Cathy O'Brien (conspiracy theorist)

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Cathy O'Brien
Cathleen Ann O'Brien

(1957-12-04) December 4, 1957 (age 62)
OccupationWriter, speaker
Known forConspiracy theories, statements alleging victimization by "Project Monarch"

Cathy O'Brien or Cathleen Ann O'Brien (born December 4, 1957, Muskegon, Michigan)[1] is an American conspiracy theorist and author who claims to be a victim of a government mind control program called "Project Monarch" which she alleges was part of the CIA's Project MKUltra.[2][3][4][5][1] O'Brien made these assertions in Trance Formation of America (1995) and Access Denied: For Reasons of National Security (2004) which she co-authored with her husband Mark Phillips.[1] According to scholars, there is no credible evidence for O'Brien's claims and there are numerous inconsistencies with her story.[5]

Conspiracy theories[edit]

In Trance Formation of America, O'Brien claims that as a child, she was first sexually abused by her father as well as by a network of child pornographers. Supposedly, she was then forced by the CIA to participate in Project Monarch, which she claims is a subsection of Project MKUltra and Project ARTICHOKE. According to O'Brien, under hypnosis she was able to recall memories of sexual abuse — of both herself and her daughter — by international pedophile rings, drug barons, and satanists, who allegedly used a form of "trauma based mind control programming" to make her a sex slave.[2][3][4][5]

O'Brien accuses a wide range of prominent individuals — from American, Canadian, Mexican and Saudi Arabian government officials, to stars of the Country and Western music scene — of being part of a "Project Monarch" conspiracy to operate sex slave rings and commit child abuse.[6] For example, O'Brien claims that George H. W. Bush and Miguel de la Madrid used holograms to appear to her in altered forms, saying that "Bush apparently activated a hologram of the lizard-like "alien," which provided the illusion of Bush transforming like a chameleon before my eyes. In retrospect, I understand that Bush had been painstakingly careful in positioning our seats in order that the hologram's effectiveness be maximized."[1]:167, 211

O'Brien claims "Project Monarch" caused her to develop multiple personality disorder but during alternate personality episodes, she has photographic recall.[1] O'Brien's Trance Formation of America has been credited as originating "one of the most significant" and "extreme" mind control conspiracy theories,[7] and her claim of links between satanic ritual abuse and MKUltra have influenced popular conspiracy culture.[7]

Religious and political scholars have criticized O'Brien's claims for their lack of any supporting evidence. David G. Robertson characterized them as symptomatic of "baseless" moral panic and noted that "no-one has ever been prosecuted of such crimes nor has any corroborating material evidence ever been produced".[8] According to scholar Michael Barkun, "scholarly and journalistic treatments of MKUltra make no mention of a Project Monarch". Barkun describes O'Brien's account as "sensational even by the standards of conspiracy literature" and notes that even black helicopter conspiracy theorist Jim Keith considered it "fraudulent or delusional".[5] Jodi Dean cited O'Brien's claims as an example of conspiracy theorists' tendency to excessive "leaps in imagination and willingness to deviate from common sense".[9]


O'Brien self-publishes her books.[10]

  • O'Brien, Cathy; Phillips, Mark (1995). Trance Formation of America. Reality Marketing, Incorporated.
  • O'Brien, C (2004). Access Denied: For Reasons of National Security. Reality Marketing, Incorporated. ISBN 0-9660165-3-X.
  • O'Brien, C (2017). PTSD: Time to Heal. Reality Marketing, Incorporated. ISBN 978-0-69277641-4.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e O'Brien, Cathy; Phillips, Mark (1995). Trance Formation of America (pdf). Reality Marketing, Incorporated. ISBN 0-9660165-4-8. Retrieved 2008-10-20.[self-published source]
  2. ^ a b Versluis, A (2006). The new inquisitions: heretic-hunting and the intellectual origins of modern totalitarianism. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press. p. 173. ISBN 0-19-530637-6. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
  3. ^ a b de Young, M (2004). The day care ritual abuse moral panic. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland. p. 235. ISBN 0-7864-1830-3. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
  4. ^ a b Toropov B (2001). The complete idiot's guide to urban legends. Indianapolis, Ind: Alpha Books. p. 221. ISBN 0-02-864007-1. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
  5. ^ a b c d Barkun, Michael (2003). A culture of conspiracy: apocalyptic visions in contemporary America. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 76. ISBN 0-520-23805-2. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
  6. ^ Gardell M (2003). Gods of the blood: the pagan revival and white separatism. Durham, N.C: Duke University Press. ISBN 0-8223-3071-7. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
  7. ^ a b Mason, Fran (2003). "Mind Control" (PDF). In Knight, Peter (ed.). Conspiracy Theories in American History. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, Inc. pp. 483, 486–487. ISBN 9781576078129. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  8. ^ David G. Robertson (25 February 2016). UFOs, Conspiracy Theories and the New Age: Millennial Conspiracism. Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 101–. ISBN 978-1-4742-5322-2.
  9. ^ Jodi Dean (2002). Publicity's Secret: How Technoculture Capitalizes on Democracy. Cornell University Press. pp. 49–. ISBN 0-8014-8678-5.
  10. ^ "Order Directly from Mark & Cathy >> TRANCE Formation Of America". Retrieved 27 March 2019.