Would a Hypnotized Assassin Be Found Innocent in a Court of Law?

The Manchurian Candidate

I was recently alerted via a tweet by Dr. Jeffrey Kaye of a declassified CIA memo I found interesting. Kaye is a San Francisco Bay area psychologist and writer who focuses upon human rights issues, the intelligence community and related circumstances.

The 5 May 1955 memo is titled, "Hypnotism and Covert Operations". Its author is not identified. The memo contains such ominous observations as how the potential of hypnosis as a covert weapon would be more thoroughly understood if field experiments, that could not be conducted by what was termed a 'laboratory worker', were carried out.

Such CIA documents are unfortunately not unusual for the era. What caught my eye about this particular memo, however, was a reference to an unspecified legal case in which a hypnotist was apparently convicted for the actions of their hypnosis subject. After you take a moment to let that settle in, please consider, and I quote:

Currently there is a murder trial in [redacted] in which the murderer has been judged to have been under hypnosis at the time of the crime. He has been retried, released and the hypnotist tried and convicted. The case is now under appeal. The comment of the three knowledgeable informants was that the hypnotist must have been a rank amateur to have been found out since any experienced operator would have known how to suggest away the fact that he had arranged the crime.

Wow. Is that the voice of experience, or just speculation, one might be inclined to ask?

Initial research of such circumstances revealed an 1895 New York Times article titled "Hypnotism as a Defense". While the Kansas case explored is obviously not the case referenced in the 1955 CIA memo, it is indeed interesting.

Matters of money seemed to result in a person named Anderson Gray wanting to murder a rival. He apparently used his study of hypnosis to persuade a subject to attempt, unsuccessfully, to carry out the crime. However, the greedy man's fate - and the fate of his rival - were sealed when he tried a second time!

The evil doer was accused of hypnotizing yet another subject and framing the circumstances in a manner that would justify the subject killing the target, which took place. Given the court's interpretation of the circumstances and the bizarre history, Gray was convicted of a murder committed by another man, his hypnosis subject.

A more likely candidate for the case mentioned in the CIA memo was a 1950s-era chain of events occurring in Denmark involving two individuals, Bjorn Nielsen and Palle Hardrup. Sources include The Assassinations: Probe Magazine on JFK, MLK, RFK and Malcolm X, among others. In a complex series of trials, retrials and reversals surrounding bank robbery and murder, hypnotist Nielsen was convicted for the actions of his hypnosis subject, Hardrup.

Key personnel during the CIA venture into hypnosis included a number of prominent professionals. Alden Sears conducted work in MKUltra Subprojects 5, 25, 29 and 49. CIA consultant, New York psychologist and former president of the American Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis Milton Kline told groundbreaking writer/researcher John Marks that he could create a patsy in three months and an assassin in six.

Psychiatrist Martin Orne conducted hypnosis-related research within MKULTRA Subproject 84. He published many papers on the subject of hypnosis and was considered a leading expert. Orne explained to the Agency and on a number of occasions that persuading someone to do something while hypnotized was not entirely different from encouraging a person not hypnotized to carry out a desired action, in that the circumstances had to be framed in manners of which the subject would approve and agree. For instance, whether killing a person is atrocious or heroic is a matter of context, and possibly as understood by Anderson Gray in 1890's Kansas.

Edward F. Deshere, in his now declassified CIA report, "Hypnosis in Interrogation", referenced the work of Orne several times. Deshere wrote:

Orne has shown that the demand characteristics of an experimental situation may greatly influence a subject's hypnotic behavior. It is clear that at some level any cooperative subject wishes an experiment to "work out," wishes to help fulfill the experimenter's expectations. If he grasps the purpose of the experiment or the bias of the experimenter, he is disposed toward producing behavior which will confirm the experimenter's hypothesis. This is particularly true in a hypnotic relationship.

Orne was featured in an article written by Dr. Patricia Greenfield, the sister of John Marks, published in the December 1977 edition of the American Psychological Association Monitor. Commenting on medical professionals acting as MKUltra consultants and the liabilities inherent to conducting such research, Orne told Greenfield, "We are sufficiently ineffective so that our findings can be published."

(This article originally appeared on The UFO Trail, and is reproduced with permission)

Are Animals Psychic? Meet Jaytee, the Dog Who Knew When His Owner Was Coming Home


Readers of this site will probably be familiar with the controversy over Rupert Sheldrake's research with 'Jaytee', a dog that seemed to know when his owner (Pam Smart) was coming home - regardless of when or how she set off on the journey (see the relevant papers here for the details of the research). I was interested to come across the video below by the Science Unit of ORF, Vienna, which shows a one-off test they conducted of Jaytee's alleged ability:

For more on this topic, see Rupert Sheldrake's book Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home (Amazon US/Amazon UK).

News Briefs 23-06-2014

A veritable Rainbow Cake of weird news.

Quote of the Day:

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.

Dolly Parton

Cold Fusion in an Italian Crop Circle?

Italian Crop Circle

Crop circles aren't restricted to the megalith-infested plains of the United Kingdom - here's one that showed up in Italy on the solstice over the weekend. But rather than being a message from aliens, or manifestations of earth energy interacting with the powers of the Sun, this one seems to be of human origin: Italian circle-maker Francesco Grassi has claimed it as his work (along with his team of Paolo Attivissimo, Marco Morocutti, Simone Angioni, Antonio Ghidoni, Davide Dal Pos, Alessandra Pandolfi), and has titled the crop glyph the "LENR (Low Energy Nuclear Reactions) Clock" (LENR is another name for the controversial science of 'cold fusion'). We posted another circle created by Grassi and his team around this time last year.

Regardless of Grassi's claim, the decoding effort has begun in earnest at Crop Circle Connector. Jump on in if you like trying to decode ciphers.

(via Pesco at Boing Boing)

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What the Dying Know

The Dying Light

As regular readers of this site would know, I think the topic of end-of-life experiences (ELEs) deserves a lot more attention than it has so far received, as there is a plethora of fascinating reports out there that have largely been ignored (see for example my posts on both George Harrison's and Steve Job's passing). I devoted a chapter to the topic in my own book on research into the afterlife question, but was recently happy to discover another new book out there that also discusses it in an intelligent manner: Opening Heaven's Door: Investigating Stories of Life, Death, and What Comes After, by award-winning writer/journalist Patrica Pearson:

What happens when we die? People have been guessing since humans first began to think. Spirituality and religion provided the answers in the past, but in the age of science we're thrown back into the dark. If science cannot 'prove' there is life - or something - after death, then it doesn't exist. And yet ordinary people continue to experience unexplained phenomena when a friend or family member dies. These are normal people, even sceptics like Patricia Pearson. Prompted by her family's surprising experiences around the deaths of her father and her sister, Pearson set out on an open-minded journey of inquiry as a journalist. She discovered that far more people were having uncanny and transcendent experiences than generally let on: roughly half the bereaved population, plus all those who observe the dying (nurses, hospice workers, soldiers, etc.). With many years of examination into current grief research under her belt, she concludes that we cannot simply deprive people the legitimacy of these experiences until there is more solid evidence that 'we inhabit a purely material and mechanistic universe'. Pearson points to new scientific explanations around how dying is experienced, giving these luminous moments credence and understanding. As she says, 'The dying may finally be able to convey to us what they are feeling, and where they glimpse themselves to be going.' Opening Heaven's Door recounts deeply affecting stories of messages from the dying and the dead in a fascinating work of investigative journalism, pointing to new scientific explanations that give these luminous moments the importance felt by those who experience them.

Pearson recently gave a wonderful radio interview exploring the topic, and how the modern world reacts to personal anecdotes about ELEs, which I highly recommend - you can listen to it here (I tried to embed it but unfortunately it autoplays).

For those with the vague feeling that you've heard Patricia Pearson's thoughts on this subject before, it might be because we posted a TEDx Talk she gave last year in which Pearson describes her own personal experience, and how it pushed her to research the topic in more depth - here's a repost of the video for those who don't have time to listen to the 53 minute radio interview above:

Patricia Pearson's Opening Heaven's Door: Investigating Stories of Life, Death, and What Comes After is available from Amazon US and Amazon UK

(thanks to Kat for the heads-up)


News Briefs 20-06-2014

"Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing."

Quote of the Day:

“My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.”

S. Hawking

News Briefs 19-06-2014

Another day of flooding & impossible traffic in this modern Tenochtitlán, puts me in the mood for a human sacrifice…

  • The secret for a durable religion? Mutation.
  • The Phoenix towers of China: Phallic Iconic & good for the environment.
  • Nessie a plesiosaur? Puh-leeease!
  • According to new study, dinosaurs were neither cold-blooded like reptiles, nor warm-blooded like birds & mammals.
  • Recreating the deadly Spanish flu virus --Ian Malcolm would NOT approve.
  • Dr. Jeff Meldrum explains his involvement in the abominable documentary Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives.
  • Has a Canadian company built the 1st quantum computer? Yes/No
  • Having heart problems? Take 2 Mozart CDs & call me in the morning.
  • THIS is why Elon Musk deserves to inherit Nicola Tesla's title of Coolest Inventor Alive.
  • Musk also wants to start sending humans to Mars in 10-12 years!
  • ...Oh, and in case you needed further proof of his awesomeness: Boom.
  • Double whammy: Finding dark energy & new alien planets, all for the same price.
  • New method to detect alien life: Sniffing out their farts.
  • John Lennon, a casualty of an intergalactic battle for the soul of Rock 'n Roll? That's what 'extraterrestrial expert' claims.
  • Is this the photo of a ghost in Alcatraz prison?
  • Red Pill of the Day: How to FINALLY convince your wife on getting that new UHD TV for your bedroom.

Thanks to Tlaloc & Huitzilopochtli

Quote of the Day:

"Technology leadership is not defined by patents, which history has repeatedly shown to be small protection indeed against a determined competitor, but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world’s most talented engineers."

~Elon Musk

The Mystery of the Blinking Mummy

When we hear the word 'mummy' we immediately think of Egypt, pyramids & ancient pharaohs seeking to preserve their mortal remains for all eternity. But the truth of the matter is that, either by pure chance or on purpose, corpses showing an incredible state of preservation can be found all around the world.

Such is the case of the Capuchin catacombs of Palermo in Sicily, where Rosalía Lombardo, a little girl who died of pneumonia in 1920, was interred for her final rest after being embalmed at the request of her heart-stricken father. When researchers found the little body, they were so amazed by the incredibly life-like appearance of the mummy that Rosalía received the name of 'Sleeping Beauty.'

According to the Peruvian journal El Comercio, scientists interested in learning more about the embalming techniques employed in Rosalía's body put a camera inside her sarcophagus, capable of taking pictures every 60 seconds.

But the researchers were not prepared for what happened next: The images taken by the camera seemed to show the little mummy's eyes opening and closing. A phenomenon that repeats itself several times a day.

A trick of the light? A miracle perhaps? Subsequent studies have come to the conclusion that Rosalia's 'blinking', is due to the natural humidity in the crypt where she's kept - that, or perhaps the little sleeping girl is just waiting for her dad to tell her a a good-night story...

Original Link: Rosalía, la niña momificada que parece abrir los ojos

Read more: Lost "Sleeping Beauty" Mummy Formula Found

Further reading: Multidetector CT investigation of the mummy of Rosalia Lombardo (1918–1920) [Scientific paper]

News Briefs 18-06-2014


Quote of the Day:

We all have two lives. The second one starts when we realize that we only have one.

~ Tom "Loki" Hiddleston