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Remote Viewing and Spiritual Healing image: Miracles of Mind book cover, tiny

What We Know About Remote Viewing

From Miracles of Mind
by Russell Targ and Jane Katra

For a phenomenon thought in many circles not to exist, we certainly know a great deal about how to increase and decrease its accuracy and reliability.

Accuracy and Reliability of Remote Viewing:

Finding the target: Remote viewers can often contact, experience and describe a hidden object, or a remote natural or architectural site, based on the presence of a cooperative person at the location, geographical coordinates, or some other target demarcation, which we call an address. We have shown that it is not necessary for someone to know the correct answer at the time of the viewing. For example, in precognitive remote viewing, the target may not even be chosen at the time of the experimental trial, but of course, the viewer will get to see the feedback later.

Target attributes most often sensed:

Shape, form and color are described much more reliably by inexperienced viewers than the target's function, or other analytical information. In addition to visual imagery, viewers sometimes describe associated feelings, sounds, smells and even electrical or magnetic fields. As a viewer, I have learned that if I see a color clearly and brightly, or something silver and shiny, that is the aspect of the target that I am most likely to describe correctly.

It is even possible for viewers to experience aspects of a target which are not actually manifested. For example, some viewers can reliably describe the color of an object which is inside an opaque box where there is no light to give it any color at all.

Temporal sensing:

Viewers can sense present, past and future activities at target sites. In 1982, nine remote viewing forecasts were made four days in advance for changes in the price of silver futures on the COMEX commodity exchange, and all nine were correct. There is not a drop of evidence to indicate that it is more difficult to look slightly into the future, than it is to describe an object in a box in front of you. Actually, it's better not to look at the box when you are doing remote viewing, because you may be tempted to try to see the target by pretending that you have x-ray vision, which, in our experience, does not work.

It is not proven, but I believe that it is easier to describe a target that you will see in the near future, than one you will see many days in the future. It may be a purely psychological effect. If my feedback is delayed by a week or more, then I have somewhat forgotten what my description felt like to me. As a result, the feedback, which is supposed to be the source of that earlier perception, will have less of an impact on me, thereby decreasing the quality of the viewing. The idea that a later event is the cause of an earlier perception is a confusing though very important concept.

Accuracy and reliability:

Blueprint accuracy can sometimes be achieved, and reliability in a series can be as high as 80%. Unlike card-guessing or other forced-choice experiments, more than two decades of remote viewing research have shown no decline in people's remote viewing performance over time. With practice, people become increasingly able to separate out the psychic signal from the mental noise of memory and imagination.

Spatial accuracy:

Targets and target details as small as 1 mm can be sensed. Hella Hammid successfully described microscopic picture targets as small as one millimeter square in an experimental series at SRI in 1979.[1] She also correctly identified a silver pin and a spool of thread inside an aluminum film can.

In the 1890s, Annie Besant worked with psychic C. W. Leadbeater in an imaginative study to describe the structure of atoms. In this early research at the English Theosophical Society, Leadbeater was the first person in the world to describe the distinctive nuclear structure of the three isotopes of hydrogen. In his book Occult Chemistry published in 1898, he wrote that he clairvoyantly saw that a given atom of hydrogen could have one, two, or three particles in its nucleus, and still be hydrogen. Isotopes had not yet been discovered by chemists. Leadbeater was the first to report that atoms of different atomic weights could still retain their chemical identity. [2]

Distance effects:

Again and again we have seen that accuracy and resolution of remote viewing targets are not sensitive to variations in distance of up to 10,000 miles. An example of such long-distance viewing is described in Chapter 2 with Djuna Davitashvili in the 1984 Moscow - San Francisco remote viewing.

Electrical shielding:

Faraday-cage screen rooms and underwater shielding have no negative effects on remote viewing. In fact, some viewers very much like to work in an electrically-shielded environment. The well-known psychic Eileen Garrett showed me such a room that she had built for her own use, in her offices at the Parapsychology Foundation, on 57th Street in New York City. Pat Price did his fine description of the Rinconada Park Swimming Pool Complex and several other sites from inside SRI's shielded room. In fact, recent findings from Physicist James Spottiswoode** show that electromagnetic radiation from our milky way galaxy and the electromagnetic effects of solar flares both degrade psychic functioning. Electrical shielding seems to help performance, and so does carrying out experiments when the galactic radiation is at a minimum at your location. When the milky way is below your position of the earth, rather than above your head, you have a two hour window of opportunity. This occurs at 1300 hours sidereal time, but it is still possible to be abundantly psychic any time of the day or night.

In 1978, Hella Hammid and Ingo Swann successfully received messages sent from Palo Alto, while they were inside of a submarine submerged in 500 feet of sea water, 500 miles away.[3] Hella and Ingo each had five file cards to look at later, with a target location description written on one side, and a submarine type of instruction on the other, as a sort of code device. For example, the five targets were a large oak tree, an indoor shopping plaza, etc.; and the messages were the kind of thing you might communicate to a submerged sub that was out of radio contact because of the salt water, such as, "Remain submerged, Return to port, Fire at priority targets," etc. In each case my colleague and I would hide ourselves in Palo Alto at a specified time, and the viewers in the sub would have to describe the location where we were. They would then look at each of the five cards to see which one best matched their remote viewing experience, and the message to be sent was found on the back of the card. Both trials in this experiment were successful. (The statistical significance would be found by multiplying together the two 1-in-5 events, to give a probability of p = 0.04, or less than four times in a hundred occurring by chance, which many would consider a significant result.)

Factors that inhibit remote viewing:

A prior knowledge of target possibilities, absence of feedback, and use of mental analysis all inhibit remote viewing. Any visual or audio distractions, or anything novel in the working environment will tend to show up in the viewer's pictures in the remote viewing session. Numbers are much more difficult to perceive than pictorial targets. For example, it is much more difficult to guess the number from 1 to 10, than it is to describe the location chosen from an infinitude of planetary locations that you have never seen before. In looking for the geographical target, you apparently search your interior mental landscape for a surprise, and that will usually be the correct answer. With a number target, there are no surprises, since you are already familiar with all the possibilities, and you are apt to try to use analysis to rule out the various choices.

Factors that enhance remote viewing:

Seriousness of purpose, feedback, heart-to-heart trust among participants, and acceptance of psi all enhance remote viewing. Experienced viewers learn to improve their performance by becoming aware of their mental noise from memory and imagination, and filtering it out; and by writing down their impressions, and drawing their mental pictures. Drawing is especially important because it gives you direct access to your unconscious processes.

Multiple viewers to improve performance:

The use of several remote viewers can sometimes bring additional information or different points of view. However, it is more likely that the viewers all describe the same wrong target. If individual viewers each have their own target set, this problem can very likely be overcome. The experiment we describe in Chapter 5 successfully demonstrates this.

Technological considerations:

There are more than a hundred published reports suggesting that people are able to psychically affect the normally equal distribution of 1's and 0's from a random number generator. We believe that it is unclear from the present data, whether viewers can perturb the electronic equipment by their mental processes, or whether they use their ESP abilities to choose an optimal moment to start an experiment. Every long string of randomly generated 1's and 0's will contain a subset of statistically significant departures from balanced distribution. A psychic person might easily use his ESP to start his experimental test by buying into a naturally occurring deviant sequence, and not have to create it psychokinetically.

Edwin May and James Spottiswoode have written extensively on this subject, and throw into question the existence of any psychokinetic (i.e. mind affecting matter) phenomena that is part of a repetitive experimental series. Abraham Maslow, the famous psychologist, would call this optimal starting, "good choosing." May and Spottiswoode call it "decision augmentation." [4]

Theoretical considerations:

It appears clear to us that viewers can focus their attention on distant points in space-time and then describe and experience that distant location. Feedback is essential for learning, but is not necessary for psi functioning. It is as though the viewer is examining his or her own small, low-resolution, local piece of the four-dimensional space-time hologram in which he or she is embedded. This concept is based on the work of physicist David Bohm, and is discussed in his physics text book.


1. Puthoff, H.E., Targ, R., & Tart, C.T. (1980). "Resolution in remote viewing studies." in Research in Parapsychology 1979. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press.

2. Leadbeater, C. W. (1898). Occult Chemistry. London: Theosophical Society.

3. Targ, Russell, May, E. C., and Puthoff, H. E. (1979). "Direct perception of remote geographic locations." in Mind At Large: Proc. of IEEE symposia on Extrasensory Perception. New York: Praeger.

4. May, Edwin. C., Spottiswoode, James and Utts, Jessica (September, 1995). Decision augmentation theory: Toward a model of anomalous mental phenomena. J. Parapsychology, 59, p.195-221.

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