RV Editorials

Reviewing the Reviewers:
Fortean Times Magazine

August 2004

An editorial review of the August 2004 Fortean Times magazine content, cover titled: REMOTE VIEWING: How America's Psychic Superspies Became New Age Gurus

Reviewing the Reviewers: Why Do I Review RV Media?

Jump-to Links:
Re: Editorial
Re: Seeing is Believing
Re: RV in London
Re: PSI – Booking Essential
Closing Notes
My Own Bias


The study of scientific anomalies is one of my primary personal interests. So, not surprisingly, media like Fortean Times magazine is some of my favorite reading.

But not today. The August 2004 issue has left me feeling--well, when I get over being astonished, I'll have to consider how else I feel.

My surprise isn't just the treatment afforded The Monroe Institute (TMI) here--because media makes its own rules, of course, their choice--but the strikingly odd fact that every great opportunity to support the magazine’s titled focus was totally left out. I'm not even sure what to make of that. I’m not complaining exactly--I don’t need to see more negative media about RV. But you don't often see someone trying to make a case for something, looking into a whole field of people (some of whom support that case in 32 flavors), and then choosing as their focus someone who least examples their own point.

It's even more unusual than that, though. The title suggests the issue is focused on various former Stargate people (plural) and their current work. Yet a focus on totally unrelated people who aren't in that category is provided in detail, which is odd as it seems their only real value is to provide a worst-case association with TMI and RV (scoff-by-proxy). For example, some nutty guy whose sole qualification for inclusion is living near TMI--he got article space, quoting, and a large feature picture. Another article, the one with the most focus on RV, didn't even touch on actual Remote Viewing or the field today, but excavated that Great RV Space Opera of Dames & Brown, focusing on Brown's 1997 book and Hale-Bopp radio mythos. (Time warp ahead! Man, just when you think it's safe to start reading again...) Atwater's book is only mentioned in the last little paragraph of the main article--while Brown's book on another page actually got a cover image in.

More amazing, though the primary article was focused on TMI and Atwater, in an issue about Remote Viewing, the journalist actually managed to totally avoid discussing Atwater's TMI practicum for RV. Now how does that happen?

All the focus on the crazy guy down the street and the crazy guy on the radio years ago apparently didn't leave print space for any focus on the very people the magazine title suggests you will find (darn): the cover title has almost nothing to do with the magazine content. Aside from Atwater and mentions-in-passing, others from the program were ignored. Which is ironic, really, since in several instances they'd have made the case of the skeptical title quite well.

The combined articles, regardless of detail, make one embarrassing thing clear: the Editor doesn't even know what RV is. Ten minutes on the internet could have afforded enough info to provide better oversight for his writers. It is hard to be certain if it's a scoffer tactic or just inexplicable ignorance: both Editor and the writer for the main 'RV'-related article seem to think that Remote Viewing is instead Dowsing. First they insult RV because it hasn't "located" WMD in Iraq--as if RV is supposed to locate anything--and then they insult "descriptive" data they saw on the internet as being laughably unworkable for locating anything. Doh! You don't say.

Now if this were just one little article in a fashion magazine, I could understand, but to be IN the 'alternative' field as Fortean is, and to focus an entire issue on REMOTE VIEWING (giant cover title), and not even know what they're talking about right out of the gate--well. As I said. It's just embarrassing for them.

Given how much info is now publicly available about RV, in books and on the internet, it's been quite some time since I've seen an article focused on RV that was done so poorly.

I admit it was ‘punny’ to see repeated reference to the "Check-In Units” at TMI--which gives me a rather more cosmic, Hotel California idea for the CHEC units (an acronym).

Re: Editorial

Editor: David Sutton

The Editorial for the issue came first in the magazine, so it set the issue's tone for expectation. Four sentences in, it neatly makes clear the assumption, summary and wrapped-up dismissal of the entire topic:

‘Stargate’ was shut down in 1995, but Remote Viewing has successfully outlived its military and intelligence uses--despite none of its apologists having produced any really credible evidence in favor of its efficacy.

Well I guess that’s that then. A dismissive hand-wave by the Editor has pre-fulfilled all journalistic (and evidentiary) requirements.

Avoid examining the actual evidence. This allows you to say with impunity, "I have seen absolutely no evidence to support such ridiculous claims!"

-- Dan Drasin
Zen… And the Art of Debunkery

Apparently they already had an opinion about Remote Viewing, as suggested by a variety of comments including those implying that if Remote Viewing were real, the USA would have found WMD in Iraq or Hussein (sooner). As such comments make obvious, they're completely uneducated about Remote Viewing. I understand this may not be their personal interest, but given they're presenting this magazine issue with that big focus, wouldn't you think they could have taken just a few minutes to learn at least the basics?

This demand sounds good on paper--how many folks have tried to be witty with this one so far, gee I've lost count--but it verges on obtuse. (See my review later in this article of “PSI--Booking Essential”.)

It's strange, 'cause the Fortean Times editor, operating in the area of science anomalies, should be used to seeing topics sacrificed to the same baptism-by-scientism in the media, and you'd think he'd be a tad more open minded than the mainstream-indoctrinated. I guess not. Once again, the most mysterious anomaly is human psychology.


Re: Seeing is Believing

Journalist: Mark Blacklock

The leading (and largest) article begins with an overview of Robert Monroe’s founding of The Monroe Institute (“TMI”), a little background about electrical activity of the human brain, and Atwater’s explanation of Hemi-Sync™ audio technology and how it works. It's ok, but it's a bit creative in presentation. For example, TMI’s Programs Director, Dr. Darlene Miller, is explaining to the journalist (Blacklock) that most of the science happens outside TMI, such as at universities. In other words, it’s standard research. Blacklock refers to the technology as being "the main focus of the Monroe Institute's proselytising" (emphasis mine)--and then says Miller is explaining how TMI “is working to have Hemi-Sync™ enshrined in traditional scientific literature." (My emphasis.) Gee there's that religious phrasing again... framing things in ‘religious-mystical’ verbage is standard "subtle debunking," tried and true. Maybe he's unconscious of it, but that would be more an insult to him as a writer than suggesting he's just slightly biased.

Ridicule, ridicule, ridicule. It is far and away the single most chillingly effective weapon in the war against discovery and innovation. Ridicule has the unique power to make people of virtually any persuasion go completely unconscious in a twinkling. It fails to sway only those few who are of sufficiently independent mind not to buy into the kind of emotional consensus that ridicule provides.

-- Dan Drasin
Zen… And the Art of Debunkery

Later in the article Blacklock writes, "It will come as little surprise that Atwater, like Dr. Miller, was raised by metaphysically oriented parents." Actually, he’d quoted Miller as saying her parents were extreme Christians who’d reject these things--not remotely 'metaphysical'. He forgot? Or it sounded good, as it implies that having been warped by such parents, we shouldn't be surprised at Miller and Atwater’s activities now.

Go figure: There's a good sized portion of this article--story, quotes, even a big photo--of some local guy who lives near the TMI business, whom the journalist met in a bar. The fellow is paranoid about the government and claims he has all kinds of advanced technologies. He suggested Blacklock write an article about him. As Blacklock obviously didn't want to write about Remote Viewing, or Skip's current work with Remote Viewing at TMI, or any other legit Stargate Remote Viewer, he took the fellow up on it and made him a feature. I have never seen any magazine make such a big deal out of a focus-subject, with a bold cover and giant type no less, and then so carefully avoid most opportunities to address it. Let alone with the only guy interviewed who even halfway qualifies the issue for its own cover title.

TMI's 'Dolphin' stuff does sound pretty airy, as I told them myself years ago. The courses I was in, especially the second one, had mostly your basic white-collar professional (pilots, engineers, surgeons, CPAs, etc.) and we were split about it; some of us found it snortingly-humorous, while others related to it and loved the symbol. It helps to remember that you take home the impression of the folks you meet, but that doesn't mean they represent the institute itself. People come in all kinds. Anyway, I figured if it weren’t that symbol it'd be something else, and using it as an archetype worked just fine for me.

In the article when it is explained to him that TMI's occasional use of dolphins is just a "symbol" of non-human intelligence, and of a connection between all consciousness that many visitors like, Blacklock instantly suggests that at worst this is ignorant because sometimes male dolphins commit gang rape. Oh good grief dude!… Sigh. Now that is a case of technically correct but seriously overpedantic.

He warns, "The idea of group energy and synergy is held aloft like a holy chalice" (my emphasis)--hey, there's that religious phrasing again!--and says this "raises certain questions about the psychology of groups, about what might happen when a group of people intently want to achieve a prescribed result"--yes. Sure it does. I've been in business seminars, sales meetings, brainstorming sessions and more when this was exactly the understanding and intent, and nobody thought it was concerning then.

Atwater provided him a session in the isolation chamber. Blacklock slept through it, adding he’d need “a lot more Hemi-Sync before I could attempt Remote Viewing.” Actually, he wouldn’t need any at all. But he wouldn’t know that I guess, since he wrote an entire article on Skip Atwater and TMI in a magazine issue featuring Remote Viewing, and still managed to leave out entirely any decent information on Skip’s Remote Viewing course at TMI.

Detailed info might have exceeded Blacklock's journalistic resources of the time of course, as it would have required at least three minutes on the internet to find. Or asking the fellow he was already sitting there talking with. He did mention its existence in passing once. Not quite the coverage he gave the nutty guy who lives down the road, but there’s only so much room on paper… and apparently there were other priorities.


Re: RV in London

Journalist: Noel Rooney

Rooney’s article opens with poetic prose about archetypes and information. Yet, by the time I get to this article I am pretty aggravated about the editorial and the previous article, and ready to pound on something. So I have to admit the writing style is lovely, but I do it rather grumpily. (This journalist is almost wasted in a magazine, and really should be writing novels.)

When Rooney refers to Remote Viewing as “migrating from spook skill to lifestyle choice” I laugh--it’s a socially brutal yet accurate observation. But this is not just humor about the ‘marketing’ aspect of modern layman’s RV as intended; it's actually a truism about the pursuit as well. Even more than Martial Arts, to which Remote Viewing is often compared (as a ‘Martial Art of the Mind’, as McMoneagle put it eons ago), it requires a consistent dedication that amounts to enormous amounts of personal time invested over the long term, in an experience that challenges many aspects of psychology and belief systems and impacts your whole life.

The experience of trying out Remote Viewing (as Rooney described in the article) is fairly typical, I’d say from my own experience and hundreds of folks I’ve known. I should note that like any experience, RV tends to get a little better as practice accumulates. (Though the only thing truly consistent about RV is its exasperating inconsistency.)

This article is very brief. Which is too bad, since it’s not only the best writing, but the only individual in the magazine that seems to have a clue. The reason’s obvious: Rooney had actual experience to write about.

Blacklock on the other hand, by his own account showed up without notice in the middle of a closed week-long advanced course, with two days to Learn Everything, no pre-arranged permission to be part of it, and then made it sound like this complete lack of planning was somehow the fault of TMI, like they owed him or something. Despite that two of the primary Directors made time to give him interviews, showed him around, and even gave him a session, he was so disappointed.

Andys requested a free press pass to the experiential practicum Atwater was running on a visit to England, and claims a man refused her entrance saying he’d “scanned her from afar” and found she "had a bad attitude." That's a good one. Well, leaving out the psychic-scanners quip for the moment, maybe she did. If I were teaching a small, experiential class in something with serious psychological considerations, I wouldn’t want anybody with an “attitude” there either. Especially if they--like Andys does--talked about mind control, and “the dark side”, while demanding to get in free. Editor Sutton also claimed the magazine was told by this same (unnamed) person that Andys was refused because "her chakras were disturbed.” Heh. TMI needs to screen the volunteers and conference coordinators a little better apparently.

What doesn’t seem very funny though, is that even a small amount of professional planning (aka “common courtesy” and “adult behavior”) might have gotten them real experience for writing about, and they didn't have it. The result is a bit like reading a college newspaper review by a kid who couldn't get tickets to the concert but is sure they know all about it anyway... and holds a grudge you see in the writing about the refusal of their backstage pass. A little advance planning, a basic level of professional competence, doesn't seem too much to ask here.

The worst part is, that this "big feature issue" on RV then becomes kind of a joke. The combined notes play into the predictable melody of what I call the Schnabel Effect.

(I refer above to Jim Schnabel, and his early work in Britain allegedly debunking crop circles, mostly by ignoring scientifically demonstrable oddities, hoaxing some himself, and then focusing almost exclusively on how weird the people involved with the study were. As if this had anything to do with the legitimacy of the phenomenon. Schnabel is also known in the Remote Viewing field for his book ‘Remote Viewers’, an impressive compendium of trivial facts and figures, combined with some McMoneagle-the-Amazing stories--which anybody studying that period of work runs across, though I appreciate him being fair enough to include them (they were the best reading). Due to the people Schnabel was involved with, his bias reflected theirs though. The result was a book that while good where it covered, alas completely ignored half the program, which as an amazingly unfortunate coincidence to his previous journalism, just happened to be the most legit scientific work and most reputable researchers. Which left me ambivalent: grateful for all the details, and some good accounts, yet frustrated that the most scientifically-legit info just "happened" to be the part he didn't choose to make room for.)


Re: PSI – Booking Essential

Journalist: Eris Andys

The Andys article offered the other side of the spectrum: a 'believer', although with a focus more on the mysteries (with some element of fear-of-psi involved) than the science. I worried a bit up front, since in RV, any extreme is a problem--true believers with bias or really noticeable 'belief systems' about it confuse things as much as scoffers do, sometimes more.

Andys began by referring to RV’s “positive aspect” as finding things. A strange way to lead off. That happens on occasion--usually by accident. Or, when RV's being used with other info whether from psi (like dowsing) or traditional sources. Finding things is not representative of what RV does though, and is a dangerous misdirection in this field. Remote Viewing in general is lousy for finding things. One of the chronic problems the field faces is scoffers demanding to know why RV can’t locate something as evidence of its own reality. When they see what Remote Viewing does provide--its nature is “descriptive”--they often scoff about how useless descriptive data is likely to be for finding much of anything. Yeah no kidding, I agree. Most basic ‘descriptives’ are not useful for locating things, this is an obvious statement about information (in any field, not just RV). And, I'll agree that first-level RV descriptions can be something that much of the time, even an informed guess might improve on.

Usually. That's not to say that sometimes an unusual data point in RV doesn't turn out to be key. And the more unexpected the reality is, the more likely RV will be a better tool than informed guessing. But you can only make an "informed guess" if you have information. You don't usually need RV when you have a lot of information; you need it when you don't. In any case, location finding is not RV's purpose, and RV is very poorly suited to that application. This basic fact has been published in every McMoneagle book, and is found in internet transcripts, and FAQs, and more--for anybody not to know this first-fundamental basic about RV, as neither Andys nor Editor Sutton apparently do, suggests neither of them made much of any effort at all to educate themselves about the topic before publishing on it.

In the Editorial that leads this magazine issue, as well as this article, a typical process occurs: demanding of Remote Viewing something it isn’t even designed for, then to add insult to the injury of that ignorance, flippantly mocking either RV or select persons for not meeting that arbitrary goal the writer believes ought to demonstrate RV. Andys sets up RV right off as being designed to locate things, which sure made it convenient for Sutton (the Editor) to pound RV right up front, quoting her article, because viewers haven't solved all our war issues like where those pesky WMD might be hidden.

Well. I'll just dial my little red phone direct to the General at the front line, who'll take my data and arrange retasking as needed and--well ok. I admit, I don't really have a little red phone. So if someone can arrange direct access to on-the-ground-intell for the back & forth needed for this work, then demands on Remote Viewing can be made. Unless a person has the ability to arrange that for me, I don't want to hear that person griping about how viewers "should be" solving those problems. Lack of proper interface for any viewer to work such a project makes it ludicrous for people to imply that if there are any outstanding missing persons, weapons, etc. this may suggest RV doesn't work or something.

It wouldn't be much to ask that Sutton at least know what Remote Viewing IS before publishing a magazine focused on it.

Info Break:

It may be naive to assume that any 'carrot-on-stick' media-sponsored psi-hype (like "The Hunt for Bin Laden") means that the authorities really do want someone found. Or taken at that moment. Or in that place. Or that they'd credit psi even if they did succeed thanks to it (usually psi info would only be used if there was other corroborating info). Generally, on the ground they wouldn't even know the source of an intell tip anyway, and a good thing, since if they knew it was psi they'd likely ignore it.

Even during the Stargate program, getting data to the place it was needed, let alone in a timely manner--and getting it accepted--was often difficult. The kidnapping of General Dozier is one example. A Stargate viewer (McMoneagle) named the city where he was held, and which part of it, and described in detail the building Dozier was held in. But he was found by the time the data finally got to the person who could have used it. Government and military are bureaucracies, and neither are remotely open to psi, to understate it dramatically--no matter what the news says.

There is an unstated assumption I have seen a lot the last couple years: That something like the FBI is taking every tip from every psychic, and earnestly following up on it, but gee whiz, apparently not one suggestion has panned out yet. That's pretty funny. Even prior to the media hoopla on intell working 'outside the box' to fight terrorism, especially from the 9/11 point, the FBI is over-inundated with voluntary 'psychic tips' from the public--so many it almost exceeds their ability even to file them, let alone take them all seriously. Thousands and thousands of "tips". They can't do anything with all this stuff--they'd need to triple their manpower.

There is a lot of 'assumption' going on concerning the use of psi in war efforts. Most of it is about as realistic as the kid in a movie who presses two buttons on a laptop computer and hacks into the NSA website.

I don't think Remote Viewing has ever been claimed by any legitimate practitioner of it as a good means of finding things. (See the next 'info break'.) Nobody legit ever claimed that RV could do half the things that detractors insist it ought to be able to do. It is just another intelligence tool, many of which are imperfect and inconsistent in their accuracy. The source of confusion is obvious: a lot of people get their information about RV from sources other than field scientists or demonstrated viewers. It is only the unreasonable claims made about RV by people in the media that brings such childish ideals of “Nearly Omniscient!” to the public’s expectations. Yet no field or its integrity can be held responsible for every person in the world who is misinformed (or mentally misaligned), including Remote Viewing. It’s up to each person to be discerning--to make intelligent decisions about who and what to take seriously.

Demanding that viewers locate things to prove RV works is like insisting someone’s ordinary camera provide GPS coordinates. That is not what the tool is for. Once in awhile, what the tool does will solve the problem anyway: one may describe something uniquely recognizeable, for example; or a viewer may get a name or ‘knowing’ about location. Yet mostly, in the case of missing persons for example, even if a viewer perfectly describes a house, a city area, or a shallow ditch where someone might be, that's mostly “useless data” for finding them. Now in the context of other info it contributes; used properly, RV info can be invaluable. But for finding things, descriptive data can seldom be used on its own.

So, sing it with me sisters!, Dowsing locates. Remote Viewing describes.

Info Break:

It’s often been publicly emphasized by persons in the Remote Viewing field, such as Dr. Edwin May of CSL (Director for the majority of STAR GATE’s research data) and Joseph McMoneagle (probably the most scientifically documented viewer in the world at this point--and certainly the most publicly demonstrated), that Remote Viewing is appropriately used in concert with other information collection techniques.

In McMoneagle’s Nippon TV challenges over the last couple of years for example, the Japanese version of the FBI provides one or more names of persons they have not been able to locate, who in some cases have been missing for decades. The producers put the name in a sealed envelope and ask for information on where that person is now. Then they take the information provided by the psychic, and the film crew and investigators work with the information to see if they can figure it out and find that person.

And much of the time, they do find them. Over and over, they have. Often with hand-sketched street maps, detailed walking directions, and very clear sketches of unique landmarks--in a place the viewer has never been. Repeated RV applications successes and in-protocol on-camera challenge demos, of which McMoneagle has several dozen now, are ignored by many, who like the Editor of this magazine, close their eyes, wave a hand and declare all evidence nonexistent. (Well... don't bother telling him. He doesn't want to know.)

McMoneagle didn’t find that person alone from his desk. It was having “intell on the ground,” combined with good psychic data (both RV and Dowsing), that made it possible. When you hear about RV "finding" something, like missing kids, sunken ships, etc., it's usually because the psychic was working with some form of investigator that was using RV in combination with other info, the way it needs to be used to be most effective.

For the record, most successful “location” work is done by psychics who are both dowser and viewer, such as McMoneagle. In the RV field, real skill at locational-dowsing is rare, and skill at temporal-dowsing even moreso. Many psychic methodologies (such as "CRV") include dowsing techniques as an optional, additional 'tool'.

Andys continues about RV: “…its higher vibration is seen in healing from afar…”

I admit... the word “vibration” used in RV tends to make my eyes roll up in my head. But this might be a fair, if literary, way of putting it.

Andys has that Baptist-shaded belief system about polarities, with a special fascination for the shivery underworlds. I don't tend to focus on psi in that way, personally. I think maybe, like Ben Stiller said in the movie Zero Effect, “There aren’t good guys over here, and bad guys over there! There’s just--there’s just a bunch of guys!” Maybe this polarities thing is itself a belief system, culturally spawned into our unconscious from earliest life--one that may shape our personal experience, both in manifestation and interpretation.

Andys goes on to describe alleged Russian research, thought-control, mind-machines, brain surgery, and more to outline the direction of “death and destruction, usually preceded by delusion” that she calls "the dark side" of Remote Viewing.

Info Break:

Picky, but required: “Remote Viewing” as a term was coined in the ASPR lab in the early 1970’s to refer to psychic functioning done within an approved scientific protocol. (See the Firedocs FAQ “What is Remote Viewing?” for more.) Psychic ability, nobody invented. But that term, someone did. Take psychic functioning out of a decent Remote Viewing protocol and it is no longer qualified to be called Remote Viewing. So, you can associate psychic functioning with mind control if desired. RV as a term is used very "slang" as a verb, but that is not technically correct. There is a difference between "psi" and "RV". It blurs understanding for the public when this starts getting muddy--nor is it fair to the science--so I am just mentioning it.

Andys writes about Remote Viewing: "...the most vivid experiences don't tend to happen in the laboratory. Usually, they are spontaneous and unsolicited..." Experientially this is correct, but not technically. What this comment evidences, unfortunately, is that Andys clearly has no clue what Remote Viewing even is, how it differs from psychic functioning, what the point of science's role in its development might be, or anything else of import to the subject. Spontaneous "vivid imagery" as she describes it, is not remote viewing. It might be psychic, it might be something else, but being unplanned is clearly out of RV protocol from the start.

The article mentions many of the more furtively lurking suspicions one hears about in the social psi world. Sometimes in print, whether internet or other, it gets a little difficult to tell "really enthusiastic people interested in psi's dark side" from "borderline paranoid schizophrenia" I admit, so I tend to avoid this area of the subject when I can. Andys assures us "the US military would love to be able to employ mind control on a mass scale" and then repeats a rumor about the US Navy subcontracting to the Japanese for new brain machines. She leads from that right into darkly suggesting that when it comes to out of body experiences (back to The Monroe Institute here)--it's "buyer beware" because "there may well be elements of them over which we simply have no control". Oh my.

There are lots of elements of OBEs that nobody I know--certainly not me when I experience such things on occasion--can control. I have never feared my astral-self was in danger of the Navy's Japanese brain machines controlling me should I leave my body--but who knows?


Andys then turned her focus to--I’m not kidding--Dr. Courtney Brown of all people. Good grief. To focus any article on "remote viewing" and choose Brown as the example is tragic (for RV, of course). Brown has got no--please count them, zero--credentials qualifying him to represent Remote Viewing. Nada. None. Zip. And, no: I don’t care if he has a Ph.D. in something else. Given his history in this field, those little letters following his name should have devolved to a negative integer by now.

As a mini-reminder (I won't write a book), Ed Dames, the dubiously borderline (and suspiciously preplanned) former Major psi-Vangelist on late night radio took Courtney Brown under his wing as his 'trainer'. They were joined at one hip for nearly a year. Brown considered his experiences scientific proof he had to be right, as they correlated with what Dames had already told him others got as data. Dames tasked and monitored him for much of the session work in his book, but typically, frontloaded--which is little more than a hypnotic situation. The many problems with this protocol kind of got... overlooked. Perhaps Political Science, being closer to philosophy than chemistry, leaves out the educational basics about experimental controls or something. In any case, Brown promptly trademarked(!) the term “Scientific Remote Viewing”--as if the very term by its definition was not already scientific, and as if him simply using the word could make what he was doing qualified as such. Since he ignored RV protocol--initially in ignorance, then in avoidance--it was sure frustrating to have him in public with that banner.

But heck, he's laid low a long time now. (See. There is a God.) That media nightmare is finally fading. So why, oh why, do people in the media continue to look at him when they want to talk about RV? Fine, so he was on the radio. So what. Give RV a break already--it's bad enough Art Bell is such a doofus isn't it? Just because he's a hype-media courtesan, must every media person that follows him in time also follow suit in attention?

I am sure someday this will all be funny in retrospect. But just thinking about it makes me remember trying to get through Brown's Cosmic Voyage book back then, and having to stop halfway through because literally, those homicidal impulses I was feeling just weren’t healthy.

Andys reports "rage" on finishing it. Now you’d think given that response, that'd make her more aware of--and wary of--the many confusions in the RV field. Apparently not. Instead, she seems to just have a major chip on her shoulder about Brown's day-glo psychology somehow being TMI's fault or something, which is just weird. I have to wonder if this is related to her frustration that Atwater wouldn't let her into his TMI practicum free--and her having nothing else to write about except some hype on the radio seven years ago as a result. Somebody get that woman internet access. It's a big world for RV.


Andys states that Brown said he was “trained at TMI, and with the use of Hemi-Sync™ and light-sound machines, learned to remote view to the ends of the universe." He might say that. Or he might say something very close to that which got interpreted as there being some connection between TMI and Brown's alleged RV.

I became involved in studying Remote Viewing in late 1995, so I was around when Brown first appeared publicly. Right off he had a page on his website that presented him, TMI, RV, etc. together, in a way that--not formally, certainly "inferentially"--suggested he was somehow affiliated with them. I sent TMI a note about it at the time. They asked him to take it down, as they did not want there to seem to be any formal association between them, as there was not. So he took it down. This was in mid-1996 as I recall. Not only were they not affiliated with him, but they didn't teach him Remote Viewing (which Andys appears to think is the case). TMI didn't begin what some call 'training' in RV until fairly recently, with Atwater's small occasional practicums. Which is almost too bad, since had Brown learned from Atwater rather than Dames, I am certain RV-Media history would be very different today.

Despite that this connection could not be made even in mid-‘96, Andys has managed to dig all this history back up, string it together, and manually connect those cables herself, resulting in an article clearly implying that TMI is somehow responsible for Brown talking about Aliens, Jesus and the Companion on the radio. That would be too ludicrous even to merit response, were it not "implied" so heavily in a media source with a lot of readers. She adds, referring here to after the Hale-Bopp photographic fraud was publicized, “...Monroe Institute distanced itself from Brown…” –implicating them as if dishonest, as if affiliated with him until then and disconnecting after the fact. I'm betting the folks at TMI read this article with jaws hanging open and blood pressure up: not only have they never been affiliated with him--or much of anybody else, aside from people that sometimes give talks there as one example--but they had made a pointed effort way back in '96 to curtail even the "subtle implied hint" of association he himself tried to create. Lots of folks attend TMI and then recommend it to others: it's a cool experience. So what? That eight years later someone would come along and manufacture this connection--retroactively--must seem pretty unfair.

Practice debunkery-by-association. Lump together all phenomena popularly deemed paranormal and suggest that their proponents and researchers speak with a single voice. In this way you can indiscriminately drag material across disciplinary lines or from one case to another to support your views as needed.

-- Dan Drasin
Zen… And the Art of Debunkery

I would agree. The unfairness is profound. I mean darn it, that is more than just “unfair”. TMI is a decent business with a legitimate history and technology. Sure, they have plenty of customers who are a bit on the “moon-eyed” side as I affectionately call it, but they've a whole lot who aren't, too--who are skeptical, credentialed, professional people just interested in trying it out and seeing what a weeklong vacation of self-exploration is like. TMI’s principals have clearly worked hard over the years to walk the line between supporting the exploration of personal, subjective experience, while remaining within the impartial, objective fold of the technology itself.

Out of the thousands of people that have gone through TMI's doors, Brown is just one. Yeah, I know he made big waves on the radio. He and Dames managed to discredit in the public eyes 20 years of serious scientific research neither had any part of. That is no small thing in the Remote Viewing field, believe me; we know about it. They're both on the list, if you get my drift. But he and Dames competing for glory-dollars in the audio halls of the most mercenarily undiscriminating radio host in history, that has nothing to do with TMI.


In terms of an "Editorial Context", of several articles put together in a focus-issue, the articles of Blacklock and Andys beg explanation. Why is Fortean Times making such a pointed effort to represent TMI “via” whatever least reputable phrasing, perspective or people they can find to glue-stick on for guilt-by-association? Of all the really deserving opportunities for skepticism in the RV field (and there are plenty), Atwater and TMI ought to be at the bottom of the list. They’re the most innocuous in terms of claims and the most contributive in terms of legit info and sane presentation.

Concerning the magazine's cover title, not only does Atwater not represent all the people from the previous Stargate program--since he's the only one focused on, and he was a manager more than a viewer--but he shouldn’t even be associated with people like Brown. That's like comparing Fortean Times with The National Enquirer.

The overall impression made by this magazine issue is discrediting.

I suggest that interested readers:

  1. Look at your calendar, and note that there actually is a current world in Remote Viewing. Dipping back to 1997 to present “Remote Viewing” for people (not to mention choosing people with no credentials to represent RV, not to mention choosing people 'famous for fraud' as well) not only isn’t necessary, it’s misrepresentative. It’s like discussing the local church activities by recalling the Crusades. I mean seriously… give it a break already.
  2. Visit and note there are quite a few books that say they relate to Remote Viewing. A couple really good ones, like McMoneagle’s autobiography The Stargate Chronicles and RV protocol primer Remote Viewing Secrets will give you basic facts about RV and good reading too. (If you can’t survive an RV book without a UFO involved somewhere, get Mind Trek instead.) At least McMoneagle is a legit rep for the field. Brown’s old 1997 book on Jesus, the Galactic Hall and more, personally tutored by Dames, is not only dated, but was never a legitimate reference to remote viewing to begin with.
  3. Ask any legitimate scientist who currently works in the field of psi research, if Courtney Brown’s Ph.D. in Political Science qualifies him as an expert on Remote Viewing who should be continually held up in media as RV’s representative. (Tip: You may wish to avoid asking this while they have any sharp objects in hand.)
  4. Wonder for a few moments: Why would a magazine Editor take a field with some really great, recent demonstrations (which would be real fun for media), a solid scientific history, and several no-nonsense people with credentials worth quoting, then deliberately exclude a focus on most folks who'd infer legitimacy, and deliberately seek out folks like some wild media claimant from history famous for fraud, and even some wild-eyed fellow who "lives up the road", to associate with it all instead?

This overall magazine issue reads less like an exposé than a personal agenda.


Closing Notes

People who are not aware of the "influence" of bias in journalism concerning psi-type subjects might read magazine articles like these and think, "That wasn't bad." On the surface, it wasn't.

It may seem like folks in any field outside the mainstream should be grateful for the small favor of having their subject reviewed and, in the process, having anything positive said at all, and no open attack or insult, etc. I used to feel that way.

Yesterday, I was really excited to read the new Fortean Times. The cover was really cool. Given the title, I figured on a droll and skeptical article about a variety of real issues in the RV field that frankly deserve a droll and skeptical review, most of which tie into the 'from superspy to new age guru' concept.

After reading the articles on RV & TMI, I thought at first, "Well. There is some good stuff too, I suppose. At least they are not rabid like some scoffers are."

And then suddenly I realized: What a pitiful criteria to replace "Expecting anybody with a brain (and a responsibility to represent something to the public) to be objective and fair." What a dysfunctional, "Hurt us but we won't whimper if it's not too severe" kind of response that "be grateful for small favors" translates out to being!

Even a pleasant article can kill with kindness sometimes, if in the process of being kind--or at least not ruthless--they exclude the strongest support for your subject, while associating your subject with lunatics or fraud, while placing even ordinary conversation into a framework like religion/mysticism, while misrepresenting what (and who) your subject is about, while then flippantly insulting your subject for not being what it's not even supposed to be.

It doesn't matter how benevolent the words you end up reading may seem. When they are in the context of these issues above, it is not a benevolent result.

It is like someone being very polite while they set your car on fire. Does the fact that the fellow has good manners make it okay that he is doing you harm?

Were this the first media to achieve this "friendly sabotage," perhaps I would think I was oversensitive. But it is a pattern that has gone on for the entire eight years I have been studying remote viewing, although I admit that there have been "cycles" of extremes.

Harm done gently in the media does far greater damage than most harm done severely, oddly enough. Why? Because harm done severely makes readers think, "Wow this journalist is so biased, this is so openly unfair," and so they really don't take much of it seriously. It may even inspire quite a bit of defense instead. Harm done gently, however, is damnably difficult to extricate oneself or any subject from.


My media reviews for the Firedocs Collection are primarily corrective. There is text in these articles which is positive, although most of that is actually found in verbal quotes, not from the journalists. There is information which, in addition to the points I have critiqued, seems fair to me (regardless of whether it is good or bad). There is plenty here I haven't mentioned because I have no issue with it.

It is the indirect, inferential, implicating stuff that is the most difficult to correct. This is the insidious way of doing harm, as it makes the point loud and clear to readers, but allows such an easy back door of "Gosh, we didn't mean that all!" if rebutted that most people, even hearing it loud and clear in the "implied" writing, are too shy to complain, knowing the response will be protestation of innocence no matter what.

When articles are put together and wrapped in a cover-title with a dismissive editorial, it becomes one presentation by packaging--and data in one article associates with another--there is a "more than the sum of its parts" effect that stems from the overall editorial context. The individual articles are here critiqued in that context; some of that critical complaint belongs in the hands of the Editor, more than that of the writers.


Editorial correspondence to Fortean Times magazine can be mailed to:

Fortean Times
PO Box 2409
London NW5 4NP

My Own Bias

Here is my bias: after eight years of seeing so much inaccuracy and bias in the media related to Remote Viewing (and other "non-mainstream" subjects), after all these years of being resigned to it, of being "grateful for small favors", I am finally fed up. All I have is a website. But from now on, I'm going to use it. From now on, I maintain that:

  1. It is not that difficult to get the most basic level of facts straight. When they are in lots of books by the most experienced author in the field, when they are on numerous large websites dedicated to the subject, when they are available for the asking at several large communication areas on the topic on the internet, it is fair to expect a journalist to bother obtaining them. I am no longer going to read media that distorts RV and say to myself, "Well, they just didn't know." Darn it, it's their job to know.
  2. It is not that difficult to tell the difference between someone who is reasonable and knowledgeable vs. someone who is a raving lunatic. When there's a variety of information and people in a given field, it is fair to expect a journalist to find an information source that is not either clueless or a raving lunatic. It is also reasonable to expect a journalist, if writing about a given subject, to choose a feature focus (such as a person) that fairly represents the subject. Determining what is 'fair' is part of finding decent information and making a decent decision with it. I am no longer going to read media that judges expertise in my field by who Art Bell most features or who has made the biggest fool of themselves in public, and pretend that this choice isn't either sheer laziness or open bias and worth calling out as such.
  3. Anybody representing a subject, identity, pursuit or product to other people, especially if they're getting paid for it or the audience is large, should be expected to be adult enough, professional enough, objective enough and qualified enough to do it decently. Among many other things, this means calling ahead, making appointments, and not being disappointed or angry because showing up unannounced, asking to interrupt, or displaying a problem attitude, brought refusal or limited response. It also means doing research, which sometimes means reading books, reading journals, reading magazines, reading the internet, talking to other persons besides the feature who might know something. Of course there's more, but these points ought to be no-brainer basics. Asking for these things is not a favor. Being an adult professional is a journalist's job.
  4. Reputation affects people's lives, a business's income and success. Those are not small things. There is responsibility and ethics involved in media because there is a form of power involved in media. It is perfectly justified to complain about the many types of poor quality that may be found in media. It is not "mean" to correct errors or to gripe about unfairness, whether it is in comment, focus, inclusion or exclusion. Being accurate and being fair is not a journalist's special favor. It's their job.
  5. When a magazine Editor presents a whole cover-focus with several articles and an editorial on a subject, it is right and just to expect them to at least have the first clue about what the subject IS and DOES, so that they can make intelligent decisions about articles, journalists, focus, inclusions or exclusions, etc. They bear the responsibility for those decisions, and for the reputations of people, businesses and subjects that they may do genuine harm to if they're ignorant or misinformed. Of course, they also bear responsibility for whatever they as a writer contribute, and since their managing authority carries weight, it is fair to ask they know what they're talking about. This is not asking for special favors. This is their job.
  6. When journalists and editors are so clueless about basics that it is clear they haven't put forth any serious effort to learn at least that much, it is fair to suggest that professional writers and editors either get informed or do not publish until they are.
  7. It is further fair to suggest that if this lack of basics is found in the company of total dismissal of evidence supporting the validity of a subject, without review (or with unconcerned ignorance about its existence), added to exclusion of the most legitimate people or areas of a subject, added to the inclusion of unrelated things or people that just happen to be weird, stupid, fraudulent, etc., that this ignorance of the 'basics' can fairly be considered a demonstration of unconcern based on bias, and not just innocent oblivion.
  8. Honor counts. In every field. Including science. Including journalism.

Maybe I'm getting unreasonable. But these things seem fair to me.

-- PJ


You can send email to PJ Gaenir about this editorial.

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