Jan 07, 2023 I Nick Redfern

The Roswell UFO Affair and MK-Ultra Operations Combined: Very Sinister Sagas

Although the U.S. intelligence community, military and government has undertaken countless official (and off-the-record, too) projects pertaining to both mind-control and mind-manipulation, without any doubt whatsoever, the most notorious of all was Project MKUltra: a clandestine operation that operated out of the CIA’s Office of Scientific Intelligence, and that had its beginnings in the Cold War era of the early 1950s (it should be noted tht. The date of the project’s actual termination is a somewhat hazy one; however, it is known that it was definitely in operation as late as the latter part of the 1960s – and, not surprisingly and regretfully, has since been replaced by far more controversial and deeply hidden projects.To demonstrate the level of secrecy that surrounded Project MKUltra, even though it had kicked off at the dawn of the fifties, its existence was largely unknown outside of the intelligence world until 1975 – when the Church Committee and the Rockefeller Commission began making their own investigations of the CIA’s mind-control-related activities – in part to determine if (a) the CIA had engaged in illegal activity, (b) the personal rights of citizens had been violated, and (c) if the projects at issue had resulted in fatalities – which they most assuredly and unfortunately did. With that said, let's see what all of this has to do with the Roswell affair of July 1947? And one other thing: before MK-Ultra was in place, mind-control was already in place. That's something I'll talk about soon.

The story that unfolded was both dark and disturbing – in equal degrees. Indeed, the scope of the project – and allied operations, too – was spelled out in an August 1977 document titled The Senate MK-Ultra Hearings that was prepared by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committee on Human Resources, as a result of its probing into the secret world of the CIA. As the document explained: “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.” The Committee then turned its attention to the overwhelming secrecy that surrounded these early 1940s/1950s projects: “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. 

(Central Intelligence Agency) The MK-Ultra files that are still around, are now in the public domain, thanks to the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

“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. The research and development programs, and particularly the covert testing programs, resulted in massive abridgments of the rights of American citizens, and sometimes with tragic consequences, too. As prime evidence of this, the Committee uncovered details on the deaths of two Americans that were firmly attributed to the programs at issue; while other participants in the testing programs were said to still be suffering from the residual effects of the tests as late as the mid-1970s." 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.” 

While MKUltra was certainly the most infamous of all the CIA-initiated mind-control programs, it was very far from being an isolated one. Indeed, numerous sub-projects, post-projects and operations initiated by other agencies were brought to the Committee’s attention. One was Project Chatter, which the Committee described thus: “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.” Then there was Projects Bluebird and Artichoke. Again, the Committee dug deep and uncovered some controversial and eye-opening data and testimony: “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.”

(Nick Redfern) Mind-manipulation and the world's most famous UFO case.

Now, we come to the matter of the Roswell event and mind-control and manipulation. The late Frank Joyce was a well-known figure in the saga of what did, or didn't, happen on the Foster ranch, Lincoln County, New Mexico in early July 1947. At the time of the Roswell event, Joyce was a radio announcer with KGFL, which covered Roswell. He was also the very first person in the media - local or national - to speak with rancher, W.W. Brazel, who found the curious materials. The story goes that Brazel told Joyce that it was not just a huge amount of debris he found, but a number of dead bodies, too. That's when all hell broke loose. Threats were made by a high-ranking officer somewhere in D.C. The staff at KGFL were warned to cease digging into Roswell, and to keep the story off the airwaves. As in permanently. The station's Walt Whitmore, Sr. and Jud Roberts were both threatened. As was Frank Joyce, who did not take kindly to being pushed around. The above issues aside, there is a lesser known - and much weirder - aspect to Joyce's claims. Yes, you can find the story/aspect if you look around (it actually goes back quite a while), but certain portions of the tale still remain shrouded in mystery. Roswell author-investigator Kevin Randle and I email back and forth and from time to time. On March 16 of this year, Kevin shared with me what he personally knew about that certain aspect of the Joyce story. It all revolves around a strange character that Joyce called "The Traveler." It goes like this...

In the wake of the threat made to the people at KGFL - we're talking about just a couple of days later - Walt Whitmore, Sr., had a strange request for Joyce. He asked Joyce to get in his (Whitmore's) car with him. Randle states that Jud Roberts may have been in the car too, but admittedly that's not precisely clear. Their destination, Joyce found out, was due to be the Roswell crash site, over in Lincoln County. Joyce sat in the front, with Whitmore driving. Joyce apparently didn't at first realize that there was someone else in the back-seat. It was the man who became known as "The Traveler." Very bizarrely, according to Joyce, "The Traveler" was dressed in either a gold-colored or bright-yellow suit; not unlike a flight-suit. As Kevin jokingly told me, a Man in Gold, rather than a Man in Black. Now, things get even more surreal. Could they get more surreal? Yep, for sure. Joyce found himself plunged into a definitively drugged-out state. A trance, even. In his mind-warped state, Joyce thought he was communicating with "The Traveler" by some kind of mind-to-mind process. Or, maybe, Joyce was so stoned that this was how it appeared to him.

On arrival, Kevin told me that Whitmore (and, of course, Roberts, if he was indeed with them) entered the Brazel home. Joyce, however, was instructed by Whitmore to hang out in a nearby shack, which drugged-out Joyce did. Brazel then entered the shack, begging Joyce not to say anything else about what happened on the ranch. Joyce, even though things probably still didn't feel quite right, could see how stressed out Brazel was and agreed to let matters rest. When Joyce got back to the car, "The Traveler" was nowhere to be seen. In their 2016 book, The Children of Roswell, Tom Carey and Don Schmitt state that the military was apparently "...still not sufficiently convinced by Joyce's pledge not to say anything, as he was shortly thereafter gathered up and physically removed to a military hospital in Texas for the next year." It all occurred under deeply unclear circumstances. Kevin states that Joyce was taken to a "mental hospital," which mirrors the story of Stanley Glickman, who reacted adversely to the mysterious drink that he gulped down and which left him with emotional problems for years. The story isn't finished, however. There is more about Roswell and mind-manipulation.

(Nick Redfern) From Roswell secrets to mind-control secrets.

Moving on, there is the even less well-known saga of a man named Conrad Zerbe. His name rarely surfaces and he is someone who even most Roswell researchers have failed to pay much attention to. Few researchers ever interviewed the now-dead Zerbe; although Bill Moore did in late 1983. Zerbe's link to the Roswell saga revolves around the matter of a certain, large number of photographs taken out at the crash site of the whatever-it-was that came down on the ranch in the summer of '47. A Roland S. Cliff, a Colonel Loomis, a Mr. Bohanon, and a Captain Ed Guill were in the know, when it came to (A) the matter of what happened and (B) who knew what the photos really showed. In 1980, when the Moore-Berlitz-Moore book, The Roswell Incident, was published and received publicity, Zerbe mused on the possibility of revealing what he knew. Before he had the chance to do so, however, one day in late 1980 there was a knock at the door of his California-based home. Zerbe opened the door and was confronted by a plain-clothes man who flashed government I.D. Thirty-three-years after Roswell, Zerbe was what is, today, termed a "person of interest." Zerbe was told he was not in any trouble, but (there's always a but in these situations...) the man added that he knew Zerbe had expressed a desire to go public (how he knew is anyone's guess). It would not be a wise move, Zerbe was told. He got the message - even though it was a very brief message. No explanation was given as to why Zerbe should stay silent, when people like retired Major Jesse Marcel had not been threatened. In all probability, it was due to the fact that Zerbe knew precisely what the photos showed, too - just like certain colleagues at the old Roswell base in '47.

Somewhat oddly the man in the suit had brought with him a couple of sodas. He significantly lightened up, too, and he quickly changed the subject to what Zerbe had been up to since he left the service, years earlier. Maybe five or six minutes after chugging back the soda Zerbe began to feel strange. He was spaced-out and found himself rambling on to the man and answering his every question without hesitation. He was hit by vertigo and vaguely heard voices in his head. It was whispered mumbling that he could not understand. And then? Nothing. Zerbe had no recollection of the rest of the conversation, or of what happened to the man. He never saw him again, though. It was as if around thirty minutes of time had been wiped from existence. Zerbe suspected, though, that as the soda was bottled, and with screw-tops, that something mind-warping had been surreptitiously put in the drink before the man called and the bottle-top had been carefully replaced and tightened. Zerbe also wondered if after the chemicals hit hard, the man returned the conversation back to Roswell. Although, admittedly, this was just Zerbe speculating. So, we have yet more stories of people finding themselves in curious situations and having their minds played with - all specifically "thanks" to certain drinks given to them by mysterious figures. Have we heard the end of all this? Probably not.

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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