The origins of the Shadow Garden are found in the early days of the Central Intelligence Agency. Only a few weeks after the CIA was officially formed, a memo (reproduced below) was issued by the National Security Council – also a newly created body1 – establishing an unnamed group to coordinate intelligence gathering about “unconventional threats” to the United States. This group would eventually become known as The Shadow Garden, according to my source, Mr. Friend.
It is not clear exactly what is considered an “unconventional threat.” Mr. Friend has not provided any explanation; however, It is provocative that “extra-terrestrial” is listed as one possible threat. Does that mean that aliens exist? Was the government concerned that aliens might exist and wanted a covert intelligence group trained to handle possible alien incursions? There is precedent for this. The history of the twentieth century is littered with government projects that investigated UFO sightings. For example, the United States Air Force ran Projects Sign, Grudge and Blue Book. Each was established to collect information on UFO sightings and, in most cases, try to provide mundane explanations for the reports they collected. Is the Shadow Garden a CIA version of these public programs? And what are the threats that are redacted?
Also of interest is the inclusion of “thaumaturgic” research and training. Thaumaturgy is another term for magic. Does magic exist? While the mention of extraterrestrials might be there to address a potential threat, the context that thaumaturgy is mentioned in indicates that it is something known to exist.
It is clear from the document that the government has had a long term interest in “unconventional threats.” The fact that elements of other agencies are being folded incorporated into the Shadow Garden is proof of this. None of these other organizations can be found in public sources. For example, 2nd Special Service Force (2SSF) is not mentioned in history books. The name indicates that it is a sister unit to the 1st Special Services Force (1SSF), a joint US-Canadian special forces team that operated during World War Two. It does not appear in any official documents from the Second World War. However, there are a few hints that 2SSF – or at least some unit associated with 1SSF – was active during World War Two. In his autobiography Life In The Devil’s Brigade, Major John Taylor (Canadian Army) wrote;
“During our operations in Italy, there were times when other units with a similar mission to ours would be called in. While we were fighting around Monte Cassino, we had to call in a specialist team to deal with German holdouts in the tunnels of the monastery. They were some odd fellows, but they got the job done.”
While this could reference another, more mundane special forces team, other documents obtained by this author indicate that these specialists were not called in to fight Germans and may well have been 2SSF. More about that in a future post.
The Shadow Garden may be part of a disinformation campaign. There is precedence in the history of US government-public relations. The decades of denial surrounding the reported crash of an alien spaceship at Roswell, New Mexico, eventually gave way to the revelation that this was part of a top secret nuclear weapons monitoring program, Project Mogul. While the purpose of an elaborate – and, at first glance, ludicrous – disinformation or psychological warfare campaign based around The Shadow Garden is unclear, the possibility can’t be ruled out. It would be better for all of us if this turns out to be a government orchestrated hoax.
If it is not, the implications are staggering and terrifying.
1. Both were formed on 18 September, 1947 as part of the National Security Act.