A lot of our knowledge about “truth serums” comes from covert projects run by the CIA as reported in this New York Times article.
One particular (so called) truth serum, Sodium Amytal, made its way into pop culture history when it was alleged that Michael Jackson’s 1993 accuser may have been administered Sodium Amytal in order to obtain an accusation against Jackson. This was first reported in a GQ article written in 1994, but also subsequently in other publications. See here. If true, truth serums such as Sodium Amytal are very dangerous as they can be used by a perpetrator to obtain a false accusation. And these days, all you need is an accusation (false or otherwise) to take down any individual (at the very least to destroy their reputation forever).
What makes the allegation above believable, in my opinion, is that a recording obtained by one of Michael Jackson’s private investigators was published by various news outlets in the 1990’s. In the recording, it clearly sounds like someone was trying to set Michael Jackson up for a masterful shake down. You can hear parts of the recording in this video:
Personally, having cross examined many people at various stages in my lifetime (no, I am not an attorney, but I have certainly displayed my cross examining prowess in Court, too, to the demise of my adversary), I can personally attest that it does not take a lot for someone’s memory to be altered and/or to convince someone to tell a lie under oath. I do not think you need a mind altering drug such as sodium amytal. I think there are a few key ingredients that are required for someone to either have their memory altered and/or for you to get someone to willingly tell a lie under oath:
1. You need a very evil lawyer. Evil lawyers are a dime a dozen. In fact, one private investigator who was briefing me (and my lawyer at the time) on an investigation relating to a personal matter, once told me that he did not know of any “good” lawyers. The investigator who said this was working as a police officer during the day and he stated that after working for lawyers as an investigator for over 15 years, he had never seen even one lawyer that was not corrupt and he told me to let him know if I ever find one that was honest or decent. Evil lawyers know exactly what to say and what to do to get someone to lie under oath. Judges are nothing more than glorified lawyers who wear a robe. And like the lawyers they serve, they are evil too. I think I have mentioned this before, but I will say it again: DO NOT PUT YOUR FAITH IN EARTHLY LAWYERS OR JUDGES!
2. The target you want to shakedown has to have some amount of money. It does not take a lot, but some monetary value must be gained or extracted from the target. This is essential for the evil lawyer.
3. The person you want to train as a liar should be either a natural born liar, be of a very low self esteem, have brain/memory problems and/or be very gullible. It would be to your advantage for all of these forces to be working in your favor, if you want to groom a false accusation. Greed is also very essential.
Also, based upon the McMartin Preschool trial, it appears that children may also be very susceptible to making false accusations. Watch this YouTube video to learn more about the McMartin case: