also had a small vegetarian restaurant on Pacific Coast Highway, two blocks north of Mystic Arts, named "Love Animals, Don't eat them". This restaurant operated with volunteers, with much of the food donated. Menu items did not have a price and patrons left donations for the food ordered.

Members of the Brotherhood felt that the Vietnam War was not only illegal but that President Richard Nixon was using drug laws to imprison political opponents. Members Johnny Gail and Victor Forsythe advocated putting LSD in Nixon's punch. Grace Slick was recruited for that effort but the mission was not successful. Victor Forsythe was entrapped into sales of Brotherhood hashish in 1972 and after a year long trial, which resulted in a hung jury, he jumped bail and fled to Ecuador in 1973. In late 1974, Victor was arrested by US drug agents, and after three months of fighting extradition, was returned to the United States where he pleaded guilty in a plea bargain arrangement with the Orange County prosecutor. His book, Birth of an Angel, describes details of his arrest. During his imprisonment in Orange Country jail Victor was assaulted by a white supremacist prison gang and almost killed. After recuperating in the hospital, Victor completed the rest of his sentence in solitary confinement.

Timothy Leary had this to say about the Brotherhood: "The whole concept of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love is like a bogeyman invented by the narcs. The brotherhood was about eight surfer kids from Southern California, Laguna Beach, who took the LSD, and they practiced the religion of the worship of nature, and they'd go into the mountains. But they were not bigshots at all. None of them ever drove anything better than a VW bus. They were just kind of in it for the spiritual thrill.

Nick Schou is a writer for OC Weekly, and I will link you to a few of his articles that should make the basis for his book.
First off is the resurfacing of Mike Hynson. He was one of the two surfers in the 'Endless Summer' from 1966.
This sheds a little light on the surfer angle:

Here's another one of his stories:

In recent news, After nearly 40 years on the run, the last member of the so-called
"Hippie Mafia" to evade the long arm of the law, has finally been
captured, the Weekly has learned. Brenice Lee Smith, who grew up in
Anaheim, was one of the founding members of the Laguna Beach-based
Brotherhood of Eternal Love, a group of hippie hash smugglers who
befriended Timothy Leary and sought to turn on the entire world
through their trademark acid, Orange Sunshine. He was arrested by U.S.
customs agents at San Francisco's International Airport at about 9
p.m. on Sept. 26, just minutes after arriving from Hong Kong in the
second leg of a trip that started a day earlier in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Smith (pictured above, second to left, bottom row, in the famous 1972
Brotherhood of Eternal Love wanted poster) is now being held at a jail
near the airport in Redwood City thanks to two nearly 40-year-old
warrants relating to his involvement in the Brotherhood. A jail
spokesperson said Smith was expected to be extradited for arraignment
in Orange County sometime this week. However, Susan Schroeder, a
spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney, said she had no
information about any extradition or warrants involving Smith,
although she stated that could be because the warrants are so old.
Along with many other members of the Brotherhood, Smith, better known
as "Brennie" among family and friends, traveled to Kandahar,
Afghanistan in the late 1960s and smuggled hashish back to California
inside VW buses, mobile homes, and other vehicles. The Brotherhood
also distributed more LSD throughout the world than anyone else, and
famously raised cash with acid sales to bust Leary out of prison and
help him escape to Afghanistan, where he was finally arrested in 1973.
Smith was indicted for his role in the group but was among about a
dozen members who managed to evade arrest in August 1972 when a task
force made up of federal, state and local cops raided Brotherhood
houses from Laguna Beach to Oregon to Maui--where many members of the
group had fled after OC became too hot--and arrested some 50 people.

The last Brotherhood fugitive to be captured was Orange Sunshine
chemist Nicholas Sand, who was arrested in British Columbia in 1996.
Sand spent several years in prison for manufacturing LSD. Two years
earlier, a friend of Smith's named Russell Harrigan, was arrested by
police near Lake Tahoe, California, after they learned his real
identity. However, a judge dismissed the charges against Harrigan
because he'd lived a crime free life, quietly raising a family.

Details now emerging about Smith's life in the past few decades
suggest he too may have a strong case for having his own charges
dismissed. After living underground in California for several years,
Smith finally fled for Nepal in 1981. "He absolutely wanted to go,"
says Eddie Padilla, another founding Brotherhood member who is also
married to Smith's niece, Lorey James. "He was tired of running around
trying not to get arrested here in the US. Then he left and went over
to India, then Nepal and lived in the mountains 8000 feet up in this
monastery for five, six, seven, or eight years as a shaved head monk.
He fell in love with this guru, Kalu Rinpoche."

According to Padilla and James, Smith kept in touch with them in
frequent letters from Kathmandu, where he moved after Maoist
guerrillas began attacking monasteries in the Himalayan foothills. In
Kathmandu, Smith, who took the name Dorje at the behest of Rinpoche,
married a Nepalese woman, Rukumani, and fathered a daughter, Anjana,
who is now 21 years old.

Recently, James says, her uncle seemed worried about both the mounting
political violence in Nepal and his daughter's future there. "He was
starting to get concerned about Anjana," James says. "He wanted her to
be here, because the opportunities for her are so vast here compared
to any kind of life she could have in Nepal." So Smith went to the
U.S. Embassy in Nepal and applied for a passport under his real name--
something he hadn't done since before smuggling hash in the late
1960s. "He got the passport and I think he was thinking, and so were
we, that if they [the cops] wanted him, that would be the time to get

Both James and Padilla were waiting at the airport to greet Smith
along with William Kirkley, a filmmaker who is working on a
documentary about the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, and his co-producer
and cinematographer, Rudi Barth. Kirkley says he had hoped to travel
to Nepal to interview Smith, but had to cancel the trip. "We were
talking to the Nepalese embassy, but it seemed so dangerous and we
didn't know if we'd have power there half the time," he says. "It
seemed kinda sketchy. So Brenny agreed to come out here and we got him
a round trip ticket. We were there at the airport and we had our
cameras all ready to go and the microphones ready to go."

​After 30 minutes or so, however, it was clear that something was
wrong. Padilla, James and Kirkley's documentary crew watched other
passengers clearing customs on a flat screen TV in a nearby lobby.
"Everyone came and went and 10 or 15 minutes later, we see two police
officers on the screen. Seeing them at that point, we totally knew it
involved [Smith] and it wasn't good." Kirkley says he hopes to
interview Smith soon, and says he hopes the interview won't be through
the bars of a jail cell. "I am hoping they see that [Smith] completely
changed his life around, became a Buddhist monk and is much more
rehabilitated than he would have been if he had gone to prison. We're
all hoping for the best outcome."

Now to top it all off, I was recently looking thru my old Sinsemilla Tips when I came across this letter from 1988. Check it:

Also, here's a link to the 1984 book, The Brotherhood of Eternal Love,From Flower Power to Hippie Mafia: The Story of the LSD Counterculter
Stewart Tendler and Davaid May
can be found here http://www.druglibrary.net/schaffer/lsd/books/belcont.htm
or a PDF of it can be found online.

Lastly, it would be nice to create a 'counterculture history' forum for things like this. I know it doesn't exactly belong in 'Strains and Hybrids', but the people who would be interested in this the most, frequent this forum, so...

A lot to absorb, hope you enjoy! :D
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Great read.
Ive got lots of goodies on the Brotherhood. Maybe ill pull it out and post sometime.
I was very fortunit to meet leary on one of his speaking tours several years before he died. He was an inspirational figure to say the least.

Elevator Man

Well-known member
Funnily enough, I've been rereading the Tendler and May book this week - had it for years, and dug it out last week to check some names, and just kinda drifted back into it. The Ronald Stark character/story still fascinates to this day...:)

The Hummus Monk

Active member
I saw Ken Kesey give a talk in London about 10 years ago...that was a great evening.

So they're making a film about BoL?

They're making the ECAAT into one too!


great post highlighter!!
i've just read Acid Dreams, and the BOEL book as well.
I've read some posts from OldTimer1 or Charlie i dont remember, where they commented that OT1's haze line came from a southern Sacramento commune related to the BOEL.
Four seasons i'd love to read some of your awesome material on the boel!



ring that bell
ICMag Donor
Thank for the responses, everyone!
four seasons, I know you're busy going thru those High Times, etc. but would love any additional info you might have. ;)
EM, that's funny! It's been awhile, but it seems there was little of the MJ aspect in that book.
Hummus Monk, there's trailer's up on youtube, but it seems the main one is no longer up? :confused:
gkn, thx for that tidbit, have to see if Charlie can comment.

Dalaihempy has a thread on Cali lines & breeders that fell by the wayside, but I had quoted zamalito in it, don't remember from where/when, but anywhose

"My theory is that the haze has some amazing Sri Lankan genetics mentioned by BOEL leadership that they acquired on one of their many surfing trips there. Some members of BOEL have stated that while on one of their surfing trips to the island they discovered a small cannabis growing community that produced the finest herb any of them had seen which is saying a lot. It seems likely that seeds or herb would've been brought back. I actually have doubts that there's any thai in the haze at all and there may not even be any Keralian. Sri Lanka is located in the Indian ocean between south India and Thailand and central to ancient trade routes from India, Thailand and southern Africa. I've never heard that the holyweed was bred from BOEL imports but they were running large cannabis production facilities at Big Sur during the era this strain came from."

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ring that bell
ICMag Donor
I know a lot of peeps could care less about the BoEL, but have an interest in landrace strains & preservation. For those of you not wanting to read thru mtns of pages, I just want to condense the letter from Shiva's Chela in the Sinsemilla Tips Vol. 8 #2. (1988)

"I and several associates had begun retaining and cataloging seeds from various shipments that came through our hands. Our efforts resulted in having in our possession over 350 strains from 18 countries. A few of our strains can even be traced to specific valleys, not to mention the regions. The seeds have been kept in an old-fashioned safe I inherited from my great-grandfather. We consider it a sacred trust to insure that the strains would someday be made available to fellow ganga lovers around the world.
Our sativa catalog contains genetic strains from 15 regions of Mexico, eight varieties from Africa, ten from Thailand, three from Laos, two from Cambodia (love that Cambodian red, yeah) and five from Nepal.
Our Indica catalog is amazing to say the least. Bear in mind that none-repeat, none- of the seed stock we are using were imported after 1976.

We also do not cross any strain, even with it's generic type. For example, we would never cross an Oaxaca variety with a Michoacan. Our porpose is to keep these strains pure, and in the future growers can make whatever crosses they feel best suit their situations."

This just blows my mind! :yoinks: We can only hope 20 yrs later that a few of these intrepid souls are carrying on, what great foresight! :yes:
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more please!

more please!

fascinating read, I remember hearing of the Brotherhood but your post really filled in a lot of detail. Thanks for that. A thread on this and other groups of the era would be a delight!



follow your heart
ICMag Donor
I loved these parts form the photos:

"however, there is another world outside of northern lights, skunk # 1, and the rest"

"your readers interested in growing ganja must learn patience. beware of false promises made by the equipment manufacturers. there are no short cuts in life. cultivation takes commitment, study, research, hard work and the right attitude. your results will reflect in direct proportion how much you care or don't "


Active member
True Genes of the past....

True Genes of the past....

Hi All !!:wave: Nice read of an old mag I used to read back in the day,and might
have a copy or 2 packed away....anyway was wondering if any of you know the secret to germinating old seeds...??? Have an old seed bank of CHOICE
genes from Thailand,S.Africa,Mexico,Columbia,Holland,and N.Cali, Oregon.....
even some from Nevel himself......Please help with germination problem!!??



Well-known member
hi BudZad7

For older seed some like to scuff before they germinate , higher than normal temps (~28c) seem to help a bit as well. A 12-25hrs soaking in water can help. Old seed seem to suffer from a dry/hard endosperm (the food thats between the seedcase and around the embryo) . If you see the seeds cracked but dont manage to open the seed case , you may need to manually carefully remove the endosperm (looks like a protective membrane) in order to set the embryo free so it can grow.

Some like to take a razor blade and cut off a bit of the seed's outer case , at the point where the tail of the embyo is found , from what I read seems to be working great with old seeds . here is a link with pics and useful info from a relative thread over mrnice site:

Last but not least , ..patience is the key!

I ve had old seeds (15-20 year old) take over 2 weeks to germinate , so be patient. I ve even heard of 3-4 weeks in some cases so dont toss things away before 3+ weeks time has passed

Make sure you use sterilized products if you germinate in paper towels and use a bit f H202 3% .

I would also recommend to try and germinate each seed in a different container so you have full control plus if one goes mushy/rots it wont affect/endanger the health of rest.

A bit of seaweed and superthrive can also help

hope this helps

psI was wondering what beans do you have from Nevile?


ring that bell
ICMag Donor
Steve Tuck's trick was to punch a hole in a screw jar lid and epoxy a hose into it. Place seeds in jar w/ distilled water, a drop of ThriveAlive, and if you have access, a drop of DMSO, top w/ water and hook up to a pump for 24 hrs. ;)

That's if all of l33t's tricks don't work. :D Good luck, and thx for coming out of the woodwork to post in this thread! :wave:

charlie garcia

Hola sirs

Cant say much Highlighter from my talks with Oldtimer. He always said some old lines he kept came from travellers coming from States in direction to Asia or other sources and ones who gave some seeds he collected and saved with the time. Thus he spared in late 90's 3 different Haze lines he had kept for long. Cant say more and have not more info. Accuracy in words my be taken with a grain of salt but more or less is what I always understood he said.

however, there is another world outside of northern lights, skunk # 1, and the rest"

I like what he said but I see nothing changed in last decades :) Was a nice vision, most lines they were talking about have basically dissapear in this time passed, last generations we were the kings of desolation


ring that bell
ICMag Donor
Well charlie, at least we have folks like you, holding the torch. :respect:

Conjecture is fun, given the times. These folks had a vision of a different world that was so appealing w/ it's promise. It all came crashing down when push came to shove, and the reality of surviving rears it's head.

You've got the surfer Mike Hynson trying to sell a "limited edition" book for $350, even tho "It’s a stretch of time Hynson doesn’t talk about much, partly because he’s not proud of it, but mostly because he doesn’t remember it well."

It's as happyhi said in his 'Haze' thread recently:

"If you remember it, you weren't there" axiom will always hold true.
Just fun to see the different perspectives. ;)
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...Excellent....pretty close to home fer me....this group is responsible fer many California genetics I'd imagine...I'll talk with some older surfers I know...they were around durin' that era....still a lot of old localisms amongst the surfin' tribes out here....most all the old guys....know the other old guys...havin' surfed the same breaks fer all these yrs. Lot of interestin' history to be found in the water....surf history and canna history go hand in hand....as far as the old California strains. Still kinda closed mouth though....if ya don't know them...they don't much talk to ya about such thingys.

This is important stuff to get down...fer history's sake....I'm always talkin' to older dudes about such happenin's.....Skunkman and the Haze bros should write a book as well....just to keep the record straight.

John Public

Amazing thread Highlighter, thank you very much :thank you:

however, there is another world outside of northern lights, skunk # 1, and the rest"

I like what he said but I see nothing changed in last decades :) Was a nice vision, most lines they were talking about have basically dissapear in this time passed, last generations we were the kings of desolation

Kaiki :tiphat:

I know you're right and this is quite disheartening.... but we must keep some hope to preserve the few that are left ! :ying:

Come on people, I see at IC Mag that a lot of people like to read the history of the 60-70's but some jewells are still here, let's write your own history now to save them !

Share, respect and grow !


ring that bell
ICMag Donor
Perfect timing reviving this thread, I'm near done w/ the 'Orange Sunshine' book. Very enjoyable read. I just finished the The Harvard Psychedelic Club, before hand, and as good as that was in tying up the psychedelic 60's, you can't beat the smuggling yarns in 'OS'. :D

Here's a scan of some excerpts regarding MJ. I couldn't quite get it on one page, so I'll type out the last sentence. :redface:


phenomenon, more famous in some circles than the island itself.
"I guess the Brotherhood served its purpose by bringing those seeds to Maui," Mundell allows. "It was pretty popular stuff. It was Maui Wowie."

Book is worth the $ for that tale alone! :D


ring that bell
ICMag Donor
Done w/ the book, just wanted to add one more excerpt that corroborates a bit of the zamalito quote above.

Once, Gale and a friend went surfing in Sri Lanka and discovered the villagers grew a powerful variety of marijuana. Gale offered to buy their whole crop. But the villagers didn't want money; they wanted Levi's jeans. "They headed back [to Laguna] and made everyone go to every Sears, looking in the paper for a cheap pair of Levi's," says Thumper. "And they shipped them over there and bought all this pot. They called it Mars pot. It was high-grade pot; it put Oaxacan, Michoacan, and Colombian Gold to shame. And we drained Orange County of Levi's. And that's cool, you know; that's entrepreneurial. What wrecked it was coke."
excerpted from the book Orange Sunshine by Nicholas Schou

In the epilogue, covering where they are now, several of the players like Michael Randall & Carol Griggs, Eddie Padilla, Nick Sand, and Dion Wright are writing/written their accounts and are looking for publishing. :D

Also, Travis Ashbrook, quoted in the scan above, always remained a MJ smuggler til his arrest in '80. During the writing of the book, he was busted in cali for growing! Served 16m for it. :frown:
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