By: Elijah O’Donnell
In honour of the brain issue, we’re writing about one of the craziest mind-altering experiment conspiracies ever: Project MK Ultra.
The project was a series of experiments (many of which were illegal) on human subjects conducted by the CIA. The goal was to develop drugs and procedures for mind control to use in interrogations to force suspects to confess.
When MK Ultra was uncovered in 1977, one of the most shocking experiments was the hypnosis.
Running from 1953 to 1973, MK Ultra held eight different hypnosis studies. Two of these studies used drugs to attempt to seize control of someone’s mind. The studies set out to try and induce anxiety in people, study the relationship between personality and the subconscious self, and to help with learning and recalling complex information.
The Canadian Experiments
Believe it or not, some of the nastiest experiments took place right here on Canadian soil. From 1957 to 1964, Donald Cameron was a Scottish psychiatrist who conducted tests at McGill University. These tests included “psychic driving” where one was paralyzed with drugs and made to listen to hours and hours of repetitive phrases.
He also attempted to blank our conscious personality through electroshock, sensory deprivation and LSD. He did this to try and create a human who could be rewritten with a new character. People who were coming in for headaches and anxiety left with personality disorders and amnesia.
Operation Midnight Climax
Operation Midnight Climax, though not as exciting as it sounds, was probably the most insane experiment to come from MK Ultra. It all started with the CIA getting female escorts to administer drugs to their clients while the CIA watched from afar.
This eventually went from sex workers to busboys, as the CIA expanded its reaches from bedrooms to beaches, bars and local food joints. The program was shut down after Frank Olson, a U.S. biological warfare specialist mysteriously “fell” from his 10th-floor hotel room.