Project MKUltra

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MKUltra test subject (5-10 years old)
MKUltra test subject (5-10 years old)

aka: Project MKULTRA, MK-ULTRA, MKULTRA, Operation/Project Ultra (?), etc

acronym: Mind Kontrolle Ultra secret


Project MKUltra, started in April, 1953, was a series of CIA projects centered around the idea of mind control using a variety of methods, including mind-altering drugs, sensory deprivation, and verbal and sexual abuse. As the US Supreme Court later noted, MKULTRA was:

concerned with "the research and development of chemical, biological, and radiological materials capable of employment in clandestine operations to control human behavior." The program consisted of some 149 subprojects which the Agency contracted out to various universities, research foundations, and similar institutions. At least 80 institutions and 185 private researchers participated. Because the Agency funded MKUltra indirectly, many of the participating individuals were unaware that they were dealing with the Agency.

Source: Wikipedia

Project MKUltra was first brought to public attention in 1975 by the Church Committee of the U.S. Congress, and a Gerald Ford commission to investigate CIA activities within the United States. Investigative efforts were hampered by the fact that CIA Director Richard Helms ordered all MKUltra files destroyed in 1973; the Church Committee and Rockefeller Commission investigations relied on the sworn testimony of direct participants and on the relatively small number of documents that survived Helms' destruction order.[1]

In 1977, a Freedom of Information Act request uncovered a cache of 20,000 documents relating to project MKUltra, which led to Senate hearings later that same year. In July 2001, some surviving information regarding MKUltra was declassified.[2]

  • United States President's Commission on CIA Activities within the United States
"The commission was created in response to a December 1974 report in The New York Times that the CIA had conducted illegal domestic activities, including experiments on U.S. citizens, during the 1960s. The commission issued a single report in 1975, touching upon certain CIA abuses including mail opening and surveillance of domestic dissident groups. It publicized Project MKULTRA, a CIA mind control study..." [3] [4]

  • [5] "MK-ULTRA had several precursors. There was Project Chatter in 1947, which tested drugs such as the infamous Scopolamine during interrogations.201 There was Project Bluebird in 1949, which began studies into hypnosis... Project Artichoke began in 1951, with a scope of “Can we get control of an individual to the point where he will do our bidding against his will and even against fundamental laws of nature, such as self-preservation?” All of the above projects were shuttled into MK-ULTRA in 1953, under the Technical Services Division, combining over 150 sub-projects, undertaken at over 80 institutions such as universities, hospitals, prisons and pharmaceutical companies. Many of the projects were covertly ran through front organizations without the knowledge of the institution that hosted them..."

MKUltra (1953) precursors & related projects

combining over 150 sub-projects [6]

Project Paperclip ?

Project Chatter

(1947- 1953?)

Project Bluebird

(1949/50-1951) when renamed Project Artichoke

Project Artichoke



  • Began in the 1950's and was terminated at least with respect to biological projects in 1969


  • First project established by CIA in Oct1952 for the use of biochemical in clandestine operations
  • "A special procedure, designated MKDELTA, was established to govern the use of MKULTRA materials abroad"


aka Project/Operation Often

MKOFTEN would be a joint effort between the CIA and the the Department of Defense, and would be perhaps one of the most bizarre of the currently known subprojects of MKUltra as it would be alleged to include the use of occultism and ritual magick. According to the Department of Defense, however, the goal of MKOFTEN and its sister-project MKSEARCH was to, "test the behavioral and toxicological effects of certain drugs on animals and humans".[7]

Gordon Thomas, a British investigative journalist and author, would claim that Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, chief of the CIA 's Technical Services Branch, used "Operation Often" to "explore the world of black magic" and and "harness the forces of darkness and challenge the concept that the inner reaches of the mind are beyond reach". As part of Operation Often, Dr. Gottlieb and other CIA employees visited with and recruited fortune-tellers, palm-readers, clairvoyants, astrologists, mediums, psychics, specialists in demonology, witches and warlocks, Satanists, other occult practitioners, and more. Thomas would go on to detail an event where apparently the CIA in 1972 even approached the monsignor in charge of exorcisms for the Catholic archdiocese of New York who refused to cooperate.

By May 1971, Operation Often had three astrologers on its payroll whose specific task was to predict the future.
By 1972 two Chinese-American palmists had been employed to probe how hand reading could be developed for intelligence work.
Research was conducted into black magic. The Scientific Engineering Institute funded a course in sorcery at the University of South Carolina.

More information on MKOFTEN can be found in Gordon Thomas' book, Secrets & Lies.

Another investigative journalist and researcher, Alex Constantine, would also discover another significant CIA scientist's involvement in occult research under "Operation Often". Dr. Martin T. Orne's testimony also adds some interesting history to the MKUltra project that would otherwise be lost, including MKOFTEN's possible connections to the forming of CIA cults like the Finders and Jonestown and the moving of MKUltra to private facilities to avoid government oversight:

The secondary source of funding for Dr. Orne’s work in hypnotic suggestion and dissolution of memory is eerie in the cult child abuse context.
This was the year that the CIA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) geared up a study of parapsychology and the occult.
The investigation, dubbed Project OFTEN-CHICKWIT, gave rise to the establishment of a social “laboratory” by SEI scientists at the University of South Carolina – a college class in black witchcraft, demonology and voodoo.
Dr. Orne, with SEI funding, marked out his own mind control corner at the University of Pennsylvania in the early 1960s.
In a letter to Dr. Orne, Marks once reminded him that he’d disavowed knowledge of his participation in one mind-wrecking experimental sub-project.
Orne later recanted, admitting that he’d been aware of the true source of funding all along.
Testimony before the 1977 Church Committee’s probe of the CIA hinted that, as of 1963, the scientific squalor of the CIA’s mind control regimen, code-named MKULTRA, had abandoned military and academic laboratories, fearing exposure, and mushroomed in cities across the country.
Confirmation arrived in 1980 when Joseph Holsinger, an aide to late Congressman Leo Ryan (who was murdered by a death squad at Jonestown) exposed the formation of eccentric religious cults by the CIA.
Holsinger maintained that a CIA rear-support base had been in collusion with Jones to perform medical and mind control experiments at People’s Temple.
Rather than terminating MKULTRA, the CIA shifted its programs from public institutions to private cult groups, including the People’s Temple.

Source: Alex Constantine

Edgewood Arsenal Research Laboratories?


name given to the continuation of the MKULTRA program

funding commenced in FY 1966 - 1972

purpose: develop, test and evaluate capabilities in the covert use of biological, chemical and radioactive material systems and techniquest for producing predictable human behavioral and/or physiological changes in support of highly sensitive operational requirements (noted in 1977 Senate report)


one of two divisions of MKSEARCH

connected to 'Project Often' - which was to deal with testing the toxicological, transmutivity and behavioral effects of drugs (?) in animals and ultimately, humans

MKCHICKWIT: concerned with acquiring information on new drug development in Europe and the Orient, and with acquiring samples

(above info from 1977 Senate report)

Project Monarch

aka: Monarch Project

Project Montauk

Assassination of CIA scientist Frank Olson - List of mysterious deaths

Frank Rudolph Olson was an American bacteriologist, biological warfare scientist, and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee who worked at Camp Detrick. In rural Maryland, he was covertly dosed with LSD by his CIA supervisor and, nine days later on November 28, 1953, plunged to his death from the window of a New York City hotel room. The U.S. government would officially deem his death a suicide, but later investigations conducted by Olson's son would conclude evidence from the autopsy to be "rankly and starkly suggestive of homicide."[8]

Forensic scientist Prof. James E. Starrs determined in 1994 that Olson was hit on the head and pushed out of the window to his death. However, the evidence was not enough to bring charges

OLSON experiment?

Institutions, Hospitals, Colleges/Universities/Schools, etc Involved/connected to MKULTRA

  • National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
(NIMH) Addiction Research Center in Lexington, Kentucky aka 'Lexington Rehabilitation Center' (prison for dug addicts serving sentences for drug violations)
  • Camp Detrick
  • Fort Holabird


  • semi annual review meeting at a cabin located at Deep Creek Lake, Maryland
  • Army Chemical Warfare Laboratories, Edgewood, Maryland - edgewood arsenal?

Sidney Gottlieb & destruction of documents/evidence

Known victims of experimentation (verify with sources)

  • Ken Kesey
  • Whitey Bulger
  • Robert Hunter
  • Harold Blauer
  • James Stanley
  • Wayne Ritchie
  • Ruth Kelley
  • Dr. Robert Hyde
  • Technical Services Staff (TSS) Agents
  • George H. White

1975 The Church Committee and Rockefeller Commission

aka: Senate Select (Church) Committee

The Church Committee and Rockefeller Commission investigations relied on the sworn testimony of direct participants and on the relatively small number of documents that survived CIA Director Richard Helms' destruction order.

1977 Senate Report

[9] [10]

Title: Project MKULTRA, The CIA 's program of Research in Behavioral Modification

Joint Hearing Before the Select Committee on Intelligence (and the) Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research (of the) Committee on Human Resources - United States Senate - Ninety Fifth Congress First Session

Date: 3Aug1977

with statements by:

  • Admiral Stansfield Turner (Director of CIA) accompanied by ...
  • Philip Goldman (former employee of CIA)
  • John Gittinger (former employee CIA)


  • OST (Budget and fiscal Section)? & Retired Records Center?
  • The MARKS case? - concerning the man who made the FOIA request?
  • what university - sp 35?
  • DD/P/TSS ?
  • APD/TSD?
  • DCI?
  • over 40 r&d projects?
  • tapes - notes of transcription of tapes?
  • hospital/institution? - under the direction of the Executive Secretary of the State Department of Mental Health?
  • "K" fields: knockout or kontrolle?

Branches noted in 'active and retired records' (only - not of retired records only):

  • Chemistry
  • Biological
  • Behavioral Activities
  • Contracts Management

memorandum setting up MKULTRA , signed by MR. Dulles

Subproject 2 - (objective) to study the possible synergetic actions of drugs which may be appropriate for use in abolishing consciousness

Subproject 3 - involved the establishment and maintenance of facilities for the realistic testing of certain research and development items of interest for CD/TSS and APD/TSS

Subproject 16 (connected/continuation of subproject 3): provide for the continued maintenance of the facilities

Subproject 23: ... concerned with chemical agents which are effective in modifying the behavior and function of the Central nervous system

Subproject 35: 1954/1955 - establishes cover (organizations) under which the Chemical Division of the DD/P/TSS would conduct certain sensitive projects in the fields of biological and chemical warfare ... new research wing (of a university - University Building Fund - what university)...

Subproject 42: to support ___ covert and realisitic field trials of certain R&D items of interest to TSD, and to maintain the physical facilities required for these trials - facilities be moved from ... - continuation of subproject 16

Subproject 45:

- three lines of biochemical investigation - (1) the curare-like (note: muscle relaxant etc) effect of certain thiols (2) the preparation of hydrogenated quinolones and indole (?) alkaloids (3) continued study of diphenolic compounds
- investigation of toxic cerebral states (include bio-assay and chemical anayisis of various body fluids of animals in which cerebral toxemias have been produced)
- (endeavor to understand) mechanisms of such states as toxic delirium, uremic coma, and cerebral toxicity from poisoning...
- (also) testing and assaying techniques ... cardiovascular and anticarcinogenic effects of compounds resulting from the above programs - search for a knockout drug which was concomitant with, and a by-product of, cancer research at a major university
- synthesis and pharmacological and clinic evaluation of compunds of those chemical families known to hav eapplication in the psychemical and "K" fields... "knockout" problem...

Subproject 53 -

Subproject 149: supporting tests of certain development items and delivery systems of interest to TSD/EB.

- research on the mechanism of brain concussion? (attempts at reproduction of effects?)

QKHILLTOP - cryptonym assigned in 1954 to a project to study Chinese communist brainwashing techniques and to develop interrogation techniques - Cornell University Medical School Human Ecology Study Program - Society for the investigation of Human Ecology - Human Ecology Fund

Timeline (verify with sources)

  • 1950's - MKNAOMI - Began in the 1950's and was terminated at least with respect to biological projects in 1969
  • Oct1952 - MKDELTA - First project established by CIA in Oct1952 for the use of biochemical in clandestine operations - May never have been implemented operationally, but served as a precursor to MKUltra


  • 1953 - Frank Olson was a U.S. military scientist who died in 1953 under mysterious circumstances
  • 13April1953 - the DCI approved Project MKULTRA along the lines proposed by ADDP Helms
  • FY (Fiscal Year) 1955 - university fund..?
  • 1955 - One 1955 MKULTRA document ... uncovered from a 1977 FOIA request

1963 - Inspector General's survey of MKULTRA noted approx. 4 reasons for its sensitivity (ethics, legality, testing would put US citizens rights & interests in jeopardy, public disclosure of some aspects would induce serious adverse reaction, etc) - why continue?

  • Jan1973 - CIA Technical Services Division (TSD?) personnel acting on the verbal order of Dr Sidney Gottlieb, many MKULTRA files were destroyed

  • 1975 - Project MKULTRA was first brought to wide public attention in 1975 by the U.S. Congress, through investigations by The Church Committee, and by a presidential commission known as the Rockefeller Commission.


  • 1977 - Although the CIA insists that MKULTRA-type experiments have been abandoned, 14-year CIA veteran Victor Marchetti has stated in various interviews that the CIA routinely conducts disinformation campaigns and that CIA mind control research continued. In a 1977 interview, Marchetti specifically called the CIA claim that MKULTRA was abandoned a "cover story."
  • 1977 - a FOIA request (F-76-374) uncovered a cache of 20,000 documents relating to project MKULTRA, which led to the Senate Hearings of 1977. In recent times most information regarding MKULTRA has been officially declassified.

External links

See also