Midnight Climax: CIA's MK-ULTRA LSD experiments in San Francisco


38 Responses to “Midnight Climax: CIA's MK-ULTRA LSD experiments in San Francisco”

  1. robertdee says:

    The Search for the Manchurian Candidate and Acid Dreams were great books on this subject. I’d like to see the Coen brothers make a film adaptation.

  2. SedanChair says:

    This is new? I remember reading a comic book about this 20 years ago.



    I guess it’s a conspiracy until it’s some silly old thing that happened a long time ago. Then it’s just not worth dwelling on.

    • MrEricSir says:

      The article is a mix of old and new (and newish) stuff on the subject.  Nothing in the BoingBoing summary is new, I guess it’s more of an intro.

    • wysinwyg says:


      Newly released documents shed light on the San Francisco edition of the CIA’s notorious MK-ULTRA program… There’s lots of detail about MK-ULTRA’s work in NYC and Montreal, but the San Francisco operation has been shrouded in mystery.

  3. digi_owl says:

    How to fight monsters without becoming one…

  4. Jim Saul says:

    Anyone still think waterboarding was the most creative thing Cheney’s ilk were doing to prisoners in “dark sites” on the other side of the world?

    • digi_owl says:

      On the topic of Cheney. That guy, and his partner in “crime” Rumsfeld, have been at this for a surprisingly long time. They actually show up in the article as operating under Ford. Between this and Putin being an old KGB i fear that things will stay its shaky course for quite some time yet…

      New blood, and new ideas, are in dire need in this world…

    • It’s well documented that Guantanamo was a Govcorp breeding ground for MKULTRA terrorist alts to feed the military industrial complex. Release innocent muslims into the wild five to ten years later with programmed alts and the war on terror delivers all the psycho pentagon profits they plan.

       That’s why Gitmo didn’t shut down. Too profitable to govcorp.

  5. Ipo says:

    Pretty kinky for government work.  

  6. hypersomniac says:

    Wish White would’ve mellowed out and started a jam band, man.

  7. hypersomniac says:

    I would willingly participate in something like Kesey experienced at Stanford, but to be blindsided like that? Shit. Cruel and unusual.

  8. anansi133 says:

    from the article:

    White wrote how he “served as a guinea pig from time to time. My personal observation was that the effect of all of these drugs was essentially the same, except for the degree or extent of the effect. THCA was more potent than marihuana [sic] and LSD more potent than THCA.

    I’m boggled that anyone could confuse the effects of acid and pot. And that such a person could be empowered to dose people with either, non-consensually, when both remain illegal.

     As long as the war on drugs remains in effect, those in government will be the only ones able to get away with drug usage.  That can’t last forever…

    • Dimmer says:

      Boggled huh? Both are hallucinogenics, both aim for the same part of the ol’ noggin. Sure, many pot smokers are daily users whereas most LSD types save it for high days and holidays (for cost reasons if nothing else). And as far as “being empowered to dose” I’m pretty sure the guys at my local cannabis dispensary are higher than the sun as they serve me my medical mary and I love them for that!

      • Actually I believe MJ is generally considered a hypnotic, not a hallucinogen. There are similarities between the two experiences, but they are fundamentally different. And last I heard, nobody had worked out which part of the noggin either substances “aim for”.

      • wysinwyg says:

         Yeah, boggled.  As a daily user of marijuana and occasional user of LSD I’d have to say that they’re about as different as two drugs can be.  The only real similarity I can think of is that both can lead to paranoia.  From the inside, they seem (to me) to go in entirely different directions.  LSD pushes me out more towards pure sense experience (in the same way Huxley talks about Mescaline) whereas marijuana tends to push me inwards into discursive and tangly chains of thought.

        For a window into the phenomenological difference, here’s what I had to say about this on a previous trip:
        “You know you’re on LSD when you’re smoking marijuana to get less high.”

  9. Bill Walsh says:

    This is the building: http://g.co/maps/n8xj3

  10. Hakuin says:

    so, what do you think they are doing today?

    • fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

      Probably a lot of whining about how technology sucked the fun out of their jobs, man…

      “Damn, dude, we’ve been stuck in this converted shipping container watching Reaper footage for 26 hours now, waiting for a good chance for an extrajudicial targeted killing. Why are there no openings in the covert LSD/bondage dungeons?”

  11. So, someone went to the CIA honchos and said, “I want to dose unsuspecting American citizens with illegal hallucinogens, and then watch them have sex with prostitutes from behind a two-way mirror while I’m drinking martinis.  Oh, and we’ll have the walls decorated with photos of women in bondage being tortured.  And I want the CIA to pay me for doing this.”

    And the honchos said “Sure.  No problem.  Thank you for making America safer.”

    What the hell kind of drugs were THEY taking?

  12. strangefriend says:

    Salon covered this back in 1998 under their DARK HOTEL series of cyber comics http://www1.salon.com/comics/dark/4/index/installment1.html . Spain Rodriguez drew a twelve episode story called ‘The Manchurian Experiment (Room 37).’ All of this has been deleted from their site.

  13. Glenn Sauber says:

    There was a short web series based on this called Operation Midnight Climax.   You can find it at strangescience.tv

  14. Anybody wanna take a bet that Jason ‘Kony’ Russell had a triggered alt when he flipped from evangelist to naked masturbating car wrecker?

  15. miasm says:

    The title has 7 of my favorite words in it!

  16. fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

    I’m pretty sure that the coiners of the phrase “That’s mighty White of him.” did not have this application in mind…

  17. tyrsalvia says:

    In a lot of ways, the CIA really fueled the counterculture with drugs and modern art (and the Internet, though that’s more Department of Defense than CIA).

    Glad you posted the article. I had known about this stuff before, but I thought this article had some new information and was a very well-written introduction for anyone hot already familiar with this piece of our history. 

  18. neat39 says:

    Charles Manson also seemed to use the drug to induce people to do his bidding,and come around to his way of thinking, and prostituting themselves also. Monsters making monsters??

  19. Warren Grant says:

    Its interesting to hear that these experiments were done on US citizens as well. Until now I had thought the only such experiments had been done by the CIA on Canadian citizens (in Montreal I believe). Its just as horrific and offensive regardless of whether it was done on their own citizen or unsuspecting foreigners mind you. Although here they appear to have lured their victims in using prostitutes, I believe in Canada they just used unsuspecting medical patients.
    Whatever the differences, the people who perpetrated this experiment should have been charged and thrown in prison. Its difficult to reconcile this sort of torture and punishment (up here in Canada that is) with the supposed superior morality claimed by the West.
    That said, I am sure the unsuspecting victims who got to have sex with prostitutes down in SF, had a much better time than the mental patients who got shock treatment, sensory depravation, medically induced comas and massive drug doses inflicted on them up here.

  20. whodoneittoyou says:

    if the government wanted to know so much about brainwashing…all they had to do is use religion…instead of LSD

    • fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

      There is an entire body of lore concerning an alleged Jonestown/CIA link, largely on the premise that the feds did, indeed, give that a try…

  21. paroxysm says:

    Stuff You Should Know did a pretty good podcast on this in 2008.


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