It was a national anthem sign-off of The Star Spangled Banner with hidden subliminals to “obey government” among other things straight out of the John Carpenter film They Live.
The clip supposedly came from a film reel found by an employee at a local Alabama TV station. While it appears authentic for the time period, and intact (as in, the subliminals weren’t just edited over an existing film), others have called it a hoax for various reasons ranging from it just seems too “on-the-nose” to “subliminals don’t work so why would they bother”.
Well, a few more things have come to light surrounding that video which lend a little more credence to the belief that it might, in fact, be real.
The Congressional Subcommittee on Transportation, Aviation and Materials held a hearing dedicated to subliminal communication technology. Entered into the record are several interesting tidbits.
First, it’s noted in a Southern California Law Review on Congressional Record that:
According to previously classified documents, the CIA tested subliminal manipulation in movie theatres during the late 1950’s and in a document on these studies speculated “that subliminal projection can be utilized in such a way as to feature a visual suggestion such as ‘Obey [deleted].’”
Wow. Sounds strikingly like the anthem video.
The CIA was talking about putting “OBEY” into a subliminal AND they were already testing subliminals in movie theaters in the U.S. in the late ’50s when the national anthem video would have been created for testing.
Keep in mind, the national anthem video, the declassifed CIA documents, and even the hearing before Congress all occurred before the film They Live was released.
The document goes on to mention:
The Central Intelligence Agency has investigated the possibility of using subliminal communication to implant suggestions or commands, to reduce a subject’s resistance to hypnosis or to affect political outcomes.
Recently declassified materials document CIA interest in subliminal communication during the late 1950’s. These documents suggest that government use of subliminal techniques could proliferate and yet remain undisclosed for national security reasons. Therefore, the extent and types of uses to which subliminal communication devices are being put may never be completely determined.
Subliminal technology used by the government is a matter of “national security”. Good to know.
Also interviewed by Congress at the hearing was Dr. Hal C. Becker, president and founder of a company called Behavioral Engineering Corporation, who sold little black boxes to corporations which played behavior-influencing subliminals mixed with music at a level so low, people wouldn’t consciously hear it. The box played the subliminals at the rate of 9,000 times an hour, telling people things like “I will not steal” to cut down on shoplifting or “I love real estate” for employees at a real estate office for example. Over and over and over… 9,000 times an hour.
He calls it “Subliminal psychodynamic activation”.
Some 50 businesses were using these black boxes at the time of the Congressional Hearing, and Becker had even sold one of his devices to an unnamed NFL team to encourage the players to win games.
Dr. Becker was quoted by a 1979 Time Magazine article as saying, “I see no reason why there won’t be audio-conditioning in the same way we now have air conditioning.”
It should also be noted that Dr. Becker has an extensive CV that involves working with known MKUltra-funded Dr. Robert G. Heath, a man who experimented extensively with psychosurgery and implanted electrodes into people’s brains to control their emotions.
Becker began his career as a research associate in the MIT Radiation Lab during the last three years of World War II — a prime time to get involved in secret government projects considering the Manhattan Project was going on at that time and MIT was definitely involved. Becker became an instructor of physics at Tulane University just after that as the national security complex was being erected and the Cold War began. He worked alongside Dr. Heath, Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology at Tulane, throughout the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Becker, in fact, has co-authored numerous papers with Heath, including one titled, “Methods of Stimulation Control and Concurrent Electrographic Recording” published in Electrical Stimulation of the Brain, Subcortical Integrative Systems.
But I digress…
Some people say subliminals don’t work, so who cares if the CIA was experimenting with subliminals added to a national anthem sign-off.
We care that the government was involved in doing this at all.
Beyond that, people with a resumé like Dr. Becker has don’t spend decades of their life pursuing a completely useless technology.
Obviously, at some level, it did work. At some level, it does work.
And who knows what they have today…
Our original report: