TRIPPING THROUGH THE TWILIGHT ZONE A Journalist's Account Of The Silva Mind Control Class - From the Washing Post -1972 1 Reprinted by permission from The Washington Post OUTLOOK Editorials, Sunday, April 30, 1972. THE SILVA METHOD Journalist From The Washington Post Investigates The Silva Method This particular only see something happened in the last 40 article talks about the pointing to the section of the years. ESP and case working brain saying, ‘This is where The pricing mentioned experiences one gets it is, this where it is...’” and core structure from Silva Mind Control Then she described his described the programs classes. movement: “He’s leaningof the 70s, much has A journalist for forward...he’s changed, th 4 days the Washington post lumbering like he was rather course that is described, decided to investigate the over-weight...I get the great is now taught as 2 class after hearing many impression he’s favoring one separate programs - of the claims about the side, the right: he’s not using Silva Life System and Silva Method back in his left...I don’t think Silva Ultra Mind 1972. anything’s broken...” System. While the It was an accurate Students no journalist openly admits portrayal of my uncle’slonger have to take these his initial skepticism and symptoms.” programs live - You can I wanted to make this article raises his objections and study the program at available to you because what concerns in the If you have been home - for more I like is the objectivity and beginning of the article, to a recent Silva Method information go to honest review from the the interesting part course, you will see www.silvalifesystem.com author. comes at the end, when fundamental similarities So read on for the full he describes his ﬁrst from 1972 with today's I loved this article, article. hand account from the current training's of the its important to realize journalist about case Silva Method. that different instructors Better and Better, working: An important have different styles. Not point to note about this everyone will have the “Kathy’s analysis of my article is that its same experience as the uncle was, however, to important to enter the writer. reduce the cynicism. seminar with an open The only thing i With no prompting, her mind. didn't like is that he Laura Silva Quesada “scanning” of the As you will see referred to Jose as a body identified the head from the article, Silva former waiter, while he and the brain as the Method training has did wait tables at one affected area. “There’s a dark spot or part always been very point, he was also an removed...it looks like powerful and efﬁcient in entrepreneur who ran a it has been eaten out...” developing ESP abilities successful radio Later, asked to in its students. technician. examine the rest of the Although there body, Kathy said, “I can are a few important honest review from the changes that have author. 2 Reprinted by permission from The Washington Post OUTLOOK Editorials, Sunday, April 30, 1972. Tripping Through The Twilight Zone By David R Boldt, Washington Post Staff Writer “There were other stories about Mind The ads for Silva Mind Control are not Control alumni: The mother who modest: “...through alpha wave function you informed her hot-rodding son that his THE SILVA ARCHIVES can learn to control your problems and distributor casing was cracked-- improve your life...control your health, without ever seeing the car: memory, weight, sleep, headaches...get higher a Philadelphia doctor who diagnosed grades...tap your creative potential...develop his patients before they arrived” ESP.” each to hear why they should pay $175 more Similarity, during 40 hours of for the full course. instruction that I attended over one week at a Anderson mainly cited case histories, cost of $175, Silva Mind Control was billed as like that of George, The American University the answer to psoriasis, trafﬁc congestion, student who, using Mind Control got an A on arthritis, oversleeping, theism, nearsightedness, a sociology test he hadn’t studied for by glaucoma and cancer among other ills. but literally imagining his professor dictating the more than that, the dream answers to him. (I later met George, an held before us by the instructors was that Silva inspiring Mind Control instructor, and he Mind Control could turn each of us into averred that it was all true. I also met functioning psychics able to see into the another Mind Control graduate who had tried problems of our fellow mean, yea, verily, and George’s method and got a D for his pains.) even heal them, OR OUR MONEY BACK! There were other stories about Mind After that week, I don’t want my money Control alumni: The mother who informed back. her hot-rodding son that his distributor casing We met in a conference room of the Beltsville was cracked--without ever seeing the car: Holiday Inn. Our meditation was disturbed a Philadelphia doctor who diagnosed his each night by reverberations from the band in patients before they arrived: a National the motel night club and by kitchen workers Institute of Mental Health research who, from time to time, would sneak a look at psychologist who had come to the course to the class. scoff--and then had seen his grandmother The instructor, an erstwhile electrical rescued from death’s doorstep, apparently be engineer named Donald Anderson, extrasensory perception (ESP). embroidered on the ads at the Monday The NIMH psychologist, Dr. Richard introductory lecture, at which some 60 Green, Said in an interview later that “very outwardly ordinary people had paid $3.00 “...through alpha wave function you can learn to control your problems and improve your life...control your health, memory, weight, sleep, headaches... get higher grades...tap your creative potential...de velop ESP.” 3 Reprinted by permission from The Washington Post OUTLOOK Editorials, Sunday, April 30, 1972. little” of what was claimed for Mind Control could be scientiﬁcally “The “calm state of demonstrated. relaxation”--also known But he added that he would as “Level 1” be “charitable” in assessing Silva from the 3-2-1 Mind Control. “Setting aside the countdown procedure mythology involved in the course, used to get there--was most researchers agree on the just sort of an eyes- THE SILVA ARCHIVES validity of ESP events. Mind closed, day-dreaming Control does get you to a state state, made more where these can occur.” relaxing and pleasurable Green said that during the and allegedly alpha-wave course, a fellow student had warned producing (“deepened”) him during a psychic drill session by visualization of idyllic that his grandmother was having a scenes and other near-fatal seizure. To be safe, Green exercises.” had called an aunt, who lived near the grandmother, and asked her to check on the 94-year-old woman. When the aunt arrived she was barely in time to call help. The old woman had fallen on the ﬂoor, her face becoming blue and the Mind Control classmate was the full course that night. twitching, in agony from pain in her saying, “Pat, pat, all pink.” I can say The four week night sessions-- leg- -just the symptoms Green’s it wasn’t a coincidence...I can only Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and classmate had stipulated and all say that is happened.” Friday---stressed lectures more or less as Don Anderson told At the Monday night lecture, maintaining that Nils Bohr, Albert our class. Anderson also gave us a glimpse at Einstein, Thomas Edison and others There was also a part of the methodology--no equipment, had, wittingly or not, used Mind Green’s story that Anderson just the logging in of “ﬂying time” Control techniques to gain insights. hadn’t covered. “About a month in a self-induced pleasurable state of Several times each night we also later,” recalls Green, “I went back relaxation while building up the descended by stages into the mood for a sort of refresher course. My ability to visualize and imagine--and of relaxation to the 10-cycle- per- grandmother had been brought a gloss of the scientiﬁc second beat of an alpha wave-like back from the hospital, but was interpretations of why it all buzz played on Anderson’s portable bedridden, and couldn’t even sit up. happens. “We’re not going to get too cassette tape recorder. The doctors didn’t expect her to heavy on this,” said Anderson, The “calm state of live.” explaining that the basic idea is that relaxation”--also known as “Level 1” “I gave her name as a case in a condition of relaxation, the from the 3-2-1 countdown again. The woman who did the case mind generates more alpha brain procedure used to get there--was said that she could see clots in the waves. When generating these just sort of an eyes-closed, day- grandmother’s left lung and that the waves, he said, it heals itself better dreaming state, made more relaxing woman was having trouble visualizes more easily, and is more and pleasurable and allegedly alpha- breathing. I asked her if she could open to ESP. wave producing (“deepened”) by send help, and she did so in a sort We also received a thumbnail visualization of idyllic scenes and of childish way, imaging that she sketch of Jose Silva, the other exercises. was patting the clots with a cloth Mexican-American ex-waiter with In one exercise we imagined a and saying, “Pat, pat, all pink.’” three years of formal education who clock on our “mental screen.” We “When I got to my parlayed his parapsychological could, Don said, use the body’s grandmother’s apartment she was methodology into a nation wide subconscious awareness of time as sitting up for the ﬁrst time. She said franchise system that turns out an alarm clock by mentally setting she felt much better. Today she’s psychics almost as fast as the clock’s hands at the hour we alive, as active and alert as she was McDonald’s turns out hamburgers. wished to wake up, and then pulling before the ﬁrst attack.” Almost 50,000 persons have taken the alarm button Green said he now feels his the course in ﬁve years, 14,000 Also while “at level” we could grandmother had a blockage of the of them in the Washington area. suggest to ourselves that a headache, left lung that cured itself on the day Fifteen of us signed up for if we had one, was going away; 4 Reprinted by permission from The Washington Post OUTLOOK Editorials, Sunday, April 30, 1972. through similar suggestion got to start with us.” “It’s got to start becoming farther and farther procedure, he said, we could also with us.” estranged from the inner conscious. “program ourselves” to stop over- Mixed with the ethics were She felt, like many of the authors eating or smoking--indeed, eradicate increasing illustrations from Biblical she was reading, that it was time to virtually any malady. There seemed depictions of Christ as faith-healer reverse the trend, and hoped that to be no problem, not even and Mind Controller. Christ, Mind Control was a way to do it. nearsightedness or procrastination, Anderson paraphrased, had told his Larry, a freshman college student THE SILVA ARCHIVES for which help was not offered. followers to be as little children, who took the ﬁrst two-session Toward the latter end, Don meaning, to Mind Control portion of the course (it was all he would read a series of aphorisms, aﬁcionados, that we should recover could afford), was following up on a while we were “at level,” such as, “I the easy use of the alpha brain wave longtime interest in the occult and will never allow myself to state that children have for ESP. develop...arthritis...diabetes visualization and imagination. One subject we discussed during ...glaucoma...or the disease known Christ also taught that the break times was where all the as cancer,” and, “...my increasing “Kingdom of heaven is within,” a money goes. It was clear that there faculties are for serving humanity reference, Anderson would have us was plenty coming in, even with better...Every day in every way I’m believe, to the octave of brain cycles special discounts for students and getting better and better and in the alpha range. couples and with special better...” But it was left to Ron arrangements sometimes made “Try it, you’ll like it,” urged Williams, area coordinator for for paying on time (Silva Mind Don after explaining each Silva, to really spell it out as we Control takes Master Charge and procedure. I tried the headache prepared for the ESP exercises on Bankamerica). The only overhead remedy and, to my stupefaction, Saturday. “Christ told us to go forth appeared to be meeting room exorcised one of the throbbing sinus and cleanse the lepers and heal the rentals, advertising and coffee that headaches I get, which usually don’t sick. Well, I don’t know about you, was served twice. succumb to anything but a massive but that’s not what they were doing Area coordinator Williams dose of aspirin. My mental clock, in my church.” Mind Control world, later said that the instructor however, turned out to be running he said, bring us back to the gets “about $400” plus health and almost exactly a half hour behind meaning of religion that Christ had pension beneﬁts for the 40 to 48 Eastern Standard Time, resulting in proclaimed. hour course. The remainder, he said several mornings of havoc. I have During the week the 15 is divided between the national had no appropriate opportunity yet students got to know each other ofﬁce in Laredo, Texas, and the to test another procedure called and compared notes on why we’d local ofﬁce goes to research “glove anesthesia,” which is reputed come. Carol had come with a organizations, he added, and 5 to halt severe pain and even “terrible sense of urgency” after percent of each tuition is a royalty bleeding. hearing about the course from paid to Jose Silva’s family. We were told(“programmed”) friends. She hoped it would help her Despite a seeming diversity of by Anderson to expunge malevolent understand her stepdaugther. She age and dress style-- jeans to thoughts by saying “cancel, cancel.” and her husband George drove blazers--the students had some That was to erase them from our down to Beltsville each night from things in common, chief among brains (“multi-million-dollar Annapolis. them perhaps being able to afford computers”). Ted a government the course. Another common strand This clean thinking microbiologist who was going was wide reading on sleep research, (“elimination of negative program- through the course a second time, alpha state meditation and ESP. We ming”) and the aphorisms were our hoped it would help him learn to had one astrology buff and a Yoga introduction to the fervently moral, play the organ (it hadn’t the ﬁrst and ultimately religious, harmonics time). Beverly was there with surrounding the Mind Control Michael, who had taken the course message. be fore. Mind Control, they said, Anderson came on strong had brought them together via an with the pitch Wednesday night, ESP message that Michael sent. exhorting us to go forth from Silva For Marcia, who was at the Mind Control and de-pollute rivers, course with her husband and high reform our education system, and school-age daughter, the course tied bring peace to Vietnam and peace with her work on a master’s degree to Ulster, among other items.“We’ve in art history that had deﬁned got to take a stand,” he said. “It’s Western artistic tradition as 5 Reprinted by permission from The Washington Post OUTLOOK Editorials, Sunday, April 30, 1972. devotee who amazed hotel guests by Maryland countryside met the sky standing on his head in the hallway at a misty horizon. Through during class breaks. another glass wall was the limpid, “Mind Control is When Anderson asked at the splashless, aquamarine pool. introductory lecture how many had During his introductory confusing to me. I’m read books by or about Edgar homily against the sin of always surprised Cayce, the Kentuckian who claimed skepticism, Don told us that we when it works. But it to have cured people by going into a would only be convinced by our THE SILVA ARCHIVES does work.” hypnotic trance and then own experience. “I could walk prescribing for them, fully half the across that pool and it wouldn’t hands in the house went up. mean anything to you if you These were people who couldn’t do it yourself. In fact, I were ready to believe, and by have walked on water.” The class He later was to put it the way many Thursday my continuing cynicism looked at him, at the pool and back of us were to feel it; was beginning to grate on some of at him. Was he going to? “Of “Mind Control is confusing to me. course,” said he, dropping the punch I’m always surprised my classmates. “Are you still line, “It was very cold out on the day when it works. But it does work.” skeptical?” one girl asked as I tried I did it.” The night’s project was to to put a few questions to Anderson. The mixture of the madcap build our “psychic laboratories” in The answer is that I was and I and the mystical was a constant which we would work “cases” wasn’t. I’d come on an assignment. I feature of the course, used to weave tomorrow. The “cases” would be was looking for quackery. But by in the theme that Mind Control was names of relatives and friends with week’s end I was hoping with not, in Anderson’s terms, “Far grave health problems. The everyone else that it did work. Not out...kooky.” It was the method of rationale behind this had been that I really expected to be presentation led us to believe, a presented carefully. ESP can be vouchsafed against cancer middle-road approach, between demonstrated by having people try or to gain a knack for miracle cures. palmistry and astral projection to to transmit, for instance, the number It would be enough, I thought, if I the more extreme side, and yet and suit of a playing card. But such just learned how to concentrate ahead of the unenlightened who trivial matters don’t generate ESP a little better, have somewhat faster were as yet unwilling to concede signals with anything like the recall of anecdotes and statistics the mind’s true powers. amplitude of a human whose while writing, and maybe just We spent the rest of the day survival is endangered. Our goal enough ESP sensitivity to probe a trying to imagine ourselves would be to decipher what was bit more effectively when inside different metals, inside plants, wrong, and attempt to send help questioning news sources. inside a pet animal, psychically. For some this would be The Saturday setting was and then inside a human system. We done by imagining an operation, surreal--the pool lounge of the pictured our mental or the affected area. Sheraton Silver Spring, where we projection of ourselves on our The initial construction phase were combined with another class. “mental screens”: Some, was easy: the visualization of a Out the 9th ﬂoor windows, beaded the imagining came hard. “I didn’t room, with a view if desired, and with early morning rain, the see a thing,” conﬁded one woman equipped with a desk, chair, medical during a break. But for others it was equipment, ﬁle cabinets, other all stunningly real--fantastic voyages furniture and seats for our through the tinkling atoms of “counselors.” Counselors? Yes, stainless steel, for instance. Inside counselors. Peter told us we would the plants, for some the pulpy cells summon a male and a female became tangible; others claimed person, identities unknown, to serve even to experience the musty as our “advisers.” They would be humidity of a greenhouse. geniuses in all ﬁelds, universal But it was the Saturday night persons, he said. They would session that for most of us marked appear in our laboratories while we the departure from the explicable to were in our relaxed state via a the uncanny. Our teacher was Peter special imaginary elevator in which Kline, who, when not on a Mind the door would open downward “I’d come on an assignment. I was from the top, revealing the Control Podium, passes on the more looking for quackery. But by week’s end I was hoping with mundane discipline of English counselor feature by feature. We, everyone else that it did work” literature at Sidwell Friends School or our conscious minds, were to in Washington. watch our unconscious minds 6 Reprinted by permission from The Washington Post OUTLOOK Editorials, Sunday, April 30, 1972. create. The ﬁrst case was a disaster. I Kathy’s analysis of my uncle It was eerie. One woman who gave Helen the name, age and was, however, to reduce the had taken the course before told me address of a friend of my wife’s who cynicism. With no prompting, her she had been badly shaken when was nine months pregnant, a fairly “scanning” of the body identiﬁed her male “counselor” arrived severe period of trauma it had the head and the brain as the wearing an animal mask. She ﬁnally seemed to me. “Would you believe,” affected area. “There’s a dark spot got him to take it off, she said and it Helen ﬁnally said, “that I’m or part removed...it looks like it has THE SILVA ARCHIVES turned out to be her one-time drawing a complete blank?” been eaten out...” analyst. There was some switching Later, asked to examine the We lowered our imaginary around after the ﬁrst case. Kathy rest of the body, Kathy said, “I can elevator doors to the sequence Peter and I ended up moving into a group only see something pointing to the read out of the course book. “...now with one of the graduates of an section of the brain saying, ‘This is you can see your counselor’s earlier course back for a refresher. where it is, this where it is...’” Then hair...its color...the way it is she described his movement: “He’s combed...now the forehead...you leaning forward...he’s lumbering like are beginning to get an idea of the he was rather over-weight...I get the “But diagnosing counselor’s age...and now the face, great impression he’s favoring one people I knew feature by feature by feature...” it side, the right: he’s not using his amazed me less has been eaten out...” left...I don’t think anything’s than my own The level of excitement rose. broken...” diagnosing of Helen, a middle-aged former nurse, It was an accurate portrayal others. In the case told me later that as her imaginary of my uncle’s symptoms. But what of a 94 year old door was descending “my heart was was to be more remarkable was that man, I saw his throbbing---I felt high.” Her she didn’t portray them as clearly or eyes beside his “counselors,” she said, were quickly as other students would head and said that strangers. For some people, none later. And she had, in fact, seen meant he appeared. Others said they some things that to the best of my was losing his witnessed the arrival of next-door knowledge aren’t correct. (She eyesight (he had neighbors, ex-roommates, old thought he was a heavy smoker and glaucoma). I found ﬂames. Carol got Ida Lupino; overweight.) myself literally Danny Kaye turned up for another The most poignant moment I asking him if student. My own “counselors” witnessed came when Sally, a later anything else was turned out to be the late Robert F. partner, tried to “send help” to a wrong. Kennedy and a girl I had known 12 longtime friend of mine whose case I can’t explain it” years ago. she had immediately pin-pointed The “cases” were to start on as paralysis of most muscle Sunday afternoon,. and during the functions. “It’s so sad, she said, tears morning the class peppered Peter The initial lack of success had slipping out of her closed eyes. with questions. Does it matter if the been deﬂating, and as I began to But diagnosing people I knew age and address of the “case” are give to Kathy the case of an uncle, a amazed me less than my own only approximate? No. In fact, the victim of the mysterious unravelling diagnosing of others. In the case of name isn’t really necessary. What if of the brain’s action to the muscles a 94 year old man, I saw his eyes you don’t see anything--should you known as multiple sclerosis, my beside his head and said that meant make it up? Yes, in fact, everyone skepticism was on the rise. After all, he was losing his eyesight (he had who does it will feel like they are I was thinking, if you know the age glaucoma). I found myself literally making it up. What if you get things and sex of the subject, the range of asking him if anything else was wrong? Don’t worry, you will. Lots possibilities is considerably reduced. wrong. I can’t explain it, but I of things. But you will get more An educated guess might be right a actually thought I heard him say, “I things right than you can possibly good percentage of the time, can’t eat.” His grandson, who had anticipate. especially if a few clues were given me the case, said the old man When the afternoon session dropped. The “orientologist” was was constantly losing his false teeth started, Kathy, Helen and I formed allowed, for example, to suggest a and complaining about what he had a group. We would take turns being check of a certain system, like the to eat when he didn’t have them. the “psychic,” who does the circulatory system, or let the person Neither problem, to be sure, diagnosing, the orientologist, who functioning as psychic know when would be an unlikely occurrence. presents the case, and the recorder, he had identiﬁed an affected section What surprised me more was my who writes down what both say. of the body. strong (and correct) feeling that he 7 Reprinted by permission from The Washington Post OUTLOOK Editorials, Sunday, April 30, 1972. was otherwise in excellent health, free of heart trouble, “What does it all mean arthritis, circulatory ailments, intestinal problems or motor to me now, two weeks difﬁculties. I missed that he was later? I haven’t taken an senile. aspirin and my weight is During the case of a boy now under 175 lbs. for with speech defects caused by THE SILVA ARCHIVES the ﬁrst time in four brain damage, my tongue lolled years. I think I’m in my mouth, my right eye twitched--the subject’s exact sleeping symptoms. A hysterectomy better. But no miracles. appeared to me as an abdominal I’ve had only marginal tube with a ribbon bow on it. A success with a couple of times I could technique touted by accurately describe the people some graduates for involved, including acne scars turning trafﬁc lights and age blotches; a cigar smoker appeared pufﬁng on one. green and ﬁnding I wonder if any of the parking places.” “help” sent was received. And I ﬁnd the thought that I am wondering it, when before I would have scientiﬁc veriﬁcations been hoped for out of mind control. “I have rejected the possibility out of made of the efforts of graduates want some proof,” she said, “that hand, amazing. to apply their powers to horse life is more than what Shakespeare What does it all mean to me racing, the Mexican national said, “a tale told by a fool, signifying now, two weeks later? I haven’t lottery and bridge. nothing.’” taken an aspirin and my weight is When a former classmate now under 175 lbs. for the ﬁrst time called and asked if I’d be in four years. I think I’m sleeping interested in following up on my better. But no miracles. I’ve had mind control by joining a only marginal success with a “graduate group,” I said I would, technique touted by some graduates and I asked her what, if anything, for turning trafﬁc lights green and the course had meant to her. ﬁnding parking places. She said it had been the concept of There is no research, of offering help to other people, even if course, demonstrating that Silva the act might seem imaginary. “I Mind Control alumni have better like people better,” she said. health, less cancer, fewer headaches I never did ﬁnd out if another or greater command of ESP. Nor classmate got what she 8 Reprinted by permission from The Washington Post OUTLOOK Editorials, Sunday, April 30, 1972.