The Biggest Rat: Whitey Bulger’s Decades of Deceit – Part 3- Whitey on LSD

James Cagney - you dirty ratBig Rat

Whitey began his stretch as an inmate at the Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta. Right off the bat, Whitey started doing everything right, so that he could be paroled at the earliest possible date; which estimated to be in mid-1963.

In 1961, his younger brother Billy graduated from Boston College Law School, and using some of this Southie pull, William “Billy” Bulger was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representative. Billy nudged some of his friends in Congress; hoping to get his brother Whitey preferential treatment in prison, and if possible, moved to a federal lockup closer to the family home in Boston. But the wheels of Boston’s local politics had little bearing on federal procedure, so Whitey stewed in prison. Whitey made sure not to break any prison rules, so the good time he had accumulated  would culminate in an earlier released date than the 20 years Judge Sweeney had nailed him with.

While still in the Atlanta lockup, Whitey Bulger got a buggy idea.

            After being assigned to the prison hospital, Whitey heard from prison scuttlebutt that inmates who agreed to be part of a program geared to studying schizophrenia would receive a few bucks a month extra in their prison account, and be given extra good time; enabling them to cut short their sentence. The only hitch was these inmates would have to be injected with the psychedelic drug LSD, which was virtually unknown to the public at the time.

The stated purpose of the program was a lie, since it was later revealed that the Central Intelligence Agency was behind this program, and real the reason was mind control; which the C. I. A. could put to great use in many ways.  

Imagine if – injecting LSD into people allowed the C. I. A. to order men to do things they normally would not do without the aid of the drug. Or even better, consider the possibilities if LSD forced a man to tell the truth when telling a lie would be in his best interest. This would be of great use to the C. I. A. in enhanced interrogations of the enemy, or of Americans whom the C. I. A.  believed to be spies.

            Regardless of the fact he was being used as a human lab rat, Whitey signed up for the program, which resulted in him being injected with LSD once a month for fifteen months. For his contribution to the cause, Whitey received a paltry three bucks a month and a mere fifty-four days knocked off his sentence; hardly proper payment for having one’s brains rewired.

            Richard Sunday was a fellow inmate of Whitey’s at Atlanta, and Sunday has remained in contract with Whitey throughout the years; even after Bulger’s 2011 arrest. Sunday had been convicted of rape, and was given a life sentence; which was later reduced to 25 years.

Sunday witnessed first-hand the effects of LSD on Whitey. Sunday said after Whitey had been injected with the drug, Whitey screamed like a mad man; wilding waving his hands like he was striking out at an invisible object. Sunday also said Whitey’s conversations rambled without any obvious intent, or meaning.

            “He was one crazy individual when he was on those drugs,” Sunday said. “He was a lunatic.”

In the mid-1980’s, while Whitey ran Boston with an iron fist, he told his chief underling, Kevin Weeks, that the LSD injections haunted him for the rest of his life.

            After turning state’s evidence to reduce his prison term, Weeks wrote in his book Brutal, “Jimmy told me that for eighteen months he was either injected with LSD or given it as a liquid (Editor’s note: Whitey exaggerated to Weeks, since he was only injected with LSD for 15 months). Jimmy said it made him crazy and unable to stand the thought of a needle ever again piercing his skin. It was also the reason he never got a good night’s sleep. He still woke up screaming in the middle of the night and frequently suffered hallucinations.”

            It later was discovered that 18 prisoners took part in the Atlanta Federal Prison LSD Program. Some of them lost their minds completely, and some even committed suicide. As for Whitey, he was screwed up mentally before he went to prison, and he continued stalking the streets of Boston with the same mindset after he was released from prison. So except for a few sleepless nights and occasionally seeing few pink elephants; it’s uncertain if the drug had any effect on Whitey whatsoever.

Despite efforts by his brother Billy to get Whitey transferred to a prison closer to home, on Nov. 2, 1959, Whitey Bulger was transferred to the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, located on a rocky island in San Francisco Bay, affectionate called “The Rock.”



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