by Patrick Flanagan and Gael-Crystal Flanagan
In the early 1960s, while only a teenager, Life magazine listed
Patrick Flanagan as one of the top scientists in the world.
his many inventions was a device he called the Neurophone—an
electronic instrument that can successfully program suggestions
directly through contact with the skin. When he attempted to patent
the device, the government demanded that he prove it worked. When he
did, the NSA (National Security Agency) confiscated the Neurophone.
It took [Flanagan] years of legal battle to get his
When I was fifteen years old, I gave a lecture at the Houston
Amateur Radio Club, during which we demonstrated the Neurophone to
the audience. The next day we were contacted by a reporter from the
Houston Post newspaper. He said that he had a relative who was
nerve-deaf from spinal meningitis and asked if we might try the
Neurophone on his relative. The test was a success.
The day after
that, an article on the Neurophone as a potential hearing aid for
the deaf appeared and went out on the international wire services.
The publicity grew over the next two years. In 1961, Life magazine
came to our house and lived with us for over a week. They took
thousands of photographs and followed me around from dawn to dusk.
The article appeared in the 14 September 1962 issue. After that, I
was invited to appear on the I've Got a Secret show hosted by Gary
Moore. The show was telecast from the NBC studios in New York.
During the show, I placed electrodes from the Neurophone on the
lower back of Bess Meyerson while the panel tried to guess what I
was doing to her.
She was able to "hear" a poem that was being played
through the Neurophone electrodes.
The poem was recorded by Andy
Griffith, another guest on the show. Since the signal from the Neurophone was only perceived by Bess Meyerson, the panel could not
guess what I was doing to her.
History of the Neurophone
The first Neurophone was made when I was 14 years old, in 1958. A
description was published in our first book,
device was constructed by attaching two Brillo pads to insulated
copper wires. Brillo pads are copper wire scouring pads used to
clean pots and pans. They are about two inches in diameter. The
Brillo pads were inserted into plastic bags that acted as insulators
to prevent electric shock when applied to the head.
The wires from the Brillo pads were connected to a reversed audio
output transformer that was attached to a hi-fi amplifier. The
output voltage of the audio transformer was about 1,500 volts
peak-to-peak. When the insulated pads were placed on the temples
next to the eyes and the amplifier was driven by speech or music,
you could "hear" the resulting sound inside your head. The perceived
sound quality was very poor, highly distorted and very weak.
I observed that during certain sound peaks in the audio driving
signal, the sound perceived in the head was very clear and very
loud. When the signal was observed on an oscilloscope while
listening to the sound, the signal was perceived as being loudest
and clearest when the amplifier was over-driven and square waves
were generated. At the same time, the transformer would ring or
oscillate with a dampened wave form at frequencies of 40-50 kHz.
The next Neurophone consisted of a variable frequency vacuum tube
oscillator that was amplitude-modulated. This output signal was then
fed into a high frequency transformer that was flat in frequency
response in the 20-100 kHz range. The electrodes were placed on the
head and the oscillator was tuned so that maximum resonance was
obtained using the human body as part of the tank circuit.
models had a feedback mechanism that automatically adjusted the
frequency for resonance. We found that the dielectric constant of
human skin is highly variable. In order to achieve maximum transfer
of energy, the unit had to be retuned to resonance in order to match
the "dynamic dielectric response" of the body of the listener.
The 2,000 volt peak-to-peak amplitude-modulated carrier wave was
then connected to the body by means of two-inch diameter electrode
discs that were insulated by means of mylar films of
different thicknesses. The Neurophone is really a scalar wave device
since the out-of-phase signals from the electrodes mix in the
non-linear complexities of the skin dielectric.
The signals from
each capacitor electrode are 180 degrees out of phase. Each signal
is transmitted into the complex dielectric of the body where phase
cancellation takes place. The net result is a scalar vector. Of
course I did not know this when I first developed the Neurophone.
This knowledge came much later when we learned that the human
nervous system is especially sensitive to scalar signals.
The high frequency amplitude-modulated Neurophone had excellent
sound clarity. The perceived signal was very clearly perceived as if
it were coming from within the head. We established quite early that
some totally nerve-deaf people could hear with the device. But for
some reason, not all nerve-deaf people hear with it the first time.
We were able to stimulate visual phenomena when the electrodes were
placed over the occipital region of the brain. The possibilities of
Neurophonic visual stimulation suggest that we may someday be able
to use the human brain as a VGA monitor!
I wrote my own patent application with the help of a friend and
patent attorney from Shell Oil Company and submitted the application
to the patent office.
As a result of the Life magazine article and the exposure on the
Gary Moore Show, we received over a million letters about the
Neurophone. The patent office started giving us problems. The
examiner said that the device could not possibly work, and refused
to issue the patent for over twelve years. The patent was finally
issued after my patent lawyer and I took a working model of the
Neurophone to the patent office.
This was an unusual move since inventors rarely bring
their inventions to the patent examiner. The examiner said that he
would allow the patent to issue if we could make a deaf employee of
the patent office hear with the device. To our relief, the employee
was able to hear with it and, for the first time in the history of
the patent office, the Neurophone file was reopened and the patent
was allowed to issue. After the Gary Moore Show, a research company
known as Huyck Corporation became interested in the Neurophone.
I believed in their sincerity and allowed Huyck to
research my invention. They hired me as a consultant in the summer
months. Huyck was owned by a very large and powerful Dutch paper
company with offices all over the world.
At Huyck I met two friends who were close to me for many years, Dr.
Henri Marie Coanda, the father of fluid dynamics, and G. Harry
Stine, scientist and author. Harry Stine wrote the book,
Gods, which is about the potential of the Neurophone as a
Huyck Corporation was able to confirm the efficacy of the Neurophone
but eventually dropped the project because of our problems with the
The next stage of Neurophone research began when I went to work for
Tufts University as a research scientist. In conjunction with a
Boston-based corporation, we were involved in a project to develop a
language between man and dolphin. Our contracts were from the U.S.
Naval Ordinance Test Station out of China Lake, California. The
senior scientist on the project was my close friend and business
partner, Dr. Dwight Wayne Batteau, Professor of Physics and
Mechanical Engineering at Harvard and Tufts.
In the Dolphin Project we developed the basis for many potential new
technologies. We were able to ascertain
the encoding mechanism used
by the human brain to decode speech intelligence patterns, and were
also able to decode the mechanism used by the brain to locate sound
sources in three dimensional space...
These discoveries led to
the development of a 3-D holographic sound system that could place
sounds in any location in space as perceived by the listener.
We also developed a man-dolphin language translator. The translator
was able to decode human speech so that complex dolphin whistles
were generated. When dolphins whistled, the loudspeaker on the
translator would output human speech sounds. We developed a joint
language between ourselves and our two dolphins. The dolphins were
located in the lagoon of a small island off of Oahu, Hawaii. We had
offices at Sea Life Park and Boston. We commuted from Boston to
Hawaii to test out our various electronic gadgets.
We recorded dolphins and whales in the open sea and were able to
accurately identify the locations of various marine mammals by 3-D
sound-localization algorithms similar to those used by the brain to
localize sound in space.
The brain is able to detect phase differences of two microseconds.
We were able to confirm this at Tufts University. The pinnae
or outer ear is a "phase-encoding" array that generates a time-ratio
code that is used by the brain to localize the source of sounds in
3-D space. The localization time ratios are run from two
microseconds to several milliseconds. A person with one ear can
localize sound sources (non-linear) to a 5 degree angle of accuracy
anywhere in space.
You can test this by closing your eyes
while having a friend jingle keys in space around your head. With
you eyes closed you can follow the keys and point to them very
accurately. Try to visualize where the keys are in relation to your
head. With a little practice, you can accurately point directly at
the keys with your eyes closed. If you try to localize a sine wave,
the experiment will not work.
The signal must be non-linear in character. You can
localize the sine wave if the speaker has a nonlinear or distortion
in the output wave form. A sine wave cannot be localized because
phase differences in a sine wave are very hard to detect. The brain
will focus on the distortion and use it to measure time ratios.
Clicks or pulses are very easy to localize.
If you distort your pinnae by bending the outer ears out of
shape, your ability to localize the sound source is destroyed. The
so-called cocktail party effect is the ability to localize voices in
a noisy party. This is due to the brain's ability to detect phase
differences and then pay attention to localized areas in 3-D space.
A favorite "intelligence" trick is to have sensitive conversations
in "hard rooms" with wooden walls and floors.
A microphone "bug" will pick up all the echoes and
this will scramble the voice. Almost all embassies contain "hard
rooms" for sensitive conversations. If you put a microphone in the
room with a duplicate of the human pinnae on top of it, you
will be able to localize the speakers and tune out the echoes—just
like you were at a party.
In order to localize whales and dolphins under water, we used metal
ears 18 inches in diameter that were attached to hydrophores. When
these ears were placed under water, we were able to accurately
localize under-water sounds in 3-D space by listening to the sounds
by earphones. We used this system to localize whales and dolphins.
Sound travels five times faster under water, so we made the "pinnae"
larger to give the same time-ratio encoding as we find in the air.
We also made large plastic ears that were tested in Vietnam.
ears were of the same proportions as real ears but were much larger.
They enabled us to hear distant sounds with a high degree of
localization accuracy in the jungle. It seems that we can adapt to
ears of almost any size. The reason we can do this is because sound
recognition is based on a time-ratio code.
We were able to reverse the process and could take any sound recording
and encode it so that sounds were perceived as coming from specific
points in space. Using this technique, we could spread out a
recording of an orchestra. The effect added reality as if you were
actually listening to a live concert. This information has never
been used commercially except in one instance when I allowed The
Beach Boys to record one of their albums with my special "laser"
We developed a special Neurophone that enabled us to "hear" dolphin
sounds up to 250 thousand Hertz. By using the Neurophone as part of
the man-dolphin communicator, we were able to perceive more of the
intricacies of the dolphin language. The human ear is limited to a
16 kHz range, while dolphins generate and hear sounds out to 250
kHz. Our special Neurophone enabled us to hear the full range of
As a result of the discovery of the encoding system used by the
brain to localize sound in space and also to recognize speech
intelligence, we were able to create a digital Neurophone.
When our digital Neurophone patent application was sent to the
patent office, the Defense Intelligence Agency slapped it under a
secrecy order. I was unable to work on the device or talk about it
to anyone for another five years.
This was terribly discouraging. The first patent took twelve years
to get, and the second patent application was put under secrecy for
The digital Neurophone converts sound waves into a digital signal
that matches the time encoding that is used by the brain. These time
signals are used not only in speech recognition but also in spatial
recognition for the 3-D sound localization.
The digital Neurophone is the version that we eventually produced
and sold as the Mark XI and the Thinkman Model 50 versions. These
Neurophones were especially useful as subliminal learning machines.
If we play educational tapes through the Neurophone, the data is
very rapidly incorporated into the long-term memory banks of the
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The skin is our largest and most complex organ. In addition to being
the first line of defense against infection, the skin is a gigantic
liquid crystal brain.
The skin is piezoelectric. When it is vibrated or rubbed, it
generates electric signals and scalar waves. Every organ of
perception evolved from the skin. When we are embryos, our sensory
organs evolved from folds in the skin. Many primitive organisms and
animals can see and hear with their skin.
When the Neurophone was originally developed, neurophysiologists
considered that the brain was hard-wired and that the various
cranial nerves were hard-wired to every sensory system. The eighth
cranial nerve is the nerve bundle that runs from the inner ear to
the brain. Theoretically, we should only be able to hear with our
ears if our sensor organs are hard-wired. Now the concept of a
holographic brain has come into being.
The holographic brain theory states that the brain
uses a holographic encoding system so that the entire brain may be
able to function as a multiple-faceted sensory encoding computer.
This means that sensory impressions may be encoded so that any part
of the brain can recognize input signals according to a special
encoding. Theoretically, we should be able to see and hear through
The key to the Neurophone is the stimulation of the nerves of the
skin with a digitally encoded signal that carries the same
time-ratio encoding that is recognized as sound by any nerve in the
All commercial digital speech recognition circuitry is based on
so-called dominant frequency power analysis. While speech can be
recognized by such a circuit, the truth is that speech encoding is
based on time ratios. If the frequency power analysis circuits are
not phased properly, they will not work. The intelligence is carried
by phase information. The frequency con-tent of the voice gives our
voice a certain quality, but frequency does not contain information.
All attempts at computer voice recognition and voice generation are
only partially successful. Until digital time-ratio encoding is
used, our computers will never be able to really talk to us.
The computer that we developed to recognize speech for the
man-dolphin communicator used time-ratio analysis only. By
recognizing and using time-ratio encoding, we could transmit clear
voice data through extremely narrow bandwidths. In one device, we
developed a radio transmitter that had a bandwidth of only 300 Hz
while maintaining crystal clear transmission. Since signal-to-noise
ratio is based on band width considerations, we were able to
transmit clear voice over thousands of miles while using milliwatt
Improved signal-processing algorithms are the basis of a new series
of Neurophones that are currently under development.
These new Neurophones use state-of-the-art digital processing to render sound
information much more accurately.
The Neurophone is really an electronic telepathy machine. Several
tests prove that it bypasses the eighth cranial nerve or hearing
nerve and transmits sound directly to the brain. This means that the
Neurophone stimulates perception through a seventh or alternate
All hearing aids stimulate tiny bones in the middle ear. Sometimes
when the eardrum is damaged, the bones of the inner ear are
stimulated by a vibrator that is placed behind the ear on the base
of the skull. Bone conduction will even work through the teeth. In
order for bone conduction to work, the cochlea or inner ear that
connects to the eighth cranial nerve must function. People who are
nerve-deaf cannot hear through bone conduction because the nerves in
the inner ear are not functional.
A number of nerve-deaf people and people who have had the entire
inner ear removed by surgery have been able to hear with the
If the Neurophone electrodes are placed on the closed eyes or on the
face, the sound can be clearly "heard" as if it were coming from
inside the brain. When the electrodes are placed on the face, the
sound is perceived through the trigeminal nerve.
We therefore know that the Neurophone can work through the
trigeminal or facial nerve. When the facial nerve is deadened by
means of anesthetic injections, we can no longer hear through the
In these cases, there is a fine line where the skin on the face is
numb. If the electrodes are placed on the numb skin, we cannot hear
it but when the electrodes are moved a fraction of an inch over to
skin that still has feeling, sound perception is restored.
This proves that the means of sound perception via the Neurophone is
by means of skin and not by means of bone conduction.
There was an earlier test performed at Tufts University that was
de-signed by Dr. Dwight Wayne Batteau, one of my partners in the
U.S. Navy Dolphin Communications Project. This test was known as the
"Beat Frequency Test." It is well known that sound waves of two
slightly different frequencies create a "beat" note as the waves
interfere with each other.
For example, if a sound of 300 Hz and one of 330 Hz
are played into one ear at the same time, a beat note of 30 Hz will
be perceived. This is a mechanical summation of sound in the bone
structure of the inner ear. There is another beat phenomenon known
as the binaural beat. In the bin-aural beat, sounds beat together in
the corpus callosum in the center of the brain. This binaural
beat is used by Robert Monroe of the Monroe Institute to stimulate
altered states. That is, to entrain the brain into high alpha or
The Neurophone is a powerful brain-entrainment device. If we play
alpha or theta signals directly through the Neurophone, we can
entrain any brain state we like. In a future article we will tell
how the Neurophone has been used as a subliminal learning device and
also as a behavior modification system.
Batteau's theory was that if we could place the Neurophone
electrodes so that the sound was perceived as coming from one side
of the head only, and if we played a 300 Hz signal through the
Neurophone, if we also played a 330 Hz signal through an ordinary
headphone we would get a beat note if the signals were summing in
the inner ear bones.
When the test was conducted, we were able to perceive two distinct
tones without a beat. This test again proved that Neurophonic
hearing was not through the means of bone conduction.
When we used a stereo Neurophone, we were able to get a beat note
that is similar to the binaural beat, but the beat is occurring
inside the nervous system and is not a result of bone conduction.
The Neurophone is a "gateway" into altered brain states. Its most
powerful use may be in direct communications with the brain centers,
thereby bypassing the "filters" or inner mechanisms that may limit
our ability to communicate to the brain.
If we can unlock the secret of direct audio communications to the
brain, we can unlock the secret of visual communications. The skin
has receptors that can detect vibration, light, temperature,
pressure and friction. All we have to do is stimulate the skin with
the right signals.
We are continuing Neurophonic research. We have recently developed
other modes of Neurophonic transmission. We have also reversed the
Neurophone and found that we can detect scalar waves that are
generated by the living system. The detection technique is actually
very similar to the process used by Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama in
Dr. Motoyama used capacitor electrodes very much like
those we use with the Neurophone to detect energies from the various
An example of the secrecy order
that enables a government to confiscate a patent.
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