Real Psychic Expriments


The deadly world of psychic espionage depicted in Push is not just the work of the filmmakers’ vivid imaginations; it is rooted in real-world efforts by the U.S. government to use specially trained psychics for military purposes. Perhaps the best-known example of such efforts is Project Stargate, sponsored by the U.S. Army to investigate the potential military application of psychic phenomena. Psychics trained under this program have reported remarkable, documented feats of paranormal prowess—from identifying landmarks or military installations with only a set of coordinates to guide them, to locating precise crash sites of lost aircraft and predicting the launch dates of enemy submarines and cargo vessels, to name a few.

Based at Stanford University and encompassing a number of sub-projects from the 1970s to 1995, Project Stargate developed a set of protocols to make researching clairvoyance and out-of-body projection more scientific. This approach to psychic arts became known as “remote viewing”—the purported ability to psychically “see” events, sites or information regardless of location. Project Stargate grew at least in part out of national security concerns stemming from reports that the Soviet Union was itself engaged in psychic research, mostly in telekinesis. Ironically, however, these reports may have been a Soviet disinformation campaign, started in response to rumors that the United States was experimenting in psychic warfare. 

Remote viewing is only one of a number of psychic avenues that various governments have researched. Others include telekinesis, hypnotism and remote hypnotism, sometimes accompanied by the use of drugs, shock therapy, radiation and other techniques. 

During World War I, both British and German doctors experimented with psychic techniques, successfully using hypnotism to treat shell-shocked soldiers. In World War II, hypnotism was reportedly used to program intelligence couriers—an approach favored by George Hoban Estabrooks. A Harvard-educated psychology professor, Estabrooks not only claimed to have programmed many spies for the allied forces using hypnosis, but also asserted he was able to split an agent into two distinct personalities, each unaware of the other. Estabrooks also claimed to be able to hypnotize people remotely.

Another major plot element in Push that has parallels in real-world government research into the psychic arena is the effort to control the minds of non-consenting subjects—even to the point of leading the subject to their own willing self-destruction—with the aid of psychotropic drugs. 

As the postwar years stretched into the Cold War, a series of clandestine U.S.-sponsored programs unfolded. One such program, code-named MK-ULTRA, was a covert CIA mind-control and chemical interrogation research program run by the Office of Scientific Intelligence. The program’s holy grail was a perfect “truth drug” for use in interrogating suspected Soviet spies during the Cold War. Its scope was outlined in an intelligence memo dated January 1952 that posed a disturbing question: “Can we get control of an individual to the point where he will do our bidding against his will and even against fundamental laws of nature, such as self-preservation?”

Starting in the late 1950s and continuing at least into the late 1960s, MK-ULTRA operated out of a secret laboratory established and funded by the CIA at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. There, psychiatrist Donald Ewen Cameron conducted experiments in “psychic driving” using memory implantation and memory erasure in conjunction with electroconvulsive therapy, LSD, prolonged drug-induced coma, sleep deprivation, noise and repetition tape loops, among other cruel practices. The program routinely recruited unwitting and non-consenting patients, some of whom suffered permanent damage as a result of the experiments, and one of whom died. 

Because most MK-ULTRA records were deliberately destroyed in 1973 by order of then-CIA Director Richard Helms, it has been difficult, if not impossible, for investigators to gain a complete understanding of the more than 150 individually funded research sub-projects sponsored by MK-ULTRA and related CIA programs. 

Project Stargate remains perhaps the best documented of such programs. Today, several of its former recruits are still alive and have written extensively on the subject of remote viewing, with titles such as “Reading the Enemy’s Mind: Inside Star Gate America’s Psychic Espionage Program” (by Paul H. Smith), “The Ultimate Time Machine” (by Joseph McMoneagle) and “The Seventh Sense” (by Lyn Buchanan). And although the government and military have denied any continuation of these secret programs since 1995, various sources—including ex-CIA agents themselves—assert that the CIA routinely conducts disinformation campaigns and that CIA mind control research continues to this day.

One Response to “Real Psychic Expriments”

  1. Preview: PUSH | I Rate Films Says:

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