Thinking Without Thinking:
Who's In Control Of Your Mind?
by Eldon Taylor, Ph.D.
Were Judas Priest Backward Hidden
Messages Responsible for the Double Suicide of Two Teenage
Read About The Trial Here!
Copyrights 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1994, Eldon Taylor
First printing 1995
All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America.
No part of this book may be reproduced
in any form or by any means without
permission in writing from the publisher:
R K Book
557 California St., Suite 118
Boulder City, NV 89005
Manipulation, Politics, and Law
1. Brainwashing on Trial in America
3. The Subliminal Controversy: To Know and Not to Know
4. The Legal History of Subliminal Communication
5. Politics, Controversy and Disinformation
Section Two: Technology
and the "Taylor Method"
6. The "Taylor Method"
7. Undetectable Information
Section Three: The
Subliminal Interface: Belief, Mind and Body
8. The Active Subconscious
9. The Clinical and Scientific Findings of the "Taylor Method"
Section Four: Mindless
Mind Power of the Mind and a Little Cowboy Philosophy
9. Subliminal Misconceptions
10. How We Learn
11. The Rejection Loop
About the Author
This book is dedicated to YOU!
For many years I was a licensed lie detection examiner. Such examinations
often use the question, "Have you ever lied to someone that trusted
you?" Many people answer this question with a flat "no."
These people tend to fail the examination. Still, I remember one subject
who answered the question by saying, "No. No one has ever trusted
Unlike this individual, I have been very fortunate. Many have trusted
and assisted me.
I work in a field which I regard as crucial to our world. Many pundits
would have the public believe that any activity in that field suggests
serious flaws of intelligence and character. That field is the subject
of this book.
Through the thick of things, two people have always stood with me and
believed in me and my work. I wish I could offer an expression of gratitude
sufficient to their support!
Roy "K" Bey, my dearest friend, THANK YOU! Thank you for your
influence. I would have submitted this manuscript to you. I could not.
You passed over before this book was completed.
To the second of the pair of faithful friends, my wife Ravinder, THANK
YOU! Thank you for standing by me and for your countless hours reading,
typing, correcting, questioning, critiquing and adding to the book itself.
Again, I have the blessing of many friends. They too have often risked
their reputations and credibility by working with and supporting my efforts
in this field. Each of them has contributed in meaningful ways to this
work. THANK YOU Lois Bey, Pat Brown, Jim Seidel, Tony Markham, Kathy Seidel,
Charles McCusker and William Guillory.
As an author, I confess my debt to all those who have gone before me,
contributing to all of us. I especially acknowledge those who have provided
permission to quote them. I also have a debt to all who have read my earlier
works, particularly those who have written and given me suggestions, asked
me questions, or sent me materials. They too have left their mark on my
work and in this book. THANK YOU!
I am also indebted to my editor, Janus Daniels. He was instrumental in
making this book what it is.
Finally, most of all, I thank the Giver of all. It is my firm belief
that life is a miracle, that each of us is a unique gift, and that all
that any of us can ever do or be stems from that gift. Being human is
still the deepest mystery and the most vivid example of the power to manifest
good and evil. I believe that each of us has a responsibility to contribute,
to serve, to faithfully give of our best to all of life's miraculous forms
in whatever manner we are able. It is our duty to care for all life and
the intrinsic right of life to express its full potential. This work grew
from that proposition!
Everyone I have ever met, everyone I have ever read or listened
to, in fact every single human being in my experience has, more than
once, desired to change something about themselves and found accomplishing
that change exceedingly difficult, if not impossible. Yet sometimes
we transform our behavior and beliefs. The question seems obvious: Why
do we sometimes succeed?
Perhaps you asked another question: Why do we fail? I find the
question that I have suggested more useful. We can create success.
Perhaps you know people who have created failure for themselves
and others. How can we solve that problem?
The field of personal development includes a variety
of "experts." They seem to offer more solutions than we have
problems. Yet we find no shortage of problems.
Please keep a few questions somewhere in your mind. Join me in
examining a few examples of the worst and the best that can happen in
this country. We will look at what makes the difference happen. Then
we will have some useful answers to what makes people succeed.
Also start to answer another question. When I say succeed, I mean
something more than changing my behavior, or buying a house. I mean
some things personal to me. What do you mean by success?
Thank you for reading my work. I have sought to make it worthy
of your time and energy.
Manipulation, Politics and Law America land
of the asleep and home of the slaves?
Intent to manipulate and motives behind manipulation have importance.
The issue of manipulation itself has more importance. When does it happen?
What can it do? How does it work? Who has responsibility?
Chapter One is titled, "Brainwashing on Trial in America."
The reader may decide if the material discussed is indeed brainwashing.
It would be better to decide what the word means and to find better ways
to describe and govern the ways we influence each other. How much can
we justify as good old motivational this and that to sell products, motivate
employees, garner votes or attract followers?
Chapter One departs from the citation system otherwise found in this
work. It describes, more than any other part of the book, a personal and
emotional experience. I do not seek to lay blame. I state facts. I make
my bias clear. I make no apologies. The facts will bring the response
they deserve. I do seek better ways to understand our lives and better
ways for us to live.
Trial In America
It's 1994, a decade after Orwell's year. We still have America, land
of the free and home of the brave. There is no "Big Brother."
Americans relax comfortably. They enjoy their technology. Television,
video players, radios, and other entertainment systems babble together.
Favorite music plays in the background. Magazines rest on sofas and tables.
Informative articles and advertisements tell all of us of the latest and
best in everything one can imagine.
Less than a hundred years ago all of this normal stuff would have appeared
miraculous! Where else but America could you expect to find all of this
so freely available? Multiple televisions and radios, portable computers,
games that simulate reality and interact with children, slick glossy magazines
delivered to the door, free television stations with incredible variety,
satellite and cable transmissions with ridiculous variety... only in America.
America, land of plenty---land of the free and home of the brave.
Liberty and justice for all. We know and cherish that ideal. We know
we must guard it. We know dreams can become nightmares. So let us recall
a day from 1993.
Two teenage boys had difficulty adjusting to life. Ray had just split
up with his girlfriend. James had just lost his job. Neither of them were
blameless. Both of them were confused. With most young people, the approach
to adulthood provides struggles. It should.
Two days before Christmas, Ray gave James a gift of music. The music
had particular significance. James had once collected the music of this
particular artist. He found the music violated his Christian beliefs.
He threw them all away.
That was a few years ago. James no longer pursued any religious affiliation.
He had turned away from religion. Many people do at some point in their
On December 23rd, James received the album. The boys decided to play
the album while they drank beer. The words and music of one particular
song held their interest. They played it repeatedly. The lyrics in several
songs encouraged suicide with such rhymes as: "Leave this life with
all its sin, it's not fit for living in."
Picture these two young men, attractive, on the slight side--skinny,
according to more than one description--unskilled, and not doing well
in school, anticipating a life of difficulty and with delusions of grandeur
driven by frustration, pretending to be mercenaries, or imagining themselves
Mid-afternoon, the lyrics going around in their heads included, "Why
do you have to die to be a hero?" The two looked at each other as
though acting in some movie. The hero says, "Let's do it!" just
before mayhem begins. One of the boys said, "Do it"! The two
began chanting "Do it." One of them grabbed a shotgun. They
went out the bedroom window to the church playground. Ray placed a shotgun
under his jaw. James chanted "Do it!" Ray fired the gun. The
blast stunned James. Ray was dead.
James lifted the gun, wet with blood. He said later that he trembled.
He felt afraid. He could be blamed for Ray's death. He wondered why they
had chanted "do it." He placed the gun under his own jaw. He
pulled the trigger.
James had failed to brace the shotgun. As he pulled the trigger the gun
lurched forward. The blast shot off the front of his face. It did not
kill him. It left him severely wounded and disfigured. He lived for nearly
You have graphic pictures in your mind. Two young men have shot themselves,
inflicted death and injury from their own hands---or was it from their
own hands? Can we explain such senseless tragic irrevocable acts? Could
we prevent them? Try to imagine yourself and a friend suddenly deciding
to jump up and commit suicide together! People who commit suicide take
a long time to reach their decision to commit the final act. They go over
and over the idea in their minds. Even if they do not intend speaking
of suicide, it becomes part of their conversation. They plan it. They
wonder what will happen after their death. Police always expect to find
a note. Mutual suicides rarely occur. On these rare occasions, police
expect to find a manifesto. Can you find another case of an impulse
double suicide? Surely a tragedy so incomprehensible and odd
demands useful explanation and effective response.
Obviously, we can do nothing for the dead. Therefor we will discuss this
as a general case. Naming individuals and groups involved, at this point,
would imply that they had behaved differently and more culpably than others.
Even when true, that could distract from the purpose which I hope you
will share with me. Again, I do not seek to blame. I seek understandings
that we can all use in our lives.
Perhaps you know some of the history of physics. Maybe you have done
some physics experiments in school. Then you know the difficulties of
discovering, let alone isolating, proving and measuring cause and effect,
in physics. All the more so in psychology.
The recording the boys enjoyed so much had been "cooked." Unknown
to them, it included statements which a listener could not normally consciously
hear. Could this have had some effect? Bizarre and unlikely behavior tends
to have bizarre and unlikely causes.
You have probably seen people come near to physically attacking each
other without ever noticing that their tones of voice, and not any words,
triggered their emotions. Ample research demonstrates that we can respond
to what psychologists term "subliminal perception."
We can respond to events without consciously noticing and remembering
them. We need to. Imagine having to consciously perceive and
respond to all the information of balance and pressure and muscular contractions
and relaxations and visceral sensations necessary to stand up, let alone
walk! Boxers know that they have to react before they know why - or its
too late. You may know of some of the clinical studies in which people
in various conditions have reacted to stimuli without consciously knowing
that the pictures, print, sounds, or words existed.
The soundtrack the boys listened to included viscerally offensive nonsense
like, "Sing my evil spirit, fuck the lord..." and the very simple
command, "Do it!" The command was spoken forwards. The "satanic"
messages were backwards. The boys had no conscious awareness of the subliminal
content. They just chanted, "Do it!" Then they did.
Three years pass. James has died. In a courtroom, in the boys home town,
an attorney stands before a judge. He pleads for his client. He insists
that his client, the multinational media corporation
that released the music album, and that owns the largest broadcasting
systems in the world for both radio and television, has the constitutional
right to put whatever they wish in the form of subliminal information,
on any broadcast or other means of communication, because that is a right
granted by the first amendment: Freedom of Speech.
The judge proposes a hypothetical case. Suppose Media Giant uses subliminal
messages to sell us a politician. He asks the attorney whether
they believe the First Amendment protects this type of conduct. The attorney
affirms that it is indeed their right---but they would never do it. Why
not? They could.
Weeks turn into months. The trial goes on. The media report the proceedings
as a ludicrous waste of taxpayers' money. The experts for the families
of the deceased young men suffer ridicule. The media present them in the
Media Giant fails to produce the original 24-track music
master for analysis. They say they can't find it. A former Scotland Yard
detective is hired to search high and low for the master. He tells the
court under oath that he was not allowed to look in the vaults. Employees
and others call it very strange that the Media Giant could not find this
master, which made them millions of dollars, and which they need to produce
Media Giant, through able and expensive attorneys, argues that no subliminal
messages exist. The judge listens to the messages, as rendered
audible. Media Giant explains this as a "coincidence of sound."
Members of the band that recorded the music have admitted to putting subliminal
messages on recordings. They now deny putting any on this one.
Media Giant's attorneys put on their witnesses. They assert "everything
can be quantified" and "there is no evidence that a
subliminal message could cause anyone to do anything." These
witnesses receive good press.
Just before the trial, one spokesperson against subliminals,
a psychologist, became more prominent. You become an expert if 1 you come
from out of town. He certainly qualified as an expert. He came from Canada.
He had written an article a few years earlier telling America to ignore
subliminal "stuff" in songs, advertising,
and the like, because it didn't work. He wrote that subliminals
wouldn't motivate anyone to do anything. He then became a witness for
Earlier in the trial the "subliminal messages"
had to be proven to exist. Witnesses for Media Giant have conducted scientific
studies proving the failure of subliminal messages to influence
their subjects. This requires a new definition of "subliminal"
According to the new definition, if any means of analysis whatsoever
can detect the presence of information, then that is "supraliminal"
information --- not "subliminal" --- and therefore
protected as free speech. Information qualifies as subliminal
only if no means whatsoever can detect it. You can't get more subliminal
than that! So you have to agree.
These subliminal experts - for certainly their expertise
was subliminal - reported many studies. The researchers
who conducted these studies tested audio tapes for subliminal
voice information. They found no subliminal
voice information. Applying the cited definition, the researchers concluded
that the tapes were indeed subliminal. One may admire
their logic, and still question their sanity.
At the conclusion of the trial, the judge learned that the Media Giant
had, at great expense, manipulated the media before and during the trial.
It released continuous press packages through a publicity and public relations
firm. Such firms and such packages have a simple purpose: to control public
opinions. The judge warned the Media Giant on the morning of his verdict
that, "The court will be investigating this action, since some of
the material given in press releases is totally improper and could constitute
slander." He then fined the Media Giant $40,000 for impeding the
discovery process and not bringing forward the original music track master.
Nonetheless, the judge stated that, in the wrongful death action
that had been brought, the attorneys for the deceased young men
failed to prove that the subliminal command was intentionally
recorded on the album. Further, the judge concluded, these two
young men were at risk and would probably have committed suicide
without the subliminal messages.
The trial ended. The media repeated reporting the absolute waste of taxpayers'
money spent on such a foolish issue. Newspapers and magazines around the
world received media packages scoffing at the entire concept of subliminal
perception. Large-dollar advertisers sent slanted packages to
the press, and placed advertising if the copy was accepted for print.
Experts for the Media Giant began speaking out. They argued that subliminal
information-processing did not exist except as a subject for
laughter, and that it depended on the foolish idea of a smart subconscious
mind able to receive and process this subliminal information.
Finally a report appeared, allegedly a U.S. Army study, debunking subliminal
information-processing along with a host of other popular notions
such as hypnosis, meditation and the like. In short,
according to this report, anything that has to do with the so-called power
of the subconscious mind made categorical non-sense.
When contacted, the Army said they had no prior knowledge of the study.
The press did not report that the reporting agency (National Research
Council) was under investigation for improper use of tax dollars and had
returned monies to the government that had been used inappropriately by
staff. Further, the press also ignored that these same people turned out
a previous report that many scientists criticized as a flagrant and false
representation of the data. The press did not link any of this to the
reporting agency in context.
The so-called scientific report allegedly generated for the Army came
from an organization with its own agenda. In fact, we discover that those
who adamantly oppose the idea that subliminal messages could have
been a contributing causal factor in the death of our two young men
were all connected through public presentations and/or papers to the Committee
for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP)
and one of its founders. This "founder" also founded an atheistic
organization known as Promethens Press. One of the members of CSICOP once
stated through one of its chapters: "I want people who are willing
to get dirty...What we will do is employ a very thorough, proven technique
for getting the point across to people who have no demonstrated facility
to reason." Who do they mean?
Some people do reason poorly. A founding member of CSICOP once said,
"Religion is the paranoia of optimists."
Most people reason poorly about something. Sometimes some people deliberately
reason poorly. Sometimes its hard to tell the difference. You need only
refer to some of the reasoning cited earlier.
Many people need to learn to think. We can teach logic. Some have used
lack-logic as a means to manipulate. After scrutiny, we found several
interconnected organizations that have the same founders or executive
committee members. These organizations all attack beliefs that suggest
anything more to who and what we are than what we have objective
conscious awareness of knowing. They attack meditation,
para-psychology, holistic health, spiritual values, ideas of a subconscious
or superconscious mind and so forth. They have used ridicule
as their principal tactic, "One sneer is worth ten thousand syllogisms."
What do you think of this? Would you like subjection to propaganda in
this manner? Would you like your children to live in this environment?
Before you decide, let's continue with the story.
The attorneys for the parents of the deceased appealed the judge's ruling.
Many grounds existed for this appeal.
Another psychologist, called as a witness for the Media Giant, reported
that three double-blind studies, each a replication of the other, clearly
showed that subliminal effects are due only to expectation
or placebo impetus. Of the three studies he cited, two were part of a
doctoral dissertation by a marketing student. This study examined the
effects of audiotape labels on expectations. The design
of the study did not aim to measure the effect of the audiotapes
themselves. The design of the three studies did not replicate each other.
Some of the tapes studied were examined for subliminal content.
No messages were revealed. The study went ahead. After
all, the student did not intend to study subliminal messages.
The study aimed to measure the effect of labels on expectation.
This study used some commercial subliminal tapes made
by companies who may not have known what they were doing. These studies
did not examine anything scientific with regard to a controlled message
or a controlled subliminal technology.
Academic journals heated with the controversy. The case awaited appeal.
New reports came out that subliminal messages were nonsense.
These reports continued to hit the news stands in popular magazines. Many
scientific articles demonstrated the opposite.
Our informed Canadian expert, who wrote that America had nothing to worry
about as subliminal communication did not work, filed
a complaint with the ethics committee of the American Psychological Association
(APA). In the complaint he alleged that one of their members, a licensed
psychologist, claimed that subliminals worked to aid and assist
people with behavioral changes and that he had used this technology.
The APA ethics committee unanimously rejected the complaint. Our informed
expert went on a campaign with a major liquor company, which has been
accused of using subliminal information in its advertising.
Together they told America, "Don't worry. It doesn't work, and we'd
never do that."
This all actually happened.
Perhaps you have begun to imagine a deliberate conspiracy to keep America
in the dark about the power of subliminal communication. We
need no conspiracy to explain any of this. Chapter 2 will elucidate that
statement. For now, put yourself in their positions.
Suppose you made yourself rich as a rock musician, or that you worked
your way to an executive post in a huge corporation; would you like to
think that one of your products had contributed to a double suicide? Wouldn't
you rather believe anything else? Suppose you had built yourself a university
career and a reputation as an authority in your field; wouldn't you want
the fame and adulation and money available outside academia? Wouldn't
you want to say and write what would bring you all that? Wouldn't you
feel better and like yourself better if you could make yourself believe
Orwell made a mistake. "1984" described elaborate technologies
and tortures that rulers used to make people deceive, not merely others,
but themselves. We require nothing elaborate. We do it daily.
We do it to ourselves.
Please remind yourself that we must refer to a real and specific incident
to illustrate general principles. The particular corporations and professionals
mentioned here have proven no more callous and irresponsible than similar
corporations and professionals. You must protect yourself from imagining
Does any hard evidence suggest any power in subliminal messages?
Obviously, this became a major issue at the Reno, Nevada trial where the
families of Raymond Belknap and James Vance filed a wrongful death
action against CBS and the rock group Judas Priest. As one of
the witnesses, I was asked if any direct corollary research had ever demonstrated
that subliminal stimuli could elicit action as serious
as that taken by young Vance and Belknap.
Questions can require complex answers. This critical question contains
the implicit idea that some researcher has taken troubled young people,
given them some beer, exposed them to suicidal arguments that embraced
childish notions of courage and romance, added emotionally compelling
and confusing nonsense, and then added subliminal commands urging
action. No such research has ever been done. Thank God! Not since
WWII has such a heinous research design been recorded in science. No human
subjects committee would allow such a study. (The author wrote this before
Att. General Janet Reno forced the release of cold war experiments on
humans. He must apologize for his naivete.)
At the time of the trial I explained that this type of study would have
been irresponsible. I also referred to research with subliminal
stimuli in conjunction with alcohol and in conjunction with depression.
Many positive outcomes demonstrated subliminal information could
alleviate human suffering. Perhaps people have only done that
research because it could lead to profits. Very little research has been
done to prove the opposite.
I could discuss all this more eloquently and argue it more persuasively
than I did in court. I will let you see what I actually said.
The first question I was asked was how I had come to my conclusions regarding
whether or not the subliminal messages contributed to
the double shooting. I answered: "Well, I looked at all of the information
and essentially said, based on my knowledge, these two boys could have
been provoked to a violent action against themselves or against society
at large at a given point in time. In order to determine whether or not
the subliminal content was a cause in the suicide, I
had to satisfy in my mind that something occurred out of the ordinary
that could have precipitated this.
"There were a lot of dynamics going on with these young men, so
I looked to see if there was a point in the given day when there would
be indications that neither of these young men would have been thinking
about suicide, actively thinking about suicide. I believe for Raymond
Belknap that was when he got his haircut, and for James
Vance it was his description under hypnosis
of a shower he had taken. Therefore, at about 1.00pm for Raymond and 2.00pm
or so for James, I don't believe that there was anything at that point
in time that indicated these two young men had planned to commit suicide
on the 23rd of December.
"Something had to occur that was different. My understanding is
that, although they smoked marijuana and they used some alcohol, it was
low-grade marijuana and it was not enough alcohol to be out of the ordinary
for their pattern of events.
"Precipitating factors that I took into consideration were the alleged
argument that occurred with Vance's parents, the loss of the paycheck,
and the fact that it was the 23rd of December. Christmas is a major Christian
event and regardless of your beliefs you're still nevertheless aware that
it is a Christian event and it is a moral event. It was the proximity
to Christmas and the fact that the Stained Class album was
given as a Christmas present. Remember, this album had previously been
thrown away because of a conflict that existed, at least in James's mind,
between his axiological perspective, religiously speaking, and his attitude
toward his interpretation of the Judas Priest group.
"I systematically reviewed the scientific literature regarding subliminal
studies in light of the character of these young men as I had
determined it from the materials sent me. I evaluated or initially looked
for studies that had been done where the presentation of subliminal
stimuli and depression were associated.
"In a study done by Henley in 1975, it was determined that presentation
of subliminal stimuli had an effect on decision making,
and that we analyzed and integrated information when it was presented
in a metacontrast method or in a subliminal method.
"In a study that was done by Kostandov in 1980, it was determined
that there was a role on the choice of reaction as a result of subliminal
influences, that subliminal stimuli had a determining
role on the choice of our reactions or in decision making.
"I evaluated the fact that Vance had suffered the loss of his father,
not through death, as I understand, but through abandonment. I drew inferences
that I believe are valid inferences and looked for specific studies having
to do with the loss of a primary caretaker and the presentation of subliminal
"I found a study done by Jill Miller at New York University that
essentially said that subliminal aggressive stimuli,
when presented to survivors who had lost a parent, causes hypomania defenses
to break down and increases depression.
"I looked to see the influence of prior suicidal threats or attempts
and studies that would have been relevant directly or indirectly, and
I found a study by Rutstein, performed in 1973. The study essentially
demonstrated that there was increased depression in suicidal subjects
following aggressive subliminal stimuli.
"I then looked to combine these aggression tendencies and depression
in any particular studies. I found a study by DeMartino of New York University.
In this study, DeMartino presented the messages "Kill"
and "Tell" and determined that the effects of subliminal
stimuli were carried by individuals who identified themselves
in the self-rating index to be aggressors.
"I found another study done by Silverman where aggressive stimuli
was shown to alter pathology--manifest pathology, actually--and essentially
Silverman argued that congruent drives gave rise to the degree of manifested
"I looked for direct behavioral connection studies, studies that
would report a direct effect on behavior. I found a study of Dr. Lee's,
which was written up in 1983. The study was done on agoraphobics. I drew
upon some of my own work at this point, including a study that was conducted
at Weber State University, one of my undergraduate schools.
The study used the state trait anxiety index to see how subliminal
messages effected behaviors related to stress.
"I then looked at religious conflict as it seemed relevant to hypomania
defenses. We ordinarily look at that in the traditional psychoanalytic
sense as a conflict between ego and superego, superego being the area
where we have taboos, our moral values, and ego being the mediator where
our drives are coming from, the id. I looked at the back-masking study
that was done by Leclerc--that is, of course, presenting
language backwards. Leclerc's study was done at the University
of Montreal, Quebec.
"Leclerc's study showed us that indeed information
that was presented back-masked--sometimes that is called
metacontrast where audio subliminal is concerned, but
that is not a strict, appropriate use of the word "metacontrast"--was
acted upon, was perceived.
"I looked and found a study by Henley in 1975, the study I mentioned
earlier where once again music was presented to one ear with subliminal
words, to the other ear backwards, back-masked,
and had significant subliminal effect.
"I added to that my experience in a number of anecdotal reports
ranging from individuals who have worked with programs we created for
specific health care interventions to programs that have been employed
in settings I would never have thought of. For example, an educational
psychologist friend of mine took to his niece, who was in the hospital
in Salt Lake City in a coma, a subliminal tape on healing and
played it in an auto reverse player. When she came out
of the coma, the nurses and the physicians themselves basically said that
the first words out of her mouth were what we call affirmations
that existed on the tape.
"I was advised by Mr. McKenna in one of his last phone calls to
me that an educational psychologist had been deposed that knew James Vance
and that she had indicated that James had told her that they chanted "do
"We have in this literature the association of music and
words, the aggressive drive, aggressive behavior, and then the
chanting, and in context I thereby came to the conclusion that the subliminal
messages on the Stained Class album were a factor in the double shooting".
The attorney for CBS and Judas Priest (Q) asked,
(Q):"Are you able to say how much of a factor?"
(A):"I don't believe anybody on this earth is qualified to do that."
(Q):"Which is to say the answer to the question is no, not you and
not anybody else; right?"
(A):"The nature of the situation -- I appreciate what you're trying
to get me to say, Ms. Fulstone."
(Q):"I'm just trying to get an answer to the question.'
(A):"The nature of the situation, I don't think lends itself to
a yes or no. I don't believe that we can fractionate all the elements
that came together on that day to say one was more important than another.
The man that is contemplating suicide standing on the edge of a building,
ledge of a building, and somebody says, "you're no good, do it,"
is that a factor? We're inclined to believe so. How much of a factor,
how do you fractionate those factors? I can't give you an answer, is what
I'm saying, short of an explanation. I wish I could."
(Q):"Again the question I asked you was, Could you say how much
of a factor and that is the question I want answered here. You're shaking
your head no. Is that the answer?"
(A):"Are you asking me for percentages?"
(Q):"I'm asking you if you can say how much of a factor, in your
opinion, the subliminal messages were in this double
(A):"In my own mind, by my best belief, as I understand all the
information that I have in front of me, without those messages, without
that chanting, without the association to the lyrics "this world
is not worth living in," et cetera, I don't believe these young men
would have killed themselves on that given day."
(Q):"I'm going back to my question again and limit yourself specifically--you
have said in your opinion the subliminal messages on the Stained
Class album were a factor in the double shooting."
(Q):"My question is, Can you say how much of a factor?"
(A):"I think I have answered that. I'm not certain now what it is
you're asking honestly."
(Q):"You combined it with the actual lyrics, the chanting and, you
know, whatever facts you may think you have. I'm trying to get you to
tell me, either you can isolate the subliminal messages
as a factor and tell me how much of a factor they were, or you can tell
me that you can't do that which is what I understood you to say initially"
(A):"I don't believe I can tell you how much of a factor it was."
(Q):"Is it your opinion that the suicide and attempted
suicide of Ray Belknap and James Vance
would not have occurred but for the subliminal messages?
(A):"On that given day, yes."
(Q):"When you say that, are you separating out the subliminal
messages from the other factors that you have described?"
(A):"I don't believe that is possible, Ms. Fulstone."
(Q):"Okay. How is it that you can say the suicide
and attempted suicide would not have occurred but for
the subliminal message?"
(A):"I believe that everything coming together on that day combined
with the presentation of an album that in itself was significant to Mr.
Vance and to Mr. Belknap. It was Belknap's friendship offer to Mr. Vance.
It was something Mr. Vance had discarded because of a conflict in his
Christian view of the world. That album contained lyrics that they chanted
"do it" to, the lyrics of which I believe suggest to some that
life is not worth living and that combined in a gestalt to produce the
act of total alienation from life and basic despair."
(Q):"This is all essentially speculation, is it not?"
(A):"I would ask you to define speculation, I guess, Ms. Fulstone.
If you mean speculation like I'm speculating on an unknown situation without
extrapolating from known, I would say no. If you mean speculation from
I'm making inferences, I'm extrapolating, I'm doing my level best to bring
all the information together that I have learned in a lifetime through
various means to make a judgment, then I would say yes."
(Q):"Are you saying, then, that just as in your opinion the suicide
would not have occurred but for the subliminal content,
that it likewise would not have occurred but for the alcohol and the drug
use on that day?"
(A):"No, I'm not saying that. The answer is no."
(Q):"Are you saying that the suicide and attempted
suicide would not have occurred but for the confrontation with Vance's
(A):"I would consider that the confrontation with Vance's parents
could be a contributor. I wouldn't say that you could isolate that. To
me the significant factors of this given day once again were the confrontation,
the loss of the paycheck, the proximity to Christmas, the despair of the
young men that seems to have been provoked, at least in part by all of
these things coming together while simultaneously being presented with
the Stained Class album in its lyrical content as well
as its subliminal content, and all the other meanings
it had for the Vance boy.
"I believe that the fact that they chose the back of a churchyard
to commit the crime with that same proximity with these other conflicts
is more than coincidental.
"The fact that the Vance boy apparently is quoted as saying he saw
fire fly from the back of Belknap's head, when indeed that didn't happen,
would indicate that his perception is somewhat skewed, and I believe that
it's more than coincidental that the album cover would be essentially
presenting what it is that Vance says he saw.
"There comes a point, I believe, that we can take all these elements,
add them together, and coincidence doesn't explain them."
At the time of this testimony I did not have the results of Professor
Peter Kruse's study which included the delivery of reverse speech information.
This study, conducted at Bremen University in Germany,
demonstrated that reverse speech could influence decision-making. It further
showed that reverse speech could substantially alter normal perception,
or at least alter our normal judgments about perception.
I also did not have the results of a very suggestive study conducted
by Hillarie Taylor. She enlisted the aid of classmates and a
science teacher to evaluate the influence of subliminal auditory
messages on the fight/flight arousal response. She circulated
informed consent releases for participating students that their parents
She had nine volunteers. Her assistant randomly assigned each of them
to one of two group. Five subjects were in group A and four in group B.
Group A, listened to the sounds of ocean with three subliminal
information deliveries, approximately one minute apart. The messages
were "DANGER, DANGER, WATCH OUT! ---- AH-H-H-G-H! DANGER!"
The messages were recorded and delivered simultaneously in both forward
and reversed speech. The basic pattern, not the messages,
came from the Judas Priest album, Stained Class, as described
in the first pages of this chapter. Group B listened to the same ocean
track without the messages.
Both groups listened to the tapes for four minutes, with earphones, while
their body responses were monitored for changes in breathing, blood pressure,
the electrical resistance of their skin, and the moisture at the end of
their fingers. A four needle polygraph, the same instrument used as a
"lie detector," recorded these responses.
After the four minute trial each subject filled out a questionnaire that
included a request to report any particular reverie, feelings, or thoughts
that occurred during the trials. Only then did her assistant discover
and reveal which group each of the subjects was in.
All five of those in group A responded with gross reactions or changes
in the measurements of body function coinciding with the delivery of the
subliminal "danger" message. Those in the B
group had no such response. This suggests the stimulus recognition. Their
bodies responded as though an actual danger existed. So did their minds.
Three of the five in group A reported reveries of killing or being killed.
The fourth reported feeling extremely upset. The fifth said she was too
occupied by what the experimenters were doing to notice her thoughts.
The experimenters were doing very little. It seems peculiar that, after
a four minute period which ended with a request that she recall her thoughts,
she would recall none of them. This may qualify as repression. Again,
four of five reported disturbing feelings or thoughts and five of five
showed physiological responses with the subliminal danger
You may remember a time when you fantasized what you would never do,
but wanted to. Perhaps you have ex-employers whose sudden deaths would
require celebration. Psychological theory has categories of fantasy formation.
Our response to danger, the fight or flight response can generate compelling
When a person feels threatened, fight/flight gives rise to thoughts of
this nature. Killing is fight oriented and death may be flight oriented.
Many deal with fear, in fantasy, by neutralizing the source of the fear---even
if it means killing. Dying, on the other hand, means escape to many. Of
five normal, healthy teenagers, four had thoughts of killing or dying.
The fifth apparently "blanked out." This came from one listening,
in a pleasant and sober state, to a few repetitions of a single simple
subliminal message for a few minutes. How do you think
they could respond in the scenes that opened this chapter?
The students and their parents have all been debriefed. Now they have
conscious reasons to feel fear. The possibility of subliminal
information presented without their knowledge or choice scares
them. One of the volunteers suggested, "Just imagine 100 million
Americans exposed to this "danger" message all going down to
the local grocery store (with thoughts of killing or being killed)."
They also take note of the increase in teenage suicide,
violence, gangs, drug abuse, and generally destructive behavior. Maybe
just coincidental to the subliminal effects of so much of modern communication.
The subjects also made an important point to their peers, repeatedly voiced
by nearly all: "This stuff should be illegal!"
How can we learn how to deal with this? Where can we get trustworthy
information? Who has the motivation to lie? Who stands to gain or lose
the most over the issue of subliminal information? Why,
when the results are so suggestive from simple and direct outcome studies,
do these apparent differences in subliminal effects exist?
Was Norman Cousins correct to call subliminal
technology potentially the worst invention and discovery of mankind's
I believe I have given you the facts. In the Reno trial, the Media Giant's
people accused me of being a minister and a philosopher. I take pride
in both. They take pride in other things.
Have some practical philosophy. No amount of professional journal writing
will affect the threat that exists in the wrong use of subliminal
communication. I have to bring this subject before you. Only
you can make a difference. I still write articles for professionals. You
have the greater voice. Perhaps you think laws prohibit the use of, or
protect you from, subliminal messages. Wrong.
Please take out a piece of paper and a pen and write. Write your newspaper,
your politicians, your clergyman. Tell them all: subliminal exploitation
must cease! Many of my professional friends do not want to get involved.
They agree with me, but who wants to work against the big money?
Back in 1986 I appeared before a Utah state legislative committee regarding
subliminal communication, particularly in advertising
and music recordings. Proposed legislation would prohibit
subliminal communication without informed consent. Despite
the protests that came from Madison Avenue - advertising agencies,
retailers and so forth, this august body passed the bill and sent it on
to the floor of the Utah house of representatives. There the bill wasted
away. It never became law.
This hearing surprised me, to say the least, by the number of persons
who came great distances, such as New York, to oppose the proposed legislation.
What did they have to do with Utah?
Since then I have sorted out the answer to that question. Some of my
colleagues call it "the smoking gun."
Not long after the release of my book, "Subliminal Communication:
Emperor's Clothes Or Panacea", a reader sent me a note with
a copy of a training course for advertising. It instantly
reminded me of one of the CBS expert witnesses, Dr. Timothy Moore.
The beginning of this chapter described him as a Canadian educator and
suddenly prominent spokesperson. He had testified that absolutely no evidence
supported the existence of subliminal influence. Dr.
Moore's claim to expertise grew from an article that he wrote stating
that advertisers and musicians did not use subliminal
information and, if they did, it wouldn't matter, since subliminals
would have no behavioral effects.
Not long after the CBS trial, Seagram's New York advertising agency,
Ogilvy and Mather, cited Moore in a glitzy media package. The package
ridiculed subliminal advertising and subliminal
communication in general. What connected Moore and Seagram's?
Seagram's, of course, sells liquor. I and many of my colleagues felt angry
and embarrassed to see what we interpreted as a psychologist indirectly
pushing a liquor lifestyle in favor of self-help subliminal audiotapes,
which he called a fraud.
This caused even more frustration for those who work in the field or
follow the literature closely. A study by Ray Monahan
had demonstrated subliminal audiotapes assisted
alcoholics to overcome their addiction and restore some sense
of self-respect and quality in life.
Now, this is not an attempt to vilify Dr. Moore. He may passionately
believe that his science demonstrates his statement. However, perhaps
Moore has failed to resolve some of his own ambiguities. He begins a recent
article with the following question and answer: "Can the meaning
of a stimulus affect the behavior of observers in some way in the absence
of their awareness of the stimulus? In a word, yes." You can find
this article entitled "Subliminal Perception: Facts and Fallacies,"
in the Skeptical Enquirer. It defends advertisers
and applies the term pseudo-science to assertions that advertisements
intentionally contain "embedded" or subliminal pictures
or words. In the same article he states, "While there is
no scientific evidence for the existence of embedded
figures or words, let alone effects from them, the images
and themes contained in advertisements may well influence
viewers' attitudes and values without their awareness." Still, certainly,
Dr. Moore has not seen the evidence that I will present after the next
I was sent a training manual. I received this on condition of anonymity.
The agency that put this material together offers an extremely expensive
sixty-day training course. They claim that 95% of their graduates find
full-time employment within 30 days. They claim that they are the only
agency that guarantees job placement. They also claim to have won Agency
of the Year award from Advertising Age. To comment on
this material would only dilute it. Please, truly evaluate this "training."
We only have space, in this book, for excerpts. Incredible as it must
seem, these excerpts are representative of the whole:
"The course itself is an adventure into mental frontiers that challenge
even the most stalwart individual. You'll learn the hows and whys of taboo
imagery, group motivation theories based on collective
animus-anima symbolism, how to slow thought waves and enter alpha,
theta, delta levels of the mind, the emotional meaning of colors,
shapes, and patterns plus your basic illustration and airbrushing techniques.
Techniques that will put your newly acquired secret knowledge to work
"Initiation into the psychological concepts and manipulative stratagems
of the art course often comes as a shock to those naive individuals the
computer "mis-picked." 36% of all previous candidates dropped
out in disgust within the first three days. Since there is no refund,
we try to stress that certain squeamish types of people aren't suited
for the psychological demands of this fast- paced, secretive business.
Our main goal is to produce artists and idea personnel dedicated and obedient
to the advertising necessities involved in regulating
America's production-consumption cycles.
"The enclosed photos (see colored templates in the center of this
book) provide an excellent example of some of these advertising necessities
taught at ___ and they visually sum up what our school is all about.
Note: These Photos Can Also Be Found In Eldon
Taylors Book "Choices and Illusions"
"One photo (Fig. 1, colored templates) shows a sexy blonde woman
holding a cocktail glass. Just another pretty face in the crowd is the
visual impact most observers have. However, in the highly competitive
world of advertising just another pretty face is no longer enough motivation
to guarantee the emotional involvement of the viewer or potential customer.
Let's take a look at the artistic strategy we've used to enhance the emotional
triggering power of the advertisement. (See Fig. 2, colored templates).
"First off, the woman has sex appeal. She's very pretty and possesses
several characteristics found desirable by 8 out of 10 males (information
available through our research department). Her blonde hair activates
the modern-day blondes have more fun syndrome prevalent among the Clairol
generation. The syndrome's connotations are that blondes are more sexual,
more easily seduced and enjoy sex more than the other hair colors. Since
blatant sexuality is the subliminal theme of this ad, the blonde hair
helps to act as an emotional catalyst in ensuring a sexual interpretation
by the viewer's subconscious. This will become more apparent
as the ad is explained.
"The satyr on the woman's collar or choker further enhances the
subconscious sexual theme of the ad.
A satyr is an age- old symbol for man's baser instincts, his primitive,
lustful, dark side. This satyr identifies its wearer as being associated
with instinctive eroticism.
"The choker around her neck is a visual indication of her submissiveness
to the eroticism of the satyr. Since a choker closely resembles a collar
its submissive symbolism (in this context) is much the same: she will
be obedient and docile as a dog in obeying the erotic desires of her master
(the viewer). She is a sex slave.
"If we look closely, we see that this blonde woman is holding the
cocktail glass in an odd or dissonant way. Her right hand is folded except
for her index finger. Her index finger is extended, pointing to the ice-cubes
in the cocktail glass. Pointing is a way of directing someone's attention
to a specific area or direction. In this case it's the ice-cubes.
"Airbrushed into the ice-cubes are several erotic symbols. These
symbols are designed to activate socially taboo thoughts and emotions
in the viewer. By activating these deep, instinctual, thought processes,
we guarantee our client the emotional involvement of the viewer or potential
consumer. We create desires that can only be satisfied by product consumption.
"The symbols in the ice-cubes may seem invisible
but hypnotic research has shown 95%
subconscious pick-up. The subconscious
can take in an astounding amount of visual information.
This information filters its way up to consciousness by way of what is
socially acceptable. The rest is to remain in the subconscious
where it later emerges in the form of desires and wants that
are satisfied only through acts of consumption.
"The ice-cubes to which her index finger points form an erect penis.
These two cubes have been flesh colored and can easily be seen from a
distance of several feet, once pointed out. Note how the penis angle is
correct for proper virile erection. Since a penis in a glass is considered
taboo, this image would be immediately repressed. People see only what
they expect to see.
"The woman's lips are in close proximity to this erect, flesh-toned
penis. This idea of fellatio is reinforced by the satyr blowing on a flute
or phallic shaped object. Oral sex is a commonly desired quest and fantasy
of males of all ages. By retouching and airbrushing in this symbolic
sexual message, we've elevated a mere glass of whisky into a
"Next to this erect penis is a red cherry. Red is a hot, loud, active
color. In this context it helps evoke feelings of passion and lust. Red
is the color of flames and burning desires.
"On the right of this red cherry is a side view of a happily fornicating
rabbit. This rabbit is an apt symbol for love of sex. It's common knowledge
that the logo for Playboy magazine is the promiscuous rabbit. Male boastings
of sexual prowess often include emphasis on the partners ability to fuck
like a rabbit. Note that the ice-cube area surrounding the rabbit's engorged
penis is a creamy white. The ice-cube area above the cherry is also creamy
white rather than a see-through clearness. In the ad's blatant sexual
context this creamy white color correlates with the creamy whiteness of
sperm. Obviously ejaculation by fellatio will be successful, enhancing
the virility of this product.
"Below the fornicating rabbit is a smiling human face licking its
lips. We've airbrushed this face to symbolize a drink that tastes good
and will make one happy. It also correlates with love for oral sex . .
. licking her lips in anticipation.
"Below this smiling face are several other penises in varying stages
of sexual excitement. To the left of these aroused penises are several
female shapes with large breasts. These large breasts help activate instinctual
maternal sucking impulses associated with the Pleasure Principle. These
female shapes visually stimulate any repressed sexual desires in the viewer.
"The model's middle finger on her left hand is visually touching
the genital area of the large-breasted female shape. The middle finger
is associated with sex and sexual gestures such as Fuck you; fuck being
a sexual connotation implying intercourse. This touching of the genitals
by her middle finger is subconsciously interpreted as being bisexual or
impish (game for anything) in character. Since male fantasies often include
acts of lesbianism, we took the liberty to airbrush this visual enticement
into the sexual repertoire our impish host is tempting the viewer with.
"Earlier it was stated that the satyr and choker indicated the model's
willingness to be sexually submissive to the viewer's own fantasies. To
help aid this submissive interpretation we instructed the model to look
upward. This looking upward, visually places her in a lower position than
the viewer. In this context her position would subconsciously
be interpreted as being on her knees or at a level convenient for oral
sex. The large white areas of her eyes were retouched to match the exact
hue of the white, creamy ice-cubes. Exhaustive research indicates the
subconscious reads this as she has eyes for spurting
sperm, she loves climactic pleasures, she's voyeuristic. (See Fig. 3,
"Even the copy of the ad must correlate with the erotic theme of
the ad. About midway through the copy the wording goes, the smoothest
thing since skin. This, of course, correlates with the smooth skin of
the penis that she's pointing to.
"The rest of the copy is quite sexual when placed within the subliminal
sexual framework of the ad. It brings out the imp in all of us
refers to the releasing of primitive sexual desires and impulses found
in every human.
"In this highly competitive field, where back-stabbers, ball-breakers,
and brown-nosers abound, liquor advertisements provide a necessary source
of working revenue. When a full-color, one-page, nationally distributed
advertisement costs upward of $10,000, we can't afford
to spend a king's ransom on mere glittery glasses of ice. We "have
to" airbrush in emotional themes that will activate subconscious
drives into manipulative consumption control patterns beneficial
to our client's corporate growth policy.
"Because of the elusive and secretive nature of our business, we're
paid quite handsomely just to keep a low profile. Our fringe benefits
are among the best.
"...The majority of the new students exceeded their traumatic overload
threshold (gagging reflexes responding involuntarily to visual taboo indoctrination)
during theta level ambiguity bypass. It is during this nauseating necessity
of indoctrination that the squeamish are weeded out. The recent exceedingly
high dropout rate tells us that many are unprepared for the violent aspect
of 20th century salesmanship. Sex and violence are two sides of the same
coin and are used, without hesitation, in a meticulously coordinated way
to nurture the Even Keel psychic growth of consumer qualities. Qualities
deemed necessary for future corporate growth. Violence, as a manipulative
force, is an integral part of this Even Keel approach.
". . . To visually promise the viewer salvation from death, and
loss of one's very soul to the devil, is an emotional hook that we've
cast over and over again."
The manual warns students to prepare to deal with the hell-sell philosophy.
They state that 99.7% of their recent students dropped out in the first
three days. We may take some comfort from that.
Are you as shocked as I was when I opened this package? Do you share
my concern for the undermining effect these attitudes must have - even
with a weak technology? Do you see the same increase in violence, in drug
abuse, in value disintegration, in sexual crimes, that I do? The increase
in teenage suicide and gang violence? We know that an
elite few continuously mount a deliberate effort to control us. We call
it advertising or political campaigning, or employee motivation. How successful
can it get? Will we believe their mockery of those who would oppose them,
or will we call a stop? Does it matter?
While I was reviewing and writing this material, a radio station, WNCI,
from Columbus, Ohio, phoned me to examine some of Madonna's music
that allegedly contained subliminal messages. In the song,
Justify My Love, were the subliminal words:
"I love Satan, do you? I love Satan, who are you?" In the song
Rescue Me were the subliminal words:
"In the midnight smoke of yellow
Hear my melodies.
Hail to the family
It must be unknown
Hail hallelujah my position . . ."
The subliminal content was so easy to access that it
could be played over telephone lines to all and there is no doubt about
the understandability of these backward speech lyrics. The messages
were there---but why?
Maybe its a joke. Recording artists have been told, by academic and industry
authorities, that subliminals have no effect. The gun
is not loaded. Mom and Dad have told you. You wouldn't want to think that
anything you did could ever hurt anyone. That would be awful. Subliminals,
when discovered, have occasionally garnered performers a wealth of publicity.
How many harmless pranks could have such a nice payoff? How many unloaded
guns have killed how many of us?
Some may still ask, "Do subliminals really work? The
answer is demonstrably yes. Later chapters will review the literature.
We have all seen what we have not seen, and we have all heard what we
have not heard, and we have all acted on it. Again, we have to. We can't
not respond, and we can't afford to make conscious decisions about everything.
The magazine ad intentionally uses seeing without seeing.
You may have related experiences while driving. You drive a familiar route,
respond to traffic and signs and lights, without consciously seeing them
or even remembering the drive afterwards. You may have had the experience
of avoiding a sudden near accident. You realize what happened afterwards.
The album, not so intentionally, uses hearing without hearing. You've
caught yourself humming a tune while driving on the freeway. You turn
the radio on---only it is already on with the volume turned low---and
guess what you hear when you turn up the radio? The tune on the radio
registered. What first appeared as unaccompanied humming did in fact accompany
music turned down so low that the conscious mind
was unaware of it. This type of experience commonly occurs with outside
noise or when driving at high speeds. Coming off a freeway, rapidly reducing
the speed of the car, may cause one to suddenly notice the radio "blasting"
at an uncomfortable volume. The sound went consciously undiscriminated:
This works in every sensory perception. Who would deny the power of perfume,
whether we consciously notice the scent or not? Taste conditioned Pavlov's
dogs. A moment of disequilibrium may later leave you remembering a ride
on a Ferris Wheel, or a drug experience, without knowing why.
I began by stating that this is America, the land of the free and the
home of the brave. I remember the flawed movie Network. A television news
anchorman shocks the world by telling the truth as he sees it. Most of
you have seen a central scene from this film. He tells everyone watching
him to lean out their windows and yell, "I'm mad as hell and I'm
not going to take it anymore!" When it looks as though he might expose
his network managers, they have him assassinated during his broadcast.
The violence can build their ratings. At its best the movie makes us think
about the dangers and values of mass communication.
I do not believe that America wants to sleep. The courage of a few uncovered
scandals before Watergate and after the Thrift and Loans. No position
or riches will protect culprits from public knowledge. Today, the public
has greater access to information than ever before. The world will not
tolerate robbing the innocent of their rights. I admit we have some couch
potatoes who believe anything on television. I still believe that each
and every one of you will start letting everyone know that you're fed
up, mad as hell, and won't take it anymore.
In Subliminal Learning, I reported the results of a
survey which showed that most people believe that subliminal communication
does not exist, and that it is dangerous. At that time, this obvious contradiction
seemed ridiculous to me.
The information presented in this chapter forces at least these few conclusions:
Subliminals enjoy extensive use. Some people use subliminals
without informing the public. These people deny using subliminals.
These people work to convince the public that subliminals have
At least some popular performers incorporate subliminal messages
in their work. At least some advertisers use subliminal content to sell.
Some use a "hell-sell" psychology including systematic means
designed to use subliminal information for manipulation.
Advertisers believe in subliminal efficacy strongly
enough to send people to Utah from New York to protest a bill controlling
it, or from Canada to Nevada to oppose a trial condemning it.
Is there a conspiracy? I do not believe we need to imagine conspiracy
to explain anything described in this chapter. We only need to imagine
different people doing what makes them comfortable. The next chapter explains
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