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José Silva was an electrical repairman who developed a great interest for religion, psychology, and parapsychology. He spent much time learning about hypnosis, attempting to increase his children's IQ. After experimenting and being convinced of his daughter's sudden clairvoyance, Silva decided to learn more about the development of psychic abilities.
In 1944, Silva began developing his method, formerly known as Silva Mind Control, using it on his family members and friends, before launching it commercially in the 1960s. Silva did research on the brain, based on Robert Sperry's split-brain theory, to improve his method. However, modern studies have proven most of Silva's beliefs about the brain to be incorrect.  
The technique aims to reach and sustain a state of mental functioning, called alpha state, where brainwave frequency is seven to fourteen Hz.:p19-20 Daydreaming and the transition to sleeping are alpha states.:p19-20
Silva claimed to have developed a program that trained people to enter certain brain states of enhanced awareness. He also claimed to have developed several systematic mental processes to use while in these states allowing a person to mentally project with a specific intent. According to Silva, once the mind is projected, a person can allegedly view distant objects or locations and connect with higher intelligence for guidance. The information received by the projected mind is then said to be perceived as thoughts, images, feelings, smells, taste and sound by the mind. The information obtained in this manner can be acted upon to solve problems.
James Randi wrote that the Silva Method "claims to develop improved memory, learning ability, and paranormal powers like telepathy. Much of the course consists of 'visiting' absent persons imagined by students and performing diagnoses on them. No tests of the validity of this practice have been done; such tests are discouraged by the teachers of the system."
- Carroll, Robert Todd (2003) "The Skeptic's Dictionary", Wiley, ISBN 0-471-27242-6
- James Randi & Arthur C. Clarke. An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural. St. Martin's Griffin. Retrieved January 22, 2014.
- Silva, José (1977). the Silva Mind Control Method. New York, New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 978-0-671-73989-8.