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Mind Control Experiments: 6 Shocking Things the CIA Tested on Humans

The CIA is known for all of its mind control experiments that took place during the Cold War. During that time, they believed that communists had discovered a technique or a drug that let them control the minds of humans, and because of this, the CIA decided to start their mind control experiment program called MK-ULTRA.

Chemist Sidney Gottlieb founded and oversaw MK-ULTRA, which ran from the 1950s through the early 1960s. According to the journalist Stephen Kinzer, who studied the program for more than a decade, this was the most supported research in history about mind control and mind control experiments.

Read on and discover some of the most terrifying mind control experiments led by the CIA during the MK-ULTRA program.

mind control experiments
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1. The overseas experiments

During the early 1950s, the Philippines, Japan, and Germany were under heavy American control, and because of this, Gottlieb decided that these countries were perfect locations for overseas CIA detention centers.

But what made these locations so perfect for this purpose? Well, since they were largely influenced by the United States of America, the CIA didn’t need to bother about legal entanglements regarding their brutal mind control experiments.

The CIA officers from Asia and Europe would capture enemy agents, suspects, and people they called “expendable and throw them into cells, keeping them imprisoned. After this, the people were used to test various mind control experiments such as electroshock, extreme temperatures, drugs, and sensory isolation.

And despite being exposed to such torture, the prisoners were also bombarded with questions while the CIA was trying so hard to destroy their human egos. Therefore, these initiatives were created not only to comprehend the human mind but also to learn how to annihilate it.

2. LSD and the mind control experiments

When the CIA scientists became aware of the existence of LSD, they focused all of their attention on this drug and how they could use it to control the human mind. LSD was the obsession of the MK-ULTRA, and Sidney Gottlieb is recognized as the man who brought LSD to America.

He set up the purchase of the world’s entire supply of LSD by the CIA for $240,000 in the early 1950s. Then he spread it to hospitals, prisons, clinics, and other institutions and asked them to conduct research projects for the CIA regarding LSD and how it could be used on people. This is how a series of LSD mind control experiments began.

Now, the volunteers for these tests who started using LSD did so in many cases because they found it to be quite enjoyable. They even discussed their experiences with their friends.

But who were those people? One of them was Ken Kesey, the author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. He managed to take LSD in one of the MK-ULTRA experiments. Also, Robert Hunter of the Grateful Dead was another one, and he later promoted the use of LSD. Those people believed that this drug had some amazing properties and could help humanity in many ways.

The CIA managed to bring LSD into the US, and it is kind of ironic that the drug that was supposed to be used in many mind control experiments became the drug that ignited an entire rebellion against the state and against everything the CIA held dear and defended.

3. The CIA hired Japanese torturers and Nazi doctors in order to learn their methods

If we look at MK-ULTRA in an objective way, we can easily notice that this kind of work began earlier, during WWII, in the Nazi and Japanese concentration camps. What MK-ULTRA was doing was just a continuation of their mind control experiments.

And the CIA was aware of this, and what did they do? They decided to hire torturers and vivisectionists who used to work in Japan and the Nazi concentration camps. They wanted them to explain what they found and later build on their research.

For instance, the CIA was highly interested in learning whether mescaline might be the key to mind control, which was one of their major lines of research given that Nazi scientists had undertaken extensive studies with the drug at the Dachau concentration camp.

More than that, the Nazis had important information about how sarin and other poisonous gases worked. And this is why Nazi doctors came to Fort Detrick in Maryland and lectured the CIA agents and officers about how sarin was working and how long it took for people to die from it.

4. Most of these mind control experiments were unsupervised

The CIA officer conducted the mind-control experiments without any supervision. For example, Gottlieb needed permission from this titular boss and one from the real boss, and he was good to go. And even if he had these permissions, nobody really cared what he was doing. So, this meant that he was allowed to do whatever he wanted.

His human subjects could have been requisitioned anywhere on the globe and in the United States, and he was free to mistreat them however he pleased, even to the point of death. And nobody bats an eye about all of this. He was not requested to file serious files for anyone. Perhaps the mentality at that time was that this project was so important that if they could have succeeded in mind control, this would have been the key to world dominance.

5. MK-ULTRA used to experiment on prisoners

James “Whitey” Bulger, a well-known crime boss, was part of these mind control experiments. When he was imprisoned, he volunteered for an experiment that was said to find the cure for schizophrenia.

James had to take LSD every day for more than a year. And at some point, he managed to realize that the experiment had nothing to do with schizophrenia and was actually an elaborate government-led experiment that wanted to find out what the long-term effects of LSD were on humans.

Later, he talked about the whole experience, and he called it terrific. He stated that he felt that he was going insane and couldn’t do anything about it. After James realized what had happened to him, he promised that he would find the doctor from Atnalnta, who was the head of the experiment, and take his life.

mind control experiments
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6. And the evidence was destroyed

In 1973, the career of Sidney Gottlieb came to an end. The director of the CIA at that time, Richard Helms, was removed by President Nixon. And after this event, Gottlieb was aware that his career at the CIA was coming to an end too, and pretty soon. Aside from that, Helms was basically the only CIA employee who knew what Gottlieb had been up to.

When they realized that they would both be out of the CIA, they decided that the best thing to do was to destroy all the records of MK-ULTRA. But even if Gottlieb requested that the archives destroy all of the MK-ULTRA records, there were still some left in other places. There were many records that were not destroyed, and this is why we know today about some of the stuff that took place in the MK-ULTRA mind control experiments.

Still, his attempt to destroy everything was quite successful. What we know now about this is just a small part of everything that happened.

If you want to find out about the CIA and the MK-ULTRA experiments, this book might be a good start: The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government 

You should also read: 4 Zombie Cases That Already Happened (Explained by Science)


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