Remote viewing is the alleged ability for people to see across space and time, i.e., can perceive a location where the person isn’t present. Remote viewing came to widespread public attention in the book/film “The Men Who Stare at Goats.” It was a non-fiction satire book that looked into the military exploration of “new age techniques” such as remote viewing.
Remote viewing started within military research during the 1970s in the West. It was a response to intelligence that the Soviet Union could remote view. Therefore, the principle of the research was to dismiss remote viewing. However, early studies showed some positive results, and the first academic paper on remote viewing experiments was published in the 1970s.
A typical remote viewing experiment would involve the researcher giving a set of coordinates to the remote viewer and asking them to describe the location. In quite a few trials, there were positive findings. However, not all the tests were successful. Remote viewers could perform above chance level, i.e., the level of guesswork.
Perhaps the most impressive remote viewing experiment came from a CIA and researchers experiment. The CIA gives a set of coordinates to the remote viewer. The remote viewer described a secret military base, its purpose, provide drawings of the base and codes to get into the military base. Unknown to the experimenter and remote viewer, the CIA had asked them to describe a US secret military base that the the experimenter or remote viewer would not know.
The official remote viewing program was closed in the 1990s. The overall conclusions about the program were; (1) inconsistent results, (2) a lack of understanding around the mechanisms, (3) provided little use to intelligence services and (4) early studies had methodological flaws. However, another researcher came to a different conclusion saying when even the methodology weakness was tightened up, there was still evidence for remote viewing. There were a few reported operational successes.
1, President Carter was once asked what was the weirdest thing he came across as President of the United States? He replied remote viewing, giving an example of a plane crash in Africa. Using equipment of the day the plane wreckage could not be found until a remote viewer got involved. The remote viewer was able to provide details of the location, and the plane wreckage was recovered.
2, There are details of remote viewing operating in the military arena. A general was kidnapped, and it was reported that a remote viewer was able to describe the different locations that the general was held in. Eventually, the remote viewer was able to provide a location, and the general was rescued.
The difficulty with military research is the considerable amount of unknown. It is difficult to establish whether the successful cases of remote viewing are making the headlines or examples coming out of the program are the tip of an iceberg. However, operational success makes it difficult to explain by methodological flaws in the experiment.
Other remote viewing experiments have been conducted in finance and Archaeology. The remote viewer would predict if stocks would go up or down. Overall, the studies have shown there was profit in remote viewing. However, we need to be careful as the majority of studies didn’t have a control group. Therefore, stocks might necessarily go up or down at a 50% rate.
There is some evidence of remote viewing. However, it remains a controversial area in science. Just from a simple point of view, the operational examples demonstrate some evidence of remote viewing. However, critics or remote viewing will point to the fact that we don’t have access to all trials conducted by the military. Therefore, people might only be citing successful missions. The mechanisms of remote viewing remain a mystery. Until the theories and mechanisms being established, then there will remain doubt in the scientific community.
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Thanks for reading, Ian