The first startling results came through a self-styled “natural psychic” named Ingo Swann, who claimed he was able to “see” distant events and objects. Prior to arriving at SRI, he had just completed some successful psychic experiments with Dr. Gertrude Schmeidler at City College of New York. Here is a condensed description of an early test to which Targ and Puthoff subjected Swann in their Menlo Park laboratory:
“’Ingo,’ we begin, ‘a skeptical colleague of ours on the East Coast…has furnished us with a set of coordinates, latitude and longitude, in degrees, minutes and seconds, and has challenged us to describe what’s there. We ourselves don’t know…. Do you think you can do it…?’
‘I’ll try,’ says Ingo, appearing unperturbed by a request that we, as physicists, can hardly believe we are making…. The coordinates indicate a site that is roughly 3,000 miles away, and we have been asked to obtain details…such as small man-made structures, buildings, roads, etc.
Ingo closes his eyes and begins to describe what he is visualizing…. He appears to zero in for a closer view, rapidly sketching a detailed map showing the location of several buildings together with some roads and trees. He goes on: “Cliffs to the east, fence to the north. There’s a circular building, perhaps a tower, buildings to the south. Is this a former Nike base or something like that…? I get the impression of something underground, but I’m not sure….’
As we learned…when we received a phone call from our challenger…Swann’s description [was] correct in every detail…even the relative distances on his map were to scale!”
Targ and Puthoff conducted numerous experiments of this nature with other subjects, including at least one jointly with the Soviet Union. This research seemed to yield consistent results which would demonstrate that remote viewing was a reality. The very first try by another subject, Hella Hammid, who made no pretense at psychic ability, was impressive (as were further tests with her).
The tape recording of Hella’s first mock experiment beings [long distance walkie-talkies were used inasmuch as the targets were within five miles of the viewer]:
OUTBOUND EXPERIMENTER: I am at my first target location; what do you see?
HELLA: I see a little house covered with red, overlapping boards. It has a white trim and a very tall, pointed roof. But the whole thing feels fake, like a movie set.
He description turned out to be correct. The actual target was a 15-foot-high model of a little red schoolhouse at a local miniature golf course. A half-dozen mock experiments with surprisingly good results completed the orientation series.
In one experiment, another “natural psychic,” Pat Price (a former police commissioner and corporate president), was given coordinates randomly chosen by a computer. It so happened that they pinpointed a secret government installation in the East involved in monitoring satellites of rival governments. Sitting the laboratory in Menlo Park, California, Price seemingly “walked through” this underground government installation 3000 miles away, described it, and even began to read contents of top-secret files. Fearing they had penetrated government secrets, Targ and Puthoff halted the experiment and sent the data they had gathered to the appropriate authorities.