Remote viewing is the phenomenon through which gifted people can apparently gain information about people, places or object that are otherwise beyond the scope of the normal senses. Viewers are apparently possessed of the ability to project aspects of their psychic abilities across long distances and ‘see’ things that other people aren’t able to. If people are aware of remote viewing, it is usually because of the military investigations into the phenomenon, conducted in the late 1960s and 1970s.
However, remote viewing didn’t spring into existence overnight; it has a long and illustrious history that can be traced back thousands of years. By looking back to its origins, we may be able to gain a greater insight and understanding into what remote viewing actually is.
The Lookers of Maat
The first recorded instances of remote viewing come from Ancient Egypt – although it was undoubtedly used before then, probably by village elders and shamans. The Ancient Egyptians used remote viewers to protect themselves from foreign invasion. Known as ‘Lookers’, remote viewers were selected for their apparent abilities by High Priests and trained from childhood. In addition to casting their third eyes out along the Egyptian borders to look for invading forces, Lookers were also trained to send psychic messages between temples, much like the lighting of successive beacons, to warn of the advent of war.
The most advanced viewers were invited to join a select group: the Lookers of Maat. They were trained to be able to tap into their powers on demand and, apparently, no secret was safe from them. The Lookers were both revered and feared; anyone thinking the wrong thoughts, committing the wrong actions or being in the wrong place was in danger of being uncovered, thanks to their extraordinary abilities.
Other civilisations have used remote viewing – and some still do. The aborigines still use their ‘Dream Walkers’ to see forthcoming events and make contact between tribes. It was even reported that in 2005 a group of aborigines managed to avoid destruction at the hands of a tsunami, thanks to the talents of their remote viewers. However, the modern interest in remote viewing has less to do with avoiding disaster and more to do with gathering intelligence on our perceived enemies.
From parlour tricks to the military
Remote viewing was briefly popularised in Europe in the 1800s. With the advent of spiritualism, there was a huge interest in the paranormal. Psychics, mediums, clairvoyants and remote viewers soon found themselves in great demand – but primarily as attractions and party pieces for the rich and socially mobile. However, in the 1930s, Professor JB Rhine attempted to distance remote viewing from its charlatan-infested backdrop, by launching a series of scientific experiments into its validity.
Rhine’s first steps were to establish the existence of psychic abilities, through his development of the now-famous Zener Cards; a set of cards each bearing a geometric symbol. The cards were hidden from the subject, who was asked to divine which symbol was being help up at a particular time. His experiments into remote viewing were conducted using the standard scientific protocols of the time, but his results were greeted with scepticism by his colleagues.
It wasn’t until the 1960s that interest in the possibilities offered by remote viewing were really investigated – and this time, by the United States government. Military intelligence of the time suggested that both China and Russia were exploring the military potential of using remote viewers. As a result, the US launched its own ‘psi program’, in a bid to keep the country abreast of any new developments.
The Stargate Project
By the mid-1970s funding was taken over by the CIA, who ploughed over $500,000 into the research. A variety of experiments were conducted, generally focusing on seeing whether remote viewers were able to glean information about human targets and military installations. Each target was hidden from view and located a great distance away, to prevent there being any way of fabricating results.
Although the data unearthed by this ‘Stargate Project’ has never been fully released, what is known that one of the subjects, Joseph McMoneagle, was awarded a ‘Legion of Merit’ for “discerning 150 essential elements of information, producing crucial and vital intelligence unavailable from any other source.” It seems that there may be some credence to the claims made by remote viewers – and it may be that the results of the Stargate Project have remained hidden for an ulterior motive.
However, America’s experiments into the military potential of remote viewing were not the first. In 1939, Heinrich Himmler assembled a group of gifted psychics under the title of The Institute for Occult Warfare. Among the group was a remote viewer named Ludwig Straniak. In a controlled experiment, he was able to locate the location of a German ship on secret manoeuvres. Once his talents were established, he played a key role in helping the Nazis find and rescue their Italian ally Benito Mussolini.
A tool for help?
The common theme to the history of remote viewing is its potential to pre-empt attacks and gather secret intelligence that might be of use against an enemy force. From the Lookers of Ancient Egypt, to the Nazi’s Institute and the development of the Stargate Project, the overriding interest has been for military purposes. However, the majority of those who possess this gift are not interested in helping the army – although they are interested in helping their fellow man, and many viewers have offered their services up to police forces around the world. While there are plenty of stories of supposed remote viewers simply hindering police investigations, there are others in which, seemingly against the odds, remote viewers have allegedly helped to locate missing people or victims of kidnap.
Major Ed Dames, a retired army intelligence officer, is the head of the Remote Viewing Investigations Unit; a specialist team that takes over cases that the police have exhausted but remain unsolved. Their involvement into the kidnap and murder of Christina White, in 1979, allowed the police to find her body and make subsequent arrests. Dames said: “It’s not a question of ‘do I believe in remote viewing’. The intriguing questions now are how does it work and how can it be further developed.”