The Truth about Electronic Harassment

At first it sounds like the paranoid imaginings of some poor, deranged individual, that the government can beam voices directly into your head using microwaves. And further the only way to stop these signals is to wear a tin foil hat! But however crazy this may sound, as a matter of fact, all of it is completely true. Even Wikipedia accepts that appropriately modulated microwaves can produce sounds and voices within the human skull (Wikipedia - Microwave auditory effect).  Microwaves at the appropriate frequency can produce a rapid thermal expansion within the human skull which in turn can produce sound. If the microwaves producing the thermal expansion are appropriately modulated then intelligible sound can be heard.



Voice-to-skull graph 1973

The first machine capable of transmitting voices directly into the human skull was apparently developed in 1973 by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA. At the U.S. patents office viewable patents can be seen for devices producing the microwave auditory effect such as this one filed in December 1996: United States Patent - Apparatus for audibly communicating speech using the radio frequency hearing effect. The assignee of the patent is marked as 'the United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Air Force (Washington, DC)'. Part of the patent’s Abstract reads, “.....intelligible subjective sound is produced when the encoded signal is demodulated using the RF Hearing Effect.” (RF is ‘radio frequency’)


More recently in 2008 plans were being made to use the microwave auditory effect in crowd control (New Scientist - Microwave ray gun controls crowds with noise). A microwave gun called MEDUSA, Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio, would be used by law enforcement agencies to control unruly crowds with unpleasantly loud sounds produced within the heads of persons caught within its beam. 

Police sonic crowd control device

Police prepare to use a sonic crowd control device.

But if this technology was developed as early as 1973 by DARPA, what had it actually been used for? Suggestions have been made that the microwave auditory effect could be used for secret agents in the field in that a covert message could be transmitted directly into the agent’s head without anyone else knowing. However there would inevitably be a few practicalities involved with this. First you would have to know exactly where the agent was for the beam to ever reach him in the first place and secondly persons within a close vicinity of the agent would also be able to hear the sounds issuing from his head, though of course they wouldn’t be that loud.


The overwhelming suggestion remains however that such technology could be used for purposes of harassment and even mind control. If a victim complains of hearing voices in his head as a result of the microwave auditory effect, he is highly likely to be diagnosed as schizophrenic even though in actual fact he was completely healthy. Being misdiagnosed in such a manner can be quite a stressful experience. Or alternatively the victim of the harassment may actually believe himself to be insane as a result of hearing voices irrespective of what the doctors may tell him. 

DARPA logo

It was DARPA who designed the first device based upon the microwave auditory effect in 1973

There is the further possibility of the microwave auditory effect being used for purposes of mind control. The target individual can be spoken to in his sleep with the intent of using hypnotic suggestion to alter his opinion or affect his sense of judgement. Certain types of individual may be more open to this type of control or influence than others. And further it applies to all of us that although most of the decisions we make in life are consciously calculated, there are still a large number that are entirely automatic and come from the subconscious mind and it is the latter category that are more open to influence by hypnotic suggestion.


Psychiatrists who have studied persons claiming to be victims of electronic harassment, have pointed to evidence of delusional thinking in their descriptions of the harassment phenomena they experience. Of course it is not entirely unlikely that people with genuine psychiatric issues have got hold of the story of ‘governments and microwaves’ and are using this as a framework around which to create their delusional thinking. But this does not mean to say that all persons making such claims must therefore fit into the same category. On the contrary there may be a certain percentage of such claimants who are completely sane and who therefore represent genuine cases requiring further attention and study.

Fashion model tin foil hat

It's become a standard joke these days and even fashion models can be seen wearing tin foil hats.

It must also be noted that microwaves aren’t actually that good for you and at higher levels of intensity can actually be dangerous. Prolonged exposure to high levels of microwaves, at any wavelength, can cause nerve damage, cancer, eye damage and can even result in instant death. The level of electromagnetic radiation being used in the microwave auditory effect is high enough to cause rapid thermal expansion within the human head which suggests at least some significant level of intensity is being used. So we could easily ask ourselves, is it safe? However, malice is suggested from the outset as why would the relevant authorities be using the microwave auditory effect in the first place?


There are state laws in the U.S. against electronic harassment. These laws tend to refer to private individuals and corporations and probably don’t apply to government agencies that could well be licensed to use such devices. In Massachusetts, Chapter 170 of 2004, Section 140, section 131J states: “No person shall possess a portable device or weapon from which an electrical current, impulse, wave or beam may be directed, which current, impulse, wave or beam is designed to incapacitate temporarily, injure or kill..... Whoever violates this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000 or by imprisonment in the house of correction for not less than 6 months nor more than 2 1/2 years, or by both such fine and imprisonment.” In the Michigan Public act 257 of 2003 it is a felony to cause “an individual to falsely believe that the individual has been exposed to a…..harmful electronic or electromagnetic device.” Although there is no specific legislation in the UK covering electronic harassment, the Prevention from Harassment Act, 1997 would in practice cover this kind of stalking behaviour (Wikipedia - Prevention from Harassment Act 1997). 

Electronic harassment for sale

Examples of some of the electronic harassment devices you can buy on the free market.

It is relatively easy these days to obtain devices for electronic harassment on the free market. The devices aren’t that advanced and don’t use the microwave auditory effect but they can nevertheless ruin the quality of the victim’s life. But some of the laws at least seem to recognise that electronic harassment does exist and can be a problem.


In addition to the microwave auditory effect there are said to be other technologies that governments have which can be used for the purpose of electronic harassment. One such device is known as the LIDA machine (Organized Stalking & Electronic Harassment - LIDA). It was originally designed in Russia as a medical device used to sedate people without drugs. The machine produces a steady pulse of 40MHz frequency radio waves which over time make people within a close vicinity drowsy and eventually produces sleep. However it is also possible to use the device maliciously as well as it can make people feel drowsy and tired while they are working. Also if the pulse rate of the machine is altered in the correct way it can have the exact opposite effect and can be used to keep people awake at night and hence cause sleep deprivation.

ELF wave protest

Protestors raising awareness of the health concerns regarding ELF radio wave emmisions.

Another harassment method spoken of uses extremely low frequency radio waves or ELF. The low frequency signals of ELF are said to interact directly with the natural electrical rhythms of the brain and can hence alter the moods you are in. High levels of ELF can also be dangerous and are linked to psychological disorders and childhood leukaemia. ELF waves can pass completely unhindered through any solid obstacle, however as with any radio output the intensity of the signal decreases in relation to the square of the distance from the source.   


A further method used is so-called ‘silent sound’ or infrasound. Just below the frequency of human hearing infrasound causes a hardly discernible vibration to be felt within one’s body such that the sound can actually be felt rather than heard. Some people are probably more sensitive to this effect than others but the theory is that the ‘felt’ sound can directly influence the mind on the subconscious level.  


Across the globe there are thousands of people who complain of being victims of such harassment and who appear to be otherwise perfectly healthy and sane and yet the authorities are completely unwilling to help them. There are even cases of outbreaks where dozens of people living within the same locality complain of the exact same harassment symptoms. In many ways electronic harassment represents a perfect crime as it is so difficult to prove the harassment is taking place. Victims also find it extremely difficult to convince others they are not simply imagining it all. 


Campaigners for civil liberties claim that government sponsored harassment has been dramatically on the increase since 9/11 with even the civil liberties campaigners themselves becoming the targets of such harassment. Comparisons could be made with the FBI’s COINTELPRO activities of the 50’s and 60’s where undesirable political groups were deliberately targeted and disrupted by government agents. Are such covert operations still going on today but using sophisticated electronic devices to disrupt and deter people from speaking out on issues the government is sensitive about? The FBI’s COINTELPRO was only finally uncovered in 1971 when leftwing activists burgled an FBI office in Pennsylvania. The stolen documents concerning COINTELPRO were then passed onto the press who eventually published them. What will it take to uncover further hidden abuses of power?  

Here is an extract from the American Psychologist from as long ago as March 1975 which details experiments into the microwave auditory effect, “Sharp and Grove found that appropriate modulation of microwave energy can result in ‘wireless’ and ‘receiverless’ communication of speech.  They recorded by voice on tape each of the single-syllable words for digits between 1 and 10.  The electrical sine-wave analogs of each word were then processed so that each time a sine wave crossed zero reference in the negative direction, a brief pulse of microwave energy was triggered.


By radiating themselves with these ‘voice modulated’ microwaves, Sharp and Grove were readily able to hear, identify, and distinguish among the 9 words. The sounds heard were not unlike those emitted by persons with artificial larynxes.” (The American Psychologist, Microwaves and Behaviour -