In April, SRI International announced it will be taking over the management of the Allen Telescope Array, whose primary purpose is listening for signals from extraterrestrial civilizations. The array was built by the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute (SETI) and the University of California, with the majority of funding coming from its namesake, computer magnate, Paul Allen.
SRI is no stranger to controversial projects. In the late '70s SRI developed a method of psychic spying called "Remote Viewing," which quickly caught the attention of the CIA, and eventually culminated into a formal project ran by U.S. Army intelligence. Founding members of this clandestine organization claim they even used their skills to remote view UFOs and extraterrestrials.
SRI was originally the Stanford Research Institute, however, in 1970 it severed its ties with Stanford to become an independent non-profit organization and settled on the name SRI International in 1977. Founded in 1946, SRI is a research institute responsible for many important inventions including the computer mouse you are using to scroll through this story right now.
In the early '70s, SRI physicist, Dr. Harold Puthoff, began looking into psychic phenomena. According to the book, Psi Spies, by Jim Marrs, Puthoff's interests were piqued after reading a book on Russian psychic experiments. His colleague, Clive Backster, had been working on psychic experiments and one of the men he worked with, Ingo Swann, seemed to exhibit real psychic abilities. One of these skills being what Swann called "Remote Viewing," which was visualizing objects or places at a distance.
The same book that had piqued Puthoff's interest in psychic phenomena, Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain, had prompted the CIA to begin monitoring the Russian's psychic research and inspired them to begin their own. They contacted SRI in 1972, and convinced by Swann's ability, the CIA funded Project Scanate. This eventually turned into the Army intelligence project Stargate, in which the remote viewing protocols SRI had developed were taught to a group of soldiers who would use the skill to remote view for various intelligence agencies. Stargate was headquartered at Fort Meade in Maryland.
Army intelligence officer Joe McMoneagle was the first man taught by Swann to remote view for project Stargate. In an interview, McMonegale told me, "If someone would have told me we think you are psychic and we want you in this program, I would have told them, 'What, are out of your gourd?'" McMoneagle was more than a little reluctant when he was first invited to discuss the project. He says a bunch of men were brought into a room and asked about paranormal topics. McMoneagle recalls that his reaction was that he felt the Army needed to be on top of paranormal research due to the possible implications. This answer must have been what they were looking for because he soon found himself undergoing psychic testing, something he surprisingly showed a great aptitude for.
The original group for Stargate consisted of six remote viewers, and the program ran for nearly 20 years. McMoneagle says the program was very successful. They were tasked by nearly every known intelligence organization to retrieve data on items such as missing fighter bombers, terrorists, enemy bases, and even a kidnapped general. He says often the projects brought to them were cold cases that were over a year old, but within hours their group was able to provide new information which was accurate 22 percent of the time.
McMoneagle said that throughout the program there was also an interest in UFOs, and that he had remote viewed extraterrestrials himself. He shares many of these experiences in his books documenting his career as a psychic spy. Swann also wrote about his remote viewing of extraterrestrials in his autobiography, Penetration: The Question of Extraterrestrial and Human Telepath. In the book he claims he remote viewed alien bases on the far side of the moon.
McMoneagle says most of the remote viewing of ETs and UFOs was done independently of requests by governmental agencies. However, he did recall being asked about an object he sensed while remote viewing a base in the eastern bloc for the Air Force. He described a saucer shaped object at 13,000 feet moving at 4,000 miles per hour that had made a hard 90-degree turn. He later found that at that target, the Air Force had gotten pictures of an unknown object travelling at 3,900 miles per hour at 11,000 feet that had made a hard right turn just as McMoneagle had described.
Project Stargate was shut down in 1995 after two independent studies on the validity of SRI's work. One of the studies, done by Dr. Jessica Utts at the University of California, concluded, "It is clear to this author that anomalous cognition is possible and has been demonstrated. This conclusion is not based on belief, but rather on commonly accepted scientific criteria." Another study, done by Dr. Ray Hyman at the University of Oregon, disagreed. Either way, the government did not feel that the expense of the program could be justified and the government's foray into psychic spying ended.