From People on Psychedelics
Esther Jane Williams (born August 8, 1921) is a retired American competitive swimmer and a movie star.
- "LSD seemed like instant psychoanalysis. With my eyes closed, I felt my tension and resistance ease away as the hallucinogen swept through me. Then, without warning, I went right to the place where the pain lay in my psyche.
- "She returned to the day when she was 8 years old and her beloved 16-year-old brother, Stanton, died. The family had moved from Kansas to Los Angeles, convinced Stanton was destined for stardom, and his death devastated each family member in different ways. Under LSD, Esther saw “my father’s face as a ceramic plate. Almost instantly, it splintered into a million tiny pieces, like a windshield when a rock goes through it.” Then she saw her mother’s face on that terrible day, and “all the emotion had drained out of her, and her soft, kindly features had hardened.”
- "During the session Esther realized—“observing it from a distance as if I were acting in or watching a movie”—that ever since the day her brother had died her life had been consumed by the necessity to replace him in every sense of the word, and “suddenly this little girl was in a race against time to be an adult.”
- "Exhausted but calm, Esther left the doctor’s office and returned to her Mandeville Canyon home, where her parents, still emotionally broken by Stanton’s death, were waiting to have dinner with her. She “understood them that night in a profound way, and while I sympathized, I was also sickened by their weakness and their resignation. I saw that they both simply had given up, which, no matter what life had in store for me, was something I could never and would never do.”
- "But the evening wasn’t over for Esther. After she had said good night to her parents, she went to her bedroom, undressed, and washed. When she looked in the mirror, “I was startled by a split image: One half of my face, the right half, was me; the other half was the face of a sixteen-year-old boy. The left side of my upper body was flat and muscular.… I reached up with my boy’s large, clumsy hand to touch my right breast and felt my penis stirring. It was a hermaphroditic phantasm.” Esther has no recollection of how long she stood there, but there was no question that now “I understood perfectly: when Stanton had died, I had taken him into my life so completely that he became a part of me.”"
- - in her book The Million Dollar Mermaid: An Autobiography, also http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/w/williams-mermaid.html