Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Project ARTICHOKE - Hypnosis Experiment



SUBJECT: [...]

[...] comprised an experiment in hypnosis designed to demonstrate potentialities of hypnosis as a tool of the clandestine services. Additionally, it was felt that a stimulation of the thinking of Operation's personnel in this somewhat virgin field would produce considered and practical guidance upon which to base further research.

There follows a brief chronological relation of the events of the week of 21 March 1954:

22 March - [...] established in a suite in the Raleigh Hotel. 12 volunteer subjects were screened for suggestibility.

23 March - Seven subjects were screened for suggestibility in the forenoon.

In the afternoon the three subjects scoring highest on suggestibility screening returned for one hour individual interviews with [...]

Each subject was given the attached information report to study for 1/2 hour with instructions to remember the contents.

24 March - Each subject spent one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon with [...]. Immediately prior to the afternoon appointment each subject was allowed to observe a hotel room for one minute under instruction to remember all features for later relation.

25 March - One hour was spent with each of the subjects in the morning. In the afternoon each subject was asked to reproduce consciously the written material studied and the features of the observed room. Following this and in the presence of [...] TSS Personnel, each subject was hypnotized, and reproduced, while in trance, either the written or observed material.

26 March - A demonstration was given for selected representatives of Senior Staffs and Area Divisions. Limb catalepsy, reproduction of written material and visualization and verbal description were demonstration.


At all times when subjects were being hypnotized a [...] representative (Dr. Gottlieb or [...]) was present. His presence served a double purpose of reassurance to the subject and observation of technique for possible later exploitation.

It should be emphasized that from the hypnotist's point of view the entire operation was carried out under the most difficult conditions. He had no previous contact with subjects hence, no initial rapport existed. He had no background knowledge of subjects from which to develop leads indicating depth of trance. It is an established fact that trance depth develops most satisfactorily if time (a few days) is allowed between interviews. Here subjects took part in four developmental interviews within a period of 48 hours thus allowing very little assimulatory time.

Despite the difficulties under which he worked, [...] was able to demonstrate medium trance phenomena quite satisfactorily.

With respect to techniques used by [...] in suggestibility testing and hypnosis, the methods are essentially as follows: A constant speed black on white spiral color wheel was used for visual fixation along with verbal suggestion in initial testing. With those subjects demonstrating susceptibility, suggestions were made that future trance induction would be accomplished on verbal command to sleep. In later interviews verbal suggestions and commands were given with a background of metronome beats.


As indicated previously, three subjects were chosen for further development. Results with each subject will be treated separately. Subject A [...] attained a medium trance state. In the short time for development, however, he was unable to reach a somnamibulistic state as characterized by amnesia. In the preliminary demonstration subject A demonstrated arm catalepsy and hypnotic recall of written material. In the final demonstration Subject A demonstrated arm paralysis and induced pain as a form of physical and psychological control.

Subject B [...] attained medium trance state and in both demonstrations produced under hypnosis a quite accurate copy of written material previously observed. Unfortunately both A and B proved to have excellent memories. They were able to recall the material quite accurately without hypnosis so that little, if any, improvement could be noticed.

Subject C [...] attained medium trance state with a particular flair for visualization and verbalization. In the preliminary demonstration "C" reproduced the layout of the room observed noting additional features and correcting erroneous relationships evident in a previous conscious recounting. Interrogation indicated that further information as to detail could be obtained. In the final demonstration subject C was regressed to the time in 1948 when he visited Pusan Harbor and asked to describe the scene. Verification as to accuracy of the description came from an observer who had recently visited the area. It is interesting to note that the description was in terms of the 1948 appearance and did not allude to extensive fire destruction which occurred later.

Written productions of subjects are attached in their original state.


Whereas the experiment was only partially successful in the light of failure to achieve amnesiac states and the lack of marked improvement in hypnotic recall, the interest aroused among observers of the demonstration attests to the success of one of the main objectives--stimulation of thinking in the operational fields.

Division, TSS

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