Five More Scary Wikipedia Articles


You can find the first five here.

I’m ill, which means more time spent on Wikipedia, and I’ve dug up some more scary/disturbing things. Again, for some reason, a large number of these seem to be US focussed – I’m not really sure why I seem to find the US stuff more often than others…


Newspaper Clipping, from ‘Charlie’s Blog’

Project MKUltra:

‘Project MKUltra was the code name for an illegal covert research operation by the Central Intelligence Agency, experimenting into the behavioral engineering of humans through their Scientific Intelligence division. […] The program used unwitting U.S. and Canadian citizens as its test subjects, which led to controversy regarding its legitimacy. MKUltra involved the use of many methodologies to manipulate people’s individual mental states and alter brain functions, including the surreptitious administration of drugs (especially LSD) and other chemicals, hypnosis, sensory deprivation, isolation, verbal and sexual abuse, as well as various forms of torture.’

‘Once Project MKUltra officially got underway in April, 1953, experiments included administering LSD to mental patients, prisoners, drug addicts and prostitutes, “people who could not fight back”, as one agency officer put it. […] LSD and other drugs were usually administered without the subject’s knowledge or informed consent, a violation of the Nuremberg Code that the U.S. agreed to follow after World War II. The aim of this was to find drugs which would irresistibly bring out deep confessions or wipe a subject’s mind clean and program him or her as “a robot agent”’

 ‘In Operation Midnight Climax, the CIA set up several brothels in San Francisco, California to obtain a selection of men who would be too embarrassed to talk about the events. The men were dosed with LSD, the brothels were equipped with one-way mirrors, and the sessions were filmed for later viewing and study. In other experiments where people were given LSD without their knowledge, they were interrogated under bright lights with doctors in the background taking notes. The subjects were told that their “trips” would be extended indefinitely if they refused to reveal their secrets. The people being interrogated this way were CIA employees, U. S. military personnel, and agents suspected of working for the other side in the Cold War. Long-term debilitation and several deaths resulted from this.  Heroin addicts were bribed into taking LSD with offers of more heroin.’

‘As the experimentation progressed, a point was reached where outsiders were drugged with no explanation whatsoever and surprise acid trips became something of an occupational hazard among CIA operatives. Adverse reactions often occurred, for example an operative who had received the drug in his morning coffee, became psychotic and ran across Washington, seeing a monster in every car that passed him. Incidents like that reaffirmed that LSD is a dangerous weapon but that only made them more enthusiastic.’

‘In 1973, with the government-wide panic caused by Watergate, the CIA Director Richard Helms ordered all MKUltra files destroyed. Pursuant to this order, most CIA documents regarding the project were destroyed, making a full investigation of MKUltra impossible. A cache of some 20,000 documents survived Helms’ purge, as they had been incorrectly stored in a financial record building and were discovered following a FOIA request in 1977.’


Red Forest, Chernobyl
Red Forest, Chernobyl, from NSRL

Red Forest:

‘The Red Forest (Ukrainian: Рудий ліс, Russian: Рыжий лес), formerly the Worm Wood Forest, refers to the trees in the 10 km² surrounding the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant within the Exclusion Zone. The name ‘Red Forest’ comes from the ginger-brown colour of the pine trees after they died following the absorption of high levels of radiation from the Chernobyl accident on April 26, 1986.’

‘[…] The Red Forest is located in the zone of alienation; this area received the highest doses of radiation from the Chernobyl accident and the resulting clouds of smoke and dust, heavily polluted with radiation. The trees died from this radiation. The explosion and fire at the Chernobyl No. 4 reactor contaminated the soil, water and atmosphere with the radiation equivalent to 200 times of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In the post-disaster cleanup operations, a majority of the pine trees were bulldozed and buried in trenches by the “liquidators”. The trenches were then covered with a thick carpet of sand and planted with pine saplings. Many fear that as the trees decay, radiation will leach into the ground water. People have evacuated the contaminated zone around the Red Forest.’


Love Canal, 1985
Love Canal, 1985 from tracingGRADE

Love Canal:

‘Love Canal was a neighborhood in Niagara Falls, New York, located in the LaSalle section of the city […] In the mid-1970s Love Canal became the subject of national and international attention after it was revealed in the press that the site had formerly been used to bury 21,000 tons of toxic waste by Hooker Chemical (now Occidental Petroleum Corporation).’

‘[…] Hooker Chemical sold the site to the Niagara Falls School Board in 1953 for $1, with a deed explicitly detailing the presence of the waste, and including a liability limitation clause about the contamination. The construction efforts of housing development, combined with particularly heavy rainstorms, released the chemical waste, leading to a public health emergency and an urban planning scandal.’

‘[…] The Niagara Falls City School District needed land to build new schools, and attempted to purchase the property from Hooker Chemical that had been used to bury toxic waste. The corporation refused to sell, citing safety concerns, and took members of the school board to the canal and drilled several bore holes to demonstrate that there were toxic chemicals below the surface. However, the board refused to capitulate. Eventually faced with the property being condemned and/or expropriated, Hooker Chemical agreed to sell on the condition that the board buy the entire property for one dollar. In the agreement signed on April 28, 1953, Hooker included a seventeen-line caveat that explained the dangers of building on the site. Hooker believed it was thus released from all legal obligations should lawsuits arise in the future. […] Hooker stated that the area should be sealed off “so as to prevent the possibility of persons or animals coming in contact with the dumped materials.’

‘[…] Despite the disclaimer, the board began construction of the 99th Street School in its originally intended location. […] during excavation, workers discovered two dump sites filled with 55-US-gallon (210 L) drums containing chemical wastes. The architect also noted that it would be “poor policy” to build in that area since it was not known what wastes were present in the ground, and the concrete foundation might be subsequently damaged. The school board then moved the school site eighty to eighty-five feet further north. The kindergarten playground also had to be relocated because a chemical dump lay directly beneath. Upon completion in 1955, 400 children attended the school, and it opened along with several other schools that had been built to accommodate students. That same year, a twenty-five foot area crumbled exposing toxic chemical drums, which then filled with water during rainstorms. This created large puddles that children enjoyed playing in.’

‘[…] The matter went quiet for more than a year and was resurrected by reporter Michael Brown, who then investigated potential health effects by carrying forth an informal door-to-door survey in early 1978, finding birth defects and many anomalies such as enlarged feet, heads, hands, and legs. […]The New York State Health Department followed suit and found an abnormal incidence of miscarriages. […] Mr. Brown, who wrote more than a hundred articles on the dump, also further tested groundwater and later found that the dump was three times the size officials knew, with possible ramifications beyond the original evacuation zone. He was also to discover that highly toxic dioxin was there. […] In Gibbs’ neighborhood, there was a high rate of unexplained illnesses, miscarriages, and mental retardation. Furthermore, basements were often covered with a thick, black substance, and vegetation was also dying. In many yards, the only vegetation that grew were shrubby grasses. Although city officials were asked to investigate the area, they did not act to solve the problem.’

‘[…] There was also dioxin (polychlorinated dibenzodioxins) in the water, a very hazardous substance. Dioxin pollution is usually measured in parts per trillion; at Love Canal, water samples showed dioxin levels of 53 parts per billion. […] In 1979, the EPA announced the result of blood tests that showed high white blood cell counts, a precursor to leukemia, and chromosome damage in Love Canal residents. In fact, 33 percent of the residents had undergone chromosomal damage; in a typical population, chromosomal damage affects 1% of people.  Other studies were unable to find harm. The United States National Research Council (NRC) surveyed Love Canal health studies in 1991. The NRC noted that the major exposure of concern was the groundwater rather than drinking water; the groundwater “seeped into basements” and then led to exposure through air and soil noted that several studies reported higher levels of low-birth weight babies and birth defects among the exposed residents with some evidence that the effect subsided after the exposure was eliminated. The National Research Council also noted a study which found that exposed children were found to have an “excess of seizures, learning problems, hyperactivity, eye irritation, skin rashes, abdominal pain, and incontinence” and stunted growth. Voles in the area were studied and found to have significantly increased mortality compared to controls (mean life expectancy in exposed animals “23.6 and 29.2 days, respectively, compared to 48.8 days” for control animals). New York State also has an ongoing health study of Love Canal residents. In that year the Albert Elia Building Co., Inc., now Sevenson Environmental Services, Inc., was selected as the principal contractor to safely re-bury the toxic waste at the Love Canal Site.’


Operation Paperclip:

‘Operation Paperclip was the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) program used to recruit the scientists of Nazi Germany for employment by the United States in the aftermath of World War II (1939–45). It was conducted by the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA), and in the context of the burgeoning Soviet–American Cold War (1945–91). One purpose of Operation Paperclip was to deny German scientific knowledge and expertise to the USSR, the UK, and (divided) Germany itself. Although the JIOA’s recruitment of German scientists began after the European Allied victory (8 May 1945), US President Harry Truman did not formally order the execution of Operation Paperclip until August 1945. Truman’s order expressly excluded anyone found “to have been a member of the Nazi Party, and more than a nominal participant in its activities, or an active supporter of Nazi militarism”. However, those restrictions would have rendered ineligible most of the leading scientists the JIOA had identified for recruitment, among them rocket scientists Wernher von Braun and Arthur Rudolph, and the physician Hubertus Strughold, each earlier classified as a “menace to the security of the Allied Forces”. To circumvent President Truman’s anti-Nazi order and the Allied Potsdam and Yalta agreements, the JIOA worked independently to create false employment and political biographies for the scientists. The JIOA also expunged from the public record the scientists’ Nazi Party memberships and régime affiliations. Once “bleached” of their Nazism, the US government granted the scientists security clearance to work in the United States. Paperclip, the project’s operational name, derived from the paperclips used to attach the scientists’ new political personae to their “US Government Scientist” JIOA personnel files.’


Picher, Oklahoma (Ghost Town), from LJWorld

Picher, Oklahoma:

‘Picher is a ghost town and former city in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, United States. Formerly a major national center of lead and zinc mining at the heart of the Tri-State Mining District, over a century of unrestricted subsurface excavation dangerously undermined most of Picher’s town buildings and left giant piles of toxic metal-contaminated mine tailings (known as chat) heaped throughout the area. The discovery of the cave-in risks, groundwater contamination and health effects associated with the chat piles and subsurface shafts – particularly an alarming 1996 study which showed lead poisoning in 34% of the children in Picher – eventually prompted a mandatory evacuation and buyout (via eminent domain) of the entire township by the Environmental Protection Agency and the incorporation of the town (along with the similarly contaminated satellite towns of Treece and Cardin) into the Tar Creek Superfund site.’

[…] Picher is one of only a few locations in the world (along with others such as Gilman, Colorado and Wittenoom, Western Australia) to be evacuated and declared uninhabitable due to environmental and health damage caused by the mines the town once serviced.’

‘[…] Mining ceased in 1967 and water pumping from the mines ceased. The contaminated water from some 14,000 abandoned mine shafts, 70 million tons of mine tailings, and 36 million tons of mill sand and sludge remained as a huge environmental cleanup problem. The area became part of the Tar Creek Superfund site. On April 24, 2006, Reuters reported that Picher had been scheduled to be closed and all residents removed. Due in large part to the removal of large amounts of subsurface material during mining operations, many of the city’s structures have been deemed in imminent danger of caving in.’


Wow! Signal from BigEar

Wow! Signal:

‘The Wow! signal was a strong narrowband radio signal detected by Jerry R. Ehman on August 15, 1977, while working on a SETI project at the Big Ear radio telescope of The Ohio State University then located at Ohio Wesleyan University’s Perkins Observatory, Delaware, Ohio. The signal bore expected hallmarks of potential non-terrestrial and non-Solar System origin. It lasted for the full 72-second duration that Big Ear observed it, but has not been detected again.’





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