Could there be a REAL ‘Manchurian Candidate’? TV show to test whether innocent people can be turned into brainwashed assassins

  • Bobby  Kennedy’s assassin claimed he was hypnotised to carry out  killing
  • CIA  investigated mind control between Fifties and Seventies as part of covert  project known as MKUltra

By Damien Gayle

PUBLISHED:08:36 EST, 26  October 2012| UPDATED:08:59 EST, 26 October 2012

A television programme is out to test whether  innocent people can be brainwashed in becoming unwitting assassins as in the  plot of political thriller The Manchurian Candidate.

In the 1959 novel, a man is brainwashed into  becoming an unwitting sleeper assassin as part of a Communist conspiracy to  overthrow the U.S. government.

The novel and its film adaptations have  intrigued many, and related conspiracy theories have long-held that the U.S.  government and others have tried to develop techniques to control the minds of  individuals.

Programmed to kill: Angela Lansbury and Laurence Harvey in a scene from the 1962 cinema adaptation of The Manchurian CandidateProgrammed to kill: Angela Lansbury and Laurence Harvey  in a scene from the 1962 cinema adaptation of The Manchurian Candidate, in which  a man is brainwashed into becoming an assassin as part of a communist  plot

In one famous case, the assassin who killed  presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy, Christian Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan, later  claimed he was hypnotised into carrying out the killing.

Likewise, Patty Hearst, the newspaper heiress  kidnapped by the left-wing revolutionary group the Symbionese Liberation Army,  claim the gang brainwashed her into taking part in a bank robbery.

There have been government-sponsored studies  into the possibility of mind control.

Between the Fifties and Seventies, the CIA  conducted controversial experiments to develop behavioural engineering that many  believed aimed at brainwashing subjects.


MKUltra was  the code name for a covert CIA human research program run by the CIA Office of  Scientific Intelligence.

The program began  in the early Fifties and continued at least through the late Sixties, using  mainly 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 function, including the  surreptitious administration of drugs and other chemicals, sensory deprivation,  isolation, and verbal and sexual abuse.

It was first  brought to wide public attention in 1975 by Congress, through investigations by  the Church Committee, and by a presidential commission known as the Rockefeller  Commission.

However,  investigative efforts were hampered by the fact that CIA Director Richard Helms  ordered all MKULTRA files destroyed in 1973.

The Church  Committee and Rockefeller Commission investigations relied on the sworn  testimony of direct participants and on the relatively small number of documents  that survived Helms’ destruction order.

In recent times  most information regarding MKULTRA has been officially declassified. It was  first made available through a FOIA request in 1977 that uncovered a cache of  some 20,000 documents relating to project MKULTRA and led to Senate  hearings.

In July of  2001 some surviving information regarding MKUltra was officially declassified.

Investigative efforts were hampered by the  fact that Richard Helms, director of the CIA, ordered many files related to the  programme – known as MKUltra – destroyed in 1973, years before any investigation  into it began.

It was nevertheless found that the remit of  the project was to develop mind-controlling drugs and techniques, with the CIA  especially interested in being able to manipulate foreign leaders.

Now a Discovery Channel documentary aims to  see if it is indeed possible to persuade unwitting, law-abiding subjects to  become cold-blooded killers who will shoot someone to order, Today’s Clicker  blog reports.

Experimental psychopathologist Cynthia  Meyerburg, who oversaw the study, says in a trailer for the documentary:  ‘Science has only begun to understand how the brain works, and one of the things  we don’t yet understand is whether it’s possible to control someone else’s  mind.’

The programme will show work with a group of  test subjects who gave their consent to take part in a hypnosis study for  television.

They were not told that the ultimate  objective of the study, as described in its trailer, is ‘to take a mentally  healthy, law-abiding individual and program them to shoot and kill a complete  stranger’.

Not all experts are agreed on whether the  goal is possible to achieve. Oxford University neuroscientist Matt Stokes, who  also contributes to the film, said: ‘What we’re trying to do here is strip away  someone’s sense of free will and see if they can carry out extreme  acts.

‘Can it be done? Well, I’m not so sure that  it can.’

Curiosity: Brainwashed will be broadcast on  Sunday night at 9pm on the Discovery Channel.

Now watch the trailer for the programme

Read more: Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Categories: Control, Inhibiting Self Determination,, Scientfic Misconduct, Societal

Tags: , , , , , , ,

2 replies


  1. The Twins Actual | High Heels Fashion
  2. Homepage
%d bloggers like this: