Still Photos from Edgewood Arsenal: Human Experimentation Seen Up Close

Crossposted from Invictus

Thanks to tigana for the link to this online resource regarding the U.S. Army’s decades-long experimentation of biological and chemical agents on human subjects. The site has a number of documentary photographs from the testing at Edgewood itself. The photos include both animal and human exerimentation. They are shocking in their display of cold, clinical, Nazi-like science. I recommend following up by reading the link to the Senate hearings included below. I will have much more to say on this subject in the near future.

Between 1955 and 1975, the U.S. Army used 7,000 enlisted soldiers as human guinea pigs for experiments involving a wide array of biological and chemical warfare agents.

These tests were conducted jointly by the U.S. Army Intelligence Board and the Chemical Warfare Laboratories at Edgewood Arsenal’s research facility in Maryland. Approximately 3,500 of these soldiers were given doses of powerful mind-altering psychochemicals, including LSD, PCP, and BZ. These “volunteer” test subjects were not told which drugs they were given, and were not fully informed of the extreme physical and psychological effects these drugs would have on them.

The images presented here are stills from documentary footage of these experiments filmed by the U.S. Army. To learn more, read the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on covert military testing of human subjects; see also the excellent A&E Investigative Reports documentary “Bad Trip to Edgewood.”

For more on the history of the Edgewood Arsenal Experiments, see the Wikipedia article, which I had a hand in assembling:

The Edgewood Arsenal experiments (also known as Project 112) are said to be related to or part of CIA mind control programs after World War II, like MKULTRA…. The experiments were performed at the Edgewood Arsenal, northeast of Baltimore, Maryland, and involved the use of neurological agents and heavy hallucinogens like LSD, THC, and BZ, in addition to biological and chemical agents…. In the mid-1970s, in the wake of many health claims made from exposure to such agents, including psychotropic and hallucinogenic drugs administered in later experiments, Congress began investigations of misuse of such experiments, and inadequate informed consent given by the soldiers and civilians involved.

The Edgewood experiments took place from approximately 1952-1974 at the Bio Medical Laboratory, which is now known as the U. S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense. The volunteer would spend the weekend on-site. They would perform tests and procedures (math, navigation, following orders, memory and interview) while sober. The volunteer would then be dosed by a scientist and perform the same tests. These tests occurred in the building/hospital under the care of doctors and nurses. At times the tests would be taken outside to study the effects while in the field. For example the volunteer would have to guard a check point while under the influence to see what effects certain drugs had on the patient.

A pamphlet produced by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Health Effects from Chemical, Biological, and Radiological Weapons (Oct. 2003), discusses the Edgewood Arsenal Experiments in some detail.

This post is dedicated to the victims of white phosphorus at Fallujah.


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  1. but thank you for the info.

    • Valtin on September 28, 2007 at 9:19 pm

    It helps get information out to the greater public, which has been woefully undereductated on this. If you add that to the very human reaction of denial and avoidance, then you get the state of ignorance about this government that gets us into wars like Iraq, and (hopefully not) possibly soon, Iran.

  2. Coincidentally, I was doing a little research on James Ketchum last weekend. For those not familiar, he was the lead physician in conducting the experiments. I see his book linked on the wiki page.  Chemical Warfare Secrets Almost Forgotten. I haven’t read it yet but was planning to buy it particularly for the followup studies. 

    I will be interested to read your next essay Valtin. 

    • snud on September 29, 2007 at 1:22 am

    totally, batshit insane with their LSD experiments, dubbed “MK-ULTRA”, back in the early 50’s.

    Here’s a sample of what I mean – can you imagine?

    So the entire operation tripped to learn what it was like, and, according to Lee and Shlain, agreed among themselves to slip LSD into each other’s drinks. The target never knew when his turn would come, but as soon as the drug was ingested a … colleague would tell him so he could make the necessary preparations (which usually meant taking the rest of the day off). Initially the leaders of MK-ULTRA restricted the surprise acid tests to [their own] members, but when this phase had run its course they started dosing other Agency personnel who had never tripped before. Nearly everyone was fair game, and surprise acid trips became something of an occupational hazard among CIA operatives…. The Office of Security felt that [MK-ULTRA] should have exercised better judgment in dealing with such a powerful and dangerous chemical. The straw that broke the camel’s back came when a Security informant got wind of a plan by a few [MK-ULTRA] jokers to put LSD in the punch served at the annual CIA Christmas office party … a Security memo writer… concluded indignantly and unequivocally that he did ‘not recommend testing in the Christmas punch bowls usually present at the Christmas office parties.’

    Our tax dollars at work! I read that and think “Gee! I wonder how those hijackers outwitted our ‘intelligence’ agencies on 9/11?!?”

  3. Particularly the specific mental hospitals and residential institutions?  I’m wondering what types of research were carried out where and when, and I’m wondering if there is  a published list somewhere.

    • pfiore8 on September 29, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    i think this starts in small ways…

    every summer i’d have an invasion of small ants in the kitchen. the first few years, i’d get the ant traps and for some reason i thought it was important to kill them… wipe them out… get RID OF THEM ugh out of the kitchen.

    but then, one summer, looking at them and really thinking about these incredible little creatures, i thought i’d been the stupid one. they did me no harm. i left them alone, to the horror of my neighbors.

    i started to look at life differently then. how easy it is for us to objectify things… oh look a bug on the table and let me just smush it::: BUT WHY?

    how do we beat a dog or set a frog on fire or beat a kid smaller than we.. how do we justify experimenting on animals… and people…

    how do we objectify 35% of the Iraqi population being destroyed in some way and not have a nation-wide strike… how are we not wailing in the streets for this horror

    how do we do the things we do?

  4. I salute you again for staying on the trail of this subject matter.

    And I’ve let you know my admiration for your work has to do with my inability to face it often.  For my father was an army guinea pig too, one of the first group of WWII Pacific Theatre pilots to receive amphetamines (he thought he was getting B vitamin shots).  When he broke down after a possibly unmatched record of 54 missions in 8 months (the record might have been 72, but over a year and a half) he was “lost” on a hospital ship for four months.  The family contacted the Montana senator (I don’t recall the name now) who searched for my father, and finally let the family know he’d been sent to Utah’s VA hospital, then he was sent to Sheridan WY.

    He was subjected to electroshock therapy and “hydrotherapy.”  They would not let family see him for months.  I have since read up on MK Ultra and the previous such experiments, and the things to which my father was subjected are the ways they “erase” minds from having been subjected to experiments. 

    Why was he on that hospital ship?  Like they needed him there?  They were up to something.  Of course the VA can’t come up with medical records before Utah. 

    I was born many years later but let me tell you, his experience turned my life to shit for decades and decades.  He did not know why he “became irrational” and I only put it all together a couple weeks before he died, when the VA finally explained about the amphetamine experiments.  He died never knowing why he “went insane” (amphetamine psychosis), and his life was a long painful series of efforts to prove his regained sanity to himself.

    Enough said. 

    I so appreciate your work.  I could not look at the monster’s face the way you do, I would be overcome for anger at what happened.  Maybe some day I’ll find it in me to write more.

    God on you for your work, Valtin.

  5. FRONTPAGE THIS NOW!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. The usage of electric shock to the brain for the creation of amnesia with hypnosis was discussed by an ARTICHOKE document dated 3 December 1951: “[Whited out] is reported to be an authority on electric shock. He is a psychiatrist of considerable note. [Whited out] explained that electric shock might be of considerable interest to the ‘Artichoke’ type of work. He stated that the standard electric-shock machine (Reiter) could be used. He stated that using this machine with convulsive treatment, he could guarantee amnesia for certain periods of time, and particularly he could guarantee amnesia for any knowledge of use of the convulsive shock. He stated that the lower setting of the machine produced a different type of shock. When this lower current type of shock was applied without convulsion, it had the effect of making a man talk. He said that this type of shock produced in the individual excruciating pain. He stated that there would be no question that the individual would be quite willing to give information if threatened with the use of this machine. It was [whited out] opinion that an individual could gradually be reduced through the use of electro-shock treatment to the vegetable level.” P. 44

    By the 1920’s not only had [clinical hypnotists] learned to apply posthypnotic suggestion, but also had learned to split certain complex individuals into multiple personalities like Jeckyl-Hydes. During World War II, I worked this technique with a vulnerable Marine lieutenant I’ll call Jones. I split his personality into Jones A and Jones B. Jones A, once a “normal” working Marine, became entirely different. He talked communist doctrine and meant it. He was welcomed enthusiastically by communist cells, and was deliberately given a dishonorable discharge by the Corps and became a card-carrying party member. Jones B was the deeper personality, knew all the thoughts of Jones A, was a loyal American and was “imprinted” to say nothing during conscious phases. All I had to do was hypnotize the whole man, get in touch with Jones B, the loyal American, and I had a pipeline straight into the Communist camp. It worked beautifully for months.” P. 169

    Linda MacDonald was a victim of Dr. Ewen Cameron’s unethical, destructive mind control experiments between May 1 and September 12, 1963. Dr. Cameron used a “treatment” which involved intensive application of three brainwashing techniques; drug disinhibition, prolonged sleep treatment, and prolonged psychological isolation. These were combined with ECT [Electro Convulsive Therapy] treatments. The amount of electricity introduced into Linda’s brain exceeded by 76.5 times the maximum amount recommended in the ECT Guidelines of the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Cameron proved that doctors skilled in the right procedures can erase a subject’s memory. His depattering technique resulted in permanent and complete amnesia. To this day, Linda MacDonald is unable to remember anything from her birth to 1963. As recorded by nurses in her chart, Linda was reduced to a vegetable state by depatterning. She was completely disoriented. She didn’t know her name, age or where she was. She didn’t recognize her children. She couldn’t read, drive, cook, or use a toilet. Not only did she not know her husband, she didn’t even know what a husband was. P. 181-183


    Much, much more on that site.

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