Category Archives: Hidden History

May 13, 2017

Cary Grant: how 100 acid trips in Tinseltown ‘changed my life’

At the height of his fame, Cary Grant turned to LSD therapy for help. He later claimed the drug saved him, but did it also spell the end of his career?

In the late 1950s, at the height of his fame, Cary Grant set off on a trip in search of his true self, unpicking the myth he had spent three decades perfecting. He tried hypnosis and yoga and felt that they both came up short. So he began dropping acid and claimed to have found inner peace. “During my LSD sessions, I would learn a great deal,” he would later remark. “And the result was a rebirth. I finally got where I wanted to go.”

Grant’s adventures in psychedelia – an estimated 100 sessions, spanning the years 1958-1961 – provide the basis for Becoming Cary Grant, a fascinating documentary that plays at next week’s Cannes film festival. It’s a film that takes its lead from Grant himself, undressing and probing the star of North by Northwest to the point where the very title risks feeling like a red herring. “Like all documentary makers, we started out looking at the construction of Cary Grant,” says producer Nick Ware. “But we ended up deconstructing him through the LSD sessions.”

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May 3, 2017

‘White Devils’: Muhammad Ali’s Racist Mosque Speeches Revealed

FBI files detailing speeches delivered by heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali in American mosques in the 1960s show a different, more racist and radical face of the famed sportsman. The speeches feature Ali calling whites “crackers” and “white devils,” and telling black congregants that blacks want to be segregated from whites.

The speeches, which were released after a Freedom of Information Act request by Washington watchdog group Judicial Watch, revealed that Ali had far more radical views about race than his more benign public persona might have led people to believe.

Not only did Ali thunder that the 1964 civil rights act was a “swindle” on blacks, he also went on to excoriate whites, calling them “blue-eyed devil white people,” and insisting that “the so-called Negro is the original man and is superior to the white devil.”

The FBI files show that Ali told a crowd at a Washington D.C. mosque that he preferred “dying outright” or going to jail than going into the U.S. Army. In another speech delivered at a Cleveland mosque, Ali said the American flag “represented death and destruction,” but the so-called “Muslim flag” represents “life and prosperity, justice for all black men.”

According to the FBI reports, the groups Ali spoke to were congregations of the Nation of Islam, an extremist hate group the FBI defined as an “all-Negro, quasi-religious organization which espouses a line of violent hatred of the white race, Government, law and law enforcement.” The Nation of Islam is highly anti-Semitic and teaches its followers that whites will all be killed in a coming “War of Armageddon.”

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May 1, 2017

The Truth About Muhammad Ali and the Draft

His refusal to serve wasn’t motivated by conscience, but by fear of being killed by the Nation of Islam.

On April 28, 1967, Muhammad Ali —then still known to many by his birth name, Cassius Clay —reported to Local Board No. 61 in Houston for induction into the U.S. armed forces. The 25-year-old heavyweight champion spent the morning filling out forms and receiving a physical exam. In the afternoon, when his name was called, he did not step forward. He wrote down his reason: “I refuse to be inducted into the armed forces of the United States because I claim to be exempt as a minister of the religion of Islam.” He meant the Nation of Islam, the black separatist organization headed by Elijah Muhammad, also known as the Messenger.

Ali was swiftly convicted of draft evasion, a felony. Remaining free while his lawyers pursued appeals, he became a generational flashpoint—a reliable gauge of political views on the Vietnam War.

For every athlete who wishes to “make a statement” today, and plenty do, no exemplar looms larger than Ali. He paid a steep price for his stand: Spurning due process, boxing commissions stripped him of his title and banned him from the sport for 3½ years. This meant losing millions of dollars in the prime of his career.

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March 26, 2017

How a Soviet mole united Tito and Churchill

Secret reports on one of the most controversial British undercover operations of the Second World War are to be released on Monday, showing that a Soviet spy may have been responsible for the British switching support to Tito’s forces in the former Yugoslavia.

The documents, including transcripts of secret wartime signals to London, are being released by the Public Records Office. They will show evidence of the role played by James Klugmann – the Soviet mole who converted the British spy, Donald Maclean, to Communism – in switching British allegiance from a Yugoslav royalist resistance leader called Mihailovich to Tito, at a critical point in the Second World War.

By switching support to Tito’s forces, the Special Operations Executive (SOE) helped to force the German retreat, but it cost Mihailovich his life – he was executed after the war as a collaborator – and ensured that the former Yugoslavia remained a Communist state under Tito’s control.

SOE spies who fought in the Balkans included the former Tory MP Julian Amery. Other famous names who flit in and out of the tales of SOE derring- do and duplicity in the region included Paddy Leigh Fermor and Major Anthony Quayle, the screen actor.

Rupert Allason, author of spy books under the pen name Nigel West, and a former Tory MP, said the real issue raised by the papers was the reason for the British Government’s backing of Tito. Nothing had been known about Tito – Fitzroy Maclean, a British agent, thought he was a woman – and the Government became convinced that Mihailovich was a collaborator with the Germans – something the “Ultra” code intercepts showed to be untrue.

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March 14, 2017

The Real Planet of the Apes (Documentary)

Our crew traveled to remote Liberia to discover ‘Monkey Island,’ an area inhabited solely by former lab tested chimpanzees who survived disease and two civil wars. We go to the island, interview the locals and meet the scientists involved in the testing facility 25 years ago.

March 13, 2017

The Dark Art of Hedge Funds (Video)

The pioneers of the hedge-fund industry changed Wall Street. By placing at times brilliant bets in the market they gained considerable personal wealth, but according to New Yorker staff writer Sheelah Kolhatkar, an outsize influence on society too. She joins The Agenda to discuss the seven-year investigation into Steven A. Cohen, one of the industry’s biggest success stories, and her book, “The Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street.”

March 12, 2017

History Buffs: Apollo 13 (Video)

Apollo 13 is a 1995 American docudrama space adventure film directed by Ron Howard. The film stars Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, and Ed Harris. The screenplay by William Broyles, Jr., and Al Reinert, that dramatizes the aborted 1970 Apollo 13 lunar mission, is an adaptation of the book Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13 by astronaut Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger. The film depicts astronauts Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise aboard Apollo 13 for America’s third Moon landing mission. En route, an on-board explosion deprives their spacecraft of most of its oxygen supply and electric power, forcing NASA’s flight controllers to abort the Moon landing, and turning the mission into a struggle to get the three men home safely.

March 11, 2017

History Buffs: Goodfellas

Goodfellas is often regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, both in the crime genre and in general. The film ranks #6 on Empire magazine’s 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time. In 2000, the film was deemed “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant” and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the United States Library of Congress. Its content and style have been emulated in numerous other films and television shows.

February 11, 2017

WW2: The Real Story of the Bridge on the River Kwai (Documentary)

The story takes place during the World War II when Japan declared war with the world. Japan strategically used Thailand as a base of operations …

January 31, 2017

What Caused the Maya Collapse? Archaeologists Uncover New Clues

The growth of the great Mayan civilization is as much a mystery as its disappearance.

Scientists have long wondered what exactly happened in the ninth century A.D., when the flourishing Maya civilization in Mesoamerica fell into what would be a permanent decline, its once-great cities reclaimed by jungle. More recent research revealed the Maya also experienced an earlier collapse, in the second century, about which scientists know even less. In a new study, based on the largest set of radiocarbon dates ever obtained from a single Maya site, a team of researchers argues that both collapses were preceded by similar patterns, as waves of social instability, warfare and political crises swept over the civilization and caused it to deteriorate.

For more than a decade, a team led by researchers from the University of Arizona has been working at the archaeological site of Ceibal in northern Guatemala. After assembling a record-setting 154 radiocarbon dates, the researchers have been able to develop a highly precise chronology that illuminates the patterns that led up to the two collapses that the Maya civilization experienced: the Preclassic collapse, in the second century A.D., and the more well-known Classic collapse some seven centuries later.

One of the most dominant civilizations in Mesomerica, the Maya reached their peak around the sixth century A.D., constructing impressive stone cities and making advances in agriculture, calendar-making and mathematics, among other fields. But by A.D. 900, those great stone cities were mostly abandoned. Theories about what caused the Classic Maya collapse have ranged from overpopulation to ongoing military conflict between competing city-states to some catastrophic environmental event, such as an intense drought—or some combination of all of those factors.

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