The Mind Bender Series: Dr. William Sargant

A 14-year-old girl enters a psychiatric hospital to receive treatment for an eating disorder.  She is placed under the care of a world renowned psychiatrist named Dr. William Sargant.  She didn’t know yet that the doctor’s treatment methods were the stuff of nightmares.  British actress Celia Imrie wrote of her experience under Dr. Sargant’s care.  She describes the doctor, “Sargant still features in my nightmares. He was brusque and cold, and he never talked directly to you. Instead he issued orders over your head, talking about ‘this one’ and ‘that one’. But that was preferable to making eye contact with this proud, incorrigible man with his dark, hard, evil eyes. I have only seen eyes like that on a couple of other people in my life.”

The man with the hard, evil eyes administered massive doses of potent drugs and frequent electroshocks to her brain.  This was his treatment regimen for an eating disorder.  Ms. Imrie found herself unable to perform even the simplest tasks.  She was a zombie.  Ms. Imrie was eventually cured of her eating disorder but not due to Dr. Sargant’s treatment.  It seems that he had little interest in treating psychological disorders; he was a mind bender.

Celia Imrie Dr. William Sargant Dr. William Sargant

Dr. William Sargant (1907 – 1988) was a British psychiatrist who struggled with intermittent bouts of depression.  He studied medicine at St. John’s College, Cambridge with the aim of becoming a physician.  He switched his profession to psychiatry after suffering a nervous breakdown and a bout of depression four years after qualifying as a doctor.  The transition to psychiatry complete, he rounded out his education by spending a year at Harvard Medical School under a Rockefeller Fellowship.

Dr. Sargant perfected the brutal methods of psychiatric treatment for which he is known while treating British army shell-shock, or PTSD, casualties during World War II.  He experimented on the shell-shocked soldiers with cocktails of powerful drugs including barbiturates and amphetamines.  Dr. Sargant developed abreaction techniques during this time, forcing the patient to relive the traumatic experience while under the influence of these drugs.

In 1948, Dr. Sargant became the head of the department of psychological medicine at St Thomas’, a teaching hospital in London.  He held this position until he retired in 1972.

Treatment Methods St. Thomas’ Hospital, London

Dr. William Sargant oversaw a house of horrors at St. Thomas’ Hospital.  In his own words, he had to build the department from the ground up.  He built it to serve his horrifying vision of how psychiatric treatment should work.  Dr. Sargant believed that all psychological problems could be solved by physiological rather than psychological methods.  Psychological problems were rooted in the body rather than the mind, in his view, and should be treated as such.  He rejected psychoanalysis.  He desired the magic pill, the instant cure.

The intense fervor for drugs he developed while treating shell-shocked soldiers continued at St. Thomas’.  Gordon Thomas writes that Dr. Sargant worked closely with pharmaceutical companies to obtain the latest drugs for his experimental methods.  He scoured professional journals and academic papers for news of new drugs. Intending to free his patients from their demons, he ended up turning many into zombies.

He developed more barbarous and invasive methods.  Electroconvulsive therapy exceeding the limits of patient safety were common.  He injected patients with insulin to induce hypoglycemic coma.  He wouldn’t hesitate to lobotomize a patient.

Gordon Thomas writes in his book, Secrets & Lies, “Dr. Sargant had a mission, bordering on messianic zeal, to lead psychiatry into a new world.  His weapons would include epileptic convulsions, induced by electroshock; hypoglycemic coma produced with insulin; and pre-frontal leucotomy in a procedure called psychosurgery.”

This led to the creation of the so-called Sleep Room at St. Thomas’ Hospital.  Patients were drugged into continuous narcosis for weeks at a time.  The patient was wakened only for food, bathroom and electric shocks.  British actress Celia Imrie, a former patient of Dr. Sargant, writes “Sargant’s methods were simple: electric-shock treatment and insulin-induced comas leading to continuous narcosis, or deep-sleep therapy, complete with taperecorded ‘brainwashing’ orders being played at the patients from beneath their pillows.”

These treatment methods are nearly identical to those of Canadian psychiatrist Dr. Ewen Cameron.  Gordon Thomas writes, “Sargant’s Sleep Room was modeled on the one Ewen Cameron had created in the Allan Memorial Institute as part of the MK-ULTRA programme.”

Dr. Ewen Cameron

Dr. Cameron was head of the Allan Memorial Institute at McGill University in Montreal.  The Institute was established with Rockefeller Foundation funding.  Money for Dr. Cameron’s continuing operations was provided by the CIA under its MK-Ultra program.  MK-Ultra was a wide-ranging program involving psychoactive drug and psychiatric experiments in order to perfect methods of brainwashing and mind control.  Dr. Cameron experimented with ways to erase a person’s memory, one of the CIA’s goals.  In his book Search for the Manchurian Candidate, John Marks writes,

Cameron’s depatterning normally started with 15 to 30 days of “sleep therapy.” As the name implies, the patient slept almost the whole day and night. According to a doctor at the hospital who used to administer what he calls the “sleep cocktail” three times per day accompanied by electroshock two or three times a day.  In standard, professional electroshock, doctors gave the subject a single dose of 110 volts, lasting a fraction of a second, once a day or every other day. By contrast, Cameron used a form 20 to 40 times more intense, two or three times daily, with the power turned up to 150 volts.  The frequent screams of patients that echoed through the hospital did not deter Cameron or most of his associates in their attempts to “depattern” their subjects completely.

The similarities between Dr. Cameron’s “depatterning” and Dr. Sargant’s sleep room should be obvious.  John Marks continues,

The Agency sent the psychiatrist research money to take the treatment beyond this point. Agency officials wanted to know if, once Cameron had produced the blank mind, he could then program in new patterns of behavior, as he claimed he could. As early as 1953 Cameron conceived a technique he called “psychic driving,” by which he would bombard the subject with repeated verbal messages. Cameron had the speakers installed literally under the pillows in the “sleep rooms.” “We made sure they heard it,” says a doctor who worked with Cameron.

Recall the “taperecorded brainwashing orders” mentioned by Celia Imrie.  Both doctors used the same unethical treatment methods, Cameron in Canada and Sargant in the United Kingdom.  Dr. Cameron is known to have been funded by America’s Central Intelligence Agency.  Dr. Sargant is known to have been a consultant to the United Kingdom’s security and intelligence organizations, MI5 and MI6.  Gordon Thomas writes in Secrets & Lies, “From early in the Cold War, MI5 and MI6 had been looking for new ways to understand, combat and overcome the medical manipulations of Soviet and Chinese psychiatrists.  In Dr. Sargant they found a willing tutor.”  Both men conducted horrific mind control experiments under the direction of Western intelligence agencies. The two were frequent collaborators.  “Dr. Cameron flew to London to meet Dr. Sargant.  Together they discussed how they would combine their work, with Dr. Sargant duplicating the Montreal experiments in his department at St. Thomas’s hospital,” wrote Gordon Thomas.  They were both mind benders.

Battle for the Mind

Dr. William Sargant wrote a book titled Battle for the Mind in 1956 and 1957 while convalescing from a bout of tuberculosis and depression.  Its subtitle is, “A Physiology of Conversion and Brain-Washing.”  He wrote a book about coersion and brainwashing.  Let that sink in a moment.

He offers an altruistic reason for penning this book, “If politicians, priests, psychiatrists, and police forces in various parts of the world continue to use these methods, ordinary people must know what to expect and what the best means are of preserving their former habits of thought and behavior when subjected to unwelcome indoctrination.” Here he suggests that he wrote the book for the public’s benefit, so that the layman can recognize and resist indoctrination. Read another way, though, the book is an introductory instruction manual for the indoctrinator.

The book begins with a lengthy discussion of Soviet scientist Ivan Pavlov and his famous experiments with dog behavior.  This is a means to dehumanize the human mark, the patsy to be indoctrinated.  To Dr. Sargant the brain is just another organ.  Higher human faculties such as creativity and reason are meaningless to him.  Our brains, like those of dogs, are biological masses to be manipulated by the wily mind bender.

Ivan Pavlov

Dr. Sargant writes, “Before being able to change behavior patterns of thought and action in the human brain with speed and efficiency, it apparently is in many cases necessary to induce some form of physiological brain disturbance.”  He continues, “The brain might also be wiped almost clean, at least temporarily, of all the conditioned behavior patterns recently implanted in it.”  Is this not the very definition of brainwashing?

Battle for the Mind then details how to affect the necessary “physiological brain disturbance.”  A person is made susceptible to indoctrination when placed under great physical and/or emotional stress.  A brain exhausted by stress is easily manipulated.

By increasing or prolonging stresses in various ways, or inducing physical debilitation, a more thorough alteration of the person’s thinking processes may be achieved. The immediate effect of such treatment is usually to impair judgment and increase suggestibility; and though when the tension is removed the suggestibility likewise diminishes, yet ideas implanted while it lasted may remain.

Physical debilitation, or physical harm to the body, is a means to increase suggestibility and implant new thought processes.  This is precisely the process described by numerous victims of organized ritual abuse.  The victim’s body is traumatized to induce dissociative identity disorder (DID).  Personality alters are created and programmed by the perpetrators.  He further cements the connection to trauma based mind control when he writes, “A falsely implanted memory might create a larger emotional discharge than the real, and induce the physiological effects needed for psychological relief. A technique of deliberately stimulating anger or fear under drugs until the patient collapses in temporary emotional exhaustion was finally perfected with the help of Pavlov’s findings.”

This is extremely disturbing in the light of another passage that appears elsewhere in the book, “Much human behavior is the result of the conditioned behavior patterns implanted in the brain, especially during childhood.”  Yes, a child’s mind dissociates into multiple personalities easier than an adult’s.  This is a defense mechanism of the child’s mind.  The horrible trauma is compartmentalized and hidden behind alter personalities.  The skilled practitioner can access these alter personalities and indoctrinate them to serve the perpetrator’s nefarious ends.

The artwork of Kim Noble‘s alter personality, Ria Pratt, depicting ritual abuse

The following quotes are further proof that Battle for the Mind is an instruction manual for trauma based mind control.  Ritual abuse survivors commonly report every one of these experiences.

“In states of human fear and excitement the most wildly improbable suggestions can be accepted by apparently sensible people.”

“For conversion to be effective, the subject may first have to have his emotions worked upon until he reaches an abnormal condition of anger, fear, or exaltation. If this condition is maintained or intensified by one means or another, hysteria may supervene, whereupon the subject can become more open to suggestions which in normal circumstances he would have summarily rejected.”

“Once a state of hysteria has been induced in men or dogs by mounting stresses which the brain can no longer tolerate, protective inhibition is likely to supervene. This will disturb the individual’s ordinary conditioned behavior patterns. In human beings, states of greatly increased suggestibility are also found.”

“Drugs speed up the process by bringing about the required physiological changes in brain function.”

Furthermore, Dr. Sargant describes the uses of his methods.  “Pavlov has shown by repeated and repeatable experiment just how a dog, like a man, can be conditioned to hate what it previously loved, and love what it previously hated,” he writes.  This could be put to political uses as in George Orwell’s 1984.  Its protagonist, Winston Smith, his will broke by torturous interrogation, accepts the preposterous assertion 2 + 2 = 5.  Winston Smith declares his love for Big Brother, a man or concept that he had previously resisted.  Smith hated what he had previously loved, and loved what he had previously hated.  1984 is of course fiction, but William Sargant’s methods make this forced transformation of human will very real.  Dr. Sargant recognizes this when he writes, “All successful authoritarian systems, whether political or religious, now use follow-up conditioning and extend it from the top to the very bottom of the movement.”

Psychiatry Meets the Occult

In Battle for the Mind, Dr. Sargant explores the role of ritual and the occult as indoctrination and brainwashing tools.  He writes about the time he spent in Haiti observing voodoo practitioners.  He writes at length about the effect of rhythmic drumming and exhaustive dancing upon the human psyche.  “Rhythmic drumming is found in the ceremonies of many primitive religions all over the world.  An accompanying state of mounting excitement and dancing is also maintained until the same point of physical and emotional collapse has been reached,” he writes.  He found that electrical recordings of the human brain show that it is particularly sensitive to rhythmic stimulation by percussion and bright light, and certain rates of rhythm.  Several strong rhythms played in different tempos are particularly effective.

The Power of Dance

9217WD/Whitedeer has written at length about how the consciousness altering effect of strong rhythmic dancing is utilized by abusive cults in a two-part article (part 1)  (part 2).  Dr. Sargant proves that Whitedeer is correct when speculating that dancing as a means to dissociation has its roots in the long past.  Sargant traces the voodoo practice from Haiti back to its roots in West Africa, where its ritualistic practices originated in ancient antiquity.  The practice is likely far older.

In his book From Chocolate to Morphine, physician Andrew Weil theorizes that humans aren’t the first species to pursue altered states of consciousness.  He may be right.  A 2010 article in Psychology Today states that Jane Goodall, considered the world’s foremost authority on chimpanzees, and her collaborator Marc Bekoff encountered a chimp they named Marco who dances during thunderstorms with such abandon that, “He appears to be in a trance.”  Goodall observed chimps enacting the same dance ritual near waterfalls. Man and chimp may have inherited the ritual from a distant evolutionary ancestor.

Trauma and Altered Consciousness

Dr. Sargant writes in Battle for the Mind,

The voodoo cult in Haiti shows with what ease suggestibility can be increased by subjecting the brain to severe psychological stresses.  Voodoo has numerous deities, or loa.  The loa are believed to descend and take possession of a person, usually while he or she is dancing to the drums.  The possessed person then behaves as the particular deity should behave.

James Randall Noblitt is a psychologist who has treated many ritual abuse survivors.  He wrote a book titled Cult and Ritual Abuse: Its History, Anthropology and Recent Discovery in Contemporary America along with co-author Pamela Sue Perskin.  They observe that possession as a religious practice is indeed very ancient, perhaps originating in Paleolithic shamanism.  They theorize that “ritual trauma is a primary cause of the dissociation of identity which one finds in shamanistic, and sorcery-oriented preindustrial cultures,” as well as in the occult underground of the modern world.  They found, “evidence that trauma is used in a variety of the initiation ceremonies which are conducted in preindustrial cultures and which may be associated with the development of possession states.”  The “possessing spirit” of the shaman and witch doctor is a dissociated alter personality that was created by ritualized trauma in early childhood.

Dr. Sargant’s Interest in the Occult

Dr. William Sargant dedicated many pages to ritual and possession in Battle for the Mind, but his interest apparently ran much deeper.  He later wrote a book titled, The Mind Possessed with the interesting subtitle,  “A physiology of possession, mysticism, and faith healing.”

Dr. Sargant again seeks a physiological origin for psychological and spiritual phenomena.  James Randall Noblitt, who has treated many ritual abuse survivors, finds physical trauma to be the underlying cause of possession and altered consciousness in his patients.  Abusive cults traumatize young victims to induce Dissociative Identity Disorder.  The children deemed suitable for admission into the cult are given alter personalities that manifest as possessing spirits or ancestors.  (The remaining children are, sadly, trafficked and murdered.)  This is how the cult perpetuates itself, how it creates the next generation of cult members.  The rituals are perhaps tens of thousands of years old.

Did Dr. William Sargant discover the abusive practices of primitive cults and attempt to study their methods in an attempt to improve the mind control techniques of Western intelligence organizations?  He did have connections to the intelligence community and a keen interest in primitive rituals.  This writer has not yet read The Mind Possessed and therefore cannot comment on it.  Its table of contents and list of illustrations are, however, very instructive in and of themselves.

The extent of Dr. Sargant’s fascination with the occult is both broad and deep.  He appears to have scoured the globe in search of a variety mystic and occult practices.  A brief biography of the man titled “William Sargant’s world of phychosurgery, brainwashing and exorcism” states, “He believed that the brainwashing techniques he had discovered were ancient and widespread. He observed possession rites in Haiti and Africa, and studied contemporary magicians such as Aleister Crowley. He wrote a book recounting his discoveries, The Mind Possessed, on which he collaborated with Richard Cavendish, historian of the occult and editor of the popular journal Man, Myth and Magic.”

Richard Cavendish is described in his Wikipedia article as, “a British historian who wrote extensively on the subjects of occultism, religion, the tarot, mythology, and English history.”  Richard Cavendish was certainly an enthusiastic student and teacher of the occult.  Man, Myth & Magic is a 24 volume set.  Dr. William Sargant was on the editorial board according to the Man, Myth & Magic Wikipedia article.’s description of the set makes it clear that it is an expansive study of the subject.

This is a very rare and highly unique Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Supernatural and the Paranormal. Each individual volume has extensive ancient artwork, illustrations and current photographs. It covers every subject you can imagine or think of, PLUS much more. The most complete series of information ever printed and published to this present day. These volumes contain and include everything from: Astrology, Astral Projection, Ritual Magic from all cultures, Qabbalah, Witchcraft, Divination, Shamanism, gods and goddesses of all Ancient and Modern day religions, ESP (extra-sensory perception), The Philosophers’ Stone, the Holy Grail, The Elixir of Life, Fairies, Elves, Tarot, Gnosticism, Hand of Glory, Hermes Trismegistus, Homoeopathic Magic, Immortality, Incarnation, Philosophies from different societies, Horse Whisperers, Dances and Myths of American Indians, Kundalini (Hinduism), Landscape Symbolism, Eliphis Levi, Lesser Key of Solomon, Macrocosm and Microcosm, Magic Squares, Tantra, Psychic Abilities, Theosophy, Merlin, Mermaids and Mermen, Monsters and Mythical Beasts, Nature Mysticism, Numerology, Occultism, Illuminati, Pagan (definition), Path Symbolism ( the way, the road and the journey), Psychological Theories, Plants and Flowers, Prehistoric Religion, Predestination and Free Will, Rasputin, Runes, Schizophrenia, Science Fiction, Selfhood, Shape-shifting, Snowshoe Dancing (Chippewa Indians), Symbolism, Telkinesis, Telepathy (Thought Transference), Transubstantiation, Tree of Life, UFOs, United States of America, Universe, Vegetation Spirits, VooDoo, A.E. Waite, Aleister Crowley, The Golden Dawn, Wicca, Malcom X, Yin and Yang, W.B. Yeats, I Ching, Dragons, Yoga, Zen Buddhism, Zodiac, Zombies, Zoroastrianism, and MUCH, MUCH MORE, with thousands of other topics as well. These books are graphic, detailed, informative and conclusive going back to the beginning of history through the present times.

It’s clear that Dr. Sargant’s interest in the occult was far from fleeting.  Whether it was a professional interest or a personal curiosity is a matter for debate.

The Mind Benders

Dr. William Sargant’s did not treat his patients; he abused them. Celia Imrie and others have affirmed that.  Dr. Sargant had an inordinate interest in ritual, possession and the occult.  Corroborative testimony from numerous survivors of organized ritual abuse reveals that abusive cults utilize trauma based mind control and trappings of the occult.  This invites the possibility the Dr. Sargant was secretly researching trauma based mind control and was doing so at the direction of Western intelligence agencies.

Investigator and author Gordon Thomas writes that Dr. Sargant discussed these matters with high-ranking intelligence officers and doctors known to be linked to the CIA’s MK-Ultra program.

In a party at former CIA director Allan Dulles’s house, which was also attended by Dr. Ewen Cameron, Dr. Sargant discusses the manipulative effects of voodoo.  “Through its rites voodoo could create a variety of visual stimuli.  Properly managed, it was an effective way to take someone to the edge of madness.”

The CIA was of course after better interrogation methods, but also had a zealous interest in creating undetectable assassins and information couriers. The intelligence agencies sought operatives that would withstand intense interrogation because their minds were so compartmentalized that the true mission is inaccessible to all their handlers.  Was Dr. Sargant involved in these programs?  Gordon Thomas affirms that this is so when he writes,

Two CIA interrogation instruction manuals, “Coercive Questioning” and “Human Resource Exploitation,” were co-written by Dr. William Sargant and Dr. Louis Jolyon “Jolly” West.

Author Jim Keith links Dr. Sargent to another nefarious organization, the London-based Tavistock Institute, in his book titled Mass Control: Engineering Human Consciousness.  All roads lead to Tavistock when researching mind control.  The May 24, 1996 edition of Executive Intelligence Review affirms this in an article titled “Tavistock’s imperial brainwashing project“.

Tavis­tock “shock troops,” such as Dr. William Sargant and Dr. Ewen Cameron, were brought in to lead the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency’s 1950s and 1960s secret experiments with psychotropic drugs and mind control, known as MK-Ultra.

In this quote, “shock troops” refers to earlier Executive Intelligence Review research into Tavistock.

From its founding in 1921, Tavistock barely concealed its mission. Brig. Gen. Dr. John Rawling Rees, who became the director of the Tavistock Clinic in 1932 and later founded the Tavistock Institute, called for the creation of an army of “psychological shock troops,” who would become the controllers of a society “where it is possible for people of every social group to have treatment when they need it, even if they do not wish it, without it being necessary to invoke law.”

Rees transformed the small Tavistock Clinic into an institute in 1947, to make it better capable of coordinating and deploying its now far-flung network.

Doctors Sargant, Cameron and West were indeed psychological shock troops in the service of a global oligarchical elite.  They were mind benders researching how to mold the will of other humans to the goals of the oligarchy.  They devastated many lives in the process.

Advertisements Share this:
Like this:Like Loading...