Unidentified subject, onlookers and Dr. Walter Edmondson taking a blood test (NARA, Atlanta, GA) - Public Domain

By Raffaele Del Gatto


Project QK-Hilltop was a human experimental program developed by CIA in 1954. The goal of this project, leaded by Dr. Harold Wolff of Cornell University Medical School, was to gain entrance of the human mind and manipulating it. The CIA studied ancient Chinese brainwashing techniques , which they then used to develop new methods of interrogation.

The project, also known as MK-SEARCH or MK-UKTRRA, leads to a series of experiments on humans subjects, at times illegal. CIA was obsessed with mind control and human manipulation and in that period conducted similar experiments, often using drugs such as LSD.

The CIA conducted at the time other two similar projects: Project Artichoke and Operation Midnight Climax.

Electroshock Therapy on Children

From early 1940 to 1953, Dr. Lauretta Bender experimented extensively with electroshock therapy on children who had been diagnosed with “autistic schizophrenia.”  Her experiments, however, didn’t bring the expected results: a child started acting increasingly aggressive and violent after the therapy; another child following five electroshock sessions had become nearly catatonic. Other Bender’s young patients, later in adulthood, reportedly were in and of trouble and prison for a battery of petty and violent crimes (one was convicted in court as a “multiple murderer”).

Lauretta Bender administered electroconvulsive therapy to at least 100 children ranging in age from three years old to 12 years. Her work brought her into contact  with others physicians, some of the working for the CIA’s MK/ULTRA.

In 1960 Bender stared to experiment LSD on children within the Children’s Unit, Creedmoor State Hospital in Queens, New York.

The Monster Study

The Monster Study was conducted in 1939 in Davenport, Iowa on a group of kids at the University of Iowa. The experiment was conducted by the graduate student Mary Tudor under the supervision of Dr. Wendell Johnson, a speech pathologist who wanted to get to the bottom of the underlying cause of stuttering .

Johnson divided 22 children in two groups and gave each group separate speech therapy. One group received positive speech therapy, and the other received negative speech therapy (the groups were mixed in a way that only half in the stuttering group actually had stutters). Many children who received bad therapy retained speech problem for the rest of their life and had psychology problems.

Johnson kept the experiment hidden to the public for years and the University of Iowa apologized for the Monster Study only in 2001.

Tuskegee Syphilis Study

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study involved hundred of poor African-American men. The experiment lasted 40 years, from 1932 to 1972, in Macon County, Alabama. All the subject in the experiment had the syphilis, a sexual transmitted infection, however the doctors didn’t diagnose the real disease. Instead, the men were told they were being treated for “bad blood”, a generic condition which can  be assimilated to syphilis, anemia, and fatigue.

None of the subject was ever treated, even after 1947,  when the penicillin had become the standard treatment for syphilis.

The experiment wanted to observe the natural progress of the disease. President Bill Clinton publicly apologized for the experiment in 1997.

Vanderbilt “Nutrition Study”

The Vanderbilt “nutrition study” was conducted at the Vanderbilt University. The experiment, funded by the U.S. Public Health Service, exposed 820 pregnant women to radioactive iron though the use of “vitamin drinks”. The women were told the drinks would improve the health of their unborn babies, however the cocktail contained radioactive iron. Nobody inform them what the drink really was, nor were they informed that they were part of an experiment.

The researchers,  under the direction of Dr. Paul Hahn, wanted to find out how quickly the radioisotope crossed into the placenta and to study the absorption of iron during pregnancy.

The experiment caused at least seven dead babies from cancers and leukemia, and the women themselves experienced rashes, bruises, anemia, loss of hair and tooth, and cancer.


Former HR manager and World Editor of International Business Times Italy (Newsweek media group). Now CEO and Founder of The Business Globalist and Jobs Into Media.

Raffaele Del Gatto is a geek person obsessed by innovation, interested in geopolitics, economics and management, passionate about trading and video games.