Page 25 of the CIA’s “Analysis and Assessment of The Gateway Process” hitched a ride with an email one evening and landed in my inbox. A digital attachment felt like an unceremonious entrance for a document that was produced 38 years ago and has been missing and highly sought after since it was declassified in 2003. For years, people had been filing FOIA requests and speculating about what was on this missing page in the middle of a mind-bending report about military research into astral projection and other dimensions. And then, there it was, just downloaded on to my desktop quietly looking back at me. My immediate reaction was frenetic; I couldn’t chill out long enough to properly read the rogue text. I called a few friends to ensure my reality was synched properly—a telephonic pinch to verify I was awake. All signs pointed to mostly. I double clicked the file.
Let’s get into it.
A Whirlwind Backstory
I published a breakdown of the CIA’s Gateway Report in February. The classified 1983 document was produced by US Army Lieutenant Colonel Wayne M. McDonnell, with a technical power-assist from mastermind Israeli-American biomedical engineer Itzhak Bentov. The report was declassified in 2003. It packs a tour-de-force investigation into the potential achievability of astral projection into 28 hyper-dense pages. A spectre has hung over the report since. The version released by the CIA was missing what seems to be an extremely crucial page.
For the uninitiated, astral projection is mostly interchangeable with the psycho-physical phenomena of out-of-body experiences and remote viewing. With the right guidance and technologies, astral projectors believe, we can train our consciousness to move beyond the confines of the space-time dimension. This super-ability frees our human minds to travel through the universe, exploring an endless array of normally imperceptible realities and dimensions.
McDonnell states early in the report that his goal was to “construct a scientifically valid and reasonably lucid model of how consciousness functions” in order to put “out-of-body states into the language of physical science to remove the stigma of its occult connotations.”
The Department of Defense’s ambitions are made clear in the report’s conclusion: McDonnell suggests that if the military were to experiment with astral projection, it could find “practical application,” but also noted that it should “be intellectually prepared to react to possible encounters with intelligent, non-corporeal energy forms when time-space boundaries are exceeded.” It kicked off years of attempts by the US Army to train psychic soldiers to conduct “remote viewing” missions to regions across the world.
A Cosmic Mystery
The report is a vicious mind labyrinth. For 24 pages, it winds its way through the spiritual and scientific underpinnings, techniques to achieve and potential applications of space-time transcendence. It introduces methodological frames of reference like hypnosis, transcendental meditation, spiritual belief systems, biofeedback, quantum physics, and universal holograms only so that its intended audience—CIA top brass—might merely begin to grasp its (and our) bigger reason for being. By the bottom of page 24, McDonnell reaches a full existential crescendo, broaching the very nature of reality itself. It’s a cliff-hanger:
And then … the report skips to page 26.
As if he hadn’t just side-stepped revealing the secrets of the heavens, McDonnell is on to a set of pragmatic “Motivational Aspects” for why the CIA might employ the Gateway as opposed to other methods of achieving astral projection.
Expediency Wayne? Really?
Since the report’s declassification, countless FOIA requests have been filed demanding page 25’s release. In every instance, the CIA has denied they ever had it in the first place. Page 25, then, has been the holy grail not just for would-be astral projectors, but also for conspiracy theorists, government transparency activists, and people who have simply read the report and found themselves maddened by this missing information.
One fantastic internet theory maintains that McDonnell omitted the page intentionally. If someone could successfully astral project they’d be able to tell him what’s on it.
The CIA did not invent the Gateway Report and the Gateway Experience on its own. It used teachings from a man named Robert Monroe, who later founded an organization called The Monroe Institute.
Four days after we published the first article about the Gateway Report, I received a note from The Monroe Institute. They had some ideas for a follow-up piece. Drowning in responses to the article though, I failed to return their email. They reached out again. This time their message was more concrete: Sitting buried in the Monroe Institute archives in Faber, Virginia, was page 25 of The Gateway Report. But it didn’t come to us easily.
Our first scheduled phone call included The Monroe Institute’s CEO, COO and marketing division. Motherboard Editor-in-Chief Jason Koebler and I got on a Google Hangout.
In that call, the Institute said that they had Page 25. People had been trying to obtain the report from the CIA and had repeatedly failed. But no one had bothered to ask them for the report; they’d had it all along. At one point, they described the report as having been “in a barn,” unexamined, for all of these years. Otherwise, the call was uninspired. The CEO didn’t show. After an hour run-around it became evident that The Institute wasn’t going to part with Page 25 without some carefully orchestrated marketing plan. The words of COO Lori Jacobwith made their purpose clear, “We’re attempting to capitalize on some of the enthusiasm by a market that isn’t our normal age group.”
The institute was hoping to tap into the popularity of our first article, as well as some viral TikToks about the report.
The call ended with “You’ve touched on some things we are not talking about right now.”
The Institute then went quiet. Time passed.
One evening, the Monroe Institute’s Director of Marketing & Communications Jenny Whedbee emailed again. She’d been silent on our last call. The email contained the full Gateway Report including the missing page. She wrote that they’d just “went through a major org change.” The CEO and COO were no longer with the company. She was now down to talk, after we had read page 25.
The Missing Page
In the true spirit of discovery, I am pleased to present the full uninterrupted report in all its glory.
The page opens with the word “Absolute.” It sits there authoritatively, as if guarding the gate to the rest of the text. In the broader context of the report the term is applied to both spiritual belief systems and quantum physics alike. It’s an important word.
Physicists define time as a measurement of energy in motion. In this way, time is really a measurement of change. In order for that motion to occur though, it must be limited inside a larger vibratory pattern. Inside this framework it is limited, contained at a specific location. That confinement then makes it distinguishable from other locations in space. Uncontained energy is force without limit. Imagine a formless entity speeding through the galaxy with no friction to hold it back from being everywhere. As McDonnell puts it “There is no ‘here’ to differentiate it from ‘there.’” And this, my friends, is an absolute state or “The Absolute.”
According to the report, the Absolute is essentially the governing energy of the Universe en masse. It powers the universal hologram that is all of entirety. The report makes multiple attempts to visualize this universal hologram or “cosmic egg” as one big constantly flowing spiral.
Between the reality we know and The Absolute are countless intervening dimensions, McDonnell writes, which is pretty trippy stuff for a government report. Absolute is the ceiling (as far as we know it). End of the line, and a hell of a way to open a missing page.
McDonnell observes that a “stylized representation” of this spiral is present in every religious system in history. He cites the specific examples of Christianity’s Holy Spirit, the Hellenic world’s labyrinth, the Hebrew Tree of Life, its Hindu counterpart, and the Chinese Spiral Through the Four Powers. This thinking has found its way into each systems’ teachings.
The crucial distinction between the breakthroughs in modern physics and the epiphanies of religious thinkers is the way they all found The Absolute. Whereas physics leans on quantitative research, religions relied on intuition. The Gateway then sort of showed up just in time—a holistic mainline for “interfacing” with the universal hologram, freeing us from the limitations of a left brain logic-based culture.
The page’s third section takes a slant which should feel familiar to adherents of modern psychology. The universe, the Absolute, the cosmic egg. All of it is irrelevant, and certainly unreachable, until we possess knowledge of ourselves. My eyes, upon first glance of page 25, picked up “The Absolute” first, then darted swiftly to the aphorism McDonnell trots out here— “Know Thyself.” What hits even harder than achieving a psychological self-understanding, according to McDonnell, is the sense of self-perception achieved when one can manage to alter their state of consciousness to the point where the universal hologram itself can be perceived.
And it’s The Gateway Experience, McDonnell says, that promises this possibility.
Key to the report and technique for achieving astral projection is an audio technology developed by Robert Monroe, a radio broadcasting executive who, in the 1970s, built an R&D division inside his company solely to study the effects of sound on human consciousness.
In a series of self-experiments in which he exposed himself to carefully calibrated audio frequencies while sleeping, Monroe repeatedly achieved elevated mind-body states. His 1971 book Journeys Out of The Body documents those early investigations and officially coined the term “out-of-body experience.”
Monroe’s corporate R&D division eventually became The Monroe Institute, which produces tapes containing audio techniques to stimulate brain functions and achieve “Hemi-Sync.” Hemi-Sync is short for hemispheric synchronization, and is instrumental in achieving a state of consciousness in which the electrical brain patterns of both left and right hemispheres are equal in amplitude and frequency.
It does so by combining two techniques. The first is Frequency Following Response—a recognized external frequency is introduced by headphones, which causes the brain “to try to mimic the same frequency by adjusting its brainwave output.” For instance, a resting brain that hears a Theta level will shift out of its Beta level. The second technique is beat frequency. Contrasting frequencies are introduced to each ear. The brain then “chooses to “hear” the difference between them.” A brain receiving 100hz through the right ear and 104hz through the left, can then detect the delta, in this case a 4hz frequency. The technique then opens the brain to “a variety of frequencies which are played at a virtually subliminal, marginally audible level.”
With the left brain relaxed and the body in a virtual sleep state, according to the report, the conditions are ideal to promote brainwave outputs of higher and higher amplitude and frequency. When the wave pattern of a consciousness drops below an oscillation frequency of 10 to the power of -33 centimeters per second, for a brief instant it “clicks out” of space-time and joins infinity. Monroe’s theories maintain that if that “click-out” can achieve continuity you can begin dialoguing with other dimensions.
The Monroe Institutes’s chief engineer today is Bob Holbrook. A former events producer, Holbrook believes the Monroe Institute’s audio offerings helped him rehab from head trauma sustained in a brutal car accident. The Hemi-Sync technology featured in The Gateway Report was sold to a company now called Hemi-Sync®. The audio technology stack The Institute now produces—collectively called Monroe Audio Support (MAS)—is a hugely evolved version of the original binaural beats-based technique. As Bob puts it, “Binaural beats was just one technology, now we have 50.” This widens and populates the spectrum of experience for participants. “MAS takes the idea of binaural beats and utilizes many other “colors” and technologies to create more intense experiences in different levels of consciousness.” A key MAS ingredient is gamma synchrony. “It allows us to connect much more easily to ‘all that is,’” he said. Two additional innovations play a central role—Phase Modulation and Amplitude Modulation. Phase Modulation changes the direction from which a sound feels like it’s coming from. Bob shared an audio-visual animation illustrating sound source oscillation.
Amplitude Modulation gives technicians the capability to drop into the soundscape live and manipulate specific aspects of the volume.
The Institute shared a 30-minute sample of their newer programming for this article. Headphones are essential for full results.
The Monroe Institute’s tapes combined these frequencies with subliminal suggestions from Monroe himself. An archive titled “The Explorer Series” contains recordings of the Monroe Institute Research Division’s experiments, in which subjects “report from these non-physical environments.”
Up until COVID, all meditators physically travelled to The Monroe Institute’s palatial headquarters in Faber, Virginia to work through a series of increasingly challenging levels. The 7-day course offers the possibility for one’s consciousness to navigate space, time, and beyond. That is, if you’ve got what it takes.
It’s these tapes and their potential applications that caught the attention of the CIA and prompted the commission of the report.
The Monroe Institute Today
After I read page 25, I called Jenny Whedbee back up.
She said Monroe is an organization that was trying to find its way in an ever-shifting world. “There’s a part of this organization that definitely needs to grow, but it needs to grow at a pace that keeps with the tenets of who we are,” she said. The importance of listening to where an organization comes from before deciding on a future was a theme. “If you don’t have the input from people who have been here a while, then you’re not really staying true to what the Institute is.”
Paramount to staying that course is the guiding light of its influential founder Robert Monroe. “We’ve had a lot of executives come and go. I know Robert Monroe is still here and still trying to run things,” she said.
It’s this pioneering energy that powers her enthusiasm. In reference to their newer classes, she explained, “Gateway Voyage is primarily the same exact program that Robert Monroe developed. And so is Lifeline, Exploration 27, Guidelines. Those core programs, he actually worked on and developed.”
“It puts you into direct experience with expanded states of consciousness where you can explore and ask questions and receive answers and visit past lives,” she said. “You can astral travel.”
These programs are grueling. Participants go through five or six exercises a day for five straight days. “It’s like running a marathon,” she said.
Jenny joined the company without much experience in consciousness elevation but swiftly got the feel for things. “It did exactly what the course said it was going to do,” she said. “I experienced past lives. It gave me this 20,000-foot view of my life. Not just this one, but previous and future.”
“If you want the rocket ship where your life is forever enlightened, you’re not going to get that any other way than coming here,” she said.
The conversation with Jenny eventually turned to page 25.
“I have my own interpretation,” she said. “Whether it was accidentally or intentionally left out I don’t know. Like I said there are people that work in this place that are on another plane and not here in the physical.”
For Jenny, the page appeared at the right time and place. “I feel like 20 years ago the world wasn’t ready to hear. But this generation is ready.” She says the institute changed her life.
“You grow up, you go to school, you get married, you have kids, you go to church, you die,” she said. “And your life lives on through your family. There is value there. But on a much deeper level it’s the relationships and the memories you create. Not all this stuff we’re collecting. So what if that page was released 20 years ago? Could it have backlashed? Cause it talks about religion and that all religions are equal. And what if people feel really powerfully that not all religions are equal. I feel like the generations nowadays, they’re not so wrapped up in that anymore.”
Jenny said that young people today are pushing for social justice and are more open to different perceptions of consciousness and different ways of living. “There’s this whole thing going on where people are awakening,” she said. “People become more conscious, people become more awakened—tearing down the monuments in Richmond. Enough’s enough. This has come about at a time when your generation has questions and they want to know and they’re ready to hear the answers without judgment.”
“TikTok happened, you happened, all this happened for a very important reason that’s not of this physical plane,” she said.
Jenny concluded our hour-long conversation with a suggestion for how to handle page 25. “Do something with it. You know even if it’s you just saying what it means to you.”[Hold my beer]
A Consciousness Feedback Loop
The Gateway Report is so dense in parts, it compromises its own accessibility. The goal of my initial synthesis was to create a written and visual experience (including, ahem, some premium custom graphics) that might help folks without a PHD in quantum physics benefit from its huge thinking.
It struck a nerve.
Over the course of a 3-week period, millions of readers made their way through an admittedly arduous editorial obstacle course. Studios reached out.
Two days after the article’s release, we inserted an invitation:
“Have you had an experience with The Monroe Institute, Hemi-Sync or had an out-of-body experience? Get in touch: [email protected]”
Thousands of emails came in from folks all over the world who described their out-of-body experiences. To me, it signaled the possibility that many of us are searching for something more than what seems currently available. To describe my experience in telling this story and the search in many senses, I produced a visual reinterpretation of page 25.
‘The Gateway’ is a high-resolution digital image of a print of the missing page 25 of the CIA’s Gateway Report. It contains 659 digital micro-inscriptions of out-of-body experience accounts, that only become visible at 300%+ magnification.
Just look closer.
Thobey Campion is the former Publisher of Motherboard. You can subscribe to his Substack here.
The Gateway is an NFT. Part of the proceeds go to Mind Science, a foundation that explores the mystery of human consciousness by funding the work of early-career neuroscientists.