Dr. Eric Olson, Frederick psychologist and son of the late Dr. Frank
Olson, will be the guest speaker at the January 7th kick-off event for
the Weinberg Center's Intrigue and Danger Movie Festival.
Olson will introduce The Manchurian Candidate, a 1962 fictional account
of Cold War paranoia and mind control that bears striking similarities
to the real-life mystery surrounding the death of Olson's father. Following
the featured film, Olson will speak about his search for answers concerning
his father's death, then he will introduce Mind Control Murder, a compelling
documentary produced by Principal Films in London. The Weinberg screening
is the first American showing of this work-in-progress, which is the
longest documentary treatment of the Frank Olson story. A shorter version,
produced in America under the same title, aired on A&E's Investigative
Reports in September.
highly controversial story of Frank Olson's life and death has all the
intrigue and danger of The Manchurian Candidate--and more. Truth is
stranger than fiction, and the bizarre events involving Frank Olson,
with many facts just recently coming to light, have been called the
Cold War's darkest secret.
When Frank Olson,
a respected scientist at the Special Operations Division of Camp (now
Fort) Detrick, fell from a thirteenth-floor New York City hotel room
in 1953, his death was quickly ruled a suicide. Eric Olson was nine
years old at the time. Forty-six years later, the son is still unraveling
the truth about the events that preceded his father's fatal fall.
Eric Olson and
scores of others, including former CIA employees, forensics experts,
and government officials, now believe that Frank Olson was murdered
as a result of his involvement inand perhaps his disapproval ofexperimental
drug programs implemented by the CIA in the 1950s.
In 1975, the Rockefeller
Commission's investigation of the CIA revealed that the suicide of an
unnamed scientist (soon identified as Frank Olson) occurred as a result
of his unwitting participation in an LSD experiment. According to the
Commission's report, the drug had been secretly administered to Olson
and other scientists at a retreat near Deep Creek Lake in western Maryland.
Held less than a week before Olson's death, the retreat was attended
by individuals working on MKULTRA, a top-secret CIA research project
that involved the use of LSD in
After the LSD
experiment, Olson was withdrawn and anxious to resign from his job at
Camp Detrick. His boss took Olson to New York, reportedly to seek psychiatric
treatment. Olson's death occurred three days later.
and examination of his father's body in 1994 gave credence to Eric Olson's
long-held theory: Frank Olson did not commit suicide but was murdered.
For Eric Olson,
the Weinberg event provides an opportunity to share his father's story
with Fredericktonians, many of whom have followed for years the disturbing
drama that began at nearby Fort Detrick. I first saw The Manchurian
Candidate when it was re-released in 1988 after having been shelved
for 25 years, Olson states. Seeing that film was a shattering
experience. I realized there are not only important parallels between
the mind-control story in the film and what happened to my father, but
that are almost unbelievable.
Candidate, with a run-time of approximately two hours, will begin at
7:30 p.m. The documentary, Mind Control Murder, is approximately 60
minutes in length. Olson will be available for a question-and-answer
session following the documentary. The Manchurian Candidate is the first
of three films that comprise the Weinberg's Intrigue and Danger Weekend
Festival, sponsored by Miles & Stockbridge P.C. On Saturday, January
8, movie buffs can enjoy The Maltese Falcon (1941) at 3:00 p.m. and
Casablanca (1942) at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are priced at $5 and $6 each,
general admission seating. Patrons receive one free ticket with the
purchase of two tickets to the Intrigue and Danger Weekend Festival
or the Romance and Mystery Weekend Festival, scheduled for March 31
and April 1.
To purchase tickets or receive more information about the Weinberg's
upcoming events, please call 301-228-2828 (228-2838 TTY). The Weinberg's
Box Office is open for phone and walk-up sales Monday through Saturday,
11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and one hour before performances. Information
is also available on the theatre's Web site at www.weinbergcenter.org.
The Weinberg Center
is located at 20 West Patrick Street in downtown Frederick.