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In 1995 the United States Defense Intelligence Agency decommissioned a so-called psychic spying program known as Grill Flame and later Star Gate. Teams involved in the project were disbanded, and some of the program details and results were declassified and made available to the general public under the Freedom of Information Act.

Since 1995 a number of people have emerged claiming to have taken part in the operation. Publishers jumped at the opportunity buy the rights to the stories of the ex-psychic spies, and most of those who have been named as part of the program have published at least one book. In addition, some program participants have opened training centers or offered seminars to the general public claiming useful results. While misinformation and missing data cloud the impact and veracity of recently revealed black-ops programs, one can piece together interesting parts of this international effort which has dramatic ramifications for political, military, and even metaphysical aspects of every day life.

Brief Historical Synopsis

Most US program participants were career military personnel. Whether it was the selection process that chose them or simply the military environment which developed these people, it is a common characteristic of the participants to lean toward bravado. In conjunction with the veil of security which is only partially lifted, the words of the participants themselves can sometimes lead an investigator toward illogical conclusions. With that caveat, the following appears to be true based on statements common to the books published by the program participants:

The US Psychic Spying operation was started in response to a similar program US intelligence learned was going on in the Soviet Union. The American program began in the mid-70's under Captain F. Holmes (Skip) Atwater. Key contracts were handled through Stanford Research Institute in Palo Alto, California, through Russell Targ, and Hal Puthoff, both of whom may continue to have contacts to the DIA. Research by Dean Radin was also crucial to the program. Remote Viewers for Grill Flame were recruited from the ranks of the intelligence agencies and combat batallions. Of particular interest appear to be those with an innate ability for survival against insurmountable odds.

The organization provided service to military intelligence until 1995 with a claimed 85% hit rate. Of note, declassified successes were the location of General Dozier after his abduction by the Red Brigade in Italy, location and identification of a secret Soviet facility in Severodvinsk that produced the first Typhoon class submarine, the identification of a failed Chinese nuclear test, and identification of Soviet biological weapon production plants at Obolensk, Stepnogorsk, Berdsk, and an island in the Aral Sea. According to program participants, most of the data collected by the program is still classified. Most of the declassified data are from the 1970's.

Personnel (a short and incomplete list)

F. Holmes (Skip) Atwater: Organizer and leader of Grill Flame
Pat Price: Civilian subject of early remote viewing experiments by Hal Puthoff and Russell Targ at SRI.
Ingo Swann: Civilian remote viewing virtuoso. Worked with Atwater, Puthoff, and Targ.
Joe McMoneagle: Psychic spy #1. First recruited by Atwater.
Lyn Buchanan, Ed Dames, Paul Smith, Mel Riley : Psychic spies in Grill Flame

Many of those listed above have websites. Some are informational, and some advertise services.

Psychic Techniques

CRV, for Controlled Remote Viewing is the technique most frequently referenced by the psychic spying community. Remote Viewing involves a viewer and a target. The target can be anything from an event in time, to a place on a map, to a person or animal.

Information about the target is placed in a sealed envelope. This information can be anything from map coordinates to a specific date to the fingerprint of a person to be located. The envelope is marked with a code and placed among a number of envelopes with a similarly marked code.

The viewer then prepares herself through a series of relaxation techniques, and when the proper mental state is achieved, is asked to give any information that arises about the target in a specifically coded envelope.

Another technique used in experiments places the picture of a target individual in the coded envelope. The target individual is then sent to a specific location. The viewer is asked to determine the location of the person whose picture is in the specifically coded envelope. Or, the viewer may be asked to identify what happened at the location of target individual 100 years in the past.

Controlled Remote Viewing adds a standardized protocol to this procedure. Developed between SRI, the DIA, and personnel at the Monroe Institute in Virginia, the protocol provides a double-blind framework of operation which guarantees the viewer cannot be "contaminated" by unconscious cues given by assistants to the process. The protocol requires an individual to act as the monitor, who provides a reference point for all data retrieved and communicates to the viewer verbally during the process. Results obtained through the protocol can then be evaluated against benchmark results and scored objectively.

Reference Material (extraordinarily short list of sources for this article)

"Remote Viewers" by Jim Schnabel is an excellent source of objective data. Schnabel has debunked numerous claims of psychic and UFO phenomena, most notably crop circles.
"Captain of My Ship, Master of My Soul" by F. Holmes (Skip) Atwater is his first-person accounting of the genesis and conclusion of the Grill Flame program.
"Mind Trek" by Joseph McMoneagle is his first-person accounting of the events that led to becoming the first remote viewer in the service of the United States, and the ramifications that program had to him.
"Journeys out of the Body" by Robert A. Monroe is his autobiographical account of the onset of OOBE's or Out Of Body Experiences, and how that led him to participation with the government's intelligence program.

PSI Training Camps

A number of the people named above provide training in Controlled Remote Viewing and other PSI techniques. The oldest and most notable location is The Monroe Institute in Faber, Virginia.

Robert Monroe made his fortune in the communications industry. He owned several television and radio stations and installed the first cable TV infrastructure in the United States. His interest in sound as a radio show producer and his experiences flying bombers in World War II led him to develop a technology he called Hemi Sync, which he hoped would be useful as a sleep learning aid. Hemi Sync patented and trademarked by TMI and is a series of sounds which produces a stereo heterodyne effect in the brain by introducing sounds of differing frequencies in the right and left ear of a subject.

For instance, a 100hz sine wave tone is introduced to the subjects right ear while a 104hz sine wave tone is introduced simultaneously to the subject's left ear. The beat frequency of 4hz is produced in the brain, and so is a purely psychological effect. (the 204hz signal which would be present in a true heterodyne mixer does not manifest itself in the brain for reasons which are not understood). The 4hz "signal" can be measured on an EEG. Robert Monroe called this the "frequency following" effect, as individual's electroencephalograms (brainwaves or EEGs)could be induced to follow frequencies introduced through the Hemi Sync technique.

The psychic spying project made extensive use of Hemi Sync in the development of its remote viewers. Researchers at The Monroe Institute have gone as far as to do FFTs, or Fast Fourier Transforms on the EEGs of individuals who manifest PSI abilities, reverse-engineer those EEGs, and impose them on subjects through Hemi Sync.

NOTE: while this sounds particularly diabolical, Hemi Sync signals are not a sort of death ray or hypnosis beam of Science Fiction stories. They are as easy to ignore as a conversation, so a subject is never "under the control" of Hemi Sync. (Quite possibly, this obviates its use as a weapon.) It is true that the states of consciousness induced by Hemi Sync do mimic hypnosis, and it is possible to put someone into a suggestive state. Though the results here would be no different or lasting than hypnosis used to quit smoking, for example.

Hemi Sync is used by The Monroe Institute to help induce altered states of consciousness in participants for the purpose of amplifying PSI abilities, for the exploration of dream states, and fun.

Open Questions

If the Grill Flame/Star Gate operation had an 85% success rate, why was it shut down as a source of data for American intelligence? It was cheap, did not endanger field agents, and reasonably reliable and consequently logic would suggest worth continuing.

Why do military personnel still regularly attend seminars and training at The Monroe Institute while on active duty?

What happened to the data of non-military importance gathered by the remote viewing program? (In mid-1999 this writer heard a well-known remote viewer predict, 1) the failure of the materialization of the Y2K debacle, 2) the collapse of the US Stock Markets in 2000, 3) a bigger crash in 2001, 4) a major act of terrorism on US soil in 2001, and 5) recovery of the US Economy and markets in 2005. Unfortunately, due to unbridled skepticism, this writer did not take his money out of the market in time to avoid near financial ruin.)

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