By Alex Constantine
“His name is Trevor Blackburn,” the unorthodox Dr. Ek explains to a colleague somewhere in the mental labyrinth of The Attic Expeditions. “He’s a convicted murderer and an acute schizophrenic.” Trevor is also the ultimate unreliable narrator, a man with no past, “still recovering from the first [brain] operation. And his responses to implanting are uncertain.”
It is never altogether clear whether Trevor is a seething, delusional complex of homicidal pathologies, deserving of contempt, or a victim of experimental psychiatry and mind control, a sympathetic lab rat. He is incarcerated in a mental hospital of sorts, his memories of a prior life erased, but Dr. Ek’s institution, acknowledged openly, is a research facility. The same could be said for Auschwitz. Is Trevor’s psychiatrist a sagacious scientist or a lobe-slicing fascist?
Blackburn is obsessed with unlocking the mystery. His recollection of life on the outside has been wiped clean, but again, this lapse is open to bipolar interpretations. Has the trauma of murdering his wife rendered him amnestic? Or has he been “depatterned” a phrase coined by the CIA’s Dr. Ewon Cameron – the initials, E.C., phonetically, “Ek” – in the 1950s to describe the forced use of drugs, hypnosis and electroshock as a means of eradicating a subject’s personality and memories? Has Trevor been treated to EDOM (Electronic Dissolution of Memory, a technique perfected by CIA psychiatrists in 1960)? And what about this “implanting?” Are even Trevor’s short-term memories invasive fabricattions, implants, an attempt to build a new personality on the blank slate of a depatterned mind?
And then there are the ceaseless hallucinations, caused, neuropsychiatrists say, by the flood of dopamine in the brain of the raging schizophrenic … or are Trevor’s episodes a side-effect of hypnosis or telemetry chips bundled in his brain, ECT, infrasonic transmissions, “medication” and recurrent brain surgery, or a combination of all the above?
Has his life been reduced to a virtual reality episode?
The helpless protagonist awakes one afternoon heavily drugged in an operating room, stretched out on the table, surrounded by doctors and nurses. Amy, another patient at Dr. Ek’s sanitarium – the “House of Love” – “slowly rides Trevor” while the doctors perform brain surgery on him. Is this impossible memory real?
In this attic there are no ready answers. Dr. Ek: “The human mind isn’t properly equipped to understand the human mind.” (José Delgado, the infamous CIA/UCLA electronic mind control specialist, took this dictum a step further in the 1960s, claiming that the human being has no right to his own mind – the State reserves this privelege, he opined – a belief he put into practice by surgically inserting implants in the brains of children and controlling their behavior with radio waves.) But Trevor is locked inside his own mind, a moth in a bell jar. “We’re trapped in an imaginary house,” another of Ek’s patients informs Trevor.
But is it psychosis or mind control?
For some, the imaginary house is religion. And Dr. Ek knows his way around here, as well. He connives to steal Trevor’s satanic verses, an illuminated grimoire, on behalf of a criminalized, “incorporated” agency. Once outside the warped sensibilities of the unreliable narrator, the gas-lighting’ mind manipulating operatives of this unnamed intelligence agency (the Technical Services Division?) emerge from the control booth like the Wizard of Oz.
“MIND CONTROL IS COMING,” the New York Times reported in 1965. And mind control has, in fact, come for most of us. Boobus Americanus lives in an imaginary house, one said to have “moral authority” in the geopolitical sphere, when in fact this is a nation that thrives on a foundation of death squad politics, political assassinations, media industry manipulation, federally-sanctioned drug operations, illicit wars, black ops, etc., etc. It is evident that America is engaged in its own attic expedition, and like Trevor, cannot find the exit door in the hallucinatory reality of the “Dream.”