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.


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