Project Mind Kontrol ULTRA (MKULTRA), the "CIA's Program of Research in Behavioral Modification" (1950-1973)



The CIA's "Mind-Control" Program for drugs and procedures aiming in obtaining confessions and controlling human behavior 



Synonymous research code names: "Bluebird" - "Artichoke" - "MKULTRA - MKDELTA"

NYT: "With each code name change, the interest in mind control broadened until there remained virtually no avenue of human behavior control that was not explored, from interrogation techniques to knockout drugs, from LSD to germ warfare, from the use of polygraphs to handwriting analysis."

(Note: It is suggested that MK stands for Mind Kontrol)



From Wikipedia: 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 [13].


Structures involved in the program: CIA's Scientific Intelligence Division, U.S. Army Chemical Corps (formerly U.S. Chemical Warfare Service), U.S. Army Biological Warfare Laboratories




New York Times article (1974) triggers U.S. Congress and Presidential Committee Investigations on CIA operations


Investigations by the Church Committee and the Rockefeller Commission


It is noted that the efforts of the Church Committee led to the establishment of the permanent U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.


"In December 1974, The New York Times alleged that the CIA had conducted illegal domestic activities, including experiments on U.S. citizens, during the 1960s as described in this article.



Figure 1: Front page of the NYT on December 22, 1974.



From Wikipedia"That report prompted investigations by the U.S. Congress, in the form of the Church Committee, and by a presidential commission known as the Rockefeller Commission that looked into domestic activities of the CIA, the FBI, and intelligence-related agencies of the military.



Figure 2: Image from the New York Times showing President Ford with Mr. Rockefeller, left, and Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger in April 1975. (Credit: David Hume Kennerly/Gerald R. Ford Library). Excerpt from the New York Times: "Jan. 4, 1975 Richard Helms, a former director of central intelligence, meets with President Ford to discuss plans for a commission headed by Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller to investigate the C.I.A.'s domestic activitites. "Frankly, we are in a mess," Mr. Ford tells Mr. Helms."



From Wikipedia: "In the summer of 1975, congressional Church Committee reports and the presidential Rockefeller Commission report revealed to the public for the first time that the CIA and the Department of Defense had conducted experiments on both unwitting and cognizant human subjects as part of an extensive program to influence and control human behavior through the use of psychoactive drugs such as LSD and mescaline and other chemical, biological, and psychological means."

"One 1955 MKUltra document gives an indication of the size and range of the effort; this document refers to the study of an assortment of mind-altering substances described as follows [29]:

  1. Substances which will promote illogical thinking and impulsiveness to the point where the recipient would be discredited in public.
  2. Substances which increase the efficiency of mentation and perception.
  3. Materials which will cause the victim to age faster/slower in maturity.
  4. Materials which will promote the intoxicating effect of alcohol.
  5. Materials which will produce the signs and symptoms of recognized diseases in a reversible way so that they may be used for malingering, etc.
  6. Materials which will cause temporary/permanent brain damage and loss of memory.
  7. Substances which will enhance the ability of individuals to withstand privation, torture and coercion during interrogation and so-called "brain-washing".
  8. Materials and physical methods which will produce amnesia for events preceding and during their use.
  9. Physical methods of producing shock and confusion over extended periods of time and capable of surreptitious use.
  10. Substances which produce physical disablement such as paralysis of the legs, acute anemia, etc.
  11. Substances which will produce a chemical that can cause blisters.
  12. Substances which alter personality structure in such a way that the tendency of the recipient to become dependent upon another person is enhanced.
  13. A material which will cause mental confusion of such a type that the individual under its influence will find it difficult to maintain a fabrication under questioning.
  14. Substances which will lower the ambition and general working efficiency of men when administered in undetectable amounts.
  15. Substances which promote weakness or distortion of the eyesight or hearing faculties, preferably without permanent effects.
  16. A knockout pill which can surreptitiously be administered in drinks, food, cigarettes, as an aerosol, etc., which will be safe to use, provide a maximum of amnesia, and be suitable for use by agent types on an ad hoc basis.
  17. A material which can be surreptitiously administered by the above routes and which in very small amounts will make it impossible for a person to perform physical activity.


Experimental protocol excepts from wikipedia: 

Experiment 1 : Hypnotically induced anxieties to be completed by September 1

Experiment 2: Hypnotically increasing ability to learn and recall complex written matter to be completed by September 1

Experiment 3: Polygraph responses under Hypnosis, to be completed by June 15.

Experiment 4: Hypnotically increasing ability to observe and recall a complex arrangement of physical objects

Experiment 5: Relationship of personality to susceptibility to hypnosis.




Joint Hearing (1977) before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research of the Committee on Human Resources


In 1973, the CIA director had ordered the purge of all documents related to the MKULTRA project. However, a FOIA request resulted in the CIA discovering in March 1977 a set of records that had been misplaced and therefore were not destroyed. Congress was notified in July 1977 and held a hearing on August 3,1977. The transcript of the hearing is available at the site of U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence at the following link:

It is noted that the Senate Committee of Human Resources is currently the "Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions" (abbrev. HELP) - Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research
Figure 3: The transcript of the joint hearing is available at the site of U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
Excerpts from the transcript available at the above link.
Subcommittee Chairman, Senator E.M. Kennedy: "the extent of experimentation on human subjects was unknown. The records of all these activities were destroyed in January 1973, at the instruction of then CIA Director Richard Helms. In spite of persistent inquiries by both the Health Subcommittee and the Intelligence Committee, no additional records or information were forthcoming."
"Then one individual, through a Freedom of Information request, accomplished what two U.S. Senate committees could not. He spurred the agency into finding additional records pertaining to the CIA's program of experimentation with human subjects. These new records were discovered by the agency in March. Their existence was not made known to the Congress until July. The records reveal a far more extensive series of experiments than had previously been thought. Eighty-six universities or institutions were involved. New instances of unethical behavior were revealed."
Note: FOIA employee found the records at the Retired Record Center after searching the "Budget and Fiscal Section" of the Branch
How Senators Ted Kennedy, Schweiker (future Secretary of Health) Javits acted to prevent MKULTRA-related abuses in the future: they introduced legislation expanding human research subject protection to CIA and DOD
"Two years ago, when these abuses were first revealed, I introduced legislation, with Senator Schweiker and Senator Javits, designed to minimize the potential for any similar abuses in the future. That legislation expanded the jurisdiction of the National Commission on Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research to cover all federally funded research involving human subjects. The research initially was just directed toward HEW activities, but this legislation covered DOD as well as the CIA."
Director of the CIA: "There are 149 MKULTRA subprojects, many of which appear to have some connection with research into behavioral modification, drug acquisition and testing or administering drugs surreptitiously."
1. Research into the effects of behavioral drugs and/or alcohol:
17 subprojects probably not involving human testing;
14 subprojects definitely involving tests on human volunteers;
19 subprojects probably including tests on human volunteers. While not known, some of these subprojects may have included tests on unwitting subjects as well;
6 subprojects involving tests on unwitting subjects.
2. Research on hypnosis: 8 subprojects, including 2 involving hypnosis and drugs in combination.'
3. Acquisition of chemicals or drugs: 7 subprojects.
4. Aspects of magicians' art useful in covert operations: e.g., surreptitious delivery of drug-related materials: 4 subprojects.
5. Studies of human behavior, sleep research, and behavioral changes during psychotherapy: 9 subprojects.
6. Library searches and attendance at seminars and international conferences on behavioral modification: 6 subprojects.
7. Motivational studies, studies of defectors, assessment, and training techniques: 23 subprojects.
8. Polygraph research : 3 subprojects.
9. Funding mechanisms for MKULTRA external research activities: 3 subprojects.
10. Research on drugs, toxins, and biologicals in human tissue; provision of exotic pathogens and the capability to incorporate them in effective delivery systems: 6 subprojects.
11. Activities whose objectives cannot be determined from available documentation : 3 subprojects.
12. Subprojects involving funding support for unspecified activities connected with the Army's Special Operations Division at Ft. Detrick, Md. This activity is outline in Book I of the Church Committee Report, pp. 388-389. (See Appendix A, pp. 68-69).
Under CIA's Project MKNAOMI, the Army Assisted CIA in developing, testing, and maintaining biological agents and delivery systems for use against humans as well as against animals and crops.
13. Single subprojects in such areas as effects of electro-shock, harassment techniques for offensive use, analysis of extrasensory perception, gas propelled sprays and aerosols, and four subprojects involving crop and material sabotage.
14. One or two subprojects on each of the following: "Blood Grouping" research, controlling the activity of animals, energy storage and transfer in organic systems; and stimulus and response in biological systems.
15. Three subprojects cancelled before any work was done on them having to do with laboratory drug screening, research on brain concussion, and research on biologically active materials to be tested through the skin on human volunteers."




Hearing (1977) before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research of the Committee on Human Resources


Following the August 3rd joint hearing, the CIA discovered additional documents on the MKULTRA project (FOIA request). A hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee of Human Resources, Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research scheduled for the beginning of September was postponed to September 20-21 in order for Congress to examine the documents.


It is noted that the Senate Committee of Human Resources is currently the "Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions" (abbrev. HELP).


The transcript of the hearing is available at the following link:


It is very important to mention that during this hearing Senator Schweiker asked the MKULTRA director about the notion of "Radio-Hypnotic Intracerebral Control" ("RHIC"), a combination of radio transmission and hypnosis

Note: Senator Schweiker would be the 14th U.S. Secretary of Health (1981-83)

Excerpts from transcript (
Schweiker: Some of the projects under MK-ULTRA involved hypnosis, is that correct?
Gottlieb: Yes.
Schweiker: Did any of these projects involve something called radio-hypnotic-intra-cerebral control, which is a combination, as I understand it, in layman's terms, of radio transmission and hypnosis?
Gottlieb: My answer is “No”.
Schweiker: None whatsoever?
Gottlieb: Well, I am trying to be responsive to the terms that you used. As I remember it, there was a current interest, running interest, all the time in what affects people's standing in the field of radio energy have, and it could easily have been that somewhere in many projects, someone was trying to see if you could hypnotize someone easier if he was standing in a radio beam. That would seem like a reasonable piece of research to do.
What I am saying, I do not see that being the focus of a large interest or successful result come out of this.

FOIA request leads to discovery of MKULTRA documents

The FOIA request was conducted by John Marks, former Secretary of State Foreign Officer, author of the book "The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence" which is believed to have prompted NYT 1974 investigative article (mentioned above) and the Church Committee* Hearings
"In December 1974, The New York Times alleged that the CIA had conducted illegal domestic activities, including experiments on U.S. citizens, during the 1960s [71]. That report prompted investigations by the United States Congress, in the form of the Church Committee, and by a commission known as the Rockefeller Commission" (...) In 1975, they revealed that "the CIA and the Department of Defense had conducted experiments on both unwitting and cognizant human subjects as part of an extensive program to find out how to influence and control human behavior through the use of psychoactive drugs such as LSD and mescaline and other chemical, biological, and psychological means."
In 1973 "CIA Director Richard Helms ordered all MKUltra files destroyed". "A cache of some 20,000 documents survived Helms' purge, as they had been incorrectly stored in a financial records building and were discovered following a FOIA request in 1977."
As mentioned in this NYT article, in July 1977 the Director of Central Intelligence, announced that following a FOIA request seven cases of records containing 5,000 pages of documents related to MKULTRA were discovered. These had been overlooked in 1975 and 1976. A joint congressional hearing was conducted on August 3, 1977 to discuss these documents.
In September 1977, the Central Intelligence Agency announced that it discovered 10,000 additional documents related to MKULTRA.
A Congressional hearing of the Senate Committee of Human Resources (currently "Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions" abbrev. HELP - Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research) was postponed to September 20-21, 1977 ( in order to allow for study of the documents by Congress.
This hearing is cited in the RHIC section ( for its reference to CIA's Radio Hypnotic Intracerebral Control.


Figure 4: Picture of John D. Marks and a couple of his books.



John D. Marks ( was former Secretary of State Foreign Officer who as mentioned by Wikipedia had "worked for five years with the State Department, first in Vietnam and then as an analyst and staff assistant to the Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. After leaving the State Department, he became Executive Assistant for foreign policy to US Senator Clifford Case (R-NJ), responsible within the Senator's office for passage of the Case–Church Amendment, which eventually cut off funding for the Vietnam War [3]. He also worked with Marchetti on a book about the need to reform the Central Intelligence Agency."


The book entitled "The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence" received approval for publication by the CIA after passage removal. It became a bestseller and "contributed to investigative reports by Seymour Hersh in The New York Times and the decision by Frank Church to establish the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities in 1975".


"Marks' 1979 book, The Search for the Manchurian Candidate describes a wide range of CIA activities during the Cold War, including unethical drug experiments in the context of a mind-control and chemical interrogation research program[4]. The book is based on 16,000 pages of CIA documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and many interviews, including those with retired members of the psychological division of the CIA, and the book describes some of the work of psychologists in this effort with a whole chapter on the Personality Assessment System."


"Marks later became a fellow of Harvard's Institute of Politics and a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law School."


He is currently a visiting Scholar in Peacebuilding & Social Entrepreneurship in Leiden University in addition to being the founder and senior advisor of one of the largest peacebuilding nonprofits.




The MKULTRA subproject on "Human Telecontrol": "Techniques for Activating the Human Organism by Remote Electronic Means”.

As mentioned by H. Garland in the article at the link*, in 1960, the CIA approved a proposal for a very sophisticated electroencephalography instrument that could be used to interpret brain activity, decipher thought content and obtain information whether a person would wish to disclose it or not. They also added to this a bibliography search with five objectives, the fifth termed “Techniques for Activating the Human Organism by Remote Electronic Means”. This study became known later as MKULTRA subproject 119, with MKULTRA being the CIA’s mind control program.
*Translation in French:
Documents that are related to MKULTRA were obtained by a FOIA request by John Marks who conducted research for his book "The Search For The Manchurian Candidate - The CIA and Mind Control, The Secret History of the Behavioral Sciences" (1979) published by W. W. Norton - paperback 1991, ISBN 0-393-30794-8. The author donated the documents to the National Security Archive of the George Washington University (
The author has noted Subproject 119 MKULTRA as "Telecontrol--Texas Christian" referring to Texas Christian University.
The document related to this subproject can be found at this link:

Figure 5 : Document related to MKULTRA




Project Bizarre: Addressing the effects of the Moscow Embassy irradiation


As mentioned at, Project Bizarre followed the MKULTRA subproject 119 in 1965. Its purpose was to address the effects of the Moscow Embassy irradiation. It is described at this source:





Star Gate: The CIA and DIA clairvoyance, precognition, or telepathy program

CIA records made available online on 2017-01-18, include reports of the Star Gate Project, the CIA and DIA "remote viewing" or "anomalous cognition" program.
Excerpt from Glomar Disclosure:
"Star Gate: A 25-year Intelligence Community effort that used remote viewers who claimed to use clairvoyance, precognition, or telepathy to acquire and describe information about targets that were blocked from ordinary perception. The records include documentation of remote viewing sessions, training, internal memoranda, foreign assessments, and program reviews."
The Guardian (Guardian article) points to a 1995 review of the program available at this link from the CIA database.

"How Uri Geller convinced the CIA he was a 'psychic warrior"

"none other than the CIA believed the "spoonbender" was psychic all along."


BBC documentary "The Secret Life of Uri Geller" (1st reference):

"how the CIA in the mid-Seventies investigated the possibilities of militarising mind control to put one over on the KGB. Director Vikram Jayanti has persuaded all sorts of government spooks and geeks and goons to spill the beans. And it seems that in psychic opps, Geller was their go-to operative. Not that he can talk about it."


Experiment video via The Sun


Could a person acquire a cognitive state that will allow them to retrieve a remote view of a location (e.g. hover over a specific town, specific coordinates) and describe the plan of a secret military facility found there?
When the CIA believed that the Russian Secret Services were doing exactly that, they approached scientists of the Stanford Research Institute to ask them if they could prove it experimentally. After initial encouraging results, the scientists got a grant and proved it beyond doubt according to their reports.
Link to the CIA & DIA program "Star Gate" for "remote viewing" or "anomalous cognition"
Excerpts from this report: "CIA-Initiated Remote Viewing Program at Stanford Research Institute"
"In early 1972 I was involved in laser research at Stanford Research Institute (now called SRI International) in Menlo Park, CA.
(...) Prior to Swann's visit I arranged for access to a well-shielded magnetometer used in a quark-detection experiment in the Physics Department at Stanford University. During our visit to this laboratory, sprung as a surprise to Swann, he appeared to perturb the operation of the magnetometer, located in a vault below the floor of the building and shielded by p-metal shielding, an aluminum container, copper shielding and a superconducting shield. As if to add insult to injury, he then went on to "remote view" the interior of the apparatus,rendering by drawing a reasonable facsimile of its rather complex (and heretofore unpublished) construction. I wrote up these observations and circulated it among my scientific colleagues in draft form of what was eventually published as part of a conference proceedings (Puthoff & Targ, 1975).
In a few short weeks a pair of visitors showed up at SRI with the above report in hand. Their credentials showed them to be from the CIA.(...) There was, they told me, increasing concern in the intelligence community about the level of effort in Soviet parapsychology being funded by the Soviet security services (4); by Western scientific standards the field was considered nonsense by most working scientists. As a result they had been on the lookout for a research laboratory outside of academia that could handle a quiet, low-profile classified investigation, and SRI appeared to fit the bill. They asked if I could arrange an opportunity for them to carry out some simple experiments with Swann, and, if the tests proved satisfactory, would I consider a pilot program along these lines?"
The entire issue where this report appears is dedicated to this subject:
Other studies from this issue follow.
An Assessment of the Evidence for Psychic Functioning
"The primary work examined in this report was government sponsored research conducted at Stanford Research Institute, later known as SRI International, and at Science Applications International Corporation,known as SAIC. Using the standards applied to any other area of science, it is concluded that psychic functioning has been well established. The statistical results of the studies examined are far beyond what is expected by chance. Arguments that these results could be due to methodological flaws in the experiments are soundly refuted. Effects of similar magnitude to those found in government sponsored research at SRI and SAIC have been replicated at a number of laboratories across the world. Such consistency cannot be readily explained by claims of flaws or fraud."
"There are two basic types of functioning that are generally considered under the broad heading of psychic or paranormal abilities. These are classically known as extrasensory perception (ESP), in which one acquires information through unexplainable means and psychokinesis, in which one physically manipulates the environment through unknown means. The SAIC laboratory uses more neutral terminology for these abilities; they refer to ESP as anomalous cognition (AC) and to psychokinesis as anomalous perturbation (AP). The vast majority of work at both SRI and SAIC investigated anomalous cognition rather than anomalous perturbation, although there was some work done on the latter. Anomalous cognition is further divided into categories based on the apparent source of the information. If it appears to come from another person, the ability is called telepathy, if it appears to come in real time but not from another person it is called clairvoyance and if the information could have only been obtained by knowledge of the future, it is called precognition".
"Patrick H. Price: A Psychic Treasure"
"Pat Price was a gift to our research at SRI. One day in June of 1973, right in the middle of our adventures with Uri Geller, Pat called Hal Puthoff to say that he had been following our work, and felt that he had been doing that kind of psychic thing for years, catching crooks when he was the police commissioner in Burbank, California. He told us that he would sit with the dispatcher in the police station, and whenever he heard a crime reported, he would psychically scan the city and send a car to the spot where he saw a frightened man hiding. Our impression after we began working with Price was that he lived his life as a completely integrated psychic person. We worked with other talented individuals, but, no one with the continuous psychic awareness of the world around him, which Price showed."
"When a person is asked to direct his or her attention towards a random system, with intention to mentally influence the stochastic behavior of that system, there is substantial empirical evidence that the system complies (Radin & Ferrari, 1991; Radin & Nelson, 1989). To align its behavior with the person's intention, the random system is usually obliged to move towards a state of increasing order. We can detect this trend because we are specifically looking for negentropic changes in systems with well-understood statistical characteristics."
"Consciousness is negentropic, that is, it injects order into systems in proportion to the "strength" of consciousness present. This is a refinement of Schrodinger's observation about one of the remarkable properites of life, namely an "organism's astonishing gift of concentrating a 'stream of order' on itself and thus escaping the decay into atomic chaos - of 'drinking orderliness' from a suitable enivironment .... (1967, p. 77)."





"The US Army Funded Astral Projection and Hypnosis Research in the 80s"


"Human consciousness as an intersection of energy planes that forms a hologram"
Given its holographic nature, consciousness is subject to projection into space (the notion of "astral projection").
"a 29-page Army document* that featured detailed explanations of hypnosis, holograms, and out-of-body experiences. The document placed these phenomena in the context of larger ideas of consciousness, energy, space-time, quantum subatomic particles, and so-called astral projection, a practice that aims to transport consciousness around a metaphysical plane—a central idea in McDonnell's assessment."
"a normal state of consciousness is like a lamp, which emits light in a 'chaotic, incoherent way.' However, a hypnotized state of consciousness is said to be like a laser beam, whose thoughts and energy are focused like a 'disciplined stream' of light."




Biofield measurements from a person performing psychokinesis


By Dr. Genady Sergeyev (Leningrad military laboratory).


Excerpts from:


"Exceptionally strong voltages and other unusual effects were observed:"


"There is a large gradient between the electrical characteristics in the forward part of Mikhailova’s brain versus the back part of the brain (fifty to one), whereas in the average person the gradient is four to one. The usual force field around Mikhailova’s body is ten times weaker than the magnetic field of the earth."


"During PK, her pulse rises to 240 per minute. There is activation of deeper levels of the occipital lobe and reticular formation. This enhances polarization in the brain between front and back, says Sergeyev. When the gradient between front and back of the brain reaches a certain level, and there is most intense activity in the occipital lobe, radiation of electrostatic and electromagnetic fields are detected by the force field detectors four yards from the body. Heartbeat, brain waves, and force field fluctuations are in ratio. The fields around the PK medium are stronger further away than close to the head. Mikhailova appears to focus these force field waves in a specific area."


"– Taken from Michlove’s book, cited above"