Cathleen Ann O'Brien (born 4 December 1957, Muskegon, Michigan[1]) is an American who claims to be a victim of Project MKULTRA, a program funded by the Central Intelligence Agency to research the use of drugs for intelligence purposes.[2][3][4][5][6][7] O'Brien made these claims in the TranceFormation of America (1995) and Access Denied: For Reasons of National Security (2004) which she co-authored with her husband Mark Phillips.[7] O'Brien is one of many people publicly claiming to have survived government-sponsored mind control programs.

There is no credible evidence for O'Brien's memories, which were retrieved through the use of hypnosis. The specific program which she claimed was responsible for her programming, Project Monarch, is not mentioned in reviews of MKULTRA, its alleged parent program. Investigations in to the story produced no credible evidence and numerous inconsistencies.[6]

Project Monarch

O'Brien alleges that she was abducted by the CIA as a child and forced to participate in a mind control program named Project Monarch, which is said to be a subsection of Project MKULTRA and Project ARTICHOKE.[2][3][4][5][6] Despite scholarly investigation of the MKULTRA program, there is no evidence for the existence of Project Monarch except for O'Brien's testimony.[6] O'Brien also alleges that her daughter Kelly is also a victim of Monarch.[7]

Multiple personality

O'Brien says that she has developed dissociative identity disorder and that she has no memory of some of her activities. She also says that she has a photographic recall of the events that she suffered whilst her alternate personalities were in control.[7]

Criticisms of O'Brien

Within the subculture of conspiracy believers, O'Brien has her critics. Writing in his book, Cyberculture Counterconspiracy: A Steamshovel Web Reader, author Kenn Thomas states that conspiracy author Martin Cannon considers both O'Brien and Phillips to be "frauds" who are using real details of Project Monarch to "embellish a dog and pony show", presumably for financial gain.[2] Mattias Gardell notes that O'Brien's claims are almost entirely unsupported by any evidence outside her testimony or the similarly unverified testimony of others,[8] and studies of MKULTRA have produced no mention of Project Monarch.[6]

Many other conspiracy theorists are skeptical of O'Brien's claims, but despite this skepticism her stories have entered the conspiracy culture, linking claims of satanic ritual abuse with Project Monarch.[9]



  1. "Trance Formation Of America 1/7". 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Thomas, K (2000). Cyberculture Counterconspiracy: A Steamshovel Web Reader. Book Tree. p. 34. ISBN 158509126X. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Versluis, A (2006). The new inquisitions: heretic-hunting and the intellectual origins of modern totalitarianism. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press. p. 173. ISBN 0-19-530637-6. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 de Young, M (2004). The day care ritual abuse moral panic. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland. p. 235. ISBN 0-7864-1830-3. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Toropov B (2001). The complete idiot's guide to urban legends. Indianapolis, Ind: Alpha Books. p. 221. ISBN 0-02-864007-1. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Barkun M (2003). A culture of conspiracy: apocalyptic visions in contemporary America. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 76. ISBN 0-520-23805-2. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Phillips, Mark (1995) (pdf). TranceFormation of America. Reality Marketing, Incorporated. ISBN 0-9660165-4-8. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  8. Gardell M (2003). Gods of the blood: the pagan revival and white separatism. Durham, N.C: Duke University Press. ISBN 0-8223-3071-7. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  9. Knight P (2003). Conspiracy Theories in American History: An Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO. pp. 487. ISBN 1-57607-812-4. 

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Cathy O'Brien. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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