What Is Remote Viewing and How Does It Work?

Utter the term “psychic” to some people and you are likely to get scoffed at. But talk about “remote viewing” to the same people (once they learn what it is) and you’ll likely get and enthusiastic and interested response. Remote viewing has only recently begun to become known as a phenomenon with relatively broad recognition.  Here we take a closer look at the practice of remote viewing to understand the distinctions between remote viewers and psychic practitioners.

remote viewing

What is Remote Viewing?

According to the International Remote Viewing Association (IRVA), remote viewing “is a novel perceptual discipline for gaining information not available to the ordinary physical senses.” In that sense, it is more than just being able to collect information about faraway locations.

The first question one might ask is: what is the difference between remote viewing and clairvoyance or other psychic (psi) abilities? IRVA says, “…it is obvious that remote viewing is related to so-called psi (also known as “psychic” or “parapsychological”) phenomena such as clairvoyance or telepathy. Whatever it is that seems to make it possible for human beings to do remote viewing is probably the same underlying ability that makes such things as clairvoyance work.”

The differences are:

  • Most remote viewing occurs under controlled conditions in a lab.
  • It is not done for the purposes of giving readings or “fortune-telling.”
  • Is based in scientific methodology.
  • Is often conducted with a monitor (a sort of guide) with strict scripted formats for experimental purposes and scientific protocols.

The History of Remote Viewing

Remote viewing has its roots in the American Society for Psychical Research in the 1960’s and early 70’s where out-of-body experiments were being conducted. Some of the early participants were Ingo Swann and Dr. Hal Puthoff (a physicist at the Stanford Research Institute think tank), both now famous in the world of remote viewing. The work quickly gained the attention and subsequent funding of the Central Intelligence Agency and later the Defense Intelligence Agency and other military organizations. By 1978 remote viewing was being experimented with for applications in intelligence gathering against military adversaries. In 1991the program was renamed “Star Gate.”

Meanwhile, civilian groups had been doing their own remote viewing experiments, and by 1995 the CIA had released a controversial report claiming that remote viewing was ineffectual as an intelligence gathering tool. Portions of the program were declassified and eventually the program was shut down. In the years since, many of the program’s participants have gone public with books and other media divulging remote viewing techniques.

Among its intelligence and espionage functions, remote viewing has been used in operations to locate Gaddafi in Libya (so the US could bomb him) and to locate a missing plane in Africa.

Remote Viewing into the Future

The Farsight Institute is a research organization that seeks to transcend the scientific paradigm that “consciousness is a phenomenon strictly related to brain physiology,” holding instead that consciousness exists throughout creation. In this view, the human body is simply a tuning device that “that connects us to an underlying field of nature through which knowledge of all things is possible.”

One of the most difficult tasks to accomplish with remote viewing, Farsight notes, is to accurately predict the future. Certain types of experiments have a high rate of failure, while others succeed. The likely explanation for this is that the future doesn’t exist in one linear probability, but as multiple possibilities; i.e. multiple universes. Theoretical frameworks such as quantum mechanics have long proposed the existence of multiple timelines and realities.  Farsight continues to conduct experiments based on this framework.

Is Remote Viewing Real?

Remote viewing is, then, the institutionalization of psi phenomenon. Framed as a scientific methodology, the element of remote viewing that is “related to so-called psi phenomenon” is given credibility as a “mind technology” worthy of study apart from its “spiritual” qualities.