Cathy O'Brien (conspiracy theorist)

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For the long-distance runner, see Cathy O'Brien (athlete).
Cathy O'Brien
Born (1957-12-04) December 4, 1957 (age 58)
Muskegon, Michigan
Nationality American
Occupation Writer, speaker
Known for Conspiracy theorist, statements of victimization by Project Monarch
Spouse(s) Mark Phillips
Children Kelly O'Brien
Parent(s) Earl M. O'Brien
Carol O'Brien (née Tanis)

Cathleen Ann O'Brien (born December 4, 1957, Muskegon, Michigan)[1] is an American who claims she is a victim of a mind control government project named Project Monarch, which she said was part of the CIA's Project MKULTRA for behavioral engineering of humans (mind control).[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]


O'Brien uses hypnosis when attempting to recall memories. Via this method relays the abuse she alleges to have suffered as part of Project Monarch.


In her 1995 Trance Formation of America publication, O'Brien states George H. W. Bush and Miguel de la Madrid used holograms to appear in altered forms, "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

Multiple personality[edit]

O'Brien says that she has developed dissociative identity disorder (previously called multiple personality disorder) due to being subject to Project Monarch. Normally she has little memory of Project Monarch. However, she states whilst her alternate personalities are in control she has photographic recall of the events suffered.[1]

Child abuse[edit]

O'Brien says she was recruited against her will by the CIA and her abusive father as a child, through a network of child pornographers he was involved with, and forced to participate in Project Monarch, which is said to be a subsection of Project MKULTRA and Project ARTICHOKE.[2][3][4][5]

O'Brien also states that she has a recollection of child abuse — of her and her daughter — by international pedophile rings, drug barons and satanists, as part of a sex slave aspect to her "trauma based mind control programming." Individuals from United States, Canadian, Mexican and Saudi Arabian government officials to stars of the Country and Western music scene are among those she accuses of these crimes. According to scholar Michael Barkun, investigations into the story produced no credible evidence and numerous inconsistencies.[5]


O'Brien's Trance Formation of America has been credited as the origination of one of the most significant mind control conspiracy theories, Project Monarch.[6] Her accounts of linking satanic ritual abuse with MKUltra have entered conspiracy culture.[6]


Swedish scholar Mattias Gardell states that O'Brien's assertions are almost entirely unsupported by any evidence outside her testimony or the similarly unverified testimony of others.[7] Michael Barkun states that "scholarly and journalistic treatments of MK-ULTRA make no mention of a Project Monarch".[5]

The specific program which she claimed was responsible for her dissociative identity disorder, Project Monarch, is not mentioned in reviews of MKULTRA, its alleged parent program. Because most MKULTRA records were deliberately destroyed in 1973 by order of then CIA Director Richard Helms, it has been difficult, if not impossible, for investigators to gain a complete understanding of the more than 150 individually funded research sub-projects sponsored by MKULTRA and related CIA programs.[8][9]



  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. 
  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. ^ a b Mason, Fran (2003). "Mind Control". In Knight, Peter. Conspiracy Theories in American History (PDF). Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, Inc. pp. 483, 486–487. ISBN 9781576078129. Retrieved November 4, 2015. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ Walter H. Bowart (January 1971), Operation Mind Control, Dell Publishing 
  9. ^ John D. Marks (1979), The Search for the 'Manchurian Candidate': The CIA and Mind Control: The Secret History of the Behavioral Sciences, Penguin Books Ltd.