Late Night: A Spooky Tale

Those of us who remember the revelations of the Church Committee in the 1970s are at least somewhat familiar with the CIA’s Project MK ULTRA, a ghastly program that sponsored research on human subjects carried out by respected professors at prestigious universities.

Senator Edward Kennedy, 1977:

Some 2 years ago, the Senate Health Subcommittee heard chilling testimony about the human experimentation activities of the Central Intelligence Agency. The Deputy Director of the CIA revealed that over 30 universities and institutions were involved in an “extensive testing and experimentation” program which included covert drug tests on unwitting citizens “at all social levels, high and low, native Americans and foreign.” Several of these tests involved the administration of LSD to “unwitting subjects in social situations.”

One example is the CIA-sponsored work of famed personality psychologist Henry Murray at Harvard. Murray used Harvard students to carry out “research” in which he attempted to break down an individual’s defenses:

Henry Murray’s experiment was intended to measure how people react under stress. Murray subjected his unwitting students, including Kaczynski, to intensive interrogation — what Murray himself called “vehement, sweeping, and personally abusive” attacks, assaulting his subjects’ egos and most-cherished ideals and beliefs.

MK ULTRA researchers also famously dosed numerous people with LSD to see how they would react. Murray himself used LSD–he and Timothy Leary were on the Harvard psychology department faculty at the same time–and Murray may have administered the drug to his student subjects, one of whom was named Ted Kaczynski. That’s right, the man who later became the Unibomber.

Anyone who remembers this history could not be surprised by the collaboration of psychologists with the CIA in developing techniques of torture “enhanced interrogation” during the Bush years.

And now, all these years later, according to Raw Story,

A group of military veterans are suing to get the CIA to come clean about allegedly implanting remote control devices in their brains.


A 2009 lawsuit (.pdf) claimed that the CIA intended to design and test septal electrodes that would enable them to control human behavior. The lawsuit said that because the government never disclosed the risks, the subjects were not able to give informed consent.

Bruce Price, one plaintiff in the lawsuit, believes that MRI scans confirm that the CIA placed a device in his brain in 1966.

Recently, US Magistrate Judge James Larson ordered the CIA to:

produce records and testimony regarding the experiments conducted on thousands of soldiers from 1950 through 1975.

Dakinikat may be interested to know that much of this “research” was carried out at Tulane University.

According to the attorney for the Veterans, Gordon P. Erspamer:

papers filed in the case describe “electrical devices implanted in brain tissue with electrodes in various regions, including the hippocampus, the hypothalamus, the frontal lobe (via the septum), the cortex and various other places.”

Tulane claims they can’t produce any documents because they were lost during Hurricane Katrina.

This all sounds nuts, I know. But Jeff Stein, who writes the “Spy Talk” column at the Washington Post writes:

It’s not just science fiction — or the imaginings of the mentally ill.

In 1961, a top CIA scientist reported in an internal memo that “the feasibility of remote control of activities in several species of animals has been demonstrated…Special investigations and evaluations will be conducted toward the application of selected elements of these techniques to man,” according to “The CIA and the Search for the Manchurian Candidate,” a 1979 book by former State Department intelligence officer John Marks.

“[T]his cold-blooded project,” Marks wrote, “was designed … for the delivery of chemical and biological agents or for ‘executive action-type operations,’ according to a document. ‘Executive action’ was the CIA’s euphemism for assassination.”

The CIA pursued such experiments because it was convinced the Soviets were doing the same.

Spooky, huh?

56 Comments on “Late Night: A Spooky Tale”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    More creepy CIA “research” projects

    BTW, anyone who believes the CIA has stopped doing weird experimental stuff is living in a dream world.

    • Sima says:

      At this point, all I’m doing is hoping everyone I love and care for stays under the gubbmint’s radar. And the CIA should be abolished. But then, we’d have the FBI doing it…. err, make that doing it more.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Presidents have been trying to abolish the CIA from the very beginning. Truman tried, Eisenhower despised them, Kennedy threatened to break them up, and look what happened to him. Later Presidents had to be mindful of that.

    • Seriously says:

      Is Henry Murray the same guy who used to dose patients at Boston Psychopathic Hospital with mind altering drugs for “research” and then threaten them with weapons and so on? And some of them got so agitated they jumped out of windows?

      • Woman Voter says:

        Harvard and the Making of the Unabomber

        In the fall of 1958 Theodore Kaczynski, a brilliant but vulnerable boy of sixteen, entered Harvard College. There he encountered a prevailing intellectual atmosphere of anti-technological despair. There, also, he was deceived into subjecting himself to a series of purposely brutalizing psychological experiments — experiments that may have confirmed his still-forming belief in the evil of science. Was the Unabomber born at Harvard? A look inside the files

        by Alston Chase

        There, from the fall of 1959 through the spring of 1962, Harvard psychologists, led by Henry A. Murray, conducted a disturbing and what would now be seen as ethically indefensible experiment on twenty-two undergraduates. To preserve the anonymity of these student guinea pigs, experimenters referred to individuals by code name only. One of these students, whom they dubbed “Lawful,” was Theodore John Kaczynski, who would one day be known as the Unabomber, and who would later mail or deliver sixteen package bombs to scientists, academicians, and others over seventeen years, killing three people and injuring twenty-three.

        It appears Henry Murray experimented on a minor Theodore Kaczynski and the end results of his experiment were not good, but it is amazing that the fact that Kaczynski was 16 is not widely known and that these experiments were allowed at all in Ivy League schools boggles the mind.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I’m not sure. It’s possible. I need to find out more about him. Murray is the guy who invented the Thematic Apperception Test and the theory of needs. He is considered one of the greats.

        I have thought about trying to write a book about him. It’s amazing that all this has been pretty much dumped in the memory whole. You won’t read about his CIA connections in psychology textbooks.

        I do know that Murray was friends with Leary and got drugs from him. Murray liked to go “slumming” at night in the city. I’m not sure where he went–the combat zone maybe?

        • bostonboomer says:

          He came from a very wealthy family and was involved in intelligence during WWII, like George H.W. Bush. He also fell in love with his research assistant and had a long-time love affair with her though he stayed married to his wife. I think the assistant probably was the source of a lot of his ideas.

  2. dakinikat says:

    At Tulane? Whoa … hard to believe they still do this but they do!!!

    • bostonboomer says:

      Funny, huh? It wasn’t just the Ivies that collaborated with the spooks, apparently.

      • dakinikat says:

        I love the Katrina ate our files excuse. I should’ve tried that.

        • bostonboomer says:

          Yeah, that really killed me. I’m sure they destroyed all the files back in the 70s when the CIA deep sixed theirs.

          And history repeats endlessly–these days they’re destroying torture videos.

          • dakinikat says:

            Did you see the wikileaks cables begging the Germans not to make a big deal about the torture adventure during the Dubya years? That was pretty eye popping.

          • bostonboomer says:

            No, I missed that. Do you have a link?

            And did you hear that Wikileaks plans to release files from the pharmaceutical industry in the future?

          • dakinikat says:

            I heard about the bank and the BP stuff, but PHARMA too? oh, that should be really interesting!!!

            bring them all down! hopefully, Wiki takes the refuge offer up in Ecuador and has at it!!!

        • Woman Voter says:

          They didn’t find even some wet ones to excuse them? Wholly Smoke, but to think that the next time they have some weird profile on a person committing violence they may just have to review their files of former experiment participants. To ponder that the government helped to form Ted Kaczynski is too shocking and more so, considering that they didn’t put two and two together to find him, as it was his brother that turned him in after seeing his writings.

          Good grief, so if some ex-soldier says the government ‘implanted’ a device in their respective heads, people might just have to give that some thought before dismissing the idea. 😯 Too shocking, really…

          • bostonboomer says:

            Trust me, there are plenty of these “manchurian candidates.” Sirhan Sirhan was involved in some kind of hypnosis experiments with a doctor who had CIA connections.

            Did you know that Ken Kesey first took LSD as part of a CIA experiment? He didn’t become a murderer, but he changed American society, turning thousands of people on to LSD.

            It was the CIA that let LSD out into the population–so they are partly responsible for the upheavals of the ’60s.

          • Minkoff Minx says:

            Maybe all those people getting abducted by aliens, and having anal probes inserted in their bottom cavities, are really not abducted by aliens, but the CIA.

          • Woman Voter says:


            You are going to have to so a PART II on this post, and we will all scramble looking for the relevant experiments and compare notes on the findings. The ‘Unibomber’ experiment blew my mind, as I can’t recall reading that and I know I wasn’t aware that he was a minor, subjected to inhumane acts. I wonder if those that did the experiments knew he was the Unibomber but fell silent so as to offer themselves cover for a longer period of time.

      • Dario says:

        When we think of human experiments, we think of the Nazis. Dr. John Charles Cutler, and his helpers, experimented with blacks, prisoners and Guatemalans. Nobody has been indicted for those experiments. The doctor died in 2003, ten years after the experiments became public. It’s disgusting.

        • dakinikat says:

          The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment–not ending until 1972–did away with any naive thought I had that the our government was benign. One has to Godwin on that. No other choice.

          • bostonboomer says:

            Yup. During the Bush administration, the government funded experiments in which families with children were exposed to pesticides.

          • Woman Voter says:

            On April 8, 2005, Johnson cancelled the study while he was awaiting Senate confirmation as EPA Administrator after the program was criticized. Johnson himself was also heavily criticized for his record of supporting the use of human test subjects in pesticide experiments when he was EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Toxic Substances.

            The study took place in Duval County, Florida, a region chosen for its year round use of pesticides and for its high concentration of pesticides. To qualify, the family had to have a confirmed history of residential pesticide use, a child under the age of 13 months, and agree to continue residential use of pesticides.

            Participating families were promised monetary compensation (up to $970), a study t-shirt, a framed Certificate of Appreciation, a study bib for the baby, a calendar, a study newsletter, and a camcorder.

            So, the study was stopped because Johnson was looking to be promoted and someone got wind of what he had been up to. I am shocked, as I had no idea any of this was going on.

    • mablue2 says:

      Should Julian Assange fear for is life?

      I almost said good morning, but most of you are now going to bed.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I think he’s probably on Obama’s assassination list, don’t you?

      • dakinikat says:

        did you see that Ecuador offered him refuge and a place to spill whatever he has? I’m wondering if I should seek asylum there too.

        Todos estamos de Quito ahora.

        • dakinikat says:

          with apologies to JFK

        • Dario says:

          Assange should stay in Sweden, even if he has to go to court over the sex charges. That country gives him the most protection. I think to move to Ecuador is more risky. One should not generalize, but I think a Swede has a stronger sense of righteousness and would not sell himself as easily as an Ecuadorean.

          • Dario says:

            What I mean, is that it would be easier for the U.S. government to get an Ecuadorean operative to go after Assange.

          • Sima says:

            I agree, because I think the USA has more power and operatives in Ecuador. Sweden has a history of ‘non-compliance’ so to speak. Maybe he should move to Norway or Finland.

          • Pips says:

            Assange applied for but was denied permit to live and work in Sweden.

            But I do want him to go to Sweden where the Prosecution Authorities unsuccessfully for months have tried to get him in for questioning. (He magnanimously has offered to testify by phone! An offer the prosecution has rejected.)

            I can’t imagine what these last months – the endless waiting – have been like for the two women involved, knowing that they have been outed and harassed on blogs and in real life. I guess the lesson should be: Don’t report rape and/or sexual assault, at least not if the alleged perpetrator is a “celebrity”!?

          • bostonboomer says:

            Assange hasn’t been in Sweden. He apparently travels around. He was offered protection by Iceland awhile back.

      • Woman Voter says:

        I am up, too wired emotionally (sold my house), and can’t sleep.

        So, yes, I think Assange is in hot territory right about now and can’t go home to Australia either. What to do, what to do…as he must ponder what is next, but I am sure he took that into consideration. Albeit, I can’t see what benefit a lot of chit chat stuff has, except that it makes it authentic, but is causing issues as now they are developing a program to help reporters search the files, so that they aren’t led, I imagine.

        It is a mere to much, as it is as if to say, have at it…then they realize it is 2.8 million pages. 😯

        • Zaladonis says:

          Happy you sold your house?

        • Sima says:

          Divorce is so tough. It brings so many welcome and unwelcome changes. The house selling is one of them. I’m sorry you have to go through it, and hope things start looking up right away and you find another wonderful house!

          • Woman Voter says:

            I think in about two years, or so, once I get through this bit first, and I am thinking a condo in the city (new adventure). I don’t think I will have such a nice house again though, down sizing is tough.

        • Laurie says:

          Good luck WV-make sure your husband doesn’t get all of the house money…

          • Woman Voter says:

            It is too painful to tell you who is, but any hoo, I still have my work and still continuing with my education as I will need to transition into a less stressful/ less physical work ideal but within the general area of knowledge. Women are transitioning more, especially since the CAT COMMISSION will have us retire at 70+, while they collect Social Security and multiple pensions and work as lobbyists.

            Thanks for the good thoughts.

        • janicen says:

          Woman Voter, I don’t know how to get this to nest to reply to you, but I’m sending warm thoughts about what you are going through with your divorce and the sale of your house. I’ve been through it, and it’s definitely tough, but it’s so worth it. Your next house may not be as big or as fancy, but it will be filled with love and happiness, and that’s so much better. I’ll take the love over the house any day of the week.

          • Woman Voter says:


            Thank you Janicen, truly touched by all the good thoughts. When you put your heart into a home, building every piece of it and in a way it takes part of your personality. Everyone commented on how it looked so international, some described it as Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Spanish, but it was just all a conglomerate of designs of things I loved and colors that warmed the heart…no formal designer, except love. One real estate agent said it was a artists home, and that it was…

            Thanks again.

    • Sima says:

      Go, Julian, Go!

      I think he should look into, if he can, spilling these secrets about CIA testing and so on. The shock wave would be felt more in the US than the diplomatic secrets release.

      • Woman Voter says:

        The leak sure has made the James Bond films look silly though, as in most, they are risking life and limb to get ONE communication out, here they sent out 2.8 million pages…lordi… 😯

  3. Woman Voter says:

    guardiannews|Let sex offenders adopt and work with children, says report #UK family law expert needs head examined!

    Unbelievable, what some ‘expert’ is suggesting in his report with regard to children and their safety and advocating putting them at risk so as not to ‘offend’ the sex offenders. Sheesh, one wonders what these ‘experts’ are smoking.

  4. paper doll says:

    Sorry WV!