Tinker, tailor, soldier... illusionist?
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Boston Globe
Posted: November 28th, 2009
At the height of the Cold War - in the era of nuclear missiles and submarines, amid the tangled cloak-and-dagger maneuverings of espionage and counterespionage - the [CIA] was also secretly doing something else. It was trying to learn to do magic. The CIA hired [magician John] Mulholland to explain techniques of sleight-of-hand and surreptitious signaling so that agents could use them in the field. His text, which was originally supposed to have been destroyed, has now been recovered, declassified, and reprinted as The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception. It deals mostly with basic stagecraft, minus the stage. Former CIA deputy director John McLaughlin writes in a [foreword] to the manual that [a]s best we know, the drink-spiking techniques were never actually used. The assurance would be more reassuring if the authors who had recovered the manual, H. Keith Melton and Robert Wallace, had not included their own historical overview of CIA trickery. In it, they explain that Mulhollands writing was part of the secret MKULTRA program, whereby the CIA sought methods and materials capable of employment in clandestine operations to control human behavior. And part of MKULTRA did involve dosing unsuspecting subjects with LSD and other drugs. Techniques of stage magic ... were transferred to the realm of nonconsensual secrecy, to be used on people who were not asking to be fooled.
Note: For a powerful and reliable overview of the CIA's mind control programs, including MK-Ultra, click here.