What is remote viewing and what is it not?
Joseph McMoneagle: Remote viewing is psychic functioning that can be studied and replicated in a lab environment. The term was coined by researchers at SRI International in Mountain View, California in 1972. The original protocol calls for one person, called an outbounder, to go to randomly selected target and a second person, the remote viewer psychic, who sits in a windowless room in a lab. At an appointed time, the remote viewer is asked to describe the whereabouts of the outbounder; usually through drawings and verbal transcripts. Once the remote viewer's impressions are recorded, he or she is taken to the target in order to get a sense of the accuracy or inaccuracy of the attempt. That was the original protocol, but several things happened to change it. After many years of using San Francisco Bay Area targets researchers wanted to see if distance had any effect on the information transfer, so targets were selected overseas. This got expensive, so the coordinate remote viewing system was developed. Map coordinates were used to identify specific targets. Researchers created a huge database of targets from which a random set of coordinates was retrieved. The coordinates were sealed and double-wrapped in opaque envelopes. The remote viewer was then asked to describe the physical alocation corresponding to these coordinates. In the latest approach photographs from all across the earth are selected at random, sealed in an envelope and the remote viewer describes the location of the place where the photograph was taken.
What do researchers look for when selecting remote viewers?
Joseph McMoneagle: Highly successful people were specifically selected to fill out questionnaires. Their answers were examined for indications of innovative thinking, creativity and artistic ability; qualities which were considered to indicate an open-minded approach to life. Some of these students would be invited to participate in some experiments.
I began having recurring psychic experiences following a near-death experience in the Army in 1970. I was recruited and worked for the Government Psychic Program (STARGATE) from 1978-1995. In my first remote viewing at SRI International in 1978, I was the only subject to have five first place matches out of six targets.
Could you elaborate on your near-death experience and the psychic experiences it triggered?
Joseph McMoneagle: In 1970 I was overseas with the Army. I had been working very hard and was extremely tired. I took a sip from a before dinner drink, and suddenly felt I needed air. I collapsed in the doorway of the restaurant, went into convulsions swallowing my tongue, and then stopped breathing. They rushed me to the hospital where they detected no heartbeat. I was out-of-body watching everything. I started drifting away and falling backward through a tunnel. I reviewed my entire life with what I felt was an all-loving being. At some point I felt heat on the back of my neck and turned around. Immediately I was enveloped in a bright, white light that told me to return to my body, even though I didn't want to. Suddenly I awoke, sitting in a hospital room. The first thing I did was to start telling everybody about the White Light and God. The military authorities took my talk as a sign of brain damage and put me in a rest home for observation. They said I was fine, and I realized it was best not to talk about my experience. So I shut up and tried to act normal. I went back to work, but from that point on I started having spontaneous out-of-body experiences and spontaneous knowings, or certain knowledge about things I had no ordinary means of knowing. My reality, as I understood it, was completely shattered.
In Mind Trek you relate a mind-bending experience about a remote viewing experiment involving NASA photos of Mars. Could you tell us about that?
Joseph McMoneagle: At the Monroe Institute in Virginia they locked me up in the windowless remote viewing room to ensure I didn't see who was bringing the targets. A man from NASA arrived, carrying a sheet of paper with seven sets of coordinates. They read the target coordinates to me, and I started describing this pyramid, which I assumed to be in Egypt. But it didn't make sense to me, because I was describing corridors and rooms that I knew didn't exist in the Egyptian pyramids. I described all seven targets in detail: the first six correctly. The man from NASA was absolutely blown away. Only he knew what was at each of these locations. About five months later we got a call from him and he told us thta the next Mars mission would be targeted against one of those coordinate sites. That's the last I ever heard about it, other than that on the next Mars mission the spacecraft was sent the wrong code or something and shut down. It didn't operate or function after that.
Could you site another experience that affected you deeply?
Joseph McMoneagle: One target I was asked to report on turned out to be an individual who had been killed in a car accident. I was given a date, a location and a time. Although I didn't know it, the time I was given was approximately three minutes before this person had died. I started out accurately describing the person, the car and the road that he was driving on. About three or four minutes into the remote viewing session I said, "Something has changed. The person's now floating horizontally in front of me. He's drifting away into a black void, and I'm trying to follow, but I keep having these veils of cloth inserted between me and him." This was interesteing to me because I wouldn't have chosen such an archaic metaphor for death. "Going beyond the veils" was an expression used by mediums in the twenties and thirties. Before this remote viewing experiment, I had rejected the old spiritualists' approach, but when I actually saw the veils I suddenly found myself thinking, "My god! I've been shutting out something that is real." It's one more lesson that there's more going on than we think, and maybe we ought to have a more open mind about some things.
I should tell you that I had a second near-death experience in 1985, five months after I retired from the Army. I had a major heart attack at the ripe old age of thirty-nine, and once again I encountered the White Light. This time I realized it was finite and had limits. I've since concluded that what the White Light is, is what we would call the totality of self: what we are when we're not physical. So in seeing this guy drift away after he was killed, my sense of it was that it was just the physical representation that was being done away with. He had probably already departed.
It sounds like the kind of imagery that surfaces in dreams.
Joseph McMoneagle: Exactly. I suspect that during the remote viewing process, information is probably delivered to the conscious mind via the subconscious. And since the subconscious really has no language of its own, it borrows whatever it can to communicate. I once did a target that turned out to be a children's playground. The swings and things were made out of pipes, constructed in the shape of dinosaurs. I was drawing stick figures of dinosaurs on paper and I said, "Geez, this is like the old connect-the-dot pictures. It's more fun than a barrel of monkeys." The monitor told me to write that down, so across the top of the sheet I wrote, "more fun than a barrel of monkeys." It turned out that the central feature of the playground was a set of monkey bars made up of cast iron monkeys with their arms interlocked in the shape of a barrel. When you're being psychic everything is pertinent, if you can translate the meaning.
Do you feel there is any danger in people experimenting with phenomenon like out-of-body experiences and remote viewing?
Joseph McMoneagle: I think it can be dangerous if someone's not taking it seriously, because what you're playing with is altering the way your reality operates. One of the reasons people normally aren't psychic is because they're locked in a reality of belief constructs that doesn't allow for psychic phenomena. It's possible to desetroy some belief concepts that may be a bulwark for the individual's defensive network. People who believe that good and evil exist and are diametrically opposed have set themselves up to be victimized by anything that doesn't fit into their narrow concept of good and evil. So things can become very destructive when in fact nothing destructive is happening. Their own reactions create fear.
My first few out-of-body separations were accompanied by a sense of something in the room so primitive it was almost demonic. I spun around in the out-of-body state to confront it, and what I found myself staring at was my own physical body. That's the sense of primitiveness we have about the physical reality in the out-of-body state. Having confronted it and figured it out, I was able to just chuckle and go on with whatever I was doing, and the feeling would go away. It was a sort of an acknowledgement: a coming to grips with what was causing the fear.
If a person decides they want to experiment with this, and feels their ego structure is loose enough to allow for it, how would you suggest they begin?
Joseph McMoneagle: In Mind Trek I have an example of how to set up practice sessions. A really important place to start is keeping two journals; one to carry around with you for recording important or pertinent observations, the second to keep by your bed for recording your dreams. Pay attention to what's being delivered message-wise in those journals. Secondly, spend anywhere from thirty to firty-five minutes of private time every day meditating on yourself. Initially you'll find yourself dealing with a whole lot of personal problems you've refused to deal with. Deal with them. Clean up the attic and the basement first, and then move on to higher thoughts of higher meditative contemplation. Also, learn to control a lucid dream, because in the lucid dream state you can step off in almost any direction. You can do psychic things in a lucid dream state or you can go out-of-body in a lucid dream state. Plus, in learning to control a lucid dream state, which is the easiest altered state to attain, you develop a high degree of mental control.
It would appear that there is a growing acceptance of phenomena like NDEs, OBEs and remote observation. If such things really became accepted on a mass cultural level, what kind of differences would you expect to see in society?
Joseph McMoneagle: What we do, think and say has a decisive effect on what our future is going to be. If we can conceptualize a pill that will cure all disease known to man, a hundred years from now we will probably have that pill. Studying the paranormal is studying our control of reality, and one of the big secrets is that we truly do endow our future by our every-day acts.
This article is based upon an interview with Joseph McMoneagle regarding the contents of his book, Mind Trek, © 1993 by Joseph W. McMoneagle (Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Charlottesville, VA 22902).
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Joseph W. McMoneagle