Characters in The Stand start unanimously referring to Project Blue as "Captain Trips" about midway through the book. Problem is, I have no clue why they all came to that name. The only Captain Trips of any renown I can find is Jerry Garcia's nickname, which has absolutely no connection to a killer flu virus.

Does anybody know what that name is supposed to represent, or at least where it came from in-universe?

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  • The original Captain Trips was Al Hubbard (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Matthew_Hubbard) but that doesn't help us. – FuzzyBoots Mar 12 '16 at 4:46
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    I just posted a link to this question on a Dark Tower fan page, and asked King's research assistant, Robin Furth, if she knew. I'll share whatever answers I get. – Wad Cheber stands with Monica Mar 12 '16 at 5:31
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    Above and beyond, Wad! Above and beyond! – GGMG-he-him Mar 12 '16 at 9:09
  • I recall reading somewhere that "Captain Trips" was drug slang for a drug hangover, basically how you feel after coming down from an upper. I can't for the life of me remember where I read it though... – Valorum Mar 12 '16 at 11:28
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    @GGMG WOOT! Robin Furth said "I'm not sure - I'll find out and get back to you". Methinks we're about to get the answer from King himself!!! – Wad Cheber stands with Monica Mar 14 '16 at 17:39

They never reveal the origin of it, not in the original short story, "Night Surf", not in any of the book versions of The Stand, not in the TV miniseries, and not in the Captain Trips comic book. Both in "Night Surf" and in The Stand, the name is noted to be popular among teenagers, "...residents that the superflu, known as Captain Trips by the young in most areas...", which suggests that the name does not have an origin in the military project.

The two most likely references are to Jerry Garcia, known by that name for his penchant for sticking LSD in unattended drinks, and Al Hubbard who basically pioneered the use of LSD among humans (it was previously being tested on rats).

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