The Voice of God weapon — a device that projects voices into your head to make you think God is speaking to you — is the military’s equivalent of an urban myth. Meaning, it’s mentioned periodically at defense workshops (ironically, I first heard about it at the same defense conference where I first met Noah), and typically someone whispers about it actually being used. Now Steven Corman, writing at the COMOPS journal, describes his own encounter with this urban myth:
At a government workshop some time ago I head someone describe a new tool that was described as the “voice of Allah.” This was said to be a device that would operate at a distance and would deliver a message that only a single person could hear. The story was that it was tested in a conflict situation in Iraq and pointed at one insurgent in a group, who whipped around looking in all directions, and began a heated conversation with his compatriots, who did not hear the message. At the time I greeted this story with some skepticism.
Is there any basis to this technology? Well, Holosonic Research Labs and American Technology Corporation both have versions of directed sound, which can allow a single person to hear a message that others around don’t hear. DARPA appears to be working on its own sonic projector. Intriguingly, Strategy Page reports that troops are using the Long Range Acoustic Device as a modified Voice of God weapon:
It appears that some of the troops in Iraq are using "spoken" (as opposed to "screeching") LRAD to mess with enemy fighters. Islamic terrorists tend to be superstitious and, of course, very religious. LRAD can put the "word of God" into their heads. If God, in the form of a voice that only you can hear, tells you to surrender, or run away, what are you gonna do?
And as Corman also notes, CNET recently wrote about an advertisement in New York for A&E’s TV show Paranormal State, which uses some of this technology. Beyond directed sound, it’s long been known that microwaves at certain frequencies can produce an auditory effect that sounds like it’s coming from within someone’s head (and there’s the nagging question of classified microwave work at Brooks Air Force Base, that the Air Force stubbornly refuses to talk about).
That brings us back to the Voice of God/Allah Weapon. Is it real or bogus? In one version — related to me by another defense reporter — it’s not just Allah’s voice — but an entire holographic image projected above (um, who decides what Allah looks like?).
Does it exist? I’m not sure, but it’s funny that when you hear it brought up at defense conferences, no one ever asks the obvious question: does anybody think this thing will actually convince people God is speaking to them? I’m thinking, not.