Ingo Swann (In Memoriam)

Ingo Swann

Few of us get to be the originators of anything unique, much less something so revolutionary that it just might change the entire world. Yet that is the case with Ingo Douglas Swann, who passed away from the effects of a stroke on the 31st of January, 2013 at the age of 79. Ingo was born in Telluride, Colorado on September 14, 1933, and was both sensitive and intuitive almost from his first awareness. He experienced an out-of-body state at 2 years of age in which, though fully anesthetized during a tonsillectomy, he was able to observe and later report accurate details of the procedure. That event initiated an ongoing series of out-of-body and clairvoyant experiences that he quickly learned not to share with any but his maternal grandmother, who herself had a sensitivity for such things.

Ingo took his education at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah, earning a double degree in art and biology. He served a three-year enlistment in the US Army, much of it in Korea in an administrative position with the 8th Army. During this time he became bridge partner and friends with Madame Syngman Rhee, the Austrian-born wife of South Korea’s first president, and played an important behind-the-scenes role in preventing a major international incident, for which he received a letter of commendation.

Out of the Army and transplanted to New York City in the early 1960s to begin his art career, Ingo supported himself for 12 years as an employee in the Secretariat of the United Nations in various roles. While nurturing his fledgling art career, he made the acquaintance of many of the literati and intellectuals in New York social circles of the day, including people such as artist Andy Warhol, whose parties Ingo attended just a few blocks from his own residence in the Bowery.

Some of these connections led him to the world of experimental parapsychology which was enjoying a heyday in the Manhattan of the mid-to-late 1960s and early 1970s. Gertrude Schmeidler of the City College of New York, with whom Ingo worked on psychokinesis research, and Karlis Osis, of the American Society for Psychical Research, with whom he became involved in out-of-body perceptual work were two of the more prominently active parapsychologists at the time. In 1971 Ingo proposed a new parapsychology research protocol that involved participants in trying to “observe” locations or settings separated from them by either distance or shielding under fully-blind conditions. He named this protocol “remote viewing,” and it served as the kernel around which all of the discipline of remote viewing and its various aspects ultimately formed.

Cleve Backster, a leading pioneer in polygraph and “lie-detector” development was also engaged in the forward edge of consciousness research, and Ingo became affiliated with this researcher as well. The connection with Backster soon led to a defining moment in Ingo’s career. After coming across a communication sent to Backster by Dr. Harold E. “Hal” Puthoff proposing an experiment based on Backster’s “Primary Perception” theories, Ingo volunteered himself to participate in the research.

Puthoff invited Ingo to the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park, California. On June 6, 1972 the two of them performed a watershed experiment in the basement of the Varian Physics Building on the Stanford University campus. With no previous access to a large-scale magnetometer being used for fundamental physics research, Ingo was able to both mentally influence the output of the heavily-shielded device and to correctly clairvoyantly sketch the relationships of elements in the internal mechanism.

Word of this success eventually reached the Central Intelligence Agency’s Office of Technical Services, and Puthoff was shortly visited by representatives of the CIA, who further tested Ingo’s abilities and offered a preliminary $50,000 contract to explore both the psychokinesis (PK) and the new-found remote viewing phenomena. This was the beginning of a 23-year involvement of the US Government in remote viewing research and applications. In 1976 Ingo directly involved his good offices in recruiting nuclear physicist Ed May who would one day come to head the SRI effort.

Though other remote viewers were recruited and, where necessary, taught or trained, Ingo remained a central figure in the program, suggesting new research directions and participating in thousands of remote viewing trials, both research-oriented and for practical applications. Starting in the late 1970s and continuing through the first half of the following decade, Hal Puthoff and Ingo focused on isolating and identifying the underlying principles and, eventually, developing a system to convey to naive subjects the techniques and competencies of successful, well-experienced remote viewers.

This research ultimately culminated in what is known today as “controlled remote viewing” (CRV – originally called “coordinate remote viewing”). The process progresses through six “stages,” beginning from general mental contact with the target and subsequently guiding the viewer’s consciousness up through increasingly detailed target access. CRV proved successful in developing remote viewing capabilities in naive subjects, and in 1982 was first offered to the Army to further develop the military remote viewing program already underway.

Due to changes in Army politics, the SRI training contract was completed at the end of 1984, and never renewed. The military program officially moved on from the Army to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the end of January, 1986. The CRV methodology was used extensively and successfully during the following years of the program. Ingo continued to be associated and participate with SRI until 1989, when he declared his retirement from parapsychology research.

There followed two decades of fruitful writing and painting, where Ingo authored several popular books, articles, and content for his own comprehensive website, Ingo was a popular, sought-after speaker who, nonetheless limited his speaking engagements. The International Remote Viewing Association was fortunate to have him speak at three of its conferences, plus an additional one it co-sponsored with the Association for Research and Enlightenment in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

After his retirement, Ingo occasionally dipped his toe back briefly into active parapsychology research. He worked chiefly with Dr. Michael Persinger at Laurentian University in a set of fruitful experiments attempting to identify correlations between remote viewing functioning and brain activation.But mortality beckoned. Ingo overcame a bout with mouth cancer, and then in December 2003, he suffered a serious fall on the icy New York City streets, shattering his femur. Hospitalized for over two weeks, he was nursed through a long and difficult recovery process by his sister Murleen and his friend Bob Durant. But from that point on his health remained somewhat fragile, though he still engaged in discussions and occasional lectures, as well as appearances at several of the conferences of the International Remote Viewing Association, of which he was always the honored guest.

Appropriately, at the time of his passing Ingo was well along in organizing and producing a book of his marvelous artwork, a final legacy to bestow on the world. We have hopes that this book will eventually be made available for us all to appreciate and enjoy.

Now, just a few days after his passing, Ingo Swann is already sorely missed. Our planet is, indeed, emptier without him in it. But what he left behind will contribute to the developing of higher levels of human consciousness for many years to come – indeed, likely forever.

Paul H. Smith February 5, 2013  (Photo by: Dr. Elmar R. Gruber)