psychic russians
Earlier this month, it was reported that the Russian military has been training "psychic" special forces to use in combat to "defeat the enemy with non-contact methods," according to the official magazine of the Russian Ministry of Defense, Armeysky Sbornik (Army Digest).

"Fighters can see right through the enemy soldier: what kind of person they are, what their weak and strong sides are and whether they can be recruited [as a spy]," read the magazine.

"By force of thought, it is possible to shut down computer programmes, burn crystals in generators, listen in on conversations and disrupt radio and telecommunications," the article continues.

These 'goat-staring' specialists in "parapsychological" warfare are said to have honed their skills during combat in Chechnya, using their purported abilities for applications ranging from managing the amount of pain felt by a wounded soldier, to locating caches of enemy weapons

Russia's chief skeptic, Yevgeny Aleksandrov who chairs the Russian Academy of Science's committee for combating "false science" called claims of psychological warfare capabilities "complete rubbish," according to Sky.com

"Such research did indeed exist and was developed in the past but it was made secret. Now it's being brought out into the light again but such research is recognised as a false science," Aleksandrov added.

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Screenshot: The Men Who Stare At Goats
Long history of parapsychological research

The study of parapsychology began in the mid-1800s with the founding of the London Society for Psychical Research in 1882, research which has continued for over 100 years in some form or another.

The United States as been officially conducting forms of parapsychological research since the 1930s within various government agencies, however in the 1970s a specific emphasis was placed on "remote viewing" - a technique which purportedly allows one to project their consciousness over vast distances and even time. Physicists Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff of Stanford Research Institute (SRI) received a $20 million government grant for the "Stargate Project" in 1975.

How does one get $20 million to study "the men who stare at goats?" A film of Russians performing telekinesis is a good start. From a declassified CIA document:
In April of 1972, Targ met with CIA personnel from the Office of Scientific Intelligence (PSI) and discussed the subject of paranormal abilities. Targ revealed that he had contacts with people who purported to have seen and documented some Soviet investigations of psychokinesis. Films of Soviets moving inanimate objects by "mental powers" were made available to analysts from OSI. They, in turn, contacted personnel from the Office of Research and Development (ORD) and OTS. An ORD Project Officer then visited Targ who had recently joined the Stanford Research Institute (SRI). Targ proposed that some psychokinetic verification investigations could be done at SRI in conjunction with Puthoff.

These proposals were quickly followed by a laboratory demonstration. A man was found by Targ and Puthoff who apparently had psychokenetic abilities. He was taken on a surprise visit to a superconducting shielded magnetometer being used in quark (high energy particle) experiments by Dr. A. Hebbard of Stanford University Physics Department. The quark experiment required that the magnetometer be as well shielded as technology would allow. Nevertheless, when the subject placed his attention on the interior of the magnetometer, the output signal was visibly disturbed, indicating a change in internal magnetic field. Several other correlations of his mental efforts with signal variations were observed. These variations were never seen before or after the visit.

...

For a cost of $874, one OTS and one ORD representative worked with Targ and Puthoff and the previously mentioned man for a few days in August, 1972. During this demonstration, the subject was asked to describe objects hidden out of sight by the CIA personnel. The subject did well. The descriptions were so startingly accurate that the OTS and ORD representatives suggested that the work be continued and expanded. -CIA Reading Room P.7 (link goes to CIA website)
Eventually, the program run by Targ and Puthoff was formally given code name PROJECT STAR GATE, with the goal of evaluating "potential adversary applications for remote viewing" at Fort Meade, MD.

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1995 evaluation of remote viewing program (via scribd)
The Gateway Process

In order to induce remote viewing and other psychic phenomenon, The US Army studied the "Gateway Process" - essentially perfecting meditation techniques developed by the Monroe Institute which allow humans to harness their own electromagnetic energy waves, control them, and effectively traverse time and space.

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The procedure is performed by synchronizing both hemispheres of the brain.
Fundamentally, the Gateway Experience is a training system designed to bring enhanced strength, focus and coherence to the amplitude and frequency of brainwave output between the left and right hemispheres so as to alter consciousness, moving it outside the physical sphere so as to ultimately escape even the restrictions of time and space. The participant then gains access to the various levels of intuitive knowledge which the universe offers.

...

the Gateway process is designed to rather rapidly induce a state of profound calm within the nervous system and to significantly lower blood pressure to cause the circulatory system, skeleton and all other physical organ systems to begin vibrating coherently at approximately 7-7.5 cycles per second. The resulting resonance sets up a regular, repetitive sound wave which propagates in consonance with the electrostatic field of the earth.

...

To enter these intervening dimensions, human consciousness must focus with such intense coherence that the frequency of the energy pattern which comprises that consciousness (i.e. the brainwave output) can accelerate to the point where the resulting frequency pattern, if displayed on an oscilloscope, would look virtually like a solid line. Achievement of this state of altered consciousness sets the stage for perception of non-time-space dimensions because of the operation of a principle in physics known as Planck's Distance.

...

Moreover, once the individual is able to project his consciousness beyond time-space, that consciousness would logically tend to entrain its frequency output with the new energy environment to which it is exposed, therein greatly enhancing the extent to which the individual's altered consciousness may be further modified to achieve a much heightened point of focus and a much refined oscillating pattern.
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Declassified document below (searchable here)


In short, the US Government has been intimately involved in psychic research, and has devoted untold resources towards developing it as a tool for various uses.

Former President Jimmy Carter admitted that the CIA had once consulted a psychic without his knowledge to help locate a missing government plane in Zaire. .
According to Carter, U.S. spy satellites could find no trace of the aircraft, so the CIA consulted a psychic from California. Carter said the woman "went into a trance and gave some latitude and longitude figures. We focused our satellite cameras on that point and the plane was there." -CNN (archived)
Meanwhile, one can read examples of remote viewing sessions at the following links: The race of Martians - who wore "cut to fit" silken clothing, were apparently hiding in some sort of underground bunker while the planet's environment was slowly killing them. They were able to escape in a "shiny metal" craft "to find another place to live" - where the remote viewer saw "a really crazy place with volcanos and gas pockets and strange plants."

Whether or not you think this is all tin foil, the US Government took it very seriously, and thought it might even led to breakthroughs in human potential.

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1991 Star Gate summary
A declassified 1991 summary of Star Gate reveals that the "primary mission of the STAR GATE project is to pursue a broad range of parapsychological activities to include external research and foreign assessments," and was described as "a new dynamic approach for pursuing this largely unexplored area of human consciousness/subconsciousness interaction."

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1991 Star Gate Summary from CIA archive, P. 16

Research has been conducted at various locations across the United States, including Duke University, SRI International, Princeton University, SAIC and elsewhere since 1930.

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Project Star Gate summary from CIA archive, P. 15
It's a real, yet unreliable phenomenon

The declassified materials make clear that "remote viewing is a real phenomenon," with potential applications in counternarcotics, counterterrorism and counterintelligence - with limited potential for predictive intelligence.

According to a declassified 1981 threat assessment, "Laboratory demonstrations have shown that gifted individuals using remote viewing can describe small details in a room or describe a SIGINT site and particular types of antennae."
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Project Star Gate summary from CIA archive, P. 16
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Telekinesis too

The 1981 memo describes telekinesis as well - noting that "Laboratory demonstrations have shown that gifted individuals using telekinetic abilities can alter the state of objects or change electrical or magnetic fields."

.
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Declassified memorandum via CIA.GOV. One can find on their own by googling the alphanumeric sequence starting with "NSA" at the top right.
In 1973, meanwhile, the CIA studied the cryptologic aspects of ESP (link goes to CIA website).

Meta analysis

In a 1995 executive summary of the government's remote viewing experiments to that date, a "blue-ribbon" panel was assembled which included two noted experts in parapsychology; Dr. Jessica Utts of the University of California at Davis, and Dr. Raymond Hyman of the University of Oregon - who was more skeptical of the phenomenon. After reviewing "all laboratory experiments and meta-analytic reviews conducted as part of the research program" they concluded:
  • A statistically significant laboratory effort has been demonstrated in the sense that hits occur more often than chance.
  • It is unclear whether the observed effects can unambiguously be attributed to the paranormal ability of the remote viewers as opposed to the characteristics of the judges or of the target or some other characteristic of the methods used.
  • Evidence has not been provided that clearly demonstrates that the causes of hits are due to the operation of paranormal phenomena; the laboratory experiments have not identified the origins or nature of the remote viewing phenomenon, if, indeed, it exists at all.
Utts concluded that "anomalous cognition is to some extent possible in the general population," it also appears that "certain individuals possess more talent than others, and that it is easier to find those individuals than to train people."

Hyman pushed back, arguing that Utts' conclusion was premature and that the findings needed to be independently replicated, and suggested that the psychic abilities could be "nothing other than reasonable guessing and subjective validation."

In short, the 1995 report does not confirm or deny whether remote viewing is an actual phenomenon, despite a Defense Intelligence Agency summary which clearly states that it is. The program was officially terminated in 1995 after it did not produce reliable intelligence, and was featured in the book (and movie) The Men Who Stare At Goats.

And so while the phenomenon is real according to the US Government, it is also fairly unreliable. In 1988, the Defense Department called in researcher Ed Dames and two psychics to use remote viewing for the location of Marine Lieutenant Colonel William Higgins - who was kidnapped by Hezbollah.

While the psychics were able to pinpoint the village Higgins was held in, they were wrong that he was alive, along with that he was being held "on water." Subsequent reports revealed that Higgins was already dead - while Hezbollah later released a video of his corpse with a noose around his neck, according to New Republic. That said, his body was kept on ice for months - possibly the "water" seen by the psychics.

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According to the same project summary that the above screenshots came from, remote viewing was also used with some success during Operation Desert Shield/Storm, and explored for applications within Joint Tactical Force support.

If one wants to hear directly from the horse's (goat's?) mouth - Russell Targ did an interesting TED Talk about his experiences.