Did the CIA accidentally turn San Francisco into America’s grooviest city? SF Weekly on newly uncovered details on Operation Midnight Climax, one of the absolute strangest slices of U.S. history:
Wayne Ritchie may be among the last of the living victims of MK-ULTRA, a Central Intelligence Agency operation that covertly tested LSD on unwitting Americans in San Francisco and New York City from 1953 to 1964.
There were at least three CIA safe houses in the Bay Area where experiments went on. Chief among them was 225 Chestnut on Telegraph Hill, which operated from 1955 to 1965. Inside, prostitutes paid by the government to lure clients to the apartment served up acid-laced cocktails to unsuspecting johns, while martini-swilling secret agents observed their every move from behind a two-way mirror. Recording devices were installed, some disguised as electrical outlets.
To get the guys in the mood, the walls were adorned with photographs of tortured women in bondage and provocative posters from French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The agents grew fascinated with the kinky sex games that played out between the johns and the hookers through the two-way mirror in the bedroom.