During the Cold War, the US was looking for any advantage it could find over the USSR because even the simplest edge one way or the other could have tipped the balance and changed history.
At some point in the 1970s, the US intelligence agencies received word that the USSR was researching heavily into parapsychological phenomena, specifically, the science of Remote Viewing.
Using this, the USSR would be able to gain an insurmountable lead over the US. No military base would be able to be kept safe from prying eyes, and the enemies of America wouldn’t need spy planes or to send agents into the mainland US.
What was Project Stargate
Project Stargate was the CIA’s counter to any possible extra-sensory research going on in the USSR. It encompassed multiple disciplines, but the main focus was on Remote Viewing, with over $20 million dollars spent over 20 years and hundreds of individual studies making up one of the largest Remote Viewing experiments ever created.
Most of the project was officially declassified in 1995, with all of the files available here, but looking at the files suggests that certain parts of the project may still be hidden away, with possible files still yet to be declassified fully.
Project Stargate also didn’t go under just one codename. In the years it ran, the project was contained under the aegis of many other names, including:
- GONDOLA WISH
- GRILL FLAME
- CENTER LANE
- PROJECT CF
- SUN STREAK
Where did Project Stargate begin
The Stanford Research Institute (SRI) began all US research into Remote Viewing, performing a series of interviews and experiments with parapsychologists and psychics, including famed psychic celebrity Uri Gellar.
Gellar was deemed a fraud, but the project was successful enough that the US Department of Defense decided to invest further, creating a unit in Fort Meade, Maryland. Initial experiments were small, and focused around Remote Viewing, with the team sequestered away in a set of old, wooden barracks at the back of the camp.
Over time, the projects became more in-depth, expanding to encompass a team of 22 personnel who used various methods of Remote Viewing. It was during this time that the actual term Remote Viewing was invented, as well as the four protocols that are still in use today to make sure that Remote Viewing sessions are as rigorous and scientifically valid as possible.
What is Remote Viewing, and how did it develop?
For anyone unfamiliar with the term, remote viewing is simply being able to see things that you aren’t able to see using your physical body.
But remote viewing is more generally used to refer to a form of perception that’s used to reach out and see things intentionally, by focusing on something specific.
For a more in-depth look at Remote Viewing, we recommend reading our guide, which explains what Remote Viewing is in detail, and breaks down the best way to start as an absolute beginner.
How successful was the Stargate Project?
Notable successes of the SCANATE program include Rosemary Smith, who was an administrative assistant in Fort Meade, Maryland, before she volunteered for the project, and who managed to accurately locate a lost Soviet spy plane.
During the US Iranian Embassy Crisis in 1979, half a dozen psychics were consulted on over 200 occasions over a period of 15 months, with their abilities used to try and locate the hostages, whether they were guarded, and whether they were being mistreated, including being consulted the day before the launch of the final rescue mission, on April 24, 1980.
According to the Chief Warrant Officer of the project Joseph McMoneagle, results may also have been affected by the fact that the Army never truly, in his opinion, had an open mind and attitude to the project, and also denied it essential time or resources, so it never got the chance it deserved.
McMoneagle has also gone on record saying that the documents revealed in 1995 are intentionally lacking to keep the real details hidden, or, to use his language “garbage, not declassifying anything that worked.”
The Men Who Stare at Goats
Strangely enough, a large portion of what the CIA was experimenting with at this time has been documented and collected in a book by journalist and writer Jon Ronson, called The Men Who Stare At Goats.
In the book, Ronson travels across America, finding and speaking with ex-members of CIA psychic programs, including members of Project Stargate, to try and find out what really happened. While the book doesn’t go into exhaustive details about the project, it’s a surprisingly dense and factual read, especially compared to the Hollywood movie that came later, and well worth picking up for anyone interested in the details of the project.
Officially, Project Stargate was determined to be a failure, with no useful military applications.
However, it’s worth considering that this might not be the whole story. There are still documents that need to be declassified which may reveal more success stories. On top of this, despite officially ending in 1995, the Office of Naval Intelligence has researched ESP for possible military purposes as recently as 2014.