We all knew the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was up to no good, but most of us could not imagine what.
Harry Truman, the president who was responsible for creating the CIA in the 1940s, told his oral biographer Merle Miller following his presidency that the CIA was a "mistake." He said the president needed "a central organization" to gather intelligence reports and bring them all together "so that the president would get one report on what was going on in various parts of the world."But soon afterward, he said, "it got out of hand. . . . Why, they've got an organization over there in Virginia now that is practically the equal of the Pentagon. . . . "
Moreover, said Truman, "those fellows in the CIA don't just report on wars and the like, they go out and make their own. . . . "
So for years we have worked ourselves into a sweat over possible CIA involvement in foreign coups. Now, finally, the truth has emerged. The CIA is fascinated by ESP instead.
Allen Palmer, a BYU communications professor, was rummaging around in the declassified government documents in BYU's Harold B. Lee Library and found a section of recently released government documents under the title "Extrasensory Perception"(ESP).
As he perused them on microfiche, he discovered the long CIA interest in parapsychology. That is the branch of psychology that investigates psychic phenomena - as in telepathy, extrasensory perception and clairvoyance.
Some of the memos are bizarre.
One document, dated April 16, 1963, talks about a contract the CIA had to conduct ESP research. They called it "bio-electromagnetic radiation" and suggested one practical benefit as "communication by humans with computers and other machines." An individual could consciously "modulate" his individual "carrier" frequency.
Another memo from May 1964 describes the discovery of a girl with "great sensitivity" who could "read (hidden) cards and symbols with a high degree of accuracy." Researchers recommended that some "modest studies" be made to "identify this phenomenon."
Two weeks later, two researchers spent two days with the girl and agreed that she had "heightened sensory perception." With her father, she was "able to read cards, magazines, ID cards and other stimuli, such as thread and yarn at a distance. She had difficulty picking up signals when separated by plexiglass."
The CIA staff then tried to determine whether they should drop the research, set up more tests with scientists, or "go the whole route and subsidize the girl and her father with extensive testing and training." They were worried that if the girl lost her ability, the effort would be wasted. They wondered if anyone could learn how to use ESP.
A month later, the CIA found another girl "with high levels of ESP," and researchers were excited about her performance. They instructed the staff in strong terms not to discuss it with anyone. The CIA agreed to a long-term contract with the girl and even gave her a college scholarship.
An undated memo reports that Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who held a doctorate from MIT, possessed "unusual psychic ability." At Cape Kennedy, Mitchell looked at 250 ESP cards for 15 seconds each and got 125 correct - 10 million-to-1 odds.
The CIA sent cards with Mitchell to the moon on Apollo 14 in February 1971 so he could do sessions during rest periods. CIA researchers said that if Mitchell did at least one session from behind the moon, "opposition to parapsychology even by skeptical scientists will melt."
During specified times in the
flight, Mitchell concentrated on cards in a particular order, and Olof Johnson, a Chicago drafting engineer with "unusual psychic ability," used telepathy to determine how the cards were arranged. The results were never revealed.
So all the fears we've had about CIA involvement in coups can be laid to rest. It is our MINDS they've been playing with!