January 18

1947–1953: Navy’s Project CHATTER tested drugs for interrogation

The Naval report about the Dachau mescaline experiments was the catalyst for Project CHATTER which focused on identifying and testing drugs for interrogations and recruitment of intelligence agents. It was headed by Lieutenant Dr. Charles Savage, a graduate of Yale and the Pritzker Medical School at the University of Chicago. Dr. Savage conducted the experiments at the Naval Institute in Bethesda Maryland, using high doses of mescaline; but, like the Dachau tests, the experiment failed to yield an effective “truth serum.” He then tested LSD, selecting “severely depressed” military patients in the knowledge that they would suffer ill effects. He started them on 20 micrograms, and then increased the dose daily up to the point at which psycho-physiological changes were observed. He obtained LSD from Sandoz Pharmaceutical Co.

In one experiment Savage used five “normal” persons and fifteen depressed patients. In his report, LSD-25 a Clinical- Psychological Study (1951), he provided detailed descriptions: Case II was a 20 year old man who was admitted to the hospital with depression. He tearfully told psychologists that his mother was going to lose her home, his sister would lose her job, and he felt useless because he couldn’t help them. He was given LSD, the dosage increased to 100 mcg.; the end result was that the patients suffered from a “schizophrenic reaction.” Savage wrote: “LSD appears to have no specific therapeutic advantage in depression.” Nevertheless, he suggested that hallucinations caused by LSD could potentially be useful in psychotherapy. Dr. Savage had a long career as a mind control researcher for a variety of CIA front organizations causing irrevocable harm to human beings. (Lee and Shlain. Acid Dreams, 1994; Black Legacy Chronicles; Prince Ray. Project CHATTER & The American Betrayal of My Father, 2007)


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