In A Nutshell
Infamous Boston mobster Whitey Bulger has been in the headlines for months. The elusive killer went on the lam in 1994, spending 16 years in hiding despite being prominently displayed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. The now-84-year-old gangster was finally captured in 2011 and sentenced to two life sentences plus five years on November 14, 2013. His murderous exploits are legendary, but few realize that before he made men tremble at his feet, Bulger was a guinea pig for the CIA’s MK-ULTRA mind control program.
The Whole Bushel
On November 14, 2013, 84-year-old James “Whitey” Bulger was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences plus five years, the last chapter in the saga of a man who terrorized Boston. The head of the Winter Hill Gang, a faction of the Irish mob, Bulger ran the southern part of the city. His crew was involved in extortion, drugs, and money laundering amid countless other transgressions. US prosecutors indicted Bulger for 19 murders, 11 of which he was convicted for, but there is no telling how much blood is truly on this man’s hands.
In the late ’50s, Bulger was sentenced to a bid in federal prison, where he was approached to take part in experiments with LSD and other drugs in exchange for a reduction of his sentence. This was part of the CIA’s murky MK-ULTRA behavioral engineering program. Bulger was told the experiments were in an effort to find a cure for schizophrenia. Letters to his brother William (whose life took a bizarre turn from his gangster brother—William Bulger served as both the President of the Massachusetts Senate and the President of the University of Massachusetts) indicate that he was initially pleased with the opportunity to shorten his sentence.
However, things took a horrifying turn. One of Bulger’s notebooks recounts his experiences under the influence, claiming that he had a “morbid fear of LSD,” and that he felt that his head was changing shape and he was hearing voices. Long after his release from prison, Whitey remained haunted, afraid to have children for fear the drugs had somehow altered his chromosomes.
One thing is certain: The CIA’s experiments did nothing to soften Bulger’s character. After his release from prison, he once again resumed his barbarous ways, racking up a grisly resume. Despite its vast reach, infiltrating institutions on every level of private and public society, comparatively little is known of MK-Ultra—CIA Director Richard Helms ordered all the files on the project destroyed in 1973.