Nov 18, 2022 I Nick Redfern

Digging Deeper Into the World of Mind-Control and MK-Ultra

When it comes to the controversial matter of the widespread control of the population – maybe even on a worldwide scale – one issue which inevitably and so often rears its ugly head is that of mind-control. Much has been said and written about this inflammatory issue, some of it understating the threat and some overstating it. The fact is, though, that mind-control is a very real threat to everyone. Everyone, that is, apart from those in power who are calling the shots. And as our technology advances, it becomes ever easier for those who want to control and enslave us to achieve their disturbing aims. And it is an agenda that has been going on for a long time. Indeed, some of the most groundbreaking work was undertaken at the height of the Second World War. All of which brings us to one Dr. George Estabrooks, PhD. A groundbreaking character in the field of mind-control, Estabrooks was the Chairman of the Department of Psychology at Colgate University, which is located in Hamilton, New York. Less than one year after the tragic events at Pearl Harbor occurred, Estabrooks gave a fascinating – but also disturbing – presentation before senior personnel from the U.S. War Department. He made no bones about the fact that a mind-controlled group of operatives could wreak havoc within the United States. In Estabrooks’ own words: “Two hundred trained foreign operators, working in the United States, could develop a uniquely dangerous army of hypnotically controlled Sixth Columnists.”

Estabrooks knew what he was talking about: he had carefully studied attempts by military agencies to harness control of the mind as far back as the First World War of 1914-1918. On this specific issue, Estabrooks told the War Department: “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.”

(CIA) MK-Ultra: Mind-Control

Estabrooks’ statement shook the military: it was becoming clearer and clearer that when it came to the matter of the mind, there were huge stakes at issue. Controlling the mind just might dictate who, ultimately, just might rule the planet. It was as a result of Estabrooks’ words – which both shocked and intrigued the military and the intelligence community in equal measures – that, when the hostilities with the Nazis were over, in 1945, steps were taken to further explore the mysteries of the mind and how it could be molded, manipulated and, ultimately, completely controlled. Before we get to that post-war era, however, let’s return to Estabrooks. His research into the enigmas of the mind weren’t exclusive to the turmoil-filled years of the Second World War. In fact, quite the opposite. In 1971, just over a quarter of a century after the war with Hitler came to its end, Estabrooks made it very clear just how many advances he had made in this particular arena. His words were spelled out in the April 1971 issue of Science Digest, a magazine no longer in print and which closed its doors in 1986. In his article – “Hypnosis Comes of Age” – he wrote: “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.“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.” History, and the Freedom of Information Act, have shown that the CIA took a deep interest in Estabrook’s 1971 article – which is not surprising, given that Agency personnel had their very own mind-control program. Its name: MKUltra. Nineteen-Forty-Seven was the year in which one of the world’s most powerful intelligence-gathering agencies was created. Its name: the Central Intelligence Agency, better known as the CIA. Or, as it’s known in the intelligence community, “The Company.” During the Second World War, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was the primary intelligence-gathering agency of the U.S. Government. In the immediate post-war era, however, the OSS was closed down. It was replaced, in 1946, by the Central Intelligence Group. Then, in September 1947, following the passing of the National Security Act on July 26, 1947, the CIA came into existence.

(CIA) MK-Ultra: Some portions deleted...

Much of the CIA’s work was focused upon keeping a deep and careful watch on what the Soviets were doing on the world stage – espionage, political assassinations, and infiltration very much being the order of the day. There was, however, a then-small body of people – scientists, chemists, and experts in the field of hypnosis – who were daring to venture into areas that few had ever negotiated: the inner depths of the human mind. While the very earliest years of mind-control research on the part of the CIA made a few advances, it was not until the 1940s gave way to a new decade that things really began to take off big time. It was the 1950s which gave birth to MKUltra, certainly the most controversial mind-control-based program of all time. And it was all “thanks” to the CIA’s Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI). To demonstrate the incredible secrecy that surrounded MKUltra, it’s worth noting that the existence of the program remained hidden – and hidden incredibly successfully – until the 1970s. Specifically 1975. That was when the Rockefeller Commission and the Church Committee started to dig very deep and headed off into the heart of a very strange rabbit-hole. But, it wasn’t filled with rabbits. Rather, it was overflowing with mind-altering cocktails, LSD, powerful psychedelics, and brain-frying drugs. One of the things that particularly concerned both the Commission and the Committee was the rumor – which had a great deal of circumstantial data to support it – that some of those who had been subjected to the CIA’s mind-bending technologies were not captured Russian spies, but U.S. citizens – some taken from hospitals and prisons and “made to volunteer” to take part in the programs. Human guinea-pigs, in other words. Tales of unfortunate deaths in the early 1950s proliferated, as those unfortunate souls subjected to MKULtra’s work had their minds scrambled and took their own lives – or, we are led to believe they took their own lives.

Possibly anticipating that MKUltra would likely not stay hidden forever, in 1973 the then-Director of the CIA, Richard Helms, took a decision to have all the original MKUltra research files destroyed. This might sound strange, but there was method in the madness: the early 1970s were two decades after MKUltra began. By 1973, the MKUltra programs were well and truly perfected. As a result, there was no need for the original research papers to be kept. And keeping them only increased the possibility that, one day, they would reach the public domain. So, Helms ordered the gigantic stash to be burned. Fortunately, some files survived the destruction order; something which has allowed us to take at least a significant peek into the world of MKUltra. It was thanks to those surviving files – and various former CIA officials who came forward to testify – that in August 1977 The Senate MK-Ultra Hearings – put together by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committee on Human Resources – surfaced; a huge document that told the story of MKUltra. Or, at least, the available story. The Senate Select Committee reported the following:

“Research and development programs to find materials which could be used to alter human behavior were initiated in the late 1940s and early 1950s. These experimental programs originally included testing of drugs involving witting human subjects, and culminated in tests using unwitting, non-volunteer human subjects. These tests were designed to determine the potential effects of chemical or biological agents when used operationally against individuals unaware that they had received a drug.” On the matter of the secrecy surrounding the program, the Committee had the following to say: “The testing programs were considered highly sensitive by the intelligence agencies administering them. Few people, even within the agencies, knew of the programs and there is no evidence that either the Executive Branch or Congress were ever informed of them. The highly compartmented nature of these programs may be explained in part by an observation made by the CIA Inspector General that, ‘the knowledge that the Agency is engaging in unethical and illicit activities would have serious repercussions in political and diplomatic circles and would be detrimental to the accomplishment of its missions.’”

And as the Committee starkly noted: “While some controlled testing of these substances might be defended, the nature of the tests, their scale, and the fact that they were continued for years after the danger of surreptitious administration of LSD to unwitting individuals was known, demonstrate a fundamental disregard for the value of human life.” The Committee was hardly done with mind-control, however: it was only getting started. Other revelations and criticisms dominated the extensive report. The Select Committee’s investigation of the testing and use of chemical and biological agents also raised serious questions about the adequacy of command and control procedures within the Central Intelligence Agency and military intelligence, and also about the nature of the relationships among the intelligence agencies, other governmental agencies, and private institutions and individuals that were also allied to the early mind-control studies. 

For example, the Committee was highly disturbed to learn that with respect to the mind-control and mind-manipulation projects, the CIA’s normal administrative controls were controversially – and completely - waived for programs involving chemical and biological agents – supposedly to protect their security; but more likely to protect those CIA personnel who knew they were verging upon (if not outright surpassing) breaking the law. But it is perhaps the following statement from the Committee that demonstrates the level of controversy that surrounded – and that still surrounds – the issue of mind-control-based projects: “The decision to institute one of the Army’s LSD field testing projects had been based, at least in part, on the finding that no long-term residual effects had ever resulted from the drug’s administration. The CIA’s failure to inform the Army of a death which resulted from the surreptitious administration of LSD to unwitting Americans, may well have resulted in the institution of an unnecessary and potentially lethal program.” The Committee added: “The development, testing, and use of chemical and biological agents by intelligence agencies raises serious questions about the relationship between the intelligence community and foreign governments, other agencies of the Federal Government, and other institutions and individuals. The questions raised range from the legitimacy of American complicity in actions abroad which violate American and foreign laws to the possible compromise of the integrity of public and private institutions used as cover by intelligence agencies.”

(Nick Redfern) The U.S. National Archives, where many files on mind-control can be found

Then there was Projects Bluebird and Artichoke, as the Committee noted: “The earliest of the CIA’s major programs involving the use of chemical and biological agents, Project Bluebird, was approved by the Director in 1950. Its objectives were: (a) discovering means of conditioning personnel to prevent unauthorized extraction of information from them by known means, (b) investigating the possibility of control of an individual by application of special interrogation techniques, (c) memory enhancement, and (d) establishing defensive means for preventing hostile control of Agency personnel.” The Committee added with respect to Bluebird: “As a result of interrogations conducted overseas during the project, another goal was added - the evaluation of offensive uses of unconventional interrogation techniques, including hypnosis and drugs. In August 1951, the project was renamed Artichoke. Project Artichoke included in-house experiments on interrogation techniques, conducted ‘under medical and security controls which would ensure that no damage was done to individuals who volunteer for the experiments. Overseas interrogations utilizing a combination of sodium pentothal and hypnosis after physical and psychiatric examinations of the subjects were also part of Artichoke.” Very eye-opening is this from the Committee: “Information about Project Artichoke after the fall of 1953 is scarce. The CIA maintains that the project ended in 1956, but evidence suggests that Office of Security and Office of Medical Services use of ‘special interrogation’ techniques continued for several years thereafter.” 

A special procedure, designated MKDelta, was established to govern the use of MKUltra materials when specifically utilized in overseas operations. Such materials were used on a number of occasions. According to the Committee: “Because MKUltra records were destroyed, it is impossible to reconstruct the operational use of MKUltra materials by the CIA overseas; it has been determined that the use of these materials abroad began in 1953, and possibly as early as 1950. The Committee revealed more on MKDelta: “Drugs were used primarily as an aid to interrogations, but MKUltra/MKDelta materials were also used for harassment, discrediting, or disabling purposes. According to an Inspector General Survey of the Technical Services Division of the CIA in 1957 - an inspection which did not discover the MKUltra project involving the surreptitious administration of LSD to unwitting, non-volunteer subjects - the CIA had developed six drugs for operational use and they had been used in six different operations on a total of thirty-three subjects. By 1963 the number of operations and subjects had increased substantially.” Aside from the Central Intelligence Agency, the Committee learned that the U.S. Army was up to its neck in mind-control-related projects, too. In its 1977 report, the Committee wrote: “There were three major phases in the Army’s testing of LSD. In the first, LSD was administered to more than 1,000 American soldiers who volunteered to be subjects in chemical warfare experiments. In the second phase, Material Testing Program EA 1729, 95 volunteers received LSD in clinical experiments designed to evaluate potential intelligence uses of the drug. In the third phase, Projects Third Chance and Derby Hat, 16 unwitting non-volunteer subjects were interrogated after receiving LSD as part of operational field tests.”

Then, there was the matter of Project Chatter: “Project Chatter was a Navy program that began in the fall of 1947. Responding to reports of amazing results achieved by the Soviets in using truth drugs, the program focused on the identification and the testing of such drugs for use in interrogations and in the recruitment of agents. The research included laboratory experiments on animals and human subjects involving Anabasis aphylla, scopolamine, and mescaline in order to determine their speech-inducing qualities. Overseas experiments were conducted as part of the project. The project expanded substantially during the Korean War, and ended shortly after the war, in 1953.” MKNaomi was one more program on which the committee uncovered a great deal. There was also MKNaomi. Its goals went as follows: (a) To provide for a covert support base to meet clandestine operational requirements; (b) To stockpile severely incapacitating and lethal materials for the specific use of TSD [Technical Services Division]; (c) To maintain in operational readiness special and unique items for the dissemination of biological and chemical materials; (d) To provide for the required surveillance, testing, upgrading, and evaluation of materials and items in order to assure absence of defects and complete predictability of results to be expected under operational conditions.

Under an agreement reached with the Army in 1952, the Special Operations Division (SOD) at Fort Detrick was to assist CIA in developing, testing, and maintaining biological agents and delivery systems – some of which were directly related to mind-control experimentation. By this agreement, the CIA finally acquired the knowledge, skill, and facilities of the Army to develop biological weapons specifically suited for CIA use. The Committee also noted: “SOD developed darts coated with biological agents and pills containing several different biological agents which could remain potent for weeks or months. SOD developed a special gun for firing darts coated with a chemical which could allow CIA agents to incapacitate a guard dog, enter an installation secretly, and return the dog to consciousness when leaving. SOD scientists were unable to develop a similar incapacitant [sic] for humans. SOD also physically transferred to CIA personnel biological agents in ‘bulk’ form, and delivery devices, including some containing biological agents.” In addition to the CIA’s interest in using biological weapons and mind-control against humans, it also asked SOD to study use of biological agents against crops and animals. In its 1967 memorandum, the CIA stated:

“Three methods and systems for carrying out a covert attack against crops and causing severe crop loss have been developed and evaluated under field conditions. This was accomplished in anticipation of a requirement which was later developed but was subsequently scrubbed just prior to putting into action.” The Committee concluded with respect to MKNaomi that the project was “…terminated in 1970. On November 25, 1969, President Nixon renounced the use of any form of biological weapons that kill or incapacitate and ordered the disposal of existing stocks of bacteriological weapons. On February 14, 1970, the President clarified the extent of his earlier order and indicated that toxins - chemicals that are not living organisms but are produced by living organisms - were considered biological weapons subject to his previous directive and were to be destroyed. Although instructed to relinquish control of material held for the CIA by SOD, a CIA scientist acquired approximately 11 grams of shellfish toxin from SOD personnel at Fort Detrick which were stored in a little-used CIA laboratory where it went undetected for five years.” That latter point suggests that the controversial work wasn't quite over.

NOTE: Both of those MK-Ultra documents were released into the public domain by the U.S. Government.

Nick Redfern

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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