What Is Remote Viewing?
Remote viewing is a form of parapsychological scrying where the psychic attempts to gain information at a distance - possibly even from a different time. The term was first popularised by Russell Targ and Hal Puthoff of the Stanford Research Institute (SRI). No tools are used in remote viewing,instead the viewer attempts to mentally "see" the location and obtain the information required.
Remote viewing can take place at any distance. At its simplest it can be used to determine written information sealed in an envelope. However the more interesting applications involve discovering what is in a room many miles away. There have even been suggestions that remote viewing could be used for extraterrestrial contact purposes to seek out intelligent alien life.
One feature that distinguishes remote viewing from other scrying and clairvoyance techniques is that the psychic is usually not told exactly what they are looking at or for. Instead the target will be described vaguely, or perhaps only given as a map reference. There are a number of different remote viewing protocols that test different variations of the basic skill.
How does remote viewing work? Nobody really knows. It could be that we are simply using one label to refer to a number of different psychic and/or psi abilities that achieve similar results using different methods.
Proponents of remote viewing believe that it is a skill that can be learned and that improves with practice. You can buy training courses claiming to allow you to learn and/or improve remote viewing skills. I've never tried one of these so I can't say whether or not they work.
Remote Viewing and the CIA
Remote viewing hit the headlines when it was revealed that the US intelligence and security agencies had been actively studying it as a potential spying tool.
In the early 1970s the CIA believed that the USSR was investigating psi skills. They decided to do their own research into the potential of such unusual parapsychological techniques and how they could be applied.
They began with an eight month long test programme known as the Biofield Measurements Programme. The results were apparently highly impressive and the CIA was convinced to continue funding the research. This led eventually to the larger Project Star Gate which existed to research any and all psi abilities, however weird they might seem.
Officially, the US remote viewing research ceased in the 1990s. However given the nature of the agencies involved it is difficult to be certain of anything. Many conspiracy theorists believe that strange ESP experiments are still taking place.