Would you step forward for science?

Would you step forward for science?

Don’t panic! Whoopsie here, atop my porcelain throne.

There has never been a shortage of volunteers for scientific research; however it might appear out of left field. Even today, there are ultra-altruistic people in Aberystwyth who would readily have themselves infected with swamp fever if it meant nobody in Wales would ever catch it again. 

The dark side

Of course, most experiments use volunteers who had actually volunteered. On the dark side, there have in the past been experiments where the ‘volunteers’ had no idea they had volunteered. Strictly speaking, they were not volunteers at all; they were victims!

One such experiment, dating back to the fifties, involved a CIA chemist called Sidney Gottlieb. When compiling a list of highly reputable occupations, few would add ‘CIA Chemist.’ Most would conclude that such a person was unlikely to be found dispensing aspirin over the counter at Boots the Chemist, Luton.

Sidney once led a secret CIA experiment whose objective was to develop a mind-control drug that could be used as a weapon against people ‘badder’ than the CIA themselves. As the Cold War started, the CIA thought that the Rooskies had already invented mind-control drugs. They decided that in the name of fair play, they should have some too.

It’s said Sid’s experiments were conducted in prisons from the US to Japan, Germany, and the Philippines. Subjects underwent psychological torture, including electroshocks and high doses of LSD. That there’s is no mention of tickling anyone’s feet with a feather duster, tells you how relentlessly grim these experiments were.

In the same way that Sainsbury’s might want a mind control method that would enable them to make glassy-eyed customers clomp robotically to the frozen food aisle seized  by a desire to fill their trolleys with garden peas, the CIA apparently wanted to destroy an existing mind as a precursor to inserting a new mind containing all the right ideas (i.e., theirs). This turned out to be a tad more complicated than changing a tail light on a Buick, and the program was eventually shut down. 

I’m glad I shared this with you, because when you are next invited to ‘help advance mankind’s knowledge,’ you’ll have a new perspective on things. And if it’s the CIA that’s asking you to step forward, perhaps you’ll take my advice and skedaddle to Mexico and never come back!


Greatest wishes from the smallest room,

Whoopsie Gruntfuttock.

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