The content below is from Episode 126 of the Who’d a Thunk It? Podcast


  • This week I have a specific recommendation for you. Go to YouTube and search “Shane Gillis Live In Austin.” It is a 48-minute and 4-second long video posted by Gilly and Keeves YouTube channel. It was released on September 7th of 2021.
    • Just a free stand-up show on YouTube with all my favorite topics to hear in a comedy show: politics, family, football, racism, drugs, and making fun of his own culture: rural Pennsylvania white people.


  • To start this episode I want to take you back to the time of the Cold War.
    • The Cold War is a term commonly used to refer to a period of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc.
    • It began shortly after World War 2 and ended in the late 1990s
    • During this time, both nations were on edge all the time constantly trying to find new ways to best their opponent. While the general public of the world was gripped with fear over the nuclear holocaust, the Tactics used by the two sides were sometimes unorthodox and desperate.
  • Early on in the Cold War, the United State’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) wanted to out-do the Soviets on a playing field that we typically think is reserved for science fiction: mind control.
    • They started a secret program known as MK-Ultra
    • On a massive scale, psychiatric institutions across the US and Canada were funded by the CIA (on the tax payer dollar) to perform experiments aimed at the goal of developing mind control techniques.
    • These experiments consisted of
      • sensory deprivation
      • drugs
      • electroshock treatment
      • and other psychological techniques
    • All of these techniques can and are used to benefit psychiatric patients today.
      • Yes, believe it or not, electroshock treatment is used today. I thought it was appalling at first, but through my work, I have spoken to many people who swear it does wonders for them when no other form of treatment could help them.
      • Pharmaceutical drugs benefit countless people on a regular basis
      • And sensory deprivation tanks are now marketed as a luxury spa treatment that even my fiancee and I took part in during vacation once. It was really nice
    • But all of those treatments are beneficial when used toward the goal of benefitting the patient… when the goal is to further some other goal such as weaponizing psychology to defeat a Cold War enemy… the patient rarely benefits. On the contrary, they often suffer. It is immoral, unethical, and highly illegal to deceive a patient or even a research participant involved in such experiments.
      • VERY ILLEGAL by many different standards. Entire institutions such as Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) were constructed to avoid such heinous mistreatment of people and that is just for research purposes, let alone mental healthcare regulations.
    • Yet somehow the CIA has never been punished, had to compensate victims or even publicly apologize for their misdeeds.
  • When the Korean war ended with a cease-fire in the summer of 1953, American POWs were sent back home, but people noticed something was off about them.
    • The POWs were all gun-ho communists now, preaching about the benefits of living in a communist country and the pitfalls of living in a capitalist one.
    • While their neighbors speculated, the US government was convinced the POWs had been put through some sort of communist mind control treatment while overseas.
    • Terrified of being out-done in any form of strength by the Soviets, the US government granted $25 million dollars in funding to the CIA to create a US-based form of mind control… That’s $25 million in the 1950s, that’s roughly $300 million today. All this was given to a newly formed agency. The CIA had only just been formed a few years earlier in 1947.
    • What did the CIA do with all this money and power? They got to work poking, prodding, and destroying the lives of the average citizen.
    • Under an enormous shroud of secrecy, they started psychiatric experiments on humans. Money was given to psychiatric hospitals, federal prisons, and even local pharmacies to distribute drugs unknowingly to the public directly. All this was done without the participant/patients’ awareness or consent.
  • The operation was known as MK-Ultra, but that was broken up into smaller projects within MK-Ultra.
    • One of those projects was known as Operation Midnight Climax.
      • Operation Midnight Climax was a string of safe houses all over north America that were set up so that prostitutes could lure the men back to these safe house apartments. Once inside, the men would be forced to ingest large amounts of LSD. Once dosed with the psychotropic drug… heavily dosed, the men were studied by CIA analysts often from behind a 2-way mirror.
    • Under MK-Ultra, parties were thrown where LSD was distributed to party-goers, and were given music to listen to while being observed.
      • But these CIA orchestrated parties became more commonplace. Known as Acid Tests, these parties grew so popular and contributed to the Hippy movement of the following decade, the 60s.
    • I will admit, these two projects don’t sound all that bad. Operation Midnight Climax was a free night with a prostitute and free LSD and Acid Tests were sanctioned parties with good music and again… free drugs. But not all the projects were so morally ambiguous.
Donald Ewen Cameron – 1967
  • Arguably the worst project under the MK-Ultra umbrella was Subproject 68.
    • The Allan Memorial Institute in Montreal Canada is where some of the most messed up stuff went down. Dr Ewen Cameron “treated” patients who were suffering from post-partum depression, schizophrenia, and other serious mental illnesses.
    • Dr. Ewen Cameron used various drug cocktails and unorthodox techniques to treat these unsuspecting experiment participants.
      • Lana Sowchuk, the daughter of a victim, recounts that her father went to Dr. Ewen Cameron at the age of 27 in the physical peak of his life. Her father enjoyed athletics but had asthma. He was told by healthcare professionals that Dr. Ewen Cameron, the Scottish-American doctor at Allan Memorial Hospital could cure his asthma.
      • Other family members of victims tell how their loved ones would go to a doctor seeking all sorts of treatment (including physical health) and be referred to Dr. Ewen Cameron.
      • He had a network of colleagues that would refer their patients to him. This ensured that Dr. Ewen Cameron had a steady flow of unknowing participants for his experiments at Allan Memorial Hospital.
    • The Doctor’s goal was to revert his participants back to an infantile state. He wanted to erase who they were psychologically, a process he called “Depatterning.”
      • If successful, the doctor would then try to rebuild their mind so that he could control them completely and remake the person as he saw fit.
    • His favorite method for depatterning was “Psychic Driving.”
      • Patients were put in an insulin-induced coma (sometimes for 36 days or longer). While in the coma and while sleeping, a tape recorder of a psychiatrist’s lectures was played on a loop under the patient’s pillow.
      • Sometimes these recordings would say things like “your mother hates you” to sever ties with the patient’s past.
  • The Page Russel electroshock therapy was also used for depatterning.
    • Page Russel Shock treatment is about 40 to 75 times the strength of shock treatment that is used today. That is 40 to 75 times stronger than the shock treatment that actually benefits patients like the ones I talked with at work.
    • Here is some history on Page Russel ElectroShcok Therapy from
      • 1938 After observing pigs shocked into seizures and senselessness in a Rome slaughterhouse, Italian psychiatrist Ugo Cerletti uses the same method on a human being. After the first shock, his subject screams, “Not another one! It’s deadly!”
      • 1940s In Nazi euthanasia facilities, hundreds are killed with electroshock machines.
      • 1943-1950 Incarcerated in a series of psychiatric institutions, Frances Farmer receives ECT against her will. The gifted actress never regains her creative abilities and dies at 56.
      • 1949 At age 26, Judy Garland undergoes ECT. Several suicide attempts follow. Her biographer, Gerold Frank, writes in Judy: “[S]he had no respect for psychiatrists; she had seen more than a dozen of them and they had all failed her.”
      • 1954-1962 Electroshock is used to torture prisoners of the French during the Algerian War.
      • 1957 Psychiatrist Ewen Cameron describes to the 2nd World Congress of Psychiatry what happens to those receiving ECT: “There is complete amnesia for all events of his life.”
      • 1960-1961 Ernest Hemingway receives ECT at the Mayo Clinic under the supervision of psychiatrist Howard Rome. On July 2, 1961, shortly after returning home, he kills himself with his favorite shotgun, but not before he had written: “What is the sense of ruining my head and erasing my memory, which is my capital, and putting me out of business? It was a brilliant cure but we lost the patient.”
      • The CIA’s 1963 KUBARK Counterintelligence Manual is based on Cameron’s “blank slate” approach of regressing people to “reprogram” their minds. As Naomi Klein pointed out in The Shock Doctrine, Cameron’s work apparently made a strong impression. Klein reported that the CIA in 1966 dispatched three psychiatrists to Vietnam with a Page-Russell electroshock machine, the type Cameron favored. According to Klein, “it was used so aggressively that it killed several prisoners.” Alfred McCoy, author of A Question of Torture, noted, “In effect, they were testing under field conditions whether Ewen Cameron’s McGill depatterning techniques could actually alter human behavior.”
      • So yeah, Page Russel ElectroShock was used as a torture device that causes seizures and erases a lot of who a person is.
    • But Dr. Ewen Cameron was discouraged. Most of his patients were reported to still ask for loved ones such as their wives or parents after dozens of electroshock treatments.
      • When patients did still exhibit ties with their former lives, after the 30+days of insulin comas, and dozens of electroshock torture sessions… the Doctor would induce another 30+ day coma and more electroshock treatment.
  • When these patients… victims really… were finally released their lives were ruined.
    • Loved ones reported complete change in personality. Once healthy and productive members of society were now unable to hold a job and seemed lifeless to hold a gaze with.
  • MK-Ultra was shut down in 1973
    • John Marks, a whistleblower, wrote a book called “The Search for the Manchurian Candidate.”
    • His book exposed MK-Ultra and caused congressional hearings that shined a light on the program during the mid-70s.
    • Through these hearings, the CIA did admit that MK-Ultra existed and that it was unethical but stated that they were innocent due to the time period.
    • Even thought there were official congressional hearings and public awareness of the program, many victims, for whatever reason, did not speak out.
    • Likely due to shame, the vast majority of MK-Ultra victims took their suffering with them to the grave. But now their family members are speaking out.
    • Decades later with no compensation or even an apology, the children and grandchildren of MK-Ultra victims are demanding to be acknowledged. A class action lawsuit has been filed.
  • Although there was an official hearing and now public outcry, much of MK-Ultra’s findings and reach is unknown.
    • Most of the evidence against Dr. Ewen Cameron and others working for the CIA had evidence destroyed.
    • We now know about the victims and what they went through, but we have no idea the larger impact this played on our world.
  • But many have speculated on the applications of MK-Ultra might have been
    • Many TV series, movies, and books have been inspired by MK-Ultra
      • Stranger Things
      • The Manchurian Candidate (book and movie starring Denzel Washington)
      • American Ultra
      • and Conspiracy Theory starring Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts
  • We like to think that it is impossible for such a project to happen today.
    • There are all sorts of hoops and regulations that a researcher has to get through to conduct ANYTHING on human beings, even just a paper survey.
    • But this was done by a government agency. One that was well funded and given the power to keep people quiet.
    • Who knows what tactics came out of MK-Ultra. Perhaps there is a Manchurian candidate out there somewhere, brainwashed to do the government’s bidding. I don’t mean to cause panic in people or spread conspiracy theories, but MK-Ultra actually happened. There were congressional hearings and LOADS of evidence. The government infiltrated the healthcare system and tried to brainwash people under the guise of curing their asthma or sore neck.
    • People’s trusted family doctors were in on this.
    • This sounds like something you would hear Joe Rogan talk about with a blunt in hand discussing with a tinfoil hat guy on his show. This sounds like something made up… but it is not. THIS HAPPENED.

Stay safe out there Who’d a Thunkers. Until next week.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s