The Frank Olson Legacy Project
First period: To the death of Frank Olson
1890: Frank Olsons parents Anders and Frederica emigrate from farms
on the west coast of Sweden and settle in northern Wisconsin.
1910: Frank Olson, third child of Anders and Frederica is born in Hurley, Wisconsin. Olsons father operates an ice business, cutting ice from the lake in the winter and selling it in the summer.
1940: Frank Olson (age 30) marries Alice Wicks (daughter of a Congregational Minister) whom he met when they were both students at the University of Wisconsin.
1942: Frank receives
his Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin under Department
Chairman Dr. Ira L. Baldwin.
1943: Camp Detrick
1944: Eric Wicks Olson born; first of three Olson children (Lisa will be born in 1946, Nils in 1948).
1948: Jan Masaryk
jumps or is pushed out the window.
CBW Operations (The Baldwin Report).
speaks in West Virginia.
1950: The Korean
Division (SOD) established at Camp Detrick.
1950: Alice and Frank Olson build a new house for their family near Frederick.
1951: The term
April 2, 1951: Project BLUEBIRD established at the CIA to pursue research in special interrogations.
Aug. 20, 1951: Project BLUEBIRD becomes Project ARTICHOKE. The aims of the new program include emphasis on the use of hypnosis to induce amnesia. New York magician John Mullholland is recruited to consult on this project.
Frank Olson serves for six months as Chief of the Special Operations Division, stepping down to return to the lab when his ulcer flares up.
Oct. 8, 1952: The International Scientific Commission for the Investigation of the Facts Concerning Bacterial Warfare in Korea and China issues a 700-page reports citing the use of cholera, anthrax, plague, and yellow fever by the US in the Korean War.
April 10, 1953: Allen Dulles gives a talk to a Princeton alumni in which he emphasizes how sinister the battle for mens minds has become in Soviet hands. Dulles says the Soviets have developed brain perversion techniques which must be countered at any price. The development of mind control techniques was seen, on the one hand, as a necessary response to alleged Communist expertise in this area and to Communist ideology itself, which was regarded as something like a drug against which the mind was defenseless, and, on the other hand, as an alternative to waging war with atomic weapons, which could lead to thermonuclear annihilation. The mind control effort comes to assume in the early 1950s something like the urgency that had been associated with the Manhattan Project during World War II.
The birth of MKULTRA.
coup in Iran.
July 1953: Frank
Olson travels to Paris, England, Scandinavia, and Morocco on government
4. Trip to Paris and Norway in 1953 (?) and possible fear of security violation. Sources - F. W. Wagner, H. T. Eigelsbach, Robert Lashbrook, and Dr. ________________.* [*Abramson]
Aug. 1953: Frank
Olson vacations with his family at the family summer house in the Adirondack
Mountains. He is observed by his sister-in-law reading the Bible and is
apparently going through a period of profound soul-searching and self-examination.
Nov. 16, 1953: Prompted
by reports (which turn out to be false) that the Soviet Union has purchased
huge quantities of LSD, the CIA arranges to buy ten kilos of LSD (one
hundred million doses) from Sandoz.
Coup in Guatemala planned.
of being a Soviet agent.
Nov. 19, 1953 (Thursday):
Olson leaves his home in Frederick for a secret meeting at a small cabin
on the shore of Deep Creek Lake in western Maryland. This meeting consists
of nine people, five from SOD and four from the Technical Services Staff
(TSS) of the CIA who maintain a working relationship with SOD. The CIA
group includes the chief of TSS group, Sidney Gottlieb, and Gottliebs
assistant Robert Lashbrook. In the first evening of the meeting Olson
is drugged with LSD that has been secretly slipped into a glass of Cointreau.
Four others are allegedly also drugged.
Nov. 20 (Friday):
Olson returns home from the Deep Creek Rendezvous and is uncharacteristically
quiet and withdrawn.
Deep Creek aftermath.
Nov. 23 (Monday):
Olson goes to his job at Detrick and tells his boss (Vin Ruwet) that he
wants to quit his job. Ruwet reassures Olson, telling him that he is doing
a good job and should not quit.
Nov. 24 (Tuesday):
Olson goes to work but returns home at 10:00, driven by an SOD driver.
Olson tells his wife that Ruwet has told him that Olson might become violent
with his wife, and that plans have been made for Olson to be taken to
New York to receive psychiatric treatment. Alice accompanies Frank to
Washington (a one-hour drive) where he, Ruwet, and Lashbrook leave for
to New York: the treatment and death of Frank Olson.
Nov. 24, 1953 (Tuesday):
Olson has first meeting with Dr. Abramson, the CIAs doctor.
Nov. 25 (Wednesday,
daytime): Olson is taken by Ruwet and Lashbrook to meet John Mullholland,
a magician whom the CIA has utilized to teach them how to surreptitiously
slip drugs into drinks. Olson becomes agitated and wishes to leave Mullhollands
Nov. 25/26 (Wednesday/Thursday,
night): Olson leaves the hotel room in the middle of the night while Ruwet
sleeps in the next bed. Olson wanders the streets on New York all night,
throwing away his wallet, his identification, and all money. He is discovered
sitting in the morning sitting in the hotel lobby in his trench coat.
Nov. 26 (Thursday,
Thanksgiving): The group returns to Washington en route to Frederick where
Olson is to spend Thanksgiving with his family. When the group reaches
Washington Olson says he is worried that he might become violent with
the children, and instead of returning home to his family he says he wants
to return to New York to see Dr. Abramson. Ruwet continues to Frederick
to tell Olsons wife that Olson is fine, while Olson and Lashbrook
return to New York. Olson and Lashbrook eat Thanksgiving dinner at a Horn
and Harddart automat in midtown Manhattan.
Nov. 27 (Friday):
Dr. Abramson stops by the hotel in the evening to give Olson a dose of
Nembutal and a glass of bourbon.
Nov. 27/28 (Friday/Saturday night): According to Lashbrooks account to Alice Olson and Dr. Robert Gibson (admitting psychiatrist at Chestnut Lodge Hospital, Lashbrook awakens to see Frank Olson standing in the middle of the room. Lashbrook attempts to speak to Olson. Olson does not answer, but instead runs across the rom and plaunges through the window,
According to the version contained in the Colby documents released in 1975, Lashbrook awakens after midnight when he hears the sound of crashing glass. He then sees that Olsons bed is empty and, putting two and two together, he concludes that Olson has fallen or jumped out the window. Olson dies in the early morning on the sidewalk of 7th Avenue in front of Statler Hotel. Lashbrook remains in the room and is sitting on the toilet in his underwear when the police arrive.