Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mind's Eye Part I

The overlap between the  intelligence community and the occult is one of those difficult aspects for researchers and the layman alike to properly reconcile. The highly serious nature of intelligence work would seemingly make it impenetrable to the metaphysical, yet the overlap has existed from practically the beginning of the modern spy area. No figure better personifies this than that of the Elizabethan mage John Dee, best know for the Enochian language he developed. Historian Peter Levenda elaborates on Dee and his magical language thus:

"...the peculiar language in which its onvocations are made, and the odd designs of many of the magic seals and insignia are all based on a system of occult correspondences known as Enochian, and codified within the writings of Elizabethan mathematician, philosopher, and spy, Dr. John Dee.

"...Having its own alphabet and its own rules of grammar, its very existence is a technical impossibility: an artificially created language developed by one (or at most two) men in the sixteenth century, John Dee and his assistant Edward Kelley. According to their story, it was given to them by an angel who communicated the language, the alphabet, and all the magic squares, invocations, etc. by means of a laborious process that took months of 'scrying' in the equivalent of a crystal ball. The massive amount of the manuscript that resulted from these bizarre efforts has been largely ignored by historians of the Elizabethan period, or cited as evidence of Dee's emotional instability. In fact, the existence of these writings was used for many years to discredit Dee's genius altogether..

"However, recent research into the Elizabethan period and particularly concerning Dee's relationship to Sir Francis Walsingham... Queen Elizabeth's secretary of state, suggests that Dee was on a secret mission for the British government at the time of the angelic revelations (which took place in Prague). Further... the Angelic language itself may have been devised as a particularly effective code -based on the work of famed German cryptographer Johannes Trithemius... for communication between Dee in Prague and Walsingham in England."
(Unholy Alliance, pg. 118-119)

Despite evidence indicating that Dee's legendary Angelic language was simply a cypher of intelligence work many occultists have sworn by its power over the years, least of all Dee himself. Dee is a most interesting figure -largely ignored by mainstream historians to relatively recently, Dee nevertheless yielded enormous influence during the celebrated Elizabethan era. He was a strong advocate of British colonialism in the Americas and coined the phrase 'British Empire.' His practice of 'scrying', of which he learned from the Aztecs, curiously predates the concept of remote viewing or astral travel which shall be the main focus of this article. This American custom would would go onto have a peculiar influence on modern history. Continuing with Levenda:

"Indeed, one of the famous shew stones of the Elizabethan magician and spy, John Dee, was of Aztec obsidian brought back from the New World by Spanish conquistadors. The Aztecs used the obsidian shew stone in an identical fashion to that used by Dee (and, later, Joseph Smith), as a kind of crystal ball. To the Aztecs, the obsidian mirror was sacred to the god Tezcatlipoca, the 'god of the smoking mirror,' who would reveal to them the will of heaven... Joseph Smith, of course, used shew stones in much the same way as the Aztecs and John Dee."
(Sinister Forces, pgs. 53-54)

Incidentally Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, also claimed to have communicated with an angel via the scrying stone as did Dee. At this stage astral travel was simply viewed as a means of communications as in the traditions of several Native American tribes. But as the 20th century dawned it began to be seen as both a tool of communication and espionage. During WWII both the Nazis and the allied powers would develop a keen interest in the astral plain. Within the Nazi regime this interest would reach some of the highest levels, most notably Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS.

Himmler would establish the headquarters of the SS cult at the Renaissance castle of Wewelsburg, in Westphalia. Here the 'Inner Twelve' would engage in various occult rituals, of which included telepathic communications -in fact they had an entire room, and specialized chairs for this purpose:

"It was within the great dining hall with its Round Table that Himmler and his Inner Circle of Twelve Gruppenfuhres would engage in mystic communication with the realm of the dead Teutons and perform other spiritual exercises.

"... Foreign Intelligence Chief Walter Schellenberg observed Himmler and his 'Round Table' involved in one of these 'spiritual exercises':

" 'He assembled twelve of his most trusted SS leaders in a room next to the one in which von Fritsch was being questioned and ordered them all to concentrate their minds on exerting a suggestive influence over the General that would induce him to tell the truth. I happened to come into the room by accident, and to see these twelve SS leaders sitting in a circle, all sunk in deep and silent contemplation, was indeed a remarkable sight.'"
(Unholy Alliance, pg. 176)

Another technique used by the Nazis was the 'sideral pendulum', in which a mystic would focus on a person or object while holding a swinging pendulum over a map. In theory psychic forces would move the pendulum to the point on the map where the person or object was located. This technique was used to both to attempt to locate Mussolini after he was captured, and to locate submarines. The later objective had an entire agency within the German Navy -sometimes referred to as the Naval Research Institute -dedicated to the pendulum technique, among other paranormal fields:

"...this astral voyage was composed of specialists in every field from astronomy and astrology to ballistics and spiritualism. The top priority of this motley accumulation of psychics and scientists was the location of enemy ships.

"Before the days of satellites and AWACS, there was no reliable method for determining the location of enemy convoys beyond actually seeing them... If a system could be developed that would pinpoint the location of battleships, destroyers, cruisers, and supply vessels hundreds if not thousands of nautical miles away, then absolute dominion over the sea could be virtually assured."
(Unholy Alliance, pg. 230)
Fortunately the Nazis were rather unsuccessful in their proto-remote viewing bids. The British had far more luck and developed a technique that would closely resemble the remote viewing of the 1970s and 80s that the US intelligence community would become obsessed with. This technique came from a most unlikely source:

"The intelligence operative known by her code-name, Anne, probably never received the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her amazing work for the Secret Services during World War II, but she certainly deserved it for she performed one of the most amazing feats of intelligence gathering of that or any war. She penetrated to the heart of the Reichswehr in Berlin, copied classified documents, and reported on secret conversations between military leaders... and all without leaving her armchair in London. She did it by utilizing her special gift of astral travel, what New Agers today refer to as 'Out of Body Experience' or... OBE.

" 'Anne' -a former ambulance driver whose poor health had forced her to retire -professed to be able to obtain information on Nazi military intentions by 'mind-traveling': that is, she would lean back in a chair, close her eyes, and 'travel' to the place described and eavesdrop on what was being said. She could read documents and -with her photographic memory and command of the German language... relay their contents completely and accurately upon her 'return.'

"Anne was tested several times by the Service, and found to be quite reliable. She was then 'sent' on various intelligence assignments to Germany and parts unrecorded, successfully bringing back the war-critical data required... Anne's information was treated with respect and that 'British political and military strategy was influenced and helped by Anne's reports.'"
(Unholy Alliance, pg. 253-254)

Note that 'Anne' suffered from some kind of illness. This will become a reoccurring theme amongst several of the other spirit warriors we shall encounter in this piece.

Anyway, the true Renaissance of astral spying occurred during the Cold War, and was employed by both the American and Soviet factions. The Soviets seemed especially convinced of its use:

"...the Soviets were still competing intensely for the psychic high ground. They had dozens of facilities dedicated to psi research, many of them staffed by widely respected scientists. Leningrad University's Leonid Vasiliev had retired now, but his laboratory continued its work under a successor, Pavel Gulayaev. A Dr. Lev Lupichev headed a psi research center called the Institute of Control Problems, attached to the USSR Academy of Sciences. In the vast, cold 'Science City' in Novosibirsk, under the direction of a Navy colonel named Vitali Perov, there was reportedly something called Special Department No.8, which carried out a secret program of military-oriented psi work. In Moscow, hush-hush psi research also went on in a well-guarded facility called the Institute for the Problems of Information Transmission (IPPI) and at a laboratory in Pavlov 'Institute of Higher Nervous Activity.' And of course there was I.M. Kogan's old psi laboratory at the Popov Society, which was said to have moved to, and expanded in, a new and secret location. Kogan's employee Eduard Naumov, who had always seemed a bit too free with the psi research gossip, was sentenced to two years' hard labor in 1974, ostensibly because he had charged lecture fees without permission. Western psi researchers assumed the Soviet officials simply wanted to keep Naumov on a tighter leash.

"By this time, the mid-1970s, the Soviets had apparently embarked upon a society-wide screening program for talented psychics, covering high schools, universities, and Red Army recruits. The KGB and the military intelligence agencies were after the best natural clairvoyants, the best psychokinetic savants, the best all-around visionaries and wonder-workers that the mystical races of the Russian Empire could produce."
(Remote Viewers, Jim Schnabel, pgs. 184-185) 
Of course the Russians tried to strip the psi phenomenon of any mystical trappings, regarding their pursuits as purely scientific. The Americans were far more open minded to the occult, as we shall soon observe.

The official origins of the American remote viewing program are at the Stanford Research Institute, where the CIA's official RV research began in the early 1970s:

"...the CIA's psi research had been conducted since 1972, at Stanford Research Institute (SRI), a big science thank-tank in Menlo Park, California... SRI researchers, after experimenting with various psi phenomena, had decided to concentrate on clairvoyance -the psychic 'seeing' of things otherwise hidden by obstacles or distance -for use in espionage. The SRI researchers, in rivalry with their Soviet counterparts, were attempting nothing less than the development of the perfect spies, human beings who, undetectably and at almost zero cost, could spy upon the most remote, sensitive, and heavily guarded locations. Throwing out the old labels for psychic phenomena, the SRI scientists were calling their clairvoyant techniques 'remote viewing.'"
(Remote Viewers, Jim Schnabel, pg. 12-13)

The other major remote viewing program under the auspices of US intelligence was run by Army intelligence and came into being in the late 1970s. Based out of Fort Meade, Maryland (which also happens to be the home of the NSA) the project went through numerous names during its existence, but is most widely known as 'Grill Flame,' though this phrase applied to both the SRI unit as well as the Fort Meade unit. After some promising results from an earlier program, the Army was ready to tentatively embrace remote viewing in 1978:

"Starting in late 1978... the Fort Meade unit began to move away from its originally envisioned function on the opsec teams. Although it would accept opsec-related targets, it would now be seen primarily as an offensive spying team, available for use by anyone in the intelligence community with the proper connections and clearances. To facilitate this role, General Thompson increased the unit's effective budget, and gave it three slots for full-time remote viewers: Mel Riley, Ken Bell, and Joe McMoneagle. The unit now became known as 'Special Action Branch.' Although it took orders from General Thompson's office, it was essentially a psychic spying unit that was available to all approved customers in the intelligence community.

"Marking this transition, the code name Gondola Wish disappeared. In its place came 'Grill Flame,' a Pentagon code name that referred to the overall remote-viewing program, encompassing both the Fort Meade unit and the work at SRI."
(Remote Viewers, Jim Schnabel, pg. 25)

In the next installment of this series we'll go into much further depth examine the American RV work and how it relates to many other topics that have been addressed on this blog previously.


  1. Good stuff, tons of declassified files on for those interested.

  2. Oh yeah, can also check out the movie "The Men Who Stare At Goats", about these same topics.