By David King
Bill Yarborough of Clayton has written a novel based on what he believes were his experiences as a child victim of the CIA’s notorious MK-Ultra program. The manuscript is in the hands of several literary agents and hopefully his efforts will meet with success. If he does not obtain a traditional publisher, he will self-publish. Although the novel is fiction, it is inspired by common memories between him, his brother and sister. Their recollections arose as repressed memories surfaced into their conscious minds, or through dreams, or other triggering events.
For those not familiar with MK-Ultra, the CIA operated a secret mind-control program beginning in the 1950’s.
New York Times first exposed this program in December,1974 and a Senate Committee and others government investigations followed. Among other things, it was discovered that the MK-ULTRA program was used to perfect interrogation techniques, to create split personalities for covert espionage missions, and to experiment with drugs on both willing and unwilling subjects.
Although MK-UTLRA experimented predominately on adults, it also subjected children in a program designed to create super soldiers and spies.
IFLScience stated that “MK-Ultra was an ambitious, morally corrupted attempt by a paranoid, pro-active agency, which escalated very quickly culminating in illegal drug tests on thousands of American individuals in the name of national security.”
“I believe we were placed in that program during the summer of 1958,” Bill begins. “I was four, my sister was eight, and my brother was two. We repressed these memories for 30 years. In the 1980s, we began to recall our buried past. We had common memories that arose of being kept in basement jail cells, as well as being subjected to electroshock, drugs, isolation, deprivation, psychological assault, and other traumas.”
The idea behind these practices was to put the mind into a state of shock, where it could then be reprogrammed.
In its obsession to defeat communism, the CIA even recruited ex-Nazis scientists to run aspects of this program. They also wanted to mold individuals who would achieve high levels of performance.
“In one experiment I recall, they asked me to draw as many squares as possible on a sheet of paper until an alarm clock rang. If I drew enough, I’d be given a candy bar, if not, I’d be handed over to a monster.”
The siblings struggled to believe that such things happened to them, but in the 1990s, President Clinton released the results of a study by the Presidential Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, which also addressed the mind-control experiments conducted by the CIA.
“It included testimony regarding the experiments on children, which makes reference to specifics identical to the common memories we recalled.”
Unfortunately, Bill’s younger brother suffered lasting and extensive psychological damage. Like many other individuals who were children in MK-ULTRA, he spent a lifetime since the age of 21 diagnosed with a variety of mental illnesses before he died in his fifties.
“My father worked in the war crimes staff of the US Army after World War II where he interviewed the Nazis running the Dachau concentration camp. That is where the Nazis conducted mind control experiments and that is where the CIA recruited some mind control experts for MK-ULTRA. I believe that is the connection that led us into this program.”
Bill grew up terrified of authority figures, had a streak of paranoia, and an obsession to one day become President, which he later concluded was programmed into him.
He continues on his healing journey, having had years of therapy involving a variety of techniques: psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, EMDR, Reiki, Emotional Freedom Technique, and last by not least Journey Work—where you travel back to confront past experiences and let out your feelings, offer forgiveness, then re-invent it as if it happened in a different and better way.
Other techniques like meditation, music, dancing, yoga, creative writing, journaling, and socializing all helped to mitigate tensions and/or supplement his healing journey.
“The rewards of my healing journey have been considerable. I’ve been able to do things I never thought possible: most significantly, to have a long-term relationship with my wife, to become a father, to no longer live in terror of those things that reminded me of my hidden past, and to break free of programmed expectations allowing me to become more of my authentic self.”
We may never know the extent to which the CIA and over 80 institutions conducted these experiments. Once New York Times exposed the 14-year program, CIA Director Richard Helms ordered the destruction of thousands of pages of documentation.
Writing the novel has been therapeutic for Bill as well. While “Memories of MK-Ultra” is being considered for publication, Bill has offered to share his ordeal to the Diablo Gazette over the next several editions to the extent decency and privacy are respected. Some details are simply too gruesome to convey and will seem, frankly, unfathomable.
I will leave it up to you to decide if his story is true or fantasy. Bill admits he wrote the story in fiction form due to his age in the program but says incredible aspects of the story are based on his recollections and align with those of other child survivors of MK-Ultra.
I have not yet corroborated his story and may not be able to do so completely, but I will say he was very convincing as he fought back tears on multiple occasions during our interviews.
Chapter one of the novel begins with the real-life scenario of how he and his sister were abducted while visiting a museum. The trauma continues from there, but Bill adds, “the novel is ultimately about healing and redemption, of lives lost, and then found.”