The CIA knew during the height of the Cold War that the Soviets were putting a ton of time and money into psychic spying research. It concerned our government enough to fund their own research. CIA spies may have even gotten reports that the Russians were having some success.
And so, a couple of brainy, eccentric physicists caught the attention of CIA Super Spooks. One was Russell Targ, who was an expert on lasers. The other was Hal Puthoff who was into gravitational physics. Both had worked successfully for years in their fields.
Incredibly, these two brainiacs had decided to put their careers and reputations on the line to study ESP – extrasensory perception, mind reading, clairvoyance – you know, all that voodoo. They were working out of a small lab at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI).
The CIA was worried enough about the Soviets to jazz up Targ and Puthoff with some serious government cash. And so the legendary top secret method of psychic spying “remote viewing” was born.
In this book, Russell Targ gives us a brief review of those early days beginning in 1972 of how remote viewing was developed. In his words, he says: “Ingo Swan taught us about remote viewing, we taught the army, and the army taught the world.”
Ingo Swann was an obscure artist who had decided to volunteer as a one of Targ’s guinea pigs. It turns out that Swann had some amazing psychic abilities. (See my review of Swann's free ebook, PENETRATION). It was Swann who coined the term “remote viewing.” So early on, Swann became a central figure in this strange quest which entangled all of them with the U.S. military the CIA, and international intrigue.
In general, however, that's not what this book is really about. Rather, Targ’s work in remote viewing led him slowly but surely toward a more expansive view of life and reality, which was also heavily influenced by Buddhist thought.
Like many others, Targ could not help but notice the similarities between ancient Buddhist and Vedic teaching and a new model of reality emerging from the implications of quantum physics.
Targ credits none other than A COURSE IN MIRACLES by Dr. Helen Schucman as the “main stepping stone” which finally propelled him to abandon his prestigious position at Lockheed Missiles and Space. In his words: “I launched myself on a different path to spaciousness that didn’t require a missile.”
Targ chose to live his life in a state of “non-wanting,” “spaciousness,” the “abandonment of the ego and striving” to live in a way that is at one with a Buddhist-Quantum conception of God – immersed in a kind of universal field of intelligence-love energy which Targ describes as a “loving syrup.”
Yes, Targ will plod through some of the statistical results of his early remote viewing experiments and tediously describe how double-blind protocols were set up, and what all the data means. He also spends a chapter talking about “remote healing,” a field in which is late daughter Dr. Elizabeth Targ was deeply involved.
In short – and I’m very sad to say – I think some will find this book a disappointment. Those looking for intensive information on remote viewing will get “more of the same” and the same basic information available on thousands of web sites or other books. Other might be surprised at the lectures on Buddhist philosophy (not really lectures, but more like Targ’s personal testament of what Buddhism has meant to him and what he believes it can do for others) – but the end result is a book that may seem disjointed. It’s not really enough about one thing, but then again not enough about the other thing either.
To be fair, however: I think Targ was attempting to present the legitimacy of remote viewing as a science by providing a greater overall framework – a new model based on new physics – to show how it all works together beautifully, and so has a foundation for credibility.
Aslo, I was already extremely familiar with remote viewing before reading this, and I have been practicing Zen meditation for 30 years now – so much of this information seemed old hat from my perspective. It may not be that way at all for you.
Ken Korczak is the author of: MINNESOTA PARANORMALA