For more than 50 years the world has been told that a small village in Southern France was unwittingly poisoned with a psychedelic mould from contaminated bread.
According to the Daily Telegraph, in 1951 Pont-Saint-Esprit, in the Gard, south-east France was mysteriously struck down with mass insanity and hallucinations. At least five people died, dozens were committed to asylums and hundreds afflicted.
Now boffins believe that the the CIA peppered food with the hallucinogenic drug LSD as part of a mind-control experiment at the height of the Cold War.
One man tried to drown himself, screaming his belly was being eaten by snakes. An 11-year-old tried to strangle his grandmother. Another man shouted, “I am a plane”, before jumping out of a second-floor window, breaking his legs. He then got up and tried to walk for 45 metres. Another thought his heart was escaping through his feet and called a doctor to put it back.
Officials decided that a baker had unwittingly contaminated his flour with ergot, a hallucinogenic mould that infects rye grain. But H.P. Albarelli, an investigative hack, claims the outbreak resulted from a covert experiment directed by the CIA.
The boffins who provided the theories of accidental poisoning , worked for the Sandoz Pharmaceutical Company, which was then secretly supplying the US army and CIA with LSD.
BP Albarelli, an investigative journalist, found the evidence while investigating the suicide of Frank Olson, a biochemist working for the Special Operations Division who fell from a 13th floor window two years after the “cursed bread” incident.
A note on the file transcribes a conversation between a CIA agent and a Sandoz official who mentions the the Pont-Saint-Esprit incident was caused by diethylamide. This is the D in LSD.
Deep throats in the CIA told him that the Pont-Saint-Esprit incident was part of a mind-control experiment run by the CIA and US army.
Agents sprayed LSD into the air and also contaminated the local food.
A White House document sent to members of the Rockefeller commission formed in 1975 to investigate CIA abuses, mentioned the names of French citizens who had been secretly employed by the CIA and made direct reference to the Pont St. Esprit incident.
Albarelli claims Army boffins drugged more than 5700 unwitting US servicemen between 1953 and 1965.
It is not clear if the French government knew about the experiment. Apparently the goal was to see if authorities could use LSD to control a popular revolt.