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William Sargant: Dark General in the Battle for the Mind


"Some people thought he was a wonderful doctor; some people he was the son of the Devil" … "Today, nobody knows who is William Sargant."

Dr. William Sargant was perhaps the foremost face of British mind control experimentation. A gangly fellow, he could have easily passed for Nosferatu on looks alone, but it is his lifelong work in extreme psychiatric treatments and human experimentation that draws out the real horror.

For better or ill, he became known for his pioneering efforts in psychosurgery, deep sleep treatment, electroconvulsive therapy and insulin shock therapy. At the time, his reputation was foremost; in the years hence, revelations about the CIA's MK Ultra research, and the involvement of MI6, with whom Sargant collaborated, have made his dark legacy yet another embarrassing skeleton in the closet. Indeed, most of the documents related to his work have been destroyed.

The equally shocking work of Dr. Ewen Cameron, working in Montreal, Canada at the Allen Memorial Institute at McGill University on MK Ultra Subproject 68, was partially based on the work of Dr. William Sargant; the two controversial doctors collaborated closely, and the latter wrote the intro to the books published by the former. The deep sleep experimentation of Dr. Harry Bailey – and the doubly shocking abuses and deaths of his patients, and his subsequent suicide – similarly paralleled the dark inquiries of doctors William Sargant and Ewen Cameron.

From Sargant's book Battle for the Mind: A Physiology of Conversion and Brain-washing

At its core, Sargant's disturbing treatments evolved out of the work of eminent Russian experimenter Ivan Pavlov, whom he was able to study under, in a similar manner to many key American doctors tapped for clandestine probings of the mind.

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