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19 Wild, Shocking, And Unbelievable CIA Documents That Have Actually Been Declassified

The US Government has had A LOT of weird (and cruel) ideas over the years.

Recently, Reddit user sceneybeanie posed the question, "What are the craziest declassified CIA documents?" to the good people of AskReddit. And, IDK why I'm surprised, but their responses were so wild, out there, and shocking that they practically sound fake (but aren't!). Check it out:

1. The Osama bin Laden Demon Toy — "The plan after 9/11 was to make figurines that look like Osama bin Laden and give them to kids in South Asia. After being left in the sun for a certain amount of time, its face would peel off to reveal a 'demon-like visage with red skin, green eyes, and black markings.' The objective was to scare kids and their parents so bin Laden and Al-Qaeda would lose support."

2. The contents of Osama bin Laden's hard drive — "You can download most of bin Laden's hard drive off the CIA's website. It's got a fair few licensed movies, anime, games, that sort of thing. All free for anyone who wants to get it."

Bin Laden with a beard wearing a hat appears on a grainy television screen

3. The Cold War condom drop plan — "One CIA operative drew up a plan to have packets of extra-large condoms, labeled 'small' dropped on USSR. The idea was to lower their morale during the Cold War."

A Boeing B-52 Stratofortress flies in the sky with a jet escort

4. The Acoustic Kitty — "They basically put a microphone and radio in a cat and tried to release it into the Soviet Embassy to wander around eavesdropping since nobody suspects a wandering cat."

5. Psychological warfare in the Philippines — "What happened in the 1950s comes to mind. The CIA conducted research to figure out which sort of myths and superstitions the Philippine people had. They discovered that they were afraid of vampires. At one point they disrupted a group by snatching a local man, murdering him, and putting teeth marks on his neck. They then hung him upside down for his friends to find, which terrified the village. This was all part of an effort to elect Ramon Magsaysay as president who basically acted as a puppet for the US. The CIA wrote his speeches and directed his policy."

Sketch of a fantastical creature with engineering annotations

6. The hundreds of failed assassination attempts on Fidel Castro — "According to Fabian Escalante, who worked for the Cuban counter intelligence, there were 638 of them. Here are some highlights..."

Castro smiling and holding a newspaper with headline "Plot to Kill Castro"

7. Operation Paperclip — "Bringing former Nazi scientists from Germany to America to hopefully beat the Soviets in the space race."

Group of individuals in vintage attire standing in front of a rocket

8. Operation Sea Spray — "This was a 1950 US Navy secret biological warfare experiment in which Serratia marcescens and Bacillus globigii bacteria were sprayed over the San Francisco Bay Area in California, to determine how vulnerable a city like San Francisco may be to a bioweapon attack. Between 1949 and 1969, open-air tests of biological agents were conducted 239 times. In 80 of those experiments, the Army said it used live bacteria that its researchers at the time thought were harmless."

US Navy battleship sailing past the Golden Gate bridge

9. The American cover-up of Japanese war crimes — This was the pardon of the Japanese war criminals who ran Unit 731 in exchange for their findings. They performed countless experiments on live human POWs. Cutting off limbs to test blood loss, injecting them with diseases and seeing how they progressed when left untreated, vivisection of these same individuals, and other really fucking disgusting stuff that I don’t have the stomach to type out. You can google the rest. The US government felt it was more important to have that information in American hands than to let it go to the Russians, or be lost. You’d never be able to conduct those kinds of experiments again, and for good reason, so they considered it the lesser of two evils."

10. Project MK-Ultra — "The CIA's illegal mind control program that involved human experimentation using things like psychoactive drugs, electroshock, deprivation, and abuse. Unfortunately, the only documents we got from it are from an offsite storage space that the officials in the CIA forgot about."

allen dulles posing behind a distorted piece of glass

11. Modern art as a CIA "weapon" — "During the '60s the CIA noticed that artists tend to lean toward socialism and communism. They realized the best way to prevent this or discredit these political positions was to make them wealthy so they would be more invested in capitalism. To do this the CIA would anonymously buy modern art pieces no matter how nonsensical for very high prices. This made the otherwise highly niche and difficult to access modern art genre a chic, fashionable, and highly profitable genre and basically prevented prominent members of the art community from turning to socialism or communism by converting them into wealthy members of the upper class."

Artist stands next to two abstract paintings on easels

12. The Gateway Experience — "Like, this shit is fucking bonkers. Declassified doc from 1983 detailing the CIA's usage of 'harmonic resonance' to gain access to the astral plane. It describes how the CIA used astral projection to create force fields around military bases, visit the future, and even talk to literal God. They call God the 'Absolute,' which they claim is all of the universe compiled into a single point for a single moment in time, after which the universe re-expands. Seriously, seriously, read this shit if you have a mind for the creepy/unexplained."

Two overlapping translucent figures in a floating pose, no identifiable persons

13. The papers describing astral projection — "They brought a ‘psychic’ in and placed an envelope with coordinates and a timeframe on it. They asked him to describe what he saw. He described a dying planet where people had left to discover a new place they could populate. It was revealed that the envelope contained coordinates on Mars in the distant past. It gets much more in-depth when he describes large structures, etc. It’s not very long and very much worth the read."

Panoramic view of the Mars surface from a rover with no people in sight

14. Operation Wandering Soul — "The ghost tapes with creepy noises that were played in Vietnam to try and scare the Vietcong were pretty wild. Not the most shocking but worth a mention."

Vintage photo of soldiers in combat with artillery and rifles

15. The Pentagon Papers — "(These were technically leaked, not outright declassified.) And the resultant Church Committee Report. These are what made public the CIA's actions in overthrowing governments and instigating/assisting coups all over the world for decades leading up to the '70s. Pretty much every negative stereotype of the CIA we have today was created or informed by the Pentagon Papers and Church Committee Report."

Cover of "The Pentagon Papers" showing title and text about its publication and contents, including photos

16. Operation Northwoods — "The Department of Defense proposed that CIA operatives plant bombs around the United States to commit staged terrorist acts and then blame them on Cuba. This was approved all the way up to, but not including, the President."

Aerial view of the Pentagon with surrounding parking lots and landscape

17. Project Azorian — "This was a CIA operation to retrieve the remains of the Soviet Golf-class ballistic missile submarine K-129. It sank in the north Pacific while on patrol, resting about three miles down on the seafloor. The CIA and DoD believed that a salvage operation had the potential to retrieve nuclear submarine-launched ballistic missiles, nuclear torpedoes, code books, and cryptographic gear from the wreck. But the Soviets often patrolled the spot to prevent the Americans from doing exactly that. Henry Kissinger ordered the CIA to collaborate with Howard Hughes to set up a false flag deep-sea mining operation, which involved the construction of a huge purpose-built ship called the USNS Hughes Glomar Explorer."

Howard Hughes in a fedora and suit sitting in a car, looking at the camera

18. CIA black sites — "Secret prisons where terrorist suspects were taken for interrogation/prison sentences and god knows what. Some sites were in Europe, too, like Poland and Lithuania."

Aerial view of an isolated industrial complex with multiple buildings and connecting roads

19. Finally, the Simple Sabotage Field Manual — "Made by the Office of Strategic Services, which was the CIA before they were given the name. A guide on how to do simple sabotage in the USSR. Funny enough their guide on how managers can sabotage work sounds a lot like how much companies work today..."

Aerial view of the CIA headquarters