Harold Blauer

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Harold Blauer
DiedJanuary 8, 1953 (aged 42)[1]
OccupationTennis player

Harold Blauer (1910 – January 8, 1953) was an American tennis player who died as a result of injections of 450 mg 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine (code-named EA-1298) as part of Project MKUltra,[2] a covert CIA mind-control and chemical interrogation research program run by the Office of Scientific Intelligence.


Blauer lost in the round before the quarterfinals of the 1935 United States Professional Tennis Tournament 3–6, 3–6, 3–6 to tennis legend (and eventual tournament champion) Bill Tilden.


Blauer checked into the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) in late 1952, seeking help for depression following a divorce. While at the facility, he was used as a test subject in experiments conducted by the Army Chemical Corps. The Army had a classified agreement with the psychiatric institute that allowed them to study possible chemical warfare compounds by administering the substances to patients.[1]

Between November 1952 and January 1953, Blauer was given injections of various chemical analogues of mescaline. He was first given relatively low doses of MDA (3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine), then DMA (3,4‐dimethoxyamphetamine), MDPEA (3,4‐methylenedioxyphenethylamine) and DMA once again. Blauer requested to withdraw from these treatments because he got strong hallucinations from the injections. Despite this, on December 30, 1952 at 9:53 a.m., he was injected with a fatal dose of 450 milligrams (mg) of MDA. The injection caused sweating, tremors, epileptic seizures and killed him in about 30 minutes. NYSPI has claimed that the overdose was accidental since the safe doses for these mescaline analogues were based only on a guess.[2]

On the same day as Blauer, another NYSPI patient was injected with MDA. She was given 150 mg instead of the planned 450 mg dose of MDA, because her reaction to MDA "...was so violent that the injection was stopped when it was only one‐third complete."[2]

Followed by the death of Blauer, animal tests were performed in 1953 to find out the LD50 values for the mescaline analogues (MDMA and many other compounds) before some of them were tested on people. This was done, on behalf of the Army Chemical Warfare Corps, in secrecy at the University of Michigan. Dr Maurice H. Seevers, Director of the Department of Pharmacology at Michigan University in Ann Arbor, supervised these tests.[2]

The extent of Blauer's knowledge of the experiment is unclear, and after his death the experiment was covered up by the state of New York, the U.S. government and the CIA for 22 years.[3] In 1987, a United States District Court judge awarded Blauer's estate over $700,000 in a ruling that described Blauer as a "guinea pig" whose medical records had been altered to disguise the actual cause of death.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c $700,000 Awarded to Estate of Army Drug Test Victim The Los Angeles Times. 06 May 1987. Archived 2016-03-08 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c d Torsten P, Benzenhöfer U (2018). "MDA, MDMA, and other "mescaline-like" substances in the US military's search for a truth drug (1940s to 1960s)". Drug Testing and Analysis. 10 (1): 72–80. doi:10.1002/dta.2292.
  3. ^ "Elizabeth Barrett, Individually and As Administratrix of The Estate of Harold Blauer, Deceased, Plaintiff, v. United States of America, Defendant.United States of America, Third-party Plaintiff-appellee, v. State of New York, Third-party Defendant-appellant". U.S. Court of Appeals. 1988-02-19. Retrieved 2009-03-17.

Further reading[edit]

  • Constance Baker Motley, District Judge: OPINION / U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York - 660 F. Supp. 1291 (S.D.N.Y. 1987), May 5, 1987