At the time of the Prague Papers mission (1975), he was resident in the Kirlian Institute, Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan, and ran a special group of psychics.
Tall, powerfully built and big-boned, he was the antithesis of the common image of a scientist. He was a manipulative man, without compassion.
He possessed a sallow complexion, a sickly yellow; he blamed it on not getting the right food, even with all his privileges. He had hooded eyes, coloured pale, yellowish brown and flaring nostrils and a long nose. His hair was the shade and consistency of straw and always untidy.
In the Kirlian Institute of Alma-Ata, the capital of Kazakhstan, Professor Bublyk paced the control room. Through the glass wall he could observe an adjoining room occupied by six men and four women, all of them sitting at desks. He smiled on them, his best students: The Group. They were all wearing headsets connected to an array of large cumbersome computers and clinical monitors. The men wore drab uniform gray coveralls while the women were dressed in clay-brown skirts and shirts.
Deep crease-lines in his forehead betrayed his worry about next year’s appropriations.
It was annoying but every time they sent an inspection team, he had to recount the history of mind control. As if the idiots understood even a fraction of what he told them!
‘The history of mind control began with our experiments carried out by Pavlov in the Thirties to modify behavior,’ he would say. ‘While the salivating dog experiments were the most well-known, they were merely the precursor.’
Indeed. The precursor to more sinister work. Lenin made Pavlov a ‘guest’ at the Kremlin for about three months until the scientist had completed a special report, relating his research to human beings rather than dogs. Pavlov’s manuscript never left the Kremlin and it laid the groundwork for NKVD brainwashing techniques such as sleep deprivation, systematic beatings and verbal indoctrination. Brain damage, Pavlovian conditioning, hypnosis, sensory stimulation, ‘black psychiatry’ and ‘mind cleansing’ were all employed to subvert the will of perceived enemies of the state.
And as Bublyk was at pains to point out, ‘the ultimate brainwashing tool is the actual invasion of another person’s mind with yours.’ That was the motherland’s version of the Holy Grail.
In the Fifties, when Bublyk first entered para-psychological research, funds were scarce, as most of the work was done without the Stalinists being aware of it. Thankfully for him, the Stalinist taboo was lifted in the early Sixties, and he finally saw funding at last become plentiful because both the KGB and the GRU leaders hoped to harness psychic energy as another weapon in their arsenal.
Bublyk explained with justified pride, ‘It was Russian sleep research that detected the theta state of consciousness, which is found in dreaming sleep.’ This seemed to be somehow linked to psychic awareness. If this theta state could be augmented, they would have psychic spies – or even mind-assassins. To many of his listeners it seemed far-fetched, but the potential from success, no matter how remote, meant that rubles were diverted to this new branch of research.
The Sixties were a golden time for him and those years promised much, with experiments in submarines and in space, but deliverables were scarce. It was an inexact science, prey to mood, to environment and doubtless planetary influences for all Bublyk knew.
Now, halfway through this new decade, all the pressures were building up and cracks were appearing in the structure of the State. Yuri Andropov, the head of the KGB, was asking awkward questions. He wanted results to combat the Americans. Even members of the Politburo were becoming dissatisfied, though not within the hearing of Brezhnev and his informers.
The party tricks with cards were long gone. Psychical research had come a long way, Bublyk mused, eyeing in particular Karel Yakunin, their star psychic. Yakunin’s good looks and dark wavy hair transcended the drabness of his regulation clothing.
Bublyk smiled, recalling only last night when his mind roamed the dormitories and found Yakunin bedding little Raisa, the flaxen-haired Estonian psychic now sitting at the back of the room. Their coupling was against Bublyk’s regulations, as he believed sexual activity drained the psychic forces – a credo shared by oriental mystics. Yet he had not reported or disciplined them as he had to admit to quite enjoying being a voyeur.
Now, The Group was capable of distance viewing, of projecting thoughts into minds in other lands or of detecting other people’s thoughts in enemy countries. It was arduous work. Some of them suffered rapid weight-loss and heart-strain due to the exertion. Last year, two adepts died. It was no accident that the theta state was so named after the eighth letter of the Greek alphabet, suggesting a sign of doom – thanatos, the ‘death’ sign on the ballots used in voting on a sentence of life or death in ancient Greece.
And, Bublyk reflected, they still had a lot to learn. The prospects were good, but the funding committee wanted solid repeatable results, quantifiable answers. Damned bean counters! If only the measuring apparatus was up to the task!
At that moment, a buzzer jerked Bublyk out of his reverie. The light was on over Yakunin’s name – he’d detected someone!
Bublyk quickly scanned today’s roster and noted Yakunin was covering Czechoslovakia.
On November 26, The Prague Papers are released. This book is published by Crooked Cat. It is based on a manuscript handed to me by an MI6 agent, Alan Swann. It needed some knocking into shape, as it had been a collaborative effort by a select group of agents, all intent on telling the story of Tana Standish, psychic spy, whose career spanned 1965 to 1988. They asked that her story be told as fiction.
As a result, the forthcoming novel The Prague Papers is the first adventure to feature Tana Standish and is mainly set in Czechoslovakia in 1975.
Certain information was divulged in order for me to write the book; yet some has been concealed to date. This is the second secret file to be released ahead of the book. Others will follow.