Reel and Meal at the New Deal

Reel and Meal is a monthly film series at the New Deal Cafe exploring vital environmental, animal rights, and social justice issues. Admission to the film is always free, sponsored by several Greenbelt community organizations. Contributions are gladly accepted to cover each month’s donation to a non-profit organization.

Reel and Meal events are in-person (limited seating) and online via Zoom.  Each month registration links will be posted here.  You can also reach out to Reel and Meal at

Date: Third Monday of every month
Time: The free film starts at 7pm.
Dinner: Dinners are available at the café after 4pm with several plant-based options.
Carryout: The Co-Op Supermarket Meatless Monday meals can be picked up from the “grab and go” for Zoom at-home viewing after 11am.
Location: Online or at the New Deal Cafe – 113 Centerway in historic Greenbelt, MD
Public transportation: The cafe is accessible by Metro Buses G12, 13, 14 and 16 from the Greenbelt Metro station.

July 15, 2019

“Psychedelic Mysticism: The Good Friday Experiment & Beyond”.

Take a trip through the psychedelic 1960’s on Monday, July 15, when the Reel and Meal at the New Deal Cafe screens Psychedelic Mysticism: The Good Friday Experiment & Beyond. The 46-minute documentary will be shown following an optional vegan meal (&14.00), which begins at 6:30pm.  The New Deal Café is located at 113 Centerway in Greenbelt’s Roosevelt Center.

Psychedelic Mysticism chronicles a controversial 1962 experiment in which 10 Boston- area theology students received 30 milligrams each of the powerful drug psilocybin during a Good Friday church service. Psychiatrist Walter Pahnke wanted to know whether psilocybin – a mind-altering substance based on the active ingredient in a Mexican mushroom – really spurred the genuine mystical experiences that Harvard professor Timothy Leary claimed it did.

In Psychedelic Mysticism, Leary’s colleagues Ram Dass, Ralph Metzner, Huston Smith, and Paul Lee – who helped with the experiment – reflect on the pandemonium which then ensued, and an era that shook the status quo to its core.

Pahnke’s ultimate findings would challenge both science and religion. But mind-altering drugs like psilocybin became associated with the era’s turbulence and research funding dried up. By the time of Pahnke’s disappearance in 1971, legal research was ending, and his work seemingly forgotten.

But a 21st century resumption of legal psychedelic research has placed his ground- breaking study in a new light. In Psychedelic Mysticism, renowned Johns Hopkins investigators William Richards and Roland Griffiths explain how Pahnke’s study helped lay the groundwork for their own research into therapeutic use of the powerful drug psilocybin.

Filmmakers Susan and Frank Gervasi will lead a discussion following the film.