Project Stargate: 10 Facts About the US Government Psychic Experiments
Project Stargate: 10 Facts About the US Government Psychic Experiments

Project Stargate: 10 Facts About the US Government Psychic Experiments

Shannon Quinn - July 1, 2018

From alleged psychic powers to alien encounters, thousands of people in the United States have claimed that they have experienced something out of this world. Are they all crazy, or is there something really going on? It turns out that even the U.S. government wanted to know the answer to this question, and they hoped that the existence of psychic phenomenon could actually give them a tactical advantage against their enemies.

From in 1972 to 1990, an partners of the CIA- the DIA and INSCOM became the real-life X-Files. This was classified under multiple names, including Project Sun Streak, Project Grillflame, and Project Stargate. In the original briefing, the CIA states that its mission was to establish if foreign threats exist, and learn how to exploit it for our own benefit.

Project Stargate: 10 Facts About the US Government Psychic Experiments
Remote Viewers claim that they can see into people’s minds, and even beyond the planet Earth in their mind. Credit:

Since the project was closed for years, the CIA has declassified their secret files, making all of these amazing stories available for the public to read. In 2017, Project Farsight was formed to take over where Stargate left off. So, what, exactly were they investigating? Here are some of the most out-of-this-world experiments from Project Stargate.

Project Stargate: 10 Facts About the US Government Psychic Experiments
Cover of the Project Stargate briefing. Credit:

How it All Started

During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union were both in an intense rivalry to outdo one another. The U.S. believed that anything Russia could do, they could do better. They were particularly interested in extrasensory perception, or ESP, and psychokinesis, which is the ability to move objects with one’s mind.

If psychic powers truly were real, that meant whoever had psychic spies on their side would have a clear advantage. The major difference between the Soviet’s approach was that they were conducting experiments with the scientific method. At that point, the United States had only looked at the potential existence of psychic powers from a psychological perspective. As early as the 1920’s, Leningrad State University was working together with Russian soldiers in their attempt to send telepathic messages to submarines, and recording the results. By the 1970’s, there were over 30 centers in the USSR that were studying paranormal activity, or “parapsychology”.

Project Stargate: 10 Facts About the US Government Psychic Experiments
Soviet Dr. Bill van Bise was an engineer working with the USSR on potentially developing mind-control techniques. He is blindfolded as part of an experiment. Credit: The Daily Mail

The Soviets believed in something called “Bioenergetics”, which is the belief that all living things give off an energy. So if they were able to tap into that energy, they could read minds and move things at will. Unlike their other experiments, American scientists did not really want to dive in to the ideas of Bioenergetics, because they didn’t think there was enough to go on.

The United States government did, however, think that studies with hypnosis were very interesting. They were interested in knowing about the power of suggestion, and what it can do to someone’s mind. While information about hypnosis was still new in the 70’s, it is widely recognized today as a legitimate psychological technique that can help people cope with trauma, relax, quit smoking, and so many other things.

Project Stargate: 10 Facts About the US Government Psychic Experiments
Illustration of what the actual necklace looked like, sketched out and described by the scientists conducting the experiment. None of the remote viewers could give 100% accuracy on the true information. Credit:

Finding Hidden Objects

One of the experiments conducted with psychic powers was trying to get remote viewers to identify objects that are out of view, which could be extremely useful in identifying what sort of weapons the enemy has. The target object was a gold Native American necklace. It was made up of a chain of golden spheres, with larger balls in the center, and the gradually became smaller. Each of these gold balls was etched with designs. The remote viewer was given clay so they could re-create the shape of the target object, and they were asked to describe the history of the people who made it.

Some of the viewers got it completely wrong. One person wrote down information about the Izuzu Japanese car manufacturers. Another person described “people shaped” objects, and others said it was a teacup or a bowl. A few did, however, make small balls out of clay, which is accurate to what the necklace looked like. The most accurate description of the history was someone describing round gold shapes that were hand-made by several people who had to bang on metal. He described someone with dark hair and skin, which would match Native Americans. However, this answer was still pretty vague, and it may have just been a good guess.

Project Stargate: 10 Facts About the US Government Psychic Experiments
Portrait of Ingo Swann. Credit: The Daily Grail

Ingo Swann, The Psychic Agent

An artist and renowned psychic from New York named Ingo Swann was invited to participate in Project Stargate. The CIA wanted to see if they could train their psychic agents to move things with their mind, and they believe Swann was a good candidate in the use of psychokinesis. In one experiment, a psychic known as Ingo Swann was shown an instrument, and how it works. They asked him to use his mind to alter the behavior of this instrument. With each experiment, they brought Ingo Swann further and further away, until they were seperated by two large steel walls. In 80% of the sessions, they saw significant results that the instrument moved. They had run the experiment with several other candidates, whose results were closer to 30% accuracy.

After this experiment, the CIA was so convinced that he really did had psychic powers, that they put Ingo Swann in charge of more projects. During the 1970’s, there had never been any satellites sent to the planet Jupiter. NASA had just launched a satellite to Jupiter called Pioneer 10, and they were curious to see if they could send a “psychic probe” to the planet at the same time, and see if the remote viewing descriptions matched the reality of the mysterious planet.

Both Ingo Swann and a second agent named Harold Sherman were placed in sensory deprivation tanks, and asked to remote view to another planet. Their descriptions of Jupiter were recorded independent of one another, and yet they both described almost identical visions. Their descriptions are so similar, it truly is like they rehearsed their lines beforehand, but they had no way of knowing that they were 100% accurate to the reality. They both described multi-colored streams of thick clouds that surrounded the planet, harsh storms, The Big Red Spot, and floating crystals. In the year 2000, NASA launched the Juno Satellite to take high definition photographs of Jupiter. We now know that the surface of Jupiter looks exactly like what Swann and Sherman described.

Project Stargate: 10 Facts About the US Government Psychic Experiments
Photograph of Mount Hayes in Alaska, with no alien lab to be seen. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Aliens in Alaska?

After the success of Ingo Swann and Harold Sherman’s remote viewing of Jupiter in the 1970’s, the CIA decided to see what was on the Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. Scientists already knew that Titan has a thick atmosphere, similar to the Earth. From a distance, it looks as if it might even contain water. Without having a probe on Titan to confirm any of this, they wanted to see if a remote viewer could give them any additional information about the moon’s surface that might be confirmed later.

While most CIA files will identify the name of the participant in each remote viewing study, the particular case involving the Titan remote viewing was left anonymous. However, the handwriting of the viewer was very near perfect, which has historians speculating that it was a woman.

According to the viewer, they saw that the moon was inhabited by aliens that looked exactly like human beings. She described a scene of two good-looking male technicians supervised by an attractive woman with shoulder-length hair in a green lab coat. She also described an apparent base on the top of Mount Hayes, Alaska, that was run by these aliens who looked like human beings. Throughout her report of the vision, she made it seem as though she believed these aliens could easy come and go from Earth as they pleased.

There is a particular sub-group of UFO enthusiasts that believe that aliens walk among us, and that they choose to breed with attractive blonde humans. It seems like this remote viewer’s “visions” aligned with their personal beliefs.

In these notes, the viewer also wrote that she saw another alien that was shaped like a human with a long skinny neck, but that its face was totally blank, without any definitive features. She also claimed that she was “invited” to come and see their alien operations, as if she was actually present, or abducted through her mind. The way this vision is described, it sounds much more like a dream, rather than a typical remote viewing observation. She described yet another vision of a robot in South America who was aware of her presence, as well.

At the end of this session, the remote viewing monitor who had listened to all of these stories wrote, “No target. Not verifiable.” Clearly, this sounded like something more out of a science fiction novel, rather than anything the CIA could actually use to help them gain more knowledge about Titan’s atmosphere.

Project Stargate: 10 Facts About the US Government Psychic Experiments
Frank Olson died in 1953, and his family believes his death may have been related to a CIA cover-up. Credit: The Baltimore Sun

The Death of Frank Olson

In 1953, a man named Frank Olson was a secret agent for the CIA. His family was shocked to turn on the news and learn that he jumped out of a window during a business trip. He never showed any signs of depression, and it did not make any sense why he would kill himself. They were told that he was apart of a secret government project that involved LSD, and he could not handle the drugs in his system. He went crazy, and jumped out the window on the 13th story of The Pennsylvania Hotel in New York City. A few years after his death, the CIA officially acknowledged their use of psychedelic drugs in their experiments. The original autopsy report, (which was provided by the CIA) claimed that he had cuts and abrasions on his body, because of the fall.

However, in 1994, after interviewing some of his father’s friends who worked with him in the CIA, Frank’s son Eric Olson became suspicious that they had lied about his true cause of death. He decided to exhume his father’s body. Sure enough, the second autopsy, which was performed by the George Washington University Law Center, showed completely different results than the one provided by the CIA. It showed blunt force trauma to the head, and there were no scratches or lacerations.

Eric Olson now believes that his father was involved with MK-ULTRA and Project Stargate. Olson knows that his father was genuinely a good person, and he would have had moral issues with many of the experiments that were going on. He believes that his father was murdered in order to keep him silent. After performing the autopsy, Olson held a press conference on his front lawn. He wanted to expose the CIA for killing his father. TV cameras and reports showed up to cover the story, but no one included his conspiracy theories about the CIA in their official reports, except for a documentary filmmaker who was looking into Project Stargate. Instead, the reporters spun it as a human interest story of a son who was grieving his father.

The story of Frank Olson has been investigated in multiple documentaries, including the Unsolved Mysteries TV series, the Netflix docu-series “Wormwood”, and more. His story also inspired a suicide written into the script of The Men Who Stare at Goats, but in the movie, it was a catalyst to end the psychic project, rather than spur on more funding.

Project Stargate: 10 Facts About the US Government Psychic Experiments

The Uri Geller Experiments

In the 1970’s, Uri Geller was a famous psychic and illusionist from Israel that appeared on TV to show off his ability to bend spoons and read minds. While many people assumed these were just parlor tricks, the scientists at Project Stargate believed that he could be an excellent case study. In August of 1973, the CIA spent a week working with Uri Geller to test his psychic abilities. Over the course of 8 days, they conducted different experiments every day, and recorded the data.

They had Geller sit in an “electronically shielded” room, which they described to be a double-walled, insulated space where he could not have possibly received any kind of radio communication, or cheat the test in any way. There was an intercom that allowed Uri to speak to the scientists, but he stayed in the room during the entire experiment.

On the first day, the scientist pulled out a large dictionary, flipped through the pages, and landed their finger on a random word. They asked Geller to read their minds and identify the word, even though he obviously could not see the book. The word was “fuse”, and he drew a firecracker, with a fuse coming out of one end. The next word was “bunch”, and the dictionary included an image with a bunch of grapes. Geller explained that in his mind’s eye, he could see purple circles with water dripping off of it, so he drew grapes.

In the days that followed, the CIA asked him to do several more experiments. Not all of them were successful, but the vast majority of them were eerily accurate. They moved on from mind reading, and took him to a computer lab. One of the computers was randomly generating images, and he was asked to draw what the computer showed on the screen. He correctly guessed a kite, and a church. In another experiment, they called up a random CIA agent in a office on the East Coast, and asked him to draw a picture of the first thing that popped in his mind. The agent on the phone was drawing an image of two mountains with the sun in the top right corner. Uri Geller drew two zig-zag lines in the same shape as the mountains, with a circle in the upper right corner.

In many of the cases, Geller could not tell what the actual object was, or he guessed very close to it (like when someone drew a camel, Geller drew a horse, instead.) By the end of the eight-day trial, the CIA was convinced that Uri Geller did, in fact, have psychic powers. A few years later, however, he was exposed on TV as a fraud, when a talk show switched out his props, proving that he could not actually bend spoons with his mind. Project Stargate was a top-secret experiment, so no one could release the documents that showed these tests conducted by the U.S. government.

A modern-day illusionist named Darren Brown visited the Sedona Creative Life Center, which is where professional psychics go to teach their abilities to other people. Brown did the same sort of experiments that were conducted in the Uri Geller study. During a remote viewing test, Brown sat in a different room and correctly guessed what someone else was drawing. During the course of their conversation, he would leave subliminal messages. For example, he said, “Let the images sail through your mind, don’t go overboard on the details”, and she ended up drawing a sailboat.

During the Uri Geller tests, there was a day when one of the scientists drew a picture of a rabbit before Geller had even arrived, and it was locked in a cabinet. So there was no way that he could have influenced the image. He could not correctly guess “rabbit”, but he asked if a particular scientist had drawn it. When they said “yes”, he tried to blame it on not having a great psychic connection with that particular scientist. There has also never been a rational explanation as to how he could have known what was on the computer screen, since it would have been impossible to influence the machine simply by talking.

Project Stargate: 10 Facts About the US Government Psychic Experiments
David Morehouse went on to write a book and speak at several conferences about remote viewing, UFO’s, and more. Credit: YouTube.

David Morehouse, and the Psychic Warriors

In 1979, a man named David Morehouse joined the U.S. Army. In 1987, he was shot by a stray bullet in the helmet during a training exercise, which knocked him unconscious. He had a dream about an angel, and his entire life changed. He started having strange dreams, and felt as if he could see through the eyes of people around him. He went to an army psychologist about his visions, fully expecting to be diagnosed with a mental illness. Instead of calling him crazy, the doctor introduced him to Project Stargate, who were putting together a group of “Psychic Warriors”, and they asked Morehouse to join. They were all living in a shack in the middle of Maryland called Fort Meade.

David Morehouse went through training sessions where he acted as the “viewer”, and the second person, or “monitor”, would give him random coordinates on a map, and he was asked to describe his surroundings. Without having any idea where those coordinates actually were, Morehouse was able to accurately describe foreign locations.

The CIA called upon David Morehouse in two specific cases. First was the capture of a Marine named William Higgins in Lebanon. Morehouse and a few of the other psychic soldiers were able to describe the actual location where Higgins was being held, and explain the scene. Unfortunately, they could not rescue him in time, and he was killed.

The next was Pan Am Flight 103, which disappeared above the ocean. Morehouse gave the CIA the plane’s location, and also said that it blew up because of a terrorist bomb that was hidden in a suitcase. When a team found the plane and investigated the crash, they realized that the remote viewers were correct. David Morehouse wrote an autobiography about his experiences called Psychic Warrior: Inside the Cia’s Stargate Program : The True Story of a Soldier’s Espionage and Awakening. After retiring from the military, he spent the rest of his career with a private business teaching remote viewing to other people, and going on speaking engagements to talk about UFO’s and the power of the human mind. The movie The Men Who Stare at Goats was inspired by Morehouse’s book, and his life story.

Project Stargate: 10 Facts About the US Government Psychic Experiments
This photo was taken in 1985. Terry Waite (left) got along well with the Lebonese army during hostage negotiations. He was captured by an independent terrorist group not long after. Credit: The Daily Mail.

The Terry Waite Case

In 1987, a British man named Terry Waite was captured by the Islamic Jihad during a hostage negotiation trip with the Church of England. He was kidnapped and kept in solitary confinement in Bairut, Lebanon. In 1988, Project Sunstreak set out to use remote viewing to figure out his location. The remote viewers described Waite’s mindset, which was very strong and proud, rather than scared and traumatized. They also descriptions of other additional non-English-speaking hostages that were also captured and tortured. They also described the number of guards that were standing by, and their daily routines, as if it may help with a rescue mission.

A psychic soldier known as “Viewer 079” described a temple three miles outside of Bairut where Terry Waite was being held. It turns out that this information was correct. They released one of the foreign hostages, a German named Rudolf Cordes. When he was free, he confirmed all of the information that the remote viewers had described about Terry Waite. Interestingly enough, not even Terry Waite himself knew that there were other people being kept hostage in the same building for four and a half years, because they had all be kept separate from one another.

One detail that truly was consistent with the truth that the remote viewer was able to see was his mental stage. Terry Waite left the situation feeling as though he survived without suffering any Post Traumatic Stress. He said that he was able to talk to a psychologist right away, which he credits as being part of the reason why he is still mentally healthy. He was able to keep hope alive by thinking about everything he would say when he was able to escape and write a book.

Unfortunately, identifying Terry Waite’s location was only half the battle, and the U.S. and British armies could not just storm into such a delicate situation. Hostage negotiations with the terrorist group and the Lebanese government went on for years, and he was not released until 1991. When he was released, he wrote a book about his experiences, and began a project for helping homeless people. A fictionalized version of his story was turned into a movie called Hostages, which was released in 1992.

Project Stargate: 10 Facts About the US Government Psychic Experiments
Some psychics claim that they used tarot cards to channel their powers, but in Project Stargate, they were called “The Witches”. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A Curious Double Standard

Women are known for having much stronger sense of intuition than men, and they have a higher chance of experiencing psychic phenomenon than their male counterparts. Some believe that since culture allows women to be more in-tune with their emotions, it helps them tap into their psychic powers. So, if that is the case, wouldn’t it have made sense to find a team of female psychics to help with Project Stargate? The unfortunately reality of the situation was that the vast majority of “experts” were male. They had very few women that were brought on to help with the project, and even when they arrived, they were never taken seriously.

It was more than a decade before they even considered to bring in women to help, and some of the remote viewing studies begin to indicate female handwriting, but the names and genders of those participants are conveniently never confirmed. By 1991, The Gulf War had begun, and remote viewers from Project Stargate had gone to do their duty, or they had simply retired out of the military. The project cost $500,000 per year, and the higher-ups were seriously re-considering if they should continue to pay for these psychic experiments out of the military’s budget. They were desperate for new remote viewing talent, so they hired two civilian female psychics named Angela Dellafiora and Robin Dahlgren to come to Fort Meade, Maryland.

They were called “The Witches” by the male members of Project Stargate who felt that their techniques were an insult to the “real” ways of the psychic warrior. They would mostly use tarot cards to predict the future. Many psychics use crystals and tarot cards, because they claim that it helps to channel their energy. But in the eyes of the men, this was a sign that the were frauds.

These female remote viewers were asked to locate Saddam Hussein, but they had absolutely no success. Male authors who later wrote about these two women claimed that they failed because they were “not interest” in the military. Obviously, that had nothing to do with it, because the men could not find Saddam Hussein, either. They never actually accomplished anything helpful to the CIA, and it most likely damaged the reputation of the project, because “The Witches” were often compared to the types of tarot psychics that were seen on TV.

This was a case of the pot calling the kettle black, because, obviously, other so-called psychics, like Uri Geller, were later debunked as illusionists and frauds. But since they were men, the CIA was quick to believe other men’s predictions, calling them ‘experts’ rather than ‘witches’ or ‘wizards’. Other female remote viewers were usually alien enthusiasts, who typically got their information wrong whenever the CIA began to look into their claims. However, again, when two viewers gave equally crazy testimonies, they were far more likely to believe the male subjects over the females, because they were interpreted as being more trust-worthy sources of information. Even to this day, the vast majority of people who show up to remote viewing classes are male.

Project Stargate: 10 Facts About the US Government Psychic Experiments
Photograph of the Hale Bopp Comet. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Cults and Comets

Two civilian remote viewers, a man named Dr. Courtney Brown and a woman named Prudence Calabrese were asked to examine an object in a photograph near the Hale Bopp comet. They predicted that it was an alien spaceship headed towards Earth. They described that it was a massive sphere-shaped ship, similar to the Death Star in Star Wars, filled with tunnels, corridors, and multiple rooms. Their visions were reported on the radio, and the reporter repeated multiple times that this was not a fictional story, calling it “breaking news”.

Because of this reporting, people who believed very strongly in the existence of aliens clung on to it as proof that what they had believed for years was finally being confirmed. If Brown and Calabrese were to be believed, there was a spaceship headed towards Earth, which may or may not result in an alien invasion. When Prudence Calabrese was interviewed on TV to talk about her predictions, she wore a Star Trek pin. This was obviously a huge red flag, because everyone knew that she was a fan of science fiction, and apparently, she saw nothing wrong with wearing that. But the rest of the world knew that there was no credibility to her statements that aliens were about to invade the planet.

However, for the people who already believed in aliens, they were excited. Brown and Calabrese’s phone was ringing non-stop with people who were interested in working with them. A group of die-hard believers was formed, calling themselves the Heaven’s Gate. This cult believed that when the Hale Bopp comet passed by the Earth, so would the space ship. They all believed that they were going to be taken away, and the only way to do so would be to committed suicide, so that their soul would float into space and get on the ship. They were all wearing identical outfits, down to their black Nike sneakers. One by one, they drank poison, while the cult members who were still alive would drape a purple shroud over their body, until there was only one left.

The shame of this scandal was enough to completely ruin Brown and Calabrese’s integrity, and it was a sign that the CIA needed to give up looking to psychics for answers. The occasional prediction of an alien invasion wasn’t charming anymore. It was dangerous information for people who were mentally ill, and being connected to the military or government in any way gave it too much credibility for them to ignore. This was a sign to the U.S. government that if there actually was any evidence of alien life, it was best to keep silent, because there is no way to know how the public might react.

However, after the attacks in New York city on September 11th, 2001, the FBI went back to Brown and Calabrese for any potential information they could view of the location of the terrorists. They began to predict other attacks, but none of them ever came true, and they lost their credibility yet again. Prudence Calabrese became shunned, even in the remote viewing community, because she was seen as being very unprofessional, and giving them a bad name. Even to this day, people still believe in remote viewing, and Dr. Courtney Brown continues to give his predictions of the future on his YouTube channel.


Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

Project Stargate Declassified Documents. Central Intelligence Agency.

Project Sun Streak Briefing. Central Intelligence Agency.

Crazy Rulers of the World. Psychic Foot Soldiers. Channel 4 Documentary.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: A Skeptic’s Journey Into the CIA’s Project Stargate and Remote Viewing. John Herlosky. Body, Mind, and Spirit. 2015.

U.S. and Soviet Spooks Studied Paranormal Powers to Find a Cold War Advantage. Larry Greenemeier. Scientific American. 2008.

Fooling Professional Psychics. Darren Brown. 2016

Remote Viewing Documentary. Strange But True? 1993-1997

Remote Viewers: The Secret History of America’s Psychic Spies. Jim Schnabel. Random House Publishing. 2011.