Remote viewing essentially is a scientific term for clairvoyance. It is defined as the ability of experienced or inexperienced to view, by means of mental processes, remote geographical or technical targets such as roads, buildings, and laboratory apparatus. (Targ and Puthoff ix) Put more simply it could be defined as the ability to perceive remote locations while not being there physically. Remote viewing experiments started in early 1970s at Stanford Research Institute. Interestingly enough, the researchers who were doing the experiments weren't parapsychologists they were physicists. The two men responsible for a new direction in the field of parapsychology were Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff.
Harold Puthoff was teaching at Stanford University's electrical engineering department. He received a Ph.D. from Stanford, had a patent on a laser he invented, and co-authored a book called Fundamentals of Quantum Electronics. He was also very bored with his life. He left Stanford University and joined Stanford Research Institute (SRI). He was hired at SRI to work on a laser project for the government. Most of the money SRI received was through government contracts, although it was still related to Stanford University. After the project Puthoff was working on winded down he decided to peruse one of his own interests ESP research. After checking with his boss he began to look for funding. A friend of his named Bill Church who owned a chicken restaurant chain gave him ten thousand dollars. After this remote viewing research was born.(Schnabel 86-87)
Shortly after Puthoff got some funding a man by the name of Ingo Swann contacted him Swann was an artist and also a psychic. He participated in psychic research at City College of New York and American Society for Psychical Research. Swann claimed that he could influence the temperature of a graphite rod and travel out of his body and view objects hidden in a laboratory. Puthoff flew him out to SRI. (Schnabel 87-88)
Two days after Swann arrived at SRI Puthoff did an interesting experiment. He took Ingo to the physics building at Stanford University. Puthoff wanted to see if Swann could influence the output of an experimental magnetometer. This magnetometer was designed to measure very small magnetic field perturbations. Swann had never tried any thing like this before and said he would try clairvoyantly to see inside the magnetometer. As he did this, the magnetometer input suddenly changed as indicated by the printed read out of the meter. Convinced he had found something significant Puthoff wrote up a small report with the output reading of the magnetometer and sent it to a few government offices. A few weeks later the government let Puthoff know they were interested. The government agency that ended up funding the research at SRI began with the CIA. After seeing an experiment where Swann correctly described the contents of a box the CIA was funding ESP research. The target in the box was a moth. (Schnabel 86-89)
Remote viewing first happened as sort of an accident. Shortly after getting the CIA contract Puthoff hired a man named Russell Targ. Like Puthoff Targ was also a laser physicist. Targ created an ESP training machine. The machine consisted of a computer that had light bulbs behind four slides. The computer would randomly light up a slide and the subject using this was to guess which slide would light up. Ingo Swann didn't like this machine. It reminded him of the earlier forced choice work in parapsychology. One day Swann suggested that Puthoff and Targ give him geological coordinates and he would describe what he saw. Puthoff and Targ didn't like this mainly because if Swann did get accurate information skeptics would ague that he had a photographic memory. Ingo would not let this go after threatening to quit Puthoff and Targ finally gave in. After trying this a few times they decided to do some more research in this area after Swann successfully described the coordinates. (Schnabel 98-104) This procedure evolved into the remote viewer or psychic and a monitor in a sound proofed room that was shielded from electromagnetic waves. The monitor's job is to ask questions and talk to and the remote viewer. Neither of them have any idea what the target location is. Then one or two people in another room with roll a die and pick up a manila envelope correlating with the number that was rolled on the die. They would open the envelope and a location is in side it. The people them go to the location for about a half-hour and then come back. The people that do this are called out-bounders. (McMoneagle 44-45)
A dramatic example of remote viewing ability is a man named Pat Price. Pat Price was a police commissioner, vice mayor of Burbank Ca, and was the president of a coal company. Pat called Puthoff and told him that he used his psychic abilities to solve crimes when he was on the police force. (Targ and Puthoff 46) Puttoff got many calls like this a day but on a whim or perhaps intuition he gave Price the coordinates that a friend who was in the military gave him. Price sent Puthoff a five-page report going in to great detail about the place. Price said it was a military installation and even read the names of files that were on a desk and in locked cabinets. Puthoff's friend told him the coordinates were of his college's summer cabin and that price was wrong. A week later Puthoff's friend took his family for a drive in the countryside. A few miles away from his college's cabin was a dirt road and a sign that said government property no tress passing. The following Monday Puthoffs friend asked some one about the base and passed on all the information that Pat Price had perceived. With in a few days military officials were interrogating Puthoffs friend. They wanted to know how he got into the base and why. Not buying his explanation Targ and Puthoff were interrogated too. The military official also knocked on neighbor's doors asking if they were communists. It turns out that Price was correct after all. (Schnabel 108-112)
SRI's ten million military contract was terminated in 1989. The research at SRI produced some exciting results. A statistical analysis showed that of all the research done at SRI. It was based on 154 experiments, consisting of over 26,000 separate trials, conducted over 16 years. The statistical analysis came out to be a billion to one against chance. Although some people suggest the early research methods at SRI had some flaws. (Radin 101)
The current research with ESP has also shown significant results. Particularly the research of a man named Dean Radin. He has been called the Einstein of parapsychology. Radin is director of the conscious research Lab at the University of Arizona. One interesting experiment that was done had a subject sit in a chair about two feet from a color computer monitor. On the persons first two fingers of the left had electrodes are attached to record fluctuations in the skin conductance. On the third finger of the left hand a device is attached to record the heart rate and the amount of blood in the fingertips. The signals from these are then fed into a computer. The subject then rests their left hand on their lap. With their right hand they hold a computer mouse when there ready to begin the subject presses the mouse button. Then the computer selects one target image out of a large group of different images. When this is being done the monitor only shows a blank screen. The images that the computer chooses fall into two categories, calm and emotional. Calm pictures usually consist of nature scenery, cheery people, or a relaxing situation. Emotional pictures are disturbing images such as an autopsy. After five seconds of the blank screen the target photo is shown for three seconds. A blank screen then follows this again for five seconds. After another five-second-rest period the subject is told to press the mouse button and the sequence repeats using a different target image. The subject's physiological responses to the three sequences are measured. The person view forty different pictures one at a time in a single sitting. The study had some fascinating findings, for instance before seeing a calm picture the subjects heart rate would increase a little then it would steadily drop. It was as if the subject knew the picture was going to be relaxing. In comparison too this before the person saw a disturbing picture the participants pre-acted to their own future emotional stress. They also found that the electrodermal activity was much higher before the emotional picture than before the calm pictures. It is important to note that most of the people were not consciously aware what kind of picture was going to come up. This indicates that this phenomenon is a largely unconscious process. (Radin 118-124)
There is now solid evidence that ESP is very much real. If this is the case, we must change the way we think about reality. Most scientists today believe that ESP is impossible because it violates certain natural laws such as time and space. There is however a theory that explains this: the field consciousness theory. This theory has been around for years in which Carl Jung called it the collective unconscious and it has also been referred to as global mind. The basic premise of the field consciousness theory is that mind and matter are radically interconnected. At the Consciousness Research Laboratory, they ran several experiments to test the prediction that mass consciousness can affect matter. One was where they programmed one or more electronic random number generators to generate 400 random bits (zeros and ones) every six seconds (each group of 400 bits is a sample). Essentially it is similar to flipping a coin 400 times and recording heads or tails that resulted. They wanted to take an event that had a large number of people watching or participating. One of these events picked was the 1995 Academy Awards (over one billion people in 120 countries watched this event). They independently kept minute by minute logs of programs and judged whether they thought each noted event was interesting and likely to attract attention of the viewing audience. They also noted if it was uninteresting and likely to bore the audience (Radin, 160-170). The findings of this study were significant. The devices showed that an increase in order over base line measurements occurred (Graff, 204).
Despite almost 30 years of solid research with significant statistical data, the debate over ESP is still on going. Part of the problem is with "main stream" sciences belief systems. The belief system acts as a filter to what people will or will not accept. It is similar to not being able to find an object you are looking for that is right in front of your face. They will not validate ESP research simply because they do not believe in it. Scientific discoveries usually go in three stages: the first being disbelief and conflict Laws of Science; the second being admitting there is weak evidence therefore it is unimportant; and the final stage is acceptance where the main stream accepts that there is credible evidence. ESP research is now in stage two. Science has now admitted that there is weak evidence that supports the ESP phenomena. This however, is not true: ESP has been proven over and over beyond a reasonable doubt. Statistical analysis has proven that there is concrete evidence that ESP does in fact exist. Just because mainstream scientists will not validate it, does not make the evidence less credible or make the scientists correct. As in the 1400s there was a consensus with scientists that the world was flat and anyone who did not subscribe to this theory was ridiculed much like today with ESP research. As scientists slowly realized that this school of thought was false and that the world is in fact round. One day scientists will realize the validity of ESP research.