Defenestration (literally just a weird post about government mind control)

Defenestration: the act of throwing a person out a window. 

I totally love this word. I first heard it from an episode of The Spectacular Spider-Man when the Green Goblin threw Spider-Man out a window during a particularly epic fight. It was only later during a French lesson I learned the French word for 'window' is 'fenêtre'. (I just like to throw a little etymology into my blog posts. (You're welcome.))

Why does this matter? Because in the 1950s-1970s, the United States government conducted (often illegal) experiments on willing (and unwilling) American and Canadian citizens. These experiments were supposed to find drugs and methods to use during interrogations (and torture). The CIA tried to find methods in which to control people's minds through the "... administration of drugs (especially LSD) and other chemicals, hypnosis, sensory deprivation, isolation and verbal abuse, as well as other forms of psychological torture" (source). They often used pretend organisations during their research, such as at universities, so the people working for them often wouldn't know what their research was being used for. Or against. This program was codenamed Project MKUltra. 

For all of my non-American friends who are very confused, this was during the Cold War when spies were everywhere (every heard of the Rosenbergs?). The Americans were freaking out (and I totally would be too) because the Russians were stealing their secrets and it could totally end in a nuclear winter. (And yes, this is what Stranger Things is based on. I think.) 

They used LSD in an attempt to make Russian spies change sides against their will (I highly doubted it worked), make them confess, or "wipe a subject's mind clean and program [them] as a robot agent" (source). They would give mental patients, prisoners, prostitutes, drug addicts, etc. as well as doctors, CIA employees, government agents, and the public LSD to study the result (source). They'd put barbiturate in one arm of the subject then amphetamines into the other arm, and studied the interaction of hypnosis and drugs (source). 

Did I mention the use of acid on employees? One person would voluntarily take a trip while the other observed and took notes. Random employees would get dragged into it, and one employee got a dose in his coffee and ran across town seeing monsters. 

This, my friends, is when we come to defenestration. Dr. Frank Olson was given a surprise dose of LSD then took a trip out the thirteenth story window. Yep, that happened.

Yes, this has been a weird post. Does it have anything to do with anything besides the rabbit holes I can fall down? No, not really. But I hope you've enjoyed anyways. 


  1. Daaang. I wish I were this knowledgeable about history...


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