Sunday, 21 July 2013

Revealing the Mind Bender General

A new ghost story The Sleep Room, by F.R. Tallis, has brought to light the actions of William Sargant, one of Britain's most controversial psychiatrists. Sargant was a major advocate in the use of psychosurgery, deep sleep treatment, electroconvulsive therapy and insulin shock therapy. In his Sleep Room in Waterloo Hospital patients were induced to sleep for months on end, whilst experiencing electro therapy amongst other treatments. In Sargant's words, "All sorts of treatment can be given while the patient is kept sleeping, including a variety of drugs and ECT [which] together generally induce considerable memory loss for the period under narcosis. As a rule the patient does not know how long he has been asleep, or what treatment, even including ECT, he has been given. Under sleep ... one can now give many kinds of physical treatment, necessary, but often not easily tolerated. We may be seeing here a new exciting beginning in psychiatry and the possibility of a treatment era such as followed the introduction of anaesthesia in surgery" Although held in high regard at the time (1948), deaths within The Sleep Room and controversy surrounding the outcomes of treatment have thrown Sargant in obscurity. Some patients, recalled relief and better health, but many (mainly women) spoke of permanent memory loss and the shattering effects of such extreme treatments. The loss of all documents in relation to the Sleep Room, has led to many theories that Sargant was working on behalf of the CIA's MKUltra Project, a covert research operation experimenting in the behavioural engineering of humans (mind control). Sargant's links with the British Secret Service, may have also pointed towards mind control research however there is no evidence to suggest so.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Inventions for Radio

Amazing collaboration between Delia Derbyshire and Barry Bermange aired between 1964-65 for the BBC's Third Programme.
Here are two of the four one, The Dreams and the other Amor Dei - Conceptions of God.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Where it all began...

A massive advocate of cat related films, a friend passed this on as the first cat film ever...


Just come across the new ITV logo.....ummmm.....Anyway here's a visual history of the changes of the central region idents from ABC to ITV as we know it now...

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Witch of Kings Cross

1960's Sydney sure does look hip - with the super chic Rosaline Norton

West Sussex Sanctuary

It has been some time since I last posted... And in that time we have moved from the belly of the beast (London) and found ourselves in the West Sussex outpost of Bexley Hill.

Aside from being very pretty and remote, I have just settled down to do a bit of research on any oddities that are hidden around me...

Obvious ones, would be Chanctonbury and Cissbury Rings, but on the way to both, you pass through a little village called Washington.

Here in the 1922, the daughter of a wealthy textile magnate bought 50 acres of land and began a community where class structures were banished and all could find themselves in a 'Back to the Land' movement, away from the increasingly materialistic and industrialised world.

All that it left now is a small structure containing a potted history of The Sanctuary, later known as Sleepy Hollow.

Not unlike the beginnings of The Findhorn Community (which in contrast was a huge success), each family was given a plot of land to live and grow vegetables, water being drawn from a well or rain collecting tanks. Cottage based practices were carried out, weaving, spinning, basketry.

Vera Pragnell the founder of the commune was a disciple of Edward Carpenter and carried with her an anti-capitalist vision, which as injected into her vision for The Sanctuary. Standing on 'Speakers Corner' in 1920 she spread the word of 'The Good Life' to struggling Londoners, drawing 40 families to the West Sussex Village. Later rumour spread that the commune allowed the practice of witchcraft and free love, the elders died and new generations sold off land, or began to privatise their settlements. Other than the shack, a few place names are left...Vera's Walk and Bohemia Row.