MY FIRST LETTER TO DR. H. E. PUTHOFF
- MARCH 1972 -
This present book is probably the first and the last ever to be written by an "insider" who was strategic regarding the development of remote viewing.
Other authors have taken an interest in the topic, and might continue to do so in the future. But all other authors have their egos, their viewpoints, their personal agendas, their different slants and attitudes.
Certain issues are over-emphasized, others which are significant to the real story of remote viewing are avoided or ignored -- usually in favor of creating text which, to them, displays something they think of as scandalous.
In the oncoming future, though, remote viewing will not be thought of in the contexts of its past "scandals," and which anyway have been manufactured by idiots of both the stupid and intellectual kind.
This author, of course, can hardly be much different from other ones -- except for his living memory of the ENTIRE remote viewing affair.
This memory is quite good and vital (so far at least), and is backed up by many file cabinets of documentation.
Since this book is the historical record of remote viewing, it needs to contain the documentation regarding why Puthoff and I got together.
To begin this, I would like to emphasize that if Hal Puthoff and I had not gotten together, it is COMPLETELY likely that there would be no story to tell.
I will next frankly state that without Puthoff, remote viewing would never have come into functional existence and the high visibility it did.
I may have been the lean, mean, fighting machine (as many were to discover, including Puthoff).
But Puthoff was the diplomat-warrior who held the enormously complicated remote viewing "package" together -- a feat I could not have pulled off myself.
Getting a little ahead of the story here, you will soon see my relationship with Puthoff was very bumpy at times.
Therefore it is important to establish that our relationship was held together not because of affiliations of any kind, but by issues which were relevant to the larger picture of human potentials regarding the socially rejected superpowers of the human biomind.
No matter how many fights we had in the future (and there were to be many), the issues functioned to bridge them.
If, in reading the pages of this book, the concept of the larger-picture issues gets forgotten, then the essential real story of remote viewing will promptly pass down into the silly social dilemmas which surround all of the superpowers.
Cleve Backster had given me certain papers by Puthoff. But I was determined not to be in touch with him because of the Scientology thing.
It was Zelda Dearest who rather rudely resolved the situation for me. I described the situation to her over a game of Scrabble. She thought about it for a while -- and then said: "But aren't you subjecting him to the same prejudice you just underwent at the ASPR?"
In her own way, Zelda could get to the nub of things as could Al Brod Dearest.
"This isn't prejudice," I replied. "It's a serious issue."
Zelda didn't reply for a while. Then: "Yes it is. It's prejudice. You are avoiding him because of his affiliation to that organization. There's no difference here. Science proper avoids those affiliated to psi research -- then there are Jews and Muslims and Christians, sexual preferences, the races, the money, the poor . . ."
"All right already," I said.
So I went home and licked my wounds for a most of one whole day. Finally, late at night in bed, I read the Puthoff documents Backster had copied for me.
There was one particular document which both impressed and amazed me. The result was that the next morning, 30 March 1972, I wrote a letter to Puthoff -- and was eager to do so.
These two documents will now be introduced at this point in the remote viewing chronology in order to help make this book as complete and orderly as possible.
Aside from the fact that remote viewing originated at the ASPR, you will soon see the circumstances there were not propitious for it, although I didn't realize that at the time.
I introduced these same documents in a book I wrote and published under the title of TO KISS EARTH GOOD-BYE (Hawthorn Books, New York, 1975.) I had hoped that readers might realize the vast panorama of Puthoff's overview and why I was willing to be in touch with him.
I've no evidence from anywhere that his concepts presented in the book were appreciated by anyone. Well, what the hell. After all, as the author of that book I was just a "psychic" test-subject, a nobody.
The following extracts are taken from THE PHYSICS OF PSYCHOENERGETIC PROCESSES, RESEARCH PROPOSAL (1971, unpublished) by Dr. H. E. Puthoff.
"Please note the use of the term TACHYON -- from the Greek word meaning "swift." The term originated with the Columbia University physicist Gerald Feinberg. (See G. Feinberg, POSSIBILITY OF FASTER-THAN-LIGHT PARTICLES," PHYSICS REVIEW, No. 159 (1967), p. 1089.)
Puthoff wrote: "Recent experiments in parapsychology, especially in the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia, have indicated anew that sufficient evidence exists to warrant serious scientific investigation.
"Experiments in telepathy, psychokinesis (PK), etc., are now being conducted with sufficient rigor in scientific laboratories [in the Soviet Bloc countries] to indicate the possibility of developing not just a catalogue of interesting events, but rather a pattern of cause-effect relationships of the type that lends itself to analysis and hypothesis in the forms we are familiar with in the physical sciences.
". . . A careful survey of the characteristics of certain phenomena in this category has suggested to the author a theoretical foundation within the framework of present-day scientific considerations and which lends itself to straightforward experimental verification or rejection.
"We advance here on the hypothesis that 'tachyon' phenomena predicted on the basis of relativistic quantum theory -- but not yet observed -- may be involved (tachyon is the name given to particles with space-like four-momentum which presumably travel faster than the velocity of light in vacuum, the descriptions of which satisfies the requirements of relativistic quantum mechanics.)"
Somewhat into his paper, Puthoff made statements which electrified me -- since they had to do with my own understanding that psi phenomena were species-wide, part of our species life potentials.
"When one considers basic life processes within the framework of modern scientific theory, particularly modern quantum theory, two basic viewpoints emerge.
"One is that quantum theory as now understood is, in principle, essentially capable of encompassing the biological and psychological principles of existence as manifested in life processes.
"From this viewpoint, the fact that we have not done so is due simply to the complexities of analysis presented to the theorist by even the simplest of living processes.
"This viewpoint we refer to as the reductionist viewpoint. Here it is considered that even the most complex of life processes can in principle be reduced step by step through layers of complexity, to the basic principles encompassed by present quantum theory."
WOW! Here Puthoff was talking about BASIC life processes, and was including psi phenomena among them. PROCESSES! And processes at the fundamental quantum level, processes which, if faster than light, might help account for the instantaneous perceptions I had noted during the ASPR experiments.
Well, I had never encountered this view in parapsychology (as it existed at that time.) I was not a quantum physicist, of course, but I felt from my own experiential levels that I completely understood what Puthoff was talking about.
In reading his ideas, I felt I was reading a version of my own concepts.
So. If you had been in my position and hunting for knowledge that might help elucidate complicated things, and all other things considered, what would you have done?
I didn't need to decide to write Puthoff.
I just sat down and did it with a letter dated 30 March 1972.
After saying that Cleve Backster had suggested I be in touch with him, I wrote:
"I have been working for several months now in two directions, firstly at the American Society for Psychical Research on trying to increase visual capacity by extrasensory modes, and secondly at City College with Dr. Gertrude Schmeidler on certain psychotronic and psychokinetic effects.
". . . In the case of paranormal perceptions I have already decided that indeed a field of vision exterior to sensory data inputs exists, but the fields of viewpoint and dimensions are cluttered with perceptic overloads and packed with black particles which seem to be, surprisingly, the physical universe itself.
"The problem is to differentiate between particles and certain wavelengths without the use of the eyes, at which time certain perceptual effects did begin to take place.
"There are, however, considerable variables yet to be considered, and I wanted to sound you out as to your having an interest in discussing these possibilities."
Although neither Backster nor Puthoff ever told me, I am sure that Hal telephoned Cleve and that they discussed me and my exploits. I do know that he checked me out with Osis, Schmeidler and Ehrenwald, since I have copies of his letters to them.
The upshot was that Hal didn't write back. Instead, the phone rang one afternoon.
"Hello? This is Hal Puthoff calling for Ingo Swann. Is he there?"
And with that call -- and had I truly been "psychic" enough -- I might have heard the clatter of certain nuts and bolts of CIRCUMSTANCES falling into a totally new direction.
But I was somewhat distracted. For between my letter to Puthoff and his telephone call to me, the greatest of the two great storms at the ASPR had begun.
At first it seemed that I couldn't possibly survive this one. And I was sure that once this scandal (an understatement) was spread about, well, no one would have interest in me, much less the respectable physicist at Stanford Research Institute.
Like all scandals within organizations everywhere, this one at the ASPR has long been swept under the dusty rugs at the venerable ASPR.
But it is important to the formative history of remote viewing. And so I will now drag it out and painfully relive it for posterity -- that is, IF I can survive the resurgence of the anger and hatred which arose from it.