Andy Lloyd's Book Reviews
by Jim Marrs
Subtitled "The True Story of America's Psychic Warfare Program"
New Page Books, 2007
This is the third book I've read about Remote Viewing, and is the best of the three. The other two books were written by remote viewers themselves, and were absolutely fascinating in their own right. This is, after all, an extraordinary subject. But they lacked the objectivity of the third person report. Jim Marrs is an author/journalist heavily involved in fringe areas of study. His reporting is clear and untarnished by some of the politics prevalent in the Remote Viewing 'community' these days. His eloquent prose and open-minded representation of the subject provides for an excellent and informative read.
I should backtrack a little here, and explain what Remote Viewing actually is. Basically, it's clairvoyance; the psychic ability known as Extra-Sensory Perception (ESP).
This phenomenon is not particularly new, of course. There have been many Seers over the generations. The specialist term 'Remote Viewing' pertains particularly to a group of mostly military men who used their psychic abilities in the service of Uncle Sam. Their experimental surveillance work was funded by various military and intelligence agencies, and spanned a couple of decades through the seventies and eighties. Well-documented, and now largely in the public domain, Remote Viewing was undertaken with a degree of seriousness which belies orthodox establishment thinking. Yet, despite a clamour of scepticism since its public outing, it did really take place. The U.S. Military employed psychic spies. This book documents their story.
The reason why serious money was thrown at psychic spying was two-fold: Firstly, the Soviets seemed to be using this methodology themselves during the Cold War. Secondly, it had been shown to actually work. Time and time again, incredible results were attained. No one could explain why, because on a strictly scientific level it really shouldn't have worked. But it did, and often under the most stringent experimental conditions possible, as Jim Marrs' book outlines.
Like the fictitious X-Files, the Psi Spies unit was effectively orphaned; a Cinderella organisation toiling away in a little military shack. They repeatedly proved their worth, and effectiveness, but they were never wholly accepted. Resistance to acceptability came from the need to square their work with the accepted scientific paradigm. Also, psychic functioning does not generally sit well with religious orthodoxy (how would the Bush administration view this subject now, I wonder?) So their very existence relied upon simple pragmatism. After all, like it or not, Remote Viewing seems to work, and therefore has the potential to be a most remarkable tool for spying.
This book chronicles the emergence of this psychic spying unit, and details the methodologies they employed. It acts as a biography of many of the key players, and their inter-meshed relationships and politics. It provides anecdotal evidence for the operational usefulness of the unit, particularly in terms of operational intelligence gathering. It also takes us far beyond the mundane, as the Psi Spies explored distant worlds and times, and various fringe areas of study (e.g. the Dinosaur Ghost of Scotland!) Quite a menu, I'm sure you'll agree.
Now a moment for my perennial rants! 'Psi Spies' was written during the time that Remote Viewing was first emerging into the public eye, back in the mid-nineties. However, for a number of reasons, it was not published at that time, and this current issue is an updated and expanded version of the original manuscript. Regrettably, the intervening years have not seen the demise of the abundant typos and grammatical errors in the published book, a matter which always annoys me as a book reviewer. Where have all the editors gone these days? 'Psi Spies' also suffers with that irritating modern American infection in literature; the explanatory sub-title (in this case 'The True Story of America's Psychic Warfare Program'). This is a totally unnecessary, and bulky affix to the book's title. Why???
Okay, I've got that out of my system. Now for a thought of my own from reading Jim's book. Remote Viewing seems to rely upon a displacement of the mind through time and space. Or, perhaps, the receipt of information through the psychic ether, across dimensions, like plugging the mind into the Collective Unconscious. It seems as though all humans are capable of it. (If dogs could draw and write, they would probably be very good at it too ;0) ).
So. could computers which use artificial intelligence do RV? Could an A.I. computer versed in virtual reality cruise the psychic superhighway? I wonder. You see, I can't for the life of me understand why the program stopped.
The psychic spies are mostly civilians now, and pursue parallel careers in the alternative community, offering Remote Viewing training and other services. Were they replaced by a more covert unit? There's some evidence that they were. But there may also be the possibility that their work was superceded by the use of computers. Computers do not carry the human mental baggage which so often seems to corrupt and distort the remote viewing process. I'll leave that thought hanging there, because I very much doubt that this ability is a human one alone, but simply a mental one borne of intelligence, whether natural or artificial. Artificially generated RV would surely be more pure than the human equivalent, in terms of returned data. And consistent accuracy is, of course, the key.
Jim Marrs has clearly done a lot of research and work to produce this book over more than a decade, and I thoroughly recommend it.
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Book review by Andy Lloyd, 2nd October 2007
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