In 1978, various US researchers argued that a signal originating from within the Soviet Union, the so-called Russian Woodpecker, was an experiment in global mind control. Thirty years on, what do we know?
Despite omissions from dictionaries – including Microsoft Word which continues to underline it in red – psychotronics is an interdisciplinary science concerned with the interactions of consciousness, energy fields and matter. There are thousands of references to it on the internet, and, especially, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) used the word in introducing “The Space Preservation Act of 2001” (H.R. 2977), on October 2, 2001, well before Mazzola’s judgment. Kucinich described “psychotronic” devices as weapons that were “directed at individual persons or targeted populations for the purpose of ... mood management, or mind control.” And whereas Mazzola seemed to think Einhorn had invented this “pseudo-science,” in truth, Einhorn was merely one of the first promoters of the potential dangers relatively new technology was posing to the nations of the Earth.
Writing in the Winter 1977/78 edition of CoEvolution Quarterly, Einhorn wrote about the exact synchronicity between the so-called Woodpecker’s shortwave pulses and naturally occurring alpha brainwave frequencies. In his article A Disturbing Communiqué, he advanced the opinion that the Russians were engaged in a sinister mind control experiment of Orwellian dimensions: they were sending out a specific “beam” across the Western world. Were they trying to brainwash the non-communist countries?
Posing the question was sufficient for “the Russian Woodpecker” to become associated with Einhorn. It was, for the Woodpecker, an unfortunate situation to be in, as soon, Einhorn would become the subject of a high-profile murder investigation. From the late 1970s onwards, the Woodpecker signal was thus primarily used to “prove” that Einhorn was largely “an intellectual dilettante;” research into the signal itself became marginalised.
The random frequency was heard on disrupted legitimate broadcast, amateur radio, and utility transmissions and resulted in thousands of complaints by countries worldwide to Moscow. The complaints were however non-specific: it seemed that whatever the Russians were doing, was interfering with “business as usual” in the West, and could the Russians please rectify the problem. The answer was “njet,” but also invited another question: what was the signal?
However, though Einhorn’s name has become mostly associated with the conspiracy theories of the Russian Woodpecker, he was not the first to put these thoughts to paper. In The Zapping of America, published in 1977, Paul Brodeur wrote that “a report published in The New York Times on October 30, 1976, revealed that in recent months a mysterious broadband, short-wave radio signal had been broadcast intermittently from the Soviet Union. The signal was so powerful that it disrupted radio and telecommunications through the world […] Dr Zaret is concerned about the Russian signal […] because of its potential hazard to human beings […] It was very clear that such an encoding impressed onto carrier wave-lengths could have a central-nervous-system effect.” Dr Milton Zaret had previously been retained to investigate the so-called “Moscow signal,” in which the US Embassy in Moscow was found to be subjected to a microwave beam by Soviet authorities.
Alas, the true purpose of the Woodpecker remains the subject of speculation, largely because in the public mind, it is “merely” tied to a single allegation of a convicted murderer. But even if that were the case, what few have realised, is that Einhorn at least to some extent has been proven right.
In the 1970s, some of this “secret war for our mind” was exposed in a number of Congressional enquiries, but most commentators seem to believe, or accept, that everything stopped, and largely that – from the little information that had not been destroyed prior to the investigation began – it had been unsuccessful. Though the latter might have been the case in the mid 1970s, it is definitely clear that it did not end.
Adey had obtained a copy of the Russian-language manual describing use of the mini-Woodpecker, which said that it was a “distant pulse treatment apparatus” for psychological problems, including sleeplessness, hypertension, and neurotic disturbances. Interestingly, when the Associated Press reported on Adey’s scoop, it concluded that “the LIDA may have been the forerunner of a device that is presently bombarding Europe and the United States with very powerful waves.” An interesting conclusion, and a direct reference to the “big” Woodpecker.
It is not the only interesting detail that resulted from this study. “The Soviets included a picture with the device that showed an entire auditorium full of people asleep with the LIDA on the podium. The LIDA put out an electric field, a magnetic field, light, heat, and sound.” And: “The purported purpose of the LIDA was for medical treatments; however, the North Koreans used it as a brain washing device during the Korean War. The big question is: what did they do with the technology? It could have been improved and/or made smaller. It is unlikely that they abandoned something that worked.”
In private correspondence, Einhorn told me that his friend Andrija Puharich, who very much like Adey intermittently worked for the CIA in the same field, “built a small version of the device and tested it, with permission on the inner group – mind control effects were produced […] and he tested it, without permission, in crowded buzzing restaurants. Result: there was a rapid diminution of the buzz, which returned as soon as the machine was turned off.”
Whereas the CIA were officially asking what had happened to the device since the 1950s, and noting that the Soviets could have miniaturised it since, another question could be whether they had rolled it out on a grander scale. And it is definitely a curious coincidence that a similar signal was indeed beamed out by the Russians, and heard practically all over the Western world.
In short, by 1984, the CIA was fully aware of the possibility to apply “the Woodpecker” on an individual or global scale. And it must have left some CIA employees to query whether this wasn’t indeed the true purpose of the Russian Woodpecker. Indeed, according to Ira Einhorn, who had infrequent contacts with the world of American intelligence, even by the late 1970s, there was unconfirmed speculation that the Woodpecker was more than it seemed and used for precisely that purpose.
In 1976, Time Magazine reported that Washington had known for some 15 years that its Moscow Embassy had been bombarded with microwaves. The purpose was to jam the sophisticated electronic monitoring devices inside and on the roof of the building. But the State Department decided to launch a medical investigation of the thousands of US diplomats and their families who served in Moscow since the early 1960s. In the wake of the microwave disclosures, former embassy employees and their families recalled suffering strange ailments during their tenure in Moscow, ranging from eye tics and headaches to heavy menstrual flows. Some pointed out that former ambassadors to Moscow Charles Bohlen and Llewellyn Thompson both died of cancer, though an official link between the cancer and the microwave bombardments was never confirmed.
Should anyone dare to subject the history of the Western world between 1976 and 1989 to an analysis, might they find potential incidents in which “panic or illness” changed the course of history? Probably the biggest question to ponder is this: noting the allegation made by several qualified scientists that missiles and bombers would soon be obsolete, is it a chronological coincidence that the end of the Cold War occurred when more and more discussion about the Woodpecker began to appear in the Western media? Is it a coincidence that once the Cold War ended, the signal was turned off? Was it no longer necessary? The unthinkable question is whether the Woodpecker was indeed a form of “non-lethal warfare” that literally “eased Western minds” – zapped them with smoothing waves – into believing – or accepting – that there was no such thing as a Communist threat – paving the way for the end of the Cold War.
Crick, coincidentally the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, stated that the 40 Mhz wave was instrumental in our perception of reality. Most NCC studies – and hence experiments – focus on vision as a means of manipulating the perception of time and space. Though ideal for laboratory experiments, in the shadowy regions in which intelligence agencies operate, where NCC was not studied for purely scientific advances but for military applications, sound would obviously have been a more preferable method: sound travels further and easier than visual displays, which require line of sight. And that the Woodpecker travelled far and strong, was in evidence when most of the Western world complained about it to the Soviets.
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Paul Brodeur: The Zapping of America: Microwaves, Their Deadly Risk, and the Coverup