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Psychotronic mind games

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These links were culled from McMurtrey's paper; for a full list, refer to him

Applied Physiology paper on auditory influence via EM waves
Bioelectromagnetics paper on auditory responses to pulsed radio waves
American Psychologist paper on microwaves and behavior
NASA study on low-power microwave influence on rat crania
Hearing aid based on microwaves
Pentagon contract paper on communication via the microwave auditory effect
Pentagon's 'non-lethal ray' raises health concerns
Holosonic Research Labs
Through-the-wall surveillance
Cell phone effects on the brain
Brain wave recognition of words, Proceedings of the National Aacademy of Sciences
Brain wave recognition of sentences, Proc of Nat Acad of Sciences
Sine wave superposition and brain wave representation of words, Proc Nat Acad of Sciences
Machines that read minds, Science Digest
Prosthetic control via an EEG-computer interface
Adaptive brain interfaces, Communications of the ACM
Targeting of humans with directed energy weapons, English version of a German paper
Advances in neuroscience raise human rights concern, Nature
Microwave harassment and mind control experiments
Subliminal influence via silent sound
McMurtrey's paper, updated from time to time, can be found at Christians Against Mental Slavery
Allen B. Barker, a neural network expert and computer scientist, maintains an excellent web site on mind control

[April 2002] -- People with reputations to safeguard dodge the subject of psychotronic weapons as if it were as far beyond the pale of responsible journalistic and scientific discourse as is the subject of UFOs.

Ergo, psychotronic weaponry is a delusion.***

Never mind that there was a bill in Congress that would ban space-based psychotronic weapons. Why would Dennis Kucinich* think of inserting such a provision under the 'exotic' arms category? Perhaps it has something to do with the time the Soviets were beaming an electromagnetic signal at a bandwidth reputedly known to have psychoactive influence on the human nervous system.


Kucinich wasn't so kooky after all. An October 2003 report from the Dutch Economics Ministry found that radio waves covering a mobile phone district affect cognitive functions, boosting memory and response times among people close enough to the transmitter. The study, done by TNO, found that the radio waves broadcast to current second-generation European phones and those waves to be used for third-generation phones --which have rapid data-transfer capabilities-- both affected cognitive functions. The study also found that third-generation signals had a significant impact, including tingling sensations, nausea and headaches.


A monkey just thinks, a system of electrodes detects the thought, and, voila!, a robot-arm moves, Darpa-funded researchers at Duke and MIT announced in October 2003.

Actually, Anthony J. Tether, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, unveiled the breakthrough in a little-noticed speech last year. Darpa was rushing pell-mell to develop a thought-controlled robot warrior, he said. 'Imagine a warrior with the intellect of a human and the immortality of a machine controlled by our thoughts,' Tether said. 'The genie is out of the bottle on this possibility' of thought-guided weapons, he said. 'The nation that first gains this possibility will dominate.'

The thought-control device works by detecting a specific pattern of electrical activity in the brain and translating that into a signal to the robot's motor system.

In other words, the scientists have discovered that patterns of electrical activity can be identified as thoughts or intentions.

Tether did not announce, but we may take for granted, that Darpa will also focus on means of stimulating electrical patterns in the brain that replicate thoughts. The idea would be for the target to mistake the imputed thoughts for his own.

In fact, as this essay shows, it is highly probable that the CIA, the Pentagon and defense contractors have been long hard at work on covert behavior manipulation via electronic means.

However, what is likely to be developed here is the fine-tuning of mental manipulation capabilities. Instead of being able to simply impute some emotional reaction, such as fear or anger, by electronic means, the possibility arises of false thought-intentions such as 'You want to leave the room' being directly imputed.

No doubt military researchers will catalogue electrical patterns from many persons in order to identify patterns common to many. Possibly, someone sitting at a Darpa computer could type in the thoughts he wants a target to have and the computer could use a set of signals to broadcast to the target's brain.

A partial antidote to such machinations is that now non-defense scientists will be mobilized in a scientific-technical gold rush to come up with means of encoding and decoding human thought. Hence, the technical community is likely to come up with publicly available countermeasures to psychotronic weapons.


Remote Behavioral Influence Technology (December 2003), a paper by John J. McMurtrey, a microbiologist, gives an excellent review of non-classified literature on the subject of electronic mind control. (pdf). Also found at. (html). His email:

Included in the paper is a fascinating discussion on the use of advanced EEG analysis for reading of verbal thoughts.

After McMurtrey published his paper, the Air Force limited internet access to a paper on non-lethal weaponry and a Pentagon contractor's page on long-range acoustic devices vanished.


The Soviet Union's vast germ war program reportedly included the study of bio-weapons for inducing mood alteration, according to the book "Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War" (Simon and Schuster 2001) by Judith Miller, Stephen Engelberg and William Broad, all New York Times reporters.

The "Bonfire" program, conducted at the Biopreparat germ war center, focused on bio-weapons that manipulate peptides, the short chain of amino acids that send signals to the nervous system, the writers said.

Can you imagine the use of such a biological agent in tandem with, say, a device for making a person "hear voices" (described elsewhere on this site)?

This is reminiscent of the time in the 1970s when the Soviets bathed the U.S. embassy in powerful microwave radiation.

Kucinich's awareness may also have been raised by an article by retired Lt. Col. Timothy H. Thomas in, Parameters, the Army War College quarterly, on the high plausibility of psychotronic weapons that are either neurologically incapacitating or that introduce subliminal commands into a target's neuro-system.

The best article on such weaponry appeared in the July 7, 1997 edition of U.S. News and World Report. Reporter Douglas Pasternak read a sheaf of research studies and interviewed scores of people for his article Wonder Weapons.

Pasternak spoke to Eldon Byrd, who ran the Marine Corps Nonlethal Electromagnetic Weapons project from 1980 to 1983. His project was shut down and, he suspects, 'went black' after he discovered that he could trigger the release of behavior-altering chemicals in animal brains through bombardment with very low frequency electromagnetic radiation.

Large amounts of opioids were released in chick brains; he used low-power magnetic fields to release histamines in rat brains.

Secret research may well have shown how to release sleep-inducing chemicals in human brains in amounts liable to produce a trance-like state. Targets would then be vulnerable to psychological manipulation by hypnotic suggestion, perhaps in the form of a soft voice 'thrown' by an acoustic device, which makes a hearer perceive a sound as coming from point B when the device is at point A (in other words, an acutely engineered echo).**

'Mind-bending' technology was seemingly available by the mid-1980s, when the FBI was so severely compromised by the Soviets that it was effectively a cat's

paw for the KGB. So then, who would stop foreign agents from turning such weaponry on Americans they sought to discredit or otherwise harm?

The Webster report, issued in April 2002, portrays an internal security system only a mole could love. That slipshod security has been left that way for decades, despite repeated warnings.

Sounds like Los Alamos or the pre-Ames CIA. Yet, the report notes that the FBI paid no heed to security debacles at other federal intelligence units. Collectively, many red moles are thought to have slipped the net, the report says.

Treason is a far more common problem than is generally supposed, with the report citing Pentagon records of some 80 cases over the last decade of treasonous activity among employees of the federal government or of government contractors.

A useful web site devoted to collecting information on psychotronic and other mind control techniques is run by Cheryl Welsh. Though not everything on this site can be taken seriously, it contains much useful information. For example, the 'Timeline' page includes serious journalistic discussion of an apparent Soviet experiment broadcasting a psychotronic signal that might affect millions of people, perhaps tending to make them depressed or irritable.

See also Syer on that site.

Though linked to a kooky site, the essay here on the CIA's MK Ultra mind control program is a relatively accurate synopsis.

Dr. Jose Delgado was a neuroscientist once noted for his work on using electronic impulses to the brain in order to induce specific behaviors. There has been much work done since that time in this area.

Now suppose intelligence agents wished to affect human behavior without the subject realizing what was going on? Remote-controlled electrical impulses might be the answer.

It seems highly improbable that some outfit like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) or the CIA's technical division wasn't working on such devices, taking full advantage of the latest advances in nano-technology.

Let's not forget the sometimes powerful "strobe effect." In his book 'Sync' (Hyperion/Theia 2003), mathematician Steven Strogatz tells of hundreds of Japanese children who were sickened, some to the point of vomiting and even seizures, while watching a "Pokemon" episode on Dec. 16, 1997. Viewers were subjected to a bright white explosion followed by brilliant red, white and blue lights that flashed like a strobe, 12 times a second, for five seconds. One 14-year-old sitting less than three feet from his big-screen TV fell unconscious for more than half an hour.

Strogatz says the strobe pulses evidently triggered attacks of photosensitive epilepsy, a rare disorder that has become more common as television and video games have proliferated. The exact cause of the disorder is unknown but it is thought to result from brain waves being entrained (synchronized) by flickering light, causing brain neurons to misfire in lockstep.

Strogatz notes that that hypothesis is consistent with the observation that the most dangerous frequencies are between 15 and 20 cycles per second, just a bit faster than the brain's alpha rhythm.

Clearly, such a weapon would be unreliable since it would only affect some targets. However, one can be sure that various secret weapons agencies have looked into the strobe effect and have checked to see whether it can be fine-tuned to reach more people or to induce other than spasmodic reactions.

On May 1, 2002 (GMT+1), NewScientist published a report on 'robo-rats' controlled by three electrodes.' The university study was sponsored by DARPA. The implication might be that DARPA is only now getting to rather primitive brain control technology. But, the agency may have desired to control the research while concealing from the researchers classified developments that might supersede their work.

As of May 9, 2002, New Scientist reported that the National Academy of Scientists had snatched from public view public records on nonlethal weapons projects it was studying. Among projects concealed retroactively were several that pointed to psychotronic capabilities, including a proposal to use an intense electromagnetic field to daze targets and make them lose control of voluntary body functions. The web address of the Pentagon's Joint Nonlethal Weapons Task Force has been disabled.

In the real world, no intelligence honcho is going to turn down the power of being able to disable an adversary silently and easily. Imagine having the ability to make a driver have a spasm while negotiating a dangerous turn. Of course, a sophisticated adversary has a surveillance signal detector, though it might not be enough of a countermeasure.

On the other hand, many persons, such as activists and journalists, have no such protections.

OF COURSE, there is no easy way to prove that such devices have been used against Americans. But, for years, we were told that the fears of red penetration of the CIA and the FBI were overblown. And then Ames and Hanssen were smoked out.

As the Hanssen matter demonstrates, the FBI was under heavy communist influence during its investigation of the TWA Flight 800 disaster. Among skeptics of the official line that the plane blew up accidentally is Admiral Thomas Moorer, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The human tendency to assume that one is in control of one's actions greatly helps users of psychotronic and other behavior-influencing weaponry and techniques. A person who has been prompted to take a particular action, when asked why he did it, may give a list of credible reasons -- that he himself believes -- for his action, even though he was actually prodded by some unconscious stimulus. Hence, a victim will have a strong tendency to deny being manipulated. Such a lack of comprehension of one's true motives is a well-known psychological phenomenon, of course.

When a person says, 'I have decided to do X', what does that mean? The decision to enact X, in many if not all cases, HAS ALREADY BEEN MADE by the brain before that decision reaches consciousness. When a person says, 'I have decided...,' he is not so much deciding as listening to the brain's verbalization of its unconscious decision. In addition, he may give reasons for this decision which are not threatening to his sense of self but which are not the underlying cause. (On the other hand, it may be possible that the reasons he tells himself are fairly accurate verbalizations of the underlying causes.)

A very serious potential terrorist threat to America is the use of subliminal imagery on computer screens. As Thomas points out, research into such a weapon has stirred interest in Russia.

Suppose a fleeting image is inserted into computer work station programs, such that it appears 'every 25th screen' or some such number. If this image is designed to induce a fear response, the user may experience an increased sense of anxiety, depression or anger. If such a program pervaded the internet, millions might be victimized. And such attacks can be made to pervade the net through hacker programs similar to net viruses.

This form of subliminal influence works through a process known as backward masking (not the playing of recordings backward, which is something else again).

A quotation from 'Synaptic Self' (Viking 2002, page 208) by Joseph LeDoux, a New York University neuroscience professor:

'It's possible to present stimuli to the brain subliminally (unconsciously). This can be done in a number of different ways, but one commonly used is backwards masking. In this procedure, an emotionally arousing visual stimulus is flashed on a screen very briefly (for a few milliseconds) and is then followed immediately by some neutral stimulus that stays on the screen for several seconds. The second stimulus blanks out the first, preventing it from entering conscious awareness (by preventing it from entering working memory), but it does not prevent the first from eliciting an emotional reaction (the stimulus still changes the beating of the heart or makes the palms sweat). Since the stimulus never reaches awareness (because it is blocked from working memory), the responses must be based on the unconscious processing of the meaning of the stimulus rather than on the conscious experience of it. By short-circuiting the stages necessary for the stimulus to reach consciousness, the masking procedure reveals processes that go on outside of consciousness in the human brain.'

Antiviral antidotes to such a widescale attack might work locally for short periods but could have the unpleasant effect of actually strengthening the overall mass attack.

Consider the process of behavioral extinction. The more a single image is presented subliminally (or consciously), the less of a response from the brain -- provided that no rewards or punishments accompany presentation of the stimulus. However, it is also likely that in many cases, overuse of such a technique will result in extinction. That is, the brain will tend to give up responding to any subliminal image presented on a screen.

However, antiviral antidotes will tend to decrease general resistance in the computer-using population to such subliminal attacks. That is, if a subliminal attack, including one that changes images, targets a particular user without interruption for a sufficient time, the brain is likely to build up immunity. But if the user is hit by a series of shorter attacks that occur at irregular intervals, the brain may get little chance to build up immunity. Hence wide use of countermeasures would actually tend to increase the effectiveness of the attacks.

On the other hand, the attack programs can be instructed to shut off the subliminal imagery and turn it back on again at specified intervals. In that case, the best policy might be to vaccinate the computer-using public with a steady stream of subliminal imagery, though the risks for particular users might be unacceptable.

Obviously, subliminal influence need not come as a mass attack by Saddam Hussein's henchmen. A lone computer terminal user might be targeted for such an attack by a powerful force, such as an intelligence operation.

Also, though computer and TV screens are convenient avenues for subliminal influence, other possibilities exist.

And it is difficult to assess the level of manipulation possible via this type of subliminal influence, though it is a safe assumption that the CIA's technical division has studied this subject to the nth degree.

**The December 2002 issue of Popular Science reports on inventor Woody Norris' hand-held speaker that projects sounds 'inside' a target's head. A highly focused high frequency inaudible sound wave cone cocoons an audible sound wave. The cocooned wave apparently splits into sub-waves so evenly balanced that the brain locates the source as 'inside the head' -- analagous to a good set of earphones, and, as with good earphones, people nearby hear nothing.

If a target is unaware of the existence of such devices and the volume is kept low, she or he might mistake spoken words for his or her own thoughts. That doesn't mean the target will turn into a zombie, but the potential for mischief is high, even without use of electronically induced opioids.

I suggest that U.S. covert forces have had devices similar to Norris' for no less than 15 years but have kept quiet their existence.

***Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists has pointed out that the term 'psychotronic weaponry' first surfaced in a military paper concerning combat via paranormal powers, something toward which the scientific community is largely unsympathetic. However, the term has evolved to imply the concept of covertly altered behavior. Sometimes the term 'nonlethal weapons' is used, but that term, which includes such things as stun guns, tends to confuse the issue.

*An embarrassing error crept into an earlier version of this page, where the congressman's name was incorrectly given as Deconcini. See
Psyops and the pressfor more on 'inadvertent' errors. I don't claim that I never err, only that there are forces only too happy to sandbag a pesky journalist.