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Darren and Graham, of the Grimerica podcast, were very cool about helping promote my blog about checking out the 2015 International Remote Viewing Association conference.  They gave me a couple mentions on Twitter, linked to my posts on their Facebook page and, at the 24:00 on this podcast, mention my blog and give a link.  They'll also be hosting the posts at their site, www.grimerica.com


The Grimerica Show : #124 - Grimerica Talks The Truth about Nuclear Energy with 'Atomic' Rod Adams

Posted by Grimerica on Friday, July 3, 2015
Wednesday, 01 July 2015 02:34

On a Clear Day, Part 7: Into the Principalities

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In my limited experience, Saturday nights on Bourbon Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter are one of the more miserable experiences available to vacationers: herds of drunken conventioneers, Midwestern tourists and college kids testing out the alcoholic version of training wheels shuffle past bored-looking women in bikinis who half-heartedly try to entice them into whatever dank boozer they happen to work for. Over everything wafts a stink cloud made of equal parts vomit, urine, and garbage. If hell has an abattoir for the souls it has tortured past their capacity to feel pain, it smells like Bourbon Street.

After having spent Saturday in various workshops and presentations at the IRVA conference, I was more or less done with sitting but still too wound up to go to bed, so I decided to spend some time drifting around the French Quarter. For whatever reason, I always end up, over and over, in places I dislike – the desert, Las Vegas, Wal-Mart – so it wasn’t with any great surprise that I found myself leaning on the bar in some hideous, Tiki-themed spot on Bourbon Street nursing a Bloody Mary and watch two good-looking blondes in their early 30s fend off horny idiots.

The first suitor I saw try his hand was a refrigerator-shaped Italian man in his late 40s who redefined the word handsy but made up for it buying the pair drinks. Blonde 1 and Blonde 2 played along good-naturedly with the behemoth, who had that ingratiating sense of jovial entitlement common to Italian men whose mothers never slapped them enough, until he laid one of his meaty claws on Blonde 2’s cellphone; I heard something about wanting to show her a “hilarious” YouTube video.

“You’re being rude!” she shouted in his face. “Please leave.”

Anger flashed in the Italian’s eyes, followed quickly by the hurt look of a little boy who doesn’t understand why mama’s no longer laughing. He puffed out his chest and kept moving. When I looked over a few minutes later the band had started playing “All of My Exes Live in Texas” and the two women had caught the attention of a pair of hipsters. After surviving the ten-foot-tall octopus, brushing off two tattooed skinnyboys was like swatting slow, unimaginative flies. Sensing my entertainment was at an end, I exited the bar and started walking towards the edge of the quarter to catch a cab home. It was behind Jackson Square, where, at night, the palm and tarot readers set up their candles and little aluminum tables so they can look into the futures of curious tourists, that I met Gregory.

Gregory is one of the artists who sell their wares outside the square during the day, and though the other artists had long gone home, he was only just now packing up. One of his pictures – a paint-splatter depiction of the crucifixion scene – caught my eye and I stopped to take a closer look. Gregory is medium height, black, his skin stretched tight over his body.  He walked up behind me as I looked at the picture and I expected the end-of-day hard sell.  To say I was wrong doesn't quite cover it.

“You like it?” he asked.

“I do. There’s something about it that really grabs me,” I said. “I don’t know art and I’m a lousy Catholic but I sure like this.”

He cocked his head and smiled.

“You a Catholic? Me too, man. Well, I try to be. I struggle sometimes, you know?”

I nodded my head.

He went on:

“I know I’m blessed, I know it, but it’s hard to know why and stay worthy of it, you know?”

I kept nodding, which seems to be the safest bet in these situations.

“You know how I know I’m blessed?” he said.  “Because Jesus, he appeared to me. This picture you’re looking at? I paint these because Jesus appeared to me one night and let me examine him. Yes he did!”

I hear things like this more than you might imagine.

“How did he appear to you?” I asked. “In a dream?”

“No, no – no dream,” said Gregory. “It was in a cabin in the woods. I was staying there with friends and early one morning, I woke up and Jesus was standing there. My friends, they were still sleeping but I was awake and there he was. I asked if I could paint him, and he said I could, and I asked if I could examine him, and he said I could. I said, ‘turn to the side now, Jesus’ and he did – chunk! Then I said, turn to the other side, and he did – chunk! He did that for a long time, letting me see him from all different angles.”

As he spoke, Gregory grew more excited – his eyes were wide and his nostrils would flare.

“What did Jesus look like? I asked, genuinely curious. I wanted to know if Gregory’s vision was of the bulk standard “beatific white guy” variety.

“He was dark! And rough, like a wild man! He looked like….he was….” Gregory trailed off for a moment, before suddenly snapping his fingers.

“One time I was climbing a ravine, and at the very top I looked over and there was an elk looking right at me. He was huge, and wild. Majestic! Jesus looked like that. Wild, and dark, and majestic, like some kind of animal. And after I had examined him, I felt my spirit flying out of my body across the field outside the cabin and down the hill. Down there, through the trees, I saw what looked like Roman soldiers, or maybe mercenaries – they was dressed in leather armor, like, and had spears. They was dragging mules behind them. They was coming for Jesus, so I went back to warn him, but he knew already. ‘Don’t you worry about me’ he said. Then he disappeared and my spirit slammed back into my body.”

Regardless of whether you believe it or not, there’s only one polite response to a story like that.

“That’s amazing!” I said, not realizing we weren’t quite done.

Gregory nodded vigorously.

“Mmmmmhmmm,” he said.   “That’s how I know I’m blessed. But because I’m blessed, the devil, he tried to destroy me. One night as I was laying in bed, I heard the devil say to God – ‘You love him, you blessed him, well now it is my right to test him. To see if he is worthy.’ And God said, ‘You may test him, but you may not break him, and if he calls to me then I will come.’ So the devil, he RIPPED my spirit from my body and I felt myself flying across the universe. The place where I landed, it was all blue, this dark blue as far as you could see.”

By now Gregory had worked himself up into a state; the muscles in his neck stood out like cords and his hands waved wildly has he made his points.

“I didn’t understand what was going on…it almost looked like I was standing on water but I stomped my feet and it was solid. Then these…things started to bubble up out of the ground. It looked like a shoulder, then it was a head and breasts and then a whole woman, all blue. She was gorgeous. And then more women came from the ground, and men too, all perfect but empty inside. I realized the devil, he was testing me – he knew that I struggled with the carnal and this is how he was testing me. I tried to resist but I wanted them so bad. They were touching on men, trying to get me to give up, to do what I wanted to them. My legs were shaking.”

Gregory started knocking his knees in demonstration.

“They was just a-knocking. I was almost lost but then I called out, ‘God! God I am weak. Please help me! Then – BOOM! This big light came on above me, like a spotlight, and I heard a voice saying, ‘You knew you were not strong enough and you called on me. You have passed this test but there will be others.’ Then my spirit slammed back into my body and I woke up. Never got back to sleep again that night.”

As quickly has he had gotten worked up, Gregory calmed back down, which seemed to placate the tarot readers whose work had been disturbed by his performance.

“Now you tell me a story about you. Something I don’t know.”

That seemed fair, and though I’m not half the showman he is, I told Gregory how I came to be in New Orleans for a conference about people who have the ability to project their minds across time and space. I told him about my book, about the strange things that had happened to me since beginning work on it, and finally about the shadow people whose appearances forever changed the way I saw the world. He nodded the whole time, absentmindedly stroking his chin, and when I was done he put his hands on his narrow hips.

“Huh…I had heard of those but never seen them myself. You and me are alike, you know? Most people just live in the world, but people like you and me, we can’t help but push past it into the dark places. I call them the principalities. That’s where the angels and the demons and the rest of them move. We move through the principalities and sometimes it’s ok, and other times the things there see us and reach out. You best take care of yourself out there. The principalities are nothing to fool with.”

We never did get around to talking about the prices of his art.

As I walked to my cab, I found myself thinking about the word principalities and wondering why it sounded familiar.  By the time I got back to my apartment I had found it - a quote from Ephesians.  The word principalities appears a number of times in the Bible, but this particular passage - Ephesians 6:12 - was what Gregory's mention of the word had jarred loose:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places

I won't pretend to understand fully what it's getting at, but the rulers of the darkness of this world would figure heavily into a conversation I had the next day, about the neglected spiritual dimension of remote viewing.

Check back soon for the final installment of "On a Clear Day"


On a Clear Day:  New Orleans and the 2015 IRVA Conference

Part 1:  Traveling
Part 2:  Missing
Part 3:  Opening Remarks
Part 4: For Beginners
Part 5:  Remote Viewing and Missing Persons
Part 6:  Rubble
Part 7:  The Principalities

Sunday, 28 June 2015 15:13

On a Clear Day, Part 6: Rubble

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One question which occurred to me as I read John Herlosky’s “A Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, with its accounts of remote viewing from one end of the world to another (and sometimes beyond), was, “What is the practical application of all this?” In an earlier article I expressed my doubts about shelling out for RV training and a large part of that was because there didn’t seem to be to any use for the newfound skill aside from maybe peeping on strangers in the shower and becoming a remote viewing trainer.

On Saturday, thanks to Pam Coronado’s presentation, “Remote Viewing and Missing Persons” and Noreen Reiner’s “Think You’re Not a Remote Viewer? Think Again” I learned that one real world use of remote viewing is in the assistance of law enforcement. On Sunday, Angela T. Smith’s “Remote Viewing in Humanitarian Aid Work” provided another answer. A Manchester, England native who emigrated to the USA in 1981, Angela Smith has been exploring psi research since the late 1970s and was a founding member of IRVA in 1999

Smith told the story of Walter Ratterman, an electrical engineer and humanitarian aid worker with a Master’s in electrical science and engineering for renewable energy technology from Australia’s Murdoch University. Ratterman, who specialized in bringing renewable energy to the developing world, was working in Port-au-Prince, Haiti when,, that country was rocked by the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010. The 7.0 magnitude quake is estimated to have killed some 160,000 people and left scars on the Haitian way of life which remain to this day.

Unable to re-establish contact with her husband following the earthquake, Jeanne Ratterman, who had trained under famous remote viewer David Morehouse, turned to former classmate Linda Rodkey. Rodkey, a master remote viewer based out of Massachusetts, in turn contacted Morehouse for assistance and was put in touch with Don Hopkins of the Nevada Remote Viewing Group. Hopkins immediately enlisted the help of Smith, who founded the NRVG in 2002.

“Time is of the essence,” said Hopkins. “We don’t know if he’s dead or alive. We don’t know where he is. All we know the last place he was seen was the Hotel Montana.”

Prior to the earthquake, Hotel Montana was a lovely, oasis-like art deco hotel with panoramic views of Petionville and Port-au-Prince bay. After the earthquake it looked like it had caught the attention of an angry , baseball-bat wielding giant; what hadn’t been reduced to rubble was filled with it and the chances of finding anyone in such a state of destruction seemed exceedingly slim.
Before handing the assignment out to what she calls her “emergency firefighting squad” of crisis remote viewers, Smith conducted her own ERV sessions, directed by Hopkins via email.

Once in session, Smith locked on to the target and immediately became aware of what appeared to be three large bullseyes on the hotel grounds, which she attributed to analytical overlay; AO is the phenomenon by which the remote viewer’s conscious mind tries to make sense of input data instead of recording it as-is, often resulting in incorrect conclusions. Using these bullseyes as anchor points, Smith began to explore the ruined hotel and surrounding area, eventually locating Ratterman and another man at the bottom of a flight of stairs. Reporting back to Hopkins, Smith said Ratterman was pale and did not appear to be breathing.

“We try to never use the word ‘dead’,” said Smith. “But you report what you see.”

After her session, Hopkins sent her an aerial photo of the Montana Hotel site, complete with three helicopter pads styled as bullseyes. It turned our that her “analytical overlay”, wasn’t.

On February 6, 2010, the remote viewing team began exploring the ruins of the Montana. Despite it being more than two weeks since the disaster struck, Ratterman’s family held out hope for his survival; a young Haitian girl had recently been rescued from under tons of rubble, so it was not impossible Ratterman was in a similar situation, alive but trapped.

Using a combination of methods including ERV and dowinsg, the group scoured the hotel’s grounds for Ratterman, passing their data back to Hopkins, Smith and Rodkey. A majority of the viewers pointed to the courtyard, saying Ratterman was either there or close by and that information was then relayed to Knightsbridge International, a US-based NGO who was on the ground in Haiti helping with search efforts.

On February 7, 2010, the Ratterman family was informed that Walt’s body, along with that of his coworker Herb Kanski, had been recovered from the hotel’s courtyard coffee shop. Searchers believe Kanski had dragged Ratterman from the bottom of a nearby stairwell before succumbing to his own injuries.

Though they were not able to save Walt Ratterman, the remote viewing search and rescue team who helped recover his remains made an enormous impact on the Ratterman family. At the 2012 IRVA conference, Smith was approached by a woman she didn’t know who asked whether she would be speaking on the subject of Haiti.

“Why do you ask?” asked Smith.

“Because I’m Walt Ratterman’s widow,” replied the woman. “And I’ve come to thank your group personally.”


On a Clear Day:  New Orleans and the 2015 IRVA Conference

Part 1:  Traveling
Part 2:  Missing
Part 3:  Opening Remarks
Part 4: For Beginners
Part 5:  Remote Viewing and Missing Persons
Part 6:  Rubble
Part 7: The Principalities

Technical difficulties, that great modern plague which afflicts all gatherings of people involving any technology more complex than a conch shell, delayed the Saturday morning start of IRVA president Pam Coronado’s presentation just long enough for me to arrive on time. Others were drifting in around the same time, many of whom I recalled seeing at the previous night’s masquerade party and all of whom seemed to have the same opinion of an 8:30 start as I did. In keeping with the theme of my time in New Orleans, Coronado was here to talk about missing people.

Coronado came to psychic investigation in 1996 when she dreamed the location of a local missing woman; since then she’s gone on to assist law enforcement in a number of high profile missing persons, fugitive, and human trafficking cases. In her presentation “Remote Viewing and Missing Persons”, Coronado expanded on the process she has used in some of these cases.

One of Coronado’s opening points – remote viewing has limits - was also one of the most interesting for me. So often, authorities on the subject of remote viewing talk about its vast reach and scope – for example, in a talk to MUFON Los Angeles Joe McMoneagle spoke about seeing a temple on Mars in the year 1,000,000 BC – but rarely its limitations.

According to Coronado, the limitations of remote viewing are in specifics; for example, arriving at a particular location but being unable to identify the streets, town or state without a great deal of supporting information. During the Q&A period later, someone asked about reading street signs and the crowd laughed, so I took it that reading during remote viewing is not possible. A conversation I had later corrected that notion – despite what many believe, it is possible, but not common. Fascinating that even the remote viewing community has its skeptics

Coronado also said that targets in the deep woods or ocean are extraordinarily difficult to pinpoint because there’s no specific location marker to grab onto; the ocean is so difficult she routinely refuses cases where a body is lost at sea. Talk of limitations was kept short, however, as Coronado went on to say that she was working on a new system, the specifics of which she can not yet discuss, which would eventually overcome them.

Of the five different methods of remote viewing described by Nancy Jeane on Friday, Coronado identified CRV – controlled remote viewing – as her preferred method since it allows a viewer to stay in a targeting session as long as their patience and concentration allows; Coronado will typically stay in session until she can get her bearings, usually by locating something manmade.

Hearing the process through which she explores a location was fascinating, as it describes something to which I have no clear analogue. First, says Coronado, you anchor yourself to the location of the thing you’re seeking – usually a dead body – and resist your subconscious’ urge to protect you by taking you somewhere more pleasant. The subconscious, says Coronado, may also try to drift to somewhere more interesting – for example, if your target is in a large field near a barn, you may end up at the barn simply because it stands out. Once you've surmounted these problems and found your way to the target, the first order of business is describe the surface beneath you.

“You’re gonna get soil,” says Coronado. “So if it’s red clay, say red clay. It may not be everywhere and that detail could be important. So stamp your feet, feel the ground. It can be tedious, but incredibly helpful.”

Once anchored, you begin exploring the surrounding area, 50 to 100 feet at a time, depending on the situation. Apparently this even extends underwater, which can confuse remote viewers who don’t always realize where they are and confuse the sea bed for sand dunes in the desert.

Coronado joked that law enforcement like to needle her by saying, “Let me guess – it’s near a body of water” but said that locating the nearest water can be a good way to establish location. What’s important, she said, is to determine what kind of water you’re looking at – be it a river, stream, lake, and so on. From there, she said, you move on to manmade structures and finally, sketching; onscreen appeared a series of crude sketches.

“This is why I didn’t do the sketching workshop yesterday,” Coronado said with a laugh.

With sketching, you attempt to tease out the specific shapes and configurations obtained during the remote viewing session.

“The shape of a lake, for example,” said Coronado. “Can be extremely important in trying to narrow down a location.”

Pointing to a blank spot on the page, she explained that even empty space on a sketch can be useful.

“Sometimes,” she said, “you can touch pen to paper and ask for more info. Sometimes a blank space is just a question waiting to be asked.”


On a Clear Day:  New Orleans and the 2015 IRVA Conference

Part 1:  Traveling
Part 2:  Missing
Part 3:  Opening Remarks
Part 4: For Beginners
Part 5:  Remote Viewing and Missing Persons
Part 6:  Rubble
Part 7: The Principalities



Friday, 26 June 2015 17:17

On a Clear Day, Part 4: For Beginners

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After a brief coffee break, the conference began in full with a presentation by Nancy C. Jeane.  Fittingly, Jeane's presentation was meant as a kind of primer on the world of Remote Viewing.  To start, Jeane, a former schoolteacher and current Remote Viewing instructor who learned her trade under RV luminaries like David Morehouse, Lyn Buchanan, and Joe McMoneagle, broke down the five different kinds of remote viewing, which I do not completely comprehend but will reproduce here from information in her handout:

  •  ERV, or Extended Remote Viewing, which typically involves the viewer themselves, and a monitor who guides the viewer through what they’re experiencing and helps record results

  • CRV, or Controlled Remote Viewing, the goal of which is to facilitate the transfer of information from the viewer’s subconscious across the threshold of awareness into waking consciousness.  From there it is “decoded” info a form the viewer can express.  This is a more structured format than ERV, with an established set of protocols. 
    • The handout provides six stages of CRV, which are as follows:
      1. Major Gestalt (determining whether you're looking at land, water, a structure, etc.)
      2. Sensory Data (taste, touch, smell, etc.)
      3. Dimensional characteristics (depth, high, textures - sketching usually begins here)
      4. Qualitative/intangible data (feelings about the target)
      5. Interrogative (in which you work with the prior data to produce refined results)
      6. Modeling (drawing the data together into a cohesive picture)

  • HVRG, or Hawaiian Remote Viewing Guild.  Co-founded by retired US Army Sergeant First-Class Glenn B. Wheaton, integrate Neuro-Linguistic Programming with the US Army intelligence protocol SALUTE (size, activity, location, unit, time, equipment, remarks).  While structured, HVRG allows the viewer to transition from an alert mental Beta wave collection state to a more relaxed, experiential Theta wave extended remote viewing state.

  • GRV, or Generic Remote Viewing.  No succinct description of this method is given but Joe McMoneagle, a remote viewer who had been with the various iterations of project StarGate from 1978 to its closing in 1995, is described as falling into this category.  The handout also describes McMoneagle as "one of a kind...one of the best remote viewers", so presumably being referred to as generic isn't all bad news.  This method of RV was apparently used for some of the government program's first targets.

  • Out-Bounder Remote Viewing.  In OBRV, a person called the beacon was sent out to an unknown location and the viewer would be tasked to determine the location and describe it.

From here Jeane moved on to training, and provided a list of trainers who teach remote viewing to newcomers.  Training is the part I find interesting, because it is the corner of this world which most clearly pings as a potential area of concern to me and a number of conversations I've had during the course of the day have confirmed there are wildly varying opinions in the world of RV as to how much training is truly required.  In John Herlosky's book "A Sorcerer's Apprentice:  A Skeptic's Journey Into the CIA's Project Star Gate", the author describes receiving a thousand of hours of instruction from former Star Gate member David Morehouse; a process which I can only imagine cost many thousands of dollars given that most RV courses start at around $1000.  It is not that I believe Morehouse's teachings have no value - aside from the fact there are varied opinions about the man in the RV community, I know nothing about him - but I am suspicious of any enterprise, be it educational or otherwise, which requires turning over the equivalent of a month's rent.

Though Jeane seems to believe training is important, she places a high value on simple practice, as seen in this text from her handout:

If your goal is to consistently view an unknown photograph with accuracy, it does not take long at all.  A short instructional period usually under associative remote viewing training and you will be able to view a simple target with consistency.  There are lots of applications for this ARV skill.  This is a good and worthy use of remote viewing.

"But," Jeane cautioned, "this is not all RV does."

If your goal is to consistently and proficiently remote view any in-depth target from missing person, archaeology sites, military special ops, etc, then some serious time, effort, devotion, training, and most importantly, "practice" will be required.

According to Jeane this is not unusual and it can be baffling when neophytes approach the field expecting to be able to excel right out of the box.

"Were you able to do high level math equations when you popped out?" she asked, smiling.  "No.  Training is required."

Jeane closed out her presentation with a brief remote viewing exercise, giving the audience a set of random coordinates and 4-5 minutes to record their impressions of what they thought the location might be.  This author managed to fail spectacularly in capturing, through sketch or written details, any part of the location, revealed to be Snoopy Rock near Sedona, Arizona.  Some of my neighbors, however, were much more successful and I took great pains to hide my worksheet from them, while congratulating their efforts out loud and cursing them under my breath. 

According to Jeane, "experience is the best teacher", so maybe there's hope for me yet.  That said, I still can't do high level math equations either, so maybe I shouldn't hold my breath.

To learn more about Nancy C. Jeane, check out her personal site at www.NancyCJeane.wordpress.com

On a Clear Day:  New Orleans and the 2015 IRVA Conference

Part 1:  Traveling
Part 2:  Missing
Part 3:  Opening Remarks
Part 4: For Beginners
Part 5:  Remote Viewing and Missing Persons
Part 6:  Rubble
Part 7: The Principalities


Friday, 26 June 2015 16:27

On a Clear Day, Part 3: Opening Remarks

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The 2015 International Remote Viewing Association conference, their first in New Orleans after more than decade in Las Vegas, opened this morning with remarks by Master of Ceremonies Bill Wray. Standing at the front of the room in his black suit, Wray, a tall, slender 38-year veteran of US Army Intelligence and member of the Remote Viewing project Star Gate from 1984 to 1987, cut an imposing figure but quickly put his audience at ease with a jab about his ability to use a cellphone.

“In the army they called me Mr. Screwdriver the same way you call a bald man Curly,” said Wray. “You could say I’m technologically challenged.”

After asking people to turn off their mobile devices – a request punctuated by a ringing phone, no less – Wray introduced the audience to the new format, which would involve hour-long presentations followed by a brief Q&A period.

Wray was followed by the State of the Union address from IRVA president Pam Coronado, who led off by saying she would explain why the conference had changed locales; “make it good”, said one sotto voce whisper. Coronado, who also happens to be the association’s first female president, explained that the history, people, architecture, food and traditions of New Orleans made the city a great fit for IRVA, and that it was hoped a more easterly location would allow more of their membership to attend. Also announced was the live webcast, which, it was hoped, would open up the proceedings to IRVA members who still could not make the journey.  

Addressing newcomers in the crowd, a group which obviously includes myself, Coronado said that, “Sometimes remote viewing sneaks up on you. It challenges you emotionally and mentally, gets ahold of your heart and changes your life from the inside out.” Coronado, a psychic detective who assists law enforcement with missing persons cases, among other things, spoke about her desire to see remote viewing become a more respected field, where viewers are trained, hired, and paid like any other professional.

“I would like to see remote viewing used more in crime work,” said Coronado. “Specifically in missing persons cases, hostage recovery and human trafficking.”

She acknowledged that it was an uphill battle but expressed hope for remote viewing’s upward progress in the ranks of acknowledged professional fields.

“It is my hope that noise from the fringe doesn’t drown out good scientific research,” said Coronado. “We don’t have all the answers [but[ the more we seek to understand, the better we can fine-tune this tool.”

Following Coronado’s remarks there was a brief break, followed by a presentation from Nancy C. Jeane, which will be in my next update.



Pam Coronado talking to Russell Targ


On a Clear Day:  New Orleans and the 2015 IRVA Conference

Part 1:  Traveling
Part 2:  Missing
Part 3:  Opening Remarks
Part 4: For Beginners
Part 5:  Remote Viewing and Missing Persons
Part 6:  Rubble
Part 7: The Principalities



Thursday, 25 June 2015 14:41

On a Clear Day, Part 2: Missing

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The first time I came to New Orleans was in 2008 via Amtrak's "City of New Orleans" service from Chicago, and during the cab ride to my hotel in the French Quarter I remember thinking, "This seems like the kind of place where you can find just about anything, so long as you don't mind running the risk of not seeing morning." That was later confirmed by a bartender who told me about the four dismayed tourists, all in their early 20s, who had come into the bar that morning asking after for their missing friend. Looking to buy a little weed the night before, their friend had gotten into a stranger's car and never come back; judging by the look on the bartender's face as she told me the story, they never would.

This time around I flew into the Crescent City but as American Airlines flight 2376 descended into storm clouds the color of rotten snow, shaking like Hell's own rollercoaster, never getting back home still seemed like a real possibility. Once we were on the ground, the elderly French woman next to me unclenched her fists, shook out her hair and brushed herself with perfume; the idea being, I think, that if we weren't going to die then we may as well live.

Eight years since my first (and last) visit but the humidity was the same as I remembered - the air clung to you like grease vapor in a busy kitchen. The first taxi driver in the queue stared at me blankly when I gave her the address of my rented room and no matter how I tried to pronounce "Dorgenois", we got no further. Thankfully, the next driver knew the city and we were soon on the way.

North Dorgenois is in Treme, one of New Orlean's oldest neighborhoods. Back in 2000 the census put its population around 8800 but post-Katrina that's been more than halved and it's not hard to notice; even at 9pm the main streets were quiet and side streets were ghost towns. Street lamps seemed to highlight rather than dispel the dark empty spaces between houses.

“Do you know the neighborhood?” Asked my cab driver, a Pakistani immigrant who’d been living in the city for several years.

“I don’t,” I replied. “Anything I should know?”

“Not really,” he said. “Don’t walk any distance by yourself at night, but I’m sure you know that.”

That sentiment was echoed by Michael, the retired schoolteacher and current Uber driver who took me to the French Quarter. Michael had taught at the nearby John McDonough School before transferring to the now-shuttered J.F. Kennedy High School on Bayou St. John. According to Michael, he could quite easily live on his teacher’s pension but he gets restless and Uber lets him meet a variety of people

“I grew up here, taught school here for thirty years,” he said. “It’s a good city, but like anywhere, we got knuckleheads. You go too far by yourself and those knuckleheads are going to make trouble for you. That’s just the way it is.”

At first, knuckleheads seemed too light a term for the kind of people who will disappear you in the night but maybe that was intentional. Start thinking too hard about a name for the kind of people who will do that and you start thinking too hard about how easy it is for them to do it; think too hard about that and every time the sun goes down, the city you live in starts looking less like a city and more like a jungle.

Sitting at a diner counter waiting on my late dinner, I killed time by scanning the news. The knuckleheads had been busy - Mohammad Alghannam, a Saudi student who had been living in San Antonio while attending UTSA, had gone missing while visiting New Orleans on March 28. The night of the 27th his uncle had dropped him at the Extended Stay Suites on I-10 South, and all communications from the young man ceased less than 24 hours later. There had been a number of theories as to where he’d gone – abduction, an attempt to flee his family and pursue his own interests - but two months on and Alghannam was still missing. I thought back to 2008 and the look on that bartender’s face.

Just then one of the other diners placed their order and the waiter, a chubby white guy in his late 20s shouted out to the kitchen, “We need a chocolate shake” and another waiter, a sinewy black kid with long, thin dreadlocks came out of the back shimmying his hips.

“How’s this?”  Everyone cracked up.

After the laughter died down I asked the chubby kid what kind of pie they had.

“Nothing I’d recommend,” he said.

I must have given him an odd look because he leaned in and said, “Trust me. I’m looking out for you.”

In a place like this, that can only be a good thing.

Keep checking back for updates as the IRVA conference comes closer


On a Clear Day:  New Orleans and the 2015 IRVA Conference

Part 1:  Traveling
Part 2:  Missing
Part 3:  Opening Remarks
Part 4: For Beginners
Part 5:  Remote Viewing and Missing Persons
Part 6:  Rubble
Part 7: The Principalities




It's been fourteen merciful years since I've been a student and yet every early morning alarm still feels like the first day of school. Exactly how early that alarm comes and why determines which year of school the morning resembles, placing today's 3am wakeup ahead of a 6am flight somewhere between "year I realized exactly how much I talk" and "first day of high school." The reason I'm taking the flight - I'm on my way to the 2015 IRVA (International Remote Viewing Association - more on that later) Conference down in New Orleans - saved the day from sliding into "First day of Grade 12/realizing I have no plans for the future" territory.

The conference, which runs from Friday, June 26 to Sunday, the 28th at the Hyatt French Quarter, popped up on my radar at the beginning of the month when I heard author John Herlosky being interviewed on the podcast Grimerica. Herlosky had written "A Sorcerer's Apprentice: A Skeptic's Journey into the CIA's Project Star Gate", about his experiences taking remote viewing classes under former Star Gate member David Morehouse. Herlosky's descriptions of the classes, along with the sights he had allegedly seen, captured my interest and when he offhandedly mentioned last year's IRVA conference, I was immediately curious as to whether it was an annual event; a little research told me it was and that this year it's being held in New Orleans, a city I've been looking to re-visit after a brief stopover some years ago.

Three weeks and some poor financial decisions later, I'm standing in SeaTac airport, sweating and waiting for my discount American Airlines ticket to bounce me to Dallas before touching down in the Big Easy somewhere around 8pm local time.

The quick explanation of Remote Viewing is this: using psychic abilities to see faraway places. The longer version, while not sounding any less unlikely, gives the whole thing a little more context.

Back in the late 1960s, the United States got wind that the Soviet Union was investigating paranormal phenomenon as a possible means of warfare; according to Lyn Buchanan, an former member of the American remote viewing program, the Soviets had gotten even further than that, seeming to pick certain US military secrets right out of the air. Either way, in 1972 Dr. Hal Puthoff, of Stanford Research Institute, communicated to the CIA the results of some experiments they had been conducting. Those experiments, called "remote viewing", involved a small group of psychically gifted test subjects using a series of protocols to mentally "see" faraway places, and hooked the CIA enough they awarded a $50,000 exploratory contract to SRI.

A 1973 study done by the RAND Corporation comparing the state of US and Soviet investigations into the paranormal concluded that the Soviets, whose methods involved trying to work seemingly supernatural events into a scientific framework, were far more likely to succeed than the Americans, who insisted on classifying all such phenomenon as psychological aberrations. The report suggests unease at the implications of such phenomenon might eventually cause governments on both sides of the Cold War divide to drag their heels on paranormal research and this would turn out to prophetic - Joe McMoneagle, who retired from the remote viewing program into the private sector in 1984, claims to have been told at various subcommittee hearings, that he was practicing witchcraft and for this would burn in hell.

The program, which would go through various name changes and military homes (CIA to Air Force to Army to DIA back to CIA) was eventually canceled by the CIA in 1996 after the agency commissioned a study which concluded the program - then unfortunately named "Star Gate" - had never produced statistically significant results and was thus not a credible source of intelligence. Critics of this report claim the CIA only allowed the investigating body access to 3% of the program's total operational output, essentially "cooking the books" and canceling the program on false grounds. To those who supported remote viewing as a scientifically sound arm of the intelligence apparatus, the CIA's decision had nothing to do with operational efficacy and everything to do with the religious wingnuts in Washington finally getting their way.

Regardless of the government's opinion on the subject, remote viewing is alive and well in the private sector, apparently used for the purposes of search and rescue and lord knows what else. Given that the conference cost me $435 for three days, there's presumably money in it. Or maybe the money's in holding conferences about it.

Either way, I know remote viewing works, because I've done it. Only once, but I've done it. That, however, is a story for another time.

Keep checking back here for updates throughout the week.


On a Clear Day:  New Orleans and the 2015 IRVA Conference

Part 1:  Traveling
Part 2:  Missing
Part 3:  Opening Remarks
Part 4: For Beginners
Part 5:  Remote Viewing and Missing Persons
Part 6:  Rubble
Part 7: The Principalities

Before I had an interest in the high strangeness which has come to define a lot of my reading and writing habits, podcasts held very little interest for me; back in 2012, the only one I subscribed to was Dan Savage's Seattle-based sex advice show "The Savage Lovecast."  I still subscribe to the Lovecast and three years later have mostly learned 2 things - that other people lead complicated lives and that I am extraordinarily happy to be out of the dating pool.

Once I started working on my book - "A Strange Little Place:  The Hauntings and Unexplained Events of One Small Town", due from Llewellyn Worldwide on August 8, 2016 - I realized I knew bupkus about the paranormal and thought podcasts would be a good place to start.  Jim Harold's Paranormal Podcast" was my first, and from there I expanded outwards to Mysterious Universe, The Gralien Report, Grimerica, Expanded Perspectives, and the Paranormal Report.  And listen was all I did - some of the shows courted listener feedback and stories but I never felt as though anything I could offer would be of particular interest. 

That changed in February of this year when I heard a story on Gralien Report about two hikers in an Ohio state park who ended up on a trail they couldn't identify or find afterward; it brought me back to an experience I had back in 2008 while hitchhiking in northern Ireland and I thought I'd share it with the show.  The host, Micah Hanks, very kindly read my account on air and now, months later, I'm sharing that podcast with you.

Click the link below to find an embedded version of the podcast.  My story begins at the 1h, 18m mark.

The Gralien Report:  Lost City of the Monkey God

Since then I've had my stories (all true, I might add) show up on a couple different podcasts, which I will share in the coming days.

Thursday, 18 June 2015 15:42

A Bright New Truth

Written by

Those among you who used to frequent my old, Blogger-hosted site, will notice things look a little different around here.  The short version of the story is that after getting confirmation from Llewellyn Worlwide that my book, "A Strange Little Place:  The Hauntings and Unexplained Events of One Small Town" will be published (I'll expand on this in a coming update), I realized that the old site was looking, well, old, and more than a little bush league; this was to be expected as I have virtually no coding acumen whatsoever and cobbled the old site together from Blogger platform tools and stolen bits of HTML found on tutorial sites.

When the old site went live six years ago I was barely scraping by as a temp worker, so I made do with whatever free tools were at my disposal.  Nowadays I'm actually making a little bit of money, so I decided it was time to hire professionals to make my vision for the site a reality: graphic designer Rich Rawling of DesignR (who is as talented a painter as he is a designer) built the logo and Chris Clay, of Clay & Co., built the site itself. All the old content is here under "article archive" and "picture galleries" though a quirk in the template means that the article archive is being presented in random rather than chronological order.  This will (hopefully) be resolved soon.

In the coming days and weeks I'll be adding at least one new feature, a video gallery, and also keep an eye out for my blog posts from my trip to New Orleans for the 2015 International Remote Viewing Association Conference.

So have a look around, leave me a comment or shoot me an email at bren(at)largelythetruth(dot)com to let me know what you think.

Thanks for coming by!



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