What Is NASA Up To?
And Who Was Robert
Monroe, Really?
By Richard Sauder <>
Extract from Kundalini Tales available at: The Sauder Zone
© 1998 Copyright Richard Sauder, PhD, All Rights Reserved
May not copy in any way without prior,
written permission from RichardSauder, PhD.
In the 1970s, I read Robert Monroe's book, 'Journeys Out of the Body.'1 I found his stories about consciously traveling out of his physical body to be bizarre. But I understood intuitively that what he reported was true. I tried his out-of-body technique at home and succeeded after a period of diligent effort in consciously leaving my body. On one of my first attempts, I was meditating late one night, at the end of a five day, water-only fast, when I suddenly entered an altered state of consciousness. In this altered state I heard the sound of a man's voice. I could not make out what he was saying, but the tone of his voice was very comforting; it reminded me of the voice of Walter Cronkite, or of Fred McMurray, the star of the old television situation comedy, My Three Sons. It was at this point that I very naturally and virtually effortlessly used Robert Monroe's roll-out method to consciously roll out of my body. I found myself in a small, claustrophobic room with lavender colored wall paper dotted with small flowers. The room felt too cramped, so I melted through the wall and found myself on a macadam road in a residential area lined with shade trees. I went running down the road looking for a road sign or any other identifying clue that I could use to verify the objective reality of what I was experiencing. I felt a sense of overwhelming excitement, strangeness and curiosity. And as nearly as I can remember now that is how the experience ended. The next thing I remembered I was back in bed, the birds were chirping and the sun was coming up. This proved to be just the first of many out-of-body experiences over the next few years.
Not long after the first experience I contacted the Monroe Institute and participated in one of their weekend training sessions in Richmond, Virginia. I did not go out-of-the-body during the weekend, but back in Louisiana, the following week, I had the first and most powerful kundalini awakening of my life. Early one morning, while doing the set of exercises I had learned the previous weekend, I moved precipitously into a staggeringly powerful state of consciousness. Because it was so much at variance with my normal frame of mind I am scarcely able to describe, even now, what it was like. My spinal column was turbo-charged with what felt like 50,000 volts of rippling, crackling electricity that came surging up my spine with an ear-splitting roar and arced out of the top of my skull and away into a vast, indescribable something that, for want of better words, resembled an enormously huge balloon hanging over my head. It may be that the balloon-like impression represented my limited perception of an expanded state of super-consciousness that lay just above me. Meanwhile, my heart chakra was powerfully opened and I could see all around me without any physical impediment, right through the walls, in a 360o circle. I want to emphasize that I was seeing with startling clarity-- not with my physical eyes, which were closed, or with the so-called third eye in the forehead-- but with my heart. The heart itself sees, with great acuity and without physical restriction, when in a state such as this. At the same time I was enjoying sublime feelings of bliss. The calming influence of these feelings persisted throughout the day after the experience was over. While everything else was going on I heard in my ears the most perfectly enchanting and seductive music I have ever encountered anywhere, whether in the body or out. It was eminently haunting and coyly mysterious. I could not wait to hear what it would do next. It was all of the best music that I have ever heard, and much more, somehow rolled together and mixed up in one never-ending perfect song that is eternally and completely satisfying. It has no equal anywhere. The melody, the rhythm, and the instrumentation were incomparable. The closest match that I can think of are the great symphonies of Beethoven and Mozart and the finest performances of the most gifted jazz musicians of the day. But even if you could somehow combine those into the one-best-song that humanity has to offer the result would still be no more than an imperfect, pale imitation of the magical, intensely nostalgic kundalini music that I once heard playing on a muggy Louisiana morning many years ago.
The experience persisted for a few moments and then it was gone. But it made a palpably vivid impression on me. I have never forgotten it; indeed, I do not see how I can. Over the course of the intervening years I have often thought back with great longing to that time and wished that it could happen again.
Though I had no interaction with Robert Monroe on that occasion, a number of other times I did hear his voice while in an altered state of consciousness, or while out of the body. He invariably began by saying, "Hello, this is Robert Monroe..." And he would go on to talk about subjects that were quite remarkable and magical. I can remember well the warm, golden glow that accompanied his avuncular, relaxing voice. It was really very hypnotic to just lay there and bask in the sound of his voice and the vibrant, rich colors of whatever surroundings were a part of the experience. The ambiance was one of plush velvet, and subtle, understated hues of mahogany furniture and burgundy velours.
I remember well one occasion on which he spoke to me. I was in jail at the time in Arkansas. During the early 1980s I was an anti-nuclear activist. On three different occasions I scaled the security fence at nuclear missile silos to demonstrate my opposition to preparations for nuclear war. As it happened, I was jailed by the United States government for these activities. The first time I did this I was jailed for seven days and released on probation (which I subsequently violated to do the same thing again, and for which I was again jailed). While in jail on the first charge I conducted a one week water-only fast. After about four or five days of this I was lying awake in my cell one night when I suddenly moved into an altered state. Once in the altered state of consciousness I heard the voice of Robert Monroe. He said, as usual, "Hello, this is Robert Monroe" And then he went on to tell me something about the manned space program. He began, "Thirty years ago, when men first started to go into space..." He continued on to tell me something I had not known before. What he said was highly interesting. In fact, it was downright fascinating. He told me that in the early years of the manned space program sending someone into space was not as simple as merely positioning an astronaut on top of a rocket and blasting up into space. Instead, there were certain magical-yes, magical and mystical protocols that had to be observed. He told me that astronauts could only be inserted into orbit at the proper place and time, and in just the right way. As he described it he conveyed the very real element of magic and mystery that was involved in putting human beings into space.
I was surprised to learn that more was involved in the manned space program than, well, the proverbial rocket science. Robert Monroe's words (delivered telepathically, or paranormally, while I was in an altered state of consciousness) resonated silently within me after my release from jail. Time went by and I kept what he had told me to myself. The import of what he said was seriously at variance with the coldly analytical, scientific image that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) projects. I found it difficult to justify Robert Monroe's assertions with the public pronouncements and hard engineering appearances of the American space program.
It was not until many years later, when I toured the 33o Scottish Rite Masonic Temple at 1733 16th Street, N.W., in Washington, D.C.,2 that I began to realize the full significance of Robert Monroe's message. To my surprise, there, in the temple's museum, was a Scottish Rite Masonic flag which Edwin Aldrin, Jr., the second Apollo program astronaut to walk on the Moon, carried with him to the lunar surface. When I visited, the flag was prominently displayed in a glass case in the museum. The same museum also displays a small Masonic flag that Apollo 7 astronaut Walter Schirra carried into space and subsequently presented to Scottish Rite Supreme Council, 33o Grand Commander Henry Clausen, on 23 October 1969. Gordon Cooper also took the Supreme Council, 33o flag into space on the Gemini 5 orbital mission. The museum also contains pieces of the heat shields from NASA's Mercury 7 and Apollo 11 manned missions. My interest was immediately sparked. I saw that there was some sort of connection between NASA's manned space program and the Supreme Council, 33o, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction, U.S.A.
So, after my tour I inquired about the possibility of doing research in the temple's library. The collection of Masonic literature in that temple is virtually without peer in the world. My request was granted, and I soon had a much better idea of what Robert Monroe had been alluding to: I discovered that some of the most prominent astronauts in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs are (or were) Masons.3 Indeed, one of the original seven Project Mercury astronauts, John Glenn, is now an influential United States Senator from Ohio who will be returning to space again, in October 1998, aboard the space shuttle (author's note: this event did occur, for reasons that are still not entirely clear). I also learned that two former, highly placed administrators at NASA, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht,4 and James E. Webb5 are both Masons.6 These facts, coupled with the Masonic flags various astronauts carried into space and delivered to the Scottish Rite's Supreme Council, 33o, reveal some sort of relationship between Masonry and the space program.
One of the interesting items I found in the course of my research was a letter from Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, bearing the date of 19 September 1969.7 Aldrin was the second Apollo astronaut to walk on the Moon, after Neil Armstrong. Aldrin's letter explicitly mentions the Masonic flag that he carried with him to the Moon on the Apollo 11 mission of 20 July 1969, and which he delivered to the Supreme Council, 33o on 16 September 1969. The letter is addressed to Sovereign Grand Commander Luther A. Smith and says, in part:
It was a great moment in my life to be so cordially welcomed to the House of the Temple on September 16, 1969 by you and Grand Secretary General Kleinknecht, 33o, and also the members of your staffs. My greatest pleasure, however, was to be able to present to you on this occasion the Scottish Rite Flag which I carried on the Apollo 11 Flight to the Moon -- emblazoned in color with the Scottish Rite Double-headed Eagle, the Blue Lodge Emblem and the Sovereign Grand Commander's Insignia.
As it happens, the Grand Secretary General Kleinknecht (now Grand Commander) who Aldrin mentions in his letter is the brother of Kenneth S. Kleinknecht,8 the powerful, former NASA official in charge of most of the early manned space programs. Both Kleinknechts are 33o Masons.
This is an interesting relationship. The temple on which the NASA-Masonic connection centers is located just several blocks due north of the White House, at 1733 16th Street, N.W. Many United States presidents are known to have been Masons, beginning with George Washington and including some 20th century presidents. So it only stands to reason that there should be a 33o Masonic temple in close proximity to the White House. But this is not just any temple. Underscoring its status as a prominent Scottish Rite temple, its holdings include the second largest body of Robert Burns literature anywhere outside of Scotland itself. Moreover, it also has a room devoted to J. Edgar Hoover, founder and long-time Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). The Hoover shrine includes his official desk and many mementos and memorabilia from his long career. It seems that this temple has a special relationship with the FBI, as well as with NASA and the manned space program.
That's not all. This same temple also holds the personal library of Confederate Army General, Albert Pike. It even holds his corpse, buried in the walls at the rear of the building. Just who was Albert Pike? Well, he was a prominent Mason in the post-Civil War era in the Southern state -- and if some sources can be believed he was also one of the Founding Fathers of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), the White-racist, terrorist organization that formed in the South after the Civil War.9 Little did I know that I would stumble on all of this when I set out to learn more about Freemasonry.
As regards NASA and secret societies, it is well to remember as well that solidly entrenched in the core group of NASA's vaunted rocket scientists were men such as Wernher von Braun, and over one hundred other assorted "ex"-Nazi rocket experts who were brought out of Germany after WW-II by Operation Paperclip. Their rocketry expertise was put to work on designing and flying the rockets that launched the astronauts into space. The first director of the Kennedy Space Center was Kurt Debus, the V-2 rocket flight test director at the infamous Nazi missile base at Peenemünde, Germany. Wernher von Braun himself was an officer in Hitler's dreaded SS and later director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. And Arthur Rudolph, the head of production at the Nazi's murderous Mittelwerk underground missile factory in Germany's Harz Mountains, was later to become Director of NASA's Saturn V moon rocket program.10
In recent years, a number of exposés have described the magico-occult underpinnings of the Third Reich and the Nazi Party's ideology.11 Peter Levenda's excellent Unholy Alliance is among the best of these books. Levenda's thesis is that: "(T)he Third Reich was a state governed on magical principles"12 To be sure, the magic was, and Levenda shows, still is, a magic of the darkest, most grotesquely violent sort. Given the close involvement of "ex"-Nazis at the highest levels of NASA's manned space program, and the magico-occult beliefs that motivated the leadership of the Nazi party, Robert Monroe's words to me vis-à -vis the manned space program and magical rites attendant to the launching of space capsules may be fraught with more significance than I know.
At any rate, the close ties between prominent NASA astronauts, NASA officials and Freemasonry (including the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite) leave no serious doubt about some sort of Masonic involvement in the United States manned space program at the highest levels. Likewise, the crucial work of powerful "ex"-Nazis, such as Werner von Braun, Arthur Rudolph, Kurt Debus, and many others, at the heart of the United States' manned space program raises further questions about the role that these Project Paperclip "ex"-Nazis and their sympathizers played (and may still play) for NASA.
But what could be the reason for this strenuous effort to go to the Moon, in which both Freemasons and "ex"-Nazis played prominent roles?13 Is there something special about the Moon that powerful organizations such as the Nazi Party and Freemasonry know? Something special that the rest of us don't know? To be sure, many Masonic lodges traditionally schedule their meetings according to the time when the Moon is full.14 But that scarcely justifies the sort of effort that the early manned space program put forth to reach the Moon. The nagging question remains: is there something more?
I do not have the answer to this question. However, while combing through the NASA archives in Washington, D.C. I did find a statement from Werner von Braun that gave me pause to reflect. While discussing the reaction of the scientific community to the Apollo 11 and 12 lunar missions he said: "They came to the conclusion that the moon really turns out to be sort of a Rosetta stone for the understanding of monumental cosmological phenomena."15 Might he be referring here to cryptic monuments that NASA may have discovered on the Moon? (Certainly, there is a small, sensationalistic body of literature in the bookstores and on the World Wide Web that alleges NASA has discovered ancient, monumental structures on the Moon and that it is hiding their existence from the public.) Or is von Braun simply saying that lunar geology is interesting and a big help in understanding geology on other bodies in the solar system? From the context of his remarks, it appears that he means the latter, but who knows?-- maybe he is talking in code and is actually communicating a carefully guarded message between the lines.
Similarly, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht wrote the following in 1975: "On the surface of the moon, where there is no atmosphere to erode, secrets were uncovered that have long since been worn away here on earth."16 Here again-- what secrets is Kleinknecht referring to? Are there ancient ruins on the moon? Ruins perhaps made by a long vanished civilization that might have existed in remote antiquity on the earth itself? Or is he simply referring to the interesting lunar geology that does not erode due to the scouring action of water and wind, and the incessant activities of biological organisms? The context of his remarks suggests that he is making an innocent remark about perfectly ordinary geological processes. But who knows?-- might he, as well as von Braun, be referring to something that NASA has hidden from the public? Something unimaginably ancient and important-- like artificially constructed, ruined structures on the moon?
Let me be clear: I do not claim to know definitively one way or the other.
But isn't it strange that this entire line of inquiry is due to a telepathic message I received from Robert Monroe while locked in a jail cell in Arkansas, as punishment for demonstrating against nuclear missiles atop a Titan missile silo in central Arkansas, Albert Pike's home state?
I suppose I would still be in contact with Robert Monroe today if it were not for the fact that over a period of years I became aware that he and his research institute in rural Nelson County, Virginia, south of Charlottesville, had a close working relationship with United States Army Intelligence.17 I perceive the agendas of the military intelligence agencies to be very dark and repressive, so I have broken off contact with Robert Monroe (who is now physically dead), with the circle of people around him and with the Monroe Institute.
Extract from Kundalini Tales available at: The Sauder Zone
© 1998 Copyright Richard Sauder, PhD, All Rights Reserved -- May not copy in any way without prior, written permission from Richard Sauder, PhD.
1 Robert Monroe, Journeys Out of the Body (Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Press, 1977).
2 I took a tour of the temple twice in 1997. Both guides, and all other temple officials, were very gracious and hospitable.
3 Early astronauts who were Masons include Edward E. "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr., LeRoy Gordon Cooper, Donn E. Eisele, John H. Glenn, Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, James Benson Irwin, Robert L. Kline, Edgar D. Mitchell, Walter M. Schirra, Jr., Thomas P. Stafford and Paul J. Weitz.
4 Kenneth S. Kleinknecht was a member of the X-15 team and a member of the early DynaSoar space shuttle project. As an interesting historical aside, the Air Force's abandoned DynaSoar space shuttle project grew out of a Nazi project that was the brain child of Nazi General Walter Dornberger. General Dornberger was the officer in charge of the V-1 and V-2 missile programs; he was also Werner von Braun's boss during WWII. When Dornberger came to the United States under Project Paperclip he brought with him the plans for a rocket system that proved to be the conceptual forerunner of the present day space shuttle program. [For the fascinating details see William C. Walter, Project Dyna-Soar: The Roots of Shuttle- A Memoir, IAA-92-0193, 43rd Congress of the International Astronautical Federation, August 28- September 5, 1992/Washington, DC (International Astronautical Federation, 3-5 Rue Mario-Nikis, 75015 Paris, France)]. He also served as Technical Assistant to the Director of the Manned Spacecraft Center, Manager of the Mercury Project, Deputy Manager of the Gemini Program, Manager of the Command and Service Modules for the Apollo Spacecraft Program, Manager of the Skylab program, Johnson Space Center Director of Flight Operations and Assistant Manager of the Space Shuttle Orbiter Project. Information found in: official NASA biographies dated September 1963 and February 1969; NASA news release no. 76-03, 8 January 1976; and photocopy of article from unknown NASA publication dated 16 October 1981, in NASA archives in Washington, DC.
5 James E. Webb was NASA Administrator from 14 February 1961 to 7 October 1968. World Wide Web: office/pao/History/Biographies/webb.html, 1997.
6 This information was valid as of 28 June 1985. It was compiled by the Masonic Service Association of the United States, 8120 Fenton Street, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910-4785. See also Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, 33o, "Space and the Future," The New Age (May 1976): 4-6. The New Age is a Masonic publication. Note that Kenneth Kleinknecht identifies himself as a 33o Mason.
7 Letter dated 19 September 1969 from Edwin E. Aldrin, NASA Astronaut, to Illustrious Luther A. Smith, 33o, Sovereign Grand Commander, Supreme Council, 33o, Southern Jurisdiction, U.S.A., 1733 16th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009.
8 Personal communications from Joan E. Sansbury, Librarian and Curator for the Supreme Council, 33o, of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction, U.S.A., 1997 and 1998.
9 The Supreme Council, 33o, of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction, U.S.A., strongly denies any relationship between Albert Pike and the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). I specifically asked tour guides at the Supreme Council, 33o about such a connection, on two separate occasions, and both times received an unequivocal denial that General Pike had anything to do with the founding of the KKK. There are histories of the KKK that mention General Pike as a founding figure in the early years of the Klan. See Walter L. Fleming, Ph.D., introduction to Ku Klux Klan: Its Origin, Growth and Disbandment, by J.C. Lester and D.L. Wilson (New York: AMS Press Inc., 1971; reprinted from the edition of 1905, New York). Also see Claude G. Bowers, The Tragic Era: The Revolution after Lincoln (Cambridge: Houghton Mifflin Company, The Riverside Press, 1929). And finally, see Susan Lawrence Davis, Authentic History, Ku Klux Klan, 1865-1877 (New York: American Library Service, 1924).
10 An especially fine discussion of Operation Paperclip, including material on Werner von Braun, his fellow Nazi rocketeers and NASA operations can be found in Linda Hunt, Secret Agenda: The United States Government, Nazi Scientists, and Project Paperclip, 1945 to 1990 (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991). Also see Dennis Piskiewicz, The Nazi Rocketeers: Dreams of Space and Crimes of War (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 1995). Thousands of slave laborers were executed or worked to death in the miles of underground tunnels that comprised the Mittelwerk missile factory. The installation was a nightmarish, living hell.
11 For example, see Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, with a foreward by Rohan Butler, The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology: The Ariosophists of Austria and Germany, 1890-1935 (Washington Square, New York: New York University Press, 1992). Also, see Dusty Sklar, The Nazis and the Occult (New York: Dorset Press, 1977). Peter Levenda's Unholy Alliance: A History of Nazi Involvement with the Occult (New York: Avon Books, 1995) is a particularly fine exposition of the occult and magical aspects of the Third Reich.
12 Peter Levenda, Unholy Alliance: A History of Nazi Involvement with the Occult (New York: Avon Books, 1995).
13 This collaboration of Masons and "ex"-Nazis working so closely together on the same project is puzzling, in light of the Third Reich's violent persecution of Masonic organizations and their members. See Peter Levenda, Unholy Alliance: A History of Nazi Involvement with the Occult (New York: Avon Books, 1995).
14 Warren Fowler Mellny, Moon Lodges (Washington, D.C.: Masonic Service Association, 1954).
15 U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Interview with Dr. Werner von Braun, 17 November 1971.
16Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, "Foreword", Apollo Spacecraft Chronology, Vol. IV, October 1975. Photocopied article in the NASA archives, Washington, D.C.
17 See Jim Schnabel, Remote Viewers: The Secret History of America's Psychic Spies (New York: Dell Publishing, 1997). The Monroe Institute trained psychic spies for the military at its long-time headquarters in Faber, Virginia. The present director of the Monroe Institute, Skip Atwater, is former head of the military psychic spy unit at Fort Meade, near Laurel, Maryland. Joe McMoneagle, Army Intelligence's premier psychic spy, married one of Robert Monroe's step-daughters and retired to Robert Monroe's New Land, immediately adjacent to the Institute grounds.
Extract from Kundalini Tales available at: The Sauder Zone © 1998 Copyright Richard Sauder, PhD, All Rights Reserved -- May not copy in any way without prior, written permission from Richard Sauder, PhD.


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