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Remote Viewing or Perception
On June 18, 1925, a Czechoslovakian psychic named Brêtislav Kafka asked a group of people whom he had trained to be clairvoyant to ‘see’ what was happening to an expedition on its way to the North Pole (1). Explorer Roald Amundsen was attempting to fly over the pole, a feat which had not yet been realized.
Safely in the town of Krásno and Becva in Czechoslovakia, the group applied an ability now known as remote viewing to determine the status of Amundsen’s efforts. “There is a terrible fog and a strong wind at the Pole,” they said. “No one from the expedition has gotten here yet. The storm is too severe to reach the Pole by air.”
Two days later, they heard that Amundsen had not been successful as they had determined. Later, Amundsen did manage to fly over the North Pole with a total of six crew members packed into one plane. A second plane had been damaged and was not part of the triumphant feat.
During World War II, Kafka and his trained band of psychics kept apprised of the war’s progress by remote viewing. Kafka would command a psychic to tell what he ‘saw’ happening at the front, while another member of his team would have the same order. The clairvoyants were unaware of what their teammates had reported. According to Ostrander and Schroeder (1), the reports usually agreed and Kafka had a “good indication” of what was happening hundreds of miles away. It is interesting to me that the authors do not discuss what Kafka’s role was, if any, in WWII, and what uses the information gleaned from his psychics were put.
Somewhat later, in the 1970’s, the CIA became interested in remote viewing and initiated a program at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) founded by Harold E. Puthoff. In an excellent article published in 1976, Puthoff and Targ (2) reported a multitude of startling results. The data accumulated from over 50 experiments concluded that remote viewing, the ability to view “by means of innate mental processes remote geographical or technical targets” was not dependent or affected by distance and that the information reported by the subjects were non-analytic in nature such as shape, form, color and material as opposed to the analytical aspects like function, names or numbers.
Interestingly enough, the purpose of the research was not to confirm or dispute the phenomenon of remote viewing, but to study it and its possible application for reconnaissance.
The term ‘remote viewing’ was coined by Ingo Swann (3), who has long been considered the ‘Father of Remote Viewing’. Swann was an important aspect of Puthoff’s work and trained people who were as “psychic as rocks” to undergo training to develop remote viewing techniques. Of all the articles on paranormal abilities that I have researched, this is the first to state that the power can be learned. There are even several articles available on EzineArticles.com that discuss training and being trained as a remote viewer (4-6). Paul Smith on the International Remote Viewing Association’s web-site states that remote viewing is not as much as “psychic phenomenon” but an “imposed discipline or skill that helps the viewer to facilitate or ‘harness’ his or her own innate, underlying psi abilities” (7).
Puthoff and Targ concluded that the difference between the experienced and inexperienced ‘percipients’ as the remote viewers were designated was the reliability of the results rather than the exhibition of the ability (2). A natural propensity toward the psychic phenomenon seems to be required to enhance reliability of one’s ability.
Robert Jahn, who would soon become involved in the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) program, documented extensive replications of the Puthoff work in the Chicago area by Dunne and Bisaha from 1976-1979 (8). Several of the earlier aspects of Puthoff’s research were confirmed, such as distance between subject and percipient not a factor and the more aesthetic aspects are more accurately perceived as opposed to the analytical details.
One more interesting characteristic was the time that the percipient viewed the remote location did not have to coincide with the time the subject was actually at the locale. Perceptions of the target site were obtained hours or even days before the subject visited the site or even before the selection of the target. The yield was at least as successful as those tests conducted in real time.
In a later article, Jahn with Dunne expands that aspect to include retrocognition (the ability to see past events) as well as precognition, still independent of the time interval. This was discussed as part of the PEAR program’s report in the Journal of Scientific Exploration (9).
However, in their pursuit to develop criteria to define and even quantify data received from remote viewing, the ability appeared to diminish. As part of the previous experiments at SRI, a similar response was also noted (2). Since paranormal perception is a natural ability, the percipients and the researchers would prefer to see the power improve rather than decrease. This ‘decline effect’ has been studied extensively by Dr. Charles Tart at the University of California. He considered repetitious tasks such as guessing cards as a “classic technique for deconditioning any response”, a “technique for extinguishing psychic functioning in the laboratory.
Another notable observation from the SRI experiment was that motion was rarely detected even if the agents were standing next to the moving objects, such as a train crossing a railroad trestle target, although static objects were correctly identified (2).
At the time of the seventies’ experiments, SRI obviously could not disclose the involvement of the CIA. Throughout Puthoff’s paper, there are references to “government visitors”. However in 1995, the CIA declassified and approved documents for release, revealing their sponsorship of the remote viewing research. On the website remoteviewing.com, Puthoff expands on the scope of the experiments that included remote viewing of site in the Soviet Union (10). A percipient was given map coordinates complete with degrees, minutes, and seconds, but was told only that the target was a research and development facility. The percipient produced drawings of a building layout and a “multistory gantry crane” at the site. The results were sufficiently promising enough for the CIA to continue experimentation.
Despite the fact that the remote viewing experiments showed “statistically significant results”, its use in “intelligence gathering was not warranted” (10). The CIA’s ‘laissez faire’ stance has not deterred researchers from continuing to examine the phenomenon. Moddell at the University of Colorado has shown that remote viewing and other paranormal abilities obey the second law of thermodynamics: The entropy of a closed system cannot decrease as time progresses (11). However, his research and a follow-up paper on causation and retrocausation (12) are beyond the scope of this article.
In conclusion, remote viewing or remote perception is still a subject of intense research and study. Unlike other psi phenomenon such as telepathy and telekinesis, a person can be trained to be a percipient and learn the techniques of remote viewing. Martha C. Lawrence broached the subject in “Ashes of Aries” (13) when her sleuth Elizabeth Chase, who had been trained in remote viewing techniques, mentions rather coldly that a friend of hers was involved in the SRI project and used for the government’s “dubious ends”. Although a work of fiction, Lawrence’s remarks are truthful, since the plethora of information available thanks to the Internet reveals that even the CIA saw the advantages of remote viewing. Perhaps with the end of the Cold War and the continued scoffing of psi research by the scientific community has caused the CIA to distance itself from the program. Whatever the reason, remote viewing is seen by many as a very real scientific fact with very real applications.
1. S. Ostrander, L. Schoeder,. Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain, Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1970.
2. H. E. Puthoff, R. Targ, A Perceptual Channel for Information Transfer over Kilometer Distances: Historical Perspective and Recent Research, Proceedings of the IEEE, Vol. 67, No. 3, March 1976, pp 329-354.
4. G. O’Donnell, http://www.ezinearticles.com/?Scientific-Explanations-For-Remote-Viewing&id=395039
5. T. Shafir, http://www.ezinearticles.com/?Remote-Viewing—Making-Light-of-the-Dark&id=21273
6. M. Tyler, http://www.ezinearticles.com/?Remote-Viewing—Tips-From-An-Experienced-Viewer&id=535201
7. P. H. Smith, http://irva.org/papers/WhatisRV.html
8. R. G. Jahn, The Persistent Paradox of Psychic Phenomena: An Engineering Perspective, Proceedings of the IEEE, Vol 70, No. 2, Feb. 1992, pp 136-170.
9. R. G. Jahn and B. J. Dunne, The PEAR Proposition, J Scientific Exploration, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 195-245, 2005.
10. H. E. PUthoff, CIA-Initiated Remote Viewing at Stanford Research Institute, http://www.remoteviewing.com
11. G. Moddel, Entropy and Subtle Interactions, J Scientific Exploration, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 293-306, 2004.
12. G. Moddel, Entropy and Information Transmission in Causation and Retrocausation, FRONTIERS OF TIME: Retrocausation – Experiment and Theory. AIP Conference Proceedings, Volume 863, pp. 62-74, 2006.
13. M. C. Lawrence, Ashes of Aries, St. Martin’s Press, 2001.
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