Project MKUltra was a program created by the Central Intelligence Agency for the purpose of researching and developing drugs and procedures for interrogation and mind control. Several of these procedures have been deemed illegal, particularly the ones that experimented on subjects without their knowledge or consent.
In Outlast's universe, a branch of the program was established in the 1950s and operated at the Mount Massive Asylum until its closure in the 1970s and is also the focus point behind The Outlast Trials.
One of the Special Research at MKUltra in the early 1950s, "Bluebird", was centered around human behavioral researches through hypnotic and sleep induction techniques, to be applied to war and agency matters. Patients admitted to Mount Massive Asylum were subjected to those tests, for example changing the behavior of one patient to commit homicide on another while erasing his or her memories after the act. Those experiments remained secrets and the patients checked by the medical staff.
In 1957, MKUltra explored the potential use of psychochemicals to influence behaviors during political action operations. Afterwards, reports from project WALRIDER and the autopsy of past test subjects revealed the use of heavy psychochemical dosage, which fell into the program's objectives. In 1958, a budget was requested from the Technical Services Division of the agency to pursue the researches of Dr. Rudolf Wernicke (at this time doing research at Los Alamos).
Eventually, a scandal on the researches of MKUltra at Mount Massive erupted and led to the closure of the asylum in 1971. However, their researches were took over decades later by Murkoff Corporation and their Psychiatric Systems branch. Mount Massive Asylum was then reopened in 2009 under the guise of a charitable work, in order to pursue Project Walrider to develop Wernicke's Morphogenic Engine, while using the patients as an unlimited resource of test subjects.