18 Spooky Government Programs That You’ll Have Trouble Believing Were Real

1. The Willowbrook State School Hepatitis Experiments

via Wikipedia

Children housed at the Willowbrook State School in Staten Island, New York, were intentionally given hepatitis in an attempt to track the development of the viral infection. The study began in 1956 and lasted for 14 years. The researcher also wanted to determine the effectiveness of gamma globulin injections as protection against hepatitis. They justified their deliberate infections and exposures by claiming that given that there was a high rate of infection in the institution it was practically inevitable that the children would become infected.

Records are here and here.


2. The UK “Special Demonstration Squad”

I always thought the undercover police officers in the UK who infiltrated many different activist groups and in some cases got into relationships and had kids with activists was always creepy. Here’s the wiki article, but I’d recommend reading the book ‘Undercover; The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police, it’s a brilliant book written by a pair of Guardian journalists.

They’d go through records looking for dead children who would be around their age and steal the birth certificates to make new identities, some cases they were directly involved in activist plans to cause criminal damage etc, etc. It’s so fucked up but I never hear anyone talk about it.

There’s an article here which has a lot of information about one of the cases.


3. U.S Tests On Pregnant Women And Radiation

The US has a history of testing the effects of radiation on pregnant women, newborn babies and mentally handicapped people.

In 1953, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission ran studies at the University of Iowa on the health effects of radioactive iodine in newborns and pregnant women. In one study, researchers gave pregnant women doses of iodine-131. When they inevitably miscarried, they studied the women’s aborted embryos in an attempt to discover at what stage, and to what extent, radioactive iodine crosses the placental barrier.

In another study, they gave 25 newborn babies (who were under 36 hours old) iodine-131, either by oral administration or through an injection, so that they could measure the amount of iodine in their thyroid glands, as iodine would go to that gland.

Immediately after World War II, researchers at Vanderbilt University gave 829 pregnant mothers in Tennessee what they were told were “vitamin drinks” that would improve the health of their babies. The mixtures contained radioactive iron and the researchers were determining how fast the radioisotope crossed into the placenta. At least three children are known to have died from the experiments, from cancers and leukemia. Four of the women’s babies died from cancers as a result of the experiments, and the women experienced rashes, bruises, anemia, hair/tooth loss, and cancer.

From 1946 to 1953, at the Walter E. Fernald State School in Massachusetts, in an experiment sponsored by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and the Quaker Oats corporation, 73 mentally disabled children were fed oatmeal containing radioactive calcium and other radioisotopes, in order to track “how nutrients were digested”. The children were not told that they were being fed radioactive chemicals; they were told by hospital staff and researchers that they were joining a “science club”.

This is just a tiny selection.


4. The Norwegian Rocket Incident

via Wikipedia

A team of American and Norwegian scientists had fired a four-stage rocket into the sky to study the effects of the Aurora Borealis.

The rocket had reached its peak height over Moscow (its calculated location at that point) and resembled a U.S Navy Trident missile. Many warnings went off in the Russian security department, fearing that the U.S had just launched a surprise nuclear attack on them. Retaliation nukes were at the ready, but one single man in the Russian security department decided that it wouldn’t make sense for the U.S to do a surprise nuke attack, and ordered to not go through with the retaliation.

The world’s entire safety came down to the gut feeling of one guy.


5. The CIA Heart Attack Gun

I can’t believe no one has mentioned the CIA heart attack gun. This was in the 70s. Imagine what they’re working on now.

The dart from this secret CIA weapon can penetrate clothing and leave nothing but a tiny red dot on the skin. On penetration of the deadly dart, the individual targeted for assassination may feel as if bitten by a mosquito, or they may not feel anything at all. The poisonous dart completely disintegrates upon entering the target.

The lethal poison then rapidly enters the bloodstream causing a heart attack. Once the damage is done, the poison denatures quickly, so that an autopsy is very unlikely to detect that the heart attack resulted from anything other than natural causes. Sounds like the perfect James Bond weapon, doesn’t it? Yet this is all verifiable in Congressional testimony.

The astonishing information about this secret weapon of the CIA comes from U.S. Senate testimony in 1975 on rogue activities of the CIA. This weapon is only one of many James Bond-like discoveries of the Church Committee hearings, officially known as the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities.


6. Operation Popeye

The US Military used weather manipulation in the Vietnam war to cause landslides, flooding etc. Weather manipulation has since been banned from use for military gain.

Operation Popeye (Project Controlled Weather Popeye/Motorpool/Intermediary-Compatriot) was a highly classified weather modification program in Southeast Asia during 1967–1972. The cloud seeding operation during the Vietnam War ran from March 20, 1967 until July 5, 1972 in an attempt to extend the monsoon season, specifically over areas of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The operation was used to induce rain and extend the East Asian Monsoon season in support of U.S. government efforts related to the War in Southeast Asia.


7. The Sundial

In the summer of 1954, shortly after the 15 megaton Castle Bravo nuclear explosion contaminated hundreds of miles of the Pacific Ocean and the Marshall Islands, Edward Teller, the “father of the H-bomb,” proposed a new weapon known as the SUNDIAL. The only real detail about it that has been released was its explosive yield: 10,000 megatons. Which is to say, 10 gigatons.

When Teller briefed an advisory board of government scientists on it, they were horrified:

Dr. Fisk said he felt the Committee could endorse [Livermore’s] small weapon program. He was concerned, however, about Dr. Teller’s 10,000 MT gadget and wondered what fraction of the Laboratory’s effort was being expended on the Gnomon and Sundial. Mr. Whitman had been shocked by the thought of a 10,000 MT [bomb]; it would contaminate the earth.

A congressional committee was secretly briefed on it. This exchange is rather wonderful:

SENATOR JACKSON: This is a design that will end once and for all Malthus’ theory of population.

DR. BRADBURY: You don’t have to deliver it — just leave it in your backyard.

To put it into perspective, the largest bomb ever detonated, the Tsar Bomba, could at its maximum yield have been 100 megatons (100,000 kilotons). The bomb detonated on Nagasaki was 20 kilotons; the largest bomb the US ever detonated, Castle Bravo, was 15 megatons (15,000 kilotons). The SUNDIAL would have been 10,000 megatons (10,000,000 kilotons), one hundred times more powerful than the Tsar Bomba, 500,000 times more powerful than the Nagasaki bomb. It could scorch an area the size of France or Texas.

The program was axed by the Eisenhower Air Force, who concluded they had no military need for such a weapon, which looked more like a “doomsday device” than something they could actually imagine using. I find it quite interesting (as someone who researches this stuff) that this was just a little too “on the nose” for them — a scientists’ fascination, but not one that would work with a military doctrine that believed (rightly or wrongly) that nuclear war could be fought and won.


8. Project Pluto

via Wikipedia

Project Pluto, which would power cruise missiles with a “nuclear ramjet,” which would use a nuclear reaction to heat incoming air, and directly use that heated/expanded air for propulsion. It could stay airborne for months, cruising in circles over the ocean until ordered onto a target. it would be spewing radioactive material the whole time.

The project died when the ICBM became the more practical, fortunately.

“The SLAM as proposed would carry a payload of many nuclear weapons to be dropped on multiple targets, making the cruise missile into an unmanned bomber. After delivering all its warheads, the missile could then spend weeks flying over populated areas at low altitudes, causing tremendous ground damage with its shock wave. When it finally lost enough power to fly, and crash-landed, the engine would have a good chance of spewing deadly radiation for months to come.”


9. Operation Sea Spray

Operation Sea Spray, in which the US Navy was literally releasing pathogens in the city of San Francisco in such a way to affect the whole population just to see what happened. Lots of people developed UTIs and pneumonia, amongst other things.

10. The FBI Declassified Jonestown Tapes

The audio recordings of the final sermon at Jonestown. I think the worst bit isn’t the people cheering at the idea of their own deaths, it’s the children crying as they’re being force-fed the cyanide – and then the eerie silence when they stop crying. FBI declassified the tapes a while ago, they’re easy to find online. Haunting stuff though, can’t shake it from my brain.



11. Project MKULTRA Essentially Created The Unabomber

via Wikipedia

MKUltra (pdf warning) was a mind control program started by the CIA. It used a variety of extremely questionable methods but was LSD heavy, going so far as to expose some subjects to LSD for up to 77 consecutive days.

One of the scientists behind MKUltra was Henry Murray. He later ended up performing similar experiments at Harvard University which consisted of sensory deprivation and other methods designed expressly to induce extreme stress in test subjects. One his test subjects was a student named Ted Kaczynski.

Kaczynski would later go on to terrorize the nation under the given moniker “The Unabomber.”

via Wikipedia

It’s difficult to tell what specific effect Murray’s experiments had on a young Kaczynski but, according to this Atlantic piece, it’s a fair bet that the effects were both great and long lasting.

12. The Stargate Project

In 1984, a psychic remote viewed the planet Mars for the CIA. In his remote view, he’s asked to travel backward to several points in time in Mars’ history and several points of interests using coordinates.

The psychic ends up describing things like some sort of planetary catastrophe, strange structures (including pyramids), and the strange inhabitants on the Red Planet.

Whether you believe in aliens and conspiracy theories or not, it’s definitely weird that an official branch of the government has run experiments like these. It makes one wonder what else they’ve done in the pursuit of the unknown.

This is a pretty decent explanation and a rundown of some of the most interesting parts of that document.

Thought Catalog also has an amazing rundown of the Gateway Project here.


13. Operation Big Buzz

Operation Big Buzz, done in 1955 by the US Government. They airdropped 300,000 mosquitoes across the state of Georgia and dispersed a million more (by flying under 300 feet and opening the cargo door) to see how easily it would be to spread the Yellow Fever virus.

Turns out they were only able to cover a radius of about 2,000 feet beyond the drop site. The operation was scrapped and now Georgia has a huge mosquito problem.


14. Operation Northwoods

Not really “creepy” but kind of scary and shocking.

In a nutshell, Operation Northwoods was a false flag operation devised by the Department of Defense and Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1962. Basically, the CIA and/or other US government operatives would commit acts of terrorism and conduct attacks on US soil, blame it on Cuba and then use it to get public support and justification to go to war against Cuba. Bombings, hijackings, assassinations, and acts of terror in US cities were some of the proposed methods. Even going as far as using MiG jets – painted in Cuban colors and markings – to conduct some of these attacks. Fidel Castro and his communist regime had taken up power around this time and we were hell bent on snuffing out communism anywhere it popped up. JCOS and DoD wanted to provoke war with Cuba BAD. They just needed justification to do it. Operation Northwoods wasn’t the only plan they had. They came up with other plans as well.

Ultimately, President Kennedy rejected the Operation Northwoods proposal and removed the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1963. There was a rift between Kennedy and the US military leaders after this because they thought he was going soft on Cuba.

We all know what happened to Kennedy later that year. This is one of the reasons why I believe Oswald didn’t act alone or possibly wasn’t even the shooter in the first place.

More-so, when you look at 9/11 and how that all played out, and then you look at Northwoods, it paints a bit of an interesting picture as well.

takes tin foil hat off


15. The Pitesti Experiment

From Romania, The Pitesti Experiment was a “re-education” program for turning your average Joe and anti-dictatorship student into a loyal tovarishch. What is not documented and is still a conspiracy is that they tried some sorts of things before they went full Pavlovian,(i.e. Yuri style brain reprogramming wave frequencies and/or hypnosis), but this is still just a legend.

Public humiliation was also enforced, usually at the third stage (“public moral unmasking”), inmates were forced to denounce all their personal beliefs, loyalties, and values. Notably, religious inmates had to blaspheme religious symbols and sacred texts. According to Virgil Ierunca—anti-communist activist and member of the Presidential Commission for the Study of the Communist Dictatorship in Romania—Christian baptism was gruesomely mocked. Guards chanted baptismal rites as buckets of urine and fecal matter were brought to inmates. The inmate’s head was pushed into the raw sewage. His head would remain submerged almost to the point of death. The head was then raised, the inmate allowed to breathe, only to have his head pushed back into the sewage. Ierunca further states that “prisoners’ whole bodies were burned with cigarettes; their buttocks would begin to rot, and their skin fell off as though they suffered from leprosy. Others were forced to swallow spoons of excrement, and when they threw it back up, they were forced to eat their own vomit.”  The inmates were required to accept the notion that their own family members had various criminal and grotesque features; they were required to author false autobiographies, comprising accounts of deviant behavior.


16. Operation Gladio

via truthmove

This was a secret operation to prepare a sort of “left behind” resistance in case of a Soviet invasion:

Its purpose was to prepare for, and implement, armed resistance in the event of a Warsaw Pact invasion and conquest.

The problem is that the members of the “stay behind” armies were often strongly connected to far-right terrorist or borderline terrorist organizations, which committed or are thought to have committed several terrorist acts during the Cold War, for example here, and here.

Especially creepy for me were the Brabant Killers, but this was not conclusively tied to operation Gladio. These were a violent crime spree that was never solved and left 28 dead and 40 injured over some 3 years.

A cool documentary is this.


17. Operation Snow White

via Wikipedia

Essentially an investigation of the Church of Scientology’s massive infiltration plan begun in the 1970s. The church’s agents had infiltrated all levels of the U.S. government, especially the Internal Revenue Service, engaging in wiretapping, theft of property, and infiltration. The church was known to owe millions in back taxes and the plan was suggested by the church’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, as early as the 1960s.

This project included a series of infiltrations into and thefts from 136 government agencies, foreign embassies and consulates, as well as private organizations critical of Scientology, carried out by Church members in more than 30 countries. It was one of the largest infiltrations of the United States government in history, with up to 5,000 covert agents. This operation also exposed the Scientology plot ‘Operation Freakout‘, because Operation Snow White was the case that initiated the US government investigation of the Church.

After the government busted them, L. Ron Hubbard went into hiding for the rest of his life.

18. Vipeholm experiments

The Vipeholm experiments in Sweden – From 1945 to 1955 a large number of mentally ill people were force fed sweets to find out if sugar was related to tooth decay. The experiments were issued by the government and sponsored by the sugar industry.

The sugar experiment lasted for two years. In 1949, the trials were revised again, now to test a more “normal” carbohydrate-rich diet. By then, the teeth of about fifty of the 660 subjects in the experiment had been completely ruined.

lemekswe94 Thought Catalog Logo Mark