By Dick Sutphen
I'm Dick Sutphen and this text is a version of the talk I delivered at the World Congress of Professional Hypnotists Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. Although this carries a copyright to protect it from unlawful duplication for sale by other companies, in this case, I invite individuals to make copies and give them to friends or anyone in a position to communicate this information.
Although I've been interviewed about the subject on many local and regional radio and TV talk shows, large-scale mass communication appears to be blocked, since it could result in suspicion or investigation of the very media presenting it or the sponsors that support the media. Some government agencies do not want this information generally known. Nor do the Born-Again Christian movement, cults, and many human-potential trainings.
Everything I will relate only exposes the surface of the problem. I don't know how the misuse of these techniques can be stopped. I don't think it is possible to legislate against that which often cannot be detected; and if those who legislate are using these techniques, there is little hope of affecting laws to govern usage. I do know that the first step to initiate change is to generate interest. In this case, that will probably only result from an underground effort.
In talking about this subject, I am talking about my own business. I know it, and I know how effective it can be. I produce hypnosis and subliminal tapes and, in some of my seminars, I use conversion tactics to assist participants to become independent and self-sufficient. But, anytime I use these techniques, I point out that I am using them, and those attending have a choice to participate or not. They also know what the desired result of participation will be.
So, to begin, I want to state the most basic of all facts about brainwashing: In the entire history of man, no one has ever been brainwashed and realized, or believed, that he had been brainwashed. Those who have been brainwashed will usually passionately defend their manipulators, claiming they have simply been "shown the light" . . . or have been transformed in miraculous ways.
As a result, one person committed suicide and another attempted suicide. And the neighbors of the suicidal converts related that they, too, were affected so deeply that, although they had found "eternal salvation," they were obsessed with a diabolical temptation to end their own lives.
Once a preacher, cult leader, manipulator or authority figure creates the brain phase to wipe the brain-slate clean, his subjects are wide open. New input, in the form of suggestion, can be substituted for their previous ideas. Because Edwards didn't turn his message positive until the end of the revival, many accepted the negative suggestions and acted, or desired to act, upon them.
Charles J. Finney was another Christian revivalist who used the same techniques four years later in mass religious conversions in New York. The techniques are still being used today by Christian revivalists, cults, human-potential trainings, some business rallies, and the United States Armed Services . . . to name just a few.
Let me point out here that I don't think most revivalist preachers realize or know they are using brainwashing techniques. Edwards simply stumbled upon a technique that really worked, and others copied it and have continued to copy it for over two hundred years. And the more sophisticated our knowledge and technology become, the more effective the conversion. I feel strongly that this is one of the major reasons for the increasing rise in Christian fundamentalism, especially the televised variety, while most of the orthodox religions are declining.
The ways to achieve conversion (i.e. conditioned acceptance of an idea or belief) are many and varied, but the usual first step in religious or political brainwashing is to work on the emotions of an individual or group until they reach an abnormal level of anger, fear, excitement, or nervous tension.
The progressive result of this cathartic mental condition is to impair judgement and increase suggestibility. The more this condition can be maintained or intensified, the more it compounds. Once catharsis is reached, the complete mental take-over becomes easier. As the painful emotions are discharged, the mind is ready to accept new solutions, especially if they offer safety, rightness and rewards. Existing mental programming can be replaced with new patterns of thinking and behaviour.
Other often-used physiological weapons to modify normal brain functions are fasting, radical or high sugar diets, physical discomforts, regulation of breathing, mantra chanting in meditation, the disclosure of awesome mysteries, special lighting and sound effects, programmed response to incense, or intoxicating drugs.
The same results can be obtained in contemporary psychiatric treatment by electric shock treatments and even by purposely lowering a person's blood sugar level with insulin injections.
Before I talk about exactly how some of the techniques are applied, I want to point out that hypnosis and conversion tactics are two distinctly different things--and that conversion techniques are far more powerful. However, the two are often mixed . . . with even more powerful results.
Watch the people waiting for the service to begin. Many will exhibit external signs of trance--body relaxation and slightly dilated eyes. Often, they begin swaying back and forth with their hands in the air while sitting in their chairs. Next, the assistant pastor will probably come out. He usually speaks with a pretty good "voice roll."
Now the assistant pastor begins the "build-up" process. He induces an altered state of consciousness and/or begins to generate the excitement and the expectations of the audience. Next, a group of young women in "sweet and pure" chiffon dresses might come out to sing a song. Gospel songs are great for building excitement and INVOLVEMENT. In the middle of the song, one of the girls might be "smitten by the spirit" and fall down or react as if possessed by the Holy Spirit. This very effectively increases the intensity in the room. At this point, hypnosis and conversion tactics are being mixed, i.e. a message is introduced. And the result is the audience's attention span is now totally focused upon the communication while the environment becomes more exciting or tense.
Right about this time, when an eyes-open mass-induced alpha mental state has been achieved, they will usually pass the collection plate or basket. In the background, a 45-beat-per-minute voice roll from the assistant preacher might exhort, "Give to God . . . Give to God . . . Give to God . . ." And the audience does give. God may not get the money, but his already wealthy representative will.
Next, the fire-and-brimstone preacher will come out. He induces fear and increases the tension by talking about "the Devil," "going to Hell," or the forthcoming Armageddon.
In the last such rally I attended, the preacher talked about the blood that would soon be running out of every faucet in the land. He was also obsessed with a "bloody axe of God," which everyone had seen hanging above the pulpit the previous week. I have no doubt that everyone saw it--the power of suggestion given to hundreds of people in hypnosis assures that at least 10 to 25 percent would see whatever he suggested they see.
In most revivalist gatherings, "testifying" or "witnessing" usually follows the fear-based sermon. People from the audience come up on stage and relate their stories. "I was crippled and now I can walk!" "I had arthritis and now it's gone!" It is a psychological manipulation that works. After listening to numerous case histories of miraculous healings, the average guy in the audience with a minor problem is sure he can be healed. The room is charged with fear, guilt, intense excitement, and expectations.
Now those who want to be healed are frequently lined up around the edge of the room, or they are told to come down to the front. The preacher might touch them on the head firmly and scream, "Be healed!" This releases the psychic energy and, for many, catharsis results. Catharsis is a purging of repressed emotions. Individuals might cry, fall down or even go into spasms. And if catharsis is effected, they stand a chance of being healed. In catharsis the brain-slate is temporarily wiped clean and the new suggestion is accepted.
For some, the healing may be permanent. For many, it will last four days to a week, which is, incidentally, how long a hypnotic suggestion given to a somnambulistic subject will usually last. Even if the healing doesn't last, if they come back every week, the power of suggestion may continually over-ride the problem . . . or sometimes, sadly, it can mask a physical problem which could prove to be very detrimental to the individual in the long run.
I'm not saying that legitimate healings do not take place. They do. Maybe the individual was ready to let go of the negativity that caused the problem in the first place; maybe it was the work of God. Yet I contend that it can be explained with existing knowledge of brain/mind function.
The techniques and staging will vary from church to church. Many use "speaking in tongues" to generate catharsis in some while the spectacle creates intense excitement in the observers.
[Editor's Note: The fear and guilt induced by the sermon may also produce the state of catharsis in many of the congregation, so that the message of the proceedings may then become hypnotically imprinted.]
The use of hypnotic techniques by evangelists is sophisticated, and professionals are assuring that they become even more effective. A man in Los Angeles is designing, building, and reworking a lot of churches around the country. He tells ministers what they need and how to use it. This man's track record indicates that the congregation and the monetary income will double if the minister follows his instructions. He admits that about 80 percent of his efforts are in the sound system and lighting.
Powerful sound and the proper use of lighting are of primary importance in inducing an altered state of consciousness--I've been using them for years in my own seminars. However, my participants are fully aware of the process and what they can expect as a result of their participation.
At least a million people are graduates of such trainings and a good percentage have been left with a mental activation button that assures their future loyalty and assistance if the guru figure or organization calls. Think about the potential political implications of hundreds of thousands of zealots programmed to campaign for their guru.
I'm not saying that good does not result from participation in such gatherings. It can and does. But I contend it is important for people to know what has happened and to be aware that continual involvement may not be in their best interest.
Over the years, I've conducted professional seminars to teach people to be hypnotists, trainers, and counsellors. I've had many of those who conduct trainings and rallies come to me and say, "I'm here because I know that what I'm doing works, but I don't know why." After showing them how and why, many have gotten out of the business or have decided to approach it differently or in a much more loving and supportive manner.
Many of these trainers have become personal friends, and it scares us all to have experienced the power of one person with a microphone and a room full of people. Add a little charisma and you can count on a high percentage of conversions. The sad truth is that a high percentage of people want to give-away their power--they are true "believers"!
Cult gatherings or human-potential trainings are an ideal environment to observe first-hand what is technically called the "Stockholm Syndrome." This is a situation in which those who are intimidated, controlled, or made to suffer, begin to love, admire, and even sometimes sexually desire their controllers or captors.
But let me inject a word of warning here: If you think you can attend such a training and not be affected, you are probably wrong. A perfect example is the case of a woman who went to Haiti on a Guggenheim Fellowship to study Haitian Voodoo. In her report, she related how the music eventually induced uncontrollable bodily movement and an altered state of consciousness. Although she understood the process and thought herself above it, when she began to feel herself become vulnerable to the music, she attempted to fight it and turned away. Anger or resistance almost always assures conversion. A few moments later she was possessed by the music and began dancing in a trance around the Voodoo meeting house. A brain phase had been induced by the music and excitement, and she awoke feeling reborn. The only hope of attending such gatherings without being affected is to be a Buddha and allow no positive or negative emotions to surface. Few people are capable of such detachment.
Before I go on, let's go back to the nine tip-offs to conversion. I want to mention the United States Government and military boot camp. The Marine Corps talks about breaking men down before "rebuilding" them as new men--as marines! Well, that is exactly what they do, the same way a cult breaks its people down and rebuilds them as happy flower sellers on your local street corner. Every one of the above conversion techniques are used in boot camp. Considering the needs of the military, I'm not making a judgement as to whether that is good or bad. IT IS A FACT that the men are effectively brainwashed. Those who won't submit must be discharged or spend much of their time in the brig.
There are three primary techniques used for thought stopping.
All three-stopping techniques produce an altered state of consciousness. This may be very good if YOU are controlling the process, for you also control the input. I personally use at least one self-hypnosis programming session every day and I know how beneficial it is for me. But you need to know if you use these techniques to the degree of remaining continually in alpha that, although you'll be very mellow, you'll also be more suggestible.
Hoffer, who wrote "The True Believer," a classic on mass movements, says, "true believers are not intent on bolstering and advancing a cherished self, but are those craving to be rid of unwanted self. They are followers, not because of a desire for self-advancement, but because it can satisfy their passion for self-renunciation!" Hoffer also says that true believers "are eternally incomplete and eternally insecure"!
I know this from my own experience. In my years of communicating concepts and conducting trainings, I have run into them again and again. All I can do is attempt to show them that the only thing to seek is the True Self within. Their personal answers are to be found there and there alone. I communicate that the basics of spirituality are self-responsibility and self-actualization. But most of the true believers just tell me that I'm not spiritual and go looking for someone who will give them the dogma and structure they desire.
Never underestimate the potential danger of these people. They can easily be molded into fanatics who will gladly work and die for their holy cause. It is a substitute for their lost faith in themselves and offers them The Cause as a substitute for individual hope. The Moral Majority is made up of true believers. All cults are composed of true believers. You'll find them in politics, churches, businesses, and social cause groups. They are the fanatics in these organizations.
Mass Movements will usually have a charismatic leader. The followers want to convert others to their way of living or impose a new way of life--if necessary, by legislating laws forcing others to their view, as evidenced by the activities of the Moral Majority. This means enforcement by guns or punishment, for that is the bottom line in law enforcement.
A common hatred, enemy, or devil is essential to the success of a mass movement. The Born-Again Christians have Satan himself, but that isn't enough--they've added the occult, the New Age thinkers and, lately, all those who oppose their integration of church and politics, as evidenced in their political re-election campaigns against those who oppose their views. In revolutions, the devil is usually the ruling power or aristocracy. Some human-potential movements are far too clever to ask their graduates to join anything, thus labelling themselves as a cult--but, if you look closely, you'll find that their devil is anyone and everyone who hasn't taken their training.
There are mass movements without devils but they seldom attain major status. The True Believers are mentally unbalanced or insecure people, or those without hope or friends. People don't look for allies when they love, but they do when they hate or become obsessed with a cause. And those who desire a new life and a new order feel the old ways must be eliminated before the new order can be built.
First, let me give you an example of distracting the left brain. Politicians use these powerful techniques all the time; lawyers use many variations which, I've been told, they call "tightening the noose."
Assume for a moment that you are watching a politician give a speech. First, he might generate what is called a "YES SET." These are statements that will cause listeners to agree; they might even unknowingly nod their heads in agreement. Next come the TRUISMS. These are usually facts that could be debated but, once the politician has his audience agreeing, the odds are in the politician's favor that the audience won't stop to think for themselves, thus continuing to agree. Last comes the SUGGESTION. This is what the politician wants you to do and, since you have been agreeing all along, you could be persuaded to accept the suggestion. Now, if you'll listen closely to my political speech, you'll find that the first three are the "yes set," the next three are truisms and the last is the suggestion:
"Ladies and gentlemen: are you angry about high food prices? Are you tired of astronomical gas prices? Are you sick of out-of-control inflation? Well, you know the Other Party allowed 18 percent inflation last year; you know crime has increased 50 percent nationwide in the last 12 months, and you know your paycheck hardly covers your expenses any more. Well, the answer to resolving these problems is to elect me, John Jones, to the U.S. Senate."And I think you've heard all that before. But you might also watch for what are called Imbedded Commands. As an example: On key words, the speaker would make a gesture with his left hand, which research has shown is more apt to access your right brain. Today's media-oriented politicians and spellbinders are often carefully trained by a whole new breed of specialist who are using every trick in the book--both old and new--to manipulate you into accepting their candidate.
The concepts and techniques of Neuro-Linguistic Programming are so heavily protected that I found out the hard way that to even talk about them publicly or in print results in threatened legal action. Yet Neuro-Linguistic training is readily available to anyone willing to devote the time and pay the price. It is some of the most subtle and powerful manipulation I have yet been exposed to. A good friend who recently attended a two-week seminar on Neuro-Linguistics found that many of those she talked to during the breaks were government people.
Another technique that I'm just learning about is unbelievably slippery; it is called an INTERSPERSAL TECHNIQUE and the idea is to say one thing with words but plant a subconscious impression of something else in the minds of the listeners and/or watchers.
Let me give you an example: Assume you are watching a television commentator make the following statement: "Senator Johnson is assisting local authorities to clear up the stupid mistakes of companies contributing to the nuclear waste problems." It sounds like a statement of fact, but, if the speaker emphasizes the right words, and especially if he makes the proper hand gestures on the key words, you could be left with the subconscious impression that Senator Johnson is stupid. That was the subliminal goal of the statement and the speaker cannot be called to account for anything.
Persuasion techniques are also frequently used on a much smaller scale with just as much effectiveness. The insurance salesman knows his pitch is likely to be much more effective if he can get you to visualize something in your mind. This is right-brain communication. For instance, he might pause in his conversation, look slowly around your living room and say, "Can you just imagine this beautiful home burning to the ground?" Of course you can! It is one of your unconscious fears and, when he forces you to visualize it, you are more likely to be manipulated into signing his insurance policy.
The Hare Krishnas, operating in every airport, use what I call SHOCK AND CONFUSION techniques to distract the left brain and communicate directly with the right brain. While waiting for a plane, I once watched one operate for over an hour. He had a technique of almost jumping in front of someone. Initially, his voice was loud then dropped as he made his pitch to take a book and contribute money to the cause. Usually, when people are shocked, they immediately withdraw. In this case they were shocked by the strange appearance, sudden materialization and loud voice of the Hare Krishna devotee. In other words, the people went into an alpha state for security because they didn't want to confront the reality before them. In alpha, they were highly suggestible so they responded to the suggestion of taking the book; the moment they took the book, they felt guilty and responded to the second suggestion: give money. We are all conditioned that if someone gives us something, we have to give them something in return--in that case, it was money. While watching this hustler, I was close enough to notice that many of the people he stopped exhibited an outward sign of alpha--their eyes were actually dilated.
Most audio subliminal reprogramming tapes offer verbal suggestions recorded at a low volume. The oldest audio subliminal technique uses a voice that follows the volume of the music so subliminals are impossible to detect without a parametric equalizer. But this technique is patented and, when I wanted to develop my own line of subliminal audio cassettes, negotiations with the patent holder proved to be unsatisfactory. My attorney obtained copies of the patents which I gave to some talented Hollywood sound engineers, asking them to create a new technique. They found a way to psycho-acoustically modify and synthesize the suggestions so that they are projected in the same chord and frequency as the music, thus giving them the effect of being part of the music. Although the suggestions are being heard by the subconscious mind, they cannot be monitored with even the most sophisticated equipment.
If we were able to come up with this technique as easily as we did, I can only imagine how sophisticated the technology has become with unlimited government or advertising funding. And I shudder to think about the propaganda and commercial manipulation that we are exposed to on a daily basis. There is simply no way to know what is behind the music you hear. It may even be possible to hide a second voice behind the voice to which you are listening.
The series by Wilson Bryan Key, Ph.D., on subliminals in advertising and political campaigns well documents the misuse in many areas, especially printed advertising in newspapers, magazines and posters.
The big question about subliminals is: do they work? And I guarantee you they do. Not only from the response of those who have used my tapes, but from the results of such programs as the subliminals behind the music in department stores. Supposedly, the only message is instructions to not steal: one East Coast department store chain reported a 37 percent reduction in thefts in the first nine months of testing.
A 1984 article in the technical newsletter, "Brain-Mind Bulletin," states as much as 99 percent of our cognitive activity may be "non-conscious," according to the director of the Laboratory for Cognitive Psycho-Physiology at the University of Illinois. The lengthy report ends with the statement, "These findings support the use of subliminal approaches such as taped suggestions for weight loss and the therapeutic use of hypnosis and Neuro-Linguistic Programming."
I have personally experienced sitting in a Los Angeles auditorium with over ten thousand people who were gathered to listen to a current charismatic figure. Twenty minutes after entering the auditorium, I became aware that I was going in and out of an altered state. Those accompanying me experienced the same thing. Since it is our business, we were aware of what was happening, but those around us were not. By careful observation, what appeared to be spontaneous demonstrations were, in fact, artful manipulations. The only way I could figure that the eyes-open trance had been induced was that a 6-7 cycle-per-second vibration was being piped into the room behind the air-conditioner sound. That particular vibration generates alpha, which would render the audience highly susceptible. Ten to 25 percent of the population is capable of a somnambulistic level of altered states of consciousness; for these people, the suggestions of the speaker, if non-threatening, could potentially be accepted as "commands."
This leads to the mention of VIBRATO. Vibrato is the tremulous effect imparted in some vocal or instrumental music, and the cycle-per-second range causes people to go into an altered state of consciousness. At one period of English history, singers whose voices contained pronounced vibrato were not allowed to perform publicly because listeners would go into an altered state and have fantasies, often sexual in nature.
People who attend opera or enjoy listening to singers like Mario Lanzaare may be familiar with this altered state induced by the performers.
Now, let's carry this awareness a little farther. One of the primary uses of extra-low frequency waves (ELFs) is to communicate with submarines. Dr.Andrija Puharich, a highly respected researcher, in an attempt to warn U.S. officials about Russian use of ELFs, set up an experiment. Volunteers were wired so their brain waves could be measured on an EEG. They were sealed in a metal room that could not be penetrated by a normal signal.
Puharich then beamed ELF waves at the volunteers. ELFs go right through the earth and, of course, right through metal walls. Those inside couldn't know if the signal was or was not being sent. And Puharich watched the reactions on the technical equipment: 30 percent of those inside the room were taken over by the ELF signal in six to ten seconds.
When I say "taken over," I mean that their behaviour followed the changes anticipated at very precise frequencies. Waves below 6 cycles per second caused the subjects to become very emotionally upset, and even disrupted bodily functions. At 8.2 cycles, they felt very high . . . an elevated feeling, as though they had been in masterful meditation, learned over a period of years. Eleven to 11.3 cycles induced waves of depressed agitation leading to riotous behaviour.
In using the device, you don't hear or see a thing; it is applied to the skin, which Pat claims is the source of special senses. The skin contains more sensors for heat, touch, pain, vibration, and electrical fields than any other part of the human anatomy.
In one of his recent tests, Pat conducted two identical seminars for a military audience--one seminar one night and one the next night, because the size of the room was not large enough to accommodate all of them at one time. When the first group proved to be very cool and unwilling to respond, Patrick spent the next day making a special tape to play at the second seminar. The tape instructed the audience to be extremely warm and responsive and for their hands to become "tingly." The tape was played through the neurophone, which was connected to a wire he placed along the ceiling of the room. There were no speakers, so no sound could be heard, yet the message was successfully transmitted from that wire directly into the brains of the audience. They were warm and receptive, their hands tingled and they responded, according to programming, in other ways that I cannot mention here.
The more we find out about how human beings work through today's highly advanced technological research, the more we learn to control human beings. And what probably scares me the most is that the medium for take-over is already in place! The television set in your living room and bedroom is doing a lot more than just entertaining you.
Before I continue, let me point out something else about an altered state of consciousness. When you go into an altered state, you transfer into right brain dominance, which results in the internal release of the body's own opiates: encephalins and Beta-endorphins, chemically almost identical to opium. In other words, it feels good . . . and you want to come back for more.
Recent tests by researcher Herbert Krugman showed that, while viewers were watching TV, right-brain activity outnumbered left-brain activity by a ratio of two to one. Put more simply, the viewers were in an altered state . . . in trance more often than not. They were getting their Beta-endorphin "fix."
[Editor's Note: Watching TV is also a continuous input of pictures causing increased right-brain activity and left-brain analytical shut-off.]
To measure attention spans, psycho-physiologist Thomas Mulholland of the Veterans Hospital in Bedford, Massachusetts, attached young viewers to an EEG machine that was wired to shut the TV set off whenever the children's brains produced a majority of alpha waves. Although the children were told to concentrate, only a few could keep the set on for more than 30 seconds!
Most viewers are already hypnotized. To deepen the trance is easy. One simple way is to place a blank, black frame every 32 frames in the film that is being projected. This creates a 45-beat-per-minute pulsation perceived only by the subconscious mind--the ideal pace to generate deep hypnosis.
The commercials or suggestions presented following this alpha-inducing broadcast are much more likely to be accepted by the viewer. The high percentage of the viewing audience that has somnambulistic-depth ability could very well accept the suggestions as commands--as long as those commands did not ask the viewer to do something contrary to his morals, religion, or self-preservation.
The medium for take-over is here. By the age of 16, children have spent 10,000 to 15,000 hours watching television--that is more time than they spend in school! In the average home, the TV set is on for six hours and 44 minutes per day--an increase of nine minutes from last year and three times the average rate of increase during the 1970s.
It obviously isn't getting better . . . we are rapidly moving into an alpha-level world--very possibly the Orwellian world of "1984"--placid, glassy-eyed, and responding obediently to instructions.
A research project by Jacob Jacoby, a Purdue University psychologist, found that of 2,700 people tested, 90 percent misunderstood even such simple viewing fare as commercials and "Barnaby Jones." Only minutes after watching, the typical viewer missed 23 to 36 percent of the questions about what he or she had seen. Of course they did--they were going in and out of trance! If you go into a deep trance, you must be instructed to remember--otherwise you automatically forget.
I have just touched the tip of the iceberg. When you start to combine subliminal messages behind the music, subliminal visuals projected on the screen, hypnotically produced visual effects, sustained musical beats at a trance-inducing pace . . . you have extremely effective brainwashing. Every hour that you spend watching the TV set you become more conditioned. And, in case you thought there was a law against any of these things, guess again. There isn't! There are a lot of powerful people who obviously prefer things exactly the way they are.
[Editor's Note: What your parents, teachers and other figures of perceived "authority" tell you at times of stress and confusion has subconscious command-value. The child's mind is frequently overwhelmed and operating at alpha frequencies, so the roots of our personality conditioning occurs in the early years.
In addition, messages such as "Don't be so lazy!" are interpreted by the right brain (dominant at times of emotion) as "Be lazy!" With enough force, or repeated often enough, these messages sink in. So do any commands received during times of overwhelm, confusion and - especially - unconsciousness. For example, it has been proven that the surgeon's conversation - such as "This guy has no chance" - during an operation can dramatically affect the patient's recovery.]