A remote viewer is a professional clairvoyant, who uses extrasensory perception (ESP) to sense with the mind rather than with the physical senses. In the Stargate project, the American military and the CIA sought to use clairvoyance in military contexts, for example to locate military installations in foreign countries.
Project Stargate included diverse projects which, in different ways and under the auspices of various personnel, involved military-oriented clairvoyant activities, such as Sun Streak, Grill Flame, and Center Lane. These projects are often subsumed under the umbrella term ‘Project Stargate,’ which is the label I will use for the sake of simplicity. The first military program for remote viewing was developed by Captain Fred Holmes Atwater in 1977, and for years to come Atwater also organized the training of clairvoyant spy candidates. He describes this work in his autobiography Captain of My Ship, Master of My Soul.
The physicists Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff at Stanford Research Institute, a renowned institution linked to Stanford University, developed much of the program’s scientific foundation, theories and training methods. Targ and Puthoff were pioneers in the field of laser technology, and had undertaken assignments for NASA and the CIA among others. Their psychic research had begun during the early 1970s.
As Targ and Puthoff were developing the techniques for remote viewing they were assisted by the artist Ingo Swann (1933–2013), who some would consider to be an exceptionally talented psychic.
In their book Mind-Reach: Scientists Look at Psychic Abilities (1977) Targ and Puthoff explain the basic methods used to cultivate remote viewing abilities in the test subjects. The main features of the technique are quite simple: While the test subject—the remote viewer—is stationed in the laboratory, a member of the research team jumps in the car and drives to another location where there is a ‘target.’ This target has characteristics that are easily recognizable. It can, for instance, be
a building with a special shape, a unique natural form or anything with a distinct visual identity. When the experiment starts, the remote viewer tries to ‘see’—by visualizing, acquiring images, feeling, associating, sensing, etc.—what the target looks like. The viewer then sketches the most characteristic traits of the target, say, an oval pool, a triangular tower, a meandering river, a cliff shaped like a half moon, etc. The viewer also gives an accompanying verbal description of what she/he sees, feels, senses, etc. Targ and Puthoff maintain that the majority of around 100 test subjects actually managed to develop certain remote viewing abilities within the space of a few months. However, very few acquired consistency in their results. The Stanford Research Institute remote viewing exploration became integrated in the military Stargate program during 1977–1978. It was subsequently classified with restrictions that lasted until 1995. After the research became directed toward military usage, the remote viewers would typically be recruited from among soldiers—often personnel who repeatedly had managed to survive under ‘impossible’ conditions. The assumption was that these individuals might have a well-developed sixth sense that had helped them to pull through against all odds. Due to a limited number of suitable candidates and qualified trainers, only a small number went through the training to become remote viewers/clairvoyant spies.
Remote viewing, given that the phenomenon is real, is an application of clairvoyance. But as
there were people present by the targets, perhaps the aforementioned episodes could just as well be seen as an application of telepathy—that staff members had accidentally acted as ‘transmitters.’ This is an interesting question that I think would be impossible to answer. It is quite often hard to differentiate between clairvoyance (where information is downloaded from the Mental Internet without a specific ‘sender’) and telepathy (where the information stems from a specific person). When using clairvoyance in a military connection one attempts to directly ‘see’ landscapes, buildings, things or activities of strategic importance. While using telepathy in a similar context, one would rather attempt to ‘read’ the thoughts and plans of, for instance, an important enemy general. Such use of telepathy has almost certainly been attempted, but within Stargate the focus was on the development and use of clairvoyance.