How Did Remote Viewing Begin?

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Here’s a little briefing about how controlled Remote Viewing started:

Remote viewing (RV) did not spring into existence overnight. Its earliest ancestors can be traced back thousands of years to the days of the early Greeks and beyond. But RV’s most direct precursors date from the 1930’s, beginning with experiments in clairvoyance under conscientious scientists like J.B. Rhine.

Research into telepathy and “thought transference” by notables such as Upton Sinclair (described in his book Mental Radio) and Rene Warcollier (Mind to Mind), together with investigations into out-of-body states contributed further to developments that would eventually produce remote viewing.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, out-of-body experiments were conducted in New York City by researchers at the American Society for Psychical Research. One of the subjects of these experiments was Ingo Swann, an artist and student of the paranormal who had come to New York years before from Colorado. Tiring of the standard research protocols, Swann suggested a number of changes in and improvements to the experiments, which among other things led to a successful series of attempts to mentally describe the current weather in various cities around the US. After Ingo’s descriptions, the weather conditions in these cities were verified by a phone call to a weather station or other reliable authority.

These experiments suggested to others that something unusual to current understanding was involved by the “remotely viewed” locations and objects otherwise inaccessible to direct human perception. The results were provocative and underscored the value of further research.

In 1972 Dr. Hal Puthoff, a physicist at SRI-International, a California-based research institute that had been spun off from Stanford University, expressed his interest to a researcher in New York in conducting research into a form of non-conventional communications. The New York researcher was an acquaintance of Swann’s, which fact eventually led to Swann and Puthoff getting together to conduct an experiment that ultimately attracted attention and funding from the Central Intelligence Agency.

Research physicist Russell Targ soon joined Swann and Puthoff at SRI, forming the core of a team that researched and refined understanding of what had now become known as “remote viewing.” For the next two decades most remote viewing research was funded by the government and performed in secret. But a few less-secretive sources also provided support, and a limited amount of non-classified information about RV was published.

In the mid-’70s government support for the growing RV program moved from the CIA to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), as well as certain other military organizations. Subsequent experiments and research explored the edges of what remote reviewing could do and tried to improve quality and consistency of the results.

In 1978 the US Army created a unit to use RV operationally in collecting intelligence against foreign adversaries. This program continued under Army sponsorship until 1986, when the operational and research arms of the government remote viewing program were combined under the leadership of DIA. In about 1991 DIA renamed the program “Star Gate.”

By this time, the research part of the program had itself been transferred from SRI to Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), and was directed by Dr. Edwin May, who had replaced Hal Puthoff in 1985 when Puthoff moved to assume directorship of the Institute of Advanced Studies in Austin, TX.

Concurrent with the government RV program, civilian researchers were exploring phenomena related to remote viewing. Some of these were replications of SRI’s experiments, while others followed complementary avenues of research. Most prominent of the latter were Charles Honorton‘s “Ganzfeld” techniques, and the “remote perception” experiments conducted at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Laboratory. Civilian applications were being explored as well.

In 1995, an act of Congress transferred responsibility for the Star Gate program from DIA back to CIA. That fall, the CIA declassified portions of the program and released a controversial research report purporting to show that remote viewing was not useful as an intelligence collection tool. By the time this document was released, the CIA had already terminated the remote viewing program.

In the years since the 1995 closure of the government program, a number of persons previously associated with it have gone public by publishing books, giving media interviews, and/or offering training commercially in remote viewing methodology.

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New York artist and subject in many psychic experiments.

Swann served in the US Army from 1955-8, primarily serving in the Far East and Korea. I don’t know the nature of his service, but he describes his work as being with the highest echelons of the military, and he retained a Top Secret clearance from his tour of duty.

From 1958-68, he worked in the Secretariat of the United Nations. After leaving to pursue a career in writing and art, he became involved in a circle of parapsychologists.

He has been a longtime friend of Robert Monroe of the Monroe Institute, and began working with Cleve Backster in September, 1971.

“At some point, I don’t remember when exactly, Backster mentioned something along the following lines:
‘Boy, are the guys down at the CIA going to be interested in you.'”
(Swann, Ingo, Remote Viewing – The Real Story! Insider Tales of America’s Superpsychic Spies, 1996)

Ingo Swann heard about Hal Puthoff’s proposal to study the basis of life processes through Cleve Backster. Swann wrote Puthoff (3/30/72) and suggested that he research psychic abilities. Swann met with Puthoff in June, 1972 (Targ, Russell and Puthoff, Harold E, Mind-Reach, Delacorte Press, 1977, pg 18-9).

Swann then became the subject for a series of remote viewing studies with Puthoff and Russell Targ at SRI

Swann came to California on 6/4/72, and came to SRI two days later, when he allegedly telekinetically perturbed a shielded magnetometer. (Schnabel, Jim, Remote Viewers: The Secret History of America’s Psychic Spies, Dell, 1997, pg 88-9)

Swann returned to SRI in October, when he did some clairvoyance tests. Some of these tests were observed by two CIA agents, who set up a eight month pilot program with SRI. Swann began this contract a few days before Christmas, 1972.
(Schnabel, 1997, pg 97-99)

Swann left SRI in mid-august, 1973, when the CIA contract ran out. Reportedly, he left angry, and vowed never to return.
(Schnabel, 1997, pg 127-8)

After leaving SRI, Swann did some work with the American Society for Psychical Research and the Maimonides Dream Laboratory. He also worked for Bill Keeler, chairman of Philips Petroleum, to try to find oil deposits. After Pat Price left SRI, Swann returned in the fall of 1974 as a consultant, with the incentive of more money and creative freedom.
(Schnabel,1997, pg 173-4)

Through the late 1970s and early 80s, Swann developed a strict protocol for remote viewing, which he used to train new Center Lane recruits in 1983. In the summer of 1984, Swann moved this training course to New York. (Schnabel, 1997, pg 305) According to author John Wilhelm, Swann was a Scientologist, at OT Level VII, the highest level at the time. Reportedly, Swann helped establish Scientology’s “Celebrity Center” in Los Angeles. (Wilhelm, John, “Psychic Spying?”, Washington Post 8/7/77, B1)

According to Peter Tomkins and Chirstopher Bird, Swann “attributes his success to techniques he learned in Scientology”. (Tompkins, Peter and Bird, Christopher, The Secret Life of Plants, Harper and Row, 1973, pg 29)

Swann and Puthoff attended the First International Congress on Psychotronic Research in Prague, Czechoslovakia.

“Ingo was there to present a paper on the Scientology paradigm as model for developing and exploring paranormal abilities.” (Targ, Russell and Puthoff, Harold E, pg 42)

This paper is entitled “Scientological Techniques: A Modern Paradigm for the Exploration of Consciousness and Psychic Integration” in Proceedings of the First International Congress on Psychotronic Research (Virginia: U.S. Joint Publications Research Service, 9/6/74, Document No. JPRS L/5022-1)

Swann had previously stated that he would never work for intelligence agents for fear of his life (Uri Geller has made similar statements). He has recently stated that Puthoff never told him of the CIA sponsorship of the SRI studies until 12/29/95, but that it was common knowledge around the lab. (Swann, Ingo, “The Emergence of Project ‘SCANATE'”)

“In 1983, Ingo Swann, under the direction of Dr. Harold Puthoff at SRI, realized a breakthrough, i.e., he developed an accurate model of how the collective unconscious communicates (target) information to conscious awareness. Swann believed that the ability to remote view, like language, is an innate faculty – a birthright – but must be learned to be effective.

 

Swann’s model provided a rigid set of instructions which theoretically allowed anyone to actually be trained to produce accurate, detailed target data. To test the model, the Army sent Major [Ed] Dames and five others to Swann as a prototype trainee group.” Swann parted with this group in late 1983.
(“Ed Dames Sets the Record Straight”)

Friends with Rep. Charlie Rose. (Schnabel, Jim, 1997, pg 271) Swann left the program in 1988. He can be reached care of Thomas Burgin at thomasb@mindspring.com.

Author of:

  • Remote Viewing – The Real Story! (Insider Tales of America’s Superpsychic Spies): work in progress, but the entire text is online!
  • Here is a collection of statements by Swann after the remote viewing “flap” of 1995.
  • Your Nostradamus Factor, Simon & Schuster, 1993
  • Star Fire
  • Natural ESP
  • To Kiss the Earth Goodbye

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