TIFLIS, GEORGIA - 1919
There's an old saying that big things often begin in small ways, and
sometimes in places where nothing is expected to begin at all.
There is a good deal of truth in this. But I'll add one more facet to it -- that it often depends on WHOM the small thing happens to, and then upon what they and others do about it.
In 1919 a small thing happened in a place which was in the middle of a cultural nowhere if judged by complacent European and American standards. Much the same kind of thing often happens elsewhere and throughout the world -- and is usually explained away, forgotten or ignored.
However, the small thing happened to a certain young man who did something about it.
And, as far as can be determined, what that small thing grew into eventually became the reason why the greatest force in the world, the American intelligence community, was ultimately compelled to do something it otherwise would never have considered doing.
As of 1919, the concept of long-distance telepathy was not new -- for it had been demonstrated and studied in England and Europe since about 1880.
The phenomenon was otherwise called "mental radio," and interest in it had caused a sensation reaching even into the United States -- where, by the way, the very idea outraged most American scientists and academic philosophers.
Even so, had not the Great War (World War I) intervened, it is quite possible that the history of developmental telepathy would have been considerably more progressive.
But the Great War did intervene, and all creative efforts of the Western world turned to dealing with its horrors.
And when the Great War was over in 1919, people wanted to forget the past which now seemed out-dated and begin history anew with fresh ideas not connected with it. Mental radio belongs to that past.
The concept of mental radio hung on here and there, especially as a science fiction topic. But nothing was really done about it in terms of how to enhance and utilize it.
One major reason for this was that the concept of telepathy implied that some aspect of human brain could transcend the laws of physical space.
This implication conflicted with the dominant concepts of Western science. Those concepts did not permit transfer of information across distances except by physical means.
No physical sending-receiving equipment could be found in the human bio-anatomy or brain.
And so mental radio was Out of the picture, and politically incorrect as well.
Out of the picture in the West, that is -- in England, Europe and the United states.
But the West often forgets that it is not the entire world, and that there is vital activity elsewhere.
And elsewhere in the world, too, are different people -- who might think differently about things, and do different things in ways not thought of or even permitted in the West.
One such different person was Bernard Bernardovich Kazhinski who, in 1919, was a young student living and studying in the city of Tiflis in the south-eastern European country of Georgia -- which is found bordering on the Black Sea and next to Turkey.
The beautiful country of Georgia is also to the south of Russia where, in 1917, the Russian Revolution had taken place and ended up putting Vladimir Ilyich Lenin in complete totalitarian power.
Lenin soon adopted policies of "expansionism." And in 1923, Georgia was to be added to the newly forming Soviet Empire as the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic -- and Tiflis was thenceforth to be called Tbilisi.
But still back in 1919, the young Kazhinski had an experience -- essentially one of those small things many experience but quickly forget about, and it was because of that experience that a set of novel circumstances was shortly to arise.
During August his best friend fell ill of a fatal disease diagnosed as typhus. On the night of the friend's death crisis, Kazhinski was suddenly awakened out of his sleep by a noise that sounded like a silver spoon striking a glass. In vain he looked in his room for what might have caused this sound.
The next afternoon he learned his friend had died during the night. Arriving at his friend's house to pay his respects he noticed a glass with a silver spoon in it on the table next to the bed in which his friend had died and on which the corpse was laid out.
Seeing him studying those objects, the dead man's mother burst anew into tears. She explained that she had been about to give her son his medicine. But at the very moment she put the spoon to his lips he had died -- and she had dropped the spoon back into the empty glass.
When the mother demonstrated just how she had done this, Kazhinski heard the exact sound that had awakened him at the very moment his friend had died -- even though their mutual homes were a mile apart.
Kazhinski was very moved -- but excited, too.
How was it possible that the tone had communicated to him across such a distance and awakened him from sleep?
Here we now encounter one of those small things which result in big ones, in this case a very big one.
Certainly similar phenomena and resulting questions regarding telepathy had already interested earlier psychical researchers in the West before World War I -- and much has been published along those lines.
Unfortunately, it is not recorded whether Kazhinski was familiar with the early Western research. It's reasonable to assume that he may have been somewhat familiar, and certainly the East European countries and Russia had long-standing "psychic" traditions and interests of their own.
But it's equally reasonable to assume that he may not have been very familiar. He was still a young student, and his age was against him having become thoroughly familiar with Western telepathy research.
As it was to be, he never emulated Western psychic research concepts or patterns nor those of parapsychology which arose in the mid-1930s. And so if he was familiar with any of those concepts, he, as well as others, must have rejected them on theoretical principles.
In any event, on that August day of 1919, Bernard Kazhinski, in his own words, "vowed" he "would solve" the mystery of what had linked his own perceiving mind with the minds of the mother and his dying friend.
In this, Kazhinski was not then unlike others elsewhere in the world. For many had encountered such mysteries, and many had tried to explain them and how they were possible.
Here I will interject a subtle aspect which will go unnoticed if I do not, one which is very important to this entire tale.
Years later I was asked to give an analysis of Kazhinski and what was known of his work from open and classified documents made available to me.
One of the observations I made was that there was a great difference between solving and explaining things. Things can be "explained" in many different ways, often to suit the preconceived notions of those doing the explaining.
Solving, however, requires an entirely different approach -- largely searching for and approaching in the direction of the discoverable facts.
The concept that something needs solving implies that one has accepted that something HAS happened which needs solving -- and that one is no longer burdened with the wobbly questioning whether it has really happened or not.
This wobbly questioning is entirely characteristic of the conventional Western approach to psi phenomena. Apparently it never did influence Kazhinski and others in the Soviet Union.
In any event, the mandates of solvers and explainers are entirely different -- and that Kazhinski (and others like him) was a solver may account for why he proceeded differently.
In order to fulfill his vow, Kazhinski began to study the human nervous system under the famous scientist Alexander Vassilievitch Leontivich.
His studies clearly focused not only on the biological and cellular nature of the nervous system, but also on its electrical nature. For Kazhinski was later to be styled as an "electro-technologist" specializing in studying the electrical nature of the human nervous system.
It is well worth noting here that the electrical nature of the human nervous system did not in the West become even a somewhat accepted scientific topic until the 1980s.
By 1923, Kazhinski had collected facts and had come to the conclusion that the human nervous system IS capable of reacting, by means unknown, to stimuli not accessible to the normal five senses.
Be pleased here to note ANOTHER subtle factor which distinguished Kazhinski's work from Western concepts regarding psi.
Kazhinski refers to the human nervous system which is capable of reacting. He DOES NOT refer to the MIND -- as is typically done in Western psychology, psychiatry and parapsychology.
He is thus referring to whole bio-body response, not to the mind which Westerners conceive of as seated in the central organ, the brain.
In 1923, the year that Georgia was invaded and taken over by Lenin's troops, Kazhinski published his findings in a book entitled THOUGHT TRANSFERENCE.
And now truly begins the astonishing series of circumstances which ultimately were to assail the American intelligence community.
The research leading up to Kazhinski's book had already interested a number of Soviet scientists.
Among those were the important Leningrad physiologist, Vladimir M. Bekhterev (who had established the Leningrad Brain Institute), and his granddaughter, Natalia P. Bekhtereva (who later was to direct her grandfather's important Institute).
Another young student, later to become a virtual icon in the Soviet sciences, named Leonid I. Vasiliev, was also soon to be interested in Kazhinski's work.
Vasiliev was later to publish his own seminal book entitled EXPERIMENTS IN DISTANT INFLUENCE. This ground-breaking book first appeared in Moscow only in 1962, but it was based in secret work on-going since the 1920s.
It was the 1960s appearance of this particular book which, rather humorously, first set off a few alarm bells in the American intelligence community -- after, of course, it's implication has been rather slowly digested and comprehended. DISTANT influence? What the hell does THAT mean?
Up until then, the American intelligence community had paid scant or no attention to what had gotten underway as a result of the small Tiflis Event in 1919.
Now, in the mid-1960s, however, certain American intelligence analysts began scrambling to sort out a very strange course of Soviet science events they had laughed at before or had just simply ignored.
Once even somewhat sorted through, the events implied that the Soviets had made progress in affairs such as "thought transference" and "influencing at a distance" -- all by powers unknown, but which were thought to consist of, YES! PSYCHIC mental powers ("psychic" being their term, not mine.)
Furthermore, once the American analysts could make reasonable sense of those affairs going on in that OTHER world superpower, they were shocked off their pins to find that as early as February 16, 1922, the All-Russian Congress of the Association of Naturalists had UNDERWRITTEN the work of Kazhinsky's research and projects.
Lord have mercy! This was the equivalent of the American Institutes of Mental Health underwriting American parapsychology, a thing which was so unlikely as to be nil (and which is STILL nil even now in 1996).
AND the same important Soviet Congress was later to underwrite all similar work along the lines of thought transference and distant influencing.
This Soviet Congress was one of the most important superstar Agencies in the Soviet Union and possessed enormous power.
Its direct support for Kazhinski's work may have come about as the result of a lecture he was invited to give the Congress -- which he entitled HUMAN THOUGHT: ELECTRICITY.
The importance of all those events is likely to be lost to most American readers unless it is pointed out with some determination to do so.
As Russia and surrounding countries became Sovietized, everything in them fell directly under State Communist control -- including scientific research projects, plans and agendas.
In an increasing direct sense, everything had to be approved from the top downward -- and Kazhinski's controversial research could not have been an exception.
As was well-understood, theoretical Communism was anchored in philosophical and scientific materialism. Within those contexts, anything was abhorred which might have metaphysical or superstitional implications.
THOUGHT TRANSFERENCE, DISTANT INFLUENCE and MENTAL SUGGESTION AT A DISTANCE contravened materialistic doctrine.
And so on the simplistic surface of things, they equated to "Western degradations of the rational mind" -- this a phrase often repeated by many American skeptics.
One of the major reasons the American intelligence community had paid no attention to the early Soviet developments was that it was assumed that the ideologically correct Soviet materialists would NOT busy themselves with what equated in the West to psychical research and parapsychology.
Anyone who did have such interests would have been considered a political dissident, and so such interests would have been a risky business. Ideological heresy, in fact, for which the punishment was slow death in Siberia or just plain old death saving the transportation costs.
When the early American analysts compared the Soviet work to psychical research and parapsychology, they could look at the American versions and presuppose that the Soviets would get no further along than American parapsychologists had.
Even during the 1960s, parapsychology was considered a moribund field -- since after decades of working at it, parapsychology had produced nothing "threatening" much less monumental enough to achieve State support and highest scientific endorsement. And it had clearly not produced anything resembling "practical applications."
And so very few of the American analysts could figure out why the Soviet effort had achieved such high support, and apparently done so as early as Kazhinski's time.
All research had to be approved from the top downward, and in the early 1920s THE TOP consisted of Lenin himself.
No documents bearing Lenin's signature have been unearthed regarding his approval of the Kazhinsky research.
But quite good sources hold that such documents existed, and that Lenin further approved by stating "Well, if there is some gain to be had by our great Union, then we ought to have it."
Lenin's approval, whether explicit or tacit, must have come as early as 1920 -- or else no one within the Soviet hierarchy would have paid any attention to Kazhinski. And even the Brain Research Institute and the All-Russian Congress would have avoided him like the plague, as one would say.
To the early American analysts, then, nothing of all this made any sense -- and some in their wisdom advised that the whole of it was just a smoke screen designed to confuse American and British intelligence communities. And there the matter rested until about 1969.
As was later, much later, discovered, the great Western mistake was in comparing the Soviet work to Western psychical research and parapsychology.
In other words, Lenin did not approve of so-called "Soviet parapsychology." Indeed, he approved of something else almost entirely different. And, indeed again, the distinctions between Western parapsychology and what he did approve of must have been made clear to him -- or he would not have approved.
After all, Lenin was not stupid. And neither was Josef Stalin who succeeded him.
Lenin unexpectedly suffered two strokes, the first in 1922 and the other in 1923 from which he died in 1924.
The formidable and deadly Josef Stalin succeeded him as the all-powerful dictator of the growing Soviet Empire.
Not long after Stalin's accession to power, the work of Kazhinski, the Bekhterevs and Vasiliev more or less began disappearing from open view.
Few Westerners, of course, had any knowledge that the work had even begun. But among those who were weakly aware of those early events it was assumed that it had been done away with.
And THIS conclusion in the face of evidence that the Soviet military under Stalin was occasionally reported to be recruiting, from the far corners of its growing realm, numerous psychics, mediums, seers, hypnotists, Siberian shamans, Tibetan and Mongolian mystics, and etc.
In about 1967-68, the American intelligence services slowly began uncovering certain facts which caused many to begin looking at panic buttons and to wonder if they should perhaps push them.
In the first instance, no one was really interested in WHAT the Soviets were doing. It was WHO was doing it which changed the picture entirely.
To the complete astonishment of American intelligence analysts, the Soviet work was now seen to incorporate at least nine, and probably fourteen, major Soviet research centers to the tune of about $500 million (guesstimated) annually.
Furthermore, the work was directly controlled by the dreaded KGB and the even more formidable GRU, and involved all or most of the military services of the Union.
By all standards, what had begun as a small thing via the young Kazhinski had, indeed, turned into a big thing, a very big one at that.
Yet in the American scene, hardly anyone comprehended what "the Soviet work" was all about -- largely because the CIA found it exceedingly difficult to insert operatives into any of the Soviet research centers.
Then, in 1969, an event took place when a very leading Soviet scientist came to the United States and read a paper at a rather obscure conference at Big Sur, California.
When the elements of this paper were properly sorted out and its implications vaguely comprehended, well, it was now relatively certain that whatever the Soviets were doing, it represented a potential "threat."
At that point it ceased to matter if the Soviets were chasing empty psychic winds. What mattered was that a world superpower, an exceedingly powerful one in cold-war terms, had willingly involved itself in such research -- and MIGHT have made ominous breakthroughs regarding it.
And this time panic buttons were pushed -- for "distant influencing," whatever it was, made everyone in the "know" quite nervous -- for "distant influencing" was uncomfortably near the concept of "mind control via distant influencing." After all, Russia had a long tradition of Svengali types who were alleged to effect mind control at a distance.
One of the amusing fallouts of all of this, and which I witnessed in part, was that many American intelligence analysts who had been academically trained to ignore and laugh at psychical research and parapsychology began scrambling to read a few books along those lines.
Only ultimately to comprehend, of course, that the Soviet effort bore very little resemblance to its assumed American counterpart -- parapsychology.
You see, American parapsychology had only been interested in proving to science the statistical existence of very few psi topics. The potential applications of mind-control via distant influence were not among those topics.
I have omitted certain substantive matters from this background chapter because I want to introduce and elaborate them in their proper contexts ahead.
But you might bear one factor in mind. Equating the Soviet effort with Western parapsychology was and still is a great mistake -- a mistake which is still now in the 1990s occasionally being perpetuated just about everywhere -- except, as I know for certain, deep within the exploratory sciences in China and Japan.
And I also know for certain the KGB itself encouraged this mistake to be perpetuated in our fair nation -- for it enabled them to keep the CIA and etc. quite confused for a long time.
You may also bear in mind that had none of the above circumstances happened, then remote viewing would never have seen the light of day -- at least in the superlimelight way it ultimately did.
What came to be called "remote viewing," somewhat erroneously so as will be explained, began via my humble self.
And so it is to that humble self that we now must turn our attention -- essentially to help resolve a number of background issues which equipped me at least partially to deal with what began happening to me in 1971 -- literally out of nowhere.