Stargate was a CIA-sponsored project researching the usefulness of remote viewing as a tool for intelligence gathering. The name has since become a rubric for multiple classified programs investigating remote viewing, conducted under a variety of code names, including Scanate, Center Lane, Sun Streak and Grill Flame.
Stargate was initiated in response to CIA concerns about alleged Soviet research into psychic phenomena as an aid to their Intelligence programs. The initial CIA-funded research program, called SCANATE (scan by coordinate), began in 1970. In 1972 remote viewing research began at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park, CA., under the supervision of Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff.
The SRI program began with a small number of individuals who were seen as being particularly gifted in this area. These included New York artist Ingo Swann, who went on to lay the groundwork for the techniques of Coordinate Remote Viewing (CRV).
Further research was carried out from 1978 under the auspices of Army intelligence at Fort Meade, MD., under the name Grill Flame. Remote viewers were chosen from both soldiers and civilians, who were thought to possess natural psychic ability. The SRI research program and Grill Flame were merged in early 1979, and the project continues on as a highly classified program.
In 1983 the program was re-designated as the INSCOM Center Lane Project (ICLP). It was during this time that Ingo Swann and Harold Puthoff developed the CRV Manual, through which anyone could be trained on how to remote view.
Army funding for the project ended in late 1985, after an unfavourable review of the results via the National Academy of Sciences. However, the program was redesignated as Project Sun Streak and transferred to the Defense Intelligence Agency's Scientific and Technical Intelligence Directorate, with the office code DT-S.
In 1991 the program transitioned to Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and was renamed Project Star Gate, under the supervision of Edwin May, who presided over 70% of the total contractor budget and 85% of the program's data collection.
More than $20 million was spent on Stargate-related projects over the course of two decades, with $11 million budgeted from the mid-1980's to the early 1990s. Around 23 remote viewers were used, including Ingo Swann, Pat Buchanan, Paul Smith, Joseph McMoneagle and Ed Dames.
Stargate-related programs utilised at least three different techniques for remote viewing:
- Coordinate Remote Viewing (CRV) - the original SRI-developed technique in which viewers were asked what they "saw" at specified geographic coordinates
- Extended Remote Viewing (ERV) - a hybrid relaxation/meditative-based method
- Written Remote Viewing (WRV) - a hybrid of both channeling and automatic writing was introduced in 1988, though it proved controversial and was regarded by some as much less reliable.
In 1995 the American Institutes for Research (AIR) was contracted by the CIA to evaluate the Star Gate program. The report was written by statistician Jessica Utts and skeptic Ray Hyman (a prominent member of CSICOP).
Utts gave a positive assessment of the data, concluding that "using the standards applied to any other area of science, it is concluded that psychic function has been well established.... It is recommended that future experiments focus on understanding how this phenomenon works, and on how to make it as useful as possible."
However, Hyman's summation was negative, although his reasoning may be seen as a case of special pleading: "the experiments are well-designed and the investigators have taken pains to eliminate the known weaknesses in previous parapsychological research. In addition, I cannot provide suitable candidates for what flaws, if any, might be present. Just the same, it is impossible in principle to say that any particular experiment or experimental series is completely free from flaws."
The final recommendation by AIR was to terminate Star Gate, perhaps mainly due to the lack of applicability to gaining meaningful intelligence from remote viewing. It is not known whether the program has truly finished, or is continuing on 'under cover' once more.