Uri's Impact on the
little over a year ago, one of the worst kept military secrets became official
public knowledge. Suddenly the veil was lifted, and what everyone had suspected,
if not known, was confirmed to be true, the US military was indeed interested
in psychic phenomena. Specifically, remote viewing had been used to attempt to
gather information about a range of topics of interest to intelligence agencies.
These revelations came about as the result of the publication of a Central Intelligence
Agency report addressing the study of psychic phenomena. The researchers were
split, but concluded that while the effects may be real, the techniques were not
sufficiently advanced to be applied on the rigorous analytic basis necessary for
use by the Intelligence Community.
Much has been written and said about that infamous CIA report. On the ABC Television
late night news program Nightline, Robert Gates, the former Director of
Central Intelligence, admitted that CIA had been involved in exploring remote
viewing. He then made the comment that no national security policy decisions had
ever been made based solely on remote viewing information. This remark, while
accurate, should not be seen as a condemnation of remote viewing, but rather,
one of how policy is made. Common sense dictates that policy decisions at a national
level are never made based on single a data point or source. Remote viewing
was no different.
In response to the report, allegations by proponents and skeptics flew back and
forth. Remote viewers claimed the researchers did not have access to data about
specific cases. Some intelligence and drug enforcement agents came forward and
stated that they had successfully used the intelligence generated by the remote
viewers. Several of the US Army personnel who had engaged in remote viewing rushed
out to make remarkable claims about their capabilities and the operations they
had performed. In addition to the legitimate remote Viewers, many people not associated
with the program also made claims about their involvement a situation that continues
to this day. Due to the relative secrecy in which the programs were conducted,
only a few people could challenge these impostures. A detailed discussion of the
history of the military remote viewing program can be found in the Spring 1996
issue of the Journal of the Society for Scientific Exploration.
To fill a vacuum of information about how one could become involved in remote
viewing, workshops and seminars on the topic quickly became a cottage industry.
A few were qualified to teach me skills they had acquired most were not. Too frequently
advocates took a course, became a selfanointed expert, and established their own
programs. They made outrageous claims including the ability to remote view God,
or to have perfect knowledge about the origins, conditions, and intentions of
advanced extraterrestrial life. One, a former officer who had been forced out
of the military under less than honorable conditions in lieu of general court
marshal, selfrighteously proclaimed that he was actually protecting the American
people by exposing a monumental coverup of the origin of Gulf War Syndrome. He
actually managed to publish a book wrapping such topical hotbuttons as angels,
Government conspiracies, and family values in the American flag. Of course, he
failed to mention the seriousness and validity of the charges against him.
Lost in the noise was the
fact that some good research had been conducted. Even the skeptics admitted that
some psi effects had been observed in these programs. Though not prepared to admit
the effects were real, they at least considered them to be interesting, and sufficient
enough to recommend further research be conducted. However, they recommended that
research be done outside the Government, and certainly not by the Intelligence
early 1980's I was involved in another aspect of the study of anomalous phenomena
one in which Uri Geller had provided the impetus. Of course, that involved the
observation, demonstration, and study of macropsychokinesis metal bending. My
Fiend at Stanford Research International (SRI), Dr. Harold (Hal) Puthoff had tested
Uri extensively in his laboratory. Uri, Hal, lunar astronaut Edgar Mitchell, and
others have written extensively about those tests. At the time the results were
sufficiently convincing to put credence in the intelligence reports we were receiving
from the Soviet Union indicating they were very actively pursuing psychic phenomena.
Based on the reports
of Uri's metal bending capabilities, Jack Houck, an engineer working at Mc Donnell
Douglas, developed a format for teaching the technique to average people. He called
these "metal bending parties." Through these parties, Jack was able
to train average people to bend metal in a relatively short period of time, usually
one to two hours. The reported success rate was very high. Success was measured
subjectively by the individuals participating in the metal bending exercise. If
they believed that they had affected the metal, that response was accepted. It
should also be noted that for most people, two hands and a degree of physical
force was involved. This was not the same as the minimal physical contact that
Uri employed in his demonstrations. However, there were a number of instances
in which spontaneous metal bending was observed at Houck's parties.
In early 1982 a metal bending party was held in my apartment in Alexandria, Virginia.
It was the second such function I had attended and several key people were present
including my boss, Major General Bert Stubblebine, and longtime friend of Uri's
Dr. Andrija Puharich. Also present were a few people known to have proven psychic
ability. Jack Houck conducted the party and within an hour most everyone was bending
meted at what Jack called the "kintergarten level." That means they
were using both hands to facilitate the bending. Undoubtedly, selfdelusion was
very possible. Still, it did seem like the metal was softening due to our mental
a period of beginners training, we moved to "graduate school." At this
level everyone held the bases of a pair of matched forks, one in each hand. Now
there was no physical pressure applied. Having a fork in each hand would make
cheating both difficult and obvious. Within a few minutes most people had begun
to discuss a variety of events. There was one who was still concentrating very
hard on her forks. It was Anne Gehman, a wellknown psychic with an established
reputation. I was a short distance from her, and Bert Stubblebine was sitting
directly across. A noise distracted her attention from the forks and a pivotal
event happened. Suddenly, one of the forks bent over a full 90 degrees. Both Stubblebine
and I saw this happen, although Anne did not. At that instant General Stubblebine
and I knew for sure that the stories and reports we had heard about the potential
application of psychokinesis were, in fact, true. More investigation was clearly
the model developed by Jack Houck, I quickly learned how to conduct PK parties.
Within a few weeks it became a regular process. Naive people, open to the possibility
that metal bending might be real, were shown the techniques. By naive I mean they
had no prior experience with macro PK. Most had very limited knowledge about any
psychic phenomena. Applying the subjective scale, the positive results were very
high, usually in excess of 90 percent. In each case there would be a limited amount
of spontaneous bending, frequently the tine of one fork. While not as dramatic
as what Anne Gehman had demonstrated, it was sufficient to get people very excited.
From the beginning
we were very conscious of the potential for fraud. I worked to learn the tricks
of the trade. The spoons and forks used at PK parties were obtained from local
flea markets and remained in my possession. Therefore, no one had an opportunity
to rig them ahead of time. There was no magic lotion. Misdirection while physical
force was applied could be ruled out. The people involved were carefully chosen
by us. Most were current or former Government employees or their family members.
Few, if any, claimed any special powers. There were a few psychics who attended,
but none with a reputation for metal bending. Doug Henning, a worldclass magician,
but one with a compatible belief system was invited to my home for a PK party.
While he did not bend any metal, he was able to demonstrate how fraud could be
conducted. Of course, that night it was his own manager that was the first to
have successful bending. Certainly, we had not set that up. Nor had we set up
the tenyearold girl that had spontaneous bending occur in front of Henning. Despite
the claims of skeptics, every possible measure was taken to insure against fraud.
Timeandtimeagain we saw spontaneous PK bending, albeit usually small, by naive
the military perspective, macro PK was of interest to some of us. The smartass
question would usually be, "What are you going to do, bend tank barrels?"
I always felt it showed their limited ability to think about topics that exceeded
their realm of knowledge. The real danger was not in large metal objects, but
rather information systems. The Army at that time was just entering what has come
to be known as the digital battlefield. Later, when Alvin Toffler addressed the
Gulf War, he called it the first of the Third Wave wars. In other words, it was
the first conflict in which information technology had played the dominant role.
Computers and information processing had become to key to the battlefield. As
I pointed out nearly a decade earlier, the safety of information systems was paramount.
If we believed that PK was real, and some of us did, then the threat was to moving
small numbers of electrons, not large objects. That was the most energy efficient
concept. Still, we could not explain the process by which PK might influence computers
and whether or not conservation of energy made any difference. We did theorize
that unlike hittokill mechanisms, PK had an additional advantage. That is, it
didn't have to work every time. Making weapons and sensor systems unreliable would
be sufficient to have a devastating effect on the battlefield. Some took us seriously,
others did not. At any rate, few experiments were actually conducted after those
of us involved either retired or moved to other assignments.
The military threat aside, under General Stubblebine's leadership, we were able
to use PK metal for other purposes. As the commander of the US Army Intelligence
and Security Command (INSCOM), General Stubblebine held quarterly meetings for
his subordinate commanders who were stationed around the world. Their job was
to collect intelligence on potential adversaries and Bert was always conscious
of potential "blind spots." He was concerned that if a potential enemy
functioned in a way that intelligence analysts didn't anticipate, it would be
easy to miss the signs of impending conflict. Too frequently, these analysts rejected
or ignored reports and data that didn't fit their notion of what should be happening.
This was particularly true if it was reported that a threat country had a capability
that we could not duplicate. Americans are noted for what I have termed "cerebralcentrism,"
e.g. we think we are the only smart people in the world. Therefore, if we can't
do it, no one else can. That was a danger to be avoided. By having the senior
staff participate in PK parties, we had them involved in something they did not
believe could be done. Yet, it happened before their own eyes, and in some cases
at one such session of senior officers, the most amazing PK event I have ever
personally witnessed happened. The group had moved into the "graduate session"
of the PK party and was clearly showing signs of breaking up. A small group in
one corner made a few loud noises and everyone turned to see what was happening.
At that moment, as an officer seated in the center of the room looked over, one
of his forks drooped a full 90 degrees. While he did not see it, the event was
observed by the colonel next to him, and the very senior science advisor seated
directly behind him. As they shouted, we all turned to look. Concerned that I
was being set up, I made a benign comment like. "that's very interesting."
Since I had not seen the bend take place, I didn't want to risk my credibility
acknowledging an event I hadn't observed. I knew too well there were those who
desperately wanted both Stubblebine and I to fail. Then as everyone watched, the
fork straightened itself, bent over again, and moved back to a 45 degree angle.
It was observed by all present. There was absolutely no physical force applied.
What happened next
was equally telling. The officer put the forks down and pronounced, "I wish
that hadn't have happened." I picked up the forks and they remain in my possession
today. Fortunately, we were sequestered. With the help of the staff psychologist,
we put him back together over the next two days. Clearly, he had not faked the
event and his own belief system had been badly shaken. I can report that after
he returned to his station in Germany, he attempted the feat again in the privacy
of his quarters. He was successful, but wanted nothing further to do with his
abilities. (NOTE: A picture could be made available)
In addition to the INSCOM staff, many senior people were exposed to PK parties.
Usually, the sessions took place at my home in Northern Virginia with a carefully
selected group of people. We wanted to insure these very senior people did not
have to fear that their names would appear in the Washington Post, let alone the
National Enquirer. I still respect their privacy and will not make their names
public. That was, and I believe still is our agreement.
The level of person I am talking about required a fair degree of security. Before
one of them came to the house, a counterintelligence team came and electronically
swept the house for bugs. I'm not sure if they found any or not. When I asked
the team leader what they found, he responded, "Nothing that isn't suppose
to be there." A bit ambiguous I say. During the parties my neighbors would
report dark sedans parked on the street and occupied by men they did not recognize.
Since the neighborhood was not particularly close knit, I'm sure they still have
no idea who was visiting me, or what we were doing. Based on the results of those
sessions, at least one extremely senior of official went back to his organization
and started a program to explore PK. Others supported the already established
were other projects that we undertook. Based on the work of Cleve Backster, I
replicated his system for monitoring human emotion at a distance. This was accomplished
with no physical connection to the recording device. We also explored acceleration
of learning skills and demonstrated a high degree of success. For these, and other,
explorations, the reader can find them detailed in a book I coauthored titled,
"The Warrior's Edge." (Avon 1992)
I must note that all of the work done in remote viewing and psychokinesis was
greeted with very mixed enthusiasm by our superiors. Reactions could be placed
into four categories. Fortunately we had firm supporters. Frequently these people
had their own paranormal experiences to recount. Unexplained events, such as neardeath
experiences and precognition, that had occurred during combat often had a lasting
effect on these people. A large segment of the leadership was ambivalent. They
expressed no interest in the topic, and, if it did not impact their daily lives,
couldn't care less about what we did. Of course, there were the skeptics. They
fell into two groups. One group had no frame of reference, but were open to possibilities.
The other group were in reality closer to debunkers. Their position was, "It
can't be, therefore it isn't." They never let facts get in the way of their
Then there was the last category. These people believed the events were real.
However, they were, "The work of the Devil." Therefore, the military
had no business participating in psychic research. This position was made crystal
clear to me at a briefing I conducted in the Fall of 1987. I was addressing a
science panel headed by Walt LeBerg, a former Department of Defense Director for
Research and Development. At the conclusion of my presentation on certain anomalous
phenomenology, LeBerg exploded. He literally screamed at me, "You're not
suppose to know that. That's what you learn when you die!!!" I made a
quiet, but snide remark indicating I made a had mistake and thought this was a
science panel. As quickly as possible, I picked up me briefing slides and got
the hell out of there. That was the only time in my entire 32 years in the military
I ever encountered such a response.
Given the mix of people I have just described, I am always mystified by the conspiracy
theorists who seem to believe the Government holds some awesome knowledge and
capability and are withholding critical information from the public. The truth
is psi phenomena was demonstrated to work sometimes. We are still far from having
all the answers or even a basic understanding about how these events take place.
Uri certainly provided a significant level of impetus for establishing research.
Twenty years later there is still a great deal to be done.
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