Russell Targ

russell targ

Russell Targ is a physicist and author, a pioneer in the development of the laser and laser applications, and a cofounder of the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) investigation of psychic abilities in the 1970s and 1980s. SRI is a research and development think tank in Menlo Park, California. Called remote viewing, his work in the psychic area has been published in Nature, The Proceedings of the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers (IEEE), and the Proceedings of the American Association the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Targ has a bachelor’s degree in physics from Queens College and did graduate work in physics at Columbia University. He has received two National Aeronautics and Space- Administration awards for inventions and contributions to lasers and laser communications. In 1983 and 1984 he accepted invitations to present remote-viewing demonstrations and to address the USSR Academy of Science on this research.

He is author or co-author of nine books dealing with the scientific investigation of psychic abilities and Buddhist approaches to the transformation of consciousness, including Mind Reach: Scientists Look at Psychic Ability (with E. Harold Puthoff, 1977, 2005); Miracles of Mind: Exploring Nonlocal Consciousness and Spiritual Healing (with Jane Katra, 1998); and Limitless Mind: A Guide to Remote Viewing and Transformation of Consciousness (2004). He also wrote an autobiography, Do You See What I See: Memoirs of a Blind Biker, in 2008. His current book is The Reality of ESP: A Physicist’s Proof of Psychic Abilities.

As a senior staff scientist at Lockheed Missiles and Space Company, Targ developed airborne laser systems for the detection of windshear and air turbulence. Having retired in 1997, he now writes books on psychic research and teaches remote viewing worldwide.


    IRVA 2022 - Synchronicities Surrounding SRI Remote Viewing Program

    IRVA 2020 – IRVA Founders Panel

    The International Remote Viewing Association was founded in March, 1999 by a group of some of the most influential figures from both the scientific and applications sides of the field. This panel discussion will be led by several of those early founders, discussing a range of topics – from the past, present, and future of remote viewing, to questions raised by our conference attendees. Truly a highlight of the 2020 conference!

    IRVA 2014 – Outbounder Workshop

    A slightly more complicated remote viewing protocol is called an “outbounder” or “beacon” experiment. In this workshop, led by Russell Targ, the remote viewer(s) will describe and sketch details of a randomly-selected physical location. The remote viewers will be in a closed room, have no knowledge of the target, and will use his or her mental faculties to perceive and describe the target location where one or more other persons (the beacon team) have gone. The idea is that the “beacons” help the remote viewer to “home in” on the intended target site.

    Someone not directly involved in the actual remote-viewing part of the experiment prepares four or more possible targets. The possible targets are geographical features, structures, etc. that can be reached within 30 minutes or less (including both drive + access time) from the location where the remote viewer is sequestered. The beacon team takes the selected target envelope. They proceed to their car, where -out of sight of the viewer and monitor- they open the envelope and follow directions to the target.

    The beacon team takes photographs and video of the location which they bring back after the experiment to provide visual feedback to the remote viewers.

    IRVA 2012 – The Reality of ESP: A Physicist’s Proof of Psychic Abilities

    Statistical proof is evidence so strong it would be logically or probabilistically unreasonable to deny it. If facts alone can convince a skeptical investigator of the reality of ESP, the data from remote viewing should do it. The SRI remote viewing program was begun forty years ago for the CIA and Army Intelligence. Viewers with the program, psychically found a downed Russian bomber in Africa, reported on the health of American hostages in Iran, described Soviet weapons factories in Siberia, and forecasted a Chinese atomic-bomb test three days before it occurred.

    When San Francisco heiress Patricia Hearst was abducted from her home in Berkeley, a psychic with our team was the first to identify the kidnapper and then accurately describe and locate the kidnap car. And after leaving SRI, my Delphi group made $120,000 by psychically forecasting for nine weeks in a row the direction and amount of changes in the silver commodity futures market – without error!

    The odds against chance in many of our experimental series was staggering – often approaching one-in-a-million. Take for example the 36 outdoor remote-viewing trials with six US army intelligence officers. Their overall statistical significance was 3 x 10-5 (odds of three in a hundred thousand). If the officers had been baseball players, the expected six first-place matches would equal a batting average of 166. But they achieved nineteen first-place matches – batting better than 500 – while the great Joe DiMaggio had a lifetime average of only 335! Such numbers, are what we mean by statistical proof – a miracle every second day.

    IRVA 2010 – Panel Member: The Remote Viewing Training Controversy: Does it work? Is it necessary? Is there evidence?

    Some members of the remote viewing community are surprised when they learn that IRVA’s directors and officers often have widely differing opinions about remote viewing and its practice. Of course, there is no reason why IRVA’s leadership should be any more uniform in its beliefs than are the leaders of other organizations of comparable size and interest. Indeed, much can be learned from differences of opinion, and it is often healthy to air these in a setting from which all may benefit. One such controversy is whether formal remote viewing training (as offered, for example, by Lyn Buchanan and Paul H. Smith of IRVA’s board) is really of any value or use. On the other side of the issue are two other IRVA board members, Stephan Schwartz and Russell Targ who both have argued that one can learn all one needs to know to do remote viewing in fifteen minutes. They question the value of long term training programs as offered by Smith, Buchanan, and others. Recently, both Targ and Schwartz have added to their argument. In his 2009 Remote Viewing Conference presentation Russell Targ took purveyors of remote viewing training to task for presenting what he sees as an overly complex methodology for which no evidence for success has been offered. Stephan Schwartz has expressed a similar complaint in various online postings. Together they suggest that a traditional double-blind judging approach should be used to either support or reject the claims by remote viewing instructors as to the success of their training approach. For this panel, both sides will come together to express and discuss their views, with audience participation encouraged for the final segment.

    IRVA 2009 – A Tribute to Hella Hammid: The First Woman Remote Viewer, Part 2

    Hella Hammid was a brilliant and cultivated woman, and a distinguished photographer for LIFE magazine and many other US and international publications. She was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1921, and lived most of her adult life in New York and Los Angeles. I met Hella in 1961, when she was actively involved in photographing children on the Upper West Side in New York City. In 1974 Hal Puthoff and I were then two years into our remote viewing program at SRI, and our sponsors from the CIA wanted us to find an inexperienced “control” subject to supplement Pat Price and Ingo Swann who were life-long practitioners of remote viewing. Hella, who had just moved to Los Angeles thought it would be very entertaining to be part of a government sponsored ESP program, and she promised us that she had no previous experience in that area. In her ten years with the program, she became our most reliable viewer. For example she did a perfect four-out-of-four series of precognitive remote viewings, with ten possible targets. This was included in our IEEE paper in 1976. She also took part in a now famous under-sea experiment with Stephan Schwartz, in which we were able to send coded messages into her submarine under 500 feet of water, five hundred miles away. She also took part in several of Stephan’s psychic archeology experiments in Egypt. Hella Died in 1992 in Los Angeles. She is much loved and greatly missed by all who knew her.

    IRVA 2009 – Panel Discussion: Remote Viewing and the Nature of Consciousness

    The nature of consciousness is a hot-button topic today. Psychologists, neuroscientists, philosophers, and other professionals continue to engage in an ongoing debate as to what consciousness means. In reality, we may never know. Is it a product of the biological and classical physical interactions of the human brain; or is it something more fundamental, perhaps electromagnetic, or the result of quantum physics principles that we don’t yet fully understand. Could it be something even more profound than that — something beyond the scope of science and physics, any kind of physics, for us to understand?

    Because consciousness seems to play a central role in remote viewing, and the underlying faculty that makes remote viewing work may be central to consciousness, this year’s conference committee invites panel members with differing views and expertise to address this question: Just what is the connection between remote viewing and consciousness, and what does it tells us about human nature?

    IRVA 2006 – Practical Applications of Psychic Abilities

    Russell Targ gives a Sunday morning conference sermon different from any you have ever heard! He marries remote viewing and the surprisingly modern-sounding teachings of Eastern mystics and philosophers to each other in a way that is not only educational but frankly life-changing. His common thread is the non-local awareness that resides in physical bodies – in each of us. He traces that thread from his work as a laser physicist at Lockheed, where he became aware of the destructive belief that who we are is what we do – that it is a mistake to build our self-identity merely on our job description. We are, in fact, far more than we could ever imagine if we limit ourselves to just what it says on our business card. Drawing on such diverse sources as Patanjali, the legendary Hindu yoga master from 2,000 years ago, Frederick Meyers from 19th Century psychical research, modern illumined teachers, Monty Python, and the consciousness research that Targ himself was a part of, he points us to the path that leads to a full realization of who each of us is, and what our real place is in the greater universe.

    IRVA 2004 – Why Bother with ESP?

    What do the healer, the mystic, the psychic, and the spy all have in common? They are all in touch with their non-local mind and our community of spirit. During the 1970’s and 80’s, Stanford Research Institute (SRI) carried out investigations of our ability to experience and describe distant events blocked from ordinary perception. This intuitive capacity was named remote viewing, and the research was supported by the CIA and many other government organizations for gathering intelligence about world-wide activities during the Cold War.

    Physicist Russell Targ, co-founder of this previously secret psychic research program, will present a summary of the very best evidence for extrasensory perception, intuitive diagnosis and spiritual healing. We will explore these applications, together with the spiritual implications of psychic abilities from the Hindu mystic Patanjali, and the Dzogchen dharma masters down to the present time, as they might be applied to expanding ones awareness. We will discuss how to recognize the actual psychic signal, and how to separate it from mental noise of memory, imagination, and analysis – and why should we bother with ESP? We can use these abilities to find your car keys, and parking spaces, and invest in the stock market. But, most importantly they lead to an understanding of who we are.

    The scientific and spiritual implications of psychic abilities illuminate our observation that we live in a profoundly interconnected world in which separation is an illusion. This surprising coherence between distant entities is called nonlocality. In writing on the philosophical implications of nonlocality, physicist Henry Stapp of the University of California at Berkeley says these quantum connections could be the “most profound discovery in all of science.”

    IRVA 2002 – The Real “Real X-Files”: Remote viewing at Stanford Research Institute

    In 1973, Hal Puthoff and Russell paid a visit to the director of Intelligence, at the Central Intelligence agency. We will discuss, how it came to pass that two nice laser physicists from Silicon Valley were successful in convincing the CIA to support research in extrasensory perception. We did not particularly wish to become psychic spies for the CIA, but as scientists observing a world-wide Cold War, we were strongly in favor of “intelligence,” as compared with ignorance, in possibly avoiding a hot war. At Stanford Research Institute (SRI), in 1972, New York artist, and psychic, Ingo Swann taught us how to experience remote viewing in the laboratory. The following year, retired police commissioner, Pat Price showed us how to do this with great reliability and accuracy. With these data, and the education provided by Pat and Ingo, we were able to initiate a twenty-million dollar program in research and applications of remote viewing that lasted more than twenty years – a paranormal feat in itself.

    IRVA 2001 – Why I Teach Remote Viewing

    Since ancient times spiritual teachers have described paths and practices that a person could follow to achieve health, happiness, and peace of mind. A considerable body of recent research indicates that any kind of spiritual practice is likely to improve ones prognosis for recovering from a serious illness. Many of these approaches to spirituality involve learning to quiet the mind, rather than adhering to a prescribed religious belief. These meditative practices are inherent aspects of Buddhism, Hinduism, mystical Christianity, Kabalistic Judaism, Sufism, and other mystic paths. What is indicated in the subtext of these teachings is that as one learns to quiet his or her mind, one is likely to encounter psychic-like experiences or perceptions. For example, in The Sutras of Patanjali, the Hindu master tells us that on the way to transcendence we may experience many kinds of amazing visions, such as the ability to see into the distance, or into the future; and to diagnose illnesses, and also to cure them. However, we are admonished not to become attached to these abilities – that they are mere phenomena standing as stumbling blocks on the path to enlightenment. In this paper, I will describe my recent experience in teaching remote viewing at three workshops in Italy, in which we emphasize expanded awareness of who we are, rather than an ability to find car keys and parking spaces. Our spiritual approach, did not interfere with all three of these groups demonstrating highly significant remote viewing in a double-blind setting.

    IRVA 2000 – A Conversation With Russell Targ