From salivating dogs to mass indoctrination: Pavlov’s sinister legacy

When two post-Soviet supermodels committed suicide in the noughties, both throwing themselves off high buildings in New York and Kiev, the trail into what made them so depressed led to a ‘personality development’ organisation in Moscow that offered ‘trainings’ that would help ‘find your truer self’. The moment you entered the dark Stalinist gothic theatre, filled with dozens of other ‘students’, you were under the control of the ‘life coach’. Drawing confusing pictures on a whiteboard, he would talk quickly and loudly about ‘transformation’. Then came days of non-stop psychiatric-style exercises. People went on stage and were instructed to recite their most traumatic past experiences. Some talked about rape, others

When six of her 12 children went mad, Mimi Galvin did her best to make to light of it

Don Galvin and Mimi Blayney married in December 1944. It was a shotgun wedding. They had been high school sweethearts. Just before Don was about to be shipped out to join the fighting in the South Pacific, Mimi called from New York to say she was pregnant. A rushed wedding across the Mexican border in Tijuana followed: a not uncommon wartime story. But Mimi’s pregnancy turned out to be the first of a dozen, each accompanied by severe morning sickness. Between 1945 and 1965, a procession of children arrived, ten boys and then, at last, even after Mimi’s gynaecologist had warned that further pregnancies might prove life-threatening, came two girls.