Ingo Swann and Project Scanate

THE EMERGENCE OF PROJECT "SCANATE" --- by Ingo Swann (29Dec95)

This is the second of a series of nine historical experiments in remote viewing.

Please note my feeling that there is no use putting these experiments into the Net unless people are interested in reading them. It takes considerable time and effort to do so. So, if a number of positive interest replies are not received, this will be the last one.

The first experiment of the series was entitled "The 1973 Remote Viewing Probe of the Planet Jupiter."

I will delay giving the title of this second major experiment until the end in order not to cue the reader ahead of time as to what the target was. A rather lengthy background description is needed to place this experiment in its real-time contexts.

--- Background ---

The term --remote viewing-- was coined on December 8, 1971 by myself, Dr. Janet Mitchell, Dr. Karlis Osis, and Dr. Gertrude Schmeidler at the American Society for Psychical Research (ASPR) in New York City.

We felt the novel term was needed to describe a particular type of experiment I had envisioned in order to distinguish that experiment from a number of other more conventional parapsychology experiment formats.

There were about ten kinds of these conventional experiments, all grouped together under the general heading of "out-of-body perceptual states." All of them utilized targets concealed somewhere in the ASPR premises.

The goal of the novel experiment was to see if special perceptions and/or clairvoyant perceptions could be extended across large distances rather than just within the local environment of the ASPR.

At my suggestion, we designed an experiment whereby Janet would give me the name of an American city. I would then attempt to "go there" and determine the weather. Janet would then immediately telephone for the local weather report to see if I was correct or not. A correct term for this would have been "traveling clairvoyance" or "distance viewing." But room-to-room traveling clairvoyance was the topic of several other kinds of experiments.

A "remote" distance was the principal difference in the novel experiment. We considered a number of terms. I suggested "remote viewing" and "remote sensing" -- the latter of which I preferred. Dr. Schmeidler and Dr. Osis preferred "remote viewing" because it had to do with "visual perceptions."

The first attempt worked quite well, and so we decided to do more weather trials -- and to call them "remote viewing" experiments to distinguish them from, for example, "clairvoyant flicker tuition tests"

I later designed another type of remote viewing experiment. A person was to select and go "outbound" as a "beacon" to a distant site somewhere in Manhattan. At a prearranged time the person was to make notes of where they were. Their location was unknown to me back at the ASPR, but I wish to focus on the beacon and attempt to describe where they were. The first of this kind of experiment took place on 22 February 1972.

This type of experiment worked quite well, too, and so we decided to do more and dub this kind of effort as an "outbound beacon RV experiment."

--- Confusions Regarding the Term ---

No one at the ASPR dreamt that remote viewing would later be considered as a thing-in-itself and be entered into the English language as a special term -- or that it would be considered identical to and tend to replace the term "psychic" as a stereotyping label.

If one wants to understand why the American intelligence community in late 1972 and 1973 took an interest in remote viewing, then it is absolutely necessary to comprehend it in more detail. Simplistic stereotypes will not suffice.

In her book, Out-of-Body Experiences (McFarland, 1981), Dr. Janet Mitchell states that the experiments at the ASPR were attempts to develop various methodologies by which it could be ascertained "whether a person could localize part of his or her consciousness in space some distance from the body."

Overall, the experiments were called "perceptual organization tests." The "distance" involved was near to the body, and increasingly far from it -- which is to say, increasingly remote from the body. Many, but certainly not all, of the perceptual organization tests at the ASPR were successful regarding different kinds of targets and experimental set-ups whose controls and protocols were excellent. But, as Mitchell correctly states, "these targets could have been perceived telepathically, clairvoyantly, precognitively, or fraudulently, but I have reasons to believe that they were perceived by some type of perception which operated outside of normal visual range."

It is counterproductive and misleading to lump into just one term all the possible explanations that might account for "some type of perception which operates outside of normal visual range."

In other words, what was being searched for was not remote viewing, but a type (or types) of perception that could be seen as operating outside of normal visual range. Thus, remote viewing can never be a thing-in-itself.

Rather, and as continued research under CIA and DIA auspices was to reveal, the perceptions operating outside of normal visual range were proven to consist of very many kinds of --sensing-- faculties. It was ultimately possible to list some --eighty-one-- of these faculties --- of which visualization --was just one.--

In other words, we are talking here about a large variety of sensing receptors that exist in the human sensorium in addition to the well-known five physical senses. A more correct term, then, would be "remote sensing," not "remote viewing," since the word "viewing" localizes us in just one of the eighty-one sensing abilities.

It is now very important to consider the following. We are not talking about anything psychic, clairvoyant, telepathic, or etc.

We are talking about whether the bio-human possesses additional receptors for organizing information that exceeds the local limits of the five physical senses.

--- The Central Problem ---

The problem central to all of this has consisted of only one incorrect hypothesis.

According to earlier modern sciences, the human possessed only five physical senses that functioned only within the physical locality of the body. And this was the theory which was still in place as of the early 1970s.

Since then, however, biologists and neurologists (not parapsychologists) have identified at least --seventeen-- more kinds of --physical-- receptors that account for much which had earlier been thought of as "psychic."

If you are interested in following this up, I direct your attention to "Deciphering the Senses: The Expanding World of Human Perception," by Robert Rivlin and Karen Gravelle (Simon and Schuster, 1984) -- which book surveys the seventeen additional sense receptors as of that date.

Our American mainstreams, and even conventional parapsychology, have a hard time getting this book together with things "psychic." I highly recommended this book to those truly interested. Consult your local library.

In other words, things psychic and things that can be sensed are no longer two separate worlds -- except for the skeptical idiots who like to keep them apart so as to demoralize our species' superpowers.

Returning now to the main theme of this report, when the CIA did take an interest in "remote viewing," its interest did not focus on things psychic, but more precisely on whether "a person could localize part of his or her consciousness in space some distance from the body."

While participating as a subject at the ASPR, there was one thing that constantly surprised me. This was the speed by which the perceptions took place. There was a long-standing tradition in psychical research and parapsychology that subjects needed to take their time, lay down, close their eyes, and prepare themselves to "receive" information that "came in" slowly.

I, on the other hand, experienced information the moment I turned my head to doing so. And BANG! There it was, almost instantaneously, and so quickly that I could hardly grasp it.

I talked this over with a number of people, and Cleve Backster recommended I get in touch with a certain physicist named Dr. Harold E. Puthoff at Stanford Research institute in California. Puthoff was interested in tachyons, hypothesized particles that move very fast, maybe exceeding the speed of light.

So, on 30 March 1972, I fired off a letter to him, explaining the remote viewing and other experiments at the ASPR and especially asked him about speed of paranormal perceiving. As it turned out, Dr. Puthoff invited me to visit SRI to "poke around" with various kinds of experiments. I visited SRI twice in 1972, first in June and later in October.

I exported from the ASPR to SRI the models for the two types of remote viewing experiments, after which Puthoff and other scientists there began testing them. The SRI remote viewing tests proved significant enough, and were later to be shaped up with very good protocols.

At some time during 1972, under Puthoff's excellent auspices and government connections, the remote viewing and other experiments at SRI attracted the interest of the CIA. The outcome of this interest was a very unique one.

At some point in October 1972, the CIA offered SRI $50,000 to permit Puthoff and myself to find one repeatable phenomenon that might have intelligence applications. The first project was to last eight months -- January through August, 1973.

The identity of the sponsor was to be kept concealed, and in fact Dr. Puthoff never admitted to me who the sponsor was until today, 29 December 1995, when he agreed that descriptions of this and other experiments should be published on the Internet.

But it was rather common knowledge all along who the sponsor was, although in documents the identity of the Agency was concealed behind the sobriquet of "an east-coast scientist."

As we will see in later experiments of this series of nine, the Agency's interest was quite extensive. A number of agents of the CIA came themselves ultimately to SRI to act as subjects in remote viewing experiments, as did some members of Congress.

Dr. Puthoff eventually was to give remote viewing a more exact and correct descriptive context as "A Perceptual Channel Across Kilometer Distances." And indeed, it was such a "channel" that those later --trained-- in remote viewing were to experience. Do not, however, confuse this channel with so-called "channeling."

--- The Meaning of the Repeatable Experiment ---

The meaning of "the repeatable experiment" will be lost on the average reader. Therefore it is necessary to discuss it briefly.

"Psychic" faculties, as they are called in the United States, cannot really be utilized unless they are made predictable, repeatable and dependable. Such faculties are notoriously "illusive" in this regard, as had been noted by researchers from about 1882.

The faculties are much more likely to occur spontaneously, and usually never in the same way regarding either frequency of occurring, or quality of information. During the 1960s, it became fashionable in parapsychology to believe that the repeatable experiment was never to be obtained.

With this conviction, parapsychologists lost interest in "psychics," and set about trying to demonstrate the existence of general psi in different ways rather than depending on "gifted" individuals.

During 1971, I participated in four repeatable experiments in the New York area. In a certain sense, these molded parapsychology history and catapulted me toward some fame as "parapsychology's most tested guinea pig." I was later to participate in fourteen more repeatable experiments with variety

It was the repeatable nature of my aptitudes that attracted first Dr. Puthoff at SRI, and then the initial interests of the American intelligence community.

(The blow-by-blow details of this story will appear in my book in preparation "Remote Viewing: The Real Story.")

--- The Initial Problems of Using Remote Viewing for Espionage Purposes ---

The two remote viewing models originated at the ASPR in 1971 had not undergone extensive testing, and were not at first considered ideal for espionage purposes. Their repeatability was not exactly known, and I, myself, pointed out this drawback.

But beyond this drawback, two elements suggested that it would be impossible to utilize remote viewing methods for espionage purposes.

Regarding Model One, the name of a distant place or site would have to be given to the viewer as a point to focus on. Doing this would cue the viewer too much. This was a problem in the whole of parapsychology, since critics and experimental overseers wished to guard against cueing the subjects in any way.

Regarding Model Two, the beacon type of RV experiment, an agent-beacon would have to be insinuated into the distant location for the viewer to focus on.

This would be extremely difficult and costly, if not completely impossible to achieve, since the sites that interested the intelligence community were top secret ones in the Soviet Union, and elsewhere.

So, during the first part of the eight-month project, remote viewing was abandoned as a feasible espionage tool. Hundreds, and then thousands, of other kinds of experimental formats and trials were pursued.

Some of these produced "suggestive" results, but on the whole by May 1973 it could already be seen that the eight-month ]project would not achieve the purpose demanded by the CIA.

--- The Solution to the Initial RV Problem Came In the Strongest Way ---

With failure looming ahead, I began to think again of the remote viewing models -- that there ought to be a way to get around their obvious limitations.

The problem involved how to give a viewer something pertinent to the distant location to focus on, but which would not cue him or her in any way.

I consulted a number of scientists outside of the SRI orbit, but not far away, in Silicon Valley. No one could recommend anything. But Dr. Jacques Vallee recognized the problem was one of "addresses."

If I remember correctly, he said that you need an address that gets the perceptual channel to the right place, exactly as one needs a street address to find a house, or an address menu code in a computer to find and call up the desired information.

I considered remote viewing vital enough, and preliminary work at SRI had already begun suggesting its repeatability, as had been shown back at the ASPR. There was only this hated problem of utilizing it.

--- The Solution ---

I had rented an apartment in Mountain View for the duration of the eight-month project. The complex of the apartments had two very nice swimming pools.

In an early evening of the second week of April 1973, I took a bottle of Scotch and a bucket of ice and floated alone in one of those pools. I had only one thought in mind -- how to transcend the problem of utilizing RV for espionage purposes.

How to got the viewer to the distant site without cueing him. Finally I was so tanked up that I had to hold on to the side to keep from sinking.

Then --I hoard a voice speak-- outside of my head at about six feet above it and to the right side. It said two words.

"--Try coordinates--."

Don't ask how this came about. I can't explain it.

By this was meant geographic coordinates, of course -- longitude and latitude. Well, this --was-- how seafarers found their way around the oceans, and how locations were identified on maps.

Yes, Vallee had been right. A coordinate --was-- an "address."

I mulled this idea round for the weekend. How much would a coordinate cue the viewer? Perhaps, somewhat -- if they were familiar with general map locations. Critics could say that the viewer memorized the coordinates or had an eidetic memory of them.

But I began tabulating up how --many-- coordinates there were, ending up with millions of them once one got to degrees, minutes and seconds. Memorizing --all-- of these millions would take some Super Kind of eidetic memory.

In any event, what the intelligence community would be interested in was not what was visible from the surface, but what was hidden inside buildings or underground. Even eidetic memory of coordinates themselves would not suffice here.

OK. So now the only problem was whether the remote viewing perceptual channel could utilize coordinates to obtain an accurate fix on a distant location. I determined to find out.


So, on the following Monday morning I presented this idea to Dr. Puthoff and his associate, Mr. Russell Targ.

Both thought it was the most ridiculous idea they had ever heard of.

A tremendous flap now occurred, one which came to involve the entire chain of command in the Radio Physics Lab in which we were housed, and ultimately our sponsors at the CIA.

After a few days of ongoing screaming and hollering, Puthoff and Targ finally admitted to their essential objection.

If it should by chance work, they said, they would not be able to say --how-- it worked in terms of physics theory, and their scientific associates would demand that particular explanation.

I responded by saying that there are many things of which no one knows how they work, but they're utilized anyway. Besides, the goal here is spying not explaining things to physicists, most of whom don't believe remote viewing exists in the first place.

I accused them of being unresponsive to the original purpose of the eight-month project. I said "I'm outta here, going back to New York." Since the eight-month project had been set up for me to find something repeatable, --Puthoff and SRI-- would have to give back what remained of the $50,000.

After mulling this over, they agreed to do what I wanted. But I was so angry that I went to Dr. Bart Cox, director of the Radio Physics Lab.

I insisted that he provide three independent witnesses to sit in and monitor not only me but Puthoff and Targ during all of the forthcoming initial coordinate experiments. These were duly provided, and among them was the noted perceptual specialist, Dr. Hew Crane.


--- The Design of the Initial Coordinate RV Experiment ---

I felt we needed to do 100 coordinate experiments in order to judge success and failure rates. I broke these into ten sets of ten coordinates each. On each of ten days (two working weeks), then, I was to do one session during which I was sequentially given a run of ten coordinates.

After doing all ten, my responses were to be compared with what could be found on maps. The coordinates were selected by Puthoff and Targ, but all 100 were put into a container and the day's batch was randomly drawn by others, essentially by Mrs. Judy Schmickley, Dr. Cox's secretary.

As to the quality of my responses, we decided to utilize a sliding scale from zero to six.

  1. Response does not correspond to coordinate.
  2. Response impossible to grade with given maps.
  3. Response accurate in two minor details.
  4. Response accurate in three or more minor details.
  5. Response accurate in one or more major details.
  6. Response corresponds with coordinate location.
We could also use the seven (0-6) numbers of the sliding scale ultimately assigned to each coordinate as a kind of statistical indicator of the success-failure of each day's set of ten.

Thus, the best total score for each set of ten could be 60. We figured that we needed to achieve at least a 35-40 score on each set of ten to know if we were in business or not.

My goal as the viewer was to identify the general environment of the targets. If additional correct details were achieved, that would be all for the better. If the scoring was good, then additional and more refined experiments could be designed after completing the initial run of 100.


--- Results ---

The first set of ten coordinates was undertaken on 23 April 1973 at 5:10 in the afternoon. The accumulated results at the end of the first five days were not promising, and people began commenting on Swann's coordinate boondoggle. Tempers were heating up.


  1. Set 1: 34
  2. Set 2: 15
  3. Set 3: 37
  4. Set 4: 37
  5. Set 5: 18


125 total

Two people (I'll not name them) now felt we were wasting time. But I insisted we do the entire 100 coordinates.

Things began to pick up on the sixth set. And, as well, the responses began to be more detailed and extensive.

Set 6: 45
Set 7: 35
Set 8: 38
Set 9: 41
Set 10: 42



201 total

The success rate of the second week was about a 75 percent accuracy increase over the first five days.


--- Complications ---

But a difficulty had intruded as the responses began to become more detailed. It turned out that the whole of the nation's second largest think-tank, SRI, possessed only the most simplistic, single-page maps of the world. And it was from one such map that all of the coordinates had been taken.

The over-simplification required the omission of a lot of the details that had been occurring in my responses. However, we assumed that this increase of detail plus the increases in the scoring indicated a learning curve of some kind. The perceptual channel seemed to be learning how to utilize the coordinate addresses.

But as to inefficient maps, I was irritated by this lack of preparation and foresight, and especially so regarding Target #2 in the last set of ten coordinates that took place on 3 May 1973.


The coordinate given was 2 degrees South, 34 degrees West.

My response was: "First time sense of speeding over water landing on land. Lake to the west."

The coordinate selected had been taken from a simplistic map indicating that 2 degrees South, 34 degrees West was over the water of Lake Victoria, not over land.

So the correct response was supposed to be "water," not speeding over it and landing on land. Puthoff and Targ therefore ranked this coordinate as a "zero."


But my experience of zooming over water and landing on some kind of land had been so vivid and real that I took exception to the simplistic map being used as feedback. I indicated we had to get a better map to judge by.

So Puthoff and I hopped into his car and sped across town to a large bookstore. Therein we found the "Times Atlas of the World."

And in this, Lake Victoria was more clearly shown. The coordinate was not-- on water. It was precisely on Ukerewe island in the southwest part of Lake Victoria. The lake's larger body of water was to the west.

Here, then, was an exact remote viewing detail, one which no one involved with the experiment had known of in advance.

The potential intelligence value of the --coordinate-- remote viewing system was now both implicit and explicit regarding using this new system for spying.

The increase of accuracy during the 100 experiments had shown that such a viewing was probably repeatable.

If coordinate remote viewing held up under severe testing, the two formidable problems of utilizing it for spying had been resolved. For we could now get to a distant target merely by utilizing its coordinates as the remote viewing "address."


--- How To Tell The Cia About Coordinate Remote Viewing ---

But now a Really Big Problem arose: how to tell you-know-who -- that anonymous client who had put up its money.

Over objections from all sides, I now took the decision to offer the coordinate system as the repeatable experiment the CIA had initially demanded. Puthoff rolled his big eyes, and everyone got worried.

How, they asked, were they to explain all this to the "scientist on the east coast? No one's going to believe any of it."

"That's your job," I said. "The whole of this is unbelievable, anyway. What more harm can another unbelievable factor do? Ask them to submit some coordinates of their own selection, and to be prepared to judge the results themselves. I suggest that the coordinates be triple-blind so they can't accuse us of benefiting from leaks."

"We shall," I said, "call this experiment SCANATE (scanning by coordinate.) They like sexy words like that."


--- The Emergence Of Project "scanate" ---

Physicist Puthoff was exceedingly intelligent and, in my opinion, of genius quality. But both he and Targ suffered somewhat from being locked into conventional parapsychology and physics contexts. Coordinate remote viewing transcended both of those contexts, and had come virtually out of nowhere in only two weeks time. The concept was worse than science fiction.

And there was not a trace of anything that might be used to explain how or why-- it should work. Both feared that their CIA contacts would laugh them out of town. That would be not only the end (1) of coordinate remote viewing but, (2) the entire project at SRI, and (3) the end of their scientific reputations as well.

Even I felt sorry for them in this unenviable task.

I was not privy as to how SCANATE was presented to the functionaries at the CIA -- for I was only the "psychic subject" and not permitted to interact with the "client." But I believe a number of "scientists" arrived at SRI and were briefed behind closed doors during the first three weeks of July 1973.

In the end, that the Agency agreed to submit coordinates must be attributed to the genius of Puthoff -- and a very great honor to me.

Finally, Puthoff came into the small office I been assigned. "OK," Puthoff said, "you got your way. The first coordinate will be telephoned to us at 5:00 p.m. on July 21. You and I are to be locked in a room with only pen and paper. The door will be guarded. Then it's up to you."

"Well, it's about time," I replied. "You know that this project is over on the last of August, and then I'm outtahere." In reality, I was scared shitless.

(end of Part One)


The foregoing has been adapted from my book in preparation entitled: REMOTE VIEWING - THE REAL STORY! Insider Tales of America's Superpsychic Spies (The Discoveries; The Rise and Fall; The Political and Technical History; the Saga and Soap Opera; The Subsequent Sane and Weird Proliferations). This book will be a documented autobiographical memoir. --- Ingo Swann