Hemi-Sync is an audio-based technology designed to safely and noninvasively bring about altered states of consciousness. It was used as an adjunct technology in the military’s Star Gate remote viewing program, particularly in conjunction with extended remote viewing, or ERV.

Robert A. Monroe. The term “out-of-body experience” was coined to describe his experiences. (Photo courtesy F. Holmes Atwater.)
Robert A. Monroe. The term “out-of-body experience”
was coined to describe his experiences. (Photo
courtesy F. Holmes Atwater.)

When founding his Monroe Institute, out-of-body-experience (OBE) pioneer Robert A. Monroe put together a research team whose mission was to figure out how to trigger experiences similar to the OBEs he himself was having. Monroe’s knowledge of audio engineering led to a solution that seemed to work at least some of the time. Nobel prize winner Dr. Roger Sperry’s split-brain research at the California Institute of Technology in the 1950s and 1960s showed that there was a division of labor between the two hemispheres of the human brain. Though the two halves of our brains work cooperatively, they are also specialized for certain activities. In general the so-called “left brain” performs linear, analytic functions, such as reading, logical reasoning, placing things in categories, arithmetic functions, etc. The “right brain” is better at pattern-recognition, gestalt perception (i.e., recognizing faces, differentiating whole objects from the conglomeration of their parts) and imagery. The “right brain” is creative and artistic, the “left brain” matter-of-fact and business-like. This division is flexible. Together, the two brain hemispheres work as partners. Some of their functions overlap or are even shared. If through illness or injury one hemisphere is damaged, the other sometimes is able to assume some or all of the damaged functions.

Monroe and his associates noticed that the more closely attuned and cooperative both hemispheres were, the more efficiently peoples’ minds seemed to work. A further discovery showed that a binaural beat played into the ears of a subject could influence the brain frequencies and hence, presumably, the interaction of the two hemispheres. So what is a “binaural beat’? Anyone who has heard two notes which are almost in tune, but not quite, will remember the slight wavering quality as the sound waves from the two separate notes alternately clash and work with each other. These vibrations are caused by a physics principle called creative and destructive interference. As waves that are slightly out of “sync” come together, individual waves either cancel each other out, or build each other up. You can see this at the beach when waves from slightly different directions come together. Some of the waves support each other, building “superwaves” that tower over their fellows. But when the trough of one wave comes together with the crest of another, they cancel each other out, creating an unusual “flat” or apparently waveless spot in the water.

If a tone is played in one ear, and a second tone just slightly out of phase with the first is played in the other ear, the tones “meet in the middle” of the brain and a third frequency is created. The sound doesn’t actually penetrate beyond the inner ears, but the electrical signals into which the ears convert the sound are put together by a specialized brain structure which creates the electrical equivalent of a combined frequency, similar in quality to when sound waves in the air that are just out of phase with each other are run together. The vibrational “beat” created in the brain by this electrical version of constructive and destructive interference sets up a frequency pattern that can be varied by varying the tones. The brain “accepts” this artificial beat frequency as a legitimate signal and, according to Monroe’s Hemi-Sync theory, adjusts states of consciousness to match in relatively controllable ways that are interesting, perhaps useful, but harmless. With some careful trial and error, Monroe and his technicians were able, they believed, to find the best frequencies for getting the left and right brain hemispheres to work together – to become synchronized. Thus Hemi-Sync (for “hemispheric synchronization”) was born.

Experimenting further with his Hemi-Sync techniques, Monroe created “recipes” of binaural beat frequencies that seemed to cause selected altered states of consciousness in a human being. While the process couldn’t directly cause an out-of-body experience, it was possible to set up a state of mind that was conducive for one. The institute that grew up around this technology couldn’t guarantee that a person taking one of its week-long, in-residence “Gateway” workshops would end up temporarily “out of body.” But who had never managed it before did report they had success in having an OBE, and even those that didn’t almost always had an interesting and often life-enhancing experience.

Hemi-Sync has been put to a variety of uses, from assisting in holistic healing techniques to helping with insomnia to enhancing focus in educational settings, and so on.

(Adapted from Reading the Enemy’s Mind–Inside Star Gate, America’s Psychic Espionage Program, by Paul H. Smith, Tor Books, 2005.) Copyright 2005, Paul H. Smith, all rights reserved. (You may link to this content but may not copy or reprint it without permission.)