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Soviet Union Spent $1 Billion On "Psychotronic" Arms Race With the US 230

Posted by samzenpus
from the scan-me dept.
KentuckyFC writes "During the Cold War, the US and the Soviet Union battled on many fronts to demonstrate their superior technical and scientific achievements. While the race to put a human in space and then on the Moon is famous, a much less well-known battlefront was the unconventional science of parapsychology, or psychotronics as the Soviets called it. Now a new review of unconventional research in the Soviet Union reveals the scale of this work for the first time and the cost: as much as $1 billion. The Soviets had programs studying how "human energy" could influence other objects and how this energy could be generated independently of humans using a device called 'cerpan'. The Soviets also had a mind control program similar to the CIA's infamous MKULTRA project. Interestingly, the Soviets included non-local physics in this work, such as the Aharonov-Bohm effect in which an electromagnetic field can influence a particle confined to region where the field strength is zero. And they built a number of devices that exploited the effect, although research in this area appears to have ended in 2003."
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Soviet Union Spent $1 Billion On "Psychotronic" Arms Race With the US

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  • Old News. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 12, 2013 @09:29AM (#45669659)

    That commercial you watched last night where the screen changed so often your eyes couldn't focus on it, the deep voice talking with music playing at the same beats per minute as the desired heart rate the advertiser wants, displayed on a screen at 30hz, usually starting off with either a motherly women or a crowd of people looking at you.

    MKUltra started that research. Want to learn mind control, go get a masters in motion video or advertising; what they teach is textbook psychological warfare with a domestic application.

    Funny thing; once you know it's going on, it doesn't work anymore.

  • by camperdave (969942) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @09:30AM (#45669667) Journal
    What if the entire MKULTRA project was a scam meant to cause the USSR to waste resources to close this imaginary weapons gap? A few "top secret" documents leaked here; a few rumours there; Common sense says no, but there's always a nagging little doubt in the back of the mind to drive the necessary paranoia. It's perfect.
  • Re:Whoah whoah whoah (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Thursday December 12, 2013 @09:30AM (#45669673) Homepage

    It wasn't really a race at all. The USSR didn't make a massive effort to get there first; they were more interested in space stations. It was hard for their head of space exploration to get funding for moon missions, so they couldn't just brute force the problem like America did.

    It's like the missile gap race - pretty much all in America's mind.

  • Re:Old News. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sarten-X (1102295) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @09:46AM (#45669765) Homepage

    Funny thing; once you know it's going on, it doesn't work anymore.

    Heh... sure...

    Even if you're aware of a particularly obvious technique, the more subtle ones will still usually get you while you're focused on the big one. You'll notice the flashing video or the music beats, but you won't notice the smiling background or the distorted echo. You'll probably even be so proud of yourself for recognizing the manipulation that you'll let your guard down for the other techniques.

  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @09:48AM (#45669775) Journal

    There were "stories" of similar programs run by the CIA back then (and perhaps they are still doing it right now, as we speak), and I saw a documentary back in the 1980's of a soviet man who could sort of "imprint" what he thinks onto a film/negative.

    Someone showed the guy a picture (a building) and then he hold a camera and then focus his "energy" into it, and then they took out the negative to develop and the picture that came out was blurry but still you could make out a "shape" of that building.

    I am a science nerd, but still things like that really fascinate me to no end.

  • by O('_')O_Bush (1162487) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @10:17AM (#45669977)
    It was a race. It is quite well known that the USSR build several rockets designed for moon launches (hence why they put a rover on the moon), but support dwindled after the U.S. landed humans, and the USSR refocused its efforts on space stations and abandoned their landing craft after the fact.

    The difference between the USSR and the US was that NASA acted in public, while the USSR performed all development and launches in secret, so that they could publicize the successes and hide the failures. This strategy allowed them to save face whenever their program was inferior to their competitor.
  • by Trailer Trash (60756) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @11:41AM (#45670841) Homepage

    What if the entire MKULTRA project was a scam meant to cause the USSR to waste resources to close this imaginary weapons gap? A few "top secret" documents leaked here; a few rumours there; Common sense says no, but there's always a nagging little doubt in the back of the mind to drive the necessary paranoia. It's perfect.

    That's actually what Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars" program was. It drove them nuts and we didn't even have to build anything.

  • by teslabox (2790587) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @11:56AM (#45671001) Homepage

    Ingo Swann [biomindsuperpowers.com] has a nice little website about his involvement with the US Remote Viewing program. I saw the man speak in Las Vegas twice - 2004 and 2006 (I think I personally drove him into retirement - he is now deceased). The first time was just a Q&A, the second he had prepared some remarks. The program was started as a threat analysis - "the soviets are spending all this money on psychic spying, tee hee har har what a bunch of fucking idiots. BUT WHAT IF IT WORKS?" So they had to create a program to evaluate the possibility that information can be obtained bioinformatically - through the aether, so to speak.

    Mr. Swann said that he did not do public remote viewing "demonstrations", and only ever worked with scientists.

    It seems to me that performing the experiments and testing hypotheses is science, but dismissing an idea as nutty without performing an experiment is pseudoscience. It's belief without evidence that makes something pseudoscience, even if it's believing an idea is nutty.

    Mr. Swann said that because the spooks hated the remote viewing program, they had to get positive results right from the start. It lasted for over 20 years, and was killed as soon as possible when the Soviet Union broke up.

  • by kilfarsnar (561956) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @01:42PM (#45672167)
    Good points. But I would counter that we don't understand what consciousness really is. And we know that simply observing an experiment can change the outcome. We don't know why that is either, AFAIK. Further, we know that one's mental state can affect one's health and/or physiology. So it seems that consciousness and attention can have effects in the physical world, the mechanism of which we cannot explain.

Mathematicians stand on each other's shoulders. -- Gauss

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