History or Hoax – MKUltra


Caroline Dew, Messenger Reporter, Columnist & Social Media Manager

Science fiction movies are and always have been popular. When writing and reading science fiction, one’s imagination gets the opportunity to run wild. Imagining and daydreaming about the future and things that seem impossible is, well, fun! Some science fiction is not. You’re probably familiar with at least one science fiction story or movie where the government is behind something awful that happens, right? Robots taking over, etc.. What does any of this have to do with history, though? Well, in the 60’s and 70’s, the CIA launched a program known as MKUltra.  


What is MK-Ultra? Mk-Ultra was a top-secret program also known as the mind control program. It was known as this because the goal was for the Central Intelligence Agency to, using mind control, identify and create new drugs that would force interrogation victims to give information. Intelligence within the United States believed that foreign countries had used mind control methods on United States prisoners, and wanted the ability to do so as well. At the time period, America was at a dangerously hostile standing with Russia (Soviet Russia at the time) and China. The United States thought that these two countries had already developed this technology.

This was, of course, a psychological experiment. In order to see the results of the experiment on the human brain, the CIA would need to test on human brains. Where, though, would they find people willing to be subjected to many forms of psychological abuse? That was the problem – there weren’t any. The CIA experimented on ‘unwilling individuals of all social classes’. There were not a lot of medical personnel on hand to administer and monitor the effects of the  drugs that they were testing – especially early on. There were many cases of the victims of these experiments being sick for several days at a time, some being hospitalized. There were even two reports of death due to these experiments.


According to the hearing report, there were 86 universities involved, as well as 185 non-governmental researchers and assistants involved. Scientists of all kinds were drawn in to participate in MKUltra through grants. About 12 of the hospitals assisting in the experiment conducted them on cancer patients. It can be inferred that this is because the effects of the experiments conducted here were projected to be fatal or long lasting. Why were hospitals involved in this horrific experiment? Well, the CIA payed them.


Experiments were also conducted in prisons. The secret experiments conducted in these prisons were mainly done on ‘criminal sexual psychopaths’. The prisons did offer compensation for participation in these experiments, however. If a prisoner agreed to participate in the experiments, they would be given doses of the ‘drug of their addiction’.


Once the CIA was done with these experiments, to hide the crimes against humanity they had committed, they burned all documents relating to MKUltra, or so they thought. It was found in 1977, that they did not burn all the documents. In 2001, even more documents were made declassified. There is much more information regarding this topic on the internet, as well as photocopies of some of the uncovered documents. If you are interested in reading into this further, I highly suggest that you research it! There is information relating to MKUltra all over the internet.