Questions about the SRI Experiments and CIA research into remote viewing.

With regards the SRI test videos involving Uri Geller and other CIA & US Military remote viewing experiments. Some skeptics have asked common questions about the testing, the questions were sent to the scientists Russell Targ and Hal Puthoff. and their answers are below.


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Hal Puthoff:


1.  Skeptics have said that your SRI tests with Uri Geller back in the 70's and the report published in Nature have been discredited.  Is this true?  Why or why not?

Not true, just a claim of the skeptics, made out of whole cloth.

2.  Skeptics have told me that the Introduction part in the Nature article about Geller made it clear that the SRI tests were in no way evidence for Geller's powers.  Is that so?  If not, why did it sound that way?

Read it yourself and form your own opinion.  They were just being conservative.

3.  Skeptics have also said that the SRI tests with Geller were done with inadequate controls, which made it very easy for Geller to cheat.  Is that so?  How tight were the controls exactly in your tests with Geller?  Were they controlled enough to prevent cheating?

Again, these claims of inadequate controls are generally just repeats of what Randi says.  The truth of the matter is that none of Randi's claimed suspected inadequate controls actually had anything to do with the experiments, which of course Randi was not there to know of.  This has been independently reported by Scott Rogo somewhere in the literature, who came out specifically to check each of Randi's guesses about inadequate controls and found them inapplicable under the conditions in which the tests were conducted.  In fact, all of Randi's suggestions were amateurish compared to the sophisticated steps we took, suspecting as we did everything from magician's tricks to an Israeli intelligence scam.  

4.  You guys said that you did remote viewing experiments for the government from the 1970s up til 1995.  How successful were they?

Very.  95% still classified.  Joe McMoneagle (one of the INSCOM viewers) received a Legion of Merit Award for the execution of more than 200 missions, addressing over 150 essential elements of information (EEI), done for Joint Chiefs of Staff, DIA, NSA, CIA, and the Secret Service, for "producing crucial and vital intelligence unavailable from any other source."  

And if they were successful, why haven't they been published in scientific journals...

Much of it (the nonclassified part) has been.  See March 1996 Proceedings IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers - - in that paper "visitor" results are CIA personnel); or AAAS (Amer. Assoc. for the Advancement of Science) Selected Symposium 57, "The role of consciousness in the physical world," Ed. R. Jahn; or "Mind at Large: IEEE Symposium on the Nature of ESP," Ed. Tart, Puthoff and Targ, Praeger Press, or......

5.  Skeptics also claim that the CIA and military remote viewing tests were all a failure and that the CIA even admitted it.

Yes, that's what skeptics claim.  That's not what CIA said.  They just said it wasn't ready for prime time yet as an intelligence collection tool, based on a report submitted by the American Institutes of Research (who were not privy to the highly classified results).  Lots of politics involved, but that's another story.

  If your tests succeeded, why don't the skeptics know about it then?

They're classified and will remain so.  The unclassified results have been replicated and published by many labs (Princeton's two-decade program being a major one), but the skeptics ignore what doesn't fit their belief system.  See Dean Radin's book "Conscious Universe" for a recent overview.

6.  Is the remote viewing phenomenon that you studied the same thing or related to the Out of Body Experience phenomenon (OBE)?  Have you done any tests with OBE's?

In our opinion these labels carry assumptions about mechanisms and models.  "Remote viewing" is neutral.  But yes, there is a continuum.


7. A good example of the inaccuracy  of the remote viewing method is the work of Ed Dames.  He is known to have made predictions that turn out to be wrong.

Unfortunately, true.

8. Further, if remote viewing were reliable, the people who do it could be millionaires by playing the stock market with RV information.

In our own study while I was at SRI, 30 days in the silver futures market netted us $26,000 using a technique we call Associational Remote Viewing.  Details showed statistical significance as a scientific study to boot.  Published in "Research in Parapsychology 1984."


All the SRI studies were double blind in which all transcripts generated in an RV series were blind rated against all targets, from which statistical significance could be independently determined.  Chance matchings are washed out in this procedure.  For details see March 1976 Proceedings of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers).

9.[If remote viewing works] We would know the location of the terrorist leaders.

Remote viewers who work this problem maintain a very low profile, for obvious security reasons.  If successful, you won't hear about it for years.

In short, your skeptic is ill-informed.


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Russel Targ:

1.  Skeptics have said that your SRI tests with Uri Geller back in the 70's and the report published in Nature have been discredited.  Is this true?  Why or why not?     

Our work was not discredited, rather it was replicated at Princeton, Edinburgh and many other labs, not to mention SRI for the next 20 years. We said in Nature, that Geller did NOT bend anything at SRI.

2.  Skeptics have told me that the Introduction part in the Nature article about Geller made it clear that the SRI tests were in no way evidence for Geller's PSYCHOKINETIC powers.  Is that so?  If not, why did it sound that way?  Did the publishers of Nature force you guys to write it that way so it wouldn't become a debacle of controversy and anger the skeptics?

We were not forced to write anything.

3.  Skeptics have also said that the SRI tests with Geller were done with inadequate controls, which made it very easy for Geller to cheat.  Is that so? How tight were the controls exactly in your tests with Geller?  Were they controlled enough to prevent cheating?  If not, why not?  If they were, then why do Skeptics say this?

Geller did the same kind of remote viewing in our lab, that more than fifty others from the government and army have done as part of the 25 year remote viewing program. If the whole world has remote viewing abilities, why shouldn't Geller have some?

4.  You guys said that you did remote viewing experiments for the government from the 1970's up til 1995.  How successful were they?  And if they were successful, why haven't they been published in scientific journals, and why hasn't  the scientific community and the skeptics acknowledged the remote viewing phenomenon as fact?

Our work was published in the IEEE proceedings and AAAS proceedings. A similar paper was published by Prof. Robert Jahn in the 1982 IEEE.