Project Stargate: The CIA’s Human Experiments with Mind Control

Project Stargate sounds like something out of this world — and it kind of is. No, it doesn’t refer to wormholes or the exploration of other planets, but rather a CIA-funded program focusing on psychokinesis and Extrasensory Perception (ESP).

Project Stargate was a multi-million-dollar program enacted by the CIA at the height of the Cold War to try and get ahead of the Soviet Union on powers of the mind. This program explored reading someone’s thoughts, telepathy, predicting the future, and the ability to view a place or time remotely, without actually being there.

t is still unclear whether or not the Soviet Union was participating in ESP projects as they continue to be more guarded in the release of official documents from the Cold War. What is clear is that the CIA believed that the Soviet Union was participating in this type of project and moved to create their own, American prototype of similar research and experiments.

Although this might seem silly today, it is important to remember the context of the time. In both the United States and the Soviet Union, one thing was clear — if one country was trying something new, the other country tended to follow suit to make sure they didn’t fall behind with any sort of technological innovations.

Thus, in 1972, the CIA released funding for a program known as SCANATE, and government-funded research on mind control was officially underway.

Testing Uri Geller

Remote viewing research and testing quickly got underway in 1972 at The Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park, California. Physicists Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff began testing people they deemed “gifted individuals” and psychics.

One of the best-known individuals tested in this first phase of Project Star Gate was celebrity psychic Uri Geller. Known for his ability to bend spoons, the CIA recruited him to because of his purported psychic abilities. For eight days in August 1973, Geller was locked in a room while the CIA did various experiments on him to test his supernatural abilities.

These experiments tested Geller’s ability to “see” hidden drawings, find buried metal, and bend spoons with his mind. As a result of Geller’s “success” in this experimental period, the CIA concluded that Geller had demonstrated his “paranormal perceptual ability in a convincing and ambiguous manner.”

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