Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Beginning

Starting this out won't be easy. Talking about it will be harder. It's taken a lot for me to even consider overcoming my general distrust of technology to share my story over the internet. Most likely, getting you to believe me will prove to be the most challenging facet of this whole thing.

Let me tell you why I am here. Years ago, my father was diagnosed with lung cancer. He was a lifelong smoker and heavy drinker (a habit he developed after his time in the military), and so neither my family nor I were surprised at the doctors diagnosis. He was given nine months to live. He died in less than six. What matters is not his death, but what happened in the short time before he died. It was the summer of 1977, and my younger brother and I were living with my father in his final months. I was 25. My father was a very unstable man at this time; the prospect of his own death gave way to great depression (though he was struggling with depression beforehand) and an increase in drinking. A month before his death, he confided in my brother and I certain details about government programs he was involved in. He said he had both witnessed and participated in experiments that would defy imagination. My brother and I literally did not believe him when he told us what gruesome things he had experienced.

According to my father, he volunteered to be a test subject for a government research project. A friend whom he had met while in a University in Spain (where my father was once stationed and now lived) named Dr. Jose Delgado had asked him, and he didn't hesitate to say yes. The project studied the effects of high frequency sound waves on the brain. This research had previously been done on domestic animals, most commonly cats, and the results had been disturbing. After long exposure to the high frequency waves, some of the cats had shown signs of rage and anxiety. Others showed strange patterns in brain activity, similar to what we would see in humans today taking hallucinogenic drugs.

When my father heard of the strange behavior of the animals, he refused to be part of the experiment. However, after much persuasion from his Dr. Delgado, he joined the project once again. He was placed in a control group; in other words, he would not be exposed to the sound waves. His group was to be a reference for comparing the group exposed to the waves. He was to live the next forty five days in a quarters specifically for him and one other subject of the experiment. This is where he would be observed. On day forty five, the scientists would compare my father to the group exposed to the sound waves.

The project never got that far. A little more than a month in, the whole experiment was abandoned and Dr. Delgado released my father from his quarters. There had been a horrible misstep, according to the Doctor, and he would no longer be needed. My father was curious as to what happened, but didn't ask questions as his friend looked extremely uneasy. He was debriefed, and sent back to his home in Madrid. Several years went by, and he heard no word from Dr. Delgado. During this time, I was born in a town called Torrejón de Ardoz, in 1952. My father was now attending University of Madrid, getting a PhD in Neurosciences. He was still a year from graduation when Dr. Delgado called him. He informed my father that he was aware of a new project, one which couldn't be talked about over the phone. Dr. Delgado himself wouldn't be involved, but he had recommended my father. He wanted my father to help organize research for the experiment, which would take place in about a month. When my father learned of the compensation, he quickly agreed and met Dr. Delgado. The Doctor informed him that he would need to relocate to the United States for this project, and so my mother and I were uprooted and we moved to Arizona.

This is when my father started to change dramatically. He would come home late or not at all. He would exhibit alarming amounts of stress and anxiety, and he started to take up drinking. This is all from the testimony of my mother, as I was too young to realize what was going on. Not even one year after he had taken up the project, he announced to my mother that the experiment was shut down. Soon, however, he was involved in another program in which he worked directly with Dr. Delgado. He was with this project from 1954 to 1958. As I became older, I was increasingly disturbed by his behavior. During this time his instability got worse. He became extremely uneasy all of the time, and rarely do I remember a moment that I saw him happy and at ease. His marriage with my mother dissolved, and my mother moved out. This was in 1957, and at this time I moved in with my mother, who now lived in New Mexico. For the next ten years, I rarely saw my father. When I saw him again, I was in my teens. My father was retired, and in shambles. I tried to forget him and go on with my life, but it was hard. I graduated from high school a year early and went to New Mexico State University. I got my degree in Political Science, and shortly after attended University of Texas at Austin to get my Masters degree in History. I got a job as a High School teacher. After a few years, I enrolled at Rice University to obtain a PhD in European History. At this time, I was struggling greatly with depression, partially caused by my fathers absence in my life. I dropped out of Rice and moved to Maryland where I got a job as an exhibit researcher for a museum. It wasn't long before I got a call about my father's cancer.

When my father died he left boxes and boxes of old stuff, what we thought was junk. Most of it was, but when it came time to search through it, we found some items that shocked us: These things not only made us believe what my father had said, it expanded upon it! It turned out that when my father started on his second project, he started to keep a journal. I imagine this is because he couldn't communicate the horrors he witnessed to anyone else. In any event, I spent the next few months piecing together a puzzle that grew more and more horrific as I went along.
From what I can gather, my father knew no more about the first project he participated in than I did. He was simply a subject. However, I believe the second project, the one that relocated me to America, was Project CHATTER. He didn't mention this name anywhere in his writings, but I've come to the conclusion through my own research that it's likely that was the project he worked on. The third, and longest, of his projects is one that I can find no trace of on the internet. In his journal, he refers to it as Project HEDON. It is a much more sinister project, and ultimately the one that nearly drove him mad. According to his writings, the centralized focus of the project at first was testing the effects of neuro-electromagnetic waves, EL and UL frequencies and microwaves on the human brain.

The test subjects ranged from as old as mid-80's to as young as 9. The young patients often exhibited the behavior of savage animals, and most died or were killed. The adults were more resistant, but suffered nonetheless. They became extremely rash in their emotions. Rage was brought on very easily, and there was much fighting. The scientists watched as their subjects suffered. According to the diary, some subjects committed suicide.

Eventually, Project HEDON was not moving along fast enough. There were many casualties but almost no information had been proven. This was midway through 1956, nearly two years from when my father said he "retired" (though in his diary he alluded that he was actually fired due to mental instability). Dr. Delgado, one of the leaders of the program, brought in a new batch of scientists to pull the project in a new, more innovative direction. No names except Delgado's are mentioned in the diary, but my father does mention some important details. One scientist had been affiliated with project BLUEBIRD before it's rechristening earlier in the decade. The other two were both physicists who worked for the Office of Special Investigations, otherwise known as the Office of Scientific Intelligence. They brought a new premise to Project HEDON, one that could not be divulged even to my father. Though he didn't know what was going on, my father looked on with a mixture of disgust and captivation as he watched the experiments take place.
In the first phase, the subjects were escorted into a rounded room that branched off from the main test area. This room was not visible from the scientists perspective, where my father also did his work. The door was sealed shut with the subject inside, only for a few seconds, then unlocked. From this point on the test subject's condition never varied, and as much as I would like to paraphrase from my father's journal I think it is best that you read it just as I did:

"They (the subjects) would stagger from the door and barely be strong enough to maintain proper footing. This was curious to me, especially, because they were in perfect health just a few short seconds ago. They would squint initially at the white light in the chamber, and under the foggy gloss of their eyes I could see a look of absolute terror and confusion: A look I have only seen then, of someone who has experienced and witnessed all of the hardships the world could offer and beyond. A look of eternal anguish. Most would struggle to open their mouths, and those who were able could not speak but a word. Most let out only small whimpers, a raspy and putrid sound that can come only with many years of suffering. For those who could muster up their pathetic voice, they could only manage to utter a few words before they expired. Most were incoherent fragments of what seemed to them like long forgotten words, comparable to the speak of a deaf man who can no longer remember the human language. But there were some, exerting every ounce of remaining life in their bones, who were able to mutter cryptic phrases or random words, most likely from a text they had read sometime in their life (the brain has a funny way of pulling random fragments of memory from one's inner self as it shuts down). As they lay there gasping their last unintelligible words, the scientists paid no attention to their well being or to what their last words would be. They instead poured over vast amounts of cold calculations and numbers. But as I stood over the dying victims, one after another, recording information and vital signs, I couldn't help but wonder: Could it be that my journals would one day be treated just as the words of these dying humans? Just the rhetoric of a madman, of which no one cared to listen."

The second phase came later. After much trial and error, the subjects were put under anesthesia and then escorted into the rounded room. The door was locked, same as before, and a few seconds passed. This time, however, something changed dramatically. The door was unlocked, yet no suffering man fell out. I suppose my father's first reaction was that the subject must still be under anesthesia, lying on the floor of the room and now in no condition to get up. However, this seemed not to be the case. Although my father's view was obstructed, and his line of sight was at such an angle that it didn't allow a full view of the room, he swore that the subject was gone. Disappeared from a locked room, in a controlled laboratory. An explanation for this defies me, just as it defied my father at the time.

I am, at this time, only in possession of the journal that my father wrote. The other items, various papers and pictures, are in possession of my brother. Looking at them, they did not seem to be of any importance in terms of uncovering the mystery of the my father's work. But perhaps, with someone's help, more information will come to light.

What I'm asking is not for everyone to believe me. I applaud skepticism, as I have been there. But if someone out there does believe me, I need you. If anyone has any insight into the events that happened to my father, I would be receptive to them. I am not looking for attention, just peace of mind. I have always feared that in my quest for the truth, I will be condemned, scoffed at, and ignored. At one time in my life, I agreed with the phrase 'Ignorance is bliss'. But not that I have come this far, I am no longer blissful yet still, I think, ignorant. Bliss will only return when I have uncovered the secrets of my father's work and bring the people who allowed it to happen to justice. My ultimate fear is one that has haunted me and kept me from telling my story for years: That my quest for truth will ultimately be viewed as my father's:
"Just the rhetoric of a madman, of which no one cared to listen."

1 comment:

  1. do you know where any of the facilities are where this took place? I live in the new Mexico/Arizona area. What do you think happened to the man who just disappeared? people just don't disappear do they?