Official CIA documents and memos about the MK ULTRA peoject

Last Updated on June 7, 2020 by admin

Here’s some official CIA documents and memos about the MK ULTRA project:


This document reveals the CIA’s concern with covert means of administering the mind- and behavior-altering substances researched in MKULTRA projects. In 1953, the Agency commissioneda “manual on trickery,” to be authored by a prominent magician, who described ways to conduct “tricks with pills” and other substances.

* November 11, 1953
This is a memo in regard to expansion of the manual on trickery. The manual as it now stands consists of the following five sections:

1. Underlying bases for the successful performance of tricks and the background of the psychological principles by which they operate.

2. Tricks with pills.

3. Tricks with loose solids.

4. Tricks with liquids.

5. Tricks by which small objects may be obtained secretly. This section was not considered in my original outline and was suggested subsequently to me. I was, however, able to add it with out necessitating extension of the number of week questing for the writing. Another completed task not noted in the outline was making models of such equipment as has been
described in the manual. As sections 2,3,4 and 5 were written solely for use by men working alone the manual needs two further sections. One section would give modified, or different, tricks and techniques of performance so that the tricks could be performed by women. The other section would describe tricks suitable for two or more people working in collaboration. In both these proposed sections the tricks would differ considerably from those which have been described. I believe that properly to devise the required techniques and devices and to describe them in writing would require 12 working weeks to complete the two sections. However I cannot now work on this project every week and would hesitate to promise completion prior to the first of May, 1954. I shall await you instructions in the matter.


This memo, written by the CIA’s Sidney Gottlieb, is one of the earliest records available from the MKULTRA project. One month after CIA Director Allen Dulles authorized the program, Gottlieb writes of a “planned series of five major experiments” which are to examine “hypnotically induced anxieties,” the “relationship of personality to hypnosis,” and other matters of the hypnotized mind.

*DRAFT-SG/111 11 May 1953
SUBJECT: Visit to Project

1. On this day the writer spent the day observing experiments with Mr. [deleted] on project [deleted] and in planning next year’s work on the project (Mr. [deleted] has already submitted
his proposal to the [deleted]).

2. The general picture of the present status of the project is one of a carefully planned series of five major experiments. Most of the year has been spent in screening and standardizing a
large group of subjects (approximately 100) and the months between now and September 1should yield much data, so that these five experiments should be completed by September 1.
The five experiments are: (N stands for the total number of subjects involved in the experiment.)

(a) Experiment 1 – N-18 Hypnotically induced anxieties to be completed by September 1.

(b) Experiment 2 – N-24 Hypnotically increasing the ability to learn and recall complex written matter, to be completed by September.

(c) Experiment 3 – N-30 Polygraph response under Hypnosis, to becompleted by June 15.

(d) Experiment 4 – N-24 Hypnotically increasing ability to observe and recall a complex arrangement of physical objects.

(e) Experiment 5 – N-100 Relationship of personality to susceptibility to hypnosis.

3. The work for next year (September 1, 1953 to June 1, 1954) will concentrate on:

(a) Experiment 6 – The morse code problem, with the emphasis on relatively loser I.Q. subjects than found on University volunteers.

(b) Experiment 7 – Recall of hypnotically acquired information by very specific signals.
Will submit detailed research plans on all experiments not yet submitted.

4. A system of reports was decided upon, receivable in June, September and December 1953, and in March and June, 1954. These reports besides giving a summary of progress on each of the seven experiments, will also include the raw data obtained in each experiment. At the completion of any of the experiments a complete, organized final report will be sent to us.

5. After June 1, [deleted] new address will be:

6. A new journal was observed in [deleted] office: Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis published quarterly by the Society for CF. & E.H. Publisher:
Woodrow Press, Inc.
227 E. 45th Street
New York 17, N.Y.
Price: $6.00

To date two numbers issued, Vol. 1 #1 January 1953, and Vol. 1 #2 April 1953.

7. A Very favorable impression was made on the writer by the group. The experimental design of each experiment is very carefully done, and the standards of detail and instrumentation
seems to be very high.
Sidney Gottlieb
Chief Chemical Division, TSS Original Only.


This June 1953 document records Dr. Sidney Gottlieb’s approval of an early CIA acid test. “This project will include a continuation of a study of the biochemical, neurophysiological,
sociological, and clinical psychiatric aspects of L.S.D.,” the CIA scientist writes.

[document begins]
DRAFT -9 June 1953
SUBJECT: Project MKULTRA, Subproject 8

1. Subproject 8 is being set up as a means to continue the present work in the general field of L.S.D. at [deleted] until 11 September 1954.

2. This project will include a continuation of a study of the biochemical, neurophysiological, sociological, and clinical psychiatric aspects of L.S.D., and also a study of L.S.D. antagonists and drugs related to L.S.D., such as L.A.E. A detailed proposal is attached. The principle investigators will continue to be [deleted] all or [deleted].

3. The estimated budget of the project at [deleted] is $39,500.00. The [deleted] will serve as a cut-out and cover the project for this project and will furnish the above funds to the as a philanthropic grant for medical research. A service charge of $790.00 (2% of the estimated) is to be paid to the [deleted] for this service.

4. Thus the total charges for this project will not exceed $40,290.00 for a period ending September 11, 1954.

5. (Director of the hospital) are cleared through TOP SECRET and are aware of the true purpose of the project. Chemical Division/TSS
APPROVED: [signature of Sidney Gottlieb] Chief, Chemical Division/TSS


This 1955 CIA document reviews the Agency’s research and development of a shocking list of mind-altering substances and methods, including “materials which will render the indication
of hypnosis easier or otherwise enhance its usefulness,” and “physical methods of producing shock and confusion over extended periods of time and capable of surreptitious use.”

5 May 1955
A portion of the Research and Development Program of TSS/Chemical Division is devoted to the discovery of the following materials and methods:

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 prevent or counteract the intoxicating effect of alcohol.

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 render the indication of hypnosis easier or otherwise enhance its usefulness.

7. Substances which will enhance the ability of individuals to withstand privation, torture and coercion during interrogation and so-called “brainwashing”.

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 “pure” euphoria with no subsequent let-down.

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 will 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 man to perform any physical activity whatever.
The development of materials of this type follows the standard practice of such ethical drug houses as [deleted]. It is a relatively routine procedure to develop a drug to the point of
human testing. Ordinarily the drug houses depend upon the services of private physicians for the final clinical testing. The physicians are willing to assume the responsibility of such tests in order to advance the science of medicine. It is difficult and sometimes impossible for TSS/CD to offer such an inducement with respect to its products. In practice, it has been possible to use the outside cleared contractors for the preliminary phases of this work. However, that part which involves human testing at effective dose levels presents security problems which cannot be handled by the ordinary contractor. The proposed facility offers a unique opportunity for
the secure handling of such clinical testing in addition to the many advantages outline in the project proposal. The security problems mentioned above are eliminated by the fact that the
responsibility for the testing will rest completely with the physician and the hospital. [deleted] will allow TSS/CD personnel to supervise the work very closely to make sure that all tests are conducted according to the recognized practices and embody adequate safeguards.

“Bow down as the angel of darkness takes your soul”