Courtesy of John Rojas

Conspiracy theories that came true

Project MKUltra—the CIA’s top secret LSD experiments

Does the government distribute LSD as a form of mind control?

Project MKUltra, also known as the Central Intelligence Agency’s Mind Control Program, was a set of experiments undertaken by the CIA where psychedelic compounds such as LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline, cocaine and DMT were tested on human subjects. 

Starting in 1953, the project—which also involved experiments in shock therapy, hypnosis and interrogation—was intended to create a psychological weapon that could be used as a form of mind control against enemies of the Cold War. 

The experiments were initially done on volunteers; author Ken Kesey famously volunteered as an LSD guinea pig in the early ‘60s while he was attending Stanford University. His experiences inspired him to write the novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

But the CIA also administered LSD to hundreds of prisoners, mental patients and unwitting American citizens. In 1953, according to TIME magazine, the CIA set up multiple brothels in San Francisco and New York where prostitutes were instructed to dose their clients with LSD while CIA agents monitored the client’s behavior through two-way mirrors in a brazen eight year program called “Operation Midnight Climax.”

By the late ‘60s, MKUltra was terminated, as the use of psychedelics as weapons was considered too unpredictable after many test subjects experienced psychological breakdowns following the experiments. 

In 1973, amid government-wide panic induced by the Watergate scandal, the CIA destroyed most of MKUltra’s records—but a cache of over 20,000 documents relating to the experiments were discovered in 1977 and revealed to the public by the agency itself after a Freedom of Information Act request, according to The New York Times.   

The full extent of the experiments remains unclear to this day. 


The Gay Bomb 

Could the government make you fall in love? 

The Gay Bomb—also known as the Halitosis Bomb—was a nonlethal psychochemical weapon that was envisioned by the United States Air Force in 1994. The theory for the bomb was to make love, not war, by dousing a battlefield with “female sex pheromones,” according to documents obtained by a military spending watchdog group through a Freedom of Information Act request, according to The Guardian. 

According to the documents, the idea was to make enemy soldiers irresistible and sexually attracted to one another and thus lose their appetite for combat. According to the proposal for the weapon, the aim was to “cause homosexual behavior” through “strong aphrodisiacs.” 

The documents show that the U.S. military requested $7.5 million to develop the weapon. The Pentagon never attempted to cover up the project and released a statement which read, “The department of defense is committed to identifying, researching and developing nonlethal weapons that will support our men and women in uniform.”


Government-induced alcohol poisoning  

Will the government kill you for breaking the law? 

During prohibition, many people started dying after having one drink, and the theory that the government was poisoning bootleg booze began to spread. After a number of newspapers and a senator blamed the uptick of alcohol poisoning deaths on the government, the government admitted to it. 

However, the poisoning wasn’t intended to enforce prohibition, according to a short book written and published by the U.S. Treasury Department concerning the issue. Instead, it was to safeguard industries that required the use of alcohol to manufacture things like paint, solvents and fuels. In order to keep those industries supplied with alcohol, the government required it to be “unfit for human consumption” by denaturing it with poison.

Unfortunately, much of that industrial alcohol was then stolen and sold on the black market in order to make bootleg beverages, and at least 10,000 people died by some estimates, according to Slate.   


The government controlling the weather

Does the government control the weather? 

Weather modification was a popular conspiracy theory in the 1950s and ‘60s. There were congressional hearings, an accusation from Fidel Castro that the U.S. created Hurricane Flora in 1963, as well as an alarming article published in Popular Science entitled “Weather as a Weapon,” where American scientists wrote that “the Russians may be ahead of us in weather control.”

While weather control was never fully developed, the U.S. admitted to the attempted use of “weaponized weather” during the Vietnam War in multiple covert missions entitled “Operation Popeye,” according to The New York Times.

After repeatedly denying allegations that the U.S. army attempted to induce heavy rainfall over enemy forces in Vietnam through chemical agents, the government stated publicly in 1974 that such attempts had indeed, though unsuccessfully, been attempted after the details of the operation were leaked to the American public through documents obtained by The Washington Post. 

After the operation was leaked, the United Nations held a convention where “Military or any other hostile use of environmental modification techniques” was prohibited, according to the U.S. Department of State.