Parapsychology: Remote Viewing
Remote viewing (RV) is a procedure developed by parapsychologists at the Stanford Research Institute to allegedly perform clairvoyance under controlled conditions. Somewhat similar to astral projection, the phenomenon involves a belief in the projection of consciousness to remote locations, and is considered a pseudoscience by mainstream scientists.
Remote viewing (RV) is a form of clairvoyance by which a viewer is said to use his or her clairvoyant abilities to “view”, i.e. gather information on a Target consisting of an object, place, person, etc., which is hidden from physical view of the viewer and typically separated from the viewer in space by some distance, and sometimes separated in time (future or past) as well.
Remote Viewing is distinguished from other forms of clairvoyance in that it follows a specific experimental ‘protocol ‘(or some variant of it). The critical aspect common to these protocols, proponents contend, is that the viewer is ‘blind ‘to the target in the sense of being given no (or negligible) information regarding the target being viewed.
While proponents call the Remote Viewing technique “scientific”, there is a minority acceptance among scientists for this phenomenon. Critics claim the experiments relied heavily on subjective interpretation of the results and claim that the experiments lacked repeated confirmation under rigorously controlled scientific conditions.
Ingo Swann was a prominent American psychic researcher, parapsychologist, artist, and author best known for his work as a co-creator of the discipline of remote viewing, specifically the Stargate Project. He coined the term ‘remote viewing’ as a derivation of protocols originally developed by Rene Warcollier, a French chemical engineer in the early 20th century, documented in the book “Mind to Mind”. Swann’s achievement was to break free from the conventional mould of casual experimentation and candidate burn out, and develop a viable set of protocols that put clairvoyance within a framework named “Coordinate Remote Viewing” (CRV).
In 1972, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) saw a potential use for remote viewing as a way to penetrate closed societies such as the Soviet Union without the actual risk of physical presence of spies, or the use of technical intelligence. The CIA was encouraged with the results of early trials and eventually the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) obtained funding for further experiments and conduct of actual classified remote viewing operations.
The Stargate Project was one of a number of code names used to cover “remote viewing” programs. Others names by which the program was known included Grill Flame, and Center Lane, used during the years the unit was managed by the Army, and Sun Streak and Stargate after the unit was taken over by Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). An earlier program, Scanate, was funded by the CIA in the early 1970s. Altogether, formal US Government involvement (CIA, Air Force, Army, and DIA) in remote viewing lasted from Fall 1973 through June 1995. The program itself evolved from research done at ‘SRI’ (Stanford Research Institute).
The research program was launched partly because some intelligence officers believed a ‘psi-gap’ had emerged between America and the Soviet Union, for example the reputed abilities of Nina Kulagina. But it was also borne of the soul searching that took place in the American military post Vietnam, and a willingness that subsequently emerged to ‘think outside the box,’ as exemplified by Jim Channon’s ‘First Earth Battalion’ briefing.
Remote viewing, or sensing, of places or events is normally performed in the present, but sessions have also been undertaken in the past and future. One of the outcomes from the funding was a set of protocols designed to make clairvoyance a more scientific process, and minimize as much as possible session noise and inaccuracy. The term “remote viewing” emerged as a generalized short hand to describe this more structured approach to clairvoyance.
The project was eventually terminated, according to the official report at the time, because there was insufficient evidence of the utility of the intelligence data produced. However, in the generalized intelligence and defense budget cuts of the period, many projects lost funding. More realistically the unit was terminated because of managerial failure and the skeptical leanings of key individuals in the DIA and CIA chains of command.
In 1995 the project was transferred to the CIA and a retrospective evaluation of the results was performed. The CIA contracted the American Institutes for Research for this evaluation. An analysis conducted by Professor Jessica Utts showed a statistically significant effect. While agreeing with this basic analysis, noted long time CSICOP psychic debunker Ray Hyman suggested the results were not enough on their own, and a wider data set was required. Based upon Ray’s finding that the intelligence utility was yet to be demonstrated, even if it was a real phenomena, the CIA followed the recommendation to terminate the project.
Key Project Personnel
Firstly, it should be noted there is no comprehensive formal history of the project, and there may well be key members who have chosen to remain anonymous. However, certain members of the project have come forward, and certain details of the personnel are available.
Major General Albert Stubblebein, A key sponsor of the research internally at Fort Meade, convinced of the reality of a wide variety of psychic phenomena, he never mastered walking through walls, although he did greatly bruise his noise in numerous attempts. In the early 1980s was responsible for Army intelligence. Some commentators have confused ‘Project Jedi’ run by special forces primarily out of Fort Bragg with Stargate. In fact General Stubblebein was poorly received when he visited Fort Bragg, and did not participate nor was aware of the goat lab experiments being conducted.
Joe McMoneagle, In the early 1970’s Joe had a Near Death Experience (NDE) that bestowed him with exceptional psychic powers. Widely considered a “natural,” Joe has stated that remote viewing ability is predominately determined by innate talent. While many disagree with this statement, it is notable none of his critics seem able to work to the same level as Joe. Joe’s definition implies that remote viewing is any psychic undertaking that is performed under scientific protocols.
Lyn Buchanan, A sergeant brought in by General Stubblebein for two main reasons. Firstly extraordinary telekinetic abilities, secondly computer software expertise. This made him exceptionally well qualified to be the data base manager for the Stargate project. From this vantage point, Lyn had the opportunity to work with all the key members of the unit, and in possession of statistical analysis of the session data, was able to properly assess the accuracy of the session data obtained. After leaving the forces, Lyn founded Problems, Innovations, Solutions, contracted Mel Riley to work for his company, and continues to undertake private tuition.
Mel Riley, Army Sergeant who retired in 1990. Mel is another natural psychic, and was noted for being able to describe what lay under objects in aerial photography. This aroused inconclusive interest in the 1970s. The only viewer to serve two separate tours with the military remote reviewing unit, Mel was first assigned in early 1979, but was later transferred to a conventional intelligence unit in 1981. In mid-1986, he was reassigned as a remote viewer, serving in the RV unit until his retirement in June 1990. Based upon his innate ability, with training in the CRV protocols, Mel quickly became an impressive remote viewer. Mel was featured in the documentary released in 1995 by the BBC titled “The Real X-Files.” He has recounted past life experiences as a Native American, and continues to be involved in native American culture, enjoying a quiet life with his wife.
Paul H. Smith, Retired U.S. Army Major and intelligence officer. Paul was one of the five people trained as a prototype test subject in Ingo Swann’s psychic development of the Coordinate Remote Viewing (CRV) protocols in 1983. Paul was assigned to the unit from September 1983 through August of 1990. At that point he was reassigned to the 101st Airborne Division for Desert Storm because of his past experience as an Arabic linguist and Middle East specialist. In early 1986, he transitioned with the rest of the remote viewing unit from the Army to the Defense Intelligence Agency organization, serving full-time with the unit through the rest of the decade. He was the main author of what is known today as the ÒCRV ManualÓ which was written at the end of the CRV training contract with SRI to capture Ingo Swann’s training procedures for use with future CRV trainees. Though having previously demonstrated no natural psychic abilities, Paul experienced considerable success with the CRV methodology, and besides being a successful operational viewer, also became one of the most prominent of the CRV trainers. He is the author of the book “Reading the Enemy’s Mind: Inside Star Gate – America’s Psychic Espionage Unit” (Forge, 2005).
Ed Dames, One of the first five who were trained by Ingo Swann in the Coordinate Remote Viewing protocols. Quickly established a reputation for pushing CRV to extremes, with target sessions on Atlantis, Mars, UFOs, and aliens. Many in the unit despised him for this. Joe McMoneagle has expressed the opinion session feedback is required to learn CRV, and this could not be obtained when targeting such unverifiable locations. Eventually Mel Riley got so fed up with Ed, a fake session was arranged, when they described Santa coming over the North Pole in his sleigh. With his ever active imagination, Ed immediately deduced an object over the north pole was a nuclear attack, and was set to call the highest levels of the military, before he was informed of the prank. Internally, his reputation never recovered.
David Morehouse, Dames brought David Morehouse into the DIA’s Remote Viewing unit during its final days. David has a somewhat troubled past, and is primarily notable for producing a largely fictionalized account of the limited time he spent as a remote viewer called Psychic Warrior.