When the CIA Studied Psychic Techniques to Alter Human Consciousness & Unlock Time Travel: Discover “The Gateway Process”

By now, it’s wide­ly known that the Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency ran a decades-long pro­gram of exper­i­ments involv­ing LSD and oth­er psy­choac­tive drugs called MKUl­tra from the nine­teen-fifties to the sev­en­ties. As one might sus­pect, that was­n’t the only research project into the manip­u­la­tion of human con­scious­ness the CIA had going on in the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry. Anoth­er, a study of some­thing called the Gate­way Process, has more recent­ly come to wide atten­tion through an unlike­ly chan­nel. The rel­e­vant doc­u­ments “had been declas­si­fied for decades — but a new, younger audi­ence was intro­duced to the Gate­way when Tik­Tok caught on in 2021.”

So writes Elle’s Han­nah Sum­mer­hilla self-described “long­time seek­er” recep­tive to the Gate­way Process’ con­cept of har­ness­ing not drugs but sound to “the art of becom­ing more con­scious of one’s par­tic­u­lar inner resources, inner abil­i­ties, and, most of all, one’s inner guid­ance.” The doc­u­men­ta­tion breaks down the lev­els of focus thus the­o­ret­i­cal­ly achiev­able into a series of lev­els: Focus 10 is “a med­i­ta­tive state con­ducive to heal­ing, psy­chic abil­i­ties, and remote view­ing (the abil­i­ty to ‘see’ objects in real time from a dis­tance). In the deep­er Focus 12 state, par­tic­i­pants report meet­ing their high­er selves; in Focus 15, they can manip­u­late time and chan­nel a ‘strong and guid­ing’ God-like fig­ure.”

All this was orig­i­nal­ly con­ceived by for­mer radio exec­u­tive Robert Mon­roe, whose self-exper­i­men­ta­tion with the effect of sound on human con­scious­ness — the same phe­nom­e­na exploit­ed by study-and med­i­ta­tion-assist­ing “bin­au­r­al beats” — led to his found­ing the Mon­roe Insti­tute. “In the late stages of the Cold War, con­vinced that the Sovi­ets were research­ing psy­chic abil­i­ties for espi­onage, the CIA tapped the Mon­roe Insti­tute to explore these meth­ods for them­selves,” writes Sum­mer­hill. You can read Lieu­tenant Colonel Wayne McDon­nel­l’s declas­si­fied July 1983 report on Mon­roe’s tech­niques hereas well as Thobey Cam­pi­on’s break­down of its main points at VICE here.

“A project like Gate­way that mar­ries sci­ence with the human yearn­ing for mean­ing seemed awful­ly promis­ing,” writes Pop­u­lar Mechan­ics‘ Susan Lahey. “But, as it turned out, the process was not a gate­way between mate­ri­al­is­tic sci­ence and expe­ri­en­tial con­scious­ness; it was more like an effort to write a tech­ni­cal man­u­al for the inef­fa­ble.” Even if it sounds plau­si­ble to you that a bin­au­r­al beat-like sound record­ing “syncs the hemi­spheres of the brain into a sin­gle, pow­er­ful stream of ener­gy, like a laser,” you may feel less con­fi­dent when the report posits “a giant cos­mic egg with a nucle­us in the mid­dle where the Absolute spews mat­ter from a white hole into one side of the ovoid-shaped uni­verse.” It seems that the CIA nev­er did fig­ure out a way to reli­ably engage in time trav­el, remote view­ing or com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the divine, but maybe the Tik­Tok­ers will fig­ure it out.

Relat­ed con­tent:

Inside MK-Ultra, the CIA’s Secret Pro­gram That Used LSD to Achieve Mind Con­trol (1953–1973)

How the CIA Secret­ly Used Jack­son Pol­lock & Oth­er Abstract Expres­sion­ists to Fight the Cold War

How the CIA Fund­ed & Sup­port­ed Lit­er­ary Mag­a­zines World­wide While Wag­ing Cul­tur­al War Against Com­mu­nism

Read the CIA’s Sim­ple Sab­o­tage Field Man­u­al: A Time­less Guide to Sub­vert­ing Any Orga­ni­za­tion with “Pur­pose­ful Stu­pid­i­ty” (1944)

12 Mil­lion Declas­si­fied CIA Doc­u­ments Now Free Online: Secret Tun­nels, UFOs, Psy­chic Exper­i­ments & More

Based in Seoul, Col­in Marshall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities and the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.



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