Skip to main content

MKUltra: The CIA's Top Secret Psychological Mind Control Experiments

Mind Control

During the 1950s and 60's the United States' Central Intelligence Agency and U.S Department of Defense conducted a series of top-secret projects and experiments into both brainwashing and mind control, after intelligence gathered had revealed that the Soviets had been conducting human trials into the use of mind control and hypnosis and that the Korean's had been using American POW's for brainwashing experiments before killing them during the Korean War, this sparked a psychological warfare race in which the Americans and Soviets competed.

Psychological Warfare

The actual dictionary definition of 'psychological warfare' as referenced by is "the use of propaganda, threats and other psychological techniques to mislead, intimidate, demoralize, or otherwise influence the thinking or behaviour of an opponent." Modern-day psychological warfare sees its origins in Nazi Ideology during the second world war in the form of what the Nazis called 'Weltenshunkrieg' (pronounced 'Welten-shun-kreeg'). This was the idea of imposing the Nazi's world view and beliefs onto the countries they'd occupied in an attempt to bestow the Nazi beliefs amongst the majority of the world's population. This type of human behaviour manipulation was adapted and renamed 'psychological warfare'.

Hitler speaking in Germany, 1941

Hitler speaking in Germany, 1941

Operation Paperclip

Adolf Hitler was a strong believer that the key to taking over the world and acquiring world domination was through psychological warfare, and as a result had over 600 mind scientists, studying mind science throughout the second world war. After the war ended, former U.S President Harry Truman approved a government project that would later become known as 'Operation Paperclip', the idea behind which being to bring Hitler's top propulsion and mind scientists to the Unites States to work for the U.S government, to lead the way for the United States Space Program and research into mind science and mind control techniques, including adapting and further developing techniques used by the Nazis during World War II.

A declassified Project MKULTRA file (click for full size)

A declassified Project MKULTRA file (click for full size)


The experiments conducted following the spark of the mind control race had one primary key goal, and this was to:

Cause an individual to become subservient to an imposed control to the point where he will perform acts against his will and then have no memory of the act.

Specifically, for the purpose of creating a kind of mind control state whereby the individual could be used to assassinate any key target that the controller wanted. These experiments were conducted by the CIA using human trials and were illegal, the operational codename given to the project was 'Project MKULTRA'. Side projects were also created, these included Project CHATTER and Project BLUEBIRD, which was later renamed to Project ARTICHOKE, all of which were operations conducted to experiment with brainwashing and mind control using various techniques including drugs, electro and insulin shock.

Human Trials

Human trials for brainwashing and mind control began immediately, the first wave of which being U.S Military personnel who had volunteered to be test subjects in experiments conducted that had nothing to do with what they were originally advertised as, such as a supposed experiment into finding a cure for the common cold, in which a group of six military personnel were subjected to the nerve agent Sarin, now officially classified as a biological weapon of mass destruction. However, due to the obviously psychologically damaging effects of such experiments on humans, the CIA began to seek new test subjects and found them later in 1957 in the form of patients from a psychiatric hospital in Montreal, the then director of the institution Dr. Donald Ewen Cameron having incorporated the CIA's initiative to develop drug-induced mind control techniques into the institution he was managing.

Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms

Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms

Scroll to Continue

Project Ending

In 1973, the then CIA director Richard Helms ordered that all files on Project MKULTRA be destroyed. A year later, The New York Times released a news story reporting that the CIA had conducted illegal experiments on U.S Citizens in the 1960s. This caused an uproar and was soon followed by a full-blown investigation by the U.S Congress's Church Committee and Rockefeller Commission, both of which are tasked with looking into the domestic experimentation of the CIA, FBI and intelligence-related agencies of the U.S Military. In 1975, information gathered by the Rockefeller Commission and Church Committee on Project MKULTRA and the dramatic truth behind it were released to the public, that the CIA and Department of Defense had conducted illegal experiments on unwitting human subjects during the 1950s and 60's as part of an operation to look into the ways and means of controlling human behaviour through use of drugs and other psychological methods.


In 1980, the CIA was sued by nine people claiming to have been unwitting subjects to the psychological experiments of Dr. Donald Ewen Cameron, all were awarded $100,000 in financial compensation. However, due to the CIA's deliberate destruction of most files and records, failure to follow informed consent protocols and lack of follow-up data, the full impact of the Project MKULTRA experiments will never be known.

Further reading


Babs on September 06, 2015:

Stopping the flow to the brain- and acting stupid to do stupid things against ur own will is what! Control by mind programmers. Dam knowing it first hand people. :(

thomas on February 07, 2013:

polluting the mind is the best word"..not that they can control the mind"

thgomas morella traenkner on February 03, 2013:

nobody can or try to control our mind"

DNCalkins from The Cold-Blasted North on November 17, 2011:

The CIA got up to all kinds of crazy during the cold war era. It shows what unrestrained, unregulated power breeds.

Related Articles