Manchurian Candidates

Twelve years ago the parents of an autistic boy won $2.1 Million from the estate of a deceased neuropsychiatrist who had tried to turn the boy into a weapon. Doctor Donald Dudley began treating the boy in 1989 and, in 1990, started injecting him with sodium amytal, attempting to “erase” part of his brain. Dudley intended to fill these erased areas with murderous notions implanted through hypnosis.

The boy’s condition deteriorated and

[w]hen Jeanie Drummond confronted Dudley about her son’s treatment in November 1992, he told her he was going to take over hospitals, police forces and schools, and that she was fortunate he wanted her son to be one of his trained soldiers, attorneys said.

That was the end of Drummond’s treatment by Dudley.

Following complaints by Mrs. Drummond and others, Dudley’s license to practice was revoked. He himself was diagnosed as manic-depressive. Among his patients was a suicidal fifteen-year-old who had threatened people with a gun, possibly supplied by Dudley from his huge stash of weapons.

Sirhan Sirhan under arrest.

Sirhan Sirhan under arrest.

Doctor Dudley claimed to be working for the CIA and he may have been involved in the CIA’s investigation into human manipulation via psychotropic drugs. Some people died in these experiments, some became artists, one became the Unabomber. In 1973, Richard Helm, panicked by Watergate, ordered the CIA files on these experiments destroyed, but a number have survived and been declassified. Still, no smoking gun linking the CIA to mind-altered assassins has been found.

Sirhan Sirhan now [Ben Margot/AP]

Sirhan Sirhan now [Ben Margot/AP]

Meanwhile, the lawyers for Sirhan Sirhan claim that their client was hypnotized into murdering Robert Kennedy in 1968. At that time and for years later, Sirhan claimed that he shot Kennedy out of anger over US policies in Palestine. Now he claims not to remember that confession. But a year ago, illusionist Derren Brown claimed to replicate Sirhan’s programming in a test subject who was sent to murder Stephen Fry.

In 1971, Jerome Johnson, an African-American admirer of Hitler, shot mobster Joe Colombo to death. Colombo’s associates blamed Joey Gallo and went to war against the Gallo faction. Although the FBI called Johnson a “lone assassin”, Colombo’s friends said that he was a tool used by others. Knowing mafiosos claimed that the practice of manipulating some “yoyo” to commit murder was a very old one. We will never hear from Johnson, who was shot to death by Colombo’s bodyguards at the scene of the assassination.

Jerome Johnson subdued by police just before he was killed. [Life]

Jerome Johnson subdued by police just before he was killed. [Life]

Nicholas Deak, who was an OSS operative during World War II, became an international financier after the war ended. His firm was used by the CIA to launder money but after the Church Committee investigations of 1975 revealed that he had bribed Japanese ministers on behalf of Lockheed, Deak became someone the CIA didn’t want to know — at least officially. In 1983, Deak was accused by the Reagan administration of laundering Colombian drug money and, the following year, he was subpoenaed to testify before Congress. Deak’s empire came crashing down. His clients, many of them criminal organizations, began pulling their cash out of Deak’s companies only to discover that there wasn’t enough money to go around. Deak was on the verge of bankruptcy. He felt angry and betrayed by the government he had worked for and he was disgusted by the hypocrisy of being accused of dealing with drug lords by the same administration that was funding Nicaraguan contras via cocaine sales. Perhaps some people in high places feared that he might talk about things that they wished to have kept secret. In 1985, Deak was shot to death in his office. His killer was a homeless madwoman named Lois Lang.


Lois Lang was an outstanding college athlete and one-time homecoming queen. In the mid-60s, while coaching at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Lang began showing signs of mental instability. In 1970, the university declined to renew her coaching contract. Lang became convinced that many of the people around her were “fakes”. Her behavior became more and more erratic. Her marriage fell apart. In 1975, police found her “naked and catatonic” in a Santa Clara motel.

For the next month, she was put under the care of Dr. Frederick Melges, a psychiatrist associated with the Stanford Research Institute. One of Dr. Melges’ main areas of research: drug-aided hypnosis. A few years after Lang was put in Melges’ care, the New York Times exposed the Stanford Research Institute as a center for CIA research into “brain-washing” and “mind-control” experiments in which unwitting subjects were dosed with hallucinogenic drugs and subjected to hypnosis.

Recent shot of Lois Lang, who has let her post-menopausal beard grow. [via Salon]

Recent shot of Lois Lang, who has let her post-menopausal beard grow. [via Salon]

By 1980 Lang returned to Washington state, where she had grown up, and began hanging around the university campus where she became a familiar sight, an eccentric derelict. Did Lang ever meet Doctor Dudley? She said that someone gave her the gun that authorities claim she bought in a Florida pawnshop. Someone, she said, had shown her Deak’s office and taught her how to shoot. But, since her incarceration in a mental facility, Lois Lang has not said anything else. There are many who think that she was a puppet of people out to get Deak: the Macao mob, Argentineans, the CIA — there’s a long list of suspects.

I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist; I figure a lone gunman killed JFK. But each of the killers named above was a lone gunman and that brings up the main point: were they manipulated into murder? And that is something we’ll probably never know.


This post was prompted by reading the Salon article by Mark Ames and Alexander Zaitchik on the Deak killing.

A book on the CIA’s experiments in mind control by John Marks is available free on-line: The Search for the Manchurian Candidate: The CIA and Mind Control

4 comments on “Manchurian Candidates

  1. Jon says:

    How did Dr. Donald Dudley die? When did he die?

  2. Sam Smith says:

    Interesting. Just about all the school shooters have been mentally ‘treated’ before their crimes.

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