It’s always been assumed that the Central Intelligence Agency is home to any number of government secrets covering everything from UFOs to international spy rings.
But it’s only with the publication of some 13 million pages of declassified documents spanning a period ranging from the 1940s through to the 1990s that such assumptions have been confirmed.
Released as a result of activist pressure and a Freedom of Information Act, the documents provide plenty in the way of startling revelations – here are five of loaded’s favourites:
UFOs were a serious concern
Perhaps the biggest revelations concerned the existence of extra terrestrials. According to the documents the CIA studied several photographs of alleged UFO sightings.
Arguably the most compelling came from a report, also published by news.com.au, concerning a strange phenomenon witnessed by two police officers patrolling the Lithuanian border in June 1996.
“Vehicle loads of soldiers from the ARAS rapid reaction force, sniffer dogs and police reinforcements immediately arrived on the scene of the emergency,”the report said.
“[According to eye witness accounts] they noticed a spherical objecting hanging and “pulsing”.
“At the same time, they heard what they described as “a strange sound like an electric or electronic crackle.
“When they moved about 50 metres through the long grass, the police said the sphere moved away, rose higher and rapidly departed.”
Another document also estimated: “Since 1947, approximately 1,500 official reports of sightings have been received, of these about 20% are as yet unexplained.”
Uri Gellar was recruited
The documents show that Geller underwent psychic testing with the agency to assess his clairvoyant and telepathic abilities.
One 1973 test concluded that he was a “convincing paranormal” after he successfully replicated the drawings of an agent in a separate room.
All this and his was Michael Jackson’s best man.
Seeing Into The Future
As well as enlisting Geller to help create a weird network of psychics for “remote viewing” much like the techniques used by Professor Xavier in the X-Men films, the CIA was also obsessed with the idea of obtaining an advantage over its enemies through clairvoyance.
A 1980 report examined the possibility of using clairvoyants and other individuals capable of moving objects through telekinesis.
On the latter, the report said: “In view of the obvious military value of being able to disturb sensitive enemy equipment, it is to the advantage of the Army to assess the validity of the claims.”
The Berlin Tunnel Project
At the height of Cold War paranoia, the CIA actually commenced work on a tunnel in Berlin that was designed to dig straight through to the USSR’s army headquarters located in the Eastern bloc of the city.
A US Air Force radar site was identified and construction on the 1,476 feet long tunnel took a year to dig and stayed in use until 1956.
The Magician from Tbilisi
One of the strangest stories to come out of the documents concerned a mysterious magician from Tbilisi, Georgia who could apparently heal people with his hands and was first discovered in 1969.
Details remain scarce on whether his abilities were proven or disproven though there appears to be little in the way of comment dismissing the claims, which makes the revelations all the more peculiar.
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Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.