Between the 1950s and early 1970s, the CIA roped several unsuspecting mental patients and innocent citizens into their sick mind control experiments, and almost all of them involved secretly dosing people with massive amounts of LSD.

Project MK Ultra

If there's one CIA experiment that can easily be called evil, it's Project MK-ULTRA. The experiment started as a CIA-funded project to learn about mind control, and was led primarily by Dr. Ewen Cameron. Cameron started the first mind-control experiment in 1957, and aimed to "depattern" individuals by erasing their memory. Cameron believed if he could reduce a patient's mind to that of an infant, he could then rebuild the mind in any fashion he liked.

The Nazi Connection

But before Project MK-ULTRA could get rolling, the CIA recruited a bunch of Nazi scientists to help get their human experiments up and running. In what is known as Operation Paperclip, the U.S. government teamed up with British organizations to search for Nazi scientists at the end of World War II. The two countries went about confiscating documents at research facilities and eventually came across the Osenberg List.

Scientists From The Osenberg List

Wikipedia: Wikimedia Commons

The Osenberg List was a long, convenient list of scientists, researchers, and engineers who had helped conduct experiments for the Third Reich. The list contained around 1,600 German scientists, and they were brought to America to work for the U.S. during the Cold War. While the U.S. government had a strict understanding with the CIA that Nazi supporters would not be supported, this would have excluded many of the scientists. The CIA wiped Nazi connections, clearing any former supporters of their charges, and thus approving them for work on projects like MK-ULTRA.

Treating Schizophrenic Patients With LSD

Wikipedia: Wikimedia Commons

Cameron started working with schizophrenic patients in the 1950s, and tried to correct the disease by erasing people's minds and pogromming their subconscious. He tested several methods to do so, including paralytic drugs, electric therapy, and of course, LSD. By 1957, the CIA caught wind of his work and decided to offer him a $69,000 grant to work on the MK-ULTRA experiments.

Patients End Up Totally Debilitated

Cameron recruited patients who had mild anxiety and postnatal depression and subjected them to torturous sessions. He would apply shock therapy at 30 to 40 times the normal rate, and his most prized experiment involved leaving people in a drug-induced coma for weeks at a time (three months, for one patient) while they were forced to listen to arbitrary sounds and simple statements on repeat. The effects on people were staggering. Those with mild psychiatric conditions came out unable to talk or walk, sometimes had debilitating amnesia, suffered from incontinence, forgot about their parents, or believed the scientists were their parents.

MK-ULTRA Subproject 68


After the horrifying results of the first MK-ULTRA experiment, one might think the CIA would abandon all work with Cameron. But instead, they employed him to carry out MK-ULTRA Subproject 68, which focused heavily on mind-altering substance like LSD. This subproject would be the start of a long love affair between the CIA and the psychedelic drug.

Targeting And Abusing Children

Sometimes Interesting

The goal of MK-ULTRA Subproject 68 was to extract information from unwitting, resistant subjects, and also involved intense electric shock therapy, extreme sensory isolation, and periods of extended sleep that lasted seven to ten days. While the program went on, some patients were kept in drug-induced comas for up to 88 days, and Cameron even extended the experimentation to children. The high-ranking government officials involved in the projects sexually abused many of the children involved in the experiments. The acts were filmed and later used by Cameron to blackmail the officials into continuing the financial support of his work.

Operation Midnight Climax


One offshoot of MK-ULTRA was Operation Midnight Climax, which basically was code for luring in prostitutes and unsuspectingly drugging them with LSD. CIA agents would roam the streets at night looking for sex workers, then bring them back to a CIA safe house where, without their knowledge, they gave them large doses of LSD. The agents would observe and record the women from behind one-way mirrors and the brothels were everywhere from San Francisco to New York City. At one point, there were dozens of CIA drugwhores on the government's payroll. The man in charge of the project, George White, later stated that it was favorite part of working in the CIA because "where else could a red-blooded American boy lie, kill, cheat, steal, rape, and pillage without the sanction and blessing of the All-Highest?"

CIA LSD Makes Its Way To France

Perhaps the height of the CIA toying with LSD came in 1951, when the government drugged an entire French village by poisoning its bread with massive amounts of the hallucinogenic drug. People in the small town in southern France started vomiting and suffering from diarrhea. Eventually, everyone also broke out in full-blown hallucinations, and hundreds of Pont Sant Esprit villagers erupted into madness. A man tried to drown himself, another tried to fly, and one man believed he was being eaten from the inside by snakes.

Ergot Poisoning In The Bread

Initially, doctors believed the temporary bouts of insanity were brought on by ergot poisoning in the bread. Doctors believed the town's bread, which was purchased from a local vendor, was poisoned with a parasitic psychedelic mold—the same one that has been linked to the Salem witch trials. Dr. Albert Hoffman, the ergot expert who synthesized LSD-25 in 1938, later confirmed the findings. However, not everyone accepted the findings right away, and some believed the bread was actually tainted with a highly toxic synthetic version of ergot.

Dosing With LSD For Mind Control Research

And those that questioned the natural ergot mold poisoning were absolutely correct. As it turns out, the American government was behind the whole thing. Investigative journalist H.P. Albarelli Jr. discovered and wrote a book about the CIA's covert experiment, which involved dosing the entire town as a part of their mind control experiments. The whole idea was to see how a town would react, and then use that data to plan the mental manipulation of prisoners and enemy troops. Although it's clear the CIA was pretty loose with its supply of LSD between the 1950s and 1970s, it's still unclear whether the French secret service complied with the experiment.