A village in France. A terrifying episode of mass-insanity. And two acronyms: LSD and CIA.
What do they all have in common? Mind control experimentation on unknowing, innocent people.
Government experiments on everyday people—treated like lab mice without even the courtesy of knowing they’re in a laboratory—is no breaking news: from the Tuskegee syphilis plaguing of African-American men to the forced-drugging of military personnel in Project Artichoke, our “elected representatives” have long used us as subjects in their mad-scientist exploits.
But what has recently come to light is a decades-old incident that the history books had closed on, something called “The Mystery of Le Pain Maudit (Cursed Bread).”
On August 16, 1951, a French village became the center of a mysterious and terrifying episode of what could none other be described as mass-insanity.
Locals became stricken with wild hallucinations—dragons, fire, snakes, and other apparitions terrorized their consciousnesses as dozens were committed to insane asylums.
“Among the stricken, delirium rose,” wrote Time Magazine, “patients thrashed wildly on their beds, screaming that red flowers were blossoming from their bodies, that their heads had turned to molten lead.”
One of those who became symptomatic was a postman named Leon Armunier who suddenly felt ill while working, telling the BBC:
“It was terrible. I had the sensation of shrinking and shrinking, and the fire and the serpents coiling around my arms.
“Some of my friends tried to get out of the window. They were thrashing wildly… screaming, and the sound of the metal beds and the jumping up and down… the noise was terrible.
“I’d prefer to die rather than go through that again.”
Despite all the incidents and asylum admissions, the actual cause of the collective episodes was never officially determined, though one theory ultimately became the default explanation in the history books: fungal bread.
Specifically, a fungus called ergot that can cause hallucinations was thought to have contaminated flour at a local bakery.
For decades, the explanation was as good as any other, and so it stuck—until recently when an investigative journalist discovered a shocking and plausible alternative theory: the Central Intelligence Agency was conducting mind control experiments with LSD on the unknowing French village.
It’s almost too hard imagine that America’s own CIA would be operating as far away as France, but what’s not difficult to grasp is that they’d exploit innocent people to test out emerging scientific/medical technologies.
And according to H.P. Albarelli Jr.’s investigative work, this is exactly what happened.
One CIA document he obtained, which was released through a Freedom of Information Action request, was titled:
“Re: Pont-Saint-Esprit and F.Olson Files. SO Span/France Operation file, inclusive Olson. Intel files. Hand carry to Belin – tell him to see to it that these are buried.”
As The Telegraph reports:
“Mr Albarelli came across CIA documents while investigating the suspicious suicide of Frank Olson, a biochemist working for the SOD who fell from a 13th floor window two years after the Cursed Bread incident.
One note transcribes a conversation between a CIA agent and a Sandoz official who mentions the ‘secret of Pont-Saint-Esprit’ and explains that it was not ‘at all’ caused by mould but by diethylamide, the D in LSD.”
Albarelli’s research also found that Frank Olson was a scientist working for the CIA, specifically in the area of LSD.
As for the “Belin” reference in the CIA document’s title, Albarelli believes it refers to David Belin, executive director of the Rockefeller Commission that, in 1975, was created by the White House to “investigate abuses carried out worldwide by the CIA.”
As the BBC reports:
“It is well known that biological warfare scientists around the world, including some in Britain, were experimenting with LSD in the early 1950s – a time of conflict in Korea and an escalation of Cold War tensions.
“Albarelli says he has found a top secret report issued in 1949 by the research director of the Edgewood Arsenal, where many US government LSD experiments were carried out, which states that the army should do everything possible to launch ‘field experiments’ using the drug.
“Using Freedom of Information legislation, he also got hold of another CIA report from 1954.
“In it an agent reported his conversation with a representative of the Sandoz Chemical company in Switzerland.
“Sandoz’s base, which is just a few hundred kilometres from Pont-Saint-Esprit, was the only place where LSD was being produced at that time.
“The agent reports that after several drinks, the Sandoz representative abruptly stated: ‘The Pont-Saint-Esprit ‘secret’ is that it was not the bread at all… It was not grain ergot.’”
Indeed, according to Albarelli, in his book “A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA’s Secret Cold War Experiments,” he managed to get in contact with some of Frank’s coworkers who, allegedly, confirmed to him that the “cursed bread” incident was, in fact, simply the consequence of a CIA mind control operation in the area.
It’s certainly not the first time the US government has sponsored such atrocious activities.
The only question now is: how many other inhumane and unethical experiments have they conducted on the public that remains classified?