In Part 1, I talked about the scientific evidence for telepathy. From my perspective, there is so much evidence for the presence of such a phenomena that those who deny its existence are doing so for reasons outside of science. In this post, I will discuss the scientific evidence for clairvoyance, which is often closely associated with remote viewing. Let’s start off with some definitions.
Clairvoyance is often confused with other parapsychological terms, sometimes telepathy and other times precognition. We learned in Part 1 that telepathy is akin to reading someone’s mind. Loosely, precognition is being able to predict the future. An aspect of clairvoyance known as remote viewing, is when someone is able to perceive a distant geographical location. Clairvoyance, however, is when a person is able to acquire information about an object (person or place included) or event that cannot be perceived by other means (5 senses). One could see how this might be confused with telepathy as telepathy is a means of acquiring information from someone’s mind (which could, theoretically, contain information about an event or object). As well, remote viewing is like a specific kind of clairvoyance. Some mistake clairvoyance for being able to see the future, but this is really precognition, not to be confused with retrocognition, which is being able to see acquire information about the past through means other than “normal.” Is your head spinning from parapsychological terms, yet? All you need to know is that we’re talking about clairvoyance today and clairvoyance is being able to acquire information about something without the five senses.
Some of the earliest tests for clairvoyance were in picture-drawing experiments. One person draws an image and then a distant partner is supposed to draw the same image. These sorts of tests wouldn’t pass for science with today’s standards as the images selected by the participants weren’t “random” and the inherent shared biases between people in these experiments allowed for a certain sense of similarity to their image selection. Meaning, if two people had just been to the beach, there would obviously be a higher probability of a selection of water in the image drawn. Keeping this in mind, there were still some rather amazing studies written about by Upton Sinclair in Mental Radio. The book’s preface was written by Albert Einstein who wrote: “I have read the book of Upton Sinclair. . . and am convinced that the same deserves the most earnest consideration, not only of the laity [public], but also of the psychologists by profession.” Another book on the picture-drawing experiments to check is by René Warcollier called Mind to Mind.
In 2003, researchers Brenda J. Dunne and Robert G. Jahn published an article in the Journal of Scientific Exploration that summarized 25 years of research on remote viewing at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research lab called: “Information and Uncertainty in Remote Perception Research.” The article had four purposes:
1) to present for the first time in archival form all results of some 25 years of remote perception research at this laboratory; 2) to describe all of the analytical scoring methods developed over the course of this program to quantify the amount of anomalous information acquired in the experiments; 3) to display a remarkable anti-correlation between the objective specificity of those methods and the anomalous yield of the experiments; and 4) to discuss the phenomenological and pragmatic implications of this complementarity.
The meta-analysis of the article concluded that (from page 219):
The overall results of these analyses leave little doubt, by any criterion, that the PRP perceptions [remote viewing data] contain considerably more information about the designated targets than can be attributed to chance guessing.
As Radin quotes in Entangled Minds, the results of these studies are at odds against chance of 33 million to 1. The meta-analysis by Dunne and Jahn is more than enough evidence that clairvoyance/remote viewing exists. When people unfamiliar with the terms in this area talk about ESP, they are often referring to remote viewing.
Remote viewing is probably one of the more popular of the big 5 and I would bet that this is attributable to the US government getting involved in this research. From the Stanford Research Institute International‘s website:
In the 1970s and 1980s SRI was contracted by a U.S. government agency to research some aspects of remote viewing. As this work was performed for clients, SRI no longer has the records relating to the research. All such records were returned to the clients.
Some of the research has been published, but interestingly, as said by William H. Kautz in Opening the Inner Eye:
Some of the results from RV [remote viewing] are not yet publicly accessible.
There has been a lot written about remote viewing and clairvoyance both in the scientific community and for the public. One of the more interesting depictions of this research was in a recent film called: The Men Who Stare At Goats. The film had some heavy hitters (in terms of actors): George Clooney, Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges, and Ewan McGregor. The movie was adapted from a book written 5 years earlier by the same name.