Thursday, January 27, 2011

Weird Wacky Tales Involving LSD

Project MKULTRA, or MK-ULTRA, was the code name for a covert, illegal CIA human research program, run by the Office of Scientific Intelligence. This official U.S. government program began in the early 1950s, continuing at least through the late 1960s, and it used U.S. and Canadian citizens as its test subjects. The published evidence indicates that Project MKULTRA involved the use of many methodologies to manipulate individual mental states and alter brain functions, including the surreptitious administration of drugs and other chemicals, sensory deprivation, isolation, and verbal and sexual abuse.

Once Project MKULTRA officially got underway in April, 1953, experiments included administering LSD to CIA employees, military personnel, doctors, other government agents, prostitutes, mentally ill patients, and members of the general public in order to study their reactions. LSD and other drugs were usually administered without the subject's knowledge or informed consent, a violation of the Nuremberg Code that the U.S. agreed to follow after World War II.

The Deputy Director of the CIA revealed that over thirty universities and institutions were involved in an "extensive testing and experimentation" program which included covert drug tests on unwitting citizens "at all social levels, high and low, native Americans and foreign." Several of these tests involved the administration of LSD to "unwitting subjects in social situations." At least one death, that of Dr. Olson, resulted from these activities. The Agency itself acknowledged that these tests made little scientific sense. The agents doing the monitoring were not qualified scientific observers.

Also see a related article on Operation Midnight Climax which I did an article on back in March of 2010:

Experiments with LSD have also been done on animals; in 1962, an elephant named Tusko died shortly after being injected with 297 mg, but whether the LSD was the cause of his death is controversial (due, in part, to a plethora of other chemical substances administered simultaneously).

Cary Grant
On December 25, 1949, Grant married Betsy Drake. He appeared with her in two films. This would prove to be his longest marriage, ending on August 14, 1962. Drake introduced Grant to LSD, and in the early 1960s he related how treatment with the hallucinogenic drug —legal at the time— at a prestigious California clinic had finally brought him inner peace after yoga, hypnotism, and mysticism had proved ineffective. The couple divorced in 1962.

Dock Ellis
Dock Phillip Ellis, Jr. was a professional baseball player who pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates, among other teams in Major League Baseball. His best season was 1971, when he won 19 games for the World Series champion Pirates and was the starting pitcher for the National League in the All-Star Game. However, he is perhaps best remembered for throwing a no-hitter in 1970 and later stating that he had done it while under the influence of LSD.

Flipper (1963)
One "stunt" dolphin (one of several used in the film) is speared on screen in the peduncle. This is an actual spear-gunning of a live dolphin, not a special effect, which the producers could not afford. The dolphin appears in several subsequent scenes with Luke and the actress playing his mother, having "beached" itself with the spear still sticking out of its tail.

The unnamed dolphin survived this abuse. Producer Ivan Tors gave it to Dr. John C. Lilly, then of the Communication Research Institute in Miami. "It wouldn't come near us," Lilly later said. "I gave it 100 micrograms of LSD, and it was all over us." Tors told Lilly that the dolphin had been speared "by mistake" and that the scene was shot by a second unit without his direct knowledge. Lilly is credited in the film as "scientific adviser".

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Violet Jessop

Violet Constance Jessop was an ocean liner stewardess and nurse who achieved fame by surviving the disastrous sinkings of sister ships RMS Titanic and HMHS Britannic in 1912 and 1916 respectively. In addition, she had been on board Titanic and Britannic's other sister ship, RMS Olympic, when it collided with the HMS Hawke in 1911.

At age 23, Violet Jessop boarded the RMS Olympic on October 20, 1910 to work as a stewardess. The Olympic was a luxury ship that was the largest civilian liner at that time, being nearly 100 feet longer than any other ship. Olympic's first major mishap occurred on 20 September 1911, when she collided with a British warship, HMS Hawke off the Isle of Wight. Although the incident resulted in the flooding of two of her compartments and a twisted propeller shaft.

Violet boarded the RMS Titanic as a stewardess on 10 April 1912 and four days later on 14 April, at around 23:40 the Titanic struck an iceberg and began to sink. Violet described in her memoirs that she was ordered up on deck because she was to set a good example to the foreign speaking people (they did not speak English) where she watched as the crew loaded the lifeboats. She was later ordered into lifeboat 16, and as the boat was being lowered, one of the Titanic's officers gave her a baby to look after. The next morning Violet and the rest of the survivors were rescued by the RMS Carpathia. According to Violet, while on board the Carpathia, a woman grabbed the baby she was holding and ran off with it without saying a word.

During World War I Violet served as a nurse for the British Red Cross. In 1916, she was on board His Majesty's Hospital Ship Britannic when the ship apparently struck a mine and sank in the Aegean Sea. While the Britannic was sinking she jumped out of a lifeboat to avoid being sucked into the Britannic's propellers. She was sucked under the water and struck her head on the ship's keel before being rescued by another lifeboat. She had also made sure to grab her toothbrush before leaving her cabin on the Britannic, saying later that it was the one thing she missed most immediately following the sinking of the Titanic.

Violet Jessop died of congestive heart failure in 1971.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bat Bombs

Bat bombs were bomb-shaped casings with numerous compartments, each containing a Mexican Free-tailed Bat with a small timed incendiary bomb attached. Dropped from a bomber at dawn, the casings would deploy a parachute in mid-flight and open to release the bats which would then roost in eaves and attics. The incendiaries would start fires in inaccessible places in the largely wood and paper construction of the Japanese cities that were the weapon's intended target.

Developed by the United States during World War II, four biological factors gave promise to this plan. First, bats occur in large number. Second, bats can carry more than their own weight in flight. Third, bats hibernate, and while dormant they do not require food or maintenance. Fourth, bats fly in darkness, then find secluded places to hide during daylight.

The plan was to release bat bombs over Japanese cities having widely-dispersed industrial targets. The bats would spread far from the point of release due to the relatively high altitude of their release, then at dawn they would hide in buildings across the city. Shortly thereafter built-in timers would ignite the bombs, causing widespread fires and chaos. The bat bomb idea was conceived by dental surgeon Lytle S. Adams, who submitted it to the White House in January, 1942, where it was subsequently approved by President Roosevelt.

It was envisioned that ten B-24 bombers flying from Alaska, each carrying a hundred shells packed with bomb-carrying bats could release 1,040,000 bat bombs over the target—the industrial cities of Osaka Bay. A series of tests to answer various operational questions were conducted. In one incident the Auxiliary Army Air Base in Carlsbad, New Mexico, was set on fire when armed bats were accidentally released. The bats incinerated the test range and roosted under a fuel tank. Following this setback, the project was relegated to the Navy in August 1943, who renamed it Project X-Ray, and then passed it to the Marine Corps that December. The Marine Corps moved operations to the Marine Corps Air Station at El Centro, California. After several experiments and operational adjustments, the definitive test was carried out on a mockup of a Japanese city built by the Chemical Warfare Service at their Dugway Proving Grounds test site in Utah.

More tests were scheduled for the summer of 1944 but the program was cancelled by Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King when he heard that it would likely not be combat ready until mid-1945. By that time it was estimated that $2 million had been spent on the project. It is thought that development of the bat bomb was moving too slowly, and was overtaken in the race for a quick end to the war by the atomic bomb project.

Dr. Adams maintained that the bat bombs would have been effective without the devastating effects of the atomic bomb. He is quoted as having said: “Think of thousands of fires breaking out simultaneously over a circle of forty miles in diameter for every bomb dropped. Japan could have been devastated, yet with small loss of life. ”


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bao Xishun

Bao Xishun is a herdsman from Inner Mongolia, China, who was recognized by Guinness World Records as one of the world's tallest living men. Bao suffers from rheumatism, although this has been attributed to his childhood habit of sleeping outdoors, rather than a height-linked disorder. Bao Xishun claims to have been of normal height until he was sixteen years old when he experienced a growth spurt for unknown reasons and reached his present height seven years later.

In December 2006, Bao Xishun was asked by veterinarians to assist them in removing shards of plastic from the stomachs of two dolphins. The dolphins had accidentally swallowed the shards, which had settled in their stomachs and caused a loss of appetite and depression. Veterinarians had failed to remove them, so Bao Xishun used his 1.06-metre long arms to reach into the dolphins' stomachs, to remove the plastic manually. (A similar operation was performed by American basketball player Clifford Ray, who was asked to use his long arms to save a California dolphin in 1978.)