I’ve actually made people saner and ruined a whole series of experiments at Oak Knoll. They were taking Japanese prisoners of war and they were working them over with the administration of hormones. And they were trying to find out if hormones would bring them back to battery, you know, so that they could eat and so on. They had been starved so that when they began to eat they became very fat and food didn’t do them any good; they were merely hectic on the situation. Food had become quite unreal to them. And these boys were in pretty bad shape after years in Jap prison camps on rice and almost never even any fish.
And I used to catch these boys, every once in a while, because I was in a ward and a line officer can always take off one collar ornament in the navy and he automatically becomes a staff officer. In other words, you needn’t falsify your insignia; all you have to do is become forgetful.
I remember how I got in the medical library there; I saw a marine on crutches outside the door and I said to the marine, “Come in in a couple of minutes and say, ‘How are things going today, Doctor?'” and gave him a wink. And marines are usually prone to play tricks and that sort of thing and he didn’t even quite know what the joke was but he was perfectly willing to play the joke. I walked in and stood at the desk of the head librarian who was guardian of the library.
The library is divided into two sections; the general section and then the medical section. Well, nobody was allowed in the medical section except the hospital doctors. And so the marine came by in a couple of minutes and said, “How are things going today, Doctor? I feel much better. Do you think we’ll have to operate?” And I said, “Oh, undoubtedly we’ll have to operate.” And he said, “Well that’s sad,” and gave me the wink and walked on. And the librarian looked at me more fixedly and saw I was only wearing one collar ornament. Obvious. And I said, “I think I’ll go into the library today.” She said, “All right, sir.” They don’t call patients “sir” no matter what their rank is, see. I went on into the medical library and studied there for the next year.
But anyway – the barriers of this universe aren’t as solid as they appear sometimes.
Anyway, I used to get ahold of patients who were part of this experimental series on hormone administration. And a doctor there whose name was the incredible name of Yankeewitz – and he and I were good friends and he’d show me the records once in a while and expostulate and so forth. And I’d pick up, quick like a bunny, names on those who were showing no gain in metabolism. You know? I’d make it my business to look them up and sit down on a bench on the hospital lawn, you know, and quick slip them some analysis, and I could change his records. In other words, analysis could change his records but hormones couldn’t. Ruined his theories; he didn’t know what was happening after a while. I never let him in on it. Oak Knoll had a lot of research projects going – that was Oak Knoll Naval Hospital. In view of the fact I wasn’t sick, I was just banged up, why, I had a ball.1
- Hubbard, L. R. (1958, 23 July). Special Effect Cases, Anatomy Of – Question And Answer Period. Twentieth American Advanced Clinical Course, (20ACC-16). Lecture conducted from Washington, DC. ↩