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S. Lehmann-Haupt, 59; Techie Merry Prankster Rode Kesey's Bus

November 04, 2001|From Associated Press

CALLICOON CENTER, N.Y. — Sandy Lehmann-Haupt, one of the 1960s Merry Pranksters and a principal source for the best-selling book "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test," has died at the age of 59.

Lehmann-Haupt died Oct. 29 of a heart attack at a hospital here near his home, his family said.

At age 22, Lehmann-Haupt rode aboard novelist Ken Kesey's psychedelic bus, which helped define the hippie generation.

Lehmann-Haupt, a sound engineer, met Kesey when the author visited New York for the opening of the stage version of his book "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

Lehmann-Haupt then moved into Kesey's home in Palo Alto, Calif., and experimented with LSD, then legal, with a group of Kesey's companions who became known as the Merry Pranksters.

In 1964, Kesey bought a school bus, and Lehmann-Haupt installed its sound system and occasionally drove it. The bus, painted in psychedelic colors, became a counterculture icon.

Lehmann-Haupt later described his experiences on the Merry Pranksters' LSD-fueled bus trip across America to author Tom Wolfe, who immortalized the journey in his 1968 book "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test."

Over the last decade, Lehmann-Haupt took a job as an advocate for the mentally ill, married and bought a house.

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