attempted legitimatization of Remote Viewing during the Cold War has
unfolded like a well conceived drama. But as is popularly known about
truth, it is sometimes stranger than fiction. And like all the journeys
that are perfect for our lives, we emerge from our sagas changed.
A sense of community grows from even the most unlikely kinds of sharing
and individuals. The department of intelligence Remote Viewing community
was no different. It came to be comprised of politicians and military
leaders who believed in the further reaches of human potential.
Even so, their enthusiasm was less about universality and egalitarianism
and instead more about maintaining order, control and the regulation
and manipulation of the world order.
Another human dimension added to this community was the hard scientist.
Accomplished and perhaps maverick thinkers who needed to explore the
phenomenon of exceptional human experiences of psi nature.
There were curious and otherwise bored members of the military intelligence
community who connected to the opportunity for change and excitement.
Finally there were the mystically inclined, who for the most part sensed
they had found a home. They had found a place to speak of and delve
into the curiosities that were themselves.
There were flamboyant personalities that quickly passed across the stage,
there were careers that emerged, and careers that crashed. The same
is true of friendships and marriages.
The community existed and worked even though it was beset with the rigidity
of egos, judgment, preferences, and the full range of human foibles
common to any community, and any person. Beneath the interest and excitement
of psi phenomenon there lived and breathed quite ordinary humans.
This is the theme of the collage' onto which all of the images of events
and persons of the Remote Viewing community are adhered for that nearly
three decade experience.
Once, Mel Riley, a Remote Viewer, facilitated an army general through
a Remote Viewing exercise that seemed to the general as having missed
the mark. Later, in an airplane, he recognized from that different vantage
point his earlier perspective of his target.
Perhaps this is appropriate as a metaphor. Its usefulness is quite universal.
Yet in terms of a group of persons studying Remote Viewing, it contains
a lesson about being watchful of discouragement. At the same time it
is a warning about quickly determining relevance and usefulness of outcomes.
While Hemi-Synch brainwave training at the Monroe Institute became available
to Remote Viewers for training in altered states of consciousness, simpler
devices were employed routinely.
Mel Riley's imagery for relaxing into a focused perceptive awareness
to begin Remote Viewing sessions was described like this: As he lay,
slowing his breathing, he imagined an empty open suitcase next to him.
Next to that was a heap of distractions and anxieties, which he loaded
piece by piece and also by the armload into the suitcase. Once packed
and closed he would not notice the suitcase or its contents for the
duration of the session.
The next part of his relaxing was to imagine the setting of a diving
episode. He would slip into beautiful sea water and begin a descent
toward the ocean floor.
He attempted to maintain a short distance above the sea floor, which
was analogous to sleep. Yet he wanted to be well below the active surface
level of the water, analogous to wakefulness.
While such an exercise was valuable, sometimes the Viewers simply had
to suddenly do the work, for instance demonstrating for military officers
or politicians. While Ingo Swann eventually developed a protocol for
training people who had not formerly recognized their psi potentials,
the Remote Viewing community was busy working among those with some
identifiable natural psi talent.
First Remote Viewing exercises, were generally those where a subject
person was dispatched to a location (out bounding) the Viewer was not
told of, yet expected to describe (called blind). Eventually Swann's
protocol called for the viewer to be blind to targets, and the person
monitoring (questioning, keeping Viewer focused) to be blind to the
target as well.
Ingo Swann believed the Monitor may unwittingly (or purposefully) frontload
a session by disclosure to the Viewer, or that Monitor and Viewer may
telepathically communicate either details or distortion as it regards
Those early members of the military's Remote Viewing community such
as Joe McMoneagle and Skip Atwater did not agree with Swann's rigid
approach. The working unit under Atwater's command was concerned with
reliability and accuracy of results, no matter how they were arrived
Atwater began to note that individual Viewers simply had idiosyncrasies
or particular talents. For instance McMoneagle noted certain kinds of
objects came to the imaginal bathed or enshrouded in a color or quality
He was particularly good at perceiving detail from highly technical
targets. Others were good at sketching or artistic rendering, while
some were able to take commands such as view left or right or directly
above, better than others.
Experiences mapping buildings seemed especially successful for Remote
Viewers. This was contrasted to recent, temporary, or moving targets
which were more difficult to "see" for reasons not clearly
Such tasks as locating missing persons also potentially carried high
emotional impact. For instance upon locating a person, the Viewer becomes
highly sensitized to the setting, and upon discovering the person to
be tortured or dead, the Viewer may become quite emotional.
The term Remote Viewing sounded more scientific and less parlor room
psychic. It was hoped such a term would evoke thinking of quarks and
the quantum world; and could make some distance from the spiritualist
movement the larger culture associated it with.
Yet, seeing things at a distance seems clairvoyant. At times other things
were tried as well. For instance, a Remote Viewing of a difficult interrogation
led to an attempt to telepathically communicate. When cross-telepathy
emerged as dialogue, what was happening was simply distance mind reading.
This is the kind of experience that led to cautioning dignitaries from
bringing gifts from foreign governments and placing them in prominent
places, for concern that objects would serve as homing beacons.
Carrying this idea further, it was believed missile silos could be made
more difficult for enemy Viewers to locate if inside they carried conflicting
thematic subjects; such as giant Mickey Mouse balloons as diversions.
Persons such as Joe McMoneagle came to Remote Viewing along a life path
of otherworldly experiences. He had an early life encounter with a ghost
like woman. In his visionary dream like state the woman predicted future
events of his life.
Along with a near-death experience, what he lived and described seems
akin to the dark night of the senses, the subject of ancient mystics.
For others, a mystical sense followed sessions of extended Remote Viewing.
Normal waking consciousness became modified by a sort of cognitive numbing,
and heightened sensorial awareness; bluer sky, greener grass.
Oracles, Seers, Psychics, and Prophets have been employed by ancient
Greeks and Hebrews; and have been consulted by governments and warriors
ever since. This includes the Czech army in the early 1900's, the Soviets,
and Hitler during WWII.
In the 1960's a French magazine published an article indicating the
U.S. had demonstrated successful telepathic communication with the Nautilus
submarine while submerged beneath the Artic ice cap.
Regardless of the veracity of the story, it spurred Khrushchev's Russia
into psi research, and some years later the Soviets claimed to have
replicated the Nautilus experiment.
The U.S. intelligence community maintained domestic and international
surveillance of psi work to determine if it would lead to an end in
superstition and chance, or if it led somewhere else.
Hal Puthoff, a respected physicist who also had formerly worked with
the NSA and held high government security clearance, was at the SRI,
and was curious about psi and quantum physics.
The counter-culture movement of the 60's and 70's was not hospitable
to the military-industrial think tank. Puthoff appeared to not hold
such moralistic high ground. It is in this social backdrop that Puthoff,
Russell Targ, and Ingo Swann accepted their commission to develop for
the military a repeatable psi phenomenon.
Swann was intensely curious, committed to understanding the inner and
under workings of the phenomenon of Remote Viewing. Much of his highly
repeated early work was performing Viewing tasks related to targets
and coordinates. An enigma of a man, Pat Price, entered the research
arena as a Viewer, and subject as well.
Along with Swann the two held common esoteric interests ranging from
past lives, UFO's and aliens; and very individualistic temperaments.
Price was very good as a Viewer, was aware that he was good at it, but
simply did not understand how it came to be.
He maintained a sense of humor in fact, perhaps to detach himself from
taking it all too seriously. He had a habit of wiping his glasses before
a session, so he could see better.
The famous psychic Uri Geller moved onto and off the stage, proving
to be nearly too flamboyant for the classified work in the secretive
Remote Viewing community. Before he fully left, his demonstrations made
lasting impressions; he was perhaps a harbinger of paranormal experience
for several people.
The Swann method was developed not merely to reduce the analytic "noise"
of waking consciousness, nor to increase the target imagery "signal,"
but to train Viewers and Monitors and analysts to know the difference.
The primitive right brain functions of sensory and spatial concerns
growing into working awareness are the sought effort of Remote Viewing.
Such awareness is subliminal, living, moving, working just beneath the
level of waking consciousness.
Analytical overlay (Aol) was a term to describe noise of consciousness.
When a Viewer would say "it seems like
" Or, "it
" such qualifying statements opened the gateway
of overlaying the imagery of the session with premature analysis.
Premature is a key word because such analysis in the end is useful.
But if the Remote Viewing session is seen as a process or structure,
analysis has a specific place. The sessions are noted by stages according
What essentially happens is the viewer begins with a trickle of information
that is described as flat, wide, tall; and built upon with a depth of
characteristic or quality, wet, hot, bubbling, gurgling, water, building
and so forth.
The work of the Viewer is to stay clear of conscious manipulation and
therefore distortion of the imagery. Meanwhile, the volume of information
from the target floods the mind. The Viewer continues to moves into
a deeper relationship with the imagery, smelling, hearing, and feeling
or reacting to subject impressions.
As awareness is more and more occupied with the subject, quiet analysis
may occur. Along the way, to name something analytic overlay, or aesthetic
impact, or emotional impact, helps to honestly note those times when
the session may potentially shift its direction or emphasis. This analysis
becomes realized by the Viewer fully, only after completion of the session.
Remote Viewing was put forth as scientific phenomenon by Targ and Puthoff.
They tested personalities, cognition, and performed many other physical
tests in an attempt to find what kind of human was most psi enabled.
Eventually they made some generalizations.
The most talented psychics were intelligent, intuitive, non-judgmental,
and emotionally sensitive. They were more easily prone to altered states
of consciousness and had imbalanced brain electrical activity. They
also tended to experiment with work or career and simply not be formed
into the world exactly like other people.
Generalizations were not the only product of their work, they were prolific
at paper writing and lecturing to the scientific community. Whereas
the Viewing came to be performed in gray rooms with little stimuli,
there was good reason for this.
Even a light could impose "after images" on the retina from
having seen bright spots. These could subsequently be processed and
affect imagery and the way it is perceived during the session.
While the military institutionalized and to that degree legitimatised
Remote Viewing, it was not created there. Others too had intellectually
considered the phenomenon, such as Upton Sinclair, some half-century
earlier. During the hey-day of the SRI there was other military and
civilian investigation as well.
Personalities clashed and often in unprofessional but very human ways.
While Swann developed a teachable protocol, and held a rigid ideology
concerning it, it is best to remember that his was only one philosophy,
Standing outside of the military's story perhaps we are about to begin
learning another story of Remote Viewing. Maybe this is a story that
wonders where the phenomenon can go when ideals of peace, justice, and
universality are held.
Where might this story go as our intention is set on our fullest soul
growth and expression, rather than on career or desire? The notion of
humans being the breathing pipe of the earth, or of humans being the
way spirit comes to earth is a delicate and sensitive view of our cosmic
Can understanding this as we explore and dance with phenomenon impact
our individual, collective, and wholly unified lives?
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