Stranger Things: Meet Me in Montauk



So many-- maybe too many-- loose strands are tying together it seems.

2016 seems to be a year in which the curtain has raised quite a bit more than in the past and Stranger Things feels like a definitive part of that unveiling. If it weren't intentionally designed to coincide with the ongoing apocalyptic process that's upon us, whether we like it or not, it should have been.


Stranger Things' mixture of horror and historical sci-fi brings a real-world connection into relief, one that had seemed like it could only be a google-eyed paranoid rumor, and that's the bleedover from the pseudoscientific to the supernatural in CIA black projects, particularly that juncture at which MK Ultra and ARTICHOKE bled into MK OFTEN:
According to author Gordon Thomas' 2007 book, Secrets and Lies, the CIA's Operation Often was also initiated by the chief of the CIA's Technical Services Branch, Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, to "explore the world of black magic" and "harness the forces of darkness and challenge the concept that the inner reaches of the mind are beyond reach". 
As part of Operation Often, Dr. Gottlieb and other CIA employees visited with and recruited fortune-tellers, palm-readers, clairvoyants, astrologists, mediums, psychics, specialists in demonology, witches and warlocks, Satanists, other occult practitioners, and more. 
There's been some controversy over the exact nature of OFTEN, but given that Gordon Thomas is a reporter whose sources are very much first-hand and very much inside, I think it's a safe bet that OFTEN was putting one set of directives on paper (for the suits upstairs) and following an entirely more arcane path once the checks were cashed.



I certainly hadn't expected this series to tie so closely in with the Lucifer's Technologies series that took up so much of my time these past few months. But Bell Labs lurks beneath the storyline in Stranger Things, even if an oblique, indirect kind of way. 
Stranger Things’ original title was Montauk, named after the sleepy fishing village on Long Island’s easternmost tip. Among so many tales, local lore tells of young boys being abducted and forced to participate in an assortment of psychological and paranormal experiments on a nearby secret military base, including time travel, telekinesis, teleportation and mind-control...
Radar too was part of the Montauk mythos that inspired the story in the first place, and the allegedly unconventional, off-the-books usage of the technology:
Key to the Montauk Project allegations, the SAGE radar worked on a frequency of 400 MHz – 425 MHz, providing access to the range of 410 MHz – 420 MHz signals said by theory proponents to influence the human mind.
At Montauk, the chair was connected to the SAGE antenna and the thought patterns of the occupant of the chair could be amplified and transmitted at the 410-420 MHz range in order to influence the minds of anyone within range of the transmission. 
I wrote about Montauk lore several years ago, and commented on the power that a postmodern myth like it can have in the Internet Age, almost in defiance of the facts at hand. 

The stories in the series of  Montauk books are nearly delirious in their nose-thumbing at the laws of physics and common sense and are themselves are based on an urban legend with an even dodgier pedigree. 


But never underestimate the power of a myth told with utter conviction and a total lack of shame or apology.
The alleged time travel properties of the ‘Montauk Project’ were fictionalized into a book in 1978 and then a film in 1984, both called The Philadelphia Experiment.  
It's all a hell of a story- I'd love to believe it. Unfortunately, even as far as conspiracy theories go, there's hardly a speck of evidence for any of it. But these things don't need to actually be true to make an impact on the Dreaming Mind. In fact, it often helps when they aren't.

I wrote that in a two-part piece on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, another of these films I've watched more times than is actually healthy. As many of you know, Montauk plays a feature role in the film, which uses the kind of selective memory erasure technology that MK Ultra ghouls were in endless pursuit of as a central conceit. 

The question is how did a romantic comedy come to incorporate such esoteric topics in the first place:
The mind-erasing properties of Dr. Mierswiak’s device and the ‘reversal of time’ motif used in the storytelling of Eternal Sunshine tie in too neatly with Montauk Project and mystery school lore to be coincidental. I'm thinking that Kaufman ran across information on the Philadelphia Experiment and Montauk, and thought a memory-erasing mind control machine would be a great plot device in a romantic comedy. Which sounds pretty typical for Kaufman, come to think of it.
There's also another possibility: 
Either that or the CIA spooks who he encountered while writing Confessions of A Dangerous Mind fed him the inside scoop for this movie as well. I'm open to all possibilities when it comes to these films.
And here we find ourselves back in the horror show, the one that those mainstream puff pieces on the "secret government experiments" you see in the mainstream media won't go near, Let's start with:
QKHILLTOP was a cryptonym assigned in 1954 to a project to study Chines Communist brainwashing techniques and to develop interrogation techniques. Most of the early studies are believed to have been conducted by the Cornell University Medical School Human Ecology Study Programs. 
The effort was absorbed into the MKULTRA program and the QKHILLTOP cryptonym became obsolete. The Society for the investigation of Human Ecology, later the Human Ecology Fund, was an outgrowth of the QKHILLTOP.
If "Human Ecology" rings a bell, it's because it was one of the fronts that funded the loathsome Loretta Bender, who administered electroshock treatment to children as young as three.

Mentally-ill
children.

One source reports that, inclusive of Bender's work, electroconvulsive treatment was used on more than 500 children at Bellevue Hospital from 1942 to 1956, and then at Creedmoor State Hospital Children's Service from 1956 to 1969.  

Shortly after deciding to initiate her own LSD experiments on children, Bender attended a conference sponsored by a CIA front group, the Josiah Macy Foundation... A few short months after the Macy Foundation conference, Dr.
 Bender was notified that her planned LSD experiments would be partially and surreptitiously funded by the Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology (SIHE), another CIA front group then located in Forest Hills, New York.
Electroshock therapy ravages the memory, and several programs were undertaken to use ECT in conjunction with drugs to erase memories of torture and interrogation victims (which may in fact have originally inspired the technology in Eternal Sunshine).

But ECT was a primitive technology; efforts were undertaken to find more exotic methods of memory erasure:
Another MKUltra effort, Subproject 54, was the Navy's top secret "Perfect Concussion" program, which was supposed to use sub-aural frequency blasts to erase memory. However, the program was never carried out. 
Translation: "we destroyed the paperwork, suckers."

Then there was the notorious Dr. Delgado, who implanted electrodes into subjects brains in order to control them like puppets:

Delgado, a neurophsiologist at Yale University School, was especially interested in Electronic Stimulation of the Brain. By implanting a small probe into the brain, Delgado discovered that he could wield enormous power over his subject. Using a device he called the 'stimoceiver' which operated by FM radio waves, he was able to electrically orchestrate a wide range of human emotions. These included rage, lust and fatigue.



Delgado's work may have inspired even more insidious experiments and practices in order to neurologically control subjects. Either that or it inspired a corpus of rumors and urban legends about said technology, if not outright disinformation.

Whichever the case may be, it's beyond question that work into the remote control of the human brain was an overriding concern for many involved in projects like MK-Ultra and its sister programs:


Over the years, certain journalists have asserted that the CIA has mastered a technology called RHIC-EDOM, Radio Hypnotic Intracerebral Control and Electronic Dissolution of Memory. Together these techniques can — allegedly — remotely induce hypnotic trance, deliver suggestions to the subject, and erase all memory for both instruction period and the act which the subject is asked to perform. 
According to published accounts, RHIC uses the stimoceiver, or a microminiaturized offspring of that technology, to induce a hypnotic state.  
EDOM is the erasure of memory from consciousness through the blockage of synaptic transmission in certain areas of the brain. By jamming the brain's synapses through a surfeit of acetocholine, neural transmission along selected pathways can be effectively stilled. According to the proponents of RHIC-EDOM, acetocholine production can be affected by electromagnetic means.
The topic remains controversial, with many researchers arguing both for and against the actual execution of these planned methodologies. The fact that we're continually seeing bogus science stories about similar systems (always presented in some kind of therapeutic context) might argue against them, but it could well be that RHIC and EDOM are deep in the black and used only rarely. 

A careful comparison of Lawrence's work with the MKULTRA files declassified ten years later indicates a strong possibility that the writer did indeed have 'inside' sources. Here is how Lawrence describes RHIC in action: 'It is the ultra-sophisticated application of post-hypnotic suggestion triggered at will by radio transmission. 
It is a recurring state, re-induced automatically at.intervals by the same radio control. An individual is brought under hypnosis. This can be done either with his knowledge — or without it — by use of narco-hypnosis, which can be brought into play under many guises. He is then programmed to perform certain actions and maintain certain attitudes upon radio signal.'

There have been cases of individuals involved in crimes of violence who complain of outside influence (Kyle Odom and Aaron Alexis (the Washington Navy Yard shooter) spring to mind) but since schizophrenia can account for similar symptoms it all stays very much in that gray area.  There's also an entirely different conversation to be had about the voices issue (see this post).

As discussed before Montauk ties in not only with advanced radar systems like SAGE, it ties into the use of decommissioned NIKE bases (again, connected to Bell Labs) for the use of mind control experiments on children. 

We have documented evidence of these experiments taking place in California under the direction of Louis Jolyon West:
 Some of the planned areas of study for the Center included: 
  
• Studies of violent individuals. 

• Experiments on prisoners from Vacaville and Atascadero, and hyperkinetic children. 
  
• Experiments with violence-producing and violent inhibiting drugs. 

• Hormonal aspects of passivity and aggressiveness in boys. 
• Studies to discover and compare norms of violence among various ethnic groups. 

• Studies of pre-delinquent children.
• It would also encourage law enforcement to keep computer files on pre-delinquent children, which would make possible the treatment of children before they became delinquents.

A room in Montauk AFS's "Acid House"

The question remains why NIKE bases, when you have an entire Federal infrastructure to work with? There had to be something connected to the installations themselves. And as discussed before it may have something to do with radar, which started the entire Montauk ball rolling in the first place. 

Radar uses microwave technology, and it appears that microwave technology was/is part of the mind control arsenal:

What can low-level microwaves do to the mind? According to a DIA report released under the Freedom of Information Act, microwaves can induce metabolic changes, alter brain functions, and disrupt behaviour patterns. 
PANDORA discovered that pulsed microwaves can create leaks in the blood/brain barrier, induce heart seizures, and create behavioural disorganization.  In 1970 a RAND corporation scientist reported that microwaves could be used to promote insomnia, fatigue, irritability, memory loss and hallucinations. 
And "microwave auditory effect" is a very real thing:
The microwave auditory effect, also known as the microwave hearing effect or the Frey effect, consists of audible clicks (or, with speech modulation, spoken words) induced by pulsed/modulated microwave frequencies. The clicks are generated directly inside the human head without the need of any receiving electronic device. The effect was first reported by persons working in the vicinity of radar transponders during World War II. 
I'm convinced that very exotic experiments were being done at Montauk, only they had nothing to do with time travel tunnels and Total Recall thrones. They were almost certainly mind control experiments using advanced microwave technology and drugs, quite possibly on children. We may never know exactly how or why. 

But it's almost certain similar work continues today.

Read Us the Book of the Names of the Dead.



If the Aquarian spirit of the late Sixties essentially kept its sunny disposition in California New Age mysticism, its East Coast counterpart found a distinctly darker expression, with the OTO (or more accurately, competing OTO sects) rising to pole position among the welter of witch cults that popped up like mushrooms after a rainstorm.

New York was like a theme park of dysfunction and chaos in the late 1970s, and blackouts and bankruptcy merely punctuated the sense that this was a empire about to fall. 

Times Square was a cesspit of porn, pushers, prostitution and worse. Yet just a few blocks away was the glitz and glamor of Studio 54, where the jetset came to play. And the New York Yankees were the dominant force in professional sports. 


But these only added to the deep and abiding dissonance that was New York. And it's within exactly this kind of profound strife and discord that the occult truly thrives.

Nearly like a tulpa came David Berkowitz aka the Son of Sam, a serial killer who claimed he was in league with leftovers from The Process Church, a Scientology spinoff that that included Lucifer and Satan in its Holy Quadrinity along with God and Christ. 

It was if an avenging demon had been summoned from the deepest pits of Hell and given human form.

Out of this frothy witch's brew would emerge The Necronomicon, the pseudepigraphal grimoire that drew heavily on tar-black Sumerian texts like The Maqlu. Alongside the occult ferment was the burgeoning punk rock scene on the Bowery, which was a no man's land of junkies and homeless, many of whom were damaged Viet Nam vets. 


"The Magickal Childe was ground zero for the occult explosion in New York City in the 1970s." - Jon, Magickal Critic
The Magickal Childe- the occult shop that would publish the initial editions of The Necronomicon- acted as the focal point for the more apparent occult activity taking place in the city. 

The Childe was founded by a gay couple who began their career operating a small store called The Warlock Shop. With interest in witchcraft swelling, the duo raised enough cash to move from Brooklyn to Manhattan, specifically the midtown neighborhood known as Chelsea:
At the Magickal Childe, there was enough space to dramatically increase the merchandise offered, and since Herman had the cash and the connections, the new store became, in effect, the one-stop-shop for any and all conjuring needs. 
In addition to herbs, oils, candles, books, robes, swords and other accoutrements of the Art, one could find human skulls, dried bats, mummified cat’s paws and a wide variety of unusual jewelry, a large portion of which was created by Bonnie, my ex-wife-to-be. A room in the back of the store served as a temple and classroom for the various strains of wicca that began to gravitate to the place.
The Necronomicon was rumored to have been found during a book heist of rare manuscripts and presented to Slater for publication by translator Peter Levenda. It was credited to one "Simon" and readers and scenesters immediately began to speculate on who Simon really was.



One of the suspects was Sandy Pearlman, who I just recently found out passed away in July. This was one of those moments, when you recognize something important being lost, something that was an important part of your own history and your own development.

Who was Sandy Pearlman?
Sandy Pearlman, a producer, lyricist, manager, executive and college professor who was a herald of developments from heavy metal and punk to the digital distribution of music, died on Tuesday in Novato, Calif. He was 72. 
He had suffered a debilitating cerebral hemorrhage in December, and died of pneumonia and other complications, Robert Duncan, his longtime friend and conservator, said.
Mr. Pearlman was one of the first serious rock critics, writing and editing for the pioneering rock-culture magazine Crawdaddy. He claimed to have been the first writer to use the phrase “heavy metal” to describe music. 
But he was best known as the producer, manager and lyricist for Blue Öyster Cult. He produced and co-produced albums for the band from 1972-1988. 


Pearlman entered the cultural lexicon through the now-ubiquitous SNL skit (where he was misidentified as reissue producer Bruce Dickinson), "More Cowbell":

He was described by the Billboard Producer’s Directory as “the Hunter Thompson of rock, a gonzo producer of searing intellect and vast vision” and was gonzo enough to be played by Christopher Walken in Saturday Night Live’s infamous skit on the making of (Don't Fear) The Reaper (which Pearlman produced for Blue Oyster Cult).
Pearlman didn't just manage the Oysters, he managed a number of other prominent acts:
Mr. Pearlman was Black Sabbath’s manager from 1979-1983, and he also managed other bands, among them the Dictators and Romeo Void.  
But Pearlman didn't just manage and produce Blue Oyster Cult, he essentially created them:
Mr. Pearlman met musicians in Stony Brook, N.Y., who, he decided, could become his idea of a rock band.. after some personnel changes, Mr. Pearlman renamed them Blue Oyster Cult.   
Blue Öyster Cult combined hard rock with concepts out of science-fiction and apocalyptic fantasy and a hint of tongue-in-cheek humor, with songs like “Cities on Flame With Rock and Roll.” Its collaborators on lyrics would eventually include not only Mr. Pearlman, but also (Patti) Smith and the novelists Michael Moorcock and Eric Van Lustbader. 
Speaking of Christopher Walken (who portrayed Whitley Streiber in Communion), one of Pearlman's best-known lyrics for the Oysters was "E.T.I. (Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence)", a personal favorite of mine in junior high school:

I hear the music, daylight disc
Three men in black said, "Don't report this"
"Ascension," and that's all they said
Sickness now, the hour's dread

All praise
He's found the awful truth, Balthazar
He's found the saucer news

I'm in fairy rings and tower beds
"Don't report this," three men said
Books by the blameless and by the dead
King in Yellow, queen in red

From daylight discs to fairy rings to The King in Yellow. Are you still wondering why I'm writing about this guy?

Pearlman wasn't just a music industry figure, he was a true renaissance man.
In the 21st century, he became a consultant and professor, exploring how the music business could adapt to the digital era. He was a professor at McGill University in Montreal and then at the University of Toronto. There, he taught and created courses in the departments of music, English, religious studies, law and management.  
Pearlman with Jones and Strummer

But we're not done with his music career yet.

Pearlman was also involved with the punk and new wave movements early on (indeed, the Oysters were part of that twilight generation of underground rock bands that bridged the old wave and the new, bands like The Stooges in the US and The Pink Fairies in the UK).
With his longtime business partner Murray Krugman, he produced one of the earliest albums considered to be punk rock, “The Dictators Go Girl Crazy!” released in 1975, and he produced the second album by the Clash, “Give ’Em Enough Rope,” in 1978.
Now this bears further analysis. I found out about Sandy Pearlman's death only on Sunday, when researching the death of boy band impressario Lou Pearlman (Sandy's opposite in every conceivable way). 

But his death ties into my Stranger Things series, since it was Pearlman who produced the album that first introduced me to The Clash. And that begins to tie some of these strands together:
A strange confluence of events entered my life at the same time as The Clash: my (divorced) mother was teaching at a public school and befriended a Wiccan art teacher, my first exposure to this lifestyle.   
Then I got sick. Really, really sick.  Some kind of bacterial infection. I was running 105/106º fevers for more than a week, couldn't move from the couch and I'm not exactly sure how I didn't die. 
And then as longtime Secret Sun readers may remember, my own living room became a doorway to another dimension.  
And I had a ...visitor. 
I didn't realize it but there was also a UFO flap going on in the area at the time. I'd only find that out in the past couple years.

The Clash, by future
Backstreet Boys photographer Andre Csillag, 1978

It was Pearlman's version of The Clash- an auditory encapsulation of the Dadaism, dystopian sci-fi and delusional radical politics that animated the band- that remained my definitive Clash. 

Pearlman understood the antecedents behind their music --as well as the work of authors like Anthony Burgess and JG Ballard-- far better than the band did themselves, who in fact never again seemed able to get their sound on record after Rope:
On Rope, Pearlman did nothing less than light a barrel full of audio TNT underneath the Clash, adding stagger-producing sheets of radiant, radioactive guitars to the Clash’s previously shoebox-sized sound; he also introduced them to the verby, springy drum sound that was to become one of their trademarks.
Give ‘Em Enough Rope is the Clash’s second best album, and still an absolute stunner to listen to; virtually never before—or again—in the history of rock would recorded guitars sound so much like a weapon (if you don’t think Pearlman harnessed the Clash’s potential to add maximum sonic impact to their hoarse and heartfelt preaching, listen to anything the Clash released prior to November 10, 1978..) 
Indeed, it was Pearlman's makeover that redefined The Clash and it was his sound that they'd put out onstage (literally- he replaced the band's rag 'n bone punk gear with all new equipment and taught them how to use it) until the bitter end, even if they could never get it together in the studio (compare this with the studio forgery).

It was Pearlman's vision of The Clash that I saw in concert on the London Calling tour, not the Stonesy simulacrum you hear on that album (my ears rang for a week). It was Pearlman's Clash (effects-drenched flamethrower guitars, gate-reverbed drums, everything played at peak intensity) that blew my brains out in 1983 with the Casbah Club live set (and all the cowbell you could ever ask for). 

It would be Pearlman's Clash that I'd spend the next 25 years or so chasing after in the form of bootlegs, not the mellow, stoner Clash of the studio albums. It would be Pearlman's Clash that would haunt my dreams ( I mean, just the other night I dreamed that he produced Combat Rock and it actually sounded like The Clash, not Adam Ant covering The Police).


Little did I realize- until today- how much sense this all begins to make.




The parallels are just too rich: just as Clash manager Bernie Rhodes created that band to fulfill his vision of the perfect rock band, so too did Pearlman create the Oysters. And just as Rhodes oversaw an ersatz Clash album featuring Joe Strummer and a bunch of studio musicians, so too did Pearlman instigate an ersatz Oysters album with a member of that band. 

In 1981, he began collaborating with Blue Öyster Cult’s drummer, Albert Bouchard, on what was originally supposed to be a concept-album trilogy based on “The Soft Doctrines of Imaginos.” After years of work it emerged as a Blue Öyster Cult album, “Imaginos,” in 1988.

That's where the similarities come to a dead stop, however.


The pseudo-Clash's Cut the Crap is a moronic disaster filled with rudimentary beatbox blips, farting synths and scuzzy barre-chord guitar filth and the Blue Oyster Cult's Imaginos is a posh, symphonic, prog-metal cult classic with one of the most remarkable backstories this side of a Grant Morrison graphic novel. 



Which it may well have influenced. Read on:
Although often referred to as a dream, the concept behind Imaginos is what Pearlman described as "an interpretation of history – an explanation for the onset of World War I, or a revelation of the occult origins of it", which he crafted on elements of mythology, sociology, alchemy, science and occultism. 
OK, now we know we're dealing with something entirely different here. "E.T.I" was not a fluke.
This "combination of horror story and fairy tale" cites historical facts and characters, and is filled with literate references to ancient civilizations in a conspiracy theory of epic proportions, the subject of which is the manipulation of the course of human history.
OK, now the Grant Morrison bit? Yeah:
Central to this story are Les Invisibles (The Invisible Ones), a group of seven beings worshipped by the natives of Mexico and Haiti prior to the arrival of Spanish colonists in the 16th century, identified by some fans as the Loa of the Voodoo religion. The nature of Les Invisibles is left unclear, though it is hinted that they may be extraterrestrials, or beings akin to the Great Old Ones in the works of H. P. Lovecraft. 

Bear in mind this is the same band- or brand, more accurately- that gave us "Joan Crawford Has Risen From the Grave." Well, without Pearlman, that is. 

With him?
An interpretation of the lyrics of the song "Astronomy" by some fans suggests that the star Sirius is of particular astrological significance to Les Invisibles, with clues identifying it as their place of origin; it is during the so-called Dog Days of August, when Sirius is in conjunction with the Sun that their influence over mankind is at its apex.
Astonishing.

Getting back to the Morrison angle- this sounds vaguely familiar: 
By subtly influencing the minds of men, the beings are said to be "playing with our history as if it's a game", affecting events in world history over the course of centuries. For the three centuries after European discovery of the New World, this game plays out as the desire for gold is used to transform Spain into the dominant power in Europe, only to be usurped by England in the 17th century and later, through technology, by other nations ("Les Invisibles").
As does this:
The principal story begins in August 1804, with the birth of a "modified child" called Imaginos, in the American state of New Hampshire. Because of the astrological significance of the place and time of his birth, Imaginos is of particular interest to Les Invisibles, who begin investing him with superhuman abilities while he is young.  
Then the story moves from Morrison territory to Alan Moore's neck of the Northhamptonian woods:
Having by this time spent several decades studying mysticism and astrology, Imaginos discovers that Elizabethan England's rise as a superpower coincided with John Dee's acquisition of a magic obsidian mirror from Mexico, which serves as a bridge between Les Invisibles' alien world and ours, and the means to spread their influence on Earth. 
Apparently, the lyrics to this album have set off a cottage industry of speculation:
Some fans see Les Invisibles' actions in favour of England against Spain as a sort of vengeance for the extermination by the conquistadores of their worshippers in Central America, while others view their intervention as only part of the mysterious scheme carried on by the alien entities through the centuries ("In the Presence of Another World"). 
Now, I had no idea of any of this. I just knew that Pearlman's work with The Clash (not just Rope but also the epic "Gates of the West") seared itself into my brain in 1979 and changed my life thereafter.

Now I understand that conjunction of witchcraft, UFOs, and The Clash wasn't as random as it seemed to be for oh-so-many years.


Brian Eno often chafed at the relentless focus rock critics put on lyrics, arguing that guitar and keyboard parts were meaningful too. Now I understand the mind behind that sound that made such an incalculable impression on me a lot better and understand that the sound itself is drenched in meaning.

And now Sandy Pearlman's name is written into the Book of the Dead. Here's an fitting epitaph:
There have been—and will be—many great rock producers. Some are musical geniuses, like George Martin, or startling conceptualists, like Brian Eno or Dan Lanois; others, like Steve Lillywhite or Nile Godrich, are astounding collaborators who make magic out of band performances and magicians out of bands. 
But few rock producers are visionaries, fewer believe that a part of their job description is to act as a cultural instigator, and fewer still take it upon themselves to completely envision a new kind of rock, a new role for rock in the minds and hearts of its audience, and then figure out how to encode that hypothesis masterfully and vibrantly onto audio tape.

Stranger Things: The Upside Down World


I've finished my Stranger Things rewatch and have been mulling over all the various possibilities as to what it's really trying to tell us. Interviews with the credited creators (the Duffer Brothers) haven't told me much, especially since they've given a couple different stories as to how they came up with the story in the first place.

But there are a number of producers and writers involved in the series, at least one of whom has an interesting iMDb page, so I'm not sure if the twins themselves are my final go-to for the inside scoop.

It's interesting that the brothers would be so fixated on popcult ephemera that was popular before they were born, but not particularly unusual. I do sense the heavy hand of other players in the actual rendering of the series, but that's the way things go too. Stranger Things is period drama when all is said and done, a time-tested genre if ever there was one.

Gordon and I have been batting the whole "limited hangout" concept back and forth here, given that it leans so heavily on MK Ultra history and lore. 

My initial reaction was whitewash, in that it was saying "Hey, MK Ultra wasn't so bad; some hippies got some free acid and we were just trying to create some superheroes anyway. And look at Eleven- ain't she a badass?"

MK Ultra honcho Ewan Cameron didn't use sensory deprivation so kids like Eleven could remote view Russian spies, he used it to try to erase their brains. 

This is where MK Ultra starts to fictionally bleed into programs like Grillflame and Stargate, a crossover TV writers seem particularly fond of. But MK and RV programs shouldn't be conflated like that, even if there were strands of connections  amongst some of the players (it all fell under the same aegis, ultimately). 

This is particularly important since Eleven is made to identify her tormentor Brenner as her father, a practice that Cameron encouraged amongst his own victims.



That being said, it's worth noting Dustin's t-shirt in the later episodes of the series, advertising the "Castroville Artichoke Festival." 

For those of you who don't know, Castroville is in Northern California, smack dab in the corridor that runs through San Francisco, Palo Alto, Silicon Valley and Big Sur, where so much of the experimentation on RV and psi fictionalized in Stranger Things actually took place. This location hardly seems coincidental.

Nor does the "artichoke" reference. More on that shortly.



Another case of overlapping magisteria is a theme I haven't seen a lot of reviewers pick up on. And that's that Stranger Things is, among everything else, an alien-abduction narrative

The flower-faced ghoul is abducting its targets and ostensibly using them as incubators, as we saw in the second Aliens film. Several of the episodes open with shots of the starry sky, just begging for (further) E.T. comparisons, and others open with the aftermath of abductions.

Given the parallel dimension theme at work here it's worth noting that being the DMT trials done in the 1980s (arguably a descendant of MK Ultra, after a fashion), often featured disturbingly consistent reports of humanoid entities. Given its concretization of the ethereal dimensional realm posited in these trials, it's worth noting this feature in Stranger Things.
One common feature of the hallucinogenic experience caused by DMT are hallucinations of humanoid beings, characterized as being otherworldly. The term Machine Elf was coined by ethnobotanist Terence McKenna for the experience, who also used the terms fractal elves, or self-transforming machine elves.  
Hallucinations of strange creatures had been reported by Szara in the Journal of Mental Science (now the British Journal of Psychiatry) (1958) “Dimethyltryptamine Experiments with Psychotics”, Stephen Szara described how one of his subjects under the influence of DMT had experienced “strange creatures, dwarves or something” at the beginning of a DMT trip.  
Other researchers of the experience described 'entities' or 'beings' in humanoid as well as animal form, with descriptions of "little people" being common (non-human gnomes, elves, imps etc.). This form of hallucination has been speculated to be the cause of alien abduction experiences through endogenously occurring DMT. 
The frequency and consistency of the manifestations of these beings caused Dr. Rick Strassman, who was running one of the programs, to discontinue the trials.
Several factors led to the cessation of the New Mexico research. The biomedical model was increasingly intrusive and dehumanizing, and it was difficult recruiting new volunteers for these studies...(a) graduate student caused inordinate problems acting out–taking drugs with volunteers after hours, and undermining me when I told him to stop. Hoped for colleagues did not arrive, and in fact began setting up their own foundations competing for scarce resources and colleagues. Long-term benefits were meager, and adverse effects were adding up. The frequency of “being-contact” was unexpected and personally disorienting.- Rick Strassman, DMT: The Spirit Molecule synopsis
Now, think about it: does anyone seriously believe that such encounters didn't manifest during MK Ultra as well? Given the grab-bag of pharmaceuticals used, often in combination and often in extremely high doses, I'd bet these, uh, encounters were quite common indeed.

If that was the case, isn't it fair to assume that increasing, facilitating or exploiting such encounters didn't become a goal, or perhaps one of the primary goals, of the program? (MK Ultra was a lot weirder and more insane than a lot of people assume- the truly nasty wetwork was handled by its sister programs).

If so, you would naturally want to work with children, who might not only be more susceptible to the effects of hallucinogens, but who would also be able to endogenously produce chemicals like DMT as well

Perhaps this is exactly why so much work was done on children- in hospitals- during the MK Ultra years. 

And before and after as well.




In my rewatch I noticed an attempt to tell a parallel story, one that almost felt like a tale told out of school. It felt less like escapist entertainment and more like a real-life horror, of a local boy abducted on the order of an insane government doctor to carry on with his experiments when his primary subject (Eleven) escapes.

Will enters into the parallel world of hallucination, induced fever, drugs and madness that Eleven escaped. And the doctor, like any typical sadist, allows him to contact his mother on occasion to ramp up the terror and anxiety. Only in this case he does so with the hopes that such heightened emotional states will accelerate the process and produce more of the desired psychic results.


The generic government installation seemed like a trope, but in fact what we were seeing was a replay of the experimentation on children and marginal populations that took place during the MK Ultra/Etc years. Work done with electroshock therapy, drugs and perhaps even more exotic technologies.

Meaning work done in hospitals.

We see Eleven dressed in a hospital robe, which would be unnecessary if she were in some random DoE hideaway (pajamas would have done just as well) and we see orderlies dressed in hospital whites, rather than military tans or blues. 

I don't want to read too much in this series- the symbols are fairly blunt and blatant- but this reads like signaling to me.


Hopper and Joyce enter through the rather vaginal dimensional rift to search for will, and here we get our biggest eyefull of the Vale of Shadows, the nightmare alternate dimension in which Will is trapped.

That Will's ordeal is a metaphor for his own Cameron-like repatterning under an MK Ultra protocol seems fairly obvious by the fact that the monster's nest is found in the (upside down) library, where Hopper and Powell first stumble upon all of the information on the Hawkins lab and Brenner's connections to MK Ultra.

This isn't the most subtle kind of allegorizing I've ever seen, but given the target audience I don't think an overabundance of subtlety would serve the purpose.




Will is found with a disturbingly phallic tuber inserted deep into his larynx, and the entire scene is an obvious homage to the breeding nest in Aliens. I'm not sure if this was by accident or design but there's an interesting sync with James Cameron's nest being used as a metaphor for Ewan Cameron's house of mind control horrors in Montreal, especially considering that the former is also Canadian.



The Duffer Brothers use crosscutting- a film school 101 technique- to signal to us that Will's ordeal is to be identified with Hopper's daughter's ordeal when she was dying of leukemia. Whether or not they themselves intended to identify Will's captivity as a metaphor for hard-knuckle MK repatterning is open to debate.


Although the kind of experimentation that Stranger Things depicts is either dismissed, downplayed or otherwise excused, the reality of medical experimentation on children in America is real, grim and much, much worse than anything Hollywood screenwriters can dream up.

One of "America's own Josef Mengele's" is a woman many hail as a hero, Dr. Lauretta Bender, seen as a pioneer in the field of psychiatry. 

What goes unmentioned in her mainstream hagiographies is her long, brutal and heartless experimentation on children in hospitals, particularly some of our most vulnerable and marginalized children. 
From early 1940 to 1953, Dr. Lauretta Bender, a highly respected child neuropsychiatrist practicing at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, experimented extensively with electroshock therapy on children who had been diagnosed with "autistic schizophrenia." In all, it has been reported that Bender administered electroconvulsive therapy to at least 100 children ranging in age from three years old to 12 years, with some reports indicating the total may be twice that number. One source reports that, inclusive of Bender's work, electroconvulsive treatment was used on more than 500 children at Bellevue Hospital from 1942 to 1956, and then at Creedmoor State Hospital Children's Service from 1956 to 1969. 
Despite publicly claiming good results with electroshock treatment, privately Bender said she was seriously disappointed in the aftereffects and results shown by the subject children. Indeed, the condition of some of the children appeared to have only worsened.
This is torture. Let's make no mistake about it. Administering shock treatment to three year-old children is torture.



When MK-Ultra came to town, Dr. Bender was an eager participant, administering the drug to children, all under the age of 11. 

Eleven.

Is that in fact the real significance of the name?
In 1960, Dr. Bender launched her first experiments with LSD and children. They were conducted within the Children's Unit, Creedmoor State Hospital in Queens, New York. The LSD she used was supplied by Dr. Rudolph P. Bircher of the Sandoz Pharmaceutical Company. (Dr. Bircher also provided Bender with UML-491, also a Sandoz-produced product, very much like LSD but sometimes "dreamier" in effect and longer lasting.) Her initial group of young subjects consisted of 14 children diagnosed schizophrenic, all under the age of 11.
She soon found kindred spirits to assist and finance her work, which lasted into the 1970s.
Shortly after deciding to initiate her own LSD experiments on children, Bender attended a conference sponsored by a CIA front group, the Josiah Macy Foundation... A few short months after the Macy Foundation conference, Dr. Bender was notified that her planned LSD experiments would be partially and surreptitiously funded by the Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology (SIHE), another CIA front group then located in Forest Hills, New York.
And again, we're dealing with a nexus of spooks and the spooky- a witch's brew of spies, psi, Satanists, saucer-chasers, and many stranger players still. These people were after something, something that you couldn't find in a science textbook.
The Society, headed by James L. Monroe, a former US Air Force officer who had worked on top-secret psychological warfare and propaganda projects, oversaw about 55 top-secret experiments underwritten by the CIA. These projects involved LSD, ESP, black magic, astrology, psychological warfare, media manipulation, and other subjects.
V IS FOR VICTORY

Now as to the Montauk Project, the ostensible inspiration behind Stranger Things.

I've revealed that my grandfather worked on the real Montauk Project, the SAGE radar system that is in many ways the precursor to the modern Internet. After that he went into black projects, so I don't know what he worked on.

I also talked about my most vivid childhood memories being these horrible nightmares, most of which resemble abduction accounts. The first one I listed in my post was this:
World's End: One of the earliest ones didn't include the lightning, though. My parents are still together, but this might be a wish-dream. I'm probably about 4 or 5. We're going to World's End Park in Hingham to fly kites. But my family leaves me in the car and disappear. I'm sitting in the backseat, alone and afraid. Then the car starts by itself, is put into gear and drives, while I scream for my mother. 
Bonus factoid: World's End was originally tapped to become the site of the United Nations building in 1945 before the site on the East River was chosen.
That's one hell of a dream for a five year-old to have, picking that particular site for such a harrowing scenario.

Because World's End clearly has a connection to the Cryptocracy, given its shortlisting for the UN site. But in my research I found it was also across the street from an old Nike Missile site, one which housed a large pediatric practice as well.

What exactly is the significance of Nike Missile sites?

Well, they tie us directly into the nexus of Bell Laboratories and Lucifer's Technologies, but more importantly there's a paper trail on the use of old Nike sites and human experimentation, particularly on children, taking us right up to the doormat of the MK-Ultra Complex, ringing the doorbell of the infamous Louis Jolyon West:
 After January 11, 1973, when Governor Reagan announced plans for the Violence Center, West wrote a letter to the then Director of Health for California, J. M. Stubblebine. 
"Dear Stub: 
"I am in possession of confidential information that the Army is prepared to turn over Nike missile bases to state and local agencies for non-military purposes. They may look with special favor on health-related applications. 
"Such a Nike missile base is located in the Santa Monica Mountains, within a half-hour's drive of the Neuropsychiatric Institute. It is accessible, but relatively remote. The site is securely fenced, and includes various buildings and improvements, making it suitable for prompt occupancy. 
"If this site were made available to the Neuropsychiatric Institute as a research facility, perhaps initially as an adjunct to the new Center for the Prevention of Violence, we could put it to very good use. Comparative studies could be carried out there, in an isolated but convenient location, of experimental or model programs for the alteration of undesirable behavior. 
"Such programs might include control of drug or alcohol abuse, modification of chronic anti-social or impulsive aggressiveness, etc. The site could also accommodate conferences or retreats for instruction of selected groups of mental-health related professionals and of others (e.g., law enforcement personnel, parole officers, special educators) for whom both demonstration and participation would be effective modes of instruction. 
"My understanding is that a direct request by the Governor, or other appropriate officers of the State, to the Secretary of Defense (or, of course, the President), could be most likely to produce prompt results."
What exactly did West have in mind for this remote, fortified installation? 
 Some of the planned areas of study for the Center included:  
• Studies of violent individuals. 

• Experiments on prisoners from Vacaville and Atascadero, and hyperkinetic children. 
  
• Experiments with violence-producing and violent inhibiting drugs. 

Hormonal aspects of passivity and aggressiveness in boys.
• Studies to discover and compare norms of violence among various ethnic groups. 

• Studies of pre-delinquent children.
• It would also encourage law enforcement to keep computer files on pre-delinquent children, which would make possible the treatment of children before they became delinquents.
 Prisoners from state penitentiaries were chosen as subjects, as well as economically-disadvantage youths, primarily boys (kind of like Will Byers, you might say):
The purpose of the Violence Center was not just research. The staff was to include sociologists, lawyers, police officers, clergymen and probation officers. With the backing of Governor Reagan and Dr. Brian, West had secured guarantees of prisoner volunteers from several California correctional institutions, including Vacaville. 
Vacaville and Atascadero were chosen as the primary sources for the human guinea pigs. These institutions had established a reputation, by that time, of committing some of the worst atrocities in West Coast history. Some of the experimentations differed little from what the Nazis did in the death camps.
Here's an example:
Vacaville also administered a "terror drug" Anectine as a way of "suppressing hazardous behavior." In small doses, Anectine serves as a muscle relaxant; in huge does, it produces prolonged seizure of the respiratory system and a sensation "worse than dying".  
This may not have been performed under the aegis of MK-Ultra at all. 

Remember Dustin's shirt? Well, there was a program that was even worse than MKU, more brutal, more ruthless. And one of its magic tricks was erasing memory, using different drugs in combination to induce states of amnesia and dissociation:

Project ARTICHOKE was a CIA project that researched interrogation methods and arose from Project BLUEBIRD on August 20, 1951, run by the CIA's Office of Scientific Intelligence.   
The project studied hypnosis, forced morphine addiction (and subsequent forced withdrawal), and the use of other chemicals including LSD, to produce amnesia and other vulnerable states in subjects. 
ARTICHOKE was a mind control program that gathered information together with the intelligence divisions of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and FBI. In addition, the scope of the project was outlined in a memo dated January 1952 that stated, "Can we get control of an individual to the point where he will do our bidding against his will and even against fundamental laws of nature, such as self-preservation?"  
Project Artichoke was the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret code name for carrying out in-house and overseas experiments using LSD, hypnosis, and total isolation as a form of physiological harassment for special interrogations on human subjects. 
The subjects who left this project were fogged with amnesia, resulting in faulty and vague memories of the experience.

CIA director Richard Helms claimed ARTICHOKE became MK-Ultra, but perhaps that was because most of the MKU files had been destroyed, conveniently. Two birds with one stone.
It could well be that ARTICHOKE didn't become anything else at all but kept right on truckin', right on over to Vacaville and the Santa Monica Mountain range. 

And keeps on truckin' still.  
Given the work done with inducing amnesia under ARTICHOKE it's worth noting that Louis Jolyon West, along with other CIA scientists and assets and flat-out pedophiles, served on the board of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, a loathsome outfit that the media continues to try to rehabilitate.



So why Nike Missile sites? There were all kinds of places in which this work could have been done. 

What's so special about them?

Well, remember that the Montauk Project- the real one and the disinfo version thereof- focus on the use of radar. And that radar seems to have a lot to do with UFOs and all the rest of the high weirdness in the catalog. A missile site would come equipped with radar equipment and all other kinds of exotic technologies.

And as Gordon talks about in his new post, a Nike site would also have all kinds of exotic shielding as well, providing an environment that could screen out all of the various forms of electromagnetic pollution that modern life is plagued with. 

Quoting the ubiquitous Andrija Puharich:
“When you’re inside [a Faraday cage], a psychic, for example, has their performance increased by a thousand fold. A Faraday cage shields you from the electromagnetic radio waves, allowing only extremely low frequency (E.L.F.) magnetic waves to get through. I don’t think there’s a psychic warfare research lab that doesn’t make use of them today.” This observation of the Faraday was supported by [Edgar] Mitchell. Mitchell also stated that “the brain waves of two individuals separated and isolated by a Faraday cage could be synchronised […] Somehow there seemed to be some sort of communication occurring between the two that we didn’t know was possible.”...once a brain is no longer bathed in electromagnetic radio waves, but isolate it from that “dirt”, the brain becomes “psychic”. That’s quite something, not?
So if brains become psychic when they're not being bathed in electromagnetic radio waves, what happens when they're constantly bombarded with Wifi and cell radiation and the thousands of other signals constantly beaming through our bodies? 

Oh.

So did MK Ultra really end or has it cleaned up its act and gotten a better PR presentation? We're hearing a lot of talk about the new research being done in the field of hallucinogens but how exactly is this different from the old research? 

It has to be said that a lot of the MK Ultra field work was done in controlled environments, under the supervision of trained professionals and didn't seem to do a great deal of harm to some of its subjects. Was it merely the acceptable public face of the program? If so, can the same be said of the new hallucinogenic trials?
Together with revelations of unethical activities of psychiatric researchers under contract to military intelligence and the CIA, the highly publicized and controversial behaviors of hallucinogen enthusiasts led to the repression of efforts to formally investigate these substances. For the next twenty-five years research with hallucinogens assumed pariah status within academic psychiatry, virtually putting an end to formal dialogue and debate. 
In the early '90s, Nichols was at a scientific meeting telling a story he had told a million times: It's too bad there's not any clinical research, research with human subjects, with psychedelics. "You could do it, but you need private money." He decided he could find that private money, even though he didn't have the medical degree necessary to do clinical research himself. Along with Grob and others, he founded the Heffter Research Institute in 1993 to do legitimate, rigorous scientific research on psychedelics.

So what changed? According to Nichols, now an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, there wasn't an abrupt change in regulations, but just a slow shift in attitudes. "For many years when [the FDA] got a protocol to study psychedelics in humans, they just put it on a shelf somewhere."
What did change? "A slow shift in attitudes?" I don't know if that's exactly compelling.

Is there a new generation of Frankensteins out there, experimenting on children in secret laboratories? Sounds like lunatic paranoid delusion, right? Well, it does until you realize that these Frankensteins would have no shortage of subjects to work on.
At least 10,000 unaccompanied child refugees have disappeared after arriving in Europe, according to the EU’s criminal intelligence agency. Many are feared to have fallen into the hands of organised trafficking syndicates. 
In the first attempt by law enforcement agencies to quantify one of the most worrying aspects of the migrant crisis, Europol’s chief of staff told the Observer that thousands of vulnerable minors had vanished after registering with state authorities. 
Brian Donald said 5,000 children had disappeared in Italy alone, while another 1,000 were unaccounted for in Sweden. He warned that a sophisticated pan-European “criminal infrastructure” was now targeting refugees.
There are fears being aired in the German press that these children are being used for organ harvesting so I think a new wave of human experimentation isn't exactly outside the bounds of possibility here. 

Especially given the fact that a new version would almost certainly be entirely privatized and therefore unaccountable to any pesky legislators or regulators. If such animals even still exist.

And even in America, there are thousands of unaccompanied, unaccounted children entering the country. Once they enter the netherworld of traffickers and their fellow travelers, it's anyone's guess where they ultimately end up. 

It's a chilling thought.

So if an argument could be made that Stranger Things is a limited hangout, it would be to assure its viewers that all of these programs- MK, RV, you name it- are all a thing of the past. 

What do you think?



This recent ad on Craig's List put out a call for a study on "intuition," a weasel word for psi. It's sponsored by the Office of Naval Research.

I think it's safe to say the work continues.