The Extended Eye

Down in the basement of a physics building at Stanford University, the tiniest flicker of the tiniest fragments of the world were being captured and measured.


The device required to measure the movement of subatomic particles resembled nothing so much as a three-foot hand mixer. The magnetometer was attached to an output device whose frequency is a measure of the rate of change of magnetic field.


It oscillated ever so slightly, grinding out its slowly undulating S-curve on an x–y recorder, a paper graph, with annoying regularity. To the untrained eye, quarks were sedentary: nothing ever changed on the graph. A non-physicist might look upon this gadget as something akin to a souped-up pendulum.

A Stanford physics student named Arthur Hebard had seen the superconducting differential magnetometer as a fitting post-doctoral occupation, applying for grant money to devise an instrument impervious to all but the flux in the electromagnetic field caused by any quarks which happened to be passing by. Nevertheless, to anyone who understood about measuring quarks, it was a delicate business.


It necessitated blocking out virtually all the endless electromagnetic chatter of the universe in order to hear the infinitesimal language of a subatomic particle. To accomplish this, the magnetometer’s innards needed to be encased in layer upon layer of shielding - copper shielding, aluminium casing, a superconducting niobium shield, even -metal shielding, a metal which specifically limits magnetic field.


The device was then buried in a concrete well in the floor of the lab. The SQUID (superconducting quantum interference device) was a bit of a mystery at Stanford - seen but not understood. No one had ever published its complex inner construction.

To Hal Puthoff, the magnetometer was a quackbuster. He looked upon it as the perfect test of whether there was such a thing as psychic power. He was open-minded enough to test whether psychokinesis worked, but not really convinced.


Hal had grown up in Ohio and Florida, but liked to say he was from Missouri - the Show Me state, the ultimate state of the skeptic. Show me, prove it to me, let me see how it works. Scientific principles were a comforting refuge for him, the best way he could get a handle on reality. The multiple layers of shielding erected around the magnetometer would present the ultimate challenge for Ingo Swann, the psychic, whose plane was arriving from New York that afternoon. He would spring the thing on Swann.


Just let him see if he could alter the pattern of a machine impervious to anything short of an atomic explosion.

It was 1972, the year before he’d begun working on his Zero Point Field theories, when Hal was still at SRI. Even at that time, before he’d thought about the implications of quantum zero-point fluctuations, Hal was interested in the possibility of interconnection between living things. But at this stage, he didn’t really have a focus, much less a theory.


He’d been dabbling in tachyons, or particles that travel faster than the speed of light. He’d wondered whether tachyons could explain some studies he’d come across showing that animals and plants had the ability to engage in some sort of instantaneous communication, even when separated by hundreds of miles or shielded by a variety of means. Hal had really wanted to find out whether you could use quantum theory to describe life processes.


Like Mitchell and Popp, he’d long suspected that everything in the universe on its most basic level had quantum properties, which would mean that there ought to be nonlocal effects between living things. He’d been kicking around an idea that if electrons had nonlocal effects, this might mean something extraordinary on a large scale in the world, particularly in living things - some means of acquiring or receiving information instantaneously.


At the time, all he had in mind to test this assumption was a modest study, mainly involving a bit of algae, which Bill Church was eventually persuaded to invest $10,000 in.

Hal had sent the proposal to Cleve Backster, a New York polygraph expert who’d been carrying out studies, just for fun, to see if plants register any ‘emotion’ - in the form of electrical signaling - on standard lie detector equipment, the same way humans do in response to stress.


These were the studies that had so fascinated Hal. Backster tried burning the leaf of a plant and then measured its galvanic response, much as he would register the skin response of a person being tested for lying. Interestingly enough, the plant registered the same increased-stress polygraph response as a human would if his hand had been burned.


Even more fascinating, as far as Hal was concerned, was that Backster had burned the leaf of a neighboring plant not connected to the equipment.


The original plant, still hooked up to the polygraph, again registered the ‘pain’ response that it had when its own leaves had been burned. This suggested to Hal that the first plant had received this information via some extrasensory mechanism and was demonstrating empathy. It seemed to point to some sort of interconnectedness between living things.1

The ‘Backster effect’ had also been seen between plants and animals. When brine shrimp in one location died suddenly, this fact seemed to instantly register with plants in another location, as recorded on a standard psychogalvanic response (PGR) instrument. Backster had carried out this type of experiment over several hundred miles and among paramecium, mold cultures and blood samples, and in each instance, some mysterious communication occurred between living things and plants.2


As in Star Wars, each death was registered as a disturbance in The Field.

Hal’s proposal for the algae experiments happened to be sitting on Back-ster’s desk the day that he’d been visited by Ingo Swann.


Swann, an artist, was mainly known as a gifted psychic, who’d been working on ESP experiments with Gertrude Schmeidler, a professor in psychology at City College in New York.3 Swann had rifled through Hal’s proposal and was intrigued enough to write to him, suggesting that if he were interested in looking at some common ground between the inanimate and the biological that he start doing some experiments in psychic phenomena.


Swann himself had done some work on out-of-body experiments and had got good results. Hal was deeply skeptical, but gamely took him up on his suggestion. He contacted Bill Church to see if he could change his study and use some of his grant money to fly Swann out to California for a week.

A short, chubby man with amiable features, Swann arrived dressed absurdly in a white cowboy hat with white jacket and Levis, like some visiting rock star. Hal grew convinced that he was wasting Bill Church’s money. Two days after Swann arrived, Hal took him down to the basement of the Varian Hall physics building.

Hal pointed to the magnetometer. He asked Ingo to attempt to alter its magnetic field. Hal explained that any alteration would show up in the output tape.

Ingo initially was disturbed by the prospect, as he’d never done anything like this before. He said he was first going to psychically peer into the innards of the machinery to get a better sense of how to affect it. As he did, the S-curve suddenly doubled its frequency for about 45 seconds - the length of Ingo’s time of concentration.

Could he stop the field change on the machine, which is indicated by the S-curve? Hal asked him.

Ingo closed his eyes and concentrated for 45 seconds. For the same length of time the machine’s output device stopped creating equidistant hills and valleys: the graph traced one long plateau. Ingo said he was letting go; the machine returned to its normal S-curve. He explained that by looking into the machine and concentrating on various parts, he was able to alter what the machine did.


As he spoke, the machine again recorded a double frequency and then a double dip - which Ingo said had something to do with his concentrating on the niobium ball inside the machine.

Hal asked him to stop thinking about it and chatted with him about other subjects for several minutes.


The normal S-curve resumed. Now concentrate on the magnetometer, Hal said. The tracing started furiously scribbling. Hal told him to stop thinking about it, and the slow S resumed. Ingo did a quick sketch of what he said he ‘saw’ as the design of the inside of the machine and then asked if they could stop as he was tired. For the next three hours, the machine’s output went back to its regular curves, monotonous and steady.

A group of graduate students who’d gathered around put the changes down to some strange and coincidental electromagnetic noise creeping into the system. As far as they were concerned, a readily explained blip had occurred. But then Hal had the drawing checked out by Hebard, the post-doctoral student who’d created the machine, and he said it was dead-on accurate.

Hal didn’t know what to make of it. It appeared that some nonlocal effect had occurred between Ingo Swann and the magnetometer. He went home and wrote a guarded paper on the subject and circulated it to his colleagues, asking them to comment on it. What he’d seen usually went by the name of astral projection or out-of-body experiences, or even clairvoyance, but he would eventually settle on a nice, neutral, non-emotive phrase for it: ‘remote viewing’.

Hal’s modest experiment launched him on a 13-year project, carried out in parallel with his Zero Point Field work, which sought to determine whether people could see things beyond any known sensory mechanism.


Hal realized he’d stumbled on some property of human beings that was not a million miles from what Backster observed - some instant connection with the unseen. Remote viewing seemed of a piece with the notion he’d been toying with about some sort of interconnection between living things. Much later, he would privately speculate about whether remote viewing had anything to do with the Zero Point Field.


For the moment, all he was interested in was whether what he’d seen was real and how well it worked. If Swann could see inside magnetometers, was it possible for him to see anywhere else in the world?

Inadvertently, Hal also launched America on the largest spy program ever attempted using clairvoyance. A few weeks after he’d circulated his paper, two blue-suited members of the Central Intelligence Agency arrived at his door, waving the report in hand.


The agency, they told him, was getting increasingly concerned about the amount of experiments the Russians were conducting into parapsychology funded by the Soviet security forces.4 From the resources they were pouring into it, it seemed as though the Russians were convinced that ESP could unlock all of the West’s secrets. A person who could see and hear things and events separated by time and space represented the perfect spy.


The Defense Intelligence Agency had just circulated a report, ‘Controlled offensive behavior - USSR’, which predicted that the Soviets, through their psychic research, would be able to discover the contents of top secret documents, the movements of troops and ships, the location of military installations, the thoughts of generals and colonels.


They might even be able to kill or shoot down aircraft from a distance.5


Many senior staff at the CIA thought it was high time that the US looked into it as well; the problem was that they were getting laughed out of most labs.


Nobody in the American scientific community would take ESP or clairvoyance seriously. It was the CIA’s view that if they didn’t, the Russians would probably gain an advantage that the US would never be able to overcome. The agency had been scouring around for a small research lab outside academia that might be willing to carry out a small, low-key investigation. SRI - and Hal’s current interest - seemed perfect for the job.


Hal even checked out as a good security risk since he’d had experience in intelligence in the Navy and had worked for the National Security Agency.

The men asked Hal to carry out a few simple experiments - nothing elaborate, perhaps just guessing objects hidden in a box. If they were successful, the CIA would agree to fund a pilot program. The two men from Washington later watched Swann correctly describe a moth hidden in the box. The CIA was impressed enough to throw nearly $50,000 at a pilot project, which was to last for eight months.

Hal agreed to continue with the box-guessing exercise and for several months he carried out trials with Ingo Swann, who managed to describe objects hidden in boxes with great precision - far more successfully than could have been achieved by simple guessing.

By that time, Hal had been joined by a colleague in laser physics called Russell Targ, who’d also pioneered development of the laser for Sylvania. It was probably no accident that another physicist interested in the effect of light through space would also be intrigued by the possibility that the mind could also breach vast distances. Like Hal, Targ also checked out as a good security risk for the classified operation because he’d been involved in security studies for Sylvania.


Tall and lanky at 6 foot 5, Russ had a shock of curly hair, which sat back on his forehead - a dark-haired Art Garfunkel to Hal’s sturdier Paul Simon. There the resemblance ended; anchored to Russ’s face was a pair of black Coke-bottle glasses. Targ had terrible vision and was considered legally blind. Even his glasses only corrected his sight to a fraction of normal. His poor outward vision may have been one reason why he saw pictures in his mind’s eye so clearly.

Targ had become interested in the nature of human consciousness from his hobby as an amateur magician. Many times up on the stage, he’d be performing some conjuring trick about his subject, taken from the audience, and although he’d have rigged the actual trick, he’d suddenly realize in the midst of it that he knew more information than he’d been told.


He might be pretending to guess a question about a location and suddenly a clear mental image of it would pop into his head. Invariably, his own internal picture would turn out to be accurate, which only enhanced his reputation as a magician, but left him with many questions about how this could possibly be happening.

It had been Ingo’s idea to try his hand at a real test of his powers - one that would more closely resemble how the CIA figured remote viewing ought to be used. He had the idea of using geographical coordinates as a quick, clean, non-emotive way to get to the spot. Both Puthoff and Targ were skeptical of such an idea. If they gave him coordinates and Swann guessed correctly, it might simply mean that he’d remembered a site on a map - he might have a photographic memory.

They made a few desultory attempts, and Swann was way off target. But then, after fifty attempts, Swann began to improve. By Swann’s 100th coordinate, Hal was impressed enough to get on the phone to Christopher Green, an analyst in the CIA’s Office of Scientific Intelligence, urging him to allow them to try a real test for the agency. Although Green was highly dubious, he agreed to give them a set of map coordinates of a place not even he knew anything about.

A few hours later, at Green’s request, a colleague named Hank Turner 6 produced a set of numbers on a sheet of paper. These represented extremely precise coordinates, down to the minutes and seconds of latitude and longitude, of a place that only Turner knew. Green took the paper and picked up the phone to call Hal.

Puthoff sat Swann down at a table at SRI and gave him the coordinates. As he puffed on a cigar, and alternated between closing his eyes and scribbling on a piece of paper, Swann described a burst of images: ‘mounds and rolling hills’, ‘a river over to the far east’, ‘a city to the north’.


He said it seemed to be a strange place,

‘somewhat like the lawns that one would find around a military base’.

He got the impression that there were ‘old bunkers around’, or it could simply be ‘a covered reservoir’.7

The following day, Swann tried again at home, and jotted down his impressions on a report which he’d brought in to Hal. Again, he got the impression that something was underground.

A few days later, Puthoff received a phone call from Pat Price, a building contractor from Lake Tahoe, who also raised Christmas trees. Price, who considered himself a psychic, had met Puthoff at a lecture and was calling now to offer his services in their experiments. A florid, wisecracking Irishman in his early fifties, Price said he’d been using his own version of remote viewing successfully for many years, even to catch criminals.


He’d served briefly as police commissioner in Burbank, a suburb of Los Angeles. Price would be in the dispatch room and as soon as a crime had been reported, he’d scan the city mentally. Once he settled on a place, he’d immediately send a car to the location in his mind. Invariably, he claimed, he’d caught his man, just at the spot he’d visualized.

On a whim, Puthoff gave Price the coordinates given to him by the CIA. Three days later, Hal received a package Price had posted the day after they’d spoken, containing pages of descriptions and sketches.


It was obvious to Puthoff that Price was describing the same place as Swann, but in far more detail. He offered a highly precise description of the mountains, the location of the place, and its proximity to roads and a town. He even described the weather. But it was the interior of one peak area that interested Price.


He wrote that he thought he saw an,

‘underground storage area’ of some variety which had been well concealed, perhaps ‘deliberately so’.

‘Looks like former missile site - bases for launchers still there, but area now houses record storage area, microfilm, file cabinets,’ he wrote.

He was able to describe the aluminum sliding doors, the size of the rooms and what they contained, even the large maps pinned on the wall.

Puthoff phoned Price and asked him to look again, to pick up any specific information, such as code names or the names of officers. He wanted to take this to Green and needed details to dispel any lingering disbelief. Price returned with details from one specific office: files named ‘Flytrap’ and ‘Minerva’, the names on labels on folders inside filing cabinets, the names of the colonel and majors who sat at the steel desks.

Green brought the information to Turner. Turner read their reports and shook his head. The psychics were totally off beam, he said. All he’d given him were the coordinates of the location of his summer cabin.

Green went away, puzzled by the fact that both Swann and Price had described so similar a place. That weekend, he drove out to the site with his wife. A few miles from the coordinates, down a dirt road, he found a government ‘No Trespassing’ sign. The site seemed to match the descriptions of both psychics.

Green began inquiring about the site.


Immediately he got embroiled in a heated investigation of a security breach. What Swann and Price had correctly described was a vast secret Pentagon underground facility in the Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia, manned by National Security Agency code breakers, whose main job was to intercept international telephone communications and control US spy satellites.


It was as though their psychic antennae had picked up nothing of note with the original coordinates and so scanned the area until they got on the wavelength of something more relevant to the military.

For months, the NSA was convinced that Puthoff and Targ, and even Green himself, were being provided this information from some source within the facility. Puthoff and Targ were checked out as security risks and their friends and associates questioned as to their communist leanings. Price only managed to calm down the agency by throwing it a bone: detailed information about the Russian counterpart to the NSA’s secret site, operated by the Soviets in the northern Ural Mountains.

After the West Virginia episode, CIA officials at the highest levels were convinced enough to try a real test in the field. One day, one of the contract monitors came to SRI with the geographical coordinates of a Soviet site of great concern to the agency.


All Russ and Hal were told was that the site was an R&D test facility.8

Price was the one they wanted to test. Targ and Price headed up to the special room, housed on the second-floor of the Radio Physics building - which had been electrically shielded with a double-walled copper screen, which would block a remote viewer’s ability if it were generated by a high-frequency electromagnetic field.


Targ started the tape. Pat removed his wire-rim glasses, leaned back in his chair, took a crisp white linen handkerchief from his pocket, polished his glasses, then closed his eyes, and only spoke after a full minute.

‘I am lying on my back on the roof of a two- or three-storey brick building,’ he said dreamily. ‘It’s a sunny day. The sun feels good. There’s the most amazing thing. There’s a giant gantry crane moving back and forth over my head... As I drift up in the air and look down, it seems to be riding on a track with one rail on each side of the building. I’ve never seen anything like that.’ 9

Pat went on to sketch the building layout and paid particular attention to what he kept describing as a ‘gantry crane’.

After two or three days, once they’d finished the work on that site, Russ, Hal and Pat were astonished to hear that they’d had been asked about a suspected PNUTS, which is CIA-code for a Possible Nuclear Underground Testing Site. This place was driving the agency crazy. Everything in America’s intelligence arsenal was being thrown at this spot, to find out what on earth was going on inside.


Pat’s drawing turned out to be extremely close to satellite photos, even down to a cluster of compressed-gas cylinders.

Pat didn’t stop at the outside of the building. His descriptions included what was going on inside. He saw images of workers attempting, with great difficulty, to assemble a massive 60-foot metal globe by welding together metal gores, shaped like wedges of fruit. However, the pieces were warping and Pat believed they were attempting to find material they could weld at lower temperatures.

No one in the government had any idea of what was going on inside the facility and Pat died a year later.


Nevertheless, two years later, an Air Force report was leaked to Aviation Week magazine about the CIA’s use of high-resolution photographic reconnaissance satellites, which finally confirmed Pat’s vision. The satellites were being used to observe the Soviets digging though solid granite formations.


They’d been able to observe enormous steel gores being manufactured in a nearby building.

‘These steel segments were parts of a large sphere estimated to be about 18 meters (57.8 feet) in diameter’, said the Aviation Week article.

‘US officials believe that the spheres are needed to capture and store energy from nuclear driven explosives or pulse power generators. Initially, some US physicists believed that there was no method the Soviets could use to weld together the steel gores of the spheres to provide a vessel strong enough to withstand pressures likely to occur in a nuclear explosive fission process, especially when the steel to be welded was extremely thick.’10

When Pat’s drawings matched the satellite photos so well, the CIA assumed the nuclear spheres he saw must be manufactured for atomic bombs, and one assumption after another led the Reagan Administration to dream up what became known as the Star Wars program.11


Many billions of dollars later, it turned out to be a curve ball. Semipalatinsk, the site Pat had seen, wasn’t even a military installation. The Russians indeed were trying to develop nuclear rockets, but for their own manned Mars mission. All the rockets were to be used for was fuel.

Pat Price couldn’t tell the American government what Semipalatinsk was used for, and he died before he could warn them off Star Wars. But for Targ and Puthoff, the Semipalatinsk sighting meant more than just a bit of psychic spying. This gave them some vital evidence about how remote viewing worked. Here was evidence of an individual who could take geographical coordinates anywhere in the world and directly see and experience what was going on there, even at a site that no one in the US had any knowledge of.

But was any distance too far? The other amazing experiment was conducted with Ingo Swann. Swann was also interested in testing their assumption that a human beacon needed to be present at a site for a remote viewer to pick it up. He had a bold suggestion - a test that might strain all his skills. Why didn’t he try to view the planet Jupiter, just before the upcoming NASA Pioneer 10flyby launch?

During the experiment, Swann was embarrassed to admit that he’d seen - and drawn - a ring around Jupiter. Perhaps, he told Puthoff, he’d just mistakenly directed his attention toward Saturn. No one was prepared to take the drawing seriously, until the NASA mission revealed that Jupiter indeed had a ring at the time.12

Swann’s experiment demonstrated that no individual needed to be present and also that humans could, in effect, ‘see’ or gain access to information at virtually any distance - something that Ed Mitchell had also found with his card tests when traveling to and from the moon.

Puthoff and Targ wanted to create a scientific protocol for remote viewing.


Gradually they moved away from coordinates to places. They created a box file which contained 100 target sites - buildings, roads, bridges, landmarks - within half an hour of SRI, from the San Francisco Bay area to San Jose. All were sealed and prepared by an independent experimenter and locked in a secure safe. An electronic calculator programmed to choose numbers randomly would be used to select one of the target locations.

On the day of the experiment, they’d closet Swann or Price in the special room.


One of the experimenters, usually Targ, because of his bad eyesight, would remain behind with Swann. Meanwhile, Hal and one of the other program coordinators would pick up the sealed envelope and head off to the target location, which was not disclosed to either the volunteer or Targ. Hal acted as the ‘beacon’ of focus - they’d wanted to use someone familiar to Swann or Price whom they could tune in on when attempting to find a mundane location.


At the agreed start time, and for the next 15 minutes, Swann was asked to attempt to draw and describe into a tape recorder any impressions of the target site. Targ also would be ignorant of the location of the target team, so that he’d be free to ask questions without fear of inadvertently cueing Swann on the right answer.


As soon as the target team returned, they would take the remote viewer to the target site, so that he’d get direct feedback of the accuracy of what he thought he’d seen. Swann’s track record was astonishing. In test after test, he had a high accuracy in correctly identifying his target.13

With time, Price took over as chief remote viewer. Hal and Russ underwent nine trials with him, following their usual double-blind protocol of sealed target spots near Palo Alto - Hoover Tower, a nature preserve, a radio telescope, a marina, a toll plaza, a drive-in movie theater, an arts and crafts plaza, a Catholic church and a swimming pool complex. Independent judges concluded that Price had scored seven hits out of the nine.


In some cases, like the Hoover Tower, Price even recognized it and correctly identified it by name.14 Price was noted for his incredible accuracy and also his ability to ‘see’ through the eyes of his traveling partner.


One day, when Puthoff traveled to a boat marina, Pat shut his eyes, and when he opened them, blurted out,

‘What I’m looking at is a little boat jetty or boat dock along the bay...’15

Hal even tested Pat on detail. He sent Green, the CIA boss, up in a small aircraft with three numbers on a piece of paper inside his breast pocket.


Numbers and letters were known to be almost impossible to remote view accurately. Nevertheless, there was Pat Price ticking them off, even in order. He only complained of feeling a bit seasick and drew a picture of a kind of special cross, which he’d had the image of swinging back and forth, making him ill. It turned out that Green was wearing an ankh, an ancient Egyptian cross matching Price’s drawing, around his neck, and the necklace must have been swinging wildly during the ride.16

Although the results of Price and Swann had been impressive, the Agency wanted to convince itself that this was not simply the work of the highly gifted or, even worse, an elaborate conjuring trick.


A couple of the CIA contract monitors asked if they could try their hand at it. This appealed to Hal, who’d wanted to see whether ordinary individuals could carry out remote viewing. Each was invited to participate in three experiments, and both improved with practice. The first scientist correctly identified a child’s merry-go-round and a bridge, and the second correctly picked up a windmill.


Of the five experiments, three were direct hits and one a near miss.17

When the CIA’s test studies worked, Puthoff and Targ began gathering up ordinary volunteers, some naturally gifted, but unpracticed in remote viewing, some not. In late 1973 and early 1974, Puthoff and Targ selected four ordinary people, three of them SRI employees and one a photographer named Hella Hammid, a friend of Targ’s. Hammid, who’d never been involved in psychic research before, turned out to be a natural at remote viewing.


In five of nine targets, Hella scored direct hits, as determined by independent judges.18

Hal needed to go to Costa Rica for business, so he decided to use the trip to act as a long-distance target. On each day of his trip, he would keep a detailed record of his location and activities at precisely 1:30 p.m. Pacific daylight time. At the same time, Hella or Pat Price would be asked to describe and draw where Dr Puthoff was every day at that time.

One day, when neither Hella nor Pat showed up, Targ stood in their place as the remote viewer. He got a strong sense that Puthoff was at an ocean or beach setting, even though he knew that Costa Rica is primarily a mountainous country. Although dubious about his accuracy, he described an airport and airstrip on a sandy beach with an ocean at one end. At that moment, Hal had taken an unplanned diversion to an offshore island. At the designated time, he was just getting out of a plane at a tiny island airport.


In every regard, save one, Targ described and drew the airport accurately.


The only small error had to do with his drawing of the airport; he’d drawn a building looking like a Quonset hut, when in fact the building was rectangular. During the rest of his trip, Hammid and Price correctly identified when Hal was relaxing round a pool or driving through a tropical forest at the base of a volcano. They were even able to identify the color of his hotel rug.19

Hal gathered together nine remote viewers in total, mostly beginners with no track record as psychics, who performed in total over fifty trials. Again, an impartial panel of judges compared targets with transcripts of subject descriptions. The descriptions may have contained some inaccuracies, but they were detailed and accurate enough to enable the judges to directly match description with target roughly half the time - a highly significant result.

As a backup method of judging the accuracy of the viewing, Hal then asked a panel of five SRI scientists not associated with the project to blind-match unedited, unlabeled typed transcripts and drawings made by the remote viewers with the nine target sites, which they visited in turn. Between them, the judges came up with twenty-four correct matches of transcript with target site, against an expected five.20

By degrees, Puthoff and Targ were turning into believers. Human beings, talented or otherwise, appeared to have a latent ability to see anywhere across any distance.


The most talented remote viewers clearly could enter some framework of consciousness, allowing them to observe scenes anywhere in the world. But the inescapable conclusion of their experiments was that anyone had the ability to do this, if they were just primed for it - even those highly skeptical of the entire notion.


The most important ingredient appeared to be a relaxed, even playful, atmosphere which deliberately avoided causing anxiety or nervous anticipation in the viewer. And that was all, other than a little practice. Swann himself had learned over time how to separate signal from noise - somehow divining what was his imagination from what was clearly in the scene.

Puthoff and Targ had tackled remote viewing as scientists, creating a scientific method for testing it. Brenda Dunne and Robert Jahn refined this science even further. This was a natural progression for them. One of the first to replicate the SRI work had been Brenda Dunne, while an undergraduate at Mundelein College and later as a graduate student of the University of Chicago, before her move to Princeton.21


Dunne’s forte, once the field again, had been ordinary volunteers, not gifted psychics. In eight studies using two students with no gift for psychic ability, she demonstrated that her participants could be successful in correctly describing target locations. Once she joined Princeton, remote viewing also became included in PEAR’s agenda.

Jahn and Dunne were mainly worried about the great likelihood that these sorts of studies would be vulnerable to sloppy protocols and data-processing techniques or deliberate or inadvertent ‘sensory cueing’ by either participant. Determined to avoid any of these weaknesses, they were painstaking in study design. They came up with the latest subjective way of measuring success - a standardized checklist.


Besides describing the scene and drawing a picture, the remote viewer would be asked to fill in a form of thirty multiple-choice questions about the details of the scene, which attempted to give flesh to the bones of his or her description.


Meanwhile, the person at the remote site would also fill in the same form, in addition to taking photos and making drawings. On many occasions, the target site was selected by one of the REG machines and handed in a sealed envelope to the traveler, to be opened away from PEAR; on other occasions, the traveling participant might choose a target site only after he or she was at a remote site unknown to anybody back at Princeton.

When the traveler returned, a member of the PEAR staff would enter the data into a computer, which would compare checklists for the traveler and remote viewer, and also compare these lists with all others in the database.

In total, Jahn and Dunne performed 336 formal trials involving 48 recipients and distances between traveler and remote viewer of between 5 and 6000 miles, and worked out a highly detailed mathematical analytical assessment to judge the accuracy of the results. They even determined individual probability scores for arriving at the right answer by chance. Nearly two-thirds were more accurate than could be accounted for by chance.


The overall odds against chance in the PEAR’s complete remote viewing database was one billion to one.22

One possible criticism was that most of the remote viewing pairs knew each other. Although some sort of emotional or physiological bond between the participants seemed to improve the scores, good results were also achieved when the traveler and remote viewer were virtual strangers.


Unlike the initial SRI studies, no one was chosen because of a gift for telepathy. Furthermore, better scores were obtained when the traveling participants were randomly assigned their sites from a large pool of possibilities, rather than spontaneously selecting it themselves. This made it unlikely that any common knowledge between the pairs of participants improved the scores.

Jahn, as well as Puthoff, realized that nothing in the current theories of biology or physics could account for remote viewing. The Russians had maintained that clairvoyance operated through some sort of extremely-low-frequency (ELF) electromagnetic wave.23


The problem with this interpretation is that in many of the experiments, the viewers had been able to see a site as a moving video, as if they had been there on the scene.


This meant that this phenomenon operated beyond a conventional ELF frequency. Furthermore, using the special double-walled, copper-screened room, which would block even low-frequency radio waves, didn’t tarnish anyone’s ability to pick up the scene or degrade any of the descriptions, even those of events thousands of miles away.

Puthoff went on to test the ELF hypothesis by conducting two of their studies from a Taurus submarine, a tiny five-person vehicle made by the International Hydrodynamics Company Ltd (HYCO) of Canada. Several hundred feet of sea water is known to be an effective shield for all but the very lowest frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum.


The remote viewer - usually Hammid or Price - traveled in the submarine 170 meters under the surface near Catalina Island, off the coast of Southern California, while Hal and a government contract monitor picked out a target from a pool of target locations near San Francisco. At the designated time, they went to the site and stayed for 15 minutes.


At this point, Hammid or Price would try to describe and draw what her or his partner was looking at 500 miles away.

In both cases, they’d correctly identified the target site - a tree on a hilltop in Portola Valley and a shopping mall in Mountain View. This made it highly unlikely that the channel of communication was electromagnetic waves, even of extremely low frequency. Even the very low 10 Hz brain waves would be blocked in 170 metres of water. The only waves that wouldn’t be blocked were quantum effects. As every object absorbs and re-radiates the Zero Point Field, the information would be re-emitted back through the other side of the water ‘shield’.

Puthoff and Targ did have a few clues about the peculiar characteristics of remote viewing. For one thing, each of the SRI remote viewers appeared to have his or her own signature. Orientation appeared to match a person’s tendencies in other regards; a sensory remote viewer would also view with his or her senses in person.


One might be particularly good at mapping out the site and describing the architectural and topographical features; another would concentrate on the sensory ‘feel’ of the target; yet another would focus on the behavior of the target experimenter, or describe what he was feeling and seeing, as though he was somehow transported and able to see out of the target person’s eyes.24


Many of the viewers operated in ‘real time’ as though they were somehow there, experiencing the scene from their target subject’s point of view. When Hal was swimming in Costa Rica, they saw the scene from his perspective; if he was distracted by a scene other than the central one he was visiting at the time, then so were they. It was as though they operated with the senses of two people - their own and the person on the scene.

The signals were acting as though they’d been sent through some low-frequency bit channel. The information in their experiments was received in bits and often imperfectly.


Although the basic information came through, sometimes the details were a little blurred. Usually, the scene was flipflopped, so that the subject would see the reverse, as though looking at the scene through a mirror. Targ and Puthoff had wondered whether this might have to do with the ordinary activity of the visual cortex, as they understood it.


The conventional view was that the cortex takes in a scene in reverse, and the brain corrects this by switching the scene. In this instance, the sight isn’t being viewed by the eyes, but the brain still performs its reverse correction of the scene. That is where the similarity with ordinary brain activity ended. Many of the remote viewers had been able to change their perspective, particularly when gently urged to do so by their monitor, so they could move around heights and angles at will, or zoom in for a close up, like a video camera on a crane.


With Pat’s first remote viewing of the secret Pentagon site, he’d begun his viewing from 1500 feet up to take the scene in as a whole and then zoomed in for closer detail.

The worst thing a remote viewer could do was to interpret or analyze what he saw. This tended to color his impressions as the information was still filtering through, and invariably, he would guess wrong. Based on that guess, he would begin to interpret other items in the scene as being likely companions to the interpreted main image. If one viewer thought he saw a castle, he’d begin looking for a moat.


His expectation or imagination would take the place of the receiving end of the channel.25


There was no doubt that information came through spatially and holistically in flashes of images. As with the phenomena studied by PEAR and Braud, this sensory channel appears to make use of the unconscious and nonanalytic part of the brain. As Dunne and Jahn had found with their REG machines, the left brain is the enemy of The Field.

Remote viewers were exhausted when they finished and also overwhelmed by a kind of sensory overload when they returned to the here and now. It was as though they’d entered into some super consciousness, and once they’d come out of it, the world was more intense. The sky was bluer, sounds were louder, everything more deliciously real. It was as if, in tuning in to those barely perceptible signals, their senses had been turned to maximum. Once they rejoined the world, ordinary volume bombarded them with sight and sound.26

Hal began to think about how remote viewing might be possible. He didn’t want to attempt a theory.


Like most scientists, he hated woolly speculation. But there was no doubt that at some level of awareness, we had all information about everything in the world. Clearly, human beacons weren’t always necessary. Even a set of coordinates could take us there. If we could see remote places instantaneously, it argued strongly that it was a quantum, nonlocal effect.


With practice, people could enlarge their brain’s receiving mechanisms to gain access to information stored in the Zero Point Field. This giant cryptogram, continually encoded with every atom in the universe, held all the information of the world - every sight and sound and smell. When remote viewers were ‘seeing’ a particular scene, their minds weren’t actually somehow transported to the scene.


What they were seeing was the information that their traveler had encoded in quantum fluctuation. They were picking up information contained in The Field. In a sense, The Field allowed us to hold the whole of the universe inside us. Those good at remote viewing weren’t seeing anything invisible to all the rest of us. All they were doing was dampening down the other distractions.

As every quantum particle is recording the world in waves, carrying images of the world at every moment, at some profoundly deep quantum level, something about the scene - a target individual or map coordinates - is probably acting like a beacon.


A remote viewer picks up signals from the target individual and the signal carries an image that is picked up by us at a quantum level. To all but the experienced and the gifted, like Pat Price, this information is received imperfectly, in reverse or in incomplete images, as if something were wrong with the transmitter. Because the information is received by our unconscious mind, we often receive it as we would in a dream state, a memory or a sudden insight - a flash of an image, a portion of the whole.


Price’s success with the Russian site and Swann’s success with Jupiter suggest that any sort of mnemonic, such as a map or cipher, can conjure up the actual place. As an idiot savant has access to impossible calculations in an instant, perhaps the Zero Point Field enables us to hold an image of the physical universe inside ourselves, and under certain circumstances we open our bandwidths wide enough to glimpse a portion of it.

The SRI remote viewing program (later housed at the Science Applications International Corp, or SAIC) carried on for twenty-three years, behind a wall of secrecy that is still erected.


It had been funded entirely by the government, first under Puthoff, then Targ and finally Edwin May, a burly nuclear physicist who’d carried out other intelligence work before. In 1978, the Army had its own psychic spying intelligence unit in place, code-named Grill Flame, possibly the most secret program in the Pentagon, manned by enlisted men who’d claimed some talent in psychic phenomena.


By the time of Ed May’s tenure, a who’s who of scientists consisting of two Nobel laureates and two chairs of department at universities, all chosen for their skepticism, sat on a government Human Use and Procedural Oversight committee. Their task was to review all of the SRI remote viewing research, and to do so they were given unannounced drop-in privileges to SAIC, to guard against fraud.


All concluded that the research was impeccable, and half actually felt the research demonstrated something important.27


Nevertheless, to this day, the American government has released only the Semipalatinsk study, one tiny portion of a mountain of SRI documents, and then only after a relentless campaign by Russell Targ.28

At the close of the program in 1995, a government-sponsored review of all the SRI and SAIC data, carried out by Jessica Utts, a statistics professor at the University of California at Davis, and Dr Ray Hyman, a skeptic of psychic phenomena, agreed that the statistical results for remote viewing phenomena were far beyond what could have occurred by chance.29


As far as the US government was concerned, the SRI studies gave America a possible advantage over Russian intelligence. But to the scientists themselves, these results represented far more than a chess maneuver in the Cold War.


It seemed to suggest that because of our constant dialogue with the Zero Point Field, like de Broglie’s electron, we are everywhere at once.

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