McMoneagle says he first came to the Monroe Institute in the 1980s. He wanted to find a way to “cool down” more quickly from one remote-viewing assignment to another. For 14 months, he worked directly with Monroe, who eventually created a recording just for him.
More than 10,000 people across the world have been tested for remote-viewing skills and not one person has shown zero capability, McMoneagle says. “So, I’m sorry, you are all psychic,” he tells the group. “It’s part of being human.”
McMoneagle describes how, during the Iran hostage crisis, he tried to psychically distinguish the Americans from their Islamist captors. On the subject of UFOs, he says, “To think we’re the only intelligent species is ridiculous.”
Broadman raises his hand. He says that he is struck by how McMoneagle believes with certainty that these often doubted phenomenon exist.
“I also know psychic ability is real,” McMoneagle says.
“But that’s not the norm,” Broadman says.
“It should be,” McMoneagle says.
Each time we crawl into our cushioned vaults we are encouraged to ask ourselves questions we might not during the course of otherwise busy days. The woman whose husband cheated on her can’t decide if she should divorce him. During one exercise, she sees herself and their three children appearing happy at their old house, a place she told herself she would go if she left him.
“How many are getting something out of this?” Kortum asks, referring to the overall program. Eighteen of the 20 hands go up.
“And how many feel nothing at all is happening for you?”
Krishnan Chary and one other man raise theirs.
Rademacher says those who come here with the highest expectations usually find the least success. By Monroe’s estimates, 15 percent of participants will have an out-of-body experience, but Rademacher says people can focus so much on that that they fail to perceive other developments.
On a sheet of general guidelines for the program, the first line reads: “Most importantly . . . don’t try, don’t force anything.”
A bell rings, indicating another exercise. We slip on our headphones as usual, and, per Monroe’s instructions, try to feel vibrations flowing through us.
“Follow the sound, let yourself follow the sound and the change in the pulse,” Monroe tells us. “Now let the vibration move upward more and more. . . .”
When we meet later to discuss the exercise, Broadman speaks first. Until now, he has said little during group discussions. “The vibe flow for me was almost a shattering experience,” he says, sounding both awed and bewildered. “I vibrated. I don’t vibrate. It started at my toes and went right through my body.”
“Besides feeling shattered, was there any other emotion it brought up for you?” Stone, the facilitator, asks.
Broadman holds his empty palms upward. Before meeting with the group, he tried to analyze what happened. How could putting on a set of headphones make him vibrate?
Broadman looks at Stone and Kortum. They have been telling the group for days that there is more than can be seen, more than logic can prove. “Just, thank you,” he says.
The next day, the group takes a silent walk. Kortum explains that the purpose is to show us how states beyond our everyday consciousness can be accessed from anywhere. We don’t need a bed cut into a wall.
Several people walk slowly down the gravel road, aware of each pebble underfoot. Others lumber between the trees, eyeing falling leaves. Chary pays attention to the wind, later saying that he could hear the Hemi-Sync in it.
Afterward, when the group gathers, Broadman speaks first.
“I’ve taken thousands of walks,” he says. “But I will never forget that walk.”
All eyes are focused on him.
“I took my time,” he says. “I followed a grasshopper, and I said, ‘I’m not going to move until the bell rings or the grasshopper moves.’ ”
A few people lean forward. “And I watched,” he says, “a grasshopper [defecate].” His entire body shakes as he laughs at the absurdity and profundity of this, and everyone in the room joins in. “I may not be seeing Jesus, but that was a great walk.”
The last full day comes quickly, ushering in a surprising heaviness. “It’s not uncommon to have some post-Gateway blues,” Kortum tells the group. A few people swallow their tears.
The week has been intense, somehow relaxing and exhausting at the same time. As I look around the room, it occurs to me that while some people had profound moments during the recordings — one woman described channeling a spirit, and a man talked of sharing dinner with his late parents and brother — the program’s power, in part, lies in the opportunity for reflection. Everyone came here with the hope of expanding their view of the world, and for six days opened themselves up to possibilities they may not have otherwise considered. To different degrees, I think we will all leave changed, maybe awakened. Not because we traveled outside our bodies — most of us didn’t — but because we were forced to look deeply inside ourselves.
For the last time, we form a circle and, one by one, say
“I think I could learn to love blank walls,” the insurance
“I used to let my mind control me, and now I control my
mind,” says the betrayed wife, who will later say that she has decided to leave her husband.
Chary’s eyes water as he speaks. Though he never had his out-of-body experience or saw any relatives, the payoff was still substantial. “I traveled 13,000 kilometers to be here,” he says. “I came with an open mind, and I think I received a lot more than I expected. All the scriptures of all religions talk about the ‘Universal Soul’ or the unity or oneness of all souls. After this program and meeting all of you guys, I don’t need any proof of that. Thank you. All of you.”
Broadman tells the group that he has decided to start walking to work. He will also have to rethink, as an atheist, the last of his three mantras in life: And then you die.
“I think,” he says, “I’m going to have to change it to, ‘And then you die. Or maybe you don’t.’ ” Theresa Vargas is a Washington Post staff writer. She can be reached at email@example.com.