MKULTRA Trickery

This document reveals the CIA's concern with covert means of administering the mind- and behavior-altering substances researched in MKULTRA projects. In 1953, the Agency commissioned a "manual on trickery," to be authored by a prominent magician, who described ways to conduct "tricks with pills" and other substances.

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November 11, 1953


Dear [deleted],

This is a memo in regard to expansion of the manual on trickery.

The manual as it now stands consists of the following five sections:

1. Underlying bases for the successful performance of tricks and the background of the psychological principles by which they operate.

2. Tricks with pills.

3. Tricks with loose solids.

4. Tricks with liquids.

5. Tricks by which small objects may be obtained secretly. This section was not considered in my original outline and was suggested subsequently to me. I was, however, able to add it without necessitating extension of the number of weeks requesting for the writing. Another completed task not noted in the outline was making models of such equipment as has been described in the manual.

As sections 2,3,4 and 5 were written solely for use by men working alone the manual needs two further sections. One section would give modified, or different, tricks and techniques of performance so that the tricks could be performed by women. The other section would describe tricks suitable for two or more people working in collaboration. In both these proposed sections the tricks would differ considerably from those which have been described.

I believe that properly to devise the required techniques and devices and to describe them in writing would require 12 working weeks to complete the two sections. However, I cannot now work on this project every week and would hesitate to promise completion prior to the first of May, 1954.

I shall await you instructions in the matter.

Sincerely yours


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