In the not too distant past, the American government has attempted to induce hallucinations or delirium to achieve some measure of mind control in their own population. From 1953 to 1964 the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) led many trials on the effects of biological and chemical agents on US residents without their permission or awareness during Project MKUltra. These secret tests included exposing the oblivious subjects to hallucinogenic substances and other unfriendly chemicals.
It is almost impossible to locate official papers about this ‘mind control program’, although in 1976 and 1977, the American Senate directed inquiries and even hosted a combined agency hearing on Project MKUltra, then publicly issued much of the revealed content and most of it is bamboozling to the third degree.
Based on the hearing report, the purpose of MKUltra was to “develop a capability in the covert use of biological and chemical materials.” The preliminary incentive for pursuing it was also defensive, in that many were scared shitless during the Cold War that other Superpowers had already industrialised weapons with this capacity. As the project's advocates expressed:
“The development of a comprehensive capability in this field of covert chemical and biological warfare gives us a thorough knowledge of the enemy's theoretical potential, thus enabling us to defend ourselves against a foe who might not be as restrained in the use of these techniques as we are.”
Senator Edward Kennedy dominated the hearing. In his initial comments, he confirmed there was a wide-ranging research program which encompassed secret drug tests on unsuspecting citizens of all social classes, whether they were native or foreign. He also mentioned experiments were conducted using lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in social scenarios.
During the early days of these experiments, there were not any designated medical professionals available to disperse the drugs or note the consequences and some of the trials proved deadly, but that did not stop the CIA from continuing their experimentation. Even after the demise of two participants and the possibility of lingering effects on others.
One of these fatalities was a man named Dr. Frank Olson, himself a researcher within the military who specialised in biological weaponry for the CIA. Along with an assemblage of 9 other science-minded individuals, he went to a meeting in a cabin at Deep Creek Lake, Maryland in November 1953. Once there, other CIA agents slipped LSD into the attendees' liqueur. Only after the scientists had guzzled their drinks were they made privy to the deception.
Most of the participants were able to cope and experienced zero repercussions, but that was not the case for Dr. Olson. He never recovered from the betrayal and shortly after the trial, began to display traits of paranoia and schizophrenia. Ultimately, Dr. Olson ended up defenestrating himself, hurtling through a closed window and falling to his death from the 10th floor. This occurred the night before he was due to start treatment that had been arranged by the CIA, as reported by Olson’s colleague who was a fellow officer staying in the same hotel room at the time.