Episode 19: Canada – The Unethical Donald Ewen Cameron and MK-Ultra Subproject 68

Donald Ewen Cameron was involved in unethical human experiments on patients without their knowledge or consent. Most of this work happened through the MK-Ultra Project for the purpose of developing mind control, torture techniques, psychoactive poisons, and behaviour modification systems.

Today, Donald’s name is synonymous with unethical medical practices, including psychological torture techniques for the CIA. The cruel techniques he helped develop continue to be used around the world today.

In this episode

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Donald Ewen Cameron 1967
Donald Ewen Cameron, 1967

December 24, 1901
Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire, Scotland

MK-ULTRA Subproject 68

Ravenscrag, where MK-Ultra Subproject 68 occurred in Montreal, QC

During the 1950s and 1960s, Cameron became involved in what is now known as the MK-Ultra Project.

In 1957, Cameron made the 2-hour commute from Lake Placid, New York to Montreal every week to work at the hospital to carry out MK-Ultra experiments there. These experiments are now known as MK-Ultra Subproject 68 aka the Montreal Experiments.

Montreal Experiments

The Montreal Experiments were a series of experiments with the goal of inducing lifelong changes in humans.

Drug-Induced Sleep

Drug-induced sleep, which took place in the “sleep room”, usually lasted from a few days to up to a few months. Cameron often combined the sleep periods with injections of hallucinogenic drugs and the administration of electroshocks, all while playing pre-recorded messages on loop.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

ECT is another procedure used to depattern the brain and it was heavily used on treatment-resistant psychological disorders. In rare cases, he conducted very powerful electroconvulsive therapy – up to forty times more powerful than what’s typically used on a patient.

Sensory Deprivation

Patients were deprived of their senses by covering their ears, eyes, and skin. They were given very little food, water, and oxygen, and injected with drugs to keep them in a paralyzed state.


The exact number of people abused and violated in the Montreal Experiments is unknown, but over 300 people applied for compensation in 1992 with the Canadian Government. The victims of the experiment mainly had mental health issues like depression and schizophrenia and were hoping to receive proper and ethical treatment from Donald Cameron. None of them had given consent to the procedures or were aware of the experiments being conducted.

There is no clear evidence of what really happened in the Montreal Experiments. None of Cameron’s personal files concerning his experiments “survived”. Other documents which would verify the Montreal Experiments either no longer exist or are still classified. Most of the information on the experiments is rooted in reports of patients, especially their journals or court reports.

To this day, the true nature of the experiments in Montreal has been kept a dark secret by the CIA.

People have argued that he would have carried out the exact same experiments regardless of where the funding came from.

After leaving MK-Ultra Subproject 68 in 1964, he returned to Albany, New York as a Research Professor at the Albany Medical School and Director of the Laboratory for Research in Psychiatry and Aging at the Veterans’ Administration Hospital.

Other CIA Projects

Human experimentation didn’t begin with MKUltra. It was preceded by two drug-related experiments, Project Bluebird and Project Artichoke.

Project Bluebird

A CIA mind control program run by the Office of Scientific Intelligence from 1951 to 1953. During this time, the CIA authorized experiments to be conducted by licensed psychiatrists. The experiments had various purposes, including creating new identities, inducing amnesia, inserting hypnotic access codes in subjects’ minds, creating multiple personalities, and creating false memories. The research also included placing brain electrodes in people and controlling their behaviour from remote transmitters. They also administered daily dosages of LSD to children for extended periods of time and used electroconvulsive therapy to erase memories.

Project Artichoke

A CIA project that researched interrogation methods and arose from Project Bluebird on August 20, 1951, run by the Office of Scientific Intelligence.

The project studied hypnosis, forced morphine addiction (and subsequent forced withdrawal), and the use of other chemicals, among other methods.

Project Artichoke was a program of mind control conducted by the intelligence divisions of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and FBI. 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?”

Who knows how many projects there really were between the 50s and 80s? Suddenly, the Montauk Project doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

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