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."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.
(Sinister Forces Book One, pg. 318)
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.Another influential hypnotist within the UFO field that Vallee barely mentions is our old friend Dr. Andrija Puharich and his associate, Uri Geller.
"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)
"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."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?