From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|Claims||Believers say anyone can use paranormal ability to see hidden, distant locations using extra-sensory perception.|
|Related scientific disciplines||Physics, biology, psychology|
|Original proponents||Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff|
|Subsequent proponents||Ingo Swann, Russell Targ, Joseph McMoneagle, Paul H. Smith, Ed Dames, David Morehouse, Courtney Brown, and Daz Smith|
Typically a remote viewer is expected to give information about an object, event, person or location that is hidden from physical view and separated at some distance. The term was coined in the 1970s by physicists Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff, parapsychology researchers at Stanford Research Institute, to distinguish it from clairvoyance. 
Remote viewing was popularized in the 1990s following the declassification of documents related to the Stargate Project, a $20 million research program sponsored by the US government starting from 1975 in order to try to determine any potential military application of psychic phenomena. The program was terminated in 1995 after it failed to produce any useful intelligence information.
Early backgroundThe study of psychic phenomena by major scientists started in the mid-nineteenth century. Early researchers included Michael Faraday, Alfred Russel Wallace, Rufus Osgood Mason, and William Crookes. Their work predominantly involved carrying out focused experimental tests on specific individuals who were thought to be psychically gifted. Reports of apparently successful tests were met with much skepticism from the scientific community.
In the 1930s J. B. Rhine expanded the study of paranormal performance into larger populations, by using standard experimental protocols with unselected human subjects. But, as with the earlier studies, Rhine was reluctant to publicize this work too early because of the fear of criticism from mainstream scientists.
This continuing skepticism, with its consequences for peer review and research funding, ensured that paranormal studies remained a fringe area of scientific exploration. However, by the 1960s, the prevailing counterculture attitudes muted some of the prior hostility. The emergence of New Age thinking and the popularity of the Human Potential Movement provoked a mini-renaissance that renewed public interest in consciousness studies and psychic phenomena and helped to make financial support more available for research into such topics.
In the early 1970s Harold E. Puthoff and Russell Targ joined the Electronics and Bioengineering Laboratory at Stanford Research Institute (SRI). In addition to their mainstream scientific research work on quantum mechanics and laser physics, they initiated several studies of the paranormal. These were initially supported with funding from the Parapsychology Foundation and the newly formed Institute of Noetic Sciences.
One of the early experiments, lauded by proponents as having improved the methodology of remote viewing testing and as raising future experimental standards, was criticized as leaking information to the participants by inadvertently leaving clues. Some later experiments had negative results when these clues were eliminated.
US government-funded researchFrom World War II until the 1970s the US government occasionally funded ESP research. When the US intelligence community learned that the USSR and China were conducting ESP research, it became receptive to the idea of having its own competing psi research program. (Schnabel 1997)
In 1972 Puthoff tested remote viewer Ingo Swann at SRI, and the experiment led to a visit from two employees of the CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology. The result was a $50,000 CIA-sponsored project. (Schnabel 1997, Puthoff 1996, Smith 2005) As research continued, the SRI team published papers in Nature, in Proceedings of the IEEE (Puthoff & Targ, 1976), and in the proceedings of a symposium on consciousness for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (Puthoff, et al., 1981).
The initial CIA-funded project was later renewed and expanded. A number of CIA officials, including John N. McMahon (then the head of the Office of Technical Service and later the Agency's deputy director) became strong supporters of the program.
In the mid 1970s sponsorship by the CIA was terminated and picked up by the Air Force. In 1979 the Army's Intelligence and Security Command, which had been providing some taskings to the SRI investigators, was ordered to develop its own program by the Army's chief intelligence officer General Ed Thompson. CIA operations officers, working from McMahon's office and other offices, also continued to provide taskings to SRI's subjects. (Schnabel 1997, Smith 2005, Atwater 2001)
In 1984 remote viewer Joseph McMoneagle was awarded a legion of merit for determining "150 essential elements of information...producing crucial and vital intelligence unavailable from any other source".
Unfortunately, the viewers' advice in the "Stargate project" was always so unclear and non-detailed that it has never been used in any intelligence operation. Despite this, SRI scientists and remote viewers have claimed that a number of "natural" psychics were crucial in a number of intelligence operations. The most famous claimed results from these years were the description of "a big crane" at a Soviet nuclear research facility by Joseph McMoneagle, a description of a new class of Soviet strategic submarine by a team of three viewers which included McMoneagle,(Smith 2005, McMoneagle 2002) and Rosemary Smith's location of a downed Soviet bomber in Africa. By the early 1980s numerous offices throughout the intelligence community were providing taskings to SRI's psychics, (Schnabel 1997, Smith 2005) but the collaboration never resulted in useful intelligence information.
Decline and terminationIn the early 1990s the Military Intelligence Board, chaired by DIA chief Soyster appointed Army Colonel William Johnson to manage the remote viewing unit and evaluate its objective usefulness. Funding dissipated in late 1994 and the program went into decline. The project was transferred out of DIA to the CIA in 1995.
In 1995 the CIA hired the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to perform a retrospective evaluation of the results generated by the Stargate Project. Reviewers included Ray Hyman and Jessica Utts. Utts maintained that there had been a statistically significant positive effect, with some subjects scoring 5%-15% above chance. Hyman argued that Utts' conclusion that ESP had been proven to exist, "is premature, to say the least." Hyman said the findings had yet to be replicated independently, and that more investigation would be necessary to "legitimately claim the existence of paranormal functioning." Based upon both of their studies, which recommended a higher level of critical research and tighter controls, the CIA terminated the 20 million dollar project in 1995. Time magazine stated in 1995 that three full-time psychics were still working on a $500,000-a-year budget out of Fort Meade, Maryland, which would soon be shut down.
The AIR report concluded that no usable intelligence data was produced in the program. David Goslin, of the American Institute for Research said, "There's no documented evidence it had any value to the intelligence community."
UK government researchIn 2001–2002 the UK Government performed a study on 18 untrained subjects. The experimenters recorded the E field and H field around each viewer to see if the cerebral activity of successful viewings caused higher-than-usual fields to be emitted from the brain. However, the experimenters did not find any evidence that the viewers had accessed the targets in the data collection phase, the project was abandoned, and the data was never analyzed since no RV activity had happened. Some "narrow-band" E-fields were detected during the viewings, but they were attributed to external causes. The experiment was disclosed in 2007 after a UK Freedom of Information request.
PEAR's Remote Perception programFollowing Utts' emphasis on replication and Hyman's challenge on interlaboratory consistency in the AIR report, the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Lab conducted several hundred trials to see if they could replicate the SAIC and SRI experiments. They created an analytical judgment methodology to replace the human judging process that was criticized in past experiments, and they released a report in 1996. They felt the results of the experiments were consistent with the SRI experiments.
In 2007 the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Lab laboratory was closed, in part due to lack of funding.
Scientific studies and claimsA variety of scientific studies of remote viewing have been conducted. Some earlier, less sophisticated experiments produced positive results but they had invalidating flaws. None of the more recent experiments have shown positive results when conducted under properly controlled conditions. This lack of successful experiments has led the mainstream scientific community to reject remote viewing, based upon the absence of an evidence base, the lack of a theory which would explain remote viewing, and the lack of experimental techniques which can provide reliably positive results. It is also considered a pseudoscience.
According to psychologist David Marks in experiments conducted in the 1970s at the Stanford Research Institute, the notes given to the judges contained clues as to which order they were carried out, such as referring to yesterday's two targets, or they had the date of the session written at the top of the page. Dr. Marks concluded that these clues were the reason for the experiment's high hit rates.
Marks has also suggested that the participants of remote viewing experiments are influenced by subjective validation, a process through which correspondences are perceived between stimuli that are in fact associated purely randomly. Details and transcripts of the SRI remote viewing experiments themselves were found to be edited and even unattainable.
The information from the Stargate Project remote viewing sessions was vague and included a lot of irrelevant and erroneous data, it was never useful in any intelligence operation, and project managers changed the reports so they would fit background cues.
According to James Randi, controlled tests by several other researchers, eliminating several sources of cuing and extraneous evidence present in the original tests, produced negative results. Students were also able to solve Puthoff and Targ's locations from the clues that had inadvertently been included in the transcripts.
Professor Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, and a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) has pointed out several problems with one of the early experiments at SAIC, including information leakage. However, he indicated the importance of its process-oriented approach and of its refining of remote viewing methodology, which meant that researchers replicating their work could avoid these problems. Wiseman later insisted there were multiple opportunities for participants on that experiment to be influenced by inadvertent cues and that these cues can influence the results when they appear.
Psychologist Ray Hyman says that, even if the results were reproduced under specified conditions, they would still not be a conclusive demonstration of the existence of psychic functioning. He blames this on the reliance on a negative outcome—the claims on ESP are based on the results of experiments not being explained by normal means. He says that the experiments lack a positive theory that guides as to what to control on them and what to ignore, and that "Parapsychologists have not come close to (having a positive theory) as yet". Ray Hyman also says that the amount and quality of the experiments on RV are way too low to convince the scientific community to "abandon its fundamental ideas about causality, time, and other principles", due to its findings still not having been replicated successfully under careful scrutiny.
Science writer Martin Gardner and others describe the topic of remote viewing as pseudoscience. Gardner says that founding researcher Harold Puthoff was an active Scientologist prior to his work at Stanford University, and that this influenced his research at SRI. In 1970, the Church of Scientology published a notarized letter that had been written by Puthoff while he was conducting research on remote viewing at Stanford. The letter read, in part: "Although critics viewing the system Scientology from the outside may form the impression that Scientology is just another of many quasi-educational quasi-religious 'schemes,' it is in fact a highly sophistical and highly technological system more characteristic of modern corporate planning and applied technology." Among some of the ideas that Puthoff supported regarding remote viewing was the claim in the book Occult Chemistry that two followers of Madame Blavatsky, founder of theosophy, were able to remote-view the inner structure of atoms.
Various skeptic organizations have conducted experiments for remote viewing and other alleged paranormal abilities, with no positive results under properly controlled conditions.
Recent researchIn 2002, Michael Persinger, cognitive neuroscientist and professor at Laurentian University, published a study into remote viewing which suggests positive results. He studied the remote viewing accuracy of remote viewer Ingo Swann, as measured by a group of ratings of congruence (between Swann's drawings and the locale being 'viewed') by 40 experimentally blind participants during stimulation with complex magnetic fields using a circumcerebral (around the head) eight-channel system. In 2010, Persinger (et al.) published a report of his work with the psychic Sean Harribance, reporting that blind-rated accuracies in his psychic insights correlated with specific Quantitative Electroencephalography profiles; specifically, congruence between activity over the left temporal lobe of those being 'read' by Mr. Harribance and his right temporal lobe. "The results indicate even exceptional skills previously attributed to aberrant sources are variations of normal cerebral dynamics associated with intuition and may involve small but discrete changes in proximal energy."
Selected RV study participants
- Ingo Swann, one of the prominent research participants of remote viewing. He wrote a book about his experience:
- Kiss the Earth Good-bye: Adventures and Discoveries in the Nonmaterial, Recounted by the Man who has Astounded Physicists and Parapsychologists Throughout the World by Ingo Swann, Hawthorne Books, 1975
- Pat Price, one of the early remote viewers
- Russell Targ, cofounder of the investigation at Stanford Research Institute into psychic abilities in the 1970s and 1980s
- Joseph McMoneagle, one of the early remote viewers. See: Stargate Project
- Courtney Brown, founder of the Farsight Institute
- David Marks, the critic of remote viewing, after finding sensory cues and editing in the original transcripts generated by Russell Targ and Hal Puthoff at Stanford Research Institute in the 1970s
- Uri Geller, was the subject of a study at by Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff at Stanford Research Institute
- Leonard Zusne, Warren H. Jones (1989). Anomalistic psychology: a study of magical thinking. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. p. 167. ISBN 0-8058-0508-7.
- Search for the Soul by Milbourne Christopher, Thomas Y. Crowell, 1979
- Joe Nickell (March 2001), "Remotely Viewed? The Charlie Jordan Case", Skeptical Inquirer
- The Arlington Institute Presents Harold E. Puthoff
- "An Evaluation of Remote Viewing: Research and Applications" by Mumford, Rose and Goslin "remote viewings have never provided an adequate basis for ‘actionable’ intelligence operations-that is, information sufficiently valuable or compelling so that action was taken as a result (...) a large amount of irrelevant, erroneous information is provided and little agreement is observed among viewers' reports. (...) remote viewers and project managers reported that remote viewing reports were changed to make them consistent with know background cues (...) Also, it raises some doubts about some well-publicized cases of dramatic hits, which, if taken at face value, could not easily be attributed to background cues. In at least some of these cases, there is reason to suspect, based on both subsequent investigations and the viewers' statement that reports had been "changed" by previous program managers, that substantially more background information was available than one might at first assume."
- Time magazine, 11 December 1995, p.45, The Vision Thing by Douglas Waller, Washington
- Hyman R, "Parapsychological Research: A Tutorial Review and Critical Appraisal", Proceedings of the IEEE, Vol 74 No 6, pp 823–849, June 1986.
- Wade N, "Psychical Research: the Incredible in Search of Credibility", Science, 181, July 13, 1973, pp 138–143.
- SRI International is now an independent research institute, unconnected with Stanford University.
- Wiseman, R. & Milton, J. (1999). "Experiment one of the SAIC remote viewing program: A critical re-evaluation. A reply to May." (PDF). Journal of Parapsychology 63 (1): 3–14. Retrieved 2008-06-26.
* Obtained from listing of research papers on Wiseman's website
- Randi & Clarke, An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural "Remote viewing" definition "The data of Puthoff and Targ were reexamined by the other researchers, and it was found that their students were able to solve the locations without use of any psychic powers, using only the clues that had inadvertently been included in the Puthoff and Targ transcripts."
- Puthoff, 1996. Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 63-76
- Nature 251, 602-607 (18 October 1974)
- Puthoff & Targ, 1976. A perceptual channel for information transfer over kilometer distances: Historical perspective and recent research, Proceedings of the IEEE, March 1976, Volume: 64 Issue:3, page(s): 329 - 354 
- H. E. Puthoff, R. Targ and E. C. May, "Experimental Psi Research: Implications for Physics," in The Role of Consciousness in the Physical World, edited by R. G. Jahn, AAAS Selected Symposium 57, Westview Press, Boulder, 1981
- Edwin C. May, "The American Institutes for Research Review of the Department of Defense's STAR GATE Program", Journal of Parapsychology. 60. 3-23. March 1996. Also in published as  Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 89-107, 1996
- Sergei Nechiporuk (2004-12-06). "CIA's remote viewers initiated quest for WMD in Iraq. Extrasensory agents helped the CIA arrest KGB spies and detect secret objects in the USSR". Pravda.
- Reading the Enemy's Mind: Inside Star Gate, America's Psychic Espionage Program by Paul H. Smith, Tom Doherty, 2005, p.100
- An assessment of the evidence for psychic functioning Julia Utts
- Hyman, Ray. "Evaluation of a Program on Anomalous Mental Phenomena". Journal of Society for Scientific Exploration Volume 10: Number 1: Article 2. Society for Scientific Exploration. Archived from the original on June 3, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-24.
- "Remote Viewing". UK's Ministry of Defence. June 2002, disclosed in 2007-02-23. p. 94 (page 50 in second pdf).
- "Precognitive Remote Perception: Replication of Remote Viewing" (PDF). Journal of Scientific Exploration (Society for Scientific Exploration) 10 (1): 109–110. 1996. Archived from the original on 2008-04-07. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
- Carey, Benedict (2007-02-06). "A Princeton Lab on ESP Plans to Close Its Doors". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-08-03.
- Marks, D.F. & Kammann, R. (1978). "Information transmission in remote viewing experiments", Nature, 274:680–81.
- Wiseman, R. & Milton, J. (1999). "Experiment One of the SAIC Remote Viewing Program: A critical reevaluation" (PDF). Journal of Parapsychology 62 (4): 297–308. Retrieved 2008-06-26.
* Obtained from listing of research papers on Wiseman's website
- Gardner, Martin (2000). Did Adam and Eve have navels? : debunking pseudoscience. New York: W.W. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-32238-5.
- "A comprehensive review of major empirical studies in parapsychology involving random event generators or remote viewing" by Alcock, J.
- Marks, D.F. (2000). The Psychology of the Psychic. Amherst, New York:Prometheus Books.
- "The Psychology of the Psychic" by David Marks and Richard Kamman, Prometheus Books. Amherst, New York, 2000, 2nd edition.
* note: 1st edition, 1980, does not contain all of this information
* Book review of 2nd edition: James Alcock (January–February, 2002). "Even better the second time 'round. . - book review" (– Scholar search). Skeptical Inquirer. Archived from the original on May 15, 2006. Retrieved 2008-06-26. [dead link]
- Flim Flam by James Randi, Prometheus books, New York, 1987, 9th printing
- "Because even if Utts and her colleagues are correct and we were to find that we could reproduce the findings under specified conditions, this would still be a far cry from concluding that psychic functioning has been demonstrated. This is because the current claim is based entirely upon a negative outcome – the sole basis for arguing for ESP is that extra-chance results can be obtained that apparently cannot be explained by normal means. But an infinite variety of normal possibilities exist and it is not clear than one can control for all of them in a single experiment. You need a positive theory to guide you as to what needs to be controlled, and what can be ignored. Parapsychologists have not come close to this as yet." – Ray Hyman, The Evidence for Psychic Functioning: Claims vs. Reality Skeptical Inquirer, March/April 1996 
- "What seems clear is that the scientific community is not going to abandon its fundamental ideas about causality, time, and other principles on the basis of a handful of experiments whose findings have yet to be shown to be replicable and lawful." – Ray Hyman, The Evidence for Psychic Functioning: Claims vs. Reality Skeptical Inquirer, March/April 1996
- Bennett, Gary L. (NASA, Washington, DC) (1994). "Heretical science – Beyond the boundaries of pathological science" (PDF). IN:Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, 29th, Monterey, CA, Aug 7–11, 1994, Technical Papers. Pt. 3 (A94-31838 10–44) (Washington, DC: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics). pp. 1207–1212. ISBN AIAA-1994-4003 Check
- Persinger, MA; Roll, WG; Tiller, SG; Koren, SA; Cook ., CM (2002). "Remote viewing with the artist Ingo Swann: neuropsychological profile, electroencephalographic correlates, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and possible mechanisms.". Perceptual and Motor Skills. 94 (3 Pt1): 927–949. PMID 12081299.
- Hunter, Matthew; Mulligan, Bryce P; Dotta, Blake; Saroka, Kevin; Lavallee, Christina; Koren, Stanley; Persinger, Michael (2010). "Cerebral Dynamics and Discrete Energy Changes in the Personal Physical Environment During Intuitive-Like States and Perceptions". Journal of Consciousness Exploration & Research 1 (9): 1179–1197.
- Mind Trek: Exploring Consciousness, Time, and Space Through Remote Viewing by Joseph McMoneagle, Hampton Roads, Publishing Co., Inc., 1997
- Edward A. Dames, Tell Me What You See: Remote Viewing Cases from the World's Premier Psychic Spy. Wiley, 2010. ISBN 9780470581773
- David Marks, Ph.D., "The Psychology of the Psychic (2nd edn.)" Prometheus Books, 2000. ISBN 1-57392-798-8
- Courtney Brown, Ph.D., Remote Viewing : The Science and Theory of Nonphysical Perception. Farsight Press, 2005. ISBN 0-9766762-1-4
- David Morehouse, Psychic Warrior, St. Martin's, 1996, ISBN 0-312-96413-7
- Jim Schnabel, Remote Viewers: The Secret History of America's Psychic Spies, Dell, 1997, ISBN 0-440-22306-7
- Paul H. Smith, Reading the Enemy's Mind: Inside Star Gate—America's Psychic Espionage Program, Forge, 2005, ISBN 0-312-87515-0
- Ronson, Jon, The Men who Stare at Goats, Picador, 2004, ISBN 0-330-37547-4, written to accompany the TV series The Crazy Rulers of the World  The military budget cuts after Vietnam and how it all began.
- Buchanan, Lyn, The Seventh Sense: The Secrets Of Remote Viewing As Told By A "Psychic Spy" For The U.S. Military, ISBN 0-7434-6268-8
- F. Holmes Atwater, Captain of My Ship, Master of My Soul: Living with Guidance, Hampton Roads 2001, ISBN 1-57174-247-6
- McMoneagle, Joseph, The Stargate Chronicles: Memoirs of a Psychic Spy, Hampton Roads 2002, ISBN 1-57174-225-5
- Targ, Russell & Puthoff, Harold, Information transmission under conditions of sensory shielding, Nature 251, 602-607 (18 October 1974) doi:10.1038/251602a0 Letter0
- International Remote Viewing Association
- "Seeing is Believing", Fortean Times visits the Monroe Institute, a remote viewing laboratory
- "Scientific Remote Viewing", article at CSICOP
- "Remote Viewing", entry on Skeptics Dictionary.
- "Remote viewing" Study for U.K. Ministry of Defence 2001–2002, obtained through Freedom of Information Act
- "Visual History Map" A complete visual map of remote viewing History and its participants
- The Truth About Remote Viewing: The psychic technique of remote viewing is consistent with simple, well known magic tricks., Skeptoid
- The Arlington Institute Presents Dr. Harold (Hal) Puthoff