by Richard Sauder
In the 1970s, I read Robert Monroe's
book, 'Journey Out of The Body.' 1
I found his stories about consciously traveling out of his physical
body to be bizarre. But I understood intuitively that what he
reported was true. I tried his out-of-body technique at home and
succeeded after a period of diligent effort in consciously leaving
On one of my first attempts, I was meditating late one
night, at the end of a five day, water-only fast, when I suddenly
entered an altered state of consciousness.
In this altered state I
heard the sound of a man's voice. I could not make out what he was
saying, but the tone of his voice was very comforting; it reminded
me of the voice of Walter Cronkite, or of Fred McMurray,
the star of the old television situation comedy, My Three Sons.
It was at this point that I very naturally and virtually
effortlessly used Robert Monroe's roll-out method to consciously
roll out of my body.
I found myself in a small, claustrophobic room
with lavender colored wall paper dotted with small flowers.
The room felt too cramped, so I melted
through the wall and found myself on a macadam road in a residential
area lined with shade trees. I went running down the road looking
for a road sign or any other identifying clue that I could use to
verify the objective reality of what I was experiencing. I felt a
sense of overwhelming excitement, strangeness and curiosity.
nearly as I can remember now that is how the experience ended. The
next thing I remembered I was back in bed, the birds were chirping
and the sun was coming up. This proved to be just the first of many
out-of-body experiences over the next few years.
Not long after the first experience I contacted
the Monroe Institute and
participated in one of their weekend training sessions in Richmond,
Virginia. I did not go out-of-the-body during the weekend, but back
in Louisiana, the following week, I had the first and most powerful
kundalini awakening of my life.
Early one morning, while
doing the set of exercises I had learned the previous weekend, I
moved precipitously into a staggeringly powerful state of
consciousness. Because it was so much at variance with my normal
frame of mind I am scarcely able to describe, even now, what it was
My spinal column was turbo-charged with what felt like 50,000
volts of rippling, crackling electricity that came surging up my
spine with an ear-splitting roar and arced out of the top of my
skull and away into a vast, indescribable something that, for want
of better words, resembled an enormously huge balloon hanging over
It may be that the balloon-like
impression represented my limited perception of an expanded state
of super-consciousness that lay just above me. Meanwhile, my
heart chakra was powerfully opened and I could see all around me
without any physical impediment, right through the walls, in a 360º
circle. I want to emphasize that I was seeing with startling
clarity-- not with my physical eyes, which were closed, or with the
so-called third eye in the forehead-- but with my heart.
The heart itself sees, with great acuity and without physical
restriction, when in a state such as this. At the same time I was
enjoying sublime feelings of bliss. The calming influence of
these feelings persisted throughout the day after the experience was
over. While everything else was going on I heard in my ears the most
perfectly enchanting and seductive music I have ever encountered
anywhere, whether in the body or out.
It was eminently haunting and coyly
mysterious. I could not wait to hear what it would do next. It was
all of the best music that I have ever heard, and much more, somehow
rolled together and mixed up in one never-ending perfect song that
is eternally and completely satisfying. It has no equal anywhere.
The melody, the rhythm, and the instrumentation were incomparable.
The closest match that I can think of are the great symphonies of
Beethoven and Mozart and the finest performances of the most
gifted jazz musicians of the day. But even if you could somehow
combine those into the one-best-song that humanity has to offer the
result would still be no more than an imperfect, pale imitation of
the magical, intensely nostalgic kundalini music that I once
heard playing on a muggy Louisiana morning many years ago.
The experience persisted for a few moments and then it was gone. But
it made a palpably vivid impression on me. I have never forgotten
it; indeed, I do not see how I can. Over the course of the
intervening years I have often thought back with great longing to
that time and wished that it could happen again.
Though I had no interaction with Robert Monroe on that
occasion, a number of other times I did hear his voice while in an
altered state of consciousness, or while out of the body. He
invariably began by saying, "Hello, this is Robert Monroe..." And he
would go on to talk about subjects that were quite remarkable and
I can remember well the warm, golden glow that accompanied
his avuncular, relaxing voice. It was really very hypnotic to just
lay there and bask in the sound of his voice and the vibrant, rich
colors of whatever surroundings were a part of the experience. The
ambiance was one of plush velvet, and subtle, understated hues of
mahogany furniture and burgundy velours.
I remember well one occasion on which he spoke to me. I was in jail
at the time in Arkansas. During the early 1980s I was an
anti-nuclear activist. On three different occasions I scaled the
security fence at nuclear missile silos to demonstrate my opposition
to preparations for nuclear war. As it happened, I was jailed by the
United States government for these activities.
The first time I did
this I was jailed for seven days and released on probation (which I
subsequently violated to do the same thing again, and for which I
was again jailed). While in jail on the first charge I conducted a
one week water-only fast. After about four or five days of this I
was lying awake in my cell one night when I suddenly moved into
an altered state.
Once in the altered state of consciousness I
heard the voice of Robert Monroe.
He said, as usual,
"Hello, this is Robert Monroe"
And then he went on to tell me something
about the manned space program. He began,
"Thirty years ago, when men first
started to go into space..."
He continued on to tell me something I
had not known before.
What he said was highly interesting. In fact,
it was downright fascinating. He told me that in the early years of
the manned space program sending someone into space was not as
simple as merely positioning an astronaut on top of a rocket and
blasting up into space. Instead, there were certain magical -
yes, magical and mystical protocols that had to be
He told me that astronauts could only be inserted
into orbit at the proper place and time, and in just the right way.
As he described it he conveyed the very real element of magic and
mystery that was involved in putting human beings into space.
I was surprised to learn that more was involved in the manned
space program than, well, the proverbial rocket science.
Robert Monroe's words (delivered telepathically, or
paranormally, while I was in an altered state of consciousness)
resonated silently within me after my release from jail. Time went
by and I kept what he had told me to myself.
The import of what he
said was seriously at variance with the coldly analytical,
scientific image that the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration (NASA) projects. I found it
difficult to justify Robert Monroe's assertions with the
public pronouncements and hard engineering appearances of the
American space program.
It was not until many years later, when I toured the 33º Scottish
Rite Masonic Temple at 1733 16th Street, N.W., in
that I began to realize the full significance of Robert Monroe's
To my surprise, there, in the temple's museum, was,
A Scottish Rite Masonic flag which Edwin Aldrin, Jr., the second Apollo program astronaut
to walk on the Moon, carried with him to the lunar surface. When
I visited, the flag was prominently displayed in a glass case in
The same museum also displays a
small Masonic flag that Apollo 7 astronaut Walter
Schirra carried into space and subsequently presented to
Scottish Rite Supreme Council, 33º Grand Commander Henry
Clausen, on 23 October 1969.
Gordon Cooper also took the
Supreme Council, 33º flag into space on the Gemini 5
The museum also contains pieces of
the heat shields from NASA's Mercury 7 and Apollo 11
My interest was immediately sparked. I
saw that there was some sort of connection between NASA's
manned space program and the Supreme Council, 33º Ancient and
Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction,
So, after my tour I inquired about the possibility of doing research
in the temple's library. The collection of Masonic literature in
that temple is virtually without peer in the world.
My request was
granted, and I soon had a much better idea of what Robert Monroe
had been alluding to:
I discovered that some of the most
prominent astronauts in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space
programs are (or were) Masons.3
Indeed, one of the original seven
Project Mercury astronauts, John Glenn, is now an
influential United States Senator from Ohio who will be
returning to space again, in October 1998, aboard the space
shuttle (author's note: this event did occur, for reasons
that are still not entirely clear).
I also learned that two former,
highly placed administrators at NASA, Kenneth S.
and James E. Webb 5
are both Masons.64
These facts, coupled with the Masonic
flags various astronauts carried into space and delivered to the
Scottish Rite's Supreme Council, 33º, reveal some sort of
relationship between Masonry and the space program.
One of the interesting items I found in the course of my research
was a letter from Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, bearing the date of
19 September 1969.7
Aldrin was the second Apollo astronaut to walk on the Moon,
after Neil Armstrong. Aldrin's letter explicitly mentions the
Masonic flag that he carried with him to the Moon on the Apollo
11 mission of 20 July 1969, and which he delivered to the
Supreme Council, 33º on 16 September 1969.
The letter is addressed
to Sovereign Grand Commander Luther A. Smith and says, in
It was a great moment in my life to
be so cordially welcomed to the House of the Temple on
September 16, 1969 by you and Grand Secretary General
Kleinknecht, 33º, and also the members of your staffs.
greatest pleasure, however, was to be able to present to you on
this occasion the Scottish Rite Flag which I carried on the
Apollo 11 Flight to the Moon - emblazoned in color with the
Scottish Rite Double-headed Eagle, the Blue Lodge Emblem
and the Sovereign Grand Commander's Insignia.
As it happens, the Grand Secretary
General Kleinknecht (now Grand Commander) who Aldrin
mentions in his letter is the brother of Kenneth S. Kleinknecht,8
the powerful, former NASA official in charge of most of the
early manned space programs. Both Kleinknechts are 33º Masons.
This is an interesting relationship. The temple on which the
NASA-Masonic connection centers is
located just several blocks due north of the
White House, at 1733 16th
Street, N.W. Many United States presidents are known to
have been Masons, beginning with George Washington and
including some 20th century presidents. So it only stands
to reason that there should be a 33o Masonic temple in close
proximity to the White House. But this is not just any temple.
Underscoring its status as a prominent Scottish Rite temple,
its holdings include the second largest body of Robert Burns
literature anywhere outside of Scotland itself. Moreover, it also
has a room devoted to J. Edgar Hoover, founder and long-time
Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
The Hoover shrine includes his official desk and many mementos and
memorabilia from his long career. It seems that this temple has a
special relationship with the FBI, as well as with NASA
and the manned space program.
That's not all. This same temple also holds the personal library of
Confederate Army General, Albert Pike. It even holds his
corpse, buried in the walls at the rear of the building. Just who
was Albert Pike? Well, he was a prominent Mason in the
post-Civil War era in the Southern state - and if some sources can
be believed he was also one of the Founding Fathers of the Ku
Klux Klan (KKK), the White-racist, terrorist organization
that formed in the South after the Civil War.9
Little did I know that I would stumble on all of this when I set out
to learn more about Freemasonry.
As regards NASA and
secret societies, it is well to
remember as well that solidly entrenched in the core group of NASA's
vaunted rocket scientists were men such as
Wernher von Braun, and over one
hundred other assorted "ex"-Nazi rocket experts who were brought out
of Germany after WW-II by
expertise was put to work on designing and flying the rockets that
launched the astronauts into space.
The first director of the
Kennedy Space Center was Kurt Debus, the V-2 rocket flight
test director at the infamous Nazi missile base at Peenemünde,
Germany. Wernher von Braun himself was an officer in
Hitler's dreaded SS and later director of NASA's
Marshall Space Flight Center.
And Arthur Rudolph, the
head of production at the Nazi's murderous Mittelwerk underground
missile factory in Germany's Harz Mountains, was later to become
Director of NASA's Saturn V moon rocket program.10
In recent years, a number of exposés have described the magico-occult
underpinnings of the Third Reich and the Nazi Party's ideology.11
Peter Levenda's excellent Unholy Alliance is among the
best of these books.
Levenda's thesis is that:
"(T)he Third Reich was a state
governed on magical principles"12
To be sure, the magic was, and
Levenda shows, still is, a magic of the darkest, most
grotesquely violent sort.
Given the close involvement of "ex"-Nazis
at the highest levels of NASA's manned space program, and the
magico-occult beliefs that motivated the leadership of the Nazi
party, Robert Monroe's words to me vis-à -vis the
manned space program and magical rites attendant to the
launching of space capsules may be fraught with more significance
than I know.
At any rate, the close ties between prominent NASA astronauts,
NASA officials and Freemasonry (including the Southern
Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite) leave no serious doubt about some
sort of Masonic involvement in the United States manned space
program at the highest levels.
Likewise, the crucial work of
powerful "ex"-Nazis, such as Werner von Braun, Arthur
Rudolph, Kurt Debus, and many others, at the heart of the
United States' manned space program raises further questions about
the role that these Project Paperclip "ex"-Nazis and their
sympathizers played (and may still play) for NASA.
But what could be the reason for this strenuous effort to go to
the Moon, in which both Freemasons and "ex"-Nazis played
prominent roles?13 Is
there something special about the Moon that powerful
organizations such as the Nazi Party and Freemasonry know? Something
special that the rest of us don't know? To be sure, many Masonic
lodges traditionally schedule their meetings according to the time
when the Moon is full.14
But that scarcely justifies the sort of effort that the early manned
space program put forth to reach the Moon. The nagging question
remains: is there something more?
I do not have the answer to this question. However, while combing
through the NASA archives in Washington, D.C. I did find a
statement from Werner von Braun that gave me pause to
While discussing the reaction of the scientific community
to the Apollo 11 and 12 lunar missions he said:
"They came to the conclusion that
the moon really turns out to be sort of a Rosetta stone
for the understanding of monumental cosmological phenomena."15
Might he be referring here to cryptic
monuments that NASA may have discovered on the Moon?
(Certainly, there is a small, sensationalistic body of literature in
the bookstores and on the World Wide Web that alleges NASA
ancient, monumental structures on the Moon
and that it is hiding their existence from the public.)
Or is von
Braun simply saying that lunar geology is interesting and a big
help in understanding geology on other bodies in the solar system?
From the context of his remarks, it appears that he means the
latter, but who knows?-- maybe he is talking in code and is actually
communicating a carefully guarded message between the lines.
Similarly, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht wrote the following in
"On the surface of the moon, where
there is no atmosphere to erode, secrets were uncovered that
have long since been worn away here on earth."16
Here again - what secrets is
Kleinknecht referring to? Are there ancient ruins on the moon?
Ruins perhaps made by a long vanished civilization that might have
existed in remote antiquity on the earth itself? Or is he simply
referring to the interesting lunar geology that does not erode due
to the scouring action of water and wind, and the incessant
activities of biological organisms? The context of his remarks
suggests that he is making an innocent remark about perfectly
ordinary geological processes.
But who knows? - might he, as well as von Braun, be referring to something that NASA has
hidden from the public? Something unimaginably ancient and
important - like artificially constructed, ruined structures on the
Let me be clear: I do not claim to know definitively one way or the
But isn't it strange that this entire line of inquiry is due to a
telepathic message I received from Robert Monroe while locked
in a jail cell in Arkansas, as punishment for demonstrating against
nuclear missiles atop a Titan missile silo in central Arkansas,
Albert Pike's home state?
I suppose I would still be in contact with Robert Monroe
today if it were not for the fact that over a period of years I
became aware that he and his research institute in rural Nelson
County, Virginia, south of Charlottesville, had a close working
relationship with United States Army Intelligence.17
I perceive the agendas of the military
intelligence agencies to be very dark and repressive, so I have
broken off contact with Robert Monroe (who is now physically
dead), with the circle of people around him and with the Monroe
1 Robert Monroe,
Journey Out of The Body
(Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Press, 1977).
2 I took a tour of the temple twice in 1997. Both guides,
and all other temple officials, were very gracious and
3 Early astronauts who were Masons include Edward E.
"Buzz" Aldrin, Jr., LeRoy Gordon Cooper, Donn E. Eisele, John H.
Glenn, Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, James Benson Irwin, Robert L.
Kline, Edgar D. Mitchell, Walter M. Schirra, Jr., Thomas P.
Stafford and Paul J. Weitz.
4 Kenneth S. Kleinknecht was a member of the X-15 team
and a member of the early DynaSoar space shuttle project. As an
interesting historical aside, the Air Force's abandoned DynaSoar
space shuttle project grew out of a Nazi project that was the
brain child of Nazi General Walter Dornberger. General
Dornberger was the officer in charge of the V-1 and V-2 missile
programs; he was also Werner von Braun's boss during WWII.
When Dornberger came to the United
States under Project Paperclip he brought with him the
plans for a rocket system that proved to be the conceptual
forerunner of the present day space shuttle program.
[For the fascinating details see
William C. Walter, Project Dyna-Soar: The Roots of Shuttle- A
Memoir, IAA-92-0193, 43rd Congress of the International
Astronautical Federation, August 28- September 5,
1992/Washington, DC (International Astronautical Federation, 3-5
Rue Mario-Nikis, 75015 Paris, France)].
He also served as Technical
Assistant to the Director of the Manned Spacecraft Center,
Manager of the Mercury Project, Deputy Manager of the Gemini
Program, Manager of the Command and Service Modules for the
Apollo Spacecraft Program, Manager of the Skylab program,
Johnson Space Center Director of Flight Operations and Assistant
Manager of the Space Shuttle Orbiter Project. Information found
in: official NASA biographies dated September 1963 and February
1969; NASA news release no. 76-03, 8 January 1976; and photocopy
of article from unknown NASA publication dated 16 October 1981,
in NASA archives in Washington, DC.
5 James E. Webb was NASA Administrator from 14 February
1961 to 7 October 1968. World Wide Web:
6 This information was valid as of 28 June 1985. It was
compiled by the Masonic Service Association of the United
States, 8120 Fenton Street, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910-4785.
See also Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, 33o, "Space and the Future,"
The New Age (May 1976): 4-6. The New Age is a Masonic
publication. Note that Kenneth Kleinknecht identifies himself as
a 33o Mason.
7 Letter dated 19 September 1969 from Edwin E. Aldrin,
NASA Astronaut, to Illustrious Luther A. Smith, 33o, Sovereign
Grand Commander, Supreme Council, 33o, Southern Jurisdiction,
U.S.A., 1733 16th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009.
8 Personal communications from Joan E. Sansbury,
Librarian and Curator for the Supreme Council, 33o, of the
Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern
Jurisdiction, U.S.A., 1997 and 1998.
9 The Supreme Council, 33º, of the Ancient and Accepted
Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction, U.S.A.,
strongly denies any relationship between Albert Pike and the Ku
Klux Klan (KKK). I specifically asked tour guides at the Supreme
Council, 33o about such a connection, on two separate occasions,
and both times received an unequivocal denial that General Pike
had anything to do with the founding of the KKK. There are
histories of the KKK that mention General Pike as a founding
figure in the early years of the Klan. See Walter L. Fleming,
Ph.D., introduction to Ku Klux Klan: Its Origin, Growth and
Disbandment, by J.C. Lester and D.L. Wilson (New York: AMS Press
Inc., 1971; reprinted from the edition of 1905, New York). Also
see Claude G. Bowers, The Tragic Era: The Revolution after
Lincoln (Cambridge: Houghton Mifflin Company, The Riverside
Press, 1929). And finally, see Susan Lawrence Davis, Authentic
History, Ku Klux Klan, 1865-1877 (New York: American Library
10 An especially fine discussion of Operation Paperclip,
including material on Werner von Braun, his fellow Nazi
rocketeers and NASA operations can be found in Linda Hunt,
Secret Agenda: The United States Government, Nazi Scientists,
and Project Paperclip, 1945 to 1990 (New York: St. Martin's
Press, 1991). Also see Dennis Piskiewicz, The Nazi Rocketeers:
Dreams of Space and Crimes of War (Westport, Connecticut:
Praeger, 1995). Thousands of slave laborers were executed or
worked to death in the miles of underground tunnels that
comprised the Mittelwerk missile factory. The installation was a
nightmarish, living hell.
11 For example, see Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, with a
foreward by Rohan Butler, The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret
Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology: The
Ariosophists of Austria and Germany, 1890-1935 (Washington
Square, New York: New York University Press, 1992). Also, see
Dusty Sklar, The Nazis and the Occult (New York: Dorset
Press, 1977). Peter Levenda's Unholy Alliance: A History of
Nazi Involvement with the Occult (New York: Avon Books,
1995) is a particularly fine exposition of the occult and
magical aspects of the Third Reich.
12 Peter Levenda, Unholy Alliance: A History of Nazi
Involvement with the Occult (New York: Avon Books, 1995).
13 This collaboration of Masons and "ex"-Nazis working so
closely together on the same project is puzzling, in light of
the Third Reich's violent persecution of Masonic organizations
and their members. See Peter Levenda, Unholy Alliance: A History
of Nazi Involvement with the Occult (New York: Avon Books,
14 Warren Fowler Mellny, Moon Lodges (Washington, D.C.:
Masonic Service Association, 1954).
15 U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration,
Interview with Dr. Werner von Braun, 17 November 1971.
16 Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, "Foreword", Apollo Spacecraft
Chronology, Vol. IV, October 1975. Photocopied article in the
NASA archives, Washington, D.C.
17 See Jim Schnabel, Remote Viewers: The Secret History
of America's Psychic Spies (New York: Dell Publishing, 1997).
Monroe Institute trained
psychic spies for the military at its long-time headquarters in
Faber, Virginia. The present director of the Monroe Institute,
Skip Atwater, is former head of the military psychic spy
unit at Fort Meade, near Laurel, Maryland. Joe McMoneagle,
Army Intelligence's premier psychic spy, married one of Robert
Monroe's step-daughters and retired to Robert Monroe's New Land,
immediately adjacent to the Institute grounds.