- Persuasion and Brainwashing
Techniques Being Used On The Public Today
- Reformatted for WWW display and distribution
by Dynamic Living Media Summary Of Contents
- The Birth of Conversion: Brainwashing in Christian Revivalism
in 1735. The Three Brain Phases: The Pavlovian Explanation
- How Revivalist Preachers Work
- The "Voice Roll" Technique The Build-up Process.:
Inducing Altered States Assured Continuation: Fleecing the Flock Bonding
by Fear and Suggestion Testimony: Creating Community Spirit Miracles The
Grey Area of Legitimacy A Game in Which the Rules Keep Changing
- Six Conversion Techniques
- Isolation Intimidation, Deprivation and Indoctrination.
The "Sell It By Zealot" Technique. Wearing Down Resistance Increasing
Tension Introducing Uncertainty About Identity Jargon Lack of Humor: No
Release, No Resistance
- Not Always a Bad Thing
- Cults: A Captive Course in Stockholm Syndrome The Only
Hope of Immunity The US Marines as a Brainwashing Cult
- Steps in the Decognition Process
- Alertness reduction Programmed Confusion Thought Stopping
- Thought-Stopping Techniques
- Marching Meditation Chanting
- True believers and mass movements.
- Persuasion techniques: "Yes Set" Embedded Commands
The Power of NLP Interspersal Technique Practical Examples Shock and Confusion
- Subliminal Programming
- Does Subliminal Programming Work? Mass Misuse of Subliminal
Programming Vibrato Extra-low Frequency Vibrations (ELFs) The Neurophone
Technological Tools for Mass Manipulation In Closing...
- I'm Dick Sutphen and this tape is a studio-recorded,
expanded version of a talk I delivered at the World Congress of Professional
Hypnotists Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. Although the tape carries a
copyright to protect it from unlawful duplication for sale by other companies,
in this case, I invite individuals to make copies and give them to friends
or anyone in a position to communicate this information.
- Although I've been interviewed about the subject on many
local and regional radio and TV talk shows, large-scale mass communication
appears to be blocked, since it could result in suspicion or investigation
of the very media presenting it or the sponsors that support the media.
Some government agencies do not want this information generally known.
Nor do the Born-Again Christian movement, cults, and many human-potential
- Everything I will relate only exposes the surface of
the problem. I don't know how the misuse of these techniques can be stopped.
I don't think it is possible to legislate against that which often cannot
be detected; and if those who legislate are using these techniques, there
is little hope of affecting laws to govern usage. I do know that the first
step to initiate change is to generate interest. In this case, that will
probably only result from an underground effort.
- In talking about this subject, I am talking about my
own business. I know it, and I know how effective it can be. I produce
hypnosis and subliminal tapes and, in some of my seminars, I use conversion
tactics to assist participants to become independent and self-sufficient.
But, anytime I use these techniques, I point out that I am using them,
and those attending have a choice to participate or not. They also know
what the desired result of participation will be.
- So, to begin, I want to state the most basic of all facts
about brainwashing: In the entire history of man, no one has ever been
brainwashed and realized, or believed, that he had been brainwashed. Those
who have been brainwashed will usually passionately defend their manipulators,
claiming they have simply been "shown the light" ...or have been
transformed in miraculous ways.
- The Birth of Conversion: Brainwashing in Christian Revivalism
- Conversion is a "nice" word for brainwashing...and
any study of brainwashing has to begin with a study of Christian revivalism
in eighteenth century America. Apparently, Jonathan Edwards accidentally
discovered the techniques during a religious crusade in 1735 in Northampton,
Massachusetts. By inducing guilt and acute apprehension and by increasing
the tension, the "sinners" attending his revival meetings would
break down and completely submit. Technically, what Edwards was doing was
creating conditions that wipe the brain slate clean so that the mind accepts
new programming. The problem was that the new input was negative. He would
tell them, "You're a sinner! You're destined for hell!"
- As a result, one person committed suicide and another
attempted suicide. And the neighbors of the suicidal converts related that
they, too, were affected so deeply that, although they had found "eternal
salvation," they were obsessed with a diabolical temptation to end
their own lives.
- Once a preacher, cult leader, manipulator or authority
figure creates the brain phase to wipe the brain-slate clean, his subjects
are wide open. New input, in the form of suggestion, can be substituted
for their previous ideas. Because Edwards didn't turn his message positive
until the end of the revival, many accepted the negative suggestions and
acted, or desired to act, upon them.
- Charles J. Finney was another Christian revivalist who
used the same techniques four years later in mass religious conversions
in New York. The techniques are still being used today by Christian revivalists,
cults, human-potential trainings, some business rallies, and the United
States Armed services...to name just a few.
- Let me point out here that I don't think most revivalist
preachers realize or know they are using brainwashing techniques. Edwards
simply stumbled upon a technique that really worked, and others copied
it and have continued to copy it for over two hundred years. And the more
sophisticated our knowledge and technology become, the more effective the
conversion. I feel strongly that this is one of the major reasons for the
increasing rise in Christian fundamentalism, especially the televised variety,
while most of the orthodox religions are declining.
- The Three Brain Phases: The Pavlovian Explanation
- The Christians may have been the first to successfully
formulate brainwashing, but we have to look to Pavlov, the Russian scientist,
for a technical explanation. In the early 1900s, his work with animals
opened the door to further investigations with humans. After the revolution
in Russia, Lenin was quick to see the potential of applying Pavlov's research
to his own ends.
- Three distinct and progressive states of transmarginal
inhibition were identified by Pavlov. The first is the equivalent phase,
in which the brain gives the same response to both strong and weak stimuli.
The second is the paradoxical phase, in which the brain responds more actively
to weak stimuli than to strong. And the third is the ultra-paradoxical
phase, in which conditioned responses and behavior patterns turn from positive
to negative or from negative to positive.
- With the progression through each phase, the degree of
conversion becomes more effective and complete. The way to achieve conversion
are many and varied, but the usual first step in religious or political
brainwashing is to work on the emotions of an individual or group until
they reach an abnormal level of anger, fear, exitement, or nervous tension.
- The progressive result of this mental condition is to
impair judgement and increase suggestibility. The more this condition can
be maintained or intensified, the more it compounds. Once catharsis, or
the first brain phase, is reached, the complete mental takeover becomes
easier. Existing mental programming can be replaced with new patterns of
thinking and behavior.
- Other often-used physiological weapons to modify normal
brain functions are fasting, radical or high sugar diets, physical discomforts,
regulation of breathing, mantra chanting in meditation, the disclosure
of awesome mysteries, special lighting and sound effects, programmed response
to incense, or intoxicating drugs.
- The same results can be obtained in contemporary psychiatric
treatment by electric shock treatments and even by purposely lowering a
person's blood sugar level with insulin injections.
- Before I talk about exactly how some of the techniques
are applied, I want to point out that hypnosis and conversion tactics are
two distinctly different things--and that conversion techniques are far
more powerful. However, the two are often mixed...with powerful results.
- How Revivalist Preachers Work
- If you'd like to see a revivalist preacher at work, there
are probably several in your city. Go to the church or tent early and sit
in the rear, about three-quarters of the way back. Most likely repetitive
music will be played while the people come in for the service. A repetitive
beat, ideally ranging from 45 to 72 beats per minute (a rhythm close to
the beat of the human heart), is very hypnotic and can generate an eyes-open
altered state of consciousness in a very high percentage of people. And,
once you are in an alpha state, you are at least 25 times as suggestible
as you would be in full beta consciousness. The music is probably the same
for every service, or incorporates the same beat, and many of the people
will go into an altered state almost immediately upon entering the sanctuary.
Subconsciously, they recall their state of mind from previous services
and respond according to the post-hypnotic programming.
- Watch the people waiting for the service to begin. Many
will exhibit external signs of trance--body relaxation and slightly dilated
eyes. Often, they begin swaying back and forth with their hands in the
air while sitting in their chairs. Next, the assistant pastor will probably
come out. He usually speaks with a pretty good "voice roll."
- The "Voice Roll" Technique
- A "voice roll" is a patterned, paced style
used by hypnotists when inducing a trance. It is also used by many lawyers,
several of whom are highly trained hypnotists, when they desire to entrench
a point firmly in the minds of the jurors. A voice roll can sound as if
the speaker were talking to the beat of a metronome or it may sound as
though he were emphasizing every word in a monotonous, patterned style.
The words will usually be delivered at the rate of 45 to 60 beats per minute,
maximizing the hypnotic effect.
- The Build-up Process: Inducing Altered States
- Now the assistant pastor begins the "build-up"
process. He induces an altered state of consciousness and/or begins to
generate the excitement and the expectations of the audience. Next, a group
of young women in "sweet and pure" chiffon dresses might come
out to sing a song. Gospel songs are great for building excitement and
involvement. In the middle of the song, one of the girls might be "smitten
by the spirit" and fall down or react as if possessed by the Holy
Spirit. This very effectively increases the intensity in the room. At this
point, hypnosis and conversion tactics are being mixed. And the result
is the audience's attention span is now totally focused upon the communication
while the environment becomes more exciting or tense.
- Assured Continuation: Fleecing the Flock
- Right about this time, when an eyes-open mass-induced
alpha mental state has been achieved, they will usually pass the collection
plate or basket. In the background, a 45-beat-per-minute voice roll from
the assistant preacher might exhort, "Give to God...Give to God...Give
to God...." And the audience does give. God may not get the money,
but his already-wealthy representative will.
- Bonding by Fear and Suggestion
- Next, the fire-and-brimstone preacher will come out.
He induces fear and increases the tension by talking about "the devil,"
"going to hell," or the forthcoming Armegeddon.
- In the last such rally I attended, the preacher talked
about the blood that would soon be running out of every faucet in the land.
He was also obsessed with a "bloody axe of God," which everyone
had seen hanging above the pulpit the previous week. I have no doubt that
everyone saw it--the power of suggestion given to hundreds of people in
hypnosis assures that at least 10 to 25 percent would see whatever he suggested
- Testimony: Creating Community Spirit
- In most revivalist gatherings, "testifying"
or "witnessing" usually follows the fear-based sermon. People
from the audience come up on stage and relate their stories. "I was
crippled and now I can walk!" "I had arthritis and now it's gone!"
It is a psychological manipulation that works. After listening to numerous
case histories of miraculous healings, the average guy in the audience
with a minor problem is sure he can be healed. The room is charged with
fear, guilt, intense excitement, and expectations.
- Now those who want to be healed are frequently lined
up around the edge of the room, or they are told to come down to the front.
The preacher might touch them on the head firmly and scream, "Be healed!"
This releases the psychic energy and, for many, catharsis results. Catharsis
is a purging of repressed emotions. Individuals might cry, fall down or
even go into spasms. And if catharsis is effected, they stand a chance
of being healed. In catharsis (one of the three brain phases mentioned
earlier), the brain-slate is temporarily wiped clean and the new suggestion
- For some, the healing may be permanent. For many, it
will last four days to a week, which is, incidentally, how long a hypnotic
suggestion given to a somnambulistic subject will usually last. Even if
the healing doesn't last, if they come back every week, the power of suggestion
may continually override the problem...or sometimes, sadly, it can mask
a physical problem which could prove to be very detrimental to the individual
in the long run.
- The Grey Area of Legitimacy
- I'm not saying that legitimate healings do not take place.
They do. Maybe the individual was ready to let go of the negativity that
caused the problem in the first place; maybe it was the work of God. Yet
I contend that it can be explained with existing knowledge of brain/mind
- A Game in Which the Rules Keep Changing
- The techniques and staging will vary from church to church.
Many use "speaking in tongues" to generate catharsis in some
while the spectacle creates intense excitement in the observers.
- The use of hypnotic techniques by religions is sophisticated,
and professionals are assuring that they become even more effective. A
man in Los Angeles is designing, building, and reworking a lot of churches
around the country. He tells ministers what they need and how to use it.
This man's track record indicates that the congregation and the monetary
income will double if the minister follows his instructions. He admits
that about 80 percent of his efforts are in the sound system and lighting.
- Powerful sound and the proper use of lighting are of
primary importance in inducing an altered state of consciousnes--I've been
using them for years in my own seminars. However, my participants are fully
aware of the process and what they can expect as a result of their participation.
- Six Conversion Techniques
- Cults and human-potential organizations are always looking
for new converts. To attain them, they must also create a brain-phase.
And they often need to do it within a short space of time--a weekend, or
maybe even a day. The following are the six primary techniques used to
generate the conversion.
- Isolation Intimidation, Deprivation and Indoctrination
- The meeting or training takes place in an area where
participants are cut off from the outside world. This may be any place:
a private home, a remote or rural setting, or even a hotel ballroom where
the participants are allowed only limited bathroom usage. In human-potential
trainings, the controllers will give a lengthy talk about the importance
of "keeping agreements" in life. The participants are told that
if they don't keep agreements, their life will never work. It's a good
idea to keep agreements, but the controllers are subverting a positive
human value for selfish purposes. The participants vow to themselves and
their trainer that they will keep their agreements. Anyone who does not
will be intimidated into agreement or forced to leave. The next step is
to agree to complete training, thus assuring a high percentage of conversions
for the organizations.
- They will usually have to agree not to take drugs, smoke,
and sometimes not to eat...or they are given such short meal breaks that
it creates tension. The real reason for the agreements is to alter internal
chemistry, which generates anxiety and hopefully causes at least a slight
malfunction of the nervous system, which in turn increases the conversion
- The "Sell It By Zealot" Technique.
- Before the gathering is complete, the agreements will
be used to ensure that the new converts go out and find new participants.
They are intimidated into agreeing to do so before they leave. Since the
importance of keeping agreements is so high on their priority list, the
converts will twist the arms of everyone they know, attempting to talk
them into attending a free introductory session offered at a future date
by the organization. The new converts are zealots. In fact, the inside
term for merchandising the largest and most successful human-potential
training is, "sell it by zealot!"
- At least a million people are graduates and a good percentage
have been left with a mental activation button that assures their future
loyalty and assistance if the guru figure or organization calls. Think
about the potential political implications of hundreds of thousands of
zealots programmed to campaign for their guru.
- Be wary of an organization of this type that offers follow-up
sessions after the seminar. Follow-up sessions might be weekly meetings
or inexpensive seminars given on a regular basis which the organization
will attempt to talk you into taking--or any regularly scheduled event
used to maintain control. As the early Christian revivalists found, long-term
control is dependent upon a good follow-up system.
- Wearing Down Resistance
- Alright. Now, let's look at the second tip-off that indicates
conversion tactics are being used. A schedule is maintained that causes
physical and mental fatigue. This is primarily accomplished by long hours
in which the participants are given no opportunity for relaxation or reflection.
- Increasing Tension
- The third tip-off: techniques used to increase the tension
in the room or environment.
- Introducing Uncertainty About Identity
- Number four: Uncertainty. I could spend hours relating
various techniques to increase tension and generate uncertainty. Basically,
the participants are concerned about being "put on the spot"
or encountered by the trainers, guilt feelings are played upon, participants
are tempted to verbally relate their innermost secrets to the other participants
or forced to take part in activities that emphasize removing their masks.
One of the most successful human-potential seminars forces the participants
to stand on a stage in front of the entire audience while being verbally
attacked by the trainers. A public opinion poll, conducted a few years
ago, showed that the number one most-fearful situation an individual could
encounter is to speak to an audience. It ranked above window washing outside
the 85th floor of an office building.
- So you can imagine the fear and tension this situation
generates within the participants. Many faint, but most cope with the stress
by mentally going away. They literally go into an alpha state, which automatically
makes them many times as suggestible as they normally are. And another
loop of the downward spiral into conversion is successfully effected.
- The fifth clue that conversion tactics are being used
is the introduction of jargon--new terms that have meaning only to the
"insiders" who participate. Vicious language is also frequently
used, purposely, to make participants uncomfortable.
- Lack of Humor: No Release, No Resistance
- The final tip-off is that there is no humor in the communications...at
least until the participants are converted. Then, merry-making and humor
are highly desirable as symbols of the new joy the participants have supposedly
- Not Always a Bad Thing
- I'm not saying that good does not result from participation
in such gatherings. It can and does. But I contend it is important for
people to know what has happened and to be aware that continual involvement
may not be in their best interest.
- Over the years, I've conducted professional seminars
to teach people to be hypnotists, trainers, and counselors. I've had many
of those who conduct trainings and rallies come to me and say, "I'm
here because I know that what I'm doing works, but I don't know why."
After showing them how and why, many have gotten out of the business or
have decided to approach it differently or in a much more loving and supportive
- Many of these trainers have become personal friends,
and it scares us all to have experienced the power of one person with a
microphone and a room full of people. Add a little charisma and you can
count on a high percentage of conversions. The sad truth is that a high
percentage of people want to give away their power--they are true "believers"!
- Cults: A Captive Course in Stockholm Syndrome
- Cult gatherings or human-potential trainings are an ideal
environment to observe first-hand what is technically called the "Stockholm
Syndrome." This is a situation in which those who are intimidated,
controlled, or made to suffer, begin to love, admire, and even sometimes
sexually desire their controllers or captors.
- But let me inject a word of warning here: If you think
you can attend such gatherings and not be affected, you are probably wrong.
A perfect example is the case of a woman who went to Haiti on a Guggenheim
Fellowship to study Haitian Voodoo. In her report, she related how the
music eventually induced uncontrollable bodily movement and an altered
state of consciousness. Although she understood the process and thought
herself above it, when she began to feel herself become vulnerable to the
music, she attempted to fight it and turned away. Anger or resistance almost
always assures conversion. A few moments later she was possessed by the
music and began dancing in a trance around the Voodoo meeting house. A
brain phase had been induced by the music and excitement, and she awoke
- The Only Hope of Immunity
- The only hope of attending such gatherings without being
affected is to be a Buddha and allow no positive or negative emotions to
surface. Few people are capable of such detachment.
- The US Marines as a Brainwashing Cult
- Before I go on, let's go back to the six tip-offs to
conversion. I want to mention the United States Government and military
boot camp. The Marine Corps talks about breaking men down before "rebuilding"
them as new men--as marines! Well, that is exactly what they do, the same
way a cult breaks its people down and rebuilds them as happy flower sellers
on your local street corner. Every one of the six conversion techniques
are used in boot camp. Considering the needs of the military, I'm not making
a judgement as to whether that is good or bad. IT IS A fact that the men
are effectively brainwashed. Those who won't submit must be discharged
or spend much of their time in the brig.
- Steps in the Decognition Process
- Once the initial conversion is effected, cults, armed
services, and similar groups cannot have cynicism among their members.
Members must respond to commands and do as they are told, otherwise they
are dangerous to the organizational control. This is normally accomplished
as a three-step Decognition Process.
- Alertness reduction
- Step One is alertness reduction: The controllers cause
the nervous system to malfunction, making it difficult to distinguish between
fantasy and reality. This can be accomplished in several ways. poor diet
is one; watch out for Brownies and Koolaid. The sugar throws the nervous
system off. More subtle is the "spiritual diet" used by many
cults. They eat only vegetables and fruits; without the grounding of grains,
nuts, seeds, dairy products, fish or meat, an individual becomes mentally
"spacey." Inadequate sleep is another primary way to reduce alertness,
especially when combined with long hours of work or intense physical activity.
Also, being bombarded with intense and unique experiences achieves the
- Programmed Confusion
- Step Two is programmed confusion: You are mentally assaulted
while your alertness is being reduced as in Step One. This is accomplished
with a deluge of new information, lectures, discussion groups, encounters
or one-to-one processing, which usually amounts to the controller bombarding
the individual with questions. During this phase of decognition, reality
and illusion often merge and perverted logic is likely to be accepted.
- Thought Stopping
- Step Three is thought stopping: Techniques are used to
cause the mind to go "flat." These are altered-state-of-consciousness
techniques that initially induce calmness by giving the mind something
simple to deal with and focusing awareness. The continued use brings on
a feeling of elation and eventually hallucination. The result is the reduction
of thought and eventually, if used long enough, the cessation of all thought
and withdrawal from everyone and everything except that which the controllers
direct. The takeover is then complete. It is important to be aware that
when members or participants are instructed to use "thought-stopping"
techniques, they are told that they will benefit by so doing: they will
become "better soldiers" or "find enlightenment."
- Thought-Stopping Techniques
- There are three primary techniques used for thought stopping.
The first is marching: the thump, thump, thump beat literally generates
self-hypnosis and thus great susceptibility to suggestion.