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Dr. Peter Witt, medical researcher
BY STEVE SWINDELL STAff WRITER maGH–·Dr-PeterN;·Witt, who·· became world-famous for his research with spiders and psyche delic drugs and was known in the ‘lnangle for his exotic menagerie in Knightdale, died ‘1\tesda)t He was 80. “He was a man of courage when it was dangerous to be so, of bold. ness in his experiments and of generosity with his colleagues, students and friends,” said Charles Reed of Philadelphia, who worked with Witt in the 1960s and remained a friend for the rest of Witt’s life. Bom in :Berlin, Witt was educat ed in Germany and Austria and was studying medicine·at the University of Tuebingen during World Warn. When he was given a German army Wliform and ordered to the Russian front, he burned the clothing and joined an underground group of doctors who treated civilian casu alties of the Allied bombing campaigns on German cities. After the war, he moved to Bem, Switzerland, where a Life magazine article drew the world’s attention to.Witt’s work involving spiders. He discovered that psychoactive e had done in his leisure time. He moved his family to a 35-acre farm in Knightdale, where he raised sheep, goats and a variety of exotic .\ animals, including the guanaco, a large llamalike bird, that escaped from the farm and became a local legend. I When Witt realized that he could ‘. no longer lift a bale of hay, he bought a house in the Cameron Village area. He later built anoth- er house in the same area and cul- tivat.ed a wild garden. Among his lifelong interests were art, music and entertaining friends and neighbors at his home. He pJa.ved cello and once inherit.eel and sold a van Gogh painting. “He was a man interested in a great many things, bis research, his art, his music, family and friends.” Reed said. Witt is survived by his wife, Inge; and two daught.ers, Elise and Mary. ·, In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Raleigh Chamber Music Guild and the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Duke