Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Probably the first of the psychedelic or personality-changing drugs. Formulated by Dr Henry Jekyll - MD, FRS, etc - in about 1884. Jekyll destroyed the formula and constituents of the portion, but it is known to comprise a tincture of blood-red colour and a white crystalline salt. When the salt is added to the tincture if foams, effervesces, and changes first to a dark purple colour and then to a watery green.

Dr Jekyll was a large, well-made, smooth-faced man of fifty, who had inherited a large fortune. Despite his impressive qualifications he does not appear to have practised medicine in his later years, but to have devoted himself to the study of mystic and transcendental affairs. He maintained a large windowless laboratory, lit by a glass cupola, in the garden of his London residence.

Jekyll was a bachelor, but by no means a recluse. His extensive circle of friends regarded him as an able, affable, and genial man and a good judge of wine. They enjoyed regular dinner parties in his comfortable home.

Probably they did not know that their amiable friend had two sides to his nature. One was that of the upright churchgoing citizen, charitable and kind. The other was that of dissipated rake. And, as a true Victorian gentleman, Jekyll was deeply ashamed of the impulses which sent him on excursiouns into the seamier side of London society. He wanted to live a virtous life, regarded his dissipations as 'undignified', and was afraid of discovery.

At last he decided to solve his problem by seperating himself into two distinct personalites. The first would be the flawless Dr Jekyll, model bachelor, idol of his servants, and pillar of respectable society. The second would comprise all his evil and carnal desires, and might be set free to wallow in debauchery. After all, nobody would recognize him as the respectable Dr Jekyll.

After lengthy researches, Jekyll worked out the formula for a potion which would separate and release evil from the bonds of good... or perhaps the other way round. He ordered the requisite chemicals from a reputable drug wholesaler, Messrs Maw, and locked himself in the laboratory to compound the potion.

When it changed to watery green, he nerved himself to swallow it at a gulp. Instantly he was racked by terrible pangs and a veritable grinding of the bones. He felt a deadly nausea and a dark horror of the spirit, but then these symptoms passed away and he felt younger, freer, and happier than ever before.

A current of disordered sensual images flickered through his mind, he chuckled with heady recklessness, and he knew he had at last thrown off the bonds which confined him. He found that even his physical appearence had changed, which caused a problem because his servants would see this apparent stranger going in and out of the laboratory. However, he solves this by telling them that a 'friend', whom he named Mr Edward Hyde, must be given free access to the premises.

Dr Jekyll did not make any use of his first transformation into a creature of pure evil, but simply swallowed the antidote (which was the same as the potion) and restored himself to normal. But he soon took advantage of his new freedom, and his servants and even his friends became accustomed to the appearence of Mr Edward Hyde. They did not seem to question the fact that he appeared only in Jekyll's absence, and were too well mannered to make any comment to the doctor about his singularly unpleasant friend.

A lawyer named Utterson, who had known Jekyll for many years and was the executor of his will, later described Edward Hyde as a pale, dwarfish man, who gave an impression of deformity without any definite malformation. He had a displeasing smile, he bore himself with a murderous mixture of humility and boldness, and he spoke with a husky, whispering, and somewhat broken voice. Nevertheless Utterson might have been able to accept all these characteristics if it were not for the inexplicable feeings of disgust, loathing, and fear which he aroused in the lawyer's mind. Utterson later summed up Hyde as 'Particularly small and particularly wicked-looking', and he certainly did not feel that the horrid little monster bore any relationship to his handsome old friend.

But Jekyll, in his personification as Hyde, had begun to enjoy total freedom from any moral restraints. He dosed himself with the portion at frequent intervals, and set forth from his respectable home to plunge into the vilest debaucheries that London could provide. The days when he had regarded his fairly innocent dissipations as 'undignified' were long behind him, and it appears that he descended rapidly into every type of sadism and perversion. Without thought for the future he broke every law of God and man.

But one night, as the dignified Dr Jekyll, he went to bed as usual and awoke at dawn to see the lean, corded, knuckly and hairy claw of Dr Hyde on the pillow beside him instead of his own well-formed hand. The astonished servants beginning their daily chores saw Edward Hyde scuttling down to the laboratory, and a little while later Dr Jekyll emerged. He now realised that the potion was taking control of his body, and was frightened into an abstince which lasted for months.

At the end of that time he could not resist another deadly dose, and this time the evil in his character came raging forth as never before. As he shambled home from a night of debauchery he chanced to encounter the venerable Sir Danvers Carew, and took offence at some mild comment made by the old man. He attacked him with savage delight and beat him to death with his walking cane.

This terrible incident, which was observed by one of Jekyll's maids and caused a hue and cry after Edward Hyde, shocked the doctor into a final resolution to leave the potion alone. He tried to atone for his evil by devoting himself to works of charity, and as the weeks went by he began to find some peace of mind.

But one day, as he sat in the park enjoying the beauties of nature, he changed suddenly into Edward Hyde. He managed to reach his laboratory, but very soon after that he changed into Hyde yet again.

Now began a fearsome period, made even more awful by the fact that Hyde was wanted for murder, in which Dr Jekyll changed uncontrollably into Mr Hyde and back again. The potion no longer acted as an effective antidote, but in his desperation he thought the ingredients must be impure and begged Messrs Maw to supply the original kind. Unable to show himself to his servants, in case he changed to Mr Hyde before their eyes, he locked himself in his laboratory and strove to compound a permanent cure. His servants, and friends who came to call, sometimes heard him raving behind the locked door and thought they could detect the voice of Edward Hyde.

At last the doctor realised that his flirtations with evil had allowed it to possess his entire personality, and that he would never escape from Edward Hyde. In one of his increasingly brief manifestations as Dr Jekyll he destroyed all traces of the potion, wrote a garbled account of his experiences and poisoned himself with prussic acid.