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THE CONTROLLERS: A New Hypothesis of Alien Abduction


THE CONTROLLERS: A New Hypothesis of Alien Abduction

By Martin Cannon

Originally posted:

Mind Control Abduction

One wag has dubbed the problem "Terra and the Pirates." The pirates, ostensibly, are marauders from another solar system; their victims include a growing number of troubled human beings who insist that they've been shanghaied by these otherworldly visitors. An outlandish scenario -- yet through the works of such authors as Budd Hopkins [1] and Whitley Strieber [2], the "alien abduction" syndrome has seized the public imagination. Indeed, tales of UFO contact threaten to lapse into fashion- ability, even though, as I have elsewhere noted [3], they may still inflict a formidable social price upon the claimant.

Some time ago, I began to research these claims, concentrating my studies on the social and political environment surrounding these events. As I studied, the project grew and its scope widened. Indeed, I began to feel as though I'd gone digging through familiar terrain only to unearth Gomorrah. These excavations may have disgorged a solution.


Among ufologists, the term "abduction" has come to refer to an infinitely-confounding experience, or matrix of experiences, shared by a dizzying number of individuals, who claim that travelers from the stars have scooped them out of their beds, or snatched them from their cars, and subjected them to interrogations, quasi-medical examinations, and "instruction" periods. Usually, these sessions are said to occur within alien spacecraft; frequently, the stories include terrifying details reminiscent of the tortures inflicted in Germany's death camps. The abductees often (though not always) lose all memory of these events; they find themselves back in their cars or beds, unable to account for hours of "missing time." Hypnosis, or some other trigger, can bring back these haunted hours in an explosion of recollection -- and as the smoke clears, an abductee will often spot a trail of similar experiences, stretching all the way back to childhood.

Perhaps the oddest fact of these odd tales: Many abductees, for all their vividly recollected agonies, claim to love their alien tormentors. That's the word I've heard repeatedly: love.

Within the community of "scientific ufologists" -- those lonely, all-too little-heard advocates of reasonable and open-minded debate on matters saucerological -- these claims have elicited cautious interest and a commend-able restraint from conclusion hopping. Outside the higher realms of scientific ufology, the situation is, alas, quite different. In the popular press, in both the "straight" and sensationalist media, within that journalistic realm where issues are defined and public opinion solidified (despite a frequently superficial approach to matters of evidence and investigation) abduction scenarios have elicited two basic reactions: that of the Believer and the Skeptic.

The Believers -- and here we should note that "Believers" and "abductees" are two groups whose memberships overlap but are in no way congruent -- accept such stories at face value. They accept, despite the seeming absurdity of these tales, the internal contradictions, the askew logic of narrative construction, the severe discontinuity of emotional response to the actions described. The Believers believe, despite reports that their beloved "space brothers" use vile and inhuman tactics of medical examination -- senseless procedures most of us (and certainly the vanguard of an advanced race) would be ashamed to inflict on an animal. The Believers believe, despite the difficulty of reconciling these unsettling tales with their own deliriums of benevolent off-worlders.

Occasionally, the rough notes of a rationalization are offered: "The aliens don't know what they are doing," we hear; or "Some aliens are bad." Yet the Believers confound their own reasoning when they insist on ascribing the wisdom of the ages and the beneficence of the angels to their beloved visitors. The aliens allegedly know enough about our society to go about their business undetected by the local authorities and the general public; they communicate with the abductees in human tongue; they concern themselves with details of the percipients' innermost lives -- yet they remain so ignorant of our culture as to be unaware of the basic moral precepts concerning the dignity of the individual and the right to self-determination. Such dichotomies don't bother the Believers; they are the faithful, and faith is assumed to have its mysteries. SANCTA SIMPLICITAS.

Conversely, the Skeptics dismiss these stories out of hand. They dismiss, despite the intriguing confirmatory details: the multiple witness events, the physical traces left by the ufonauts, the scars and implants left on the abductees. The skeptics scoff, though the abductees tell stories similar in detail -- even certain tiny details, not known to the general public.

Philip Klass is a debunker who, through his appearances on such television programs as NOVA and NIGHTLINE, has been in a position to affect much of the public debate on UFOs. In his interesting but poorly-documented work on abductions [4], Klass claims that "abduction" is a psychological disease, spread by those who write about it. This argument exactly resembles the professional press-basher's frequent assertion that terrorism metastasizes through media exposure. Yet for all the millions of words expectorated by news folk on the subject of terrorism, terrorist actions remain quite rare, as any statistician (though few politicians) will admit, and verifiable linkage between crimes and their coverage remains to be found. For that matter, there have been books -- bestsellers, even -- on unicorns and gnomes. People who claim to see those creatures are few. Abductees are plentiful.

Both Believer and Skeptic, in my opinion, miss the real story. Both make the same mistake: They connect the abduction phenomenon to the forty-year history of UFO sightings, and they apply their prejudices about the latter to the controversy about the former.

At first sight, the link seems natural. Shouldn't our thoughts about UFOs color our thoughts about UFO abductions? NO.

They may well be separate issues. Or, rather, they are connected only in this: The myth of the UFO has provided an effective cover story for an entirely different sort of mystery. Remove yourself from the Believer/Skeptic dialectic, and you will see the third alternative. As we examine this alternative, we will, of necessity, stray far from the saucers. We must turn our face from the paranormal and concentrate on the occult -- if, by "occult," we mean SECRET.

I posit that the abductees HAVE been abducted. Yet they are also spewing fantasy -- or, more precisely, they have been given a set of lies to repeat and believe. If my hypothesis proves true, then we must accept the following: The kidnapping is real. The fear is real. The pain is real. The instruction is real. But the little grey men from Zeti Reticuli are NOT real; they are constructs, Halloween masks meant to disguise the real faces of the controllers. The abductors may not be visitors from Beyond; rather, they may be a symptom of the carcinoma which blackens our body politic. The fault lies not in our stars, but in ourselves.


Substantial evidence exists linking members of this country's intelligence community (including the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the Office of Naval Intelligence) with the esoteric technology of MIND CONTROL. For decades, "spy-chiatrists" working behind the scenes -- on college campuses, in CIA-sponsored institutes, and (most heinously) in prisons -- have experimented with the erasure of memory, hypnotic resistance to torture, truth serums, post-hypnotic suggestion, rapid induction of hypnosis, electronic stimulation of the brain, non-ionizing radiation, microwave induction of intracerebral "voices," and a host of even more disturbing technologies. Some of the projects exploring these areas were ARTICHOKE, BLUEBIRD, PANDORA, MKDELTA, MKSEARCH and the infamous MKULTRA. I have read nearly every available book on these projects, as well as the relevant congressional testimony [5]. I have also spent much time in university libraries researching relevant articles, contacting other researchers (who have graciously allowed me access to their files), and conducting interviews. Moreover, I traveled to Washington, DC to review the files John Marks compiled when he wrote THE SEARCH FOR "THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE" [6]. These files include some 20,000 pages of CIA and Defense Department documents, interviews, scientific articles, letters, etc. The views presented here are the result of extensive and ongoing research.

As a result of this research, I have come to the following conclusions:

1. Although misleading (and occasionally perjured) testimony before Congress indicated that the CIA's "brainwashing" efforts met with little success [7], striking advances were, in fact, made in this field. As CIA veteran Miles Copeland once admitted to a reporter, "The congressional subcommittee which went into this sort of thing got only the barest glimpse." [8]

2. Clandestine research into thought manipulation has NOT stopped, despite CIA protestations that it no longer sponsors such studies. Victor Marchetti, 14-year veteran of the CIA and author of the renown expose, THE CIA AND THE CULT OF INTELLIGENCE, confirmed in a 1977 interview that the mind control research continues, and that CIA claims to the contrary are a "cover story."[9]

3. The Central Intelligence Agency was not the only government agency involved in this research [10]. Indeed, many branches of our government took part in these studies -- including NASA, the Atomic Energy Commission, as well as all branches of the Defense Department.

To these conclusions I would append the following -- NOT as firmly- established historical fact, but as a working hypothesis and grounds for investigation:

4. The "UFO abduction" phenomenon MIGHT be a continuation of clandestine mind control operations.

I recognize the difficulties this thesis might present to those readers emotionally wedded to the extraterrestrial hypothesis, or to those whose political WELTANSHAUUNG disallows any such suspicions. Still, the open- minded student of abductions should consider the possibilities. Certainly, we are not being narrow-minded if we ask researchers to exhaust ALL terrestrial explanations before looking heavenward.

Granted, this particular explanation may, at first, seem as bizarre as the phenomenon itself. But I invite the skeptical reader to examine the work of George Estabrooks, a seminal theorist on the use of hypnosis in warfare, and a veteran of Project MKULTRA. Estabrooks once amused himself during a party by covertly hypnotizing two friends, who were led to believe that the Prime Minister of England had just arrived; Estabrooks' victims spent an hour conversing with, and even serving drinks to, the esteemed visitor [11]. For ufologists, this incident raises an inescapable question: If the Mesmeric arts can successfully evoke a non-existent Prime Minister, why can't a representative from the Pleiades be similarly induced?

But there is much more to the present day technology of mind control than mere hypnosis -- and many good reasons to suspect that UFO abduction accounts are an artifact of continuing brainwashing/behavior modification experiments.

Moreover, I intend to demonstrate that, by using UFO mythology as a cover story, the experimenters may have solved the major problem with the work conducted in the 1950s -- "the disposal problem," i.e., the question of "What do we do with the victims?"

If, in these pages, I seem to stray from the subject of the saucers, I plead for patience. Before I attempt to link UFO abductions with mind control experiments, I must first show that this technology EXISTS. Much of the forthcoming is an introduction to the topic of mind control -- what it is, and how it works.

II. The Technology


In the early days of World War II, George Estabrooks, of Colgate University, wrote to the Department of War, describing in breathless terms the possible uses of hypnosis in warfare [12]. The Army was intrigued; Estabrooks had a job. The true history of Estabrooks' wartime collaboration with the CID, FBI [13] and other agencies may never be told: After the war, he burned his diary pages covering the years 1940-45, and thereafter avoided discussing his continuing government work with anyone, even close members of the family [14]. Occasionally, he strongly intimated that his work involved the creation of hypno-programmed couriers and hypnotically induced split personalities, but whether he succeeded in these areas remains a controversial point. Nevertheless, the eccentric and flamboyant Estabrooks remains a pivotal figure in the early history of clandestine behavioral research.

Which is not to say that he worked alone. World War II was the first conflict in which the human brain became a field of battle, where invading forces were led by the most notable names in psychology and pharmacology. On both sides, the war spurred furious efforts to create a "truth drug" for use in interrogating prisoners. General William "Wild Bill" Donovan, director of the OSS, tasked his crack team -- including Dr. Winifred Overhulser, Dr.Edward Strecker, Harry J. Anslinger and George White -- to modify human perception and behavior through chemical means; their "medicine cabinet" included scopolamine, peyote, barbiturates, mescaline, and marijuana. (This research had its amusing side: Donovan's "psychic warriors" conducted many extensive and expensive trials before deciding that the best method of administering tetrahydrocannibinol, the active ingredient in marijuana, was via the cigarette. Any jazz musician could have told them as much [15].)

Simultaneously, the notorious NAZI doctors at Dachau experimented with mescaline as a means of eliminating the victim's will to resist. Jews, slavs, gypsies, and other "Untermenschen" in the camp were surreptitiously slipped the drug; later, mescaline was combined with hypnosis [16]. The results of these tests were made available to the United States after the War. [cf. Operation PAPERCLIP, which transferred thousands of German and Japanese intelligence researchers directly into the U.S. intelligence community. "Our Germans are BETTER than their Germans!" - DR. STRANGELOVE

In 1947, the Navy conducted the first known post-war mind control program, Project CHAPTER, which continued the drug experiments. Decades later, journalists and investigators still haven't uncovered much information about this project -- or, indeed, about any of the military's other excursions into this field. We know that the Army eventually founded operations THIRD CHANCE and DERBY HAT; other project names remain mysterious, though the existence of these programs is unquestionable.

The newly formed CIA plunged into this cesspool in 1950, with Project BLUEBIRD, rechristened ARTICHOKE in 1951. To establish a "cover story" for this research, the CIA funded a propaganda effort designed to convince the world that the Communist Bloc had devised insidious new methods of re-shaping the human will; the CIA's own efforts could therefore, if exposed, be explained as an attempt to "catch up" with Soviet and Chinese work. The primary promoter of this "line" was one Edward Hunter, a CIA contract employee operating under-cover as a journalist, and, later, a prominent member of the John Birch society. (Hunter was an OSS veteran of the China theatre -- the same spawning grounds which produced Richard Helms, Howard Hunt, Mitch WerBell, Fred Chrisman, Paul Helliwell and a host of other noteworthies who came to dominate that strange land where the worlds of intelligence and right-wing extremism meet [17].) Hunter offered "brainwashing" as the explanation for the numerous confessions signed by American prisoners of war during the Korean War and (generally) UN-recanted upon the prisoners' repatriation. These confessions alleged that the United States used germ warfare in the Korean conflict, a claim which the American public of the time found impossible to accept. [Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, murdered President Kennedy. -jpg] Many years later, however, investigative reporters discovered that Japan's germ warfare specialists (who had wreaked incalculable terror on the conquered Chinese during WWII) had been mustered into the American national security apparatus -- and that the knowledge gleaned from Japan's horrifying germ warfare experiments probably WAS used in Korea, just as the "brainwashed" soldiers had indicated [18]. Thus, we now know that the entire brainwashing scare of the 1950s constituted a CIA hoax perpetrated upon the American public: CIA deputy director Richard Helms admitted as much when, in 1963, he told the Warren Commission that Soviet mind control research consistently lagged years behind American efforts [19].

When the CIA's mind control program was transferred from the Office of Security to the Technical Services Staff (TSS) in 1953, the name changed again -- to MKULTRA [20]. Many consider this wide-ranging "octopus" project -- whose tentacles twined through the corridors of numerous universities and around the necks of an army of scientists -- the most ominous operation in CIA's catalogue of atrocity. Through MKULTRA, the Agency created an umbrella program of a positively Joycean scope, designed to ferret out all possible means of invading what George Orwell once called "the space between our ears" (Later still, in 1962, mind control research was transferred to the Office of Research and Development; project cryptonyms remain unrevealed [21].)

What was studied? Everything -- including hypnosis, conditioning, sensory deprivation, drugs, religious cults, microwaves, psychosurgery, brain implants, and even ESP. When MKULTRA "leaked" to the public during the great CIA investigations of the 1970s, public attention focused most heavily on drug experimentation and the work with ESP [22]. Mystery still shrouds another area of study, the area which seems to have most interested ORD: psychoelectronics.

This research may prove key to our understanding of the UFO abduction phenomenon.


Alien ImplantPerhaps the most interesting pieces of evidence surrounding the abduction phenomenon are the intracerebral implants allegedly visible in the X-rays and MRI scans of many abductees [23]. Indeed, abductees often describe operations in which needles are inserted into the brain; more frequently still, they report implantation of foreign objects through the sinus cavities. Many abduction specialists assume that these intracranial incursions must be the handiwork of scientists from the stars. Unfortunately, these researchers have failed to familiarize themselves with certain little-heralded advances in terrestrial technology. The abductees' implants strongly suggest a technological lineage which can be traced to a device known as a "stimoceiver," invented in the late '50s- early '60s by a neuroscientist named Jose "Bob" Delgado. The stimoceiver is a miniature depth electrode which can receive and transmit electronic signals over FM radio waves. By stimulating a correctly positioned stimoceiver, an outside operator can wield a surprising degree of control over the subject's responses. The most famous example of the stimoceiver in action occurred in a Madrid bull ring. Delgado "wired" the bull before stepping into the ring, entirely unprotected. Furious for gore, the bull charged toward the doctor -- then stopped, just before reaching him. The technician-turned-toreador had halted the animal by simply pushing a button on a black Box, held in the hand [24].

Delgado's PHYSICAL CONTROL OF THE MIND: TOWARD A PSYCHOCIVILISED SOCIETY [25] remains the sole, full-length, popularly-written work on intracerebral implants and electronic stimulation of the brain (ESB). (The book's ominous title and unconvincing philosophical rationales for mass mind control prompted an unfavorable public reaction -- which may have deterred other researchers from publishing on this theme for a general audience.) While subsequent work has long since superceded the techniques described in this book, Delgado's achievements were seminal. His animal and human experiments clearly demonstrate that the experimenter can electronically induce emotions and behavior: Under certain conditions, the extremes of temperament -- rage, lust, fatigue, etc. -- can be elicited by an outside operator as easily as an organist might call forth a C-major chord.

Delgado writes: "Radio stimulation of different points in the amygdala and hippocampus in the four patients produced a variety of effects, including pleasant sensations, elation, deep, thoughtful concentration, odd feelings, super relaxation, colored visions, and other responses."[26] The evocative phrase "colored vision" clearly indicates remotely induced hallucination; we will detail later how these hallucinations may be "controlled" by an outside operator.

Speaking in 1966 -- and reflecting research undertaken years previous -- Delgado asserted that his experiments "support the distasteful conclusion that motion, emotion, and behavior can be directed by electrical forces and that humans can be controlled like robots by push buttons."[27] He even prophesied a day when brain control could be turned over to non-human operators, by establishing two-way radio communication between the implanted brain and a computer [28].

Of one experimental subject, Delgado notes that "the patient expressed the successive sensations of fainting, fright and floating around. These 'floating' feelings were repeatedly evoked on different days by stimulation of the same point..."[29] Ufologists may recognize the similarity of this sequence of events to abductee reports of the opening minutes of their experiences [30]. Under subsequent hypnosis, the abductee could be instructed to misremember the cause of this floating sensation.

In a fascinating series of experiments, Delgado attached the stimoceiver to the tympanic membrane, thereby transforming the ear into a sort of micro- phone. An assistant would whisper "How are you?" into the ear of a suitably "fixed" cat, and Delgado could hear the words over a loudspeaker in the next room. The application of this technology to the spy trade should be readily apparent. According to Victor Marchetti, The Agency once attempted a highly sophisticated extension of this basic idea, in which radio implants were attached to a cat's cochlea, to facilitate the pinpointing of specific conversations, freed from extraneous surrounding noises [31]. Such "advances" exacerbate the already-imposing level of Twentieth-Century paranoia: Not only can our phones be tapped and mail checked, but even TABBY may be spying on us!

Yet the ramifications of this technology may go even deeper than Marchetti indicates. I presume that if a suitably wired subject's inner ear can be made into a microphone, it can also be made into a loudspeaker -- one possible explanation for the "voices" heard by abductees [32]. Indeed, I have personally viewed a strange, opalescent implant within the ear canal of an abductee. I see no reason to ascribe this device to alien intrusion -- more than likely, the "intruders" in this case were the technological inheritors of the Delgado legacy. Indeed, not many years after Delgado's experiments with the cat, Ralph Schwitzgebel devised a "bug-in-the-ear" via which the therapist -- odd term, under the circumstances -- can communicate with his subject [33].

Other researchers have made notable contributions to this field. Robert G. "Bob" Heath, of Tulane University, who has implanted as many as 125 electrodes in his subjects, achieved his greatest notoriety by attempting to "cure" homosexuality through ESB. In his experiments, he discovered that he could control his patients' memory, (a feat which, applied in the ufological context, may account for the phenomenon of "missing time"); he could also induce sexual arousal, fear, pleasure, and hallucinations [34].

Heath and another researcher, James Olds [35], have independently illustrated that areas of the brain in and near the hypothalamus have, when electronically stimulated, what has been described as "rewarding" and "aversive" effects. Both animals and men, when given the means to induce their own ESB of the brain's pleasure centers, will stimulate themselves at a tremendous rate, ignoring such basic drives as hunger and thirst [36]. (Using fixed electrodes of his own invention, John C. Lilly had accomplished similar effects in the early 1950s[37].) Anyone who has studied the abduction phenomenon will find himself on familiar territory here, for the abductee accounts are replete with stories of bewildering and inappropriate sexual response countered by extremely painful stimuli -- operant conditioning, at its most extreme, and most insidious, for here we see a form of conditioning in which the manipulator renders himself invisible. Indeed, B.F. Skinner-esque aversive therapy, remotely applied, was Heath's prescription for "healing" homosexuality [38].

Ralph Schwitzgebel and his brother Robert have produced a panoply of devices for tracking individuals over long ranges; they may be considered the creators of the "electronic house arrest" devices recently approved by the courts [39]. Schwitzgebel devices could be used for tracking all the physical and neurological signs of a "patient" within a quarter of a mile [40], thereby lifting the distance limitations which restricted Delgado.

In Ralph Schwitzgebel's initial work, application of this technology to ESB seems to have been limited to cumbersome brain implants with protruding wires. But the technology was soon miniaturized, and a scheme was proposed whereby radio receivers would be mounted on utility poles throughout a given city, thereby providing 24-hour-a-day monitoring capability [41]. Like Heath, Schwitzgebel was much exercised about homosexuality and the use of intracranial devices to combat sexual deviation. But he has also spoken ominously about applying his devices to "socially troublesome persons"... which, of course, could mean anyone [42].

Bryan Robinson, of the Yerkes primate laboratory has conducted fascinating simian research on the use of remote ESB in a social context. He could cause mothers to ignore their offspring, despite the babies' cries. He could turn submission into dominance, and vice-versa [43]. Perhaps the most disturbing wanderer into this mind-field is Joseph A. Meyer, of the National Security Agency, the most formidable and secretive component of America's national security complex. Meyer has proposed implanting roughly half of all Americans arrested -- not necessarily convicted -- of any crime; the numbers of "subscribers" (his euphemism) would run into the tens of millions. "Subscribers" could be monitored continually by computer wherever they went. Meyer, who has carefully worked out the economics of his mass-implantation system, asserts that taxpayer liability should be reduced by forcing subscribers to "rent" the implant from the State. Implants are cheaper and more efficient than police, Meyer suggests, since the call to crime is relentless for the poor "urban dweller" -- who, this spook-scientist admits in a surprisingly candid aside, is fundamentally unnecessary to a post-industrial economy. "Urban dweller" may be another of Meyer's euphemisms: He uses New York's Harlem as his model community in working out the details of his mind-management system [44].

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