Swann helped develop the process of Remote Viewing at the Stanford Research Institute in experiments that caught the attention of the Central Intelligence Agency. He is commonly credited with proposing the idea of Coordinate Remote Viewing, a process in which viewers would view a location given nothing but its geographical coordinates, which was developed and tested by Puthoff and Targ with CIA funding.Due to the popularity of Uri Geller in the seventies, a critical examination of Swann's paranormal claims was basically overlooked by skeptics and historians.Uri Geller commented very favorably on Swann, saying, "If you were blind and a man appeared who could teach you to see with mind power, you would revere him as a guru. So why is Ingo Swann ignored by publishers and forced to publish his astounding life story on the Internet?"
Both Geller and Swann were tested by two experimenters, Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff, who concluded that they did indeed have unique skills.Others have strongly disputed the scientific validity of Targ and Puthoff's experiments. In a 1983 interview, magician Milbourne Christopher remarked that Swann was "one of the cleverest in the field."Details and transcripts of the SRI remote viewing experiments themselves were found to be edited and even unobtainable.
In 1972 in the newsletter of the American Society for Psychical Research (ASPR), their director of research Karlis Osis described his personal controlled out-of-body experiment with Swann. The targets that Swann was to attempt to describe and illustrate were on a shelf two feet from the ceiling and several feet above Swann's head. Osis does not describe the height of the ceiling.Swann suggests, unclearly, the ceiling was 14 feet in height. The room was illuminated by two kitchen-style overhead fixtures. Swann sat alone in the chamber with wires from electrodes fastened to his head running through the wall behind him. Swann sat just beneath the target tray.He was given a clipboard to use for sketching. Any movement while drawing did not result in "artefacts" in the brain readout.Although his outstretched hand might not have extended far enough to reach the suspended shelf, the clipboard that he used for sketching could have been employed as an extension. Perhaps with a mirror held by the clip at the high end, the lower end grasped by the fingers of his extended hand. In Swann's book To Kiss Earth Goodbye there is a photograph of the objects on the shelf. Swann wrote that he was aware of most of the objects on shelf above his head, but he did not know it held four numbers on a side. A side that would not have been visible if a reflecting surface had been angled near the end. Writing about this experiment master magician Milbourne Christopher asks the questions why were the target objects in the same room as the subject? Why were they so close to the subject? And finally, why wasn't an observer also in the room at the time of the experiment?
Psychological scales were developed for rating the quality and clarity (as subjectively described) by Swann of his OOB vision, which varied from time to time. The results were evaluated by blind judging. A psychologist, either Bonnie Preskari or Carole K. Silfen, was asked to match up Swann's responses without knowing which target they were meant for. She matched all the eight sessions. Osis stressed the odds about Swann being correct were forty thousand to one. There is no record of any experiments being performed in the dark.
Together, Silfen and Swann prepared an unofficial report of later out-of-body experiments and circulated it to 500 members of the ASPR, before the ASPR board was aware of it. According to Swann, Silfen has disappeared and cannot be located. He was searching for her and was asking for the public's help. According to Swann, in April 1972 a move was made at the ASPR in New York to discredit him and throw him out because he was a Scientologist.
When Swann arrived at SRI, Harold Puthoff decided he would first be tested for psychokinesis, PK. On June 6, 1972, the two men paid a visit to Dr. Arthur Heberd and his quark detector, a magnetometer, at the Varian Physics Building. The well-shielded magnetometer had a small magnetic probe in a vault five feet beneath the floor. The oscillation had been running silently, for about an hour tracing out a stable pattern on the chart recorder. Putoff asked Swann if he could affect the magetometer’s magnetic field. Swann said he focused his attention on the interior of the magnetometer and was getting nothing.
Then there are different versions of the following events. Puthoff states that after about a five-second delay,Heberd says it was a ten to fifteen minute delay, the frequency of the trace recorder oscillation doubled for about 30 seconds (reportedly a common occurrence due to variations in the shared helium line to the lab). Heberd continues, when the curve burped, Swann asked, "Is that what I am supposed to do?"Swann said he responded,"is that an effect?"Then according to Heberd, Swann crossed the room taking his attention away from the chart recorder.Swann said he took his mind off the machine and was sketching.Others watched the recorder to see if the irregularity would be repeated, and it was. Puthoff asked Swann, "Did you do that too?"Swann said he again responded, "Is that an effect?" According to Puthoff Swann said he was then tired and couldn’t “hold it any longer” and let go. The chart recorder pattern returned to normal.
More supportive sources say that Heberd supports Puthoff's version that in the second instance Heberd suggested he would be more impressed if Swann could stop the field change altogether. Heberd denies he told James Randi that he never suggested it.Swann recalled he heard, “Can you do that again?” from Puthoff. Swann said his feats frightened some doctoral candidates, claiming that two "virtually ran" from the room and one collided with a "totally visible" structure support.
No evidence exists to support Puthoff's claim that the effect was repeated at will under observation.
Puthoff writes Dr. Heberd suggested all along there must be something wrong with the equipment. The following day it was certain the magnetometer was malfunctioning. "The equipment was behaving erratically; it was not possible to obtain a stable background signal for calibration." Therefore the experiment was not repeated. Swann related this SNAFU in his book, Remote Viewing: The Real Story. In his CIA report, paranormal expert, Dr. Kenneth A. Kress, does not record anything about Heberd's malfunctioning suggestions. Kress only writes, "These variations were never seen before or after this visit."Though Swann was to spend a year at SRI, in their book, Targ and Puthoff present no further data and, Swann did not mention he was involved in any other PK experiments with the magnetometer than those that occurred and were recorded on June 6, 1972.
Immediately after, Puthoff wrote a brief paper in a draft form. Rather than publishing the results in a scientific journal inviting peer review, this paper was circulated hand to hand throughout research and academic institutions across the U.S.A., and Puthoff accepted invitations to speak.This paper caught the attention of the CIA and two agents paid a visit to Hal Puthoff at SRI and also met Swann. Later this paper was published as a part of a conference proceedings.
Early Coordinate Remote Viewing experiments
Targ and Puthoff write about their pilot experiments, "We couldn't overlook the possibility that perhaps Ingo knew the geographical features of the earth and their approximate latitude and longitude. (It is Swann who suggests these Coordinate Remote Viewing tests, not the experimenters. He is in control.) "Or it was possible that we were inadvertently cueing the subject (Swann), since we as experimenters knew what the answers were."
Soon Targ and Puthoff performed more experiments with Swann and the controls were tightened to eliminate the possibility of error. This time Swann was given the latitude and longitude of ten targets, in the end there would be ten runs, for a total of 100. Only the evaluations of the ten targets from the tenth run, the last, were disclosed. The results of the targets from the previous ninety (runs 1-9) are ignored. For the tenth run Swann had seven hits, two neutral and one miss. The experiments came to a close. Targ and Puthoff were positive "Something was happening, but they are not clear what it is." (This method of selecting a small number of "guesses" from a larger, sometimes never disclosed larger number, is known as the free response method in remote viewing, or cherry picking in most other domains.)According to Swann and Stanford Research International, his RV was correct probably 95% of the time. His personally trained students' RV were 85% correct, 85% of the time.See:Stargate Project
Swann's Jupiter rings
Swann proposed a study to Targ and Puthoff. At first they resisted, for the resulting descriptions would be impossible to verify. Yet, on the evening 27 April 1973 Targ and Puthoff recorded Swann's remote viewing session of the planet Jupiter and Jupiter's moons,prior to the Voyager probe's visit there in 1979.
Swann asked for 30 minutes of silence. According to Swann, his ability to see Jupiter took about three and a half minutes. In the session he made several reports on the physical features of Jupiter, such as its surface, atmosphere and weather. Swann's statement that Jupiter had planetary rings, like Saturn, was controversial at the time. The Voyager probe later confirmed the existence of the rings.
The following are Swann's exact statements:
6:06:20 "Very high in the atmosphere there are crystals... they glitter. Maybe the stripes are like bands of crystals, maybe like rings of Saturn, though not far out like that. Very close within the atmosphere."(Unintelligible sentence.) "I bet you they'll reflect radio probes. Is that possible if you had a cloud of crystals that were assaulted by different radio waves?"
Analysis and observations
The Rings of Jupiter are not inside the atmosphere and rather than being made of crystal, Jupiter's rings are formed by charged (dust) particles of various sizes. Most of these particles are very tiny (about 1 micrometre across). There are two forces that are exerted on these particles by Jupiter: a gravitational force and an electromagnetic force. The gravitational force is stronger than the electromagnetic force for particles with size of 1 micrometre and it provides the centripetal acceleration that is required to keep these particles in circular motion around Jupiter.
Throughout their lifetimes these particles are ground down by the energetic particles that are abundant in Jupiter's magnetosphere and eventually they become so small (about 0.03 micrometre across) that the electromagnetic force overpowers the gravitational force and the particles leave the rings and fall into Jupiter's atmosphere. The average lifetime of these particles is about 1000 years, a very short time by cosmological standards.
However, Jupiter's rings are a permanent feature because these tiny particles are regenerated continually by collisions of interplanetary Micrometeoroids with boulder-size objects within the rings.
Swann's total observations lasted for about 20 minutes. He made no mention of the many moons of Jupiter, which as of February 2004 counted 63.The raw data comprised only four pages. But according to Swann the confirmatory data appeared throughout the published scientific and technical articles and papers. It was decided that all of these should be included in their entirety to ensure that no scientific passage was inadvertently used out of context. The feedback data therefore amounted to about 300 pages. Swann states, "Only the mountains remained unconfirmed. When skeptics elected to amuse themselves regarding the Probe it was this single item they focused on."
An examination by Randi of the 65 statements made by Ingo Swann and Harold Sherman concluded that 37 percent of the statements were incorrect. Of the statements, 7 were correct yet obvious, 11 were correct and available widely in reference books, 5 were probably true (scientific speculation), one was correct but not available from reference books, 9 were too vague to verify, 2 were probably incorrect and 30 were certainly incorrect. Randi's evaluation of the 31 claims about Jupiter by Swann identified 6 as true, 1 as very likely, 3 as probable, 4 as obvious, 1 as "probably not," 11 as wrong, 1 as "not known," and 4 criticized for being vague or nonspecific in various ways, e.g., "it's liquid" and "surface gives high infrared count, and heat is held down."
Brain activity during remote viewing
In November 2001, there was an article by Michael Persinger published in The Journal of Neuropsychiatry & Clinical Neurosciences. The results with Swann suggested that during his remote viewing there were associated measurable changes in brain activity. There was bipolar electroencephalographic activity over the occipital, temporal and frontal lobes. Persinger concluded that there was "significant congruence" between the stimuli and Swann's electroencephalographic activity.
Swann reported that out of the twenty-five criminal cases he worked between 1972 and 1979, twenty-two were flops and three were successes. According to Swann, Gerard Croiset and Peter Hurkos were super sensitive sleuths.Authors Arthur Lyons and Marcello Truzzi Ph.D., also a founder of the International Remote Viewing Association, wrote the Croiset and Hurkos cases were "pure bunk" in their 1991 book The Blue Sense: Psychic Detectives and Crime.
Swann was a supporter of ufology and Saucer Smear. Swann, writing "in appreciation of 'Saucer Smear' and its Esteemed Editor", wrote that "although many of its readers might view 'Saucer Smear' merely as a droll ufology gossip rag, in the larger picture it is rather more accurately a profound 'window' opening up onto the sociology of ufology. Therefore its cumulative issues constitute a precious historical archive."
In his 1998 autobiography Penetration: The Question of Extraterrestrial and Human Telepathy, Swann described his work with individuals in an unknown agency who study extraterrestrials, his remote viewing of a secret E.T. base on the hidden side of the moon and his "shocking" experience with a sexy scantily dressed female E.T. in a Los Angeles supermarket. He concludes that extraterrestrials are living on earth in humanoid bodies. A friend warned him that there are many extraterrestrials, that many are "bio-androids", and that they are aware their only foes on earth are psychics. While Swann and an individual known as "Mr. Axelrod" were secretly watching a UFO appear and suck up the water of a lake, they were discovered and attacked by the UFO. Swann was injured but was dragged to safety by his colleague.
To Kiss Earth Good-bye: Adventures and Discoveries in the Nonmaterial, "Recounted by the Man who has Astounded Physicists and Parapsychologists Throughout the World".
Self-help books: Everybody's Guide to Natural Esp: Unlocking the Extrasensory Power of Your Mind, Your Nostradamus Factor - Accessing Your Innate Ability to See Into the Future,Psychic sexuality: The bio-psychic "anatomy" of sexual energies,
1980 book on future world events: What Will Happen to You When the Soviets Take Over?
Autobiography: Penetration: The Question of Extraterrestrial and Human Telepathy (1998).