“I appreciate Mr. Alexander’s letter and trust this will clear up some misconceptions…
“In this 2009 interview with the author of the book, Mr. Ronson, he clearly states his 1st hand awareness of Guy Savelli’s claim to have killed the goat.
RAZ: “Were you ever able to witness members of this unit stop a goat’s heart by staring at it?”
Mr. RONSON: “What I did see – I discovered that the main goat starer was a man called Guy Savelli. And I said, is it true that you managed to kill a goat by staring at it? And he said yes.”
NPR, All Things Considered, “Author Interviews — Walking Through Walls and Staring At Goats,” November 8, 2009,
“Mike Echanis’ name was tied to the film as were so many other urban myths simply because of the work he was doing on Smoke Bomb Hill and at Little Creek, Virginia in not only martial arts but meditation and pain/bleeding control based on the precepts of Hwa Rang Do.
“Special Forces (and the SEALs) have a long history of exploring holistic and non-clinical options meant to enhance the Green Beret or SEAL’s capabilities. In Search of the Warrior Spirit by Strozzi Heckler describes a formal project conducted at 10th Group along similar lines. It was titled Trojan Horse.
“Otherwise, The Men Who Stare at Goats took great liberties with projects like the First Earth Battalion and its stated mission statement. Today, the U.S. SOF community continues its exploration of holistic options for the care and treatment of its wounded, injured, or ill, to include the amazing work done at the individual Group THOR Centers. Also, meditation and its impact when done properly and consistently, has produced calmer, more focused, and effective SOF operators.
“And Mike Echanis was at the forefront of exploring and demonstrating the “how this works” as well as “why this works”.
“But he taught with a sense of humor, as illustrated in this picture taken during one of three courses taught to the Navy SEALs (SEAL Team 2) at Little Creek / Camp A.P. Hill. Mike introduced meditation and additional “mind control” (which meant learning to control one’s own mind) to the Teams as well as Special Forces.”
“And he enjoyed fussing with any media or photographers who were invited to observe training, as is obvious in the picture (see below).