2 Thessalonians 2:11- and for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
I am Robert Hall- a twenty year old journalism major at the University of Louisville. Ever since I was a child I’ve dreamed of being a writer. I used to carry a pad and pencil everywhere with me to conduct interviews with the neighbors. I used to interview everyone from older couples bringing home groceries, to the parents of the children I was friendly with. I even interviewed the ice cream man a few times, all in the name of a somewhat fictional newspaper of my imagination. This behavior was initially encouraged by everyone around town: shop owners and the local barber didn’t bat an eye at being asked if they had a few minutes to answer some questions.
As I got older the passion for writing never wavered. I wrote myriad of well received essays and stories all throughout grade school. However my penchant for scribing left me virtually friend-less. I didn’t really mind, except for the nights when I found myself the victim of writer’s block and had no one to hang out with. I often thought to myself that it was all part of the sacrifice. I’d have plenty of friends when I became a big shot writer, right?
It was an easy choice to make when I got that acceptance letter to Louisville. Being from Kentucky I didn’t really want to leave home yet. Sure I live on campus, but I could catch a bus home and be there in less than three hours. I try to remember that when everything starts to get heavy on my mind. School can be really tiresome. I don’t really ever go to the parties or anything like that so it’s nice to know that I can head home when it gets to be too much. Even without friends to visit back there I still have my parents if I need to escape school for even a day or two.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some super awkward social leper or anything like that. I just prefer to spend my time in my dorm writing and reading. In the last month or two I read “Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs” and it blew my mind. I’m going to be the next Hunter S Thompson! I just need to find something as extraordinary as he did with the biker gang. I don’t know what could match it, but there’s got to be something, and I’m going to find that something if it’s the last thing I do.
I spent the last few weeks trying to come up with something as gripping and “outside the box” as an outlaw biker gang, and I think I found something worth writing about. There’s an old mental asylum about seventy five miles from here called Eastern State Hospital in Lexington that I’m going to contact and see if I can’t set something up with. Imagine an article or book about the lives of lunatics and the people who deal with them every day.
It took some doing, but I managed to find a phone number for the place. It went pretty much like I expected it to. They didn’t seem overly thrilled by the idea of some kid showing up to conduct interviews, but they also didn’t mind as long as they didn’t have to pay me. We agreed for me to spend four days there over Spring Break. I can’t even put into words how excited I am. This is my big break, I can feel it. I’m going to write the best damn piece anyone has ever read. People will be trying to interview me at the end of this.
I don’t want anyone worrying about me or making jokes about my going to an insane asylum so I’m not going to tell anyone; least of all my parents. Everyone probably thinks I’m weird since I keep to myself and the last thing I need when I get back is a bunch of people staring and whispering rumors to one another about me. Nobody would even know I didn’t spend spring break in my dorm since they’ll almost all be away at home or visiting a beach somewhere. My bags are packed, and I managed to scrounge up some quick cash by writing Eric Finn’s midterm paper for him. I had to write ten pages on F. Scott Fitzgerald in six days, but it was worth it, since he paid me twenty five dollars for it. Nothing is going to stop me now.
This place is amazing! Well, amazing in the sense that it will tell the story of the “other side” of America. It looks like a castle from the outside, save a moat and drawbridge. When I arrived I was met by two nurses enjoying a smoke break. After some introductions they led me inside and began showing me around. I didn’t expect the inside to look so benign. I was really expecting a gloomy scene with all the walls being padded, the tables and chairs bolted to the ground, and listless people in straight-jackets littering the rooms. It isn’t like that at all. There are folding tables and lots of chairs, none of which are bolted down. There’s this music that plays all through the day that sounds like it was written for elevators.
Most of the patients dress in street clothes, but some were clothed in beige scrubs. Many of them played various card games, and checkers, whilst others mostly sat around the common area, staring out the windows while a select few spoke to themselves. I didn’t really get much in the way of interviewing today, but the walk through took me aback. This whole day has been a little surreal. Even now I can hear someone screaming.
Last night was a bit unnerving. Someone was howling for what must have been hours on end. If they were saying anything I certainly couldn’t make heads or tails of it. It must have been one of the patients having a night terror or something; after all, this is a mental asylum, right? Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much, and although being somewhat tired, I’m determined to make the most of this trip because I can always get some rest when I go back to school. I can sleep when I get back to school. I asked a few nurses about what was going on last night in the hopes that they could put my mind at ease for the remainder of my stay. They were apprehensive at first, almost like they didn’t want to tell me anything, but when I persisted they told me one patient has nightmares from time to time, and it was nothing to worry about. I’m not totally convinced, but I’ll wait to see what happens tonight before I start pressing the issue.
This place seems to run like clockwork. Just like yesterday the patients were given breakfast and medication at nine o’ clock sharp. Following breakfast is group therapy for about an hour or so. From there, they mostly do what they want, with few incidents, until lunch time at one in the afternoon, followed by another round of medication. I’m shocked to report that a great many of the people who end up here do so voluntarily. I’d have figured someone would have to be crazy to want to come to a place like this. What does that say about me?
I got to interview the head nurse, Tiffany, for a good while today. She seems overly nervous answering even the simplest of questions about her time here. I can’t tell if she’s got something to hide or if she’s just uncomfortable being interviewed. It’s almost like she was fearful to say the wrong thing. Aside from the schedule of the day, which I already observed for the most part, she didn’t really provide much useful information. However, a few of the maintenance staff told me some stories about attempted escapes and the more bizarre behavior of former and current patients. One man has earned himself the nickname “Pulley” for his compulsion to pluck the hair from his arms, legs, and even his head all through the day. They even took to shaving his head at one point to keep him from obsessing over it. There’s that screaming again. I swear it sounds like someone is being tortured around here. Tomorrow I’m going to press and try to get some answers before I begin interviewing the patients. I’m not going home without something to show for this.
I’m so tired; the lack of sleep is starting to get to me. I swear it went on all night this time. I barely remember drifting off before being woken by the staff, opening my eyes, and seeing the sun was up. I have to press on, though; I only have today and tomorrow left to make this work. This whole place seems on edge today. There’s a tension in the air, coming out of the walls, and permeating every nook and cranny of the building. I’m sure I’m not the only one who heard that incessant shouting last night, I can feel it. Nobody wants to talk about it but I know something is going on here. Something that isn’t quite right. I’m going to sneak out of my room tonight and try to figure this out. They’re hiding something in this hospital.
There it is again.
I had to wait for the night watchman to make his rounds before I left my room. I tracked the hellish wails down a corridor I was told was the maintenance hall where they kept the chemicals and tools needed to keep the place clean. There was a light coming from under the third door on the left, which upon being opened led a room that didn’t look like it belonged here. There was a large file cabinet, and three televisions labeled with masking tape along the bottoms. The first screen showed a man sleeping in a bed. This screen is labeled “sleep room”. In the middle of the trio displays a man pacing franticly, and hollering without words. He must be the one we’ve all been hearing. The third is a monitor of an empty room. The file cabinet is marked “Ultra – SP1/13/68”. This doesn’t look like the records room at the nurse’s station I was shown two days ago.
So I’ve opened the cabinet, and opened one of the file folders. I can’t believe what I’m reading and seeing. The file contains what looks like some kind of medical experiment with notes and pictures attached. They all keep referencing something called project MK Ultra. These pictures are horrifying. There’s an Asian man strapped to a chair with IV’s in his arms. What the hell is going on here? I wish I had a camera with me so I could photograph all this.
Project MK Ultra: Subproject 13
Goal: Finding or creating a material which will cause mental confusion of such a type that the individual under its influence will find it difficult to maintain a fabrication under questioning.
February 5, 1968: Subject #828
Subject was secured to a chair with straps. An Apropbarbital IV was applied to the left arm. Additionally, a Benzedrine IV was applied to the right arm. The Apropbarbital, upon release, sedated the subject, and just before a loss of consciousness occurred, the Benzedrine was released. After a brief period of inactivity the subject began to speak nonsensical gibberish. The mixture of amphetamine and barbiturate appeared to come over the subject in waves characteristic of one or the other. The subject was then asked a range of clear, simple questions. Some inquiries went entirely unanswered, while others were answered to a useful degree. Subject will be given more intensive interrogations under these same circumstances in the weeks to follow.
There are several more pages and pictures but I just can’t read that one anymore. My mind is reeling. The pictures just got worse and worse. I’m not sure why but I’m opening the second one.
Project MK Ultra: Subproject 68
Goal: Expanding effective methods for “de-patterning”, or removing elements of the memory/persona to be refitted with the desired elements of our choosing.
January 13, 1968: Subject #649
Subject is to be placed into a chemically induced coma for a period of eleven to thirteen weeks. Pentobarbital will be responsible for the constant sedation. During this time a short repeating sound loop will be played in the subject’s room continuously for the entirety of this experiment. Expected results range from general amnesia, to a loss of vocal skills as well as possible dependence on staff members that the subject encounters, perhaps even associating them as the parental units from that point on.
Thirteen weeks. Thirteen weeks was up two days ago. The man on the television who screams… They did this to him. He’s screaming because he doesn’t know how to speak anymore. How can anyone do this to a person? How can this be legal? I can’t believe that anyone would sign up for something like this. Did he even agree to this? Are they targeting the mentally insane for these sick experiments? I’ve got to get out of here and alert the authorities to help him. I hav
Project MK Ultra: Subproject 1
Goal: Experimenting with substances which will promote illogical thinking and impulsiveness to the point where the recipient would be discredited in public.
April 17, 1968: Subject #413
Subject, voluntary committal Robert Hall, will be exposed to continuous dosing of lysergic acid diethylamide, to be concluded on October 8, 1968. Substance will be administered through food and drink, and if necessary, by force. Subject will be kept under constant surveillance to assess the full effects of the experiment.