According to the public information operatives of the CIA and the Pentagon, any official attempt to develop and deploy so-called psychic forces for military purposes was, at best, experimental, short-lived, and of no demonstrable value. Nevertheless, when the story broke in December of 1995 that, whatever the limitations, the Pentagon had resorted AT ALL to clairvoyant methods', produced a spasm of disbelief in the world of paranormal debunkers. After all, hadn't it been shown to the satisfaction of any rational person that such stuff belongs entirely in the dark realm of witch doctors, mumbo jumbo and superstition, or what the late Carl Sagan might have called The Demon Haunted World? It certainly does not belong, they would argue, in the arena of objective discourse. How could the hard-headed U.S. Defense establishment, with access to the best that academic science can produce, take such notions seriously, even for an instant?
And gathering from the initial stories, the CIA seemed more than forthcoming regarding its boneheadedness. According to The New York Daily News the spy agency had decided that after 20 years and million in tax dollars, that the use of psychics and remote viewers has not been shown to have value in intelligence operations and is not justified. All of which begs the questions: If the program was so useless, why did the CIA keep it around for 20 years? and why, after all those years of secrecy did the agency finally decide to concede publicly its fruitless use of the taxpayers money? The answers to these, and many other intriguing questions may soon be coming to a theater near you. They are already available at your local bookstore.
Psychic Warrior by David Morehouse (St. Martins Press, New York) tells with credible and vivid, almost excruciating, detail the story before, during and after the author's years working in the Army's project Sun Streak (also known as Star Gate) at Fort Meade, Maryland in the late '80s and early '90s.
A much-decorated infantry officer and airborne ranger, Morehouse showed no signs of clairvoyant abilities in his early years in the Army, nor did he wish to. His sole desire was to pursue a traditional patriotic military career path. But all that changed when, during a training mission in the middle east, a stray bullet struck his helmet, nearly killed him and, in the process, triggered a dramatic alteration of some kind in his mental machinery. Out of the nightmares and visions which followed grew a mysterious ability which the Army was ultimately to harness for its sophisticated efforts, with the aid of paranormal techniques, to solve the very real problems of military intelligence. In his book, Morehouse reports not only on the extensive and effective use of remote viewing, in which he participated, but also on the internal political climate surrounding it, and the almost unbearable pressure to which he and his family were subjected before he was finally able to escape the Army's clutches and go public.
The dramatic potential of his story has not escaped Hollywood. A forthcoming major motion picture version of the book reportedly will star Sylvester Stallone, Morgan Freeman and Kurt Russell. For the general public, however, the most important revelations include a highly credible description of an extremely unconventional program, which, if it exists at all, is a direct contradiction of some of the most fundamental assumptions in the basic world view of materialistic western science.
For those who follow these issues closely, the story is not entirely news. Reports of such programs originally surfaced in the 1970s when breakthroughs in the use of the paranormal were claimed by two physicists at the Stanford Research Institute in California. Russell Targ and Harold E. Putthoff in their book Mind-Reach reported on the ability of many people, using a technique which they called remote viewing, to observe actual happenings at distant sites. Their principal subject, a New York artist named Ingo Swann, provided astonishing details about faraway locations with which he was previously unfamiliar. In one celebrated instance he gave an accurate description of Kerguelen, a remote island in the Indian Ocean. Subsequently, the program was made secret and dubbed Project Scannate by the government, and, as Morehouse told Atlantis Rising in a recent interview, most of the really great research which truly proved the phenomenon is still classified. But, official down-playing notwithstanding, it is clear whatever originally attracted the military to the possibilities of remote viewing, that 20 years later, it still had not entirely lost its appeal. That is, or so they would have us believe, until December 1995.
According to Morehouse, however, the motive of the intelligence community in making its much-publicized psychic warfare concession was nothing more than damage control, an attempt to put an official spin on the inevitable revelations which they knew to be forthcoming from Morehouse and others. In fact, one television special on the Discovery channel had already provided a complete report. Far from being a poorly-funded and unused technique, remote viewing was an important and frequently used tool for serious intelligence analysts with a far larger budget than was stated. Though, as Morehouse is quick to point out, it certainly is not perfect.
The technique is 60-80% accurate, he says. It's never 100% accurate. Never has been. Never will be. Nor is it ever a stand-alone endeavor. No mission was ever planned based solely on the report of one remote viewer. Any operational target (someplace the program manager wants to know more about) is worked by a number of remote viewers. (Viewers are not allowed to discuss their work with each other.) All of the data is compiled and compared and presented in a final document to DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency). The report is always used in consonance with other intelligence collection methodologies, whether photo, signal, human, etc.. It is only one piece of the jigsaw puzzle. The ability of each remote viewer, Morehouse explained, is regularly tested and graded against known targets and a virtual batting average is thus determined. The management knows who is hot and who is not. When all the data is combined and statistically analyzed the composite can be rated for accuracy in a way that makes it quite useful for inclusion in a comprehensive intelligence report.
No intelligence product is 100% accurate, he declares. A satellite photo of a top of a building in the Soviet Union does not tell you what's in it.
Unlike other forms of intelligence gathering, though, remote viewing puts no agent in harm's way, requiring no physical apparatus. (Morehouse concedes that to impress visitors at the Fort Meade office of Sun Streak, the staff had maintained, in the best tradition of science fiction, a dentist chair and a battery attached to a box.) Some viewers, including Morehouse, found it useful to employ bio-feedback equipment, to help in achieving the proper brain wave state (theta) but others used no physical paraphernalia at all.
In the book he recounts how he was trained (not by Ingo Swann, he told us, though many other remote viewers were) and how he learned to follow coordinates hidden in sealed envelopes and to navigate through what he calls the ether to a designated target. He details training and operational episodes in which he would travel, out of his body, to such places as the aftermath of a helicopter crash in central America, or onboard Pan Am 103 before, during and after the terrorist-caused explosion which destroyed it (that, he says, is how clues were generated which put investigators on the right track) or even into the oil fires following the Gulf War and to many other locations inaccessible by conventional means. He tells of investigating drug-smuggling ships during the war on drugs, counter-terrorist operations (like the search for Lt. Col. Higgins in Lebanon) and even visits to other planets, Mars, for instance.
Ultimately the experience was to convince him that remote viewing was far too valuable to the human race to be the exclusive property of the defense establishment, and he began to prepare a book. Shortly afterward he found himself unexpectedly threatened with court martial on several seemingly unrelated and apparently trumped up charges.
All of the charges made against Morehouse were based on the unsubstantiated allegations of a woman in what writer Leonard Belzer called a 92-page diatribe that was obviously designed to cover the gamut of potentially damaging finger pointing. The Army, it seemed, was determined to discredit him.
The ordeal which followed nearly cost Morehouse his sanity and came close to destroying his family, but ultimately he was able to leave the Army, though under less than desirable circumstances, to recover and to write his much delayed memoirs. The CIA's Stargate announcement, Morehouse says, followed by eight days the Hollywood Reporter's item on the signing of his book and movie deal.
Remote viewing is not the only so-called paranormal phenomenon which U.S. and foreign intelligence agencies have attempted to exploit. Morehouse's own training included map dowsing, a method of identifying secret locations by using assorted paraphernalia and maps. Other techniques he learned about indirectly. The most explosive possibilities have to do with something called remote influence.'
CIA and DIA officials deny emphatically that the government has ever attempted to use psychic means to influence anyone. Morehouse counters that Uri Geller, the famed Israeli psychic, a friend of his, who was an operative for the Israeli intelligence service, Mosad, before being sent to the U.S. to work with Targ and Putthoff on the original Scannate project, claims to have participated in such attempts. Geller has recounted on national television how he was used at a treaty signing ceremony to influence targeted officials by psychic means. Geller has produced a photo of the event which includes him and the Vice President at the time.
Many startling revelations of government dabbling in the black arts for purposes not only foreign but domestic could be forthcoming if the principal operatives fail to maintain the secrecy which has sheltered their activities. Morehouse suspects that his own unit at Fort Meade was actually involved in trying to identify so-called double agents which were in fact U.S. political figures. He cites a frenzy of document-shredding which preceded an official inspection of the organization. There was an IG (Inspector General) directed, he recalls, and a great deal of shredding went on and nobody was asked to desist, and we (Morehouse and his Sun Streak colleagues) don't know what it was that was being shredded, but it was hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands of documents.
Psychic Warrior is not Morehouse's first effort to make his story public. An earlier collaboration with Jim Marrs, author of Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy (on which Oliver Stone's movie JFK was based) was dropped by the publisher, when one of the principal sources backed out at the last minute. Marrs research included extensive taped interviews with, among others, Ingo Swan in which Swan admitted that, in addition to training the many remote viewers with which he is credited, he also trained another special group with a much more mysterious purpose.
Whatever the story of U.S. involvement in the paranormal, it is clear that the Soviet Union and others were there first. The KGB pumped millions and millions of their money into their paranormal research program, Morehouse says, It was there for decades before we ever picked it up and entertained it, and they were very practiced and very good. As were the Czechs, the Chinese and the Israelis. Morehouse says he has seen pictures of remote-viewer warning detectors used in the Kremlin. He's also seen what he believes to be convincing evidence that the KGB also developed and manufactured psychotronic weapons (capable, it has been alleged, of broadcasting such things as disease patterns and earthquakes) which, in the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union, are presently unaccounted for.
The strange fate that would bring Morehouse to the point of knowing and proclaiming such things has come as a complete surprise to him. Nothing in his earlier life foreshadowed it. I've never been involved in self-hypnosis or trying to achieve out-of-the-body experiences, nor into ancient religions or any of that kind of stuff, he claims. I'm just an infantryman who was shot in the head and began having very bizarre experiences. All which he believes helps his credibility. His attitude toward all that he has observed has been skeptical from the start. The biggest criticism they had of me in the program the first year I was there was that I didn't even believe my own work, he recalls. I mean I could always find some way of rationalizing why I had come to the conclusions that I had come to, or obtained the data that I had obtained. Being a skeptic, which he defines as asking intelligent questions and expecting intelligent logical well-formed answers, is good. But being close-minded is not good. That's just a sign of ignorance. Unfortunately there are a lot of people who choose to be close-minded.
Some, apparently, choose to be more than close-minded. They choose not only to deny, but to suppress the truth and to try to silence those who speak it. For those, Morehouse has taken special precautions. In his possession are documents detailing the real use made by the government of remote viewers in the Operation Rice Bowl debacle, the ill-fated Iranian hostage rescue attempt in the last days of the Carter administration. For his own protection Morehouse has dispersed many copies of those documents throughout the country to be released if necessary.
In the meantime, he continues to try to sell anyone who will listen on the immense value that remote viewing can have for mankind. Credibility for the technique, he believes, depends upon recognition not only of its possibilities but its limitations as well. Ultimately though, he believes, its application to society's problems such as crime solving, resource location or even industrial espionage is inevitable. Recently he's been asked to lend his talents to the search for clues to the fate of TWA flight 800.
Another area where a good remote viewer could make himself useful would certainly be archeology. Morehouse is already on record in his book as having seen the Ark of the Covenant in its present hiding place. Where, in fact, is it now, anyway? Well it's no place we're going to find it, he laughs. It's not in North Africa. and I'll tell you what, I don't believe those monks are responsible for it (a reference to Graham Hancock's Ethiopian theory).
Once again, the plot thickens.
For believers and debunkers alike, an event later in February may help to dispel some of the mystery surrounding remote viewing. At this writing a live David Frost special on BBC TV is scheduled in which Morehouse in Washington, D.C. and Uri Geller in London will collaborate and either succeed or fail to demonstrate the reality of remote viewing.