Back in the day, drugs like LSD were new and exciting and seemingly full of potential. The U.S. and British armies thought that these new drugs could have use in warfare (presumably on the bad guys, since a man's accuracy with a machine gun tends to actually drop several notches when he's tripping balls).
So, they recruited their own soldiers to indulge in huge amounts of acid and weed in order to monitor the effects.
"Her interest in Bob Marley appears to have doubled since last week."
The Harsh Reality
A word of advice, if anyone ever walks up to you and says, "Hey, mind if I test this on you to see if it would make a good weapon?" fucking run.
It doesn't matter if they're gripping a handful of marshmallows. Kick rocks, immediately, because something horrible is about to happen. In this case, one of the theories the military wanted to test was that you could feed your own recruits enough drugs to drive them to suicide. And they weren't giving them the recreational stuff; we're talking military weapons grade hallucinogens.
The military insists nobody suffered long-term harm from the experiment, though their files indicate one guy talked with imaginary friends for days at a time and another played with invisible kittens for hours. If that second one doesn't sound so bad, imagine how he felt when he sobered up and realized that he had no kittens. The main thing the military wanted to know was if soldiers could still fight under the influence of LSD, and determined that, yes, tripping soldiers were still capable of violence. We're thinking there was probably no pleasant way to find that out.
Just a bad trip.
Also, some soldiers sued the military years later, claiming the government-issue LSD caused them memory loss, hallucinations and "homicidal urges." The courts ruled against them, on the basis that if some dudes ask you to drop a ton of acid so they can see what happens to you, and you say yes, you deserve what you get.
What if some guys handed you $100,000, on the condition that they get to film what happens to you next? And what if you were living under a bridge at the time?
The crew of the documentary Reversal of Fortune planted a suitcase filled with 100 grand for homeless man Ted Rodrigue to find, and followed him around with a camera to document the results. Initially, Ted did exactly what the rest of us would do if someone gave us $100,000. He bought a new bicycle, picked up Mike from down at the local recycling plant and hit the fucking amusement park.
This may also have involved corn dogs.
Oh, he also found a place to live, got back in touch with his family and landed a girlfriend. We'd probably do that stuff too, but after the amusement park.
The Harsh Reality
As we have previously mentioned, people who have been poor for years get pretty good at it. You make minimum wage, you live like you make minimum wage. If you're homeless, you adjust to life on the street.
But give a homeless guy a shit ton of money, and he doesn't continue to live like a homeless guy. But he doesn't live like a guy with $100,000, either. He tries to live like a millionaire, because he has no idea what living on 100 grand looks like.
Maybe consider other investments.
People who are used to having that much money don't go buying cars for their friends and new girlfriends nor do they spend all of their free time getting shitfaced at local bars. But that's exactly what Ted did. And they tend to hold down jobs, which Ted steadfastly refused to do despite being advised to find one by friends, family, a homeless advocate and a financial planner. In Ted's words, he was "set for life."
After buying himself a $35,000 truck, buying additional cars for his new girlfriend and Mike from the recycling plant (you probably thought we made that guy up) and spending close to $10,000 per week at the bar, Ted had less than $5,000 left after just six months.
Of course that was just one homeless guy. You'd obviously handle that opportunity more responsibly, right? Nope, probably not. It turns out even well adjusted, middle class lotto winners go through the exact same stuff before ultimately losing everything and winding up worse off than before.
Still, they got a great documentary out of it. And we assume Ted got to keep that sweet bicycle. The rest of us however learned the valuable lesson that giving us a sudden chunk of wealth is a bit like giving a dog a helicopter. It's awesome for a few minutes, then everything goes to hell.
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To learn about more scientists maliciously fucking with other people, check out 5 Psychological Experiments That Prove Humanity is Doomed and The 10 Craziest Scientific Experiments Ever Conducted.
And stop by our Top Picks (Updated 4.5.10) our resident psychiatrist, Seanbaby, at work.