Book Claims Hippies are Mentally Ill

I was a bong-sucking hippie in Colombia back in 1972 when this book came out.  I spent almost five months in that most beautiful of countries.  Memories of the verdant valleys and almost impassable mountains remain vivid to this day.

Psychiatrist claims hippies are mentally ill?  As a hippie I well remember believing the same of psychiatrists.  Look who was proven right?

In retrospect the claims in the book are naively amusing.  It needs to be borne in mind though that this was the era of electroshock therapy and frontal lobotomies.  We sneer at the savagery of such treatments now.  It is a fact that our grandchildren will sneer at the savagery and ignorance of psychiatric ‘treatments’ of our day.

The sad fact remains though that these ‘treatments, whilst funny to the future, are not so funny to those in the present who are subjected to them.

That time in my life is Colombia is almost forty years ago now. I remember the locals telling me with much laughter that they swapped two letters in their country’s name to form ‘Locombia’… the land of the mad.

Now it is worse than that; we live in the world of the mad.  A world where psychiatrists are still allowed to practice and pretend to be a part of the healing arts… despite all the evidence to the contrary.



1972 book claimed that being a hippie is a mental illness, can be inherited genetically

In 1972, a Colombian psychiatrist asserted that being a hippie is a form of mental illness that can be passed on to one’s children. Apparently a fondness for patchouli and Iron Butterfly can be traced to your chromosomes.

Vaughan Bell of Mind Hacks found the book Psicopatologia y Existencia del Hippie (“Psychopathology and Existence of the Hippy”) by Miguel Echeverry at his local library. Bell was terrifically amused by Dr. Echeverry’s claims that the hippie lifestyle was a mental disorder that scars one’s DNA:

The book contains not a single reference to any scientific or clinical study, although is happy to wax lyrical about the subgroups of the hippy mental illness. Apparently, there are five: hippies with defective personal relationships and autistic-like problems, aggressive hippies, hippies with defective behaviour and poor family adjustment, emotionally impaired hippies, and those with abnormal, perverted or inverted instincts.

For those worried that he may be getting a little too psychoanalytic, Dr Echeverry makes it clear that there is both a strong environmental and genetic component to hippy psychopathology. Yes, apparently, you can inherit hippidom.

You can read more about this quirky psychiatric tome over at Mind Hacks.

Send an email to Cyriaque Lamar, the author of this post, at

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