Remote viewing is a disciplined method that trains individuals to obtain information about distant or concealed objects, events, locations, or people beyond normal sensory capabilities. Developed and utilized by both scientific research and military intelligence, it involves structured protocols to enhance and control psychic functioning, distinct from other psychic practices. Remote viewing is based on the human ability of Extrasensory Perception (ESP), and includes some mechanism or procedure for controlling mental noise.

We can identify 12 principles to distinguish remote viewing (in general) from other psychic disciplines. The following article discusses these 12 principles of remote viewing.

The Principles of Remote Viewing

Remote viewing is a technique used to obtain information that is not available otherwise through normal senses or information sources, separated from us by space, time, or shielding.

Remote viewing is not clairvoyance, channeling, out-of-body or other mediumistic work, but it is related to such techniques in that it utilizes the natural human capacity for extrasensory perception. Therefore, remote viewing does not refer to the ability to psychically perceive things itself, but is a technique to develop, strengthen and make controlled use of psychic functioning.

Where Does Remote Viewing Come From?

The term “remote viewing” was coined by artist and psychic Ingo Swann in the early 1970s. He participated in scientific studies of Extrasensory Perception (ESP) at the American Society for Psychical Research (ASPR), the City College in New York, and Stanford Research Institute (SRI). It was subsequently adopted by US military intelligence for a secret psychic espionage program that ran until 1995, involving various US government agencies including the CIA and DIA. After it was declassified and publicly revealed in 1995, the program became famous as the “Star Gate” Program, referring to one of its code names.

Remote Viewing is the acquisition and description, by mental means, of information blocked from ordinary perception by distance, shielding or time.

(Coordinate Remote Viewing, Defense Intelligence Agency, 1 May 1986. p. 1)

RV is a novel perceptual discipline for gaining information not available to the ordinary physical senses. Used extensively by so-called “psychic spies” during the Cold War for classified military projects, it has a long history both as an intelligence gathering tool and as the subject of research and applications in the civilian world.

(International Remote Viewing Association, IRVA.org)
[The term remote viewing] was coined to identify a particular kind of experiment—not a particular kind of psi ability. To simplify all this, we can resort to a easy-to-understand formula. Remote-viewing consists of five absolutely necessary ingredients: (1) subject, [with] (2) active ESP abilities, [directed at] (3) distant target [including shielded or distant in time] (4) subject’s recorded responses and (5) confirmatory positive feedback, all of which equals (6) the remote-viewing model. Nothing less is remote viewing. […] Remote-viewing is neither a novel psi ability, nor a convenient replacement term for psi, clairvoyance, or ESP.
(Ingo Swann, in Fate Magazine, Sept 1993)

Based on an extended research program led by physicists Hal Puthoff and Russell Targ at SRI, and after about a decade of studies with both natural psychics and individuals without reported psychic abilities or prior psychic claims, it became evident that non-local perception—the ability to describe distant places, objects, people or events not accessible through regular sensory means—was potentially an inherent human ability that could be developed and trained like any other human capacity.

Similar to the working method applied for scientific studies, the US government and military used a generic remote viewing approach in different programs from 1975 onward. But beginning from 1981, a formalized and structured working method called Coordinate Remote Viewing (CRV, later known as Controlled Remote Viewing) was developed at SRI by Ingo Swann and Hal Puthoff. This method was trained and used by a small group of military remote viewers in the secret psychic spy unit, based at Ft. Meade, Maryland. After the program was terminated and publicly disclosed in 1995, some of the former military personnel began teaching the method in the civilian world. Through these instructors and subsequently their students, a variety of adaptions to remote viewing are available today as training for individuals, ranging from „free form“ approaches to structured, method-based written formats.

Although there are now many different approaches that share the name “remote viewing,” there are clear indications that distinguish remote viewing from other psychic practices, such as clairvoyance, channeling, astral projection, or out-of-body experiences.

Remote Viewing “In the Wild”

Over the past three decades, the term “remote viewing” has become a catch-all phrase for many psychic practices, largely because the scientific framework of the method appeals to those seeking greater public acceptance of psychic abilities and the paranormal. Additionally, the term “viewing” is misleading, further contributing to misconceptions about what remote viewing actually entails (which is discussed below in this article). As a result, today the majority of people using this terminology have a flawed understanding of its true meaning and principles.

An Easy Guide to Remote Viewing Principles

In the following, twelve main characteristics (principles) of remote viewing vs. other psychic work are discussed in a short form.

The ability to work as a remote viewer is acquired through practice and experience in the method and not through a “gift” or talent as in other mediumistic approaches. As with any other human skill set, an innate talent gives a person an advantage in performing as a remote viewer, but consistent training is more important for developing a professional skill level. Proper training and experience can augment talent, or compensate for a lesser amount of talent.

Remote viewing does not occur spontaneously or without intention. Remote viewing is performed in the form of sessions, with a start and end point defined and recorded by the viewer.

The viewer has full choice whether to remote view an assigned target, and when. Even though always blinded to the target, it is the viewer who decides whether they want to work on this specific target, and when they start and end the process.
During the session, the viewer has the opportunity to freely change their perspective around and about the target both in time and space.

According to the original definition of bilocation, during a session a remote viewer remains at a balance between being “here and there.” The viewer’s awareness is in two places at once—at the target to perceive data and simultaneously in the viewing room to report data. The viewer does not “go to the target” as in OBE or astral projection and can’t record data before they have “returned back” to their normal state.

A key principle in remote viewing is that the viewer must have no idea of the nature of the target or question until after the session is completed (single-blind protocol). In some cases, especially in scientific and operational settings, everybody associated with the viewer, such as the session monitor, or even people in the room, must also be unaware of the target (double-blind protocol).

Blinding requires a way to assign the target, which usually involves another person responsible for defining the target and creating a way of “pointing” the viewer to the desired target without revealing any information about it. This could involve sealing a reference picture in an envelope and/or defining a verbal tasking cue. Common practice is to assign a code, coordinate, or arbitrary number that functions as a “tasking number,” standing in for the target and preventing information from being inferred or deduced about its nature. In remote viewing, this person responsible for making this target assignment is called the “tasker.”

Due to the fragmentary nature of our normal everyday perception, our minds are trained to interpolate available pieces of data to form a “full picture.” This function is an evolutionarily-formed survival mechanism, but it can lead to issues in non-local perception, because every interpolation is based solely on previous knowledge and memory, which can easily and unintentionally result in false interpretations. This interpolation mechanism gets in the way of obtaining and recording reliable data during remote viewing sessions.

Remote Viewing so far is the only psychic discipline that acknowledges the concept of mental noise and has developed ways to address it. The original term for this concept is “Analytical Overlay (AOL).” In some offshoots of the remote viewing methodology, alternative terminology may be used to describe the same concept. Inversely, it also happens that original CRV terminology is used by other methods to mean different concepts (like ideogram or bilocation), which adds to confusion about the nature of remote viewing.

A basic principle of remote viewing is to describe, don’t name” things, which helps reduce analytical processes. In reporting remote viewing perceptions, a viewer should describe what he or she perceives, not try to label it (for example, “red, metallic, large, rumbling sounds…” and not “firetruck”).

Remote viewers are trained to avoid constructing “full stories” and instead focus on collecting descriptive information, including both sensory and conceptual impressions. The task of evaluating the session(s) and putting the data into context is left to an analyst.

Remote viewing sessions can be conducted either solo by the viewer or in a teamwork setting, where one person (the viewer) receives the data, while the second person (the “interviewer” or “monitor”) assists the viewer with session guidance.

The role of the monitor includes guiding the viewer’s focus if necessary, as well as observing the viewer during the session to help them avoid naming and guessing, thereby reducing analytical interference.

In method-based remote viewing, the role of the monitor is augmented by the working structure, which includes a strict placement protocol (often referred to as the “RV method” or “RV protocol”) for recording perceptions on paper. This protocol helps to separate raw impressions from analytically processed data, differentiate between categories of data, and capture the chronological order of perceptions.

Similar to how the blinding protocols or the use of a defined written structure for objectification helps the viewer stay on track, when a viewer works solo (that is, without a monitor present to assist) a combination of the aforementioned elements helps reducing logical interference or guessing. This at least partially substitutes for the lack of a monitor. In principle, a viewer can work solo and without a written method (e.g., solo-ERV) if they apply other methods of in-time data objectification, e.g., using audio or video recordings.

Still, the use of a monitor in RV sessions can be helpful beyond the training process, especially in operational settings where the monitor can help guide the viewer’s awareness towards specific perspectives or questions. To maintain the monitor’s neutrality and avoid influencing the viewer, there are rules for monitoring, such as monitors being blind (except in a training setting), limited verbal response patterns or a non-intrusion policy. This is to preserve the integrity of the remote viewing session and to ensure that the results are not distorted by external influences.

A remote viewer must record all perceptions as they occur, in real time. This is typically done either with pen on paper as words and sketches, or as an audio recording that is sometimes supplemented by subsequent drawings after the verbal part of the session. 3D modeling can also be part of the objectification process. Kinesthetic interaction with the target, such as sketching and modeling can be part of a session and is typically used as a tool for reinforcing target contact.

Real-time objectification serves many purposes, with a focus on partly externalizing the viewer’s entire “thinking process.” This not only helps avoid “internal editing” but also allows the analyst to track mental noise. Additionally, the amount of data that can be stored in human short-term memory is too small to enable the viewer to transport the full range of perceptions by memory alone back to the viewing room, leading to a massive loss of data and subsequent interpolation—a phenomenon well-known from, for example, the interrogation of witnesses.

A remote viewing session transcript will often provide not only the perceived data but also clues to process-related information concerning the viewer and the session environment, which can aid analysis. This particularly applies to CRV (and its offshoots), which has terminology to define this kind of information. But the principle is relevant to any kind of remote viewing where the process is recorded.

As per Ingo Swann’s original definition (see above), the availability of feedback is a key element of remote viewing. In this sense, sessions conducted against targets with no verifiable feedback or “ground truth” available are considered speculative psychic work, using some elements of remote viewing protocols but not constituting “full” remote viewing.

Feedback in this context does not mean that every detail about the target is known beforehand (which would render RV useless as an intelligence gathering tool). There can certainly be unknowns. However, the “unknowns” must be embedded within known material to allow for verifiable feedback—for example, to clearly determine through other specific target elements whether the viewer is “on target” or not.

Remote viewing acknowledges that the data obtained is typically not 100% accurate. However, the goal in remote viewing is not to achieve perfection, but rather to maximize the reliability and usefulness of the information gathered. The concept of mental noise enables this recognition, leading to standard practices that help mitigate the effects of inaccuracies, e.g., assigning multiple viewers to the same task and comparing the results.

This redundant approach helps account for inaccuracies caused by individual mental noise, improving the overall reliability of the collected data. The analyst’s role is to evaluate the session data, put it into context, and draw conclusions. They do not interfere with the viewer’s process during the session.

These principles and practices work together to create a structured approach to remote viewing that aims to maximize the validity and usefulness of the data obtained, while acknowledging and managing the inherent challenges posed by mental noise and the limitations of human perception.

The principles described here apply to remote viewing in general, regardless of the form and method. Controlled Remote Viewing (CRV) has additional features like its structure that distinguish it from other, less disciplined forms of remote viewing. To get a better understanding, we recommend reading the article about the origins of CRV.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology
is indistinguishable from magic.”

Arthur C. Clarke

Author: CLP © 2024