Weinberg Center:

For Immediate Release


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.

Eric 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.

The 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 in—and perhaps his disapproval of—experimental 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
mind-control experiments.

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.

The exhumation 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 also coincidences that are almost unbelievable.”

The Manchurian 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.