Friday, May 2, 2014

Remote Viewing, Reality, and the Human Condition: Reflections on a Weekend with Russell Targ

Via The Eyeless Owl, 16 April 2014

"There is no other discipline that I know which engages at the same time a person’s critical faculties and his imagination and then stretches them both to a comparable extent." – John Beloff, 'The Study of the Paranormal as an Educative Experience'

 On the campus of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, the United States’ longest running parapsychology research laboratory is hidden behind a humble facade. This is fitting for a research institute that delves into the very root of our experience of consciousness: that hidden realm lying beneath our own humble human facades.

Founded in the 1930′s by psychologist J. B. Rhine, the Rhine Research Center, as it is now called, has been at the forefront of research into anomalous human experience for more than seven decades.  It continues today as one of the most active and publicly engaged parapsychological research groups in the world, and the friendly folks at the Rhine are more than happy to share that experience with anyone who is honestly inquisitive about their work.

On October 19th and 20th, 2012 I attended a two-day seminar that was hosted by the Rhine Research Center and presented by Russell Targ, co-founder of Stanford Research Institute‘s Remote Viewing program, which has become famous for providing training to the U.S. military’s so-called “psychic spy” initiative. As John Kruth, Executive Director for the Rhine, pointed out, the training given to those that attended the recent seminar at the Rhine (including myself) was the same training provided to the original SRI group.

Targ himself was the monitor on many, if not most, of the Remote Viewing sessions conducted by SRI, making this a rare opportunity to experience something that has become central to the contemporary American mythos. With a quiet, serious demeanor, he clearly displays the long years spent as a physicist working on developing laser systems for aerospace companies such as Lockheed Martin, from which he retired in 1997. Targ has been studying lasers, as he puts it in his autobiography, Do You See What I See: Lasers and Love, ESP and the CIA, and the Meaning of Life, since before there were lasers to be studied, and he applies the focus of a scientist seasoned in the cut-throat world of high level research and development to his studies of anomalous perception, where  his specialty is ESP. There is a slight irony in the fact that what he was able to do in developing laser guidance systems in the aerospace industry, he was also able to do in developing a laser focused technique for cultivating and applying accurate psychic intuition.

On the seminar’s first night, Targ presented a talk on his latest book, The Reality of ESP: A Physicist’s Proof of Psychic Abilities, which provides an in-depth overview of his experience in the field. If you watch the above clip, which shows archival footage of Targ working with New York Times photographer and remote viewer Hella Hammid, you will get a sense of the basics of the field. However, what is most striking and significant about Targ’s recent work is that it comes at a time when most of the information on the former RV project has now been declassified, and so we can see the contrast between what was publicly stated then and what he can publicly state today.

In 1983 his work was still under the censorship of the intelligence agencies that funded it, and so the tone of this film downplays the significant successes the program had throughout its tenure. Looking back on some of the material published in the Parapsychology Foundation’s Parapsychology Review, the THETA Journal distributed by the Psychical Research Foundation, and other literature from the field you can see some of the inklings of this success in the positive tenure of the discussions presented there.   But in Targ’s latest book, he details results that go far beyond the modest successes and experiments that have been highlighted in most of the previous media surrounding the Remote Viewing phenomena.

Continue to the full article,

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