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ENGLISH DOCS FOR THIS DATE- Lock Scanning (DAB 1-10,11) - DAB510400

Volume 1, No. 10-11
April-May, 1951
Official Publication of
The Hubbard Dianetic Foundation, Inc.
Wichita, Kansas

Lock Scanning

From Lectures By
L. Ron Hubbard

During the work of developing the theories and techniques of Dianetics, many techniques were used which later had to be discarded. Some of them, such as the use of hypnotism, were found not to be useful at all, except in highly unusual instances. Instead, as the techniques progressed, some of the earlier experiments had to be run out as engrams and locks and this was the case with all attempts at working with hypnotism. As new data accumulated during the years, new techniques would be built and then discarded.

One of the techniques used about 1948 was finally discarded before the publication of DIANETICS: The Modern Science of Mental Health. After a phrase was erased in the basic area, the preclear would be asked to move rapidly forward to present time, contacting all incidents containing this phrase. This particular technique, utilizing a function of the mind we now call scanning, was discarded with extreme reluctance because, used in this way, it was very effective. It did not, however, do a complete, clean job and the reduction achieved in this manner did not seem to be permanent. In some instances it produced restimulation which had to be repaired by slower methods. It was not altogether safe. In the search for a technique that would be both effective and safe, this particular line had to be dropped.

Since the publication of the Handbook, however, several people have come across the phenomenon of scanning and have experimented with this technique with approximately the same results which were achieved back in 1948. Scanning through basic area engrams and the locks which lie on top of these engrams is one of the fastest ways yet devised of destimulating a case. Unfortunately, scanning in the prenatal area does not produce a clean erasure. It leaves bits of engrams lying around, and because it does not erase cleanly the engrams scanned from a case may be restimulated. The scanning of basic area engrams can be very dangerous, and should be avoided at all costs.


The process of scanning is somewhere between remembering and returning. It can be done either with eyes open or eyes closed, although better results are usually achieved with closing the eyes. It is accomplished by a narrowing of the selector mechanism of the mind to a class of data but not to the point of a specific incident which contains specific data. Remembering, of course, covers the wide range of all events connected in any way to the thing which you are remembering. Returning always ties the attention down to one particular incident and the perceptics of this incident are recorded chronologically. Scanning is halfway between the two. Things are not remembered in generalities as in memory, nor chronologically within a single event as in return, but rather by a class of events with the particular section of the event in which the required data appears being foremost in the mind. In scanning, events appear in order of their occurrence but only those parts of the events which are catalogued together by virtue of similar perceptics or similar meaning. The rest of the incident lies dormant and any charge it contains is not dissipated. Only the part of each event which applies to the subject comes into the analytical mind during scanning.

While this explanation of scanning may appear to be rather complicated, the actual process is a simple one to induce and can be achieved quite easily by any person who is at all familiar with the principles of Dianetics. The technique, however, could not be used so long as it contained the elements of mischance which I had noted upon my first contact with the phenomenon. Despite the obvious usefulness which would result if it could be rid of the element of danger for the preclear, it had to be discarded because in the hands of an inexperienced auditor scanning in the prenatal area can be extremely dangerous.

Recent work, however, has shown that if the division between locks and engrams is carefully observed, the scanning phenomenon can be used to achieve a reasonable amount of destimulation in a short space of time with no real danger of restimulation. With the single, strong admonition that THE AUDITOR IS NOT TO ALLOW THE PRECLEAR TO ENTER INTO ANY MOMENTS WHICH CONTAIN PHYSICAL PAIN, it was found that scanning could be employed on almost any number of subjects with very good results in the well-being of the preclear and in the progress of his case.


The technique begins with explaining to the preclear that it is possible to contact events one after the other in rapid succession when they have some common subject matter or some common perceptic. Explain that this process usually begins with the first time or at least an early time and comes quickly up to present time. Then issue the one admonition that the preclear is not to enter any moments which contain physical pain and is to report to the auditor any time he appears to be contacting an incident which contains a particularly large amount of tension. Then, as a trial, ask the preclear to remember the first time he ever tasted watermelon (or some similar pleasant occurrence).

Do not let your preclear return too well to this first incident, especially if he returns easily and with full perceptics. A good memory of the event with the beginnings of a few direct perceptics is the desirable amount of contact. When a nice balance between memory and return has been achieved, ask your preclear to scan rapidly all incidents when he tasted watermelon. In all except very badly occluded cases, the preclear will respond readily and easily to this trial run. Then go back to the beginning of this chain of incidents and run through again, experimenting with the different possible speeds of scanning.


There are four main scanning speeds which are, of course, on a spectrum with gradations in between and much flexibility.

The first and slowest speed is vocal rate. At this speed a long chain of incidents will take a considerable length of time to run through since you ask the preclear to contact any phrases which are charged (or are aberrative) and to go over these phrases, speaking them as he contacts them. This is, in reality, a very quick and effective way of clearing out locks. At this rate, some of the locks contacted may be quite heavy and must be noted by the auditor and returned to and cleaned out before the end of the session. Sometimes the preclear will seem to want to remain in a particular lock until it has been blown. This may be due to a particularly heavy charge on the incident, or it may be the action of a holder. Holders are particularly important in scanning and an auditor should be on the alert for them and should utilize his opportunities to find and reduce them. In any case, the auditor would be wise to follow the preclear’s desires, if he wishes to pay special attention to an incident or a particular phrase in an incident.

Some chains take as long as thirty-five to forty-five minutes to scan at vocal rate but some may go in as little as two or three minutes.

The second rate of speed is non-vocal, which is slightly faster. At this rate, the preclear’s contact with each incident is sufficient to allow him to receive an impression of all the aberrative phrases used in each incident but he does not take the required amount of time to speak each phrase as he contacts it. The principle feature of non- vocal rate is that the actual words of each incident are contacted by the analytical mind but may come into the analytical mind at a speed too great to be vocalized. The non- vocal running time for a chain of locks may be from about one-third to two-thirds the time for the same chain run at vocal rate.

At non-vocal rate, there appear tremendous differences in the actual job of auditing. The auditor simply sits patiently observing any play of expression in the preclear and watching for any indication that the preclear might be stopped at some point or other, might be contacting an emotional moment which needs to be explored, or might be reacting to an action phrase which needs to be reduced. In the main, however, the job of the auditor is to sit and watch while the preclear runs through the chain of locks and then to direct the preclear back to the beginning of the chain to go over it again. This is also true for the faster rates of scanning. For this reason it is almost always a good practice to have at least one scanning at vocal rate.

The third rate of scanning is accelerated. Accelerated rate is approximately five times the speed of vocal rate. Contact with events at accelerated rate allows enough time in each event to identify the event as to content or meaning and that’s about all. It is almost as though the mind skimmed over all events in a certain classification, took one quick look and pushed the event back into the files again.

The fourth rate of speed appears mysterious to an auditor or an observer. Only the preclear really knows whether anything is happening at maximum rate of scanning. If the preclear’s visio is good, he may get a flicker of many still pictures that merge and blend into each other and change so rapidly that they can hardly be identified. If he has good kinesthetic recall, he may simply make a few convulsive movements and then have run completely through the chain of locks at maximum rate. Maximum rate simply means as fast as you can go.

These rates of scanning are, of course, suggestions only, but most people seem to react well when the spectrum of scanning rates is divided up in this manner for them.


After your preclear has become somewhat adept at scanning, using either pleasure moments or light lock material for practice, you can begin the serious business of deintensifying any chains of locks which are interfering with processing or are aberrative to the preclear. It is fortunate that this development came along at about the same time as the newer developments in the running of individual ARC breaks and the hurdy-gurdy*See Science of Survival, Book 2, Chapter 7, “Straight Memory,” pages 77-80. system. Together with these developments, lock scanning can produce quick results in cases which heretofore needed to have a great deal of hard work before results would show. They at least partly solve the problems of accessibility.

Scanning out the locks from a person’s bank individual by individual, or dynamic by dynamic, or subject by subject, is one of the quickest ways of obtaining a genuinely easy case. Only after a person’s reactive bank has been deintensified to the point where he can remain in his own valence and where he has picked up many of his perceptics, can he be run to best advantage in the basic area. In the overall picture of clearing, it is a saving of time to have your preclear high in tone and in valence before running engrams. This statement, like all general rules, is subject to specific deviation and there are some cases which simply cannot be handled in this way, but this does seem to be a general rule and, if there is any trouble at all with accessibility, it is always a good rule to follow. Lock scanning is one of the techniques for raising your preclear’s tone and destimulating his engram bank.


The usual way to approach a chain of locks is to ask your preclear to settle well into the first lock on the chain. The first time through it is generally a good practice to go through at maximum rate. This will allow the auditor to gather some idea of the type of chain he is attempting to run and its length, since a little practice with any preclear will show the relationship between maximum and other rates of scanning and the auditor will then be in a position to judge how long the chain is going to take to deintensify. In addition to this, the preclear has a chance to warm up the material that is in the chain and the locks will come out cleanly and swiftly when proceeding to vocal- rate scanning. In some preclears, two or three times through at maximum rate is a good practice; in others, one. Some preclears, indeed, object to running a chain through at maximum rate until it has been pretty well deintensified by scanning at vocal or non- vocal rate. This is, of course, an individual matter and the preclear is right in whatever way he wishes to approach the subject of scanning. Usually, however, the best thing to do is to start off with at least one scan-through at maximum.

Next it is best to go through one time at vocal rate, asking for all aberrative phrases in the chain. This may be your slowest scan through the chain but it is also the scanning which produces the most deintensification. It is at this time that the auditor takes careful note of locks which need to be treated individually.

After the vocal-rate scanning, it is generally a good practice to proceed to non- vocal for one or two runs, perhaps asking for vocalization of any phrase which seems to have particular charge. At this point, if the chain has not been very heavy, it is not a bad practice to go back to maximum-rate scanning for three or four times, and if the scanning time at maximum rate has reduced to a matter of one or two seconds, the chain can, to all intents and purposes, be considered destimulated.

If the chain has been aberrative or highly charged, it is better to go through several times at accelerated rate before proceeding to maximum and checking to see how long a maximum rate run will take.

Your first run at maximum may take several minutes. If you proceed to run a light chain of locks purely at maximum rate and time the running of the chain, you will discover that the time for scanning goes up slightly and then goes down swiftly until finally a maximum-rate scanning of a long chain of events is practically instantaneous. A typical chain timed in this fashion might take one minute for the first running, one- and-a-half for the second, one-and-three-quarters for the third, and one-and-one quarter, one-half, twenty seconds, five seconds, two seconds for succeeding runs.


A chain of locks can be thought of as a single engram. When thought of in this fashion it becomes apparent that the signs of reduction of an engram would also be the signs for the reduction of a chain of locks. The main thing to note is the reduction of tension within the preclear as he goes through this material. Quite often lock scanning will produce a reduction in the familiar terms of yawns, tears, lessening of somatics, etc. In addition to the signs of reduction, it is also possible to measure the reduction of a chain by the length of time in which it takes to scan. This, of course, should not be considered completely unassailable proof that the chain has been reduced, since the preclear may be simply lightening the contact which he has with the chain on each successive trip through; but, coupled with other signs of deintensification, the lessening of running time is a clue that the chain has been reduced. As in many engrams, the second, third or fourth runs through a chain of locks will reveal additional material, sometimes additional locks. Indeed, at the end of running through a particularly aberrative chain, a preclear may have made available for his analytical thinking five or ten times the number of incidents of this type that were accessible before the run. One of the most important by-products of lock scanning is that it is tremendously effective in recovering a vast amount of usable experience for the analytical mind.


In auditing a case which has already been processed for some time, the first chain which should be contacted and scanned thoroughly (on several occasions to make sure that it is reduced well), is the chain of locks caused by previous sessions of auditing. This is a highly effective way of erasing any mistakes which a novice auditor has made in the past, and will recover any attention units lost at odd points during processing. Frequently an auditor will discover that the preclear, while in reverie, has misunderstood a comment of the auditor, and because of his close contact with the engram has been unable to evaluate properly what the auditor has been saying. This misunderstanding may have caused serious breaks in affinity, reality or communication, and scanning through all the auditing which a preclear has received is one of the quickest ways of picking up tone and of heightening the sense of well-being for any preclear.

Of especial interest to persons who have done a great deal of auditing themselves is the fact that their auditing usually forms a second chain of locks which can be scanned out in the manner described. Indeed, a steady job of auditing is quite restimulative and the technique of lock scanning is recommended most highly to a person who has done much auditing. If lock scanning on processing or auditing is done by a team of co-auditors, it is sometimes wise not to slow down the rate of scanning slower than the non-vocal rate since additional locks might be put on if the aberrative phrases were vocalized. This is only true in cases where there has been considerable tension about auditing or about being audited on the part of one of the members. If there is heavy charge on such incidents, however, some of this charge can be released by scanning at non-vocal, accelerated and maximum rates. After the situation has been brought up slightly in tone perhaps it will be possible to go back and release charge from individual incidents or from the chain at vocal rate.

In connection with this point let me issue a word of warning to all preclears: No auditor worth his salt as an auditor will be pleased if you do not repeat the aberrative phrases which have occurred during processing exactly as they seem to occur to you. To hint that such phrases exist or to compute as though they existed without actually blowing them as locks is ten times harder for the auditor than if you simply go right into the material and let the phrases come out as they were recorded in your reactive mind. The lock scanning mechanisms, for the first time, give a legitimate way of protecting your auditor from the full force of these locks, but even this cannot be used to dodge the issue. Once the scanning has improved the situation to the point where the auditor and preclear have resumed good processing relationships, it is important to go back and blow any specific incidents which still contain charge as single locks by standard procedure.

One other chain is of particular importance in Dianetics and will be found in most cases to contain a large amount of charge. This is the chain of invalidation of Dianetics. It can be divided up into smaller chains; such as, invalidation of Dianetics by bad publicity, invalidation of Dianetics by opposed authorities, invalidation of Dianetics by opposed relatives, invalidation of specific instances by interested parties and invalidation of Dianetics by too much fanaticism.

After having scanned these major chains of locks, it’s sometimes a very good practice to ask for anything about Dianetics which still contains a charge and run out the incidents which are presented as a chain of locks.


Lock scanning can perform the usual duties of a canceller much more efficiently than any canceller ever devised. For most persons, it is more effective to go back and scan through a session of auditing than it is to use a canceller. The material which is removed from the reactive bank of an individual is, of course, highly aberrative to him. As such, the repetition of this material in present time almost invariably constitutes a light lock. For this reason, every Dianetic session should be scanned and the effect of the session reduced upon the person. This is especially true of people who have not yet started erasing material.

When a preclear may have been hypnotized in the past it is a good practice to use both a canceller and the scanning technique. Lock scanning has an obvious use for the more skilled auditor in correcting the mistakes of a poor auditor. No matter how poor

the auditing has been, a scanning of the auditing which the preclear has received will restore the original condition of acceptance of Dianetics and will allow the auditor to have a fresh start.

Of particular interest to some people is the use of lock scanning in chronological scanning through each day. This usually requires only a half hour or so even for people who are under considerable pressure and the result in the improvement of general well- being is immediately evident. Many previous students of the human mind have noted the therapeutic effect of a recheck of a day’s activities before retiring. Lock scanning is the most efficient means yet devised for accomplishing this end.


Lock scanning does not replace standard procedure. It is only an adjunct to it. It can be used as one of the steps prior to the running of engrams or it can be interspersed with the running of engrams. If auditor and preclear adhere strictly to the rule that no events containing physical pain will be entered, lock scanning is not dangerous. Innumerable combinations of lock scanning, hurdy-gurdy, straight line memory and the running of engrams are possible and the auditor who understands all of these is capable of varying his attack to meet the individual situation of his preclear. Lock scanning is a valuable addition to the tools of Dianetics.