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The True Story Behind “The Men Who Stare at Goats”



I recently watched the movie The Men Who Stare at Goats and after becoming curious I decided to do some research into the true story behind this interesting film about Psychic training in the United States Army. I even went so far as to purchase the Battalion Field Manual to see for myself if there was something we could learn from the works of Lt. Col. Jim Channon who the movie is based on.

The Men Who Stare at Goats Movie is where a reporter named Bob Wilton decides to prove himself by going to Kuwait where he runs into the retired Special Forces operator Lyn Cassady who claims to be trained as a remote viewer and super soldier by the United States Army. While the two travel through Iraq as part of a ‘secret mission’ Lyn, played by George Clooney, tells Bob, played by Ewan McGregor, about his former training as a psychic spy back in the 1980s.  

Lyn says that his trainer Bill Django, played by Jeff Bridges, was the man behind the New Earth Battalion and had trained him in the ways of the Jedi Warrior. Though the special forces unit worked on many different psychic abilities the one that attracted the most attention from the military and had the most controversy was the ability to stop a goat’s heart by thought alone. In the movie, the military unit portrayed is known as the “New Earth Army” which is largely based on the “New Earth Battalion” field manual written by Jim Channon.  

The-Men-Who-Stare-At-GoatsThe story which is based on a book by Jon Ronson was a comedic fictional story based on real events and research conducted by Lt. Col. Jim Channon combined with out of the box experiments conducted by the US Military at Fort Bragg, NC. Though there were no goats involved in Jim Channon’s work the idea was introduced by a martial artist named Guy Savelli who told the BBC that he had the ability to stop the hearts of goats or hampsters with only the force of his mind, however, the claims were never verified to be true.  

The movie had its own agenda separate from the actual New Earth army and used humor to plant its new ideas.

“The movie is complex in that it attempts to do several things:  1) Look at the creativity employed by the military and make fun of it.  2) Show the “shadow side” of how things can go wrong with the inappropriate application of military research.  3) Ask the viewer to think about our involvement in Iraq and how that might have been different had our leaders been more conscious.”

Although the DVD version of the movie has a 12-minute clip called “Goats Declassified: The Real Men of the First Earth Battalion”  where many of the real people behind the movie are interviewed. It is important to go to the source and separate truth from fiction as we learn more about the real world applications of what the New Earth Battalion uncovered.  

Separating Fact From Fiction

If you have already seen the movie then here are some important points from the New Earth Army website that will help clarify some differences between the highly entertaining movie and what actually happened back in the 1970s and 80s.  

  1. George-Clooney-in-The-Men-Who-Stare-at-Goats-george-clooney-26650835-1280-720Jim Channon was never discharged from the U.S. Army. He served in the U. S. Army as an infantry officer and creative spark-plug from 1962 to 1982 and was in Vietnam twice during 65-66 and 70-71. During his career, he was awarded many medals. In Vietnam, he lost just one infantry soldier, never killed an innocent civilian and never took a bullet.  He was known for his ability to imagine and illustrate the future battlefield and its advanced applications.  Though retired, he continues to work with the U.S. Military.

  2. Returning home from Vietnam, his goal was to find non-lethal and peaceful solutions to potentially change the shape of war as we know it and save lives in the process. His work in the military was and is still highly respected in the military today.  He was asked to present to large high ranking conferences and he launched a simulation and games program that is now funded at 50 million dollars a year.

  3. Channon retired from the military in 1982 and did not serve in Iraq. (Ronson speculates in his book that sound healing therapies detailed in Evolutionary Tactics evolved into torture techniques in Abu Graib or Guantanamo, however, this is inaccurate.)

  4. The movie suggests character Bill Django, as portrayed by actor Jeff Bridges, used black operations money to secure drugs for experimentation.  Jim Channon never participated in any such activity and drugs were not a part of the First Earth Battalion ideals.

The Earth Battalion was never designed as a secret paranormal force in the military. Instead, it was a think-tank where soldiers and civilians came together to expand consciousness by getting outside of the box while preparing for the real possibility of nuclear war with Russia at the time. Check out these videos to learn more about the real story behind the movie and the real application of awareness training in the world today.

Jim Channon Talks about the true story behind Men Who Stare at Goats and the New Earth Battallion

Part 2

‘Welcome to those who will dare to think the unthinkable, the awakened warriors, and you evolutionary scouts. You are in good company. I want to thank all the “players” in our network of scouts for their work then and now as we continue into a new century striving to bring this world of ours into the vibrance it deserves. I encourage you others of similar mind to read the manual and accept the far-reaching challenges that fit for you. WE are all at the shift point ….make your move!’-Jim Channon Ji

After finding that I resonated with a lot of the concepts being described by Jim Channon and wondering how we could apply them in the real world I decided to read the Training Manual for myself. Since I have been long interested in self-mastery, meditation, synergy in teams and changing the world, this 150-page guide, to all of that and more really excited me. Instead of laying the ground work ourselves we can learn from those who have already paved the way and build communities with a higher awareness and technology because of the hard work and research of people like Jim Channon.

“Armies can be both the instruments of destruction and the guardians of humanity’s evolution. The warrior monk’s role is to protect the possible and to nurture the potential…to generate workable international solutions… to defuse the nuclear time bomb. 

We must wisely use energy, enforce ecological balance, assist with appropriate technological expansion and above all – strive for human development, in ourselves and in others. I invite each of you, soldier and civilian, to become an evolutionary, and to adopt the code of ethics of the warrior monk.” -Jim Channon, Commander, First Earth Battalion.

The image below is one of the many interesting pages in the book. The reason I was so excited about the real world applications of this manual is because it teaches you how to work your way up the chakra levels on your path to oneness. On that pathway, you transcend fear and enter the flow states. Not only does it teach you how to flow in a fearless state of consciousness but it shows you how to flow in teams of ‘Monk Warriors’ in order to bring peace to this world.

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One of the biggest foundational beliefs of the Warrior Monks in the New Earth Battalion is that we need to harmonize with the Earth. Our first allegiance needs to be to the planet.  Channon talks about many out of the box concepts such as deprogramming the mind, training the body, connecting with and protecting the earth, learning survival techniques, having structure without status, empowering unity while honoring diversity and having uniforms without uniformity.

Creed of the Warrior Monk

According to another book entitled Mind Wars and written by Ronald McRaw each member of the First Earth Battalion would swear to follow the creed of the ‘guerrilla gurus’ and ‘high commandos’ that goes as follows:

  • I have the capacity and therefore, the duty to contribute to the development of myself, my associates, and our planet, simultaneously, now!
  • I will organize a self-supporting high commando group that will create and perform evolutionary breakthrough actions on behalf of people and planet. One people, one planet.
  • I will then pass on this concept to others who are capable of generating further self-organizing commando teams.
  • I will await the time when my group can connect naturally with others at higher and higher levels of awareness and performance — the Natural Guard.

Another important part of the training manual is how it pushes those who are ready for hardcore spirituality to dive deep into the training and level themselves up in 9 different areas. After reaching level 6 in all 9 areas, one could them call themselves a master warrior monk.

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I believe it is time, that we start applying our spiritual knowledge, raise our awareness and dive into the hardcore levels of our soul so that we can master ourselves and bring real change into this world that will create peace and sustainability for many generations to come. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


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