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Dogtown & Other Cursed Places

Date: 12-12-09
Host: Ian Punnett
Guests: Elyssa East, H. Keith Melton

Investigator Elyssa East talked about the unexplainable lure of Dogtown, an abandoned community on Cape Ann in Massachusetts, as well as other seemingly cursed places.

The CIA's Magic Manual

In the first hour, authority on spy technology H. Keith Melton discussed the CIA's use of deception and magician's tricks during the Cold War. At the time the U.S. was using outdated, World War II-era espionage techniques and being "out-spied" by their enemies, Melton said.

To remedy this the CIA hired America's most prominent magician, John Mulholland, to secretly write step-by-step instructions on how CIA officers could apply the principles of magic in the clandestine world of spying. One crafty technique Melton uncovered in his research involved transporting a CIA operative disguised in a St. Bernard costume to a fake veterinary office, where debriefings could take place without enemy knowledge.

Melton also commented on MK-ULTRA, a covert CIA program that explored the possibilities of pharmaceutical mind control, as well as how our modern CIA is handicapped by bureaucracy.

Related Articles

CIA Tricks

CIA Tricks

In the 1950s, professional magician John Mulholland wrote a manual to teach CIA spies the art of deceit. Now declassified, Mulholland's instructions have been published as The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception (by H. Keith Melton and Robert Wallace).

The Boston Globe has created a photo gallery of some of Mulholland's best tricks used by the Agency during the Cold War. One technique, based on the classic 'sawing a woman in half' illusion, allowed the CIA to transport a spy out of Eastern Europe inside a modified fuel tank. More at Boston.com.

Ian Punnett's Blog

Check out Ian's latest musings and insights at his blog site.

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