Saturday, February 14, 2009

Alfred M. Hubbard

The Alfred M. Hubbard story - what little we know of it - is one of the strangest, most mysterious tales of cloak-and-dagger intrigue, skullduggery and adventure I've heard. And of course, he's a good Kentucky boy.

  • As he himself told the story of his early youth, he was poor, barefoot; a self-described hillbilly from the mountains of Kentucky. Then a pair of angels appeared to him and instructed him to "build something". ("He had these visions, and he learned to trust them early on," Willis Harman, director of the Institute of Noetic Sciences later said of him.)

  • In 1919, he did indeed build something: he invented the "Hubbard Energy Transformer", an alleged perpetual motion device which garnered nationwide media attention. Hubbard sold half the patent for $75,000 to the Radium Chemical Company of Pittsburgh, PA, after which it was never heard of again.

  • During Prohibition, Hubbard worked for a gang of bootleggers and smugglers in Seattle using a cab driving company as a front. He built a "ship-to-shore communication device" which he concealed in the trunk of his taxicab, to aid him in making liquor runs over the Canadian border. By some accounts, he was caught and went to prison for 18 months, but by other accounts, he had actually been a secret government agent for the Treasury Department all along, infiltrating the smugglers for Uncle Sam. Even if true, Hubbard was possibly playing both sides of the fence as a double agent: his next gig was running security for the Mafia-run Tropicana Hotel in Vegas.

  • Hubbard was approached by the OSS (now the CIA) and offered a job: sneaking war munitions into the U.K. before America had formally entered World War II. Eighteen months before Pearl Harbor, Hubbard became a Canadian citizen as part of his cover, and handled millions of dollars which were laundered through the Canadian consulate and financed OSS/CIA covert operations in Europe.

  • According to researcher Ben Metcalfe in Vancouver Magazine, Hubbard was also involved in the Manhattan Project in some way, probably moving Uranium through Site W.

  • After the war, Hubbard ran a charter boat company, and was now in the habit of referring to himself as "Captain". Captain Hubbard was now a sudden millionaire somehow, and owned an island off the coast of Vancouver called Dayman Island. President Harry Truman granted him a Presidential Pardon via his Proclamation 2676.

    (As if all of this isn't a highly bizarre and improbable-sounding life story already, just wait, it gets weirder...)

  • In 1950, Hubbard experienced another angelic visitation. The angels told him to watch for something very important to the future of all mankind, which would soon make itself known to him. The next year, he heard about Albert Hoffman's experiments with LSD, and became convinced that this was the breakthrough the angels had spoken of.

  • Hubbard became obsessed with LSD, and began a major campaign to promote it as the spiritual cure to all humanity's problems. He introduced thousands of prominent people to it, including Aldous Huxley, Stanley Kubrick, and - so he claimed - the Pope. Reports conflict on whether he did this strictly on his own volition, or as part of the CIA's "MK-ULTRA" mind-control LSD experiments. I'm guessing the latter. (Most of the MK-ULTRA documents were destroyed in 1973 by project chief Sidney Gottlieb and CIA Director Richard Helms.)

  • According to the book Acid Dreams by Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain, Hubbard spent much of the 1960s working for Teledyne, which was a major defense subcontractor, for a secret NASA project that involved testing "psychochemical agents" on astronauts and pilots.

  • Somewhere along the way, Hubbard had acquired a doctorate degree from the University of Kentucky in Lexington, without having actually attended classes. He listed this doctorate as part of his credentials when he went to work for the creepy Stanford Research Institute in the early 1970s. The SRI, which also had MK-ULTRA connections, pioneered the early top-secret military research into paranormal abilities like Remote Viewing. These SRI experiments were headed by some very interesting people like Hal Puthoff, who was also working for that other fellow named Hubbard.

  • After a failed attempt to set up a new LSD-as-cancer-cure experimentation program in 1978, Hubbard became a hermit in a mobile home in the Arizona desert. He died August 31, 1982, at the age of 81.

    What I haven't been able to determine is exactly where in Kentucky Mr. Hubbard was from. Anyone got a clue?

    (Thanks to Todd Brendan Fahey, for his seminal research on 'Captain' Al Hubbard"!)

    Danny said...

    WOW! What a great movie this would make!

    JSH said...

    Yeah really... I've been chewin' on the idea of writing a play about the guy. But in the short space of a play or a movie, it's hard to do justice to someone who's lived ten lives rolled into one. Maybe he needs a whole HBO miniseries...

    Danny said...

    I would be willing to see a documentary on KET or something. This guy just needs some attention.

    christinajade said...

    wonder if he is somehow related to the Hubbards in Paducah?

    be interesting to find out...

    Dave said...

    In the 50's Hubbard was scientific director of the Uranium Corporation of Vancouver, which was rumored to have provided the Manhattan project with it's Uranium.
    As for his involvement with LSD, Hubbard--together with Canadian psychiatrist Abram Hoffer and Dr. Humphry Osmond--pioneered a psychedelic regimen with a recovery rate of between 60% and 70%--far above that of AA or Schick Hospital's so-called "aversion therapy."