Do we humans harbor within us vast mental powers beyond our imagination? Are some of us gifted with psychic abilities far beyond the norm, and if so what does that mean for us as a society? Whether one believes in extra sensory perception, mental powers, or any of the phenomena that go with them, some governments of the world have certainly at some point or another taken notice to entertain the idea. After all, wouldn’t such amazing abilities be useful for warfare or intelligence gathering? Governments around the world have long sought to try and harness the untapped powers of the human mind to mixed results, and here are some of the oddest such experiments, which were perhaps surprisingly taken quite seriously in their time, perhaps not to be dismissed out of hand.
Although it had dabbled in extra sensory perception abilities in the 40s and 50s, the United States government began to truly pursue the potential application of psychic powers in warfare starting from the 1970s, when the U.S. Army, CIA, and Defense Intelligence Agency established a special unit at Fort Meade, Maryland, for the purpose of investigating psychic phenomena. Ordered by Maj. Gen. Edmund Thompson, then the Army’s top intelligence officer, and overseen by a Lt. Frederick Holmes “Skip” Atwater and later on Maj. Gen. Albert Stubblebine, what would be variously called Grill Flame, Sun Streak, and ultimately eventually fall under the general blanket code name of Project Stargate began here, and one of the main original focuses of the research was into what is referred to as “remote viewing,” or basically the ability for a psychic operative to observe and describe places, information, or objects from afar.
The great potential military application for this sort of thing is obvious, and the U.S. government pursued it with vigor, believing that the Soviets were also engaged in such research and vice versa, essentially setting off a sort of “psychic arms race,” so to speak. One part of an overview of the project that is part of declassified documents stated:
Driven by the notion that the Soviets might develop capabilities in this area, key personalities in the intelligence community were determined to explore the potential usefulness of psychic phenomena.
It was not a particular extravagant affair at first, poorly funded, run out of an old, decrepit barracks and only employing around 20 people or less in the beginning, and although there were certainly those in the military who thought it was all a bonkers, crackpot idea, the organization itself was very serious about what they were investigating. Psychics were recruited to the program, who then underwent scientific tests of their supposed abilities and programs to try and hone them in order to basically create an army of psychic spies. One former researcher with the program describes what they did thus: