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Mind Control and Hypnosis: Long Before MK-Ultra was on the Scene

When the term “mind-control” surfaces its head, it almost always brings up the term “MK-Ultra.” It was the CIA’s program designed to determine just how far the human mind could be controlled and warped. Here’s a brief description of the project from History: “MK-Ultra was a top-secret CIA project in which the agency conducted hundreds of clandestine experiments—sometimes on unwitting U.S. citizens—to assess the potential use of LSD and other drugs for mind control, information gathering and psychological torture. Though Project MK-Ultra lasted from 1953 until about 1973, details of the illicit program didn’t become public until 1975, during a congressional investigation into widespread illegal CIA activities within the United States and around the world.” It’s important to note, though that although MK-Ultra was the most well-known project, it certainly wasn’t the first. Consider, for example, the following:

“I can hypnotize a man, without his knowledge or consent, into committing treason against the United States,” asserted Dr. George Estabrooks, PH.D, and chairman of the Department of Psychology at Colgate University, way back in 1942, and before a select group of personnel attached to the United States’ War Department. Estabrooks added: “Two hundred trained foreign operators, working in the United States, could develop a uniquely dangerous army of hypnotically controlled Sixth Columnists.” Estabrooks’ piece-de-resistance, however, was to capitalize on an ingenious plan that had been postulated as far back as the First World War. As he explained: “During World War One, a leading psychologist made a startling proposal to the navy. He offered to take a submarine steered by a captured U-boat captain, placed under his hypnotic control, through enemy mine fields to attack the German fleet. Washington nixed the stratagem as too risky. First, because there was no disguised method by which the captain’s mind could be outflanked. Second, because today’s technique of day-by-day breaking down of ethical conflicts brainwashing was still unknown. The indirect approach to hypnotism would, I believe, change the navy’s answer today. Personally, I am convinced that hypnosis is a bristling, dangerous armament which makes it doubly imperative to avoid the war of tomorrow.”

A perfect example of the way in which the will of a person could be completely controlled and manipulated was amply and graphically spelled out in an article that Dr. George Estabrooks wrote in April 1971 for the now–defunct publication Science Digest. Titled Hypnosis Comes of Age, it stated the following: “Communication in war is always a headache. Codes can be broken. A professional spy may or may not stay bought. Your own man may have unquestionable loyalty, but his judgment is always open to question. The ‘hypnotic courier,’ on the other hand, provides a unique solution. I was involved in preparing many subjects for this work during World War II. One successful case involved an Army Service Corps Captain whom we’ll call George Smith. Captain Smith had undergone months of training. He was an excellent subject but did not realize it. I had removed from him, by post-hypnotic suggestion, all recollection of ever having been hypnotized. First I had the Service Corps call the captain to Washington and tell him they needed a report of the mechanical equipment of Division X headquartered in Tokyo. Smith was ordered to leave by jet next morning, pick up the report and return at once. Consciously, that was all he knew, and it was the story he gave to his wife and friends.”

Estabrooks continued: “Then I put him under deep hypnosis, and gave him – orally – a vital message to be delivered directly on his arrival in Japan to a certain colonel – let’s say his name was Brown – of military intelligence. Outside of myself, Colonel Brown was the only person who could hypnotize Captain Smith. This is ‘locking.’ I performed it by saying to the hypnotized Captain: ‘Until further orders from me, only Colonel Brown and I can hypnotize you. We will use a signal phrase the moon is clear. Whenever you hear this phrase from Brown or myself you will pass instantly into deep hypnosis.’ ‘When Captain Smith re-awakened, he had no conscious memory or what happened in trance. All that he was aware of was that he must head for Tokyo to pick up a division report. On arrival there, Smith reported to Brown, who hypnotized him with the signal phrase. Under hypnosis, Smith delivered my message and received one to bring back. Awakened, he was given the division report and returned home by jet. There I hypnotized him once more with the signal phrase, and he spieled off Brown’s answer that had been dutifully tucked away in his unconscious mind.”

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Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.
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