Thursday, June 30, 2011

Close Encounters of the PSYOPS Kind Part I

Regular readers of this blog know that I've endorsed theories of supernatural intervention before, most notably in the concept of macrobes, that has been addressed from time to time here, here, and here. I am also quite open to theories of synchronicity, ESP, and the supernatural side of entheogens. But one branch of conspiracy culture that I am firmly skeptical of is extraterrestrials. In recent years, based upon both encounters in real life as well as those online, I've grown progressively more and more disturbed by the modern ET culture.

From the bar stools to the message boards, conversations about aliens seem to follow a pretty basic pattern. For one, believers always seem convinced of the existence of an alien race because of 'those science shows on cable' in which the vastness of the universe is put on full display in all its CGI-induced glory. The scientific community does its part of making alien contact seem like its nothing more than a waiting game. Consider this latest announcement from the Russian Academy of Sciences Applied Astronomy Institute:
"Russian scientists expect humanity to encounter alien civilisations within the next two decades, a top Russian astronomer said on Monday. 
"'The genesis of life is as inevitable as the formation of atoms ... Life exists on other planets and we will find it within 20 years,' said Andrei Finkelstein, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Applied Astronomy Institute, according to the Interfax news agency. 
"Speaking at an international forum dedicated to the search for extraterrestrial life, Finkelstein said 10% of the known planets circling suns in the galaxy resemble Earth. 
"If water can be found there, then so can life, he said, adding that aliens would most likely resemble humans with two arms, two legs and a head. 
"'They may have different colour skin, but even we have that,' he said. 
"Finkelstein's institute runs a programme launched in the 1960s at the height of the cold war space race to watch for and beam out radio signals to outer space."

In other words, the programme was part of Russia's PR program concerning the space race during the Cold War. And the difference between public relations and propaganda is...

Another feature is the belief that popular culture is being used to condition the populace to the existence of the aliens because if word were to get out now, before the conditioning was completed, society would simply end from the shock.

And perhaps that may have been true over 40 years ago, but in 2011? I've lived in the South for most of my life and in all honesty I probably know more people convinced of the imminent arrival of the Star People than the Second Coming. If anything, the conditioning has been so effective at this point that few can accept that UFOs can be anything other than hoaxes, military air crafts, or extraterrestrials. If you really want to see shock amongst John Q Public, suggest that UFOs are piloted by fairies or elves from Magonia. That's not something they're apt to see on cable.

Finally, while many extraterrestrial researchers acknowledge that the United States government has been willfully engaged in a cover-up (typically in league with the aliens themselves) of the phenomenon, there still remains a persistent belief that when the time is right Uncle Sam will finally bring all that is hidden to light. The notion that the United States government is almost solely responsible for creating and maintaining the modern UFO phenomenon is yet another avenue that will rarely be addressed on cable.

Yet the modern UFO movement at times reads like a who's who of assorted black opts assets from its very inception. Simply consider the players in the legendary Maury Island incident:
"On June 21, 1947 -the summer solstice -six unidentified flying objects were seen over Maury Island in Puget Sound in the State of Washington. The observers were Harold A. Dahl, a harbor patrolman who was avoiding bad weather by anchoring in Maury Island Bay, his two crewmen, his teenaged son and a dog. The objects were doughnut-shaped and were hovering at about two thousand feet over the boat, according to Dahl. One of the six seemed to be in trouble, as it was losing altitude and was being circled by the other five. The objects seemed to be metallic, with a hole in the center (hence the idea they were 'doughnut-shaped') and with portholes around the outer circumference. Each of the objects seemed to be about one hundred feet in diameter.
"There was a small explosion, and one of the objects rained hot metal all over the boat, killing the dog, damaging the boat and injuring the teenaged son. Dahl quickly beached his craft and began taking pictures of the objects, which soon took off and headed towards Canada. Dahl tried to radio for help or to make a report, but his radio was jammed. Instead, bewildered, he headed back to Tacoma. He got some treatment for his son's injured arm, and then took his evidence -the camera, the film and some samples of the metallic slag -to his boss, am an known as Fred Lee Crisman.
"This is a seminal event. No matter on what side of the Kennedy assassination one finds oneself -a believer in the Warren Report, or a believer in a conspiracy -the Fred Crisman element strains credulity. More than twenty years after this event, Crisman will be subpoenaed by District Attorney Jim Garrison as a suspect in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Crisman, a former OSS officer, a man with a CIA file, a man friendly with Clay Shaw... in at the birth of the twentieth century's UFO experience?..
"Crisman wanted to investigate the site where Dahl's boat was damaged, but the previous night a stranger visited Dahl at his home and advised him to forget the whole thing. The man was dressed in black, and what was unusual was the fact that the incident had not yet been reported outside of Dahl's and Crisman's circle. Regardless, he next day -on June 23, 1947 -Crisman went out to Maury Island and found what appeared to be molten glass or metal and foil, but not before another UFO passed overhead. Crisman returned to Tacoma, not knowing what to do at the moment with the information and evidence he had acquired, or so it seemed. So far, the UFO sighting was a localized event, a small town anomaly." 
(Sinister Forces Book One, Peter Levenda, pgs. 168-169)
UFOs would not be such a localized event on the very next day, June 24th -St. John's Day. More on that in a moment. But first, let us recap: The Maury Island incident occurred on the official summer solstice, June 21st. The much more famous Kenneth Arnold incident would occur on June 24th, which was historically celebrated as Midsummer Day. The summer solstice is of course one of the most important dates in the occult calender, along with its winter counterpart and the equinoxes.

Further, one of the key figures in the Maury Island incident was Fred Crisman, a former OSS man and long suspected CIA asset with links to the Kennedy assassination. In fact, one of the truly bizarre threads of modern American history that this researcher has encountered is the crossover between the UFO phenomenon and the Kennedy assassination. As we shall see, Crisman was not the only player to be involved in both events. I've already tackled some of this overlap before in a blog on the Nine, which provides some more details on this bizarre thread.

Anyway, on to the Kenneth Arnold sightings. I will allow those unfamiliar with the Arnold sightings to follow the prior Wiki link for details. I am primarily concerned with Fred Crisman's role in the affair. Continuing with Levenda:
"His [Crisman] relationship to Raymond A. Palmer, the editor of Amazing Stories, is full of answered questions. Why this former OSS officer and harbor patrolman would be involved with a man who published fantasy tales of underground civilizations, weird military experiments (such as the Philadelphia Experiment, in which it was claimed the military had developed a device that could dematerialize a ship and then re-materialize it somewhere else on earth, a story that was later believed to be true by an astonishing number of persons), and mischievous aliens from other worlds, is not clear. Like fellow OSS officer Peter Tompkins after him, Crisman may simply have been fascinated by the paranormal and by speculative history. Or his interest may reveal a slightly more sinister agenda. Speculation is rampant that Crisman's role was that of a disinformation specialist, and that his ultimate purpose was to devalue the UFO reports, or, failing that, to erase all traces of the evidence.
"Crisman contacted Palmer in writing concerning the Maury Island incident; Palmer himself contacted Arnold about the Mount Rainier sighting, offering a two hundred dollar advance for his story. These were only two of a large number of UFO sightings that were taking place that month and into July."
(ibid, pgs. 170-171)

Note the early overlap with the entertainment industry. Sci-Fi geeks reading this piece will already know that the magazine Amazing Stories had an enormous early influence on the gerne -both George Lucas and Steven Spielberg would claim it as a major inspiration.  This is one of many overlaps between the intelligence community and the science fiction that we shall encounter. As noted in the blog on the Nine, Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek, would also rub shoulders with some curious figures as will several other Sci-Fi legends we shall encounter in the course of this series.

Anyway, back to Arnold, Dahl, Crisman, and the rest of the merry band:
"Meanwhile, Kenneth Arnold arranges to meet Harold Dahl in Tacoma, Washington at the request of Raymond Palmer. The date is set for July 30, 1947...
"Once arrived in Tacoma, Arnold discovers that all the hotels are fully booked. Discouraged, he tries the most expensive place in town and finds, incredibly, that a room has been reserved for him by name although no one knows who made the booking.
"The next day, he meets Dahl. Dahl, however, is still unnerved by his visit from the 'man in black' the previous month and is hesitant to talk to Arnold. Arnold, motivated in part by the two hundred dollar advance from Palmer and partly by his own curiosity about the sightings taking place, presses Dahl for more information.
"Dahl finally breaks, and tells Arnold the same story he told Crisman. Dahl's photographs are gone, of course: he has given his camera and his film to Crisman. He did, however, manage to keep back a few pieces of the 'slag' that fell from the damaged UFO. He showed Arnold a piece of what seemed to be volcanic rock, not a very suspicious-looking fragment. Dahl also told Arnold about a letter he had received, which stated the UFOs were piloted by aliens who had become visible due to US atomic explosions, and that they were visiting the earth to help protect it from unspecified enemies. The letter writer was anonymous, and one can't help wondering if Crisman was behind this, as well...
" was reported that United press International had received verbatim transcripts of their interviews and discussions, the ones held at Arnold's mysteriously-booked hotel room! Suddenly, it was all becoming clear. Arnold's presence in Tacoma had been part of a larger plot; his room was selected in advance and bugged; the information he extracted from Dahl, and his conversations with Smith, were sent to the news agency (for what purpose can only be imagined). It seemed as if there was an operation underway to discredit the Maury Island UFO report and to do that with Kenneth Arnold, a much more credible witness than either Dahl or Crisman. Two birds with one stone?
"...Arnold called the men who had debriefed him after his own UFO sighting, Lieutenant Brown and Captain Davidson. They agreed to fly out to Tacoma immediately to see what Arnold had. They arrived later that day, talked with both Arnold and Smith, seemed to dismiss the whole affair as a hoax, and returned to the airport for their ride home. Arnold was nonplussed. It appeared to him as if they had already dismissed the story in advance of their arrival. If so, then why bother coming out at all?
"At the airport, an odd thing happened, one which has plagued UFO researchers for years. Crisman, the man the intelligence officers seemed to think was nothing more than an oddball hoaxer, turned up at the last minute and gave the men a heavy box which he claimed was filled with debris from the damaged UFO. To Arnold, who was there, the contents looked like a bunch of rocks. The men stowed the box in the trunk of their car and left for the airport, catching their flight.
"They never made it back. 
"Both Davidson and Brown were killed. The enlisted men on board parachuted to safety after the left engine caught fire -according to the report of one of the survivors -and the two officers remained with the aircraft for a full ten minutes before the B-52 bomber crashed to earth. No one has any idea why the two intelligence officers would have remained with the plane and not parachuted themselves; or why they did not radio a distress call. The emergency fire-fighting equipment was inoperable, so there was no chance to save the plane. According to Major George Sander of the US Army Air Corps, the plane was carrying classified material. Was that a reference to the box of rocks carried on board by Davidson and Brown?"
(ibid, pgs. 171-173)

It was several days after the Arnold sighting that one of the Holy Grails of UFO culture first surfaced publicly, namely the legendary Roswell crash. But this incident, much as everything else we have seen so far, is not what it first appears to be.
"The alleged crash of a flying disk at Roswell, New Mexico, in early July of 1947 is the creation story of the American UFO lore, the moment when the scales fell from the American government's eyes and the reality of our place in the universe became clear. According to the myth, the capture of an extraterrestrial vehicle and its occupants was an event of such calamitous consequences that a deep-level cover-up was established, one that remains in place six decades later.
"The reality is that the Roswell story as we know it began to take shape only in the late 1970s, and was cemented into place by the publication, in 1980, of The Roswell Incident by William Moore and Charles Berlitz. Until then the incident existed only as two or three days worth of news headlines generated by a press release from Roswell Army Air Force Base, transmitted on 7 July 1947...
"The story spread quickly around the world, but by the evening of July 8 -the day that most papers ran the story -officers at Fort Worth Air Force Base in Texas had identified the remains as those of a 'weather balloon' and its radar-reflecting kite, which were promptly photographed in the hands of base Intelligence chief Major Jesse Marcel. The 'flying disc' story was retracted, the world's press having no reason to suspect that this was anything but the truth, and that was the end of that for at least thirty years.
"If the Army Air Force's behaviour in issuing the 'flying disk' press release and then retracting it seems strange to us in hindsight, bear in mind that it did succeed in closing the lid on the story for three decades. This may have been all that was intended, especially if what came down was an item of sensitive, though human, military equipment, even if it wasn't quite the ordinary weather balloon that the Army Air Force's initial retractions would have us believe. Perhaps the most damning pieces of evidence against anything extraterrestrial taking place in Roswell are, ironically, two formerly classified internal documents, one from the FBI, the other from the newly formed US Air Force. The FBI memo, dated 8 July 1947, describes the wreckage being transferred from Fort Worth to Wright Field (now Wright Patterson AFB). The critical section reads:
"The disc is hexagonal in shape and was suspended from a balloon by cable, which balloon was approximately twenty feet in diameter. Major Curtain further advised that the object found resembles a high altitude weather balloon with a radar reflector, but that telephonic conversations between their office and Wright Field had not borne out this belief.
"The next item is an internal US Air Force memo sent on 23 September 1947 by General Nathan Twining at Air Material Command, who was responsible for Air Force weapons and technology. Written before the Air Force investigations into the UFO sightings had got under way, it is the first official Air Force statement on the subject and demonstrates that at the highest level of control over America's skies, nobody knew what the hell was going on. After stating that the 'phenomenon is something real and not visionary or fictitious' the memo ends with three points for consideration:
"(1) The possibility that these objects are of domestic origin -the product of some high security project not known to... this Command.  
(2) The lack of physical evidence in the shape of crash recovered exhibits which would undeniably prove the existence of these subjects.
(3) The possibility that some foreign nation has a form of propulsion possibly nuclear, which is outside of our domestic knowledge...
"What this internal report, written at the very highest level of the Air Force's command structure and kept secret for many years, doesn't say, is that an alien spacecraft had been recovered at Roswell."
(Mirage Men, Mark Pilkington, pgs. 38-40)

Further, much of the story surrounding the Roswell incident would seemingly have its origins in an earlier alleged UFO crash site, this one in Aztec, New Mexico.
"Crashed flying saucer stories have always circulated within the UFO community, but were rarely taken seriously until the late 1970s when a number of reports were leaked to UFO researchers via anonymous Air Force sources. The publication of Charles Berlitz and William Moore's The Roswell Incident in 1980 was the culmination of that process and the progenitor of the seemingly endless flow of books, magazines, films and merchandise, only a fraction of which were filling the Laughlin conference dealers' room.
"However, the origins of the Roswell story don't lie in Roswell itself, but about 350 miles north-west in the small town of Aztec, New Mexico. In 1950 the popular and outspoken Variety magazine columnist Frank Scully published a non-fiction book, Behind the Flying Saucers, which centred on a bizarre lecture given on 8 March 1950 at the University of Denver, Colorado. In what sounds more like a market research experiment than an academic lecture, ninety science students were asked to attend a presentation on flying saucers by an anonymous lecturer. Word quickly spread around campus and on the day the hall was filled to capacity. In the fifty-minute presentation, the mysterious expert announced that not only were the flying saucers real, but that four of them had landed -not crashed -on Earth and three of these had been captured by the US Air Force.
"One of the larger craft, 100 feet across, had landed near Aztec, New Mexico; both the disc and its dead occupants were ferried off to Wright Patterson Air Force Base for examination. In fact this was not a new story: aviation historian Curtis Peebles dates it back to a prank account published by the Aztec Independent Review in 1948, which mentioned a saucer crash and little men from Venus. According to Frank Scully, the three captured craft contained the bodies of thirty-four alien beings. These looked much like humans but were smaller in stature, 'of fair complexion' and lacked beards, though some of them had managed to cultivate 'a fine growth resembling peach fuzz...'
"Following the Denver lecture, attendees were asked whether they believed the presenter; 60 per cent said they did. Within hours, many also found themselves being questioned by Air Force Intelligence officers. Scully notes that a follow-up questionnaire was carried out among the students, and that the number who believed the presentation had fallen from 60 to 50 per cent, which was still considerably higher than the national average who believed that flying saucers came from Outer Space (about 20 per cent according to Scully). The message from the lecture was clear: exposure to a convincing source of information encouraged even bright college students to believe the improbable. 
 "On 17 March the mystery lecture was unveiled by the Denver Post as Silas Mason Newton, proprietor of the Newton Oil Company, based in Denver, while in his book Scully revealed the source of Newton's saucer information to be 'Dr. Gee,' a composite name for eight scientists who needed to protect their identities on national security grounds. However, the truth about Newton and Dr Gee turned out to be a little less melodramatic, though no less intriguing.
"Gee was exposed as Leo Arnold Julius Gebauer, a man of many aliases and an FBI file thick enough to contain them. Gebauer, who at one time worked in the labs of the Air Research Company in Phoenix Arizona, had come to the FBI's attention in the early 1940s for his outspoken comments about Adolf Hitler, whom he described as a 'swell fellow', and for announcing that President Roosevelt should be shot and replaced with someone like the Fuehrer. Gebauer had told Newton that he worked with government agencies retrieving technology from downed flying saucers, including the one at Aztec. Whether or not Newton actually believed him is unclear, but this didn't stop him from promoting Gebauer's tales to the students in Denver.
"In his diaries Newton wrote that after his identity was revealed by the Denver Post he was approached by two members of a 'highly secret US government entity' who told him that they knew his UFO crash story was a hoax, but that he should continue to tell it. If he did then 'they and the people they worked for would look out for me [Newton] and for Leo [Gebauer]. Were these mystery men figments of Newton's devious imagination, Air Force Intelligence agents, FBI or CIA officers, or, perhaps, Navy men out to cause more trouble for the US Air Force? We can only wonder, but they got what they wanted. Scully's book was rushed out in 1950 and sold around 60,000 copies, making it a bestseller of its day and further cementing the details of the flying saucer myth in the American imagination. Newton had done his job well. And perhaps Newton's mysterious government men also upheld their side of the arrangement: when, in 1952, Newton and Gebauer were convicted of fraud for trying to sell advanced mining equipment based on back-engineered alien technology, both received only suspended sentences.
"Despite the success of Behind the Flying Saucers, the Aztec saucer crash would be almost entirely forgotten within a few years until, nearly three decades later, its key elements -the craft, the dead pilots, the Air Force recovery operation and the back-engineering programme at Wright Patterson -would form the basis of the Roswell story. In the early 1980s, Aztec itself became part of AFOSI's disinformation campaign against the UFO community, leading to the publication of another book promoting the crash as a genuine event.
"So, in the span of half a century, a story that began life as a newspaper prank became a reality, was dismissed as a hoax, was resurrected and promoted by the US Air Force and UFO researchers in the 1980s before finally being laid to rest (we hope) as a non-story in the early twenty-first century. If nothing else, this proves that flying saucers are highly recyclable."
(ibid, pgs. 68-71)

Finally, it must be kept in mind that the primary source in creating the Roswell mythos, namely the book The Roswell Incident, is not from the most reliable account.
"Who were the authors of this interesting piece of deliberate confusion published ten years ago under the title The Philadelphia Experiment? None other than Charles Berlitz and William Moore, the two men who would again collaborate a few years later in a similar work of disinformation, the work that gave UFO research a sinister 'spin' into the realm of alien bases and secret autopsies, a book called The Roswell Incident."
(Revelations, Jacques Vallee, pg. 188)

It's quite interesting that the same two authors would be involved in two of the most persistent myths of the modern era. I will again remind the reader that the so called 'Philadelphia experiment' has been widely decried as hoax by, among others, William Moore himself. More information on this scam can be found here.

A few other interesting points I'd like to make from the whole Aztec/Roswell flap: If nothing else, the University of Denver lectures surrounding the Aztec non-event show just how gullible people can be for authority figures, even college students in scientific disciplines in the 1950s when conditioning for extraterrestrial life was just beginning. The choice of venue for the lecture, namely the University of Denver, is interesting as well. It was at this university that Aldin Sears would conduct experiments in the psychological warfare applications for hypnosis for the CIA in the mid-1950s, a few years after the Aztec lecture:
"Sears, who later moved his CIA study project to the University of Denver, worked with student subjects to define the nature of hypnosis. Among many other things, he looked into several of the areas that would be building blocks in the creation of a Manchurian Candidate. Could a hypnotist induce a totally separate personality? Could a subject be sent on missions he would not remember unless cued by the hypnotist?"
(The Search for the 'Manchurian Candidate', John Marks, pg. 199)
More information on the applications of hypnosis, as well as its connection to the creation of the modern UFO mythology, can be found here and here.

Finally, I'd like to make an X-Files connection. The author of Behind the Flying Saucers, clearly a key early disinformation book in the UFO field, was a man named Frank Scully. Scully is also the last name of Special Agent Dana Scully, generally one of the two leads on the X-Files TV series. Whether this was an intentional reference or not is difficult to say, but the X-Files has its own odd overlap in this chain. In fact, our final subject was involved in the FBI's own real life 'X-Files', in addition to the Kennedy assassination. How's that for a synch? It all comes to a head in the enigmatic figure of Guy Banister.

"Guy Banister's name is well -known among conspiracy aficionados as another one of the men implicated by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison in the Kennedy assassination. It was Guy Banister -by this time a former FBI agent -who rented office space at the same location stamped on Lee Harvey Oswald's 'Fair Play for Cuba Committee' flyers. Banister was running an anti-Castro Cuban operation from his investigator's office, an operation that attracted the likes of former Eastern Airlines pilot and assassination suspect David Ferrie. Oswald was running a pro-Castro Cuban operation from the same address, an anomaly that could only be explained if one understood that Banister and Oswald were working together, and that the pro-Castro operation was a front for some other, even more nefarious, purpose. Further, while Banister was FBI Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Chicago field office during World War II, one of his FBI subordinates was James McCord of Watergate 'plumbers' fame, and another was Robert A. Maheu: the man who would later become head of his own investigative agency and an employee of Howard Hughes, the man whose agency was started by money won from James McInerney, the assistant Attorney General who was involved in the Jack Parsons investigation. Maheu would go on to become the man in the middle between the CIA and organized crime in the assassination plots against Castro.
"Banister was -during the time of the Arnold sighting, the Maury Island affair, Roswell -an FBI Special Agent assigned to the Butte, Montana field office, which was responsible for several western states, including Idaho (where Kenneth Arnold resided). A look at recently declassified FBI files for that period in 1947 show a number of telexes from Banister, some with his initials 'WGB.' all pertaining to UFO phenomena, as well as other FBI documents with the designation 'Security Matter -X' or simply 'SM-X,' the origin -the author supposes -of the 'X-Files,' which at least in 1947 did exist at the FBI and was concerned with UFOs (as well as with the federal investigation of Wilhelm Reich, the pioneer psychoanalyst whose 'orgone therapy' had run afoul of the medical establishment and who himself was a firm believer in the existence of UFOs).
"Usually, when Banister is referenced in connection with the Kennedy assassination, he is mentioned as having been with the FBI in Chicago for many years, which is undoubtedly true, but the period in Butte put him in the middle of the seminal UFO event of the twentieth century.
"Thus, the 1947 UFO sightings attracted two men -Crisman and Banister -who both would come under suspicion twenty years later for their supporting roles in the Kennedy assassination. The odds against this happening must be astronomical. It is the constant appearance of 'coincidences' like these that leave most amateur conspiracy theorists apoplectic, speechless with disbelief and gazing on the world around them with haunted, suspicious expressions, as if reality itself were written over each other, all on the same page.
(Sinister Forces Book One, Peter Levenda, pgs. 173-174)
This blog has already speculated here, here, and here that the FBI is just as concerned with covering up certain crimes as it is in investigating them. One suspects that Special Agent Guy Banister's work on 'SM-X' was quite different from that of Special Agent Fox Mulder on The X-Files. Or did Files creator Chris Carter have a far deeper understanding of Banister and the purpose of his work than few fans have ever suspected? Stay tuned for further installments...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

St John -Night and Day

Since discovering Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream in middle school I've been fascinating by one of the most consistently celebrated holidays in the human condition. Even deep within the dead, modern world of suburban America Midsummer Day and the night that precedes it can still project an allure of mystery. In our current era Midsummer Day is celebrated under the guise of the Feast of St John the Baptist. But historically it has been the premier fire festival in European culture since the pre-Christian era.

"But the season at which these fire-festivals have been mostly generally held all over Europe is the summer solstice, that is Midsummer Eve (the twenty-third of June) or Midsummer' Day (the twenty-fourth of June). A faint tinge of Christianity has been given them by naming Midsummer Day after St John the Baptist, but we cannot doubt that the celebration dates from a time long before the beginning of our era. The summer solstice, or Midsummer Day, is the great turning-point in the sun's career, when, after climbing higher and higher day by day in the sky, the luminary stops and thenceforth retraces his steps down the heavenly road. Such a moment could not but be regarded with anxiety by primitive man so soon as he began to observe and ponder the courses of the great lights across the celestial vault; and having still to learn his own powerlessness in face of the vast cyclic changes of nature, he may have fancied that he could help the sun in his seeming decline -could prop his failing steps and rekindle the sinking flame of the red lamp in his feeble hand. In some such thoughts as these the midsummer festivals of our European peasantry may perhaps have taken their rise. Whatever their origin, they have prevailed all over this quarter of the globe, from Ireland on the west to Russia on the east, and from Norway and Sweden on the north to Spain and Greece on the south. According to a mediaeval writer, the three great features of the midsummer celebration were the bonfires, the procession with torches round the fields, and the custom of rolling a wheel. He tells us that boys burned bones and filth of various kinds to make a foul smoke, and that the smoke drove away certain noxious dragons which at this time, excited by the summer heat, copulated in the air and poisoned the wells and rivers by dropping their seed into them; and he explains the customs of trundling a wheel to mean that the sun, having now reached the highest point in the ecliptic, begins thenceforward to descend."
(The Golden Bough, James Frazer, pg. 722)
The summer solstice, along with its winter counterpart and the two equinoxes, were reckoned to be chief times for activity amongst the macrobes. European folklore is ripe with accounts of witches, wizards, fairies, dragons, and other mysterious beings in force on Midsummer Eve. Consider one such account Frazer gives from Sweden:
"In parts of Norrland on St John's Eve the bonfires are lit at the cross-roads. The fuel consists of nine different sorts of wood, and the spectators cast into the flames a kind of toad-stool (Baran) in order to counteract the power of the Trolls and other evil spirits, who are believed to be abroad that night; for at that mystic season the mountains open and from their cavernous depths the uncanny crew pours forth to dance and disport themselves for a time."
(ibid, pg. 725)

Despite occurring in the midst of growth, the summer solstice has always had a curious association with death in much the same way its counterpart, the winter solstice, is associated with rebirth.

"The symbolism of the solstices should attract our attention since it does not coincide with the character of the seasons in which they occur. In fact, it is the Winter solstice which inaugurates the ascendant phase of the annual cycle, while the Summer solstice inaugurates its descendant phase. Hence arises the Greco-Roman symbolism of the gates of the solstices represented by the two faces of Janus and, later, by the two feasts of St John, in Summer and Winter. It is easy to observe that it is the Winter gateway from which the 'light' phase of the cycle emerges and its 'dark' phase from the Summer gate. It has been observed in this context that Christ's birth falls at the Winter solstice and that of St John the Baptist at the Summer solstice, hence the remarkable passage in the New Testament in which the Baptist says: 'He [Christ] must increase, but I must decrease' (John 3: 30)."
(Dictionary of Symbols, Chevalier & Gheerbrant, pg. 891)
Naturally the much more ancient versions of the summer solstice featured death in a far more prominent role.
"In the popular customs connected with the fire-festivals of Europe there are certain features which appear to point to a former practice of human sacrifice. We have seen reasons for believing in Europe living persons have often acted as representatives of the tree-spirit and corn-spirit, and have suffered death as such. There is no reason, therefore, why they should not have been burned, if any special advantages were likely to be attained by putting them to death in that way. The consideration of human suffering is not one which enters into the calculations of primitive man. Now, in the fire-festivals which we are discussing, the pretence of burning people  is sometimes carried so far that it seems reasonable to regard it as a mitigated survival of an older custom of actually burning them. Thus in Aachen, as we saw, the man clad in peas-straw acts so cleverly that the children really believe he is being burned. Similarly at the Beltane fires in Scotland the pretended victim was seized, and a show made of throwing him into the flames, and for some time afterwards people affected to speak of him as dead. At Wolfeck, in Austria, on Midsummer Day, a boy completely clad in green fir branches goes from house to house, accompanied by a noisy crew, collecting wood for the bonfire...

"In some parts of Bavaria, also, the boys who go from house to house collecting fuel for the midsummer bonfire envelop one of their number from head to foot in green branches of firs, and lead him by rope through the whole village. At Moosheim, in Wurtemberg, the festival of St John's Fire usually lasted for fourteen days, ending on the second Sunday after Midsummer Day. On the last day the bonfire was left in charge of the children, while the older people retired to the woods. Here they encased a young fellow in leaves and twigs, who, thus disguised, went to the fire, scattering it, and trod it out. All the people present fled at the sight of him."
(The Golden Bough, James Frazer, pg. 744-745)

Another curious association of Midsummer is with secret societies. Certainly one of the most important fraternal orders of the modern era chose to make its official existence known on St John's Day.
"When four London Masonic lodges decided to go public in 1717, they met on June 24, the day dedicated to their patron saint, John the Baptist, and elected a Grand Master for the new Grand Lodge. The Masons at York were incensed at this unilateral decision on the part of London Masons to throw off their ancient veil of secrecy and at the Londoners' presumption that they could set themselves above all the Masonic lodges in England."
(Born in Blood, John J. Robinson, pg. 56)

Now, consider this curious folk tradition Frazer has recorded:
"At Jumieges in Normandy, down to the first half of the nineteenth century, the midsummer festival was marked by certain singular features which bore the stamp of a very high antiquity. Every year, on the twenty-third of June, the Eve of St John, the Brotherhood of the Green Wolf chose a new chief or master, who had always to be taken from the hamlet of Conihout. On being elected, the new head of the brotherhood assumed the title of the Green Wolf, and donned a peculiar costume consisting of a long green mantle and a very tall green hat of a conical shape and without a brim. Thus arrayed he stalked solemnly at the head of the brothers, chanting the hymn of St John, the crucifix and holy banner leading the way, to a place called Chouquet. Here the procession was met by the priest, precentors, and choir, who conducted the brotherhood to the parish church. After hearing mass the company adjourned to the house of the Green Wolf, where a simple repast, such as is required by the church on fast-days, was served up to them. Then they danced before the door till it was time to light the bonfire. Night being come, the fire was kindled to the sound of hand-bells by a young man and a young woman, both decked with flowers. As the flames rose, the Te Deum was sung, and a villager thundered out a parody in the Norman dialect of the hymn ut queant laxis. Meantime the Green Wolf and his brothers, with their hoods down on their shoulders and holding each other by the hand, ran round  the fire after the man who had been chosen to be the Green Wolf of the following year. Though only the first and the last man of the chain had a hand free, their business was to surround and seize thrice the future Green Wolf, who in his efforts to escape belaboured the brothers with a long wand which he carried. When at last they succeeded in catching him they carried him to the burning pile and made as if they would throw him on it. This ceremony over, they returned to the house of the Green Wolf, where a supper, still of the most meagre fare, was set before them. Up till midnight a sort of religious solemnity prevailed. No unbecoming word might fall from the lips of any of the company, and a censor, armed with a hand-bell, was appointed to mark and punish instantly any infraction of the rule. But at the stroke of twelve all this was changed. Constraint gave way to license; pious hymns were replaced by Bacchanalian ditties, and the shrill quavering notes of the village fiddle hardly rose above the roar of voices that went up from the merry brotherhood of the Green Wolf. Next day, the twenty-fourth of June or Midsummer Day, was celebrated by the same personages with the same noisy gaiety. One of the ceremonies consisted in parading, to the sound of musketry, an enormous loaf of consecrated bread, which, rising in tiers, was surmounted by a pyramid of verdure adorned with ribbons. After that the holy handbells, deposited on the step of the altar, were entrusted as insignia of office to the man who was to be the Green Wolf next year."
(The Golden Bough, pgs. 727-728)
Essentially a fraternal order, in this case the Brotherhood of the Green Wolf, chooses a new grand master who then leads a fire procession that ends with his mock burning. This ritual bears more than a passing resemblance to the fate of Jacques de Molay, the final Grand Master of the Templars, who was burned at the stake on March 18, 1314. One of the heresies that the Knights Templars have been accused of over the years is that of being 'Johannites,' which they may have learned from the Mandaeans. A typical account of the charge is as follows:
"At that period there was a sect of Christian Johannites in the East who claimed to be alone initiated into the inner mysteries of the Saviour's religion; they claimed also to know the true history of Jesus Christ. Adopting some parts of Jewish traditions and Talumdic accounts, they regarded the facts in the Gospels as allegories, of which St. John had the key...

"The Templars had two doctrines; one was concealed and reserved to the leaders, being that of Johannism; the other was public, being Roman Catholic doctrine. They deceived in this manner the enemies that they hoped to supplant. The Johannism of the adepts was the Kabalah of the Gnostics, but it degenerated speedily into a mystic pantheism carried even to idolatry of Nature and hatred of all revealed dogma."
(The History of Magic, Eliphas Levi, pg. 208-211)
The reader is of course adviced to take Levi with a heaping grain of salt.

Yet the custom of the Green Wolf seems to have origins that run even deeper than the High Middle Ages. Green is the color of vegetation and rebirth. Osiris, the Egyptian dying and resurrecting god, was often depicted with green skin. This has led some to refer to him as the Green Man. According to Diodorus Siculus, Osiris was resurrected in the shape of a wolf to help his wife and son over come his evil brother Set. In general the wolf can be used as a symbol of fertility, ala the she-wolf that suckled Romulus and Remus. In all likelihood the rituals surrounding the Brotherhood of the Green Wolf likely stretched back to antiquity when a more serious organization prevailed.

Another strange Egyptian link I've noticed is with the number 23, the traditional date of Midsummer Eve. Of course one can't tackle the 23 enigma without mentioning Robert Anton Wilson, Mr. 23 himself. Consider this fine piece from the Fortean Times:
"I first heard of the 23 enigma from William S Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch, Nova Express, etc. According to Burroughs, he had known a certain Captain Clark, around 1960 in Tangier, who once bragged that he had been sailing 23 years without an accident. That very day, Clark’s ship had an accident that killed him and everybody else aboard. Furthermore, while Burroughs was thinking about this crude example of the irony of the gods that evening, a bulletin on the radio announced the crash of an airliner in Florida, USA. The pilot was another captain Clark and the flight was Flight 23.

"Burroughs began collecting odd 23s after this gruesome synchronicity, and after 1965 I also began collecting them. Many of my weird 23s were incorporated into the trilogy Illuminatus! which I wrote in collaboration with Robert J Shea in 1969–1971. I will mention only a few of them here, to give a flavour to those benighted souls who haven’t read Illuminatus! yet:

"In conception, Mom and Dad each contribute 23 chromosomes to the fÅ“tus. DNA, the carrier of the genetic information, has bonding irregularities every 23rd Angstrom. Aleister Crowley, in his Cabalistic Dictionary, defines 23 as the number of 'life' or 'a thread', hauntingly suggestive of the DNA life-script. On the other hand, 23 has many links with termination: in telegraphers’ code, 23 means 'bust' or 'break the line', and Hexagram 23 in I Ching means 'breaking apart'. Sidney Carton is the 23rd man guillotined in the old stage productions of A Tale of Two Cities. (A few lexicographers believe this is the origin of the mysterious slang expression '23 Skiddoo!'.)"
As to the Egyptian connection, Wilson notes:
"Celebrations of the Dog Star, Sirius, beginning on July 23, are the origin of the expression 'dog days,' meaning the days from July 23 to September 8, when the last rituals to Sirius were performed."
(Cosmic Trigger, pg. 87)
Essentially Midsummer Eve would mark the month point before the beginning of the Dog Days of Summer. Another strange synch with the number 23 is again Jacques de Molay, who was the 23rd and last Grand Master of the Knights Templar.

John the Baptist is also closely associated with decapitation, which has been addressed from time to time on this blog. Decapitation, severed heads, and skulls are symbolically linked to the alchemical process of putrefaction.
"... the skull symbolizes the cycle of initiation through the death of the body as the prelude to rebirth at a higher level of life and in a state in which the spirit rules. As a symbol of physical death, the skull is similar to the alchemical process of putrefaction, as the grave is to the athanor -the new man rises from the crucible in which the old man was annihilated, in order to become transformed. The skull is often depicted with cross bones, a St. Andrew's cross, symbol of nature quartered under the overwhelming influence of spirit, and hence a symbol of spiritual perfection."
(Dictionary of Symbols, Chevalier & Gheerbrant, pg. 889)

Interestingly the Templar ships were said to fly a skull and cross bones flag similar to notorious Jolly Rogers. In alchemy, sometimes decapitation is used rather than the skull for this symbolism, as I described here. The symbolism that the decapitation of St John brings to Midsummer is interesting. This is in keeping with its odd ties to death, just as the winter solstice and its links to rejuvenation. Even with nature in seemingly full bloom putrefaction has already set in, so that the new man can be born anew.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

On Hypnosis Part II

Back to the topic of hypnosis. At this point a logical question that should be addressed is just how effective can hypnosis be? Researcher Peter Levenda seems to feel that it can be quite effective.
"While hypnosis sounds tame by comparison, it actually had great potential as an intelligence weapon when wielded by the right hand and on the right subject. Much of what has been written on the applicability of hypnosis to a Manchurian Candidate scenario is fundamentally flawed; many investigators claim that since only one in every five persons is a perfect candidate for hypnosis, and since a hypnotized subject will not do anything to which he or she morally objects, hypnosis is therefore useless. They ignore the obvious implication that fully twenty percent of the human population is capable of 'going under' without too much difficulty, and that many of these potential subjects would not find murder, rape, theft, deceit, etc., morally objectionable, particularly if the command was given by a recognized authority figure. Therefore, to the author's mind, the rejection of the Manchurian Candidate-by-hypnosis possibility is ill-informed at best, or disingenuous at worst."
(Sinister Forces Book One, pg. 318)
Further, if the Morse Allen experiment described in part one is any indication, the notion that a hypnotic subject cannot be commanded to do something that they find morally objectionable is simply not true. In the case of the Allen experiment a secretary with a phobia of firearms was hypnotized and then commanded to shoot a coworker with a pistol that she had no way of knowing was unloaded at the time. When the secretary was brought back she had no memory of the incident.

Clearly hypnosis would provide an effective tool for mind control within the US war chest. Are there then examples of hypnosis being used as a tool of psychological warfare to shape public perception? Certainly, and that shall be the initial focus of this piece.

One of the clearest instances of hypnosis being used to shape public perception is in the modern UFO phenomenon. As noted in part one of this piece, the relationship between the US intelligence community and the UFO community has been a cozy one since the literal beginning of the modern UFO era in 1947. This relationship is a fascinating one and shall be examined in much greater depth in a later blog. For the purposes of this piece I shall briefly address why the US intelligence community would have such a pronounced interest in UFOs: top secret aircrafts. During the Cold War UFO reports were effective cover stories for highly advanced aircrafts being deployed by either side.
"Kenneth Arnold's sighting, Maury Island, Roswell, and Aztec had marked the dawn of the UFO era, laying down two essential elements of the ongoing mythology: that the UFOs were structured craft and that, like our own planes, they could crash. Until the LIFE and the men's magazine article True, articles most people thought that the craft were American or Russian in origin, but it was now clear that they were from Outer Space -perhaps Venus or Mars, or one of Saturn's moons. The next question, then, was who was flying them?"
(Mirage Men, Mark Pilkington, pg. 100)

The 'who' piloting UFOs have gone through some interesting transformations over the years. In the 1950s they were at times depicted as being blond-haired, blue-eyed Aryan supermen from Venus. In more recent times they've taken on the demonic shape of 'the greys.' The concept of grey aliens largely began in the late 1970s and early 80s and centered around a man known as Paul Bennewitz. Bennewitz was the founder of Thunder Scientific Corporation which produced high-altitude testing equipment largely used by Kirkland Air Force Base. Over the course of the 1980s he became convinced that the US government was in contact with an alien presence, in  no small part due to his contacts in the US intelligence community. Bennewitz was eventually driven mad and hospitalized due to the campaign of disinformation used against him by the US Air Force and other such institutions. Regardless, Bennewitz would have an enormous effect on much of the UFO mythology of the past 30 years. It was also at this time that deep regression hypnosis would become a staple of ufologists.
"Bennewitz is a respected physicist who manages a small electronics company close to Kirkland Air Force Base, to which he supplies humidity sensing equipment. An avid UFO researcher, he was said to have come into contact with a woman who had had an encounter. Using a highly questionable method, which has unfortunately become one of the standards of UFO research, the witness was hypnotized three times by Dr. Leo Sprinkle in an effort to retrieve 'the truth.' Bennewitz found that the woman, in the course of her sighting, believed she had been abducted by aliens. She had been taken to an underground base; she had been shown vats of fluid in which pieces of human flesh were floating (presumably awaiting the aliens' dinnertime?). She had been told that the aliens, the Short Grays, were living there, along with American scientists, and that secret experiments were in progress right under the surface of New Mexico. The reader should keep in mind that all this emerged under a trance state induced by a hypnotist who believes that he may have been abducted himself and that he may have a mission on behalf of extraterrestrials."
(Revelations, Jacques Vallee, pgs. 73-74)

Hypnotists who themselves believe they are on some kind of alien induced mission shall be a reoccurring theme amongst the characters we shall encounter in this piece, so do keep it in mind dear reader. Now, for a few more details on the effects that the 'Bennewitz Affair' had:
"Bennewitz and his research partners were basically working from scratch, even though Sprinkle had been regressing suspected UFO abductees for over a decade by the time he arrived in Albuquerque. There were precious few other UFO abduction-type reports to compare with in 1980, and Budd Hopkins's seminal book on the subject, Missing Time, wouldn't be published until the following year. And it took almost another decade for the UFO community to accept that abductees might be 'implanted' with some strange kind of device. When the phenomenon was popularized by Hopkins and later others like Whitley Streiber in his trio of abduction books (Communion, Transformation, and Breakthrough), the 'implant' theory was a common feature. Were these later and wildly popular accounts influenced by Bennewitz's original studies? Much has been written on the distinct possibility of 'cueing' of victims when a highly suggestible, hypnotic state, and critics have attributed much of the abduction phenomenon to 'expectations bias.' Bennewitz may have created his own bias, keeping his expectations frustratingly ahead of each new twist in the unfolding story."
(Project Beta, Greg Bishop, pg. 29)

This 'cueing of victims' could also be described as 'false memories.'
"The response of the ufologists to the confusion of the abductees has been disastrous. By taking the symbolic displays at face value, and by hypnotizing the witnesses in an effort to dispel their confusion, many well-meaning researchers have actually reinforced the alternative reality induced by the UFO sighting, thus exacerbating what may be a spurious side effect and losing sight of the main experience. Hypnosis, which could be a very useful exploratory technique, unfortunately has become a fanatical obsession with American UFO researchers today. In the process, investigators untrained in clinical hypnosis have undoubtedly created false memories in their subjects in response to leading questions and subtle cues. These false memories may satisfy the ufologists' craving for a simple, factual explanation of the reality of UFOs as interplanetary spacecraft, but they are only spurious results. The process may be harmful to the witnesses, who are artificially forcing the UFO experience into an impossible integration with conscious memory, wedging the round peg of extraterrestrial visitation into the square hole of their confusion...

"I know of several witnesses who have been hypnotized again and again, sometimes in front of other 'abductees.' They become unable to distinguish between reality and dream, and get carried away into a realm where their own fantasies and private terrors are actually encouraged to overlay the confusing, traumatic UFO encounter. The precarious state of well-being that is created in this fashion is dangerous and deceptive."
(Confrontations, Jacques Vallee, pgs. 157-158)

Vallee sums up the massive influence hypnotists have had on the modern UFO movement thus:

"...Wyoming psychologist Leo Sprinkle and New York City artist Budd Hopkins, who has published two books on the subject. Both are strongly convinced that the phenomenon is due to the intervention of extraterrestrial visitors.

"Sprinkle and Hopkins, who separately have performed hypnotic regression on several hundred abductees, find somewhat different patterns in their data. The aliens reported by Sprinkle's patients tend to be helpful and benevolent. Those reported by Hopkins, on the contrary, are sinister and even sadistic, performing outrageous operations on the bodies of their victims, especially women. Fetuses are removed, needles are inserted in helpless bodies, devices are implanted for future tracking. Both Sprinkle and Hopkins are convinced that such operations, bizarre as they may seem, are necessary for the aliens to pursue their systematic program of scientific analysis of our planet...

"...ufologists. The majority follow Sprinkle, Hopkins, and Jacobs, although they do not necessarily buy all their conclusions, while a minority questions the validity of the hypnosis technique, and the preconceptions that seem to propel the whole research into the extraterrestrial framework. Given the high level of expectation that is created by numerous books and television programs in the minds of witnesses who suspect they have been abducted, perhaps it is not surprising that a majority of them do 'recall' highly structured situations and similar beings."
(ibid, pgs. 171-172)
Another influential hypnotist within the UFO field that Vallee barely mentions is our old friend Dr. Andrija Puharich and his associate, Uri Geller.
"When Dr. Andrija Puharich hypnotized Uri Geller, he claimed to recover not only information about an extraterrestrial civilization called Hoova but an entire plan that involved Geller, Puharich, and many others in a grandiose plan for the conditioning of the earth."
(ibid, pg. 170-171)

What Vallee does not mention is that Puharich, a former military chemist who worked at Edgewood Arsenal, claimed to have been in contact with the ETs Geller described since the 1950s when they communicated to him via a seance. These beings claimed to be the Nine, or Grand Ennead, gods of ancient Egypt who were in fact aliens. Much more information on this peculiar bit of history can be found here. Needless to say, a small but influential group of individuals formed around Puharich and the Nine over the years to the point that it had an enormous, if largely hidden, influence on popular culture by the 1970s.
"So you have filmmakers talking to physicists, psychics talking to soldiers, and spies talking to everybody. Seminars were held, books and papers published. People like science-fiction author Philip K. Dick (who was discovered by Hollywood in the 1990s, unfortunately after his death) and Robert Anton Wilson could be found in kaffeklatsch with Timothy Leary, John Lilly, Saul Paul Sirag, and assorted G-men. There was a sense among these people that an event of momentous importance to the planet was imminent, and that they were in the forefront of whatever it was going to be.

"Many of them had already had paranormal contacts of some sort (a list that includes Sarfatti, Wilson, Dick, Geller, Puharich, and many, many others) and were certain that these contacts signalled the beginning of a more overt presence by these beings. These were people with government grants and contracts at the highest levels of the US military... and not only the US military. The Soviets were also involved, if only peripherally. And much of this was going on relatively un-noticed by the American people at large. Although they had seen Uri Geller bend spoons on national television, and had read the stories and novels by Dick and Robert Anton Wilson, for instance, they had no idea that all this activity was being produced by a loosely-organized group intellectuals operating half-in, half-out of the mainstream... and half-in, half-out of the US government. And it was not until 1974, with the publication of Puharich's nook about Uri Geller, that anyone outside a small circle of friends and associates had ever heard anything about the Nine."
(Sinister Forces Book Two, Peter Levenda, pg. 246)

Obviously hypnosis could not have been used to implant memories in all the participants in the strange story of the Nine. But it was heavily used by Puharich, among others, to retrieve and refine much of the mythology surrounding the Nine. The implications of this, I shall leave to the readers to determine.

I have written much now of the use of hypnosis in shaping the UFO phenomenon. As previously noted, this was for the purpose of showing how hypnosis in the context of psychological warfare. But now I would like to briefly address its use in serial killers, assassins, and the like before wrapping things up. It is amongst these peculiar individuals that we find evidence of the fabled 'Manchurian Candidate' working within the modern United States. Certainly some of the most fabled serial killers and assassins had ties to hypnosis in some fashion or other. Sirhan Sirhan is probably the most well known and shall be addressed a little below. James Earl Ray, the assassin of Martin Luther King Jr., was hypnotized in Los Angeles a mere two months before pulling the trigger on King. David Ferrie, the Civil Air Patrolman and private investigator long suspected of some kind of involvement in the assassination of JFK, was an amateur hypnotist. Charles Manson, the notorious cult leader and serial killer, learned the skill of hypnosis while serving time in Chillicothe. I have already written extensively on Manson's involvement with US intelligence here and here.

When one goes down this path it is not long before one encounters the figure of Dr. William Joseph Bryan, the notorious hypnotist with links to both the purported 'Boston Strangler' Albert DeSalvo as well as RFK assassin Sirhan Sirhan. It is Bryan that I shall use to close out this piece in a demonstration of how a 'hypno-programmer' may have worked. Bryan was many things -a fat man weighing in at nearly 400 pounds, a womanizer who routinely used his hypnotic skills to seduce his secretaries, and a self-proclaimed CIA asset.

"Bryan worked in the Los Angeles area, out of an office on Sunset Strip in Hollywood, after a checkered career in which he was once a drummer for Tommy Dorsey's band and then, during the Korean War, worked for the US Air Force in what he termed 'the brainwashing section.' If this was, in fact, true and not some of Bryan's notorious hyperbole, then he certainly came to the attention of the CIA, which had just geared up Operation BLUEBIRD at this time and had sent agents to Korea to investigate the brainwashing phenomenon and to come up with ways to protect American servicemen against it...

"Bryan had a flamboyant personality and a lifestyle that would have been vulnerable for an ordinary intelligence operative; Bryan had qualms about discussing his sexual exploits, however, so he was a poor target for blackmail. From the available evidence in the public record, if Bryan was involved with the CIA as he claimed, it was probably in the capacity of a consultant, although one can imagine cases in which he would have been called in to perform a tricky hypnotic maneuver."
(Sinister Forces Book One, Peter Levenda, pg. 313)

He first gained national notoriety for his work on the 'Boston Strangler' killings in which he induced a confession to the crimes by Albert DeSalvo while under hypnosis. Unfortunately, some 40 years later increasing evidence would come out indicating that DeSalvo was innocent.
"Even as these words are being written, surviving family members of both Albert DeSalvo and his last purported victim, Mary Sullivan, are clamoring for the investigation to be reopened.

"Sullivan's body was exhumed in October 2000 and a forensics examination revealed that the condition of her corpse was not consistent with DeSalvo's confessed version of how she was killed. Her remains also yielded two DNA samples, one from a semen stain on her pubic hair. Neither of the samples were a match for Albert DeSalvo, whose body was exhumed in October 2001."
(Programmed to Kill, David McGowan, pg. 282)

Of Bryan's involvement, McGowan writes:
"Bryan's 'questions' to DeSalvo while under hypnosis were loaded with incriminating details of the crimes. The 'confessions' that resulted from this collaboration between Bailey, Nassar, and Bryan, using information supplied by Donovan, were taped by Bailey and turned over to the police. They were, to put it bluntly, blatantly fraudulent."
(ibid, 277)
In conspiracy circles the real question surrounding Bryan is his involvement in the RFK assassination, specifically his relationship to Sirhan Sirhan. Some researchers have gone as far as to suggest that Bryan was the hypno-programmer for Sirhan.

"In the first place, eyewitnesses to the shooting of Senator Kennedy have claimed that Sirhan's demeanor was strangely distant and removed -'peaceful' -when he was pounced on by Kennedy supporters in the moments after the killing. Sirhan himself claims no memory of the assassination, although he did not deny that he did it. Before Sirhan's identity was made public, Bryan was on a radio show giving his opinion that the assassin had been hypnotically programmed. And one of Sirhan's notebooks contained serial killer DiSalvo's name repeated several times, although Sirhan himself does not know why. Although Bryan would gleefully describe any of the cases he worked on, especially high-profile cases like DiSalvo, he would change the subject when Sirhan's case was brought up, and occasionally turn angry at reporters or investigators who had the temerity to mention it. This was uncharacteristic of Bryan, and points to another level of knowledge about the case...

"At one point, and to select individuals, Bryan claimed to have hypnotized Sirhan. There is no evidence linking Sirhan to Bryan after the assassination, however. Something like that would have become a matter of public record, considering the amount of scrutiny the case was getting in the wake of the botched investigation and follow-up of the JFK assassination. Bryan certainly would have made loud publicity over the fact that he hypnotized Sirhan if in fact he had done so; it would have made an impressive addition to his resume. Yet, Bryan claimed to have never hypnotized Sirhan when pressed by an independent researcher, and abruptly terminated the interview. Thus, Bryan had two stories about Sirhan. If Bryan did hypnotize the Palestinian immigrant, it was before the assassination; and for this, we are on firmer ground because Sirhan was hypnotized prior to June 1968."
(Sinister Forces Book One, Peter Levenda, pgs. 313-314)

Clearly Sirhan's actions after the shooting are consistent with what CIA specialists like Morse Allen found in their experiments with hypnosis. Again, I will remind the reader that in the 'terminal' experiment Allen performed on a Company secretary, not only was the woman induced into firing a pistol at a coworker with no way of knowing the weapon was unloaded, but the poor woman had no memory of the event afterwards. To this day Sirhan claims no actual memory of shooting RFK, insisting that he had a sensation of being at a target range when the shooting went down.

The thread of hypnosis runs deep in contemporary America. As we have seen, it has influenced everything from our pop culture, to our leaders of science and defense, and even our politics for assassination and terrorism are certainly political acts in nature. It has effected both the individual and the mass man alike. And yet it is still largely misunderstood and even dismissed out right by many 'legitiment' sources even as many of the most powerful institutions in defense and intelligence have spent billions researching its uses. And many modern Americans still marvel at the 'unreality' of the twenty-first century. What else can it seem when we remain ignorant of even the tools that shape our reality?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Police Strike Back

A rather amusing meme I've noted a lot lately is the so called 'War on Police' the MSM has been proclaiming for the past few months. Dig:
"A spate of shooting attacks on law enforcement officers has authorities concerned about a war on cops...

"The 2010 toll ended a two-year drop in fatalities and spiked 43 percent over the 117 killed in 2009, Groeninger said.

"Law enforcement advocates worry that cuts in police budgets could exacerbate the danger...

"He cited the example of Jared Loughner, accused of killing six and wounding 13, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, on Jan. 8 in Tucson, Ariz. 'People with this mentality feel the need to eliminate those in position of authority,' he said.

"Roberts said the recent shootings are reminders that officers must constantly stay on alert."

One of my regulars posted a fascinating take on the Loughner 'shooting' and its real agenda in the comment section of this post for those interested.

Anyway, over the past few days I've encountered several articles that should dispel that notion that law enforcement is threatened by the general population. Exhibit one: An especially brutal shooting on an unarmed man by Miami police:

"A West Palm Beach couple who filmed Monday morning’s deadly officer-involved shooting on South Beach has accused officers of intimidation, destroying evidence and twisting the facts in the chaos surrounding the Memorial Day shootings – a charge that police officials say they know nothing about...

"On Thursday, The Miami Herald spoke to the couple that saw the end of the 4 a.m. police chase on Collins Avenue, then watched and filmed from just a few feet away as a dozen officers fired their guns repeatedly into Raymond Herisse’s blue Hyundai. They say the only reason they were able to show the video to a reporter is because they hid a memory card after police allegedly pointed guns at their heads, threw them to the ground and smashed the cell phone that took the video."

I implore my readers to click on the above link watch the three minute video so they can witness first hand the direction we're heading in.

Now, if you're not getting that dystopian vibe yet, consider this gem out of Tennessee:
"A mobile home in Tennessee was left a smoking ruin last month after it was attacked by a heavily armed police robot firing advanced triple-warhead gas grenades.

"Despite the uncompromising tactics employed by the no-nonsense tin cop, and the fact that satellite and heat-sensing technology had apparently confirmed that the residence housed a dangerous fugitive tooled up with a deadly arsenal of weaponry, feds and local lawmen who combined to launch the assault were left egg-faced following the inferno. The ashy wreckage left behind following the robocop's orgy of mechanical destruction contained no trace of their quarry, who had plainly escaped during the mayhem."

If only the police of Miami had their own 'attack robot' then perhaps the horrible incident referenced above could have been avoided... Though in Florida 'attack robots' would probably be issued live rounds instead 'advanced triple-warhead gas grenades.' Dear reader, can you say ED-209? I know you can...

If anymore evidence is needed that the 'future' is now, consider the latest advances by the boys at DHS:
"Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST), a US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) programme designed to spot people who are intending to commit a terrorist act, has in the past few months completed its first round of field tests at an undisclosed location in the northeast, Nature has learned.

"Like a lie detector, FAST measures a variety of physiological indicators, ranging from heart rate to the steadiness of a person's gaze, to judge a subject's state of mind. But there are major differences from the polygraph. FAST relies on non-contact sensors, so it can measure indicators as someone walks through a corridor at an airport, and it does not depend on active questioning of the subject.

"The tactic has drawn comparisons with the science-fiction concept of 'pre-crime', popularized by the film Minority Report, in which security services can detect someone's intention to commit a crime. Unlike the system in the film, FAST does not rely on a trio of human mutants who can see the future. But the programme has attracted copious criticism from researchers who question the science behind it (see Airport security: Intent to deceive?)."

The suppression of evidence of a brutal police shooting, 'attack robots', and now a 'pre-crime' division for the DHS... Whatever it takes to turn the tide on the 'War on Police', I suppose. The important thing is that we as Americans will be kept safe... so long as we don't have to actually deal with our law enforcement officials, or their robotic enforcers.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

On Hypnosis Part I

The technique of hypnosis has dazzled, mystified, and terrified the Western imagination for nearly two centuries. Since its very inception endless debate has raged over the actual effectiveness of hypnosis with many reputable scientists dismissing it as nothing more than a parlor trick of stage magicians. And to be certain, the origins of  hypnosis are quite mystical. In some occult traditions, the technique of hypnotism is traced back to ancient Egypt.

"The figure of Isis is sometimes used to represent the occult and magical arts, such as necromancy, invocation, sorcery, and thaumaturgy. In one of the myths concerning her, Isis is said to have conjured the invincible God of Eternities, Ra, to tell her his secret and sacred name, which he did. This name is equivalent to the Lost Word of Masonry. By means of this Word, a magician can demand obedience from the invisible and superior deities. The priests of Isis became adepts in the use of the unseen forces of Nature. They understood hypnotism, mesmerism, and similar practices long before the modern world dreamed of their existence."
(The Secret Teachings of All Ages, Manly P. Hall, pgs. 131-132)
That some primitive form of hypnosis, or at least self-hypnosis, was born out of 'lost words' is not as far fetched as it may sound. In fact, many of the world's most ancient religions practiced some form of trance-like state that was brought on by 'lost words' or mantras.

"This Word -like the lost Word of Hiram Abiff, also of Solomon's Temple -is a recurring theme in Masonic ritual and literature as well as in ancient Jewish lore, and has a special place in the Qabala, which concentrates on words and letters and the power certain combinations and pronunciations can give to the initiated practitioner. This idea of the power of language is reflected in the Gospel according to John, the most mystical of the four Evangelists, which begins, 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.' In the Gnostic writings found at Nag Hammadi and in other places, a great emphasis is placed on words of no identifiable meaning, what archaeologists call 'abracadabra,' or meaningless sounds.

"Obviously, since it seemed that no words from everyday vocabulary of a language possessed any special power (else we would have all witnessed it many times in our lives), the magic words must be those that have no usage in common speech, words that are otherwise unrecognizable. Gibberish. And since these magic words could be phoneticized and written down anyway -and  possibly seen by the unworthy -the secret of their power must lie in their method of pronunciation, a method that would be passed down to the initiate during the course of special ritual. In the later occult lodges of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this method was known as 'vibration' rather than pronunciation, for it was acknowledged that speech (and, indeed, all sound) is vibration or sound waves. Therefore, magical pronunciation must consist of a special way of creating those very sound waves, a method of speaking or chanting or singing that would convey the power of the word in its very sound, its particular vocalization.

"The constant repetition of select words or phrases over and over again -like the mantra of Hinduism and Buddhism, designed to lead a practitioner to exalted states of awareness, into contact with God -was the technique Dr. Ewen Cameron used in the depatterning experiments at his infamous clinic in Montreal on behalf of the CIA..."
(Sinister Forces Book Two, Peter Levenda, pgs. 161-162)

I shall cut Levenda off there before I get to far ahead of myself as the origins of hypnosis are still under consideration. But keep in mind that the concept of a mental 'reprogramming,' brought about by a kind of proto-hypnotic state has existed in certain religious circles for a very, very long time. As to the modern notion of hypnotism, it is generally traced back to the curious figure of Franz Anton Mesmer, and his notion of 'animal magnetism.'

"Mesmer first hit upon his discovery while treating a Fraulein Oesterlin in 1773-1774. Fraulein Osterlin suffered from several severe symptoms, and Mesmer noted the cycle of their appearance and withdrawal. Mesmer was aware that doctors in England had experimented with treating patients with magnets, and decided to do the same. He attached magnets to Fraulein Oesterlin's stomach and legs. She improved considerably. Mesmer came to believe that it was not the magnets alone that cured her, but his own animal magnetism. The age of mesmerism was born.

"The basic tenets of mesmerism are that a subtle, physical fluid fills the universe and forms a connecting link between man, the earth and the stars; disease is the result of blockages of this fluid in the body; and techniques exist to enable these fluids to move freely. The famous 'mesmeric passes' were attempts by practitioners to help the magnetism in its flow. It's clear that while he didn't consider himself an occultist, many occultists do in fact adhere to some form of Mesmer's basic idea. A form of it is evident in much holistic healing. It is also clear that a very similar notion appeared in the 20th century in the form of Wilhelm Reich's 'orgone energy'. In Reich's case, the relationship between an uninhabited, healthy flow of orgone energy and sex was unambiguous. In Mesmer's case, the animal aspect of his magnetism raised a considerable number of eyebrows."
(A Dark Muse, Gary Lachman, pgs. 21-22)

As far out as the notion of some kind of mental 'transference' occurring between the hypnotist and their subject may seem nowadays, it is a phenomenon that has continued to be documented in some of the most recent studies on the subject.

"The ability of hypnotized individuals to 'tap' into the senses of other people has been reported by other investigators. The British physicist Sir William Barrett found evidence of the phenomenon in a series of experiments with a young girl. After hypnotizing the girl he told her that she would taste everything he tasted. 'Standing behind the girl, whose eyes I had securely bandaged, I took up some salt and put it in my mouth; instantly she sputtered and exclaimed, 'What for are you putting salt in my mouth?' Then I tried sugar; she said 'That's better'; asked what it was like, she said 'sweet.' Then mustard, pepper, ginger, et cetera were tried; each was named and apparently tasted by the girl when I put them in my mouth.'

"In his book Experiments in Distant Influence the Soviet physiologist Leonid Vasiliev cites a German study conducted in the 1950s that  produced similar findings. In that study, the hypnotized subject not only tasted what the hypnotist tasted, but blinked when a light was flashed in the hypnotist's eyes, sneezed when the hypnotist took a whiff of ammonia, heard the ticking of a watch held to the hypnotist's ear, and experienced pain when the hypnotist pricked himself with a needle -all done in a manner that safeguarded against her obtaining the information through normal sensory cues."
(The Holographic Universe, Michael Talbot, pg. 142)

The actual phenomenon of mesmerism was not actually discovered by Mesmer himself, but by one of his followers.
"Although his name has become part of the language -we speak of being mesmerized -the credit for discovering what mesmerism actually was went to his one-time disciple, the Marquis de Puysegur, who, while magnetizing a patient discovered he had put him to sleep. The term hypnotism was coined half a century later by the Englishman James Braid."
(A Dark Muse, Gary Lachman, pg. 23)
The influences on Mesmer himself have been hotly debated. Mesmer considered himself to be a strict scientist and avoided linking his practices with the occult, yet secret societies seem to have had an enormous influence on his life.

"...Mesmer may have been helped by secret societies. If so, this would not be unusual; the late 18th century was a time rife with secret societies and occult organizations. As the Baroness d' Oberkirch, an aristocratic socialite and intimate of mesmeric circles in Paris and Strasbourg, remarked: 'Never, certainly, were Rosicrucians, alchemists, prophets, and everything related to them so numerous and so influential. Conversation turns almost entirely upon these matters; they fill everyone's thoughts, they strike everyone's imagination... Looking around us, we see sorcerers, initiates, necromancers, and prophets.'

"Mesmer's financial problems were solved when he married a wealthy widow and set himself up in Vienna. He became a patron of the arts and his friends include Gluck, Haydn (both masons) and the Mozart family. Wolfgang Mozart -who as a Freemason and quite possibly a member of the Illuminati would be no stranger to secret societies -performed his first opera, Bastien and Bastienne, in Mesmer's private theater."
(ibid, pg. 21)
From the occult circles of the Age of Enlightenment to the laboratories of some of the most classified research facilities in America's Cold War arsenal the technique of hypnotism would travel, yet it would never fully shake its mystical connections.
"...It began in the late 1700s with the study of the 'Mesmeric trance,' 'magnetic sleep,' and 'artificial somnambulism' -all of which we now call 'hypnosis.' Dabblers in hypnosis quickly discovered that people who were very good at 'preternatural' skills like clairvoyance, psychokinesis, and even a kind of shamanic healing ability. Many of these talented 'somnambules' and 'clairvoyantes' were as celebrated as today's big-name psychics. By the 1840s, hypnosis-related psi abilities were so common that they had become a sort of parlor trick. English gentlemen would hypnotize their maidservants, showing off the girls' clairvoyant skills to dinner party guests."
(Remote Viewers, Jim Schnabel, pg. 143)
A century later would mark the true coming of age of hypnosis. It was at this time, during World War II, that the Nazis and their counterparts in in US and British intelligence became obsessed with the notion of hypnosis as a tool of mind control. Much of the Nazi mind control research was performed at Dachau. The records of these experiments have been classified since 1945.

"The ready supply of prisoners at Dachau provided a steady stream of guinea pigs for these chemical experiments and tests. Cannabis and mescaline were both used -sometimes in very large doses -along with hypnosis to see if any of these mechanisms could be used as truth serums, magical potions to unlock the secrets of the mind. At the same time, in the United States, OSS agents were using the same or similar drugs on unsuspecting targets -such as Mafia 'made men' -to see if the same objectives could be attained. Gradually, in the US, hypnosis was also used, sometimes in combination with drugs. And if false information, or 'suggestions,' could be implanted in the subject, then we have an instance where the goals of psychological warfare and regular intelligence work overlap. In the case of the latter, the methodology was fine-tuned to the individual subject for a specific purpose: as it turned out, this purpose -as seen by the CIA and by their counterparts in other countries -was assassination."
(Sinister Forces Book One, Peter Levenda, pg. 143)

In the post-War years the OSS' successor, the CIA, became obsessed with developing a formula for creating a 'Manchurian Candidate,' a programmed assassin that could be trusted to carry out his duties without knowledge of them. To this end any number of techniques including mind altering drugs were employed. But it was hypnosis that the Agency felt held the most promise.

"On February 19, 1945, Morse Allen simulated the ultimate experiment in hypnosis: the creation of a 'Manchurian Candidate,' or programmed assassin. Allen's 'victim' was a secretary whom he put into a deep trance and told to keep sleeping until ordered otherwise. He then hypnotized a second secretary and told her that if she could not wake up her friend, 'her rage would be so great that she would not hesitate to kill.' Allen left a pistol nearby, which the secretary had no way of knowing was unloaded. Even though she had earlier expressed fear of firearms of any kind, she picked up the gun and 'shot' her sleeping friend. After Allen brought the 'killer' out of her trance, she had apparent amnesia for the event, denying she would ever shoot anyone."
(The Search for the "Manchurian Candidate", John Marks, pg. 195) 

Attempts were made to further refine Allen's techniques in the mid-1950s by a young Ph. D candidate named Alden Sears via a CIA front known as the Geschickter Fund.

"Sears, who later moved his CIA study project to the University of Denver, worked with student subjects to define the nature of hypnosis. Among many other things, he looked into several of the areas that would be building blocks in the creation of a Manchurian Candidate. Could a hypnotist induce a totally separate personality? Could a subject be sent on missions he would not remember unless cued by the hypnotist?"
(ibid, pg. 199)
The University of Denver is an interesting choice of location. I will remind the reader that marijuana, in conjunction with hypnosis, was considered by both the Nazis and the CIA as a potential formula for mind control. The former Nazi chemist and CIA consultant Friedrich Hoffmann wrote a paper entitled "Isolation of Trans-*6-Tetrahydrocannibinol from Marijuana" on the effects of pot as a truth serum for Journal of the American Chemical Society, for instance. It was published in the April 20th, 1966 issue -4/20. The University of Colorado at Boulder is one of the main universities associated with the cannabis holiday. Is it possible that this association derives from the time when Sears was conducting his experiments on hypnosis in Colorado in the mid-1950s? This would hardly be the only connection between the date of 4/20 (Hitler's birthday) and mind control.
"Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter was the first Director of the CIA; he was also later to become a member of NICAP, that organization of professional scientists, military men, engineers, and civilians created to uncover the truth about UFOs. Hillenkoetter remained convinced about the reality of the phenomenon all his life. But on April 20, 1950 -ironically enough, Hitler's birthday -he approved the creation of a special project to discover a means to combat the Russian mind weapons, whatever they were. This project was called BLUEBIRD...

"...CIA security chief Sheffield Edwards who decided to call the project -a program for exploring the uses of hypnosis and other means to protect Agency personnel from enemy psychic penetration -BLUEBIRD. Why, then, did he choose the name BLUEBIRD for the first-ever CIA mind control project, the forerunner of the more infamous MK-ULTRA?"
(Sinister Forces Book One, Peter Levenda, pg. 187) 

Why, for that matter, did the Company select Hitler's birthday to instigate their first official mind control experiments? Why, further, did that date end up becoming a cannabis holiday in two regions of the country awash in CIA medical experiments? The scope of these questions are beyond the scale of this piece, but for more information on the curious intelligence and fascist links to the 4/20 celebration, check here.

Its also worth noting that the University of Colorado at Boulder was also the location of the infamous Condon committee, a panel dedicated to the investigation of UFOs. Both cannabis and UFOs have had an odd overlap with hypnosis and mind control. Keep the connection between the CIA and the legendary UFO organization NICAP in the back of your minds as hypnosis will play a major role in both mind control and the modern UFO phenomenon, as we shall see in part two of this series.