Monday, July 15, 2013

Russell Targs Remote Viewing Experiments

Writer and physicist Russell Targ discussed his involvement in creating the Remote Viewing program at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) during the Cold War, as well as various remote viewing applications and experiments. After two decades of research at SRI, they demonstrated that ordinary people visiting their laboratory could learn to accurately describe and experience what was going on at distant places, and that in fact, with practice most people can learn to "remote view."

After learning the skill from psychic Ingo Swann, he and Hal Puthoff trained a team of Army Intelligence officers in the 1970s, and under a classified program, they were given directives by the CIA to find and gather information on operational targets, particularly about the Soviets. They also looked at the Chinese, atomic bomb tests, and the American hostages in Iran. Interestingly, during this time the Russians were interested in remote behavior modification, such as getting an American leader to misspeak, but it was unknown how successful they were in that regard, he reported. While providing their findings to the government who was funding the program, Targ was also able to publish his research about the validity of ESP in peer journals, though at the time they had to keep the military involvement a secret.

A remote viewing experiment was conducted by Targ on the air. He placed an object behind him on a chair, and asked listeners to sketch what they saw in their mind on paper, without being analytical or naming it at first. It turned out to be a globe of the world placed on a tall, conical wooden pedestal, and several people emailed somewhat accurate descriptions of it before Russell announced what it was.


Russell Targ is a physicist and author who was a pioneer in the development of the laser and laser applications. He was also co-founder of the previously secret Stanford Research Institute's investigation into psychic abilities in the 1970s and 1980s. His work in this new area, called remote viewing, was published in Nature, The Proceedings of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Proceedings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Russell did graduate work in physics at Columbia University, and is co-author of six books dealing with the scientific investigation of psychic abilities. In 1997, he retired from Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space Co. as a senior staff scientist. He now pursues ESP research in Palo Alto, California, and is also publishing special editions of classic books in psychical research.

Extrasensory perception (ESP) involves reception of information not gained through the recognized physical senses but sensed with the mind. The term was adopted by Duke University psychologist J. B. Rhine to denote psychic abilities such as telepathy, clairaudience, and clairvoyance, and their trans-temporal operation as precognition or retrocognition. ESP is also sometimes casually referred to as a sixth sense, gut instinct or hunch, which are historical English idioms. It is also sometimes referred to as intuition. The term implies acquisition of information by means external to the basic limiting assumptions of science, such as that organisms can only receive information from the past to the present.

Parapsychology is the pseudoscientific[1] study of paranormal psychic phenomena, including ESP. Parapsychologists generally regard such tests as the ganzfeld experiment as providing compelling evidence for the existence of ESP. The scientific community rejects ESP due to the absence of an evidence base, the lack of a theory which would explain ESP, and the lack of experimental techniques which can provide reliably positive results.