Saturday, 7 March 2015

The Lawrence Livermore Remote Viewing session

One of the most famous successes of the US government-sponsored remote viewing program was the series of sessions where Joe McMoneagle described first the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory and then a wind farm, and finally a series of sketches resembling parts of a particle accelerator.



The remarkable similarities between the sketches and the locations of the target person has been frequently reproduced in parapsychological books and websites. It can be found on Joe McMoneagle’s site (here, here and here), on Russel Targ’s site (here and here) and on Dr Edwin May’s site (here and here).

This fairly typical summary of this remote viewing session comes from the book “The ESP Enigma” by Diane Hennacy Powell, M.D.

“His most amazingly accurate results include the time he drew the locations of a CIA team while the agents were hiding in the San Francisco area. First the agents hid in Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, which is a hundred miles away from SRI. McMoneagle drew many of the laboratory buildings and structures as visible from Lawrence Livermore’s West Gate side, including a T-shaped, six-story building that was covered with glass and adjacent to a line of trees. The team traveled to the Livermore Valley Foothills Windmill Farm as their next target, and McMoneagle drew the windmill structure with almost 100 percent accuracy.”

The report on Dr May’s site is the most detailed, and he has written about it in his book “Anomalous Cognition: Remote Viewing Research and Theory.” As such, his version of events is the one I shall be comparing to the original report, An Application Oriented Remote Viewing Experiment, written by Dr May in 1988.

This remote viewing experiment consisted of four sessions over the course of one day, 7th May. All of these sessions were to be focused on one location, as specified by the presence of a “beacon”

The description from the 1988 report reads:

"Viewer 372 [ie, Joe McMoneagle] and a viewing monitor were aware that the target material was of [redacted] significance and was located within the greater San Francisco Bay area. They were told that an individual [redacted] described by name and Social Security number was in the target area during the viewing sessions, and that two members of the SRI staff (known to V372 and the monitor) would serve as a “beacon” and would be at the specific target of interest between 2200 hours on May 7 and 0800 hours on May 8, 1987."


It is worth noting at this point that McMoneagle and the interviewer were not completely blind to the nature of the target, as described in some versions of these events. Additionally, at the start of the first session, McMoneagle is told by the interviewer that the beacon is a physicist, which is another piece of information that could influence his remote viewing session.

Dr May's website includes a section listing the times and circumstances of each of the four sessions. Dr May quotes the 1988 report almost verbatim, except for a couple of sentences that he has omitted from the website. Below is a quote from Dr May’s site. The sections in bold are those which are in the original 1988 report, but are missing from the version online.

"0800 Hours — Receiver 372 was asked to describe the geographical area and the gestalt of the area of interest. He was also asked to provide as much detail as possible in real-time (i.e., at 0835) and was targeted upon the sponsor's on-site representative. At this time, the representative was sleeping (approximately 2 miles from [redacted: the target location]) after having been awake the entire previous night.

1010 Hours — The receiver was asked to describe the details and activity at the site designated by the sponsor's on-site representative as of 0000 hours 7 May (i.e., the previous night).

1600 Hours — The receiver was asked to describe, in real-time, the details and activity at the site designated by the sponsor's on-site representative. At this time, this individual was eating dinner (approximately 2 miles from [the target location])

2400 Hours — The receiver was asked to describe, in real-time the details and activity at the site designated by two SRI personnel."



These omissions, which pinpoint the target person’s location, become pivotal when trying to properly assess the results of this experiment. Dr May writes “During the 0800h session, the target person was located in building A at LLNL,” although the 1988 report tells us something quite different. The target location, the Advanced Technology Accelerator, is 15km (9 miles) from the Lawrence Livermore Labs and so the two versions of events do not match up.

Similarly, the claim “at 1600h he was driving through the windmill electric power farm at the Altamont pass” does not agree with the original report for two reason. Firstly, as seen above, the target was eating dinner, not driving his car. Secondly, the drawing and description of the wind farm came from the 0800h session, not from the afternoon 1600h session.


Since reading the original report makes it clear that neither the target person nor the other two beacons were ever at the Altamont Wind Farm nor the Lawrence Livermore Labs, where has this reputation for being incredible successes come from?

In the 1988 report, the inclusion of these two locations as targets alongside the inital (primary) target is explained thus:

“We have also identified targets of lesser interest in the [redacted] environment. We have designated a wind-power electric generator farm at Altamont Pass but adjacent to [redacted] as a secondary target, and the [redacted] main complex, which is farther away geographically but is functionally associated with [redacted] as a tertiary target.”


I have emailed Dr May to ask if he recalled exactly when during the experiment the secondary and tertiary targets were defined but have received no reply.

The paper “Anomalous Cognition Technical Trials: Inspiration for the Target Entropy Concept” by May and Lantz (included in the book Anomalous Cognition) tells us

“Three separate targets within this trial were identified depending upon where the beacon person was at the time of the session.”

This does not accord with the original report. Is it possible that the wind farm and the laboratory were added to the session as “targets” after the sessions were complete?

As for the successful viewing of the particle accelerator, this took place on the third and fourth sessions and it is difficult to tell how blind to the target the interviewer is, since he sometimes prompts Joe McMoneagle with technical names for things he is describing.

But one thing is clear, claims that Joe McMoneagle remote viewed to an uncanny accuracy the location of a distant individual is not supported by the original report. The details as to why the secondary and tertiary targets were chosen are very sketchy and the constant inaccuracies in the retelling of this experiment means this cannot be taken seriously as an example of anomalous cognition.

The original 1988 report can be downloaded from here.



References:

Diane Hennacy Powell, M.D., “The ESP Enigma: The Scientific Case for Psychic Phenomena,” (2009) Walker & Company

Edwin May & Nevin Lantz, “Anomalous Cognition Technical Trials: Inspiration for the Target Entropy Concept” in “Anomalous Cognition: Remote Viewing Research and Theory,”edited by Edwin May & Sonali Bhatt Marwaha, (2014) McFarland

Edwin May, “An Application Oriented Remote Viewing Experiment,” (1988) SRI International

14 comments:

Edwin C. May said...

Dr. Edwin C. May responds: Part I

Let me consider your remarks from the blog point by point:

1. Diane Hennacy Powell, M.D. I have no comment on what other people write with regard to this particular session.

2. The report on Dr May’s site is the most detailed, and he has written about it in his book “Anomalous Cognition: Remote Viewing Research and Theory.” As such, his version of events is the one I shall be comparing to the original report, An Application Oriented Remote Viewing Experiment, written by Dr May in 1988. (Fair comparison)

3. Blog: It is worth noting at this point that McMoneagle and the interviewer were not completely blind to the nature of the target, as described in some versions of these events. Additionally, at the start of the first session, McMoneagle is told by the interviewer that the beacon is a physicist, which is another piece of information that could influence his remote viewing session.

May: In operations and in operational simulations, the metric for success is much different than in laboratory studies. Part of our job was to explore what is the best protocol to actually solve an intelligence problem. Actually here is McMoneagle’s recall of the tasking, which is consistent with what we did in those days:

Before I did the remote viewings in Nevin’s presence, he only targeted me on the social security number on the 3x5 card. I had no idea that [Ed] and Beverly were present at the target sites. And up until today, I did not know that Beverly was part of the outbound group. Which I think is very cool now. That’s my memory of it,

Even if, Joe and Nevin knew that I was one of two beacons--the other was an anthropologist. Still knowing this does not help. See below.

Well it is true that they knew this was an operation RV feasibility study against some local Bay Area target. During that time period (1986-9) the Bay Area had tons of military things: Navy ships, radars, electronic firms, accelerators (many different types), large laser systems of differing types. Nuclear reactors, and the very secret Blue Cube, etc.

So: (1) An operational simulation has different requirements than a lab study. (2) Knowing the site was of operational significance does not help at all with the viewing beyond reporting on the usual RV target stimuli (e.g., rooms, trees, waterfalls, mountains, etc) Thus there was no problem with this protocol. As I said, even if Joe and Nevin knew I was the beacon person and a physicist would not lead them to an electron accelerator any more than to large radar sites or the huge radio telescope in the back yard of Stanford University.

Edwin C. May said...

Edwin C. May responds: Part 2.

4. Blog: Dr May quotes the 1988 report almost verbatim, except for a couple of sentences that he has omitted from the website. Below is a quote from Dr May’s site. The sections in bold are those which are in the original 1988 report, but are missing from the version online.

May: I edit what I post on line as long as it does not change the intent or outcome of the session. Saying who was sleeping and how far it was away from the site is not relevant nor does it hint at what the site is.

5. Blog: These omissions, which pinpoint the target person’s location, become pivotal when trying to properly assess the results of this experiment. Dr May writes “During the 0800h session, the target person was located in building A at LLNL,” although the 1988 report tells us something quite different. The target location, the Advanced Technology Accelerator, is 15km (9 miles) from the Lawrence Livermore Labs and so the two versions of events do not match up.

May: The results of the experiment in the final report you have are only due to the fuzzy set assessment of the primary, secondary and tertiary targets appropriately weighted.

The report that you have from the CIA release is the report of record. Nothing else matters. If errors were made in editing for the web or presentations, they were inadvertent or ‘poetic’ editing for clarity. And, of course, you missed the biggest one. ALL photographs like the one on your blog of the West Gate and windmills were taken to flatter the data, which I tell about in all my briefing on the topic.
6. Blog: Since reading the original report makes it clear that neither the target person nor the other two beacons were ever at the Altamont Wind Farm nor the Lawrence Livermore Labs, where has this reputation for being incredible successes come from?

May: Sorry to say the above is a bit of creative fantasy. First of all, you cannot get from LLLN to site A300 by any land route that does not take you through the windmills. Building A at LLLN is the administration building in which on obtains passes to travel to remote and, then, classified sites. Our COTR, Humphrey, and I all had to have badges, and the COTR obtained them for us.

The intent of this and the next attempt on a different site, was to determine the degree to which RV can yield information on directed energy systems that might be used as weapons. We were one of a number of technologies used against this particular accelerator.

With regard to target designation: The client and we, post hoc, identified the sites other than the accelerator. At that time and now we did not know the resolution of RV or what the boundary conditions are. So we and the client chose these sites. As I said above, operation simulations had a different set of rules for assessment. There are no hypothesis testing in the report and none were appropriate or required. Table 1 in the report represents the universal set of elements that the client and we constructed to conduct a weighted assessment (Figure of Merit) on things of interest.

One result (Page 13) that pops out is the for the accelerator physical relationships do not work well compared to Functions or Objects. An FoM of 0.1 can be considered chance (from other research).

Edwin C. May said...

Edwin C. May responds: Part 3

6. Blog: “Three separate targets within this trial were identified depending upon where the beacon person was at the time of the session.” This does not accord with the original report. Is it possible that the wind farm and the laboratory were added to the session as “targets” after the sessions were complete?

May: I quote from the report: “(S/NF) We have also identified targets of lesser interest in the LLNL environment. We have designated a wind-power electric generator farm at Altamont Pass but adjacent to Site 300, as a secondary target, and the LLNL main complex, which is farther away geographically but is functionally associated with Site 300, as a tertiary target.

(S/NF) The intent of this RV experiment was to obtain as much information as possible about the target environment in general and ATA external beam operation in particular.”

May’s Final comments:

• Operational RV and simulations of them are assessed by a rating system (Figure of Merit) which is not hypothesis testing, so most rules for hypothesis testing are moot.

• The official record of what happened was declassified and released in 2000 and stands as the final word on the topic.

• McMoneagle’s excellent RV stands and its accuracy rating for Function was a surprise to us and the client. Over all, a weighted average for the accelerator target for the accuracy (i.e. % of the target that was correct) was 78%; the reliability (% of response that was correct) was 72%.

Ersby said...

First I’d like to thank Edwin May for taking the time for such a detailed response.

While Dr May (quite rightly) keeps referring back to the figure of merit method used in the original report as the proper measure of success, he cannot have failed to notice that this session has become a kind of poster child for remote viewing. My point was that the accuracy of these sessions was false, created by redefining the target and changing the nature of the experiment. Dr May, to my mind, does not address these points.

McMoneagle’s recollection of the protocol is at odds with the report. He was clearly given more information about the beacon person and the target location than is generally reported. Dr May says it would have made no difference, but I would suggest it made at least a little difference. Knowing that the beacon was a physicist would’ve pushed McMoneagle away from certain types of target. And let’s not forget, the first location he “saw” was a place full of physicists.

When addressing the missing sentences on his website, Dr May said “I edit what I post on line as long as it does not change the intent or outcome of the session” but it most certainly did. Remember, this is what was in the report:

“He [Joe] was also asked to provide as much detail as possible in real-time (i.e., at 0835) and was targeted upon the sponsor's on-site representative.”

In the original report, on that particular day the representative was not at the Lawrence Livermore Labs, nor did he drive through the Wind Farm. And this is quite obvious when the section is read in full.

The story about Dr May being at the Labs to get a pass card at eight in the morning, and then eight hours later be driving through the Alamont Pass Wind Farm is new to me. It’s not in the original report, nor does it appear in “Anomalous Cognition.” Besides, these two sites were not chosen because Dr May happened to be there, but because one was geographically nearby and the other was linked to the Advanced Test Accelerator through ownership.

Dr May avoids the question of why a drawing made at 8.00am is somehow attributed to a remote viewing session at 4.00pm, but he does answer the question regarding when the LLNL and the Wind Farm were defined as targets: “post hoc.” In other words, once the experiment was done and the results were in.

I was already aware of Dr May’s cautiousness regarding visual judging, and I knew about him flying over the LLNL just to take a photo of the Labs that would best resemble McMoneagle’s drawing.

As for the actual sessions on the Advanced Test Accelerator itself: as I mentioned before, the interviewer does not appear to be completely blind to the target and gives prompts to McMoneagle. Under non-blind conditions what use is a figure of merit?

I know that those people connected to the government sponsored remote viewing program make a great show of how they got their results despite nobody knowing anything. However, there are plenty of remote viewing sessions (for example, Joe’s submarine sessions and Paul Smith’s sessions when he RV’ed the stealth bomber) where the interviewer is fully aware of the target and gives leading questions to the remote viewer.

But thanks again to Edwin May for taking the time to respond.

By the way, there is a way to get to Site 300 from the LLNL without going through the wind farm: South out of LLNL, until you reach Tesla Road then head east until it turns into Corral Hollow Road.

Anonymous said...

Which specific documents contain the stealth bomber remote viewing sessions? I am having trouble locating that one, all I am finding are summaries.

Ersby said...

If you search on the CIA reading room for "8709 session" that should bring up what you need.

Anonymous said...

I did know that it was 8709, but I only found the drawings and summaries, and not the transcripts that show that there were leading questions.

Ersby said...

There aren't tanscripts for project 8709 in the usual sense of everything typed out, but the notes are pretty comprehensive. The document you're after is titled "CRV SESSION PROCEDURES REPORT CONTROL NUMBER: 8709, SESSION NUMBER: 02, SOURCE IDENTIFIER: 003" in the search results.

Anonymous said...

I looked at that document again and I'm seeing the conversations. But those dialogues by the interviewer don't seem to be that leading, to me at least. If anything they seem like rather general descriptions of some flying object that someone with some knowledge of those things could reasonably guess.

Ersby said...

I have to disagree. Bearing in mind that the interviewer knew the target, the last three questions (on page 6 of that pdf) seem very suspect.

"Let's objectify the term projections, you repeat that phrase frequently."

"Add the wings to your sketch"

"Does it bother you if it turns into an airplane"

In this sequence the interviewer draws the viewer's attention to something already mentioned. By the next question, the "projections" have become "wings" and, finally, the interviewer is practically telling the viewer what the target is. If this doesn't seem leading to you, then fair enough, but I have considerable doubts.

I should do a blog post on this, giving me a chance to illustrate my points better, but time is in short supply at the moment.

Anonymous said...

I see your point. The summary at the front of the document seems to say that he called it a wing and an airplane before the interviewer told him so, but if the interviewer told him that before and then the viewer iterated it, then it would be wrong to call them hits. It's possible that asking them to simply clarify what things like "projections" and "flexible metal" are might give them clues to their nature as well, but they seem to have been mentioned first by the viewer.

Ersby said...

Oh, I expect that the viewer did use the word "wings" before the interviewer did, but given that the interviewer was emphasising anything related to an aircraft (as he also did with four other remote viewers. Remember that this was the eighth session in the project - Paul's second) that the use of the word "wings" isn't very evidential.

Anonymous said...

I guess the remote viewers were not blind to each other's sessions?

Ersby said...

I was once on an online parapsychology course, and Paul Smith was one of the guest speakers. I was able to ask him about the possibility of remote viewers discussing multi-session projects between themselves and he said "We just didn't" which is fair enough but I do have lingering doubts. In this project, for example, Mel Riley goes from describing a round object and a pointed object in one session to almost instantly describing an airplane in his next. This makes me wonder if he had spoken to someone or overheard something that gave him a clue.