My book is now at the publisher.
It will be available this summer
A story from a man from The Psychopath Test.
Hey! You may remember Steve Smith from my book The Psychopath Test. He was the young man who ended up at the Oak Ridge mental hospital – an unwilling participant in their radical experiments. They were trying to cure psychopathy by giving psychopaths massive amounts of LSD and making them strip naked and suck liquid food through straws that protruded from the walls.
It proved a bad idea. It just made them worse.
Steve just sent me a part of a memoir he’s writing about his time there. I know he was there. I met him through a lawyer. He was part of a class action suit against the hospital. Obviously I can’t verify his extraordinary details below. But I know he was there.
A PSYCHOPATH FACTORY
I met Peter Woodcock in 1968 when I was 18 years old.
He introduced me to “The Brotherhood”.
Peter arrived in this place a decade before me. He knew nothing about the outside world but he heard about hippies.
I was a hippie so he wanted to be my friend.
At first I didn’t know why he was inside. He acted all love and peace and flowers.
He later told me he had murdered three children.
I was surprised to hear this. He didn’t look dangerous.
He was a small innocent looking guy. No one would ever be afraid of this guy.
If you lined up a hundred people he would be the last I would figure as a child sex murderer.
I was already traumatized by what happened to me. I just accepted him as part of my new existence.
When we weren’t locked in our cells we would be together.
He always followed me around asking questions.
He started combing his hair like me, walking like me and trying to imitate the way I talked.
We even tattooed ourselves with the same mark using a homemade rig and cigarette ashes.
I have had it covered over but it’s still there
Of course the doctors and guards noticed and saw it as an opportunity for some drug experiments.
Briefly it involved naked sessions in a padded room with no windows. Liquid food sucked in through straws in the wall. Sometimes.
This went on for many days.
When patients tried to kill each other they would be restrained with straps made of seatbelts.
I got to know Peter very well in this time.
Peter told me the details of the murders he committed…
It is still burned into my brain although I have never repeated the gruesome details to anyone.
I need to tell you how I came to be in this place.
I was not a killer or rapist.
I never hurt anyone in my life but here is what happened a month earlier.
An adolescent urge to wander set me on the road to the west coast.
I was learning to drive and getting a driver’s license was the most important thing in my life.
I would sometimes swipe my mother’s car keys and drive around the back streets in my neighborhood.
My parents were divorced when I was ten. My brother and I lived with my father in Sudbury, Ontario.
My mother ran off with a tough good-looking bartender, and my father’s life was rapidly overcome by
Alcohol and self-destruction.
My brother and I were often left to fend for ourselves in a house that was neglected and without food.
The decimation of my father took about a year.
We were sent to live with my mother and Bill.
These were years of physical and emotional abuse. We were all victims of Bill’s drunken rages.
He committed suicide in 1987.
My mother lived out the declining years of her life alone with her dogs and cats.
After a few brushes with the Sault Ste. Marie police, and a system of justice that dealt heavy-handedly
With the local counter-culture, I headed for the west coast.
My friend Ben and I hit the road in the dead of winter, no funds, and no plans.
The first hitch took us to Wawa, Ontario.
We spent the night in the basement of a church.
The next morning was freezing cold and hitching a ride was punishment.
We hitched on to White River, the “coldest spot in Canada.”
Our choices were to walk or freeze.
We reached Marathon sometime in the night, desperately cold.
Everything in town was closed.
There was no point looking for an open restaurant. We didn’t have enough money between us for a
Cup of coffee.
Ben and I found a small used car lot on the outskirts of town and stole a car.
We drove to the next town and arrived just before dawn and abandoned the car at a service station.
As we were climbing out, the police pulled in behind us.
Five minutes earlier or later, and the course of my life would have been entirely different.
We were caught red handed.