2023 Season 8 New Release: In this two-part interview my special guest is author and remote viewer John Vivanco who's here to discuss his fascinating research into the discoveries that remote viewing has revealed over the years. Pick up his book The Time Before the Secret Words: On the path of Remote Viewing, High Strangeness and Zen on Amazon.
From the Introduction of the book -
We move like ghosts through the ether, silent and undetectable, gathering information that can’t be gathered any other way. To Al Qaeda, we are of the Djinn; to the FBI, we are Psychic Spies.
When the Twin Towers fell, we were likely part of some Hail Mary plan the FBI had -- “break glass in case of major terrorist attack only”. They knew about us because we had run slightly afoul of them on a treasure hunting project, then again, every intelligence service knew of us. We were a successful Civilian Remote Viewing think tank developed just after it became declassified.
Post 9/11, the FBI brought us in to Remote View future terrorist attacks, and we were successful in helping to prevent another. The odd thing was, even though we were helping prevent terrorist attacks, there was a secretive covert group whose sole job was to shut us down. From setups, to death threats, we dodged as much as we could so we could keep working to bring this amazing ability to the world.
Being a Remote Viewer can also result in an exorbitant amount of High Strangeness. It opens the door to mind-bending projects which force you to see the world in a completely different light. One moment you’re working on predicting markets for a hedge fund, the next, you’re an inadvertent contact point to an alien species asking you for help.
I didn’t arrive at Remote Viewing with the belief I had any psychic ability at all. It was, in fact, the words of Mr. Causey ultimately driving me. As a child, he warned me to always remember the time before words – the moment before thought is created. This obsession sent me on a journey to explore my consciousness and to know the self, where it left me to live in a Zen Center, while running a team of Remote Viewers.
Remote viewing (RV) is the practice of seeking impressions about a distant or unseen subject, purportedly sensing with the mind. Typically a remote viewer is expected to give information about an object, event, person or location that is hidden from physical view and separated at some distance. Physicists Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff, parapsychology researchers at Stanford Research Institute (SRI), are generally credited with coining the term "remote viewing" to distinguish it from the closely related concept of clairvoyance. According to Targ, the term was first suggested by Ingo Swann in December 1971 during an experiment at the American Society for Psychical Research in New York City.
Remote viewing experiments have historically been criticized for lack of proper controls and repeatability. There is no scientific evidence that remote viewing exists, and the topic of remote viewing is generally regarded as pseudoscience.
The idea of remote viewing received renewed attention in the 1990s upon the declassification of documents related to the Stargate Project, a $20 million research program sponsored by the U.S. government that attempted to determine potential military applications of psychic phenomena. The program ran from 1975 to 1995, and ended after evaluators reached the conclusion that remote viewers consistently failed to produce any actionable intelligence information.[n 1][1
In early occult and spiritualist literature, remote viewing was known as telesthesia and travelling clairvoyance. Rosemary Guiley described it as "seeing remote or hidden objects clairvoyantly with the inner eye, or in alleged out-of-body travel."
The study of psychic phenomena by major scientists started in the mid-nineteenth century. Early researchers included Michael Faraday, Alfred Russel Wallace, Rufus Osgood Mason, and William Crookes. Their work predominantly involved carrying out focused experimental tests on specific individuals who were thought to be psychically gifted. Reports of apparently successful tests were met with much skepticism from the scientific community.
In the 1930s, J. B. Rhine expanded the study of paranormal performance into larger populations, by using standard experimental protocols with unselected human subjects. But, as with the earlier studies, Rhine was reluctant to publicize this work too early because of the fear of criticism from mainstream scientists.
This continuing skepticism, with its consequences for peer review and research funding, ensured that paranormal studies remained a fringe area of scientific exploration. However, by the 1960s, the prevailing counterculture attitudes muted some of the prior hostility. The emergence of what is termed "New Age" thinking and the popularity of the Human Potential Movement provoked a mini-renaissance that renewed public interest in consciousness studies and psychic phenomena and helped to make financial support more available for research into such topics.
In the early 1970s, Harold Puthoff and Russell Targ joined the Electronics and Bioengineering Laboratory at Stanford Research Institute (SRI, now SRI International) where they initiated studies of the paranormal that were, at first, supported with private funding from the Parapsychology Foundation and the Institute of Noetic Sciences.
One of the early experiments, lauded by proponents as having improved the methodology of remote viewing testing and as raising future experimental standards, was criticized as leaking information to the participants by inadvertently leaving clues. Some later experiments had negative results when these clues were eliminated.[n 2]
Decline and termination
In the early 1990s, the Military Intelligence Board, chaired by Defense Intelligence Agency chief Harry E. Soyster, appointed Army Colonel William Johnson to manage the remote viewing unit and evaluate its objective usefulness. Funding dissipated in late 1994 and the program went into decline. The project was transferred out of DIA to the CIA in 1995.
In 1995, the CIA hired the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to perform a retrospective evaluation of the results generated by the Stargate Project. Reviewers included Ray Hyman and Jessica Utts. Utts maintained that there had been a statistically significant positive effect, with some subjects scoring 5–15% above chance.[n 1] Hyman argued that Utts' conclusion that ESP had been proven to exist, "is premature, to say the least." Hyman said the findings had yet to be replicated independently, and that more investigation would be necessary to "legitimately claim the existence of paranormal functioning". Based upon both of their studies, which recommended a higher level of critical research and tighter controls, the CIA terminated the $20 million project in 1995. Time magazine stated in 1995 that three full-time psychics were still working on a $500,000-a-year budget at Fort Meade, Maryland, which would soon be closed.
The AIR report concluded that no usable intelligence data was produced in the program.[n 1] David Goslin, of the American Institute for Research said, "There's no documented evidence it had any value to the intelligence community".
PEAR's Remote Perception program
Beginning in the late 1970s, the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Lab (PEAR) carried out extensive research on remote viewing. By 1989, it had conducted 336 formal trials, reporting a composite z-score of 6.355, with a corresponding p-value of 1.04×10−10. In a 1992 critique of these results, Hansen, Utts and Markwick concluded "The PEAR remote-viewing experiments depart from commonly accepted criteria for formal research in science. In fact, they are undoubtedly some of the poorest quality ESP experiments published in many years." The lab responded that "none of the stated complaints compromises the PEAR experimental protocols or analytical methods" and reaffirmed their results.
Following Utts' emphasis on replication and Hyman's challenge on interlaboratory consistency in the AIR report, PEAR conducted several hundred trials to see if they could replicate the SAIC and SRI experiments. They created an analytical judgment methodology to replace the human judging process that was criticized in past experiments, and they released a report in 1996. They felt the results of the experiments were consistent with the SRI experiments.[unreliable source?] However, statistical flaws have been proposed by others in the parapsychological community and within the general scientific community.
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