- It was some thirty years ago on the big screen that we
watched Darth Vader kill a subordinate with sheer force of will. Displeased
with the performance of Admiral Ozzel because he brought his ships out
of hyperspace too soon, alerting the Rebels to their presence, Darth Vader
held up his hand and pinched the air. Moviegoers will recall the hapless
admiral choking for air and falling over dead. Darth Vader killed the admiral
with a look, employing some unseen force of Mind.
- It was pure science fiction. Or was it? At about this
same time, a U.S. Army Special Forces soldier was felling goats in much
the same manner. Now this story is coming to the big screen.
- "The Men Who Stare At Goats" is a soon to be
released major motion picture starring George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, and
Ewan McGregor. It is a lighthearted look at how the U.S. Army explored
paranormal powers, "new age" parapsychology and psychic functioning
in the late 1970's and early 80s. The film portrays all of this in a whimsical
and comical tone, but the real story is deadly serious.
- The character portrayed by George Clooney is based on
retired Special Forces Intel First Sergeant Glenn Wheaton. In real life
Wheaton is a character far too complex to portray in a two-hour movie.
In his Army career Wheaton was a stone cold killer, a Green Beret door-knocker
as well as a remote viewer, a type of psychic spy who could readily displace
his awareness to remote locations across space and time to bring back actual
intelligence grade data using only his mind. He's also a boy from the Louisiana
Bayou, a southern gentleman, a kind and caring teacher.
- The title of the upcoming movie, "The Men Who Stare
at Goats" is based on an incident in which a Green Beret instructor
killed a goat by staring at it. Glenn Wheaton witnessed the event and recounted
it to author Jon Ronson, who wrote about it in his book "The Crazy
Rulers of the World." Glenn Wheaton sat down and talked about the
goat incident recently during an interview for a documentary planned for
release in conjunction with the movie "The Men Who Stare at Goats."
His interview will also be included in the "Extras" in the home
DVD version of the movie.
- At the Special Warfare Center and School at Ft. Bragg,
North Carolina they had what the Green Berets called "The Goat Lab."
Special Forces medics were required to learn how to treat gunshot wounds,
trauma cases, broken bones, and other types of battlefield injuries. It
may sound cruel to members of PETA, but they shot goats and subjected them
to numerous traumatic injuries, and then tried to revive and stabilize
them. Soldiers also slaughtered the goats, learning so they would be able
to teach people in third world countries how to butcher and dress an animal
and prepare it for food. So they brought in goats from Honduras, and at
least one of the goats became a victim of a Darth Vader type mental energy
- "I was there the day the first goat died,"
recalls Glenn Wheaton. He remembers it was in the dead of winter at Ft.
Bragg. The Special Forces students had finished their usual ten to fifteen
mile predawn run and headed to the woods for hand-to-hand combat training.
At that time the 5th Special Forces Group hand-to-hand combat instructor
was a martial arts expert named Mike Echanis.
- "We got to the training area," Wheaton says,
"and there was a dagger stuck in a tree." That meant Echanis
was in the Bear Pit. The Bear Pit was hole in the sandy North Carolina
soil, 8 to 10 feet deep and 60 to 80 feet wide. The instructor would wait
in the pit. The students couldn't see him. It wasn't that he was actually
invisible, but he could blend in, using both camouflage and mental trickery,
that they couldn't spot him. He was able to adapt and blend into the environment
so well that those looking down into the pit just could not see him. A
trainee would jump into the pit, and suddenly Echanis would come out of
nowhere and be upon him, and the hand-to-hand combat would ensue. The students
were certain to endure a severe beating.
- On this particular day, Echanis had brought a goat with
him down into the pit. As the soldiers fought the goat would scamper and
jump about, trying to avoid the combatants being hurled around the pit.
- At the completion of the class, Echanis challenged the
soldiers: "Where is your mind?"
- Then the demonstration none of them would ever forget.
Wheaton recalls that the instructor "grabbed the goat by the horns.
He dragged him to the middle of the pit, pushing a green stake to the bottom
of the pit, attaching the goat to it. Then he asked us again 'Where are
your minds?' Michael had recently completed a lot of training in Qigong,
the force you couldn't see that moves like a train."
- Glenn Wheaton witnessed the incredible feat. The instructor
never touched the goat. "Michael focused on the goat pretty intensely,"
he says. "It started to bray like a donkey or horse. It dropped down
to its forelegs; blood began to drip from its nose. About 20 to 30 seconds
later red suds began to froth from the goat's mouth. The goat lost its
equilibrium and passed away in a fit."
- There was nothing done physically to the goat. Wheaton
says, "Michael never had to touch the goat, other than dragging him
and sinking the anchor in the sand. A demonstration we required he repeat."
- They tested Echanis several times under less brutal circumstances.
They filled balloons with ink and the balloons were suspended in an aquarium.
"He was able to successfully break or rupture three balloons filled
with ink suspended in an aquarium filled with water," Wheaton recounts.
"He was able to rupture each one of those balloons, causing the ink
to contaminate the water."
- Wheaton says it was "a lot to think about."
And he goes on to say, "as an adaptation it has immediate applications.
Could anyone do it, or could only Michael do it? That's what we investigated
- Wheaton does not talk about whether this technique was
ever employed against humans, but he says Green Berets did study so called
"paranormal powers" as part of a program called Project Jedi.
What kind of techniques did they study in Project Jedi? Wheaton answers,
"Can you be warm when everyone else around you is freezing cold? Can
you regulate your respiration and heart rate so that when everyone else
is huffing and puffing because you're running up a really long hill, can
you manage your own body? Can you keep going when everyone else will stop?
- That's what the empowerment portion of Project Jedi was
for. You had to be perfectly able to control yourself, because if you couldn't
control yourself you couldn't control anything else. So being able to control
your blood pressure is a good thing. Being able to send heat to an exposed
part of your body by will alone is a good thing. Being able to hear when
there is only a cacophony of noise, a single thing. If I turned on a vacuum
cleaner and gave a lecture that you couldn't hear, after a while could
you hear? You learn to filter your environment so that you can accomplish
- Glenn Wheaton is currently the president and chief instructor
at the Hawaii Remote Viewers' Guild. He has been teaching advanced communication
skills and mental focus techniques to civilians, for free, for the past
- "The Men Who Stare at Goats" currently in theaters.
There will be a documentary released soon about the true story behind the
movie, and the home DVD version will contain interviews with Glenn Wheaton
and Jim Channon.
- - Dick Allgire