CIA Files Reveal US Intelligence Used Psychics to Spy on Iran

Declassified CIA documents reveal that US intelligence has gone as far as using supposedly telepathic individuals to gather intelligence, including the hostage situation during the takeover of US embassy in Iran.

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If you haven’t purchased yourself a cap made of tinfoil, it might be the right time to do so, as the CIA’s dabbling with the paranormal is now official. According to a batch of declassified CIA documents, the US intelligence agency used a team of psychics to gather intelligence about operations without being physically present at any of them.

According to the documents, the program was established in 1975. It involved hundreds of candidates who either claimed psychic powers or were somehow determined to possess them. Of several hundred candidates, only six were chosen to take part in further operations.

For several years, the program, codenamed “Grill Flame,” was more about research and accumulating theory behind the paranormal abilities. But its star turn came in 1979, when Grill Flame was brought in to help search for a missing US Navy plane.

The operation was a success, as the psychics were able to pinpoint the location of the plane with an error margin of about 15 miles. Jimmy Carter, US president at the time, dropped a hint about this program in an interview he gave 12 years after the incident.

However, subsequent operations seem to have less success. One of the worst failures was the Iranian US embassy hostage situation the same year. According to the documents, the telepaths repeatedly failed to provide accurate information throughout the whole situation — starting from initial stages of conflict and up until the hostages were separated and scattered across the country. The locations they guessed at were sometimes hundreds of miles wide of the mark.

Interestingly, while the Iranian operation was a failure for Grill Flame, the program continued for 14 years. It changed names and changed supervisors, but it survived. Even now the debate surrounding the program is quite intense.

May oversaw parapsychology research for government intelligence agencies for 20 years.

“Mostly at the beginning, we were doing foreign assessment — that is, what the other side was doing,” May told reporters. “We’d get a report that China or Russia was experimenting with psychics who claimed to be able to do this or that, and our job was to judge whether this was possibly true and if so, what threat was it to us.”

“The psychics were able to tell, in some cases, where the hostages were moved to. They were able to see the degree of their health,” he said. “If you can sit in Fort Meade and describe the health of hostages who are going to be released, so that the right doctors can be on hand, that’s very helpful.”

There might be one possible explanation to why the program survived so long.

The program was officially shut down in 1995, after an outside audit commissioned by the CIA concluded that “remote viewing reports failed to produce the concrete, specific information valued in intelligence reporting.”

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