BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A new Netflix miniseries, “Wormwood,” delves into the case of a Fort Detrick scientist who died in 1953 after falling from high rise hotel window in New York City.
Frank Olson’s death came just days after the CIA had given him LSD as part of a mind-control experiment, according to a 2012 report in The Baltimore Sun.
Family accounts obtained by the Frederick News-Post indicate that Frank was “uncharacteristically quiet and withdrawn” when he returned home from the trip to Deep Creek Lake, where the government documents say he was one of a group of men who were drugged.
Family members say it was only a few days after he came home that he was taken to New York City by colleagues, supposedly to get psychiatric treatment. It was on that trip that he fell from a window in the Statler Hotel, which is now the Hotel Pennsylvania.
The Olson family received an apology from President Gerald Ford in 1975, after an investigation revealed that the CIA had used Olson and other Army scientists as guinea pigs in the LSD experiment at Deep Creek.
They also met with then-C.I.A. Director William Colby, who turned over the documents detailing the LSD experiment, a project that came to be known as MK-Ultra.
The family also received a $750,000 settlement. However, they still don’t believe they know the whole story.
Even after the CIA acknowledged its role in Frank’s death, they continued to call it a drug-related suicide. Olson’s sons, Eric and Nils Olson, told The Sun in 2012 that they believe their father was murdered.
The family exhaustively pursued answers even after the settlement, exhuming Frank’s body in 1994, and filing another lawsuit in 2012, which was later dismissed by a federal judge, according to the News-Post.
“Wormwood” is reviving Frank Olson’s story for online streaming audiences, though.
It features dramatizations of Frank’s own experiences, in which he’s portrayed by Peter Sarsgaard, as well as interviews with Eric and other sources familiar with the case.