William Sargant

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Person.png William Sargant   Amazon IMDB PowerbaseRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(psychiatrist, researcher, spook)
BornApril 24, 1907
DiedAugust 27, 1988 (Age 81)
Interests • mind control
• MK-Ultra
A UK equivalent of Dr. Ewen Cameron, who used insulin comas and ECT to destroy the minds of his subjects to save them.
William Sargant's US immigration card

William Walters Sargant was a British psychiatrist who worked with shell-shocked servicemen during World War Two. He developed his theories through largely uncontrolled experimental treatments involving ECT and induced insulin coma at St Thomas's Hospital London from 1948 through to the 1980's. His book Battle for the Mind discusses propaganda and brainwashing.

A Harley Street psychiatrist, Dr William Sargant, now dead, was sent by the British government in the early Fifties to evaluate MK-ULTRA. On his return he told a friend, the author and former BBC television producer Gordon Thomas, that what Cameron and Gottlieb were up to was as bad as anything going on in the Soviet gulags.
Thomas, whose books include a 1988 study of the CIA's forays into mind-control, Journey into Madness: Medical Torture and the Mind Controllers, says: "Sargant told me that he had urged the British government to distance this country from it. He said it was blacker than black." According to Thomas, Sargant told him that Olson had come to Britain from 1950 to 1953 to work on attachment at Porton Down and had also made frequent visits to 'an intelligence facility' in Sussex. This is confirmed by entries in the special passport that Olson used... Mike Miniccino, an American businessman and historical researcher who has spent 25 years studying the MK-ULTRA programme and developing a database on its activities, says that if Olson did then express his reservations about MK-ULTRA and its work, he would have done so to Sargant, who had evaluated MK-ULTRA's work and who had been a close colleague of Olson's.
And although - as we already know - Sargant wanted the British government to distance itself from the CIA's work with MK-ULTRA, Miniccino says that he was nevertheless committed to the principle of mind control and had become the link between the British Secret Intelligence Service and MK-ULTRA. Miniccino adds: "So if Frank Olson expressed serious doubts about the MK-ULTRA project to Sargant, then he signed his own death warrant."[1]

At St Thomas's:

..... he developed his procedures for ‘brainwashing’. He created a 22 bed sleep ward on the top floor of the adjacent Royal Waterloo Hospital, in which he would keep his traumatised patients in a continuous state of heavy sedation for periods of up to three months and subject them to insulin coma therapy and frequent electroconvulsive treatment. This brainwashing, he claimed, re-patterned the brain, wiping it clean of the traumatic experience so that when they woke up they couldn’t remember what had happened [2]

Books by William Sargant

  • An Introduction to Physical Methods of Treatment in Psychiatry, by William Sargant and Eliot Slater, Edinburgh : E&S Livingstone, 1944 [1st ed.]
  • An Introduction to Somatic Methods of Treatment in Psychiatry, by William Sargant and Eliot Slater, Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1946
  • Battle for the Mind: The Mechanics of Indoctrination, Brainwashing & Thought Control by William Sargant, Pan Books, 1957
  • The Unquiet Mind - an autobiography, by William Sargant 1967 Heinemann ISBN 0-434-67150-9
  • An Introduction to Physical Methods of Treatment in Psychiatry, by William Sargant, Eliot Slater and Desmond Kelly, Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 1972 5th edn ISBN 0-443-00868-X
  • Mind Possessed, The : A Physiology of Possession, Mysticism, and Faith Healing, 1975, ISBN 0-14-004034-X
  • Battle for the Mind: A Physiology of Conversion and Brainwashing , by William Sargant, Malor Books, 1997, ISBN 1-883536-06-5

See also


  1. Kevin Dowling 'THE OLSON FILE; A SECRET THAT COULD DESTROY THE CIA', MAIL ON SUNDAY August 23, 1998 SECTION: Pg. 10;11;12;13
  2. Visionary or Disaster; a perspective on William Sargant - Dr Nick Read 21 March 2010