Underground LSD Palace


HAMILTON MORRIS: Dearest
Krystle, I cannot express the excitement within me when I
think that shortly we will meet face to face. Over the years, I’ve read your
books and watched your videos, perused court documents,
police records, and affidavits, yet I still feel
confused about what happened between you, Todd, and the LSD
laboratory so many years ago. I hope that when we are
together, I will finally understand what transpired,
and the truth will shine brightly as a crystal
in the Kansas sky. Much love, Hamilton. Krystle Cole is one of the most
unlikely figures in the psychedelic community. A Goth stripper from Kansas
whose introduction to the psychedelic underground came in
February of 2000, when she fell deeply in love with a
mysterious man named Todd, who was the heir to a spring
manufacturing fortune. She quit her job as a dancer
and moved in with Todd at a decommissioned nuclear missile
silo that served as his private pleasure of
lysergic delights. Exactly what happened in that
laboratory at the dawn of the new millennium is still a
subject of heated debate. But it is known that Todd formed
a partnership with Leonard Pickard, an accomplished
clandestine psychedelic chemist. And together they began to
assemble what would have been the world’s largest LSD lab. But before the lab could be put
into full operation, it was destroyed by the DEA. After verifying that my
intentions were pure, Krystle agreed to meet with me to
discuss her involvement in the lab and take me on a guided tour
of the subterranean LSD palace that she once
called home. Last night we flew into Kansas
City, and right now we’re on our way to meet Krystle Cole. Outside of what she’s written in
her book, Lysergic, and her numerous YouTube videos,
there’s very little known about her. I have a lot of questions. I’ve wanted to meet her
for a long time. Here we are. Hey, what’s going on? It’s Hamilton. Nice to meet you. KRYSTLE COLE: I was raised in a
small Kansas town, which is comparable to being sucked into
a spiritual black hole. I was surrounded by flat, bleak
cornfields farmed by similarly flat, bleak people. At a young age, my classmates
labeled me as a nerd, causing me to never quite fit in. The first thing that comes to
mind upon reflection is, thank god for being an outcast. My peers were the perfect
example of white trash at its worst. The majority of them had already
given birth to a couple children and dropped
out of high school because of it. No aspirations existed in their
minds beyond the next round of incestuous
sex, six-pack of beer, and line of meth. HAMILTON MORRIS: Krystle is
one of very few people surrounding the bust who is not
currently incarcerated. And in the wake of extraordinary
heartbreak, trials, and prison sentences,
she used her life experience to inspire a variety of
informational YouTube videos that have garnered much
attention across the internet. KRYSTLE COLE: So this is the
green screen that I use to shoot all the NeuroSoup
videos. So I came up with the name
NeuroSoup because it’s basically the combination of
neurology and then the soup, we all have this soup of
different neurotransmitters in our brains. And so drugs affect these
neurotransmitters, and so that’s kind of how I came up
with the name NeuroSoup. HAMILTON MORRIS: Mm. You were saying that your most
popular YouTube video is the Shamanic Colonic
anal DMT video. -Hi. Some people have gotten onto the
NeuroSoup forum and asked me about the time that
I took DMT anally. And so today I want to describe
that for you guys. There are some benefits to it. I’ve only done it anally once,
because I guess the negative side effect to it, while I’m
talking about all the positives, is that it burned
really bad, and it just kind of put me in this weird
head space. KRYSTLE COLE: That was my most
popular one until YouTube forced me to remove it because
of its new community content guidelines. There’s some other paintings
and more paintings and more fractals. I kind of have them on
the walls everywhere. And of course, Grateful
Dead bears. That one is the one that I put
on my first edition of Lysergic book cover. It’s my favorite one. And the language around the side
of it are things that I kind of saw when I was
tripping, these alienesque-type languages. I don’t know what you
would call it. HAMILTON MORRIS: Can you talk
about just the things you talk about the beginning of Lysergic,
how you initially got involved in all of this? KRYSTLE COLE: Yeah, well, I
met Todd at a strip club. I worked there for about
three months. And he came in– well, actually, one of
his employees came in and saw me first. And then they went back, and
they said, oh, there’s this girl down there you should
see, kind of thing. So then he came and met me. And shortly thereafter, I was
driving one of his Porsches and living at his
missile site. HAMILTON MORRIS: I asked Krystle
to take me on a tour of the silo, which is now
owned by a vintage tank enthusiast. It will be the first time
Krystle has entered the silo since her romance with Todd. When Todd was seducing
you, what kinds of things would he say? KRYSTLE COLE: Oh, boy. I don’t know. Um, at first he was
very gentlemanly. It wasn’t like he was drugging
me and taking advantage or anything. At first he was being the utmost
gentleman, to try to win my trust over. HAMILTON MORRIS: On the way,
we passed the place Krystle and Todd first met– Club Orleans, one of Topeka’s
premier exotic dance establishments. KRYSTLE COLE: This was the club
that I met Todd, although it was a different
name back then. They’ve kind of remodeled
since then. I did kind of an interesting
act. I did a bondage act. And so I– really stood out for the Kansas
crowd that’s in there. I would play death metal music,
and I had this, like, chain that I would hold around
my neck with a dog collar. I’d wrap it around the pole
and stuff, and I’d whip myself on stage. I was really into
Goth back then. Because I really hated Kansas,
and I was just rebelling against everything that this
whole place was about. And so he comes in there. He was sort of like
the mad scientist. If you can imagine, like, a guy
walking around with this big metal briefcase,
you know, bald– and his hair, like, what hair
is left sticking up everywhere. His clothes rattered,
tattered everywhere. He would come in there and just
sit with me and pay me like lots and lots of money just
to hang out in the VIP room with him. And he would sit there
for the whole day. And we did that for
a couple of times. And then he’s like, well, why
don’t you just come out to where I live, and stuff? And I was like, well, OK. I’ll go out to your
place with you. They have a policy where you’re
not supposed to leave with customers. You’re not supposed
to do that. And I never would have done
that, but Todd was so persuasive. And so, I kind of gave in. I probably shouldn’t have. If I wouldn’t have met him, I
wouldn’t have had all this horrible stuff happen. But I also wouldn’t have had
all the cool stuff happen. He drove Porsches and
had lots of money. And, you know, he bought me
Armani clothes and gave me money, and I didn’t
have to work at the strip club anymore. So I was like, hey,
let’s party. I didn’t care. I’m kind of excited to see what
it looks like in there. I think it’s going to bring
back a lot of memories. HAMILTON MORRIS: As we drew
near the legendary missile silo, I tried to imagine Krystle
arriving here with Todd for the very first time. KRYSTLE COLE: You used to have
to call in using this system right there, or you’d
have an access code. HAMILTON MORRIS: Upon entering
this silo, Krystle left the spiritual black hole of Kansas
behind forever and was introduced to Todd and Leonard’s
underground ring of chemists, dealers, and drug
enforcement agents. KRYSTLE COLE: These tunnels
are really fun when you’re tripping, because they’ll start
swirling on you and you’ll be, like, hanging
on, like, ahh! HAMILTON MORRIS: And what was
your experience with drugs before having met Gordon
“Todd” Skinner? KRYSTLE COLE: Virtually none. Of course, I did the normal
drinking alcohol, smoking pot. I tried meth twice and
I did coke once. But other than that– I’d never even heard of MDMA. I didn’t even know
what it was. All I know is, he’s like, it’ll
make you feel good. Just try it. You like it. Don’t worry. You’ll like it. And boy, did I. Back then, I was on so many
different substances. It was like living in an
entheogenic monastery, because I didn’t have to work. I didn’t have to worry
about paying bills. I didn’t have to do anything
other than use psychedelics and pray to the god
that we all share. The whole situation was centered
around tripping, so we just wanted to
be comfortable. This here is the missile bay. About where the tanks are is
where we had a platform set up with a stereo, and we would have
a couple of king-sized beds in here and a bunch of
different couches, like leather couches and things. That way we could hang out and
have plenty of places to sit down and lay down or whatever. HAMILTON MORRIS: Todd spent
money with wild abandon, decorating the silo with stone
statues, Persian carpets, cedar saunas, a marble bathroom
with a tub large enough to accommodate a
half-dozen people, and a $120,000 stereo system, which
he used to play both Sarah McLachlan and Deep Forest at
extremely high volumes. [MUSIC PLAYING] KRYSTLE COLE: Yeah, we would
all get in here and shower. There was lots of nudity. You can imagine, you
know, lots of cute girls running around. And the parties were– could
get really wild. One of the things they really
liked to do was have IVs set up and have some DMT or some
5-MeO in the IV bottle. They would sit there, and then
they would like, crank it up so they’d start tripping more. And then they’d roll it down
a little bit to kind of– and so you could, like– he
would like surf in the DMT high, you know? I would do a lot,
but not that. Todd seemed like the most
spiritual person you would ever meet. And when we would trip
together, it was like, I don’t know. Tripping with him is different
than tripping with anyone I’ve ever tripped with, you know? And we experienced things like
telepathy together, and you know, we experienced
God, if you want to label it that, together. HAMILTON MORRIS: Krystle was
exposed to a cornucopia of psychedelic substances, ranging
from the more common chemicals like LSD, DMT, and
MDMA to such rarities as ALD-52, ergot wine, a variety
of fluorinated AMT analogs, and a mysterious substance
made by Leonard called diazedine. Unbeknownst to Krystle, Todd
and Leonard began to argue, and Todd was slowly overcome by
fear of both Leonard and an impending bust by the DEA. KRYSTLE COLE: Todd was so
secretive about everything. A couple weeks before the bust
happened, he gave me some MDMA and said, go in the bedroom and
trip and leave me alone. Don’t come out here. So I was like, pretty high,
and I came out there, and like, what are you doing? I’m bored. And so then I got to
see all the stuff. He had pictures of Leonard and
all this stuff about Leonard, like this huge file on him. Looking back on it, I should’ve
known something was getting ready to come down when
he had all that stuff out, because then I could
have said, Leonard, you gotta watch out. KSNT REPORTER: Wamego residents
say they were shocked when DEA agents arrived
into town on November 6, looking for drug fugitives. HAMILTON MORRIS: In October
2000, Todd formally contacted the DEA and declared that he
would like to turn in the world’s largest LSD
manufacturing conspiracy. Todd received total immunity for
his involvement with the laboratory and walked away a
free man, while Leonard was chased by the DEA, outrunning
them on foot and hiding in a barn with his body covered
with cold leaves to evade thermal cameras. The following day, Leonard was
turned in by a farmer and eventually given two concurrent
life sentences without parole. MALE SPEAKER: Wamego Police
Department were brought in to assist in the manhunt, which
ended up being an 18-hour hunt for the individual. KSNT REPORTER: DEA agents
believe the LSD lab is one of the largest in the world. HAMILTON MORRIS: After the
bust, Krystle and Todd traveled across the country for
three years with a small group of ravers and drug
enthusiasts, selling phosphorescent capsules of
MDMA and living like psychedelic royalty in Seattle, Mendocino, Tucson, and Tulsa. KRYSTLE COLE: Here’s our
California house. We had our own private
beach down there. We would try to get the best
we could everywhere. HAMILTON MORRIS: There were
peacocks on the property? KRYSTLE COLE: Yeah. Yeah. There were peacocks
on the property. You would think having
peacocks would be cool, but it wasn’t. Outside of our houses was
all these Amanitas. And so we would go pick
Amanitas and stuff. You can see us, we’re
identifying them and researching them. Some of these don’t have Todd in
them, because he didn’t let us take a lot of pictures. There towards the end, I think
all the stress of the court case, and everything, you know,
the years of running, and the years of all the
problems, you know, just really were piling in on him. And I think that he was
just kind of going a little bit crazy. Todd was very much escalating
things. He started abusing me,
like literally physically abusing me. I was willing to look over some
of the bad stuff that I started to see the first couple
years, because, oh, I know underneath all this,
it’s just the stress. It’s just temporary. Underneath all that, he’s this
beautiful, spiritual person. And he’s doing all this
for good reasons. And now looking back on
it, no, he was just manipulating me. I was– I was just a stupid girl. You know? He always had a couple of
other girlfriends, and I always had boyfriends. And we were each other’s
primary, you know, I mean, but like we always had other
people around. And so the boyfriend at the
time, Brad, he was the first guy over the years that I dated
that wanted– that said, look, this situation’s
no good. You need to get away
from this. And so, so I’m like, OK, well,
the only way for us to get out of this is for us to go to the
DEA and basically do what Todd did to Leonard to Todd. And so we go to the DEA
together, and we basically spill everything about Todd’s
local operation that he’s got going there. They were already familiar with
the Pickard case and all that stuff. And so they knew who I was, that
I was Todd’s girlfriend and all that. They had a case. They had me. They had the boyfriend. And I told them where
one of his labs was. So they had more than enough
of a case, and more than enough of a reason
to go after him. You know what they said to me? They’re like, well, we’ll
give you a call. And I’m like, OK. And so they had my
phone number. So I go home. And then conveniently, two days
later, Todd called me up. Well, I know you went
into the DEA. HAMILTON MORRIS: So you
went into the DEA. You told them that
he was dangerous. They took down all
the information. Didn’t do anything at
all to stop him. But told him that you had
reported him and just infuriated him? KRYSTLE COLE: Yes. And that is why he kidnapped me
and Brad and did the things that he did to us. HAMILTON MORRIS: On the 4th of
July, 2003, believing he was immune to legal prosecution,
Todd lured Krystle and Brad to the Tulsa Doubletree Inn. Shortly after meeting, Todd
offered Brad a communion wafer laced with an unknown
psilocin analog. KRYSTLE COLE: The next thing I
know, he’s duct-taped up, and they were injecting
him with stuff. And they were telling me, you
know, if you don’t obey everything we say, we’re going
to give him something that’s going to kill him. And we have to get information
out of him. We have to know what he said. HAMILTON MORRIS: As the drug
took effect, Todd taped Brad up and spent one week subjecting
him to psychedelic tortures of unfathomable
depravity. KRYSTLE COLE: I know that he
was giving him stuff like barbiturates and things
like Valium and stuff. HAMILTON MORRIS: But
he was using psychedelics as a truth serum? KRYSTLE COLE: Yeah. And he was using psychedelics
as well. He was giving him IV DMT. Any drug he had, he pretty much
was giving it to him. You know, and after that, after
it was over, I had to stay with Todd for
a whole month. And I mean, he drugged me, he
raped me, he sodomized me, he did horrible things to me. It’s hard for me to talk about,
because I have PTSD now because of what he did. But I mean, it’s horrendous. I mean, to think that somebody
would use psychedelics for the kinds of things he
used them for. HAMILTON MORRIS: Todd fled to
Burning Man, where he was arrested for MDMA distribution
and ultimately tried for kidnapping and assault with
a dangerous weapon. For these acts, Todd was
sentenced to life in prison. KRYSTLE COLE: Todd was so tall
that he had to really watch out for those things, or he
would hit his head on them. KRYSTLE COLE: Yeah. He has life, so you don’t have
to worry about him coming back and haunting the place here. Once you trip a lot, you can
make any trip a pleasant experience. Unless the person’s literally
standing above you and injecting you and strangling
and threatening you and yelling at you and stuff. You can’t– there’s no way
to make that good. The last few years have been a
difficult road for me to walk down, yet they have made me
a much better person. I got so far out of touch with
a normal person’s reality. For years, I never worked a job,
watched television, or even went a week without
being around someone who was on an entheogen. I basically had to start
life all over. I began watching the news to
get up to speed on current events, got an apartment of my
own, and started a business to support myself. I feel like even after four
years, I’m still working on reintegrating into society. In the spirit of actually doing
something with what I’ve learned through entheogens, I
founded a nonprofit website called NeuroSoup.com. My hope is that it will be a
place for people to learn, share their beliefs about
spirituality, entheogens, and themselves. Namaste. HAMILTON MORRIS: After
everything that has transpired, Krystle still
considers Todd the love of her life. We are all brothers in the
family of humanity, and life is a cosmic giggle on the
breath of the universe. Namaste.

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