Imagine you are a professional footballer, golfer or athlete. Now imagine you are that professional sportsman or sportswoman but – using no more than the power of your own mind – you can make yourself bigger, faster, more accurate or able to control your opponents mind. You would be the worlds first superhuman sports star.
In the 1970s the US military believed they could create a super soldier – one who could use psychic powers to walk through walls, disarm the enemy through telepathy or kill a goat by staring at it. The brain behind these techniques was Michael Murphy, one of the founders of New Age spiritualism in the hippy enclaves of San Francisco. But Murphys primary goal was to use these powers in sport to create a supreme athlete capable of extraordinary feats.
Murphy and his protgs have dedicated their lives to teaching athletes and coaches to use his methods. Locking runners in huts to make them believe they were dead saints, spies using mind control to win chess matches, Russian Olympians shape-shifting, and golfers imagining they were Darth Vader – coaches and athletes soon began to trust in very weird things. So weird, in fact, that sports burgeoning obsession with money and image meant the hippies went underground and the superhuman powers became mythical. But the trailblazers – now more hip replacement than hippy – are making a comeback, influencing some of the worlds top teams.
Award-winning investigative journalist Ed Hawkins meets Murphy and his protgs as well as a cast of athletes and coaches convinced by their methods as he immerses himself in a world shrouded in secrecy and weirdness. In a simultaneously hilarious and unsettling tale, he experiences firsthand the techniques as he endeavours to reveal the truth about sports psychology. Is it really possible to enter a mind-altering state or to shift your body shape? Or is it all just bunkum? And are the American military still watching?
Narrator: Ciaran Saward
Duration: 8 hours 54 minutes
Released: 19 Apr 2004
Publisher: Audible Studios