Could that nutty guy in your neighborhood
be the unwitting victim of a supersecret government experiment? Who are we to say no?

© 1996 by Jonathan Vankin and John Whalen

Every neighborhood's got one. That guy who walks up and down the street carrying on an intense argument with some unseen adversary, or just barking at the moon. Hearing voices in your head is generally considered, and not without good reason, a sign of neurological disorder. Aha! What better cover for covert mind control experiments! Crazy? Perhaps, but "respectable" researchers have indeed dabbled in this area. Sometimes more than dabbled.

The most famous of those was Dr. Jose Delgado, inventor of the "stimoceiver" implant and author of the 1969 book (from mainstream publisher Harper & Row) Physical Control of the Mind: Toward a Psychocivilized Society. In this watershed work, Delgado -- who once stopped a charging bull in its tracks in a daring demonstration of his wacky gadget--advocates using technology to keep the dangerous, anti-social impulses of the public-at-large under control. "The technology for nonsensory communication between brain and computers through the intact skin is already at our fingertips," he wrote. Delgado admitted, however, that with present knowledge "it is highly improbable that electrical correlates of thoughts or emotions could be picked up."

Of course, Delgado was writing almost three decades ago and, he noted then, "we are advancing rapidly in the pattern recognition of electrical correlates of behavior." The technology was not without its encumbrances, however.

"One of the limiting factors in these studies was the existence of wires leading from the brain to the stimoceiver outside of the scalp," wrote Delgado. "The wires represented possible portal of entry for infection and could be a hindrance to hair grooming."

It would hardly be worth creating a society of perfectly behaved citizens if they weren't well-groomed. To solve this problem, Delgado developed "a small three channel stimulator which can be placed subcutaneously... The instrument is solid state, has no batteries and can work indefinitely." In other words, a brain implant.

Psychosurgery and brain manipulation--whether by lobotomy, electroshock or drugs--has long been an accepted way to control behavior. The "stimoceiver" is really just a high-tech twist on the old theme. The difference is, Delgado lobbied for its use as a means of social management, not merely individual therapy.

Has Dr. Delgado's wondrous creation and its descendants (if, in fact, any such devices exist) found an array of unwilling customers? Ed Light hosts a site on the Internet called Mind Control Forum in which he chronicles dozens of cases of people who claim to be victims of remote control. Light also claims to be a victim himself, which probably wouldn't do much for his credibility with Ted Koppel.

Others, however, are at least open-minded. Tom Porter, a software engineer who runs a Web site devoted to research into government mind control experiments (who does not claim victimization), says he has spoken to "several purported survivors of trauma-based mind control who had significant, although not conclusive corroborating evidence," and that "I am inclined to give these people the benefit of the doubt."

Light's Internet site contains a section devoted to Brian Bard, who not only says that he has been the subject of implant mind-control experiments, he posts MRI scans of his head on the site. According to his own readings of these pictures, they show a couple of tiny devices in his skull, one shaped like a tuning fork.

To accept the stories of the "victims" not only requires accepting an incredible level of ruthlessness on the part of the controllers but, perhaps more of a leap of faith, that the technology could actually work. As the closest thing to a smoking gun in that area, Light offers a 1961 article by Cornell University researcher Allen Frey titled "Human Auditory Response to Modulated Electromagnetic Energy" from the Journal of Applied Physiology (Vol. 17, No. 4, pp. 689-692).

The thesis of this highly technical article was that "using extremely low average power densities of electromagnetic energy, the perception of sounds was induced in normal and deaf humans."

There is a long way between "the perception of sounds" and controllable, intrusive voices. A controversial paper by Julianne McKinney of the Association of National Security Alumni--a group that opposes covert operations--published in 1992 in the Association journal "Unclassified" stated that "typically, persons who complain of being 'zapped by radio waves' and of 'hearing voices' are stigmatized as psychotic, delusional or schizophrenic... Based on our preliminary investigation, including interviews with the affected individuals, we conclude that the matter is serious and should be pursued further."

The paper was entitled "Microwave Harassment and Mind-Control Experimentation," which pretty much summed it up. However, in a supplement to the piece, McKinney noted that one major objection to her thesis was that "no substantive proof has been furnished in this document which confirms that directed-energy technologies exist."

She goes on to note that "in these past 10 months, directed-energy-based surveillance and anti-personnel systems suddenly leaped off of physicists drawing boards into the world of reality, thus obviating the criticism..."

McKinney's "Project" catalogs complaints from "experimentees," which skyrocketed, predictably, after she published her paper. The complaints came in from people saying that they were survivors of Satanic cults (supposedly connected to the military), "programmed assassins" from the Vietnam war and UFO abductees, among others.

"It has been suggested that the long-term objective of all this experimentation," McKinney wrote, "is to develop a system by which all (surviving) citizens of this country can be monitored and tracked by a sophisticated, perhaps satellite-based cybernetics system."