Joseph McMoneagle Interviewed by Jerry Snider
Courtesy Magical Blend Magazine
JM: Remote viewing is psychic functioning done within a very specific and limiting protocol that can be studied and replicated in a lab environment. The term was coined by researchers at SRI International in Mountain View California in 1972.
JS: What is the protocol?
JM: JM: The original protocol calls for one person, called an outbounder, to go to a randomly selected target and a second person, the remote viewer psychic, who sits in a windowless room in a lab. At an appointed time, the remote viewer is asked to describe the whereabouts of the outbounder, usually through drawings and verbal transcripts. Once the remote viewer's impressions are recorded, he or she is taken to the target in order to get a sense of the accuracy or inaccuracy of the attempt. That was the original protocol, but several things happened to change it. For one thing, after many years of using San Francisco Bay Area targets, the range had to be extended. Since the researchers wanted to see if distance had any effect on the information transfer, targets were selected overseas. Obviously, this began to get expensive, so a new system was developed called the coordinate remote viewing system. Map coordinates were used to identify specific targets. Researchers created a huge database of targets from which a random set of coordinates was retrieved. The remote viewer was then asked to describe the physical location corresponding to these coordinates.
JS: Was the remote viewer told the coordinates?
JM: No. The coordinates were sealed and double-wrapped in opaque envelopes. The latest approach is more application oriented. Instead of coordinates, photographs from different places from all across the earth are selected at random, sealed in an envelope and the remote viewer describes the location of the place where the photograph was taken.
JS: What do researchers look for when selecting remote viewers?
JM: There has never been a well defined process. What would usually happen is that a university, say Stanford, would give a two-hour lecture on remote viewing to about a hundred interested students. After the lecture, the students filled out questionnaires and their answers were examined for indications of innovative thinking, creativity and artistic ability, qualities which were considered to indicate an open-minded approach to life. Later, some of these students would be invited to participate in some experiments. I got involved because of recurring psychic experiences following a near-death experience. I heard about SRI International, looked them up and, after talking to me, they asked me to try some remote viewing experiments. I was the first subject they ever had to placed five matches on the first try, so we just kept working together.
JS: Over how many years?
JM: I've been doing this now for about eighteen-and-a-half years. I started in October of 1978 and worked steadily with SRI International until their lab closed in 1991. Then I went to work for the Cognitive Sciences Laboratory of Science Applications International Corporation in Menlo Park.
JS: Could you elaborate on your near-death experience and the psychic experiences it triggered?
JM: This happened in 1970. I was overseas with the Army. I had gone out to a restaurant in Austria with some friends. I had been working very hard and was extremely tired. Before dinner I had one drink and suddenly felt as though I needed fresh air. As soon as I exited the restaurant I went into convulsions and collapsed on the sidewalk, swallowing my tongue, which cut off my air stopped my breathing. They put me in a car and rushed me across the border into Germany to a hospital, but by that time I had no heartbeat. During that period of time I was out-of-body, watching everything. As I watched them working on my body in the hospital emergency room, I started drifting away and falling backward through a tunnel. I reviewed my entire life with what I felt was a non-physical being-an all-loving being who helped me review my life without judgement. At some point I felt heat on the back of my neck and turned around to see what was causing it.
Immediately I was enveloped in a bright, white light that I took to be God. The light told me to return to my body, even though I didn't want to. Suddenly I awoke, sitting in a hospital room. I had been comatose for some time, and the first thing I did was to start telling everybody about the white light. The military authorities took my talk about God and the white light as signs of brain damage and put me in a rest home in Munich for observation. They said I was fine, that there wasn't any brain damage, and I realized it was best not to talk about white lights and God. So I shut up and tried to act normal. I went back to work, but from that point on I started having spontaneous out-of-body experiences and spontaneous knowings, or certain knowledge about things I had no ordinary means of knowing. My reality, as I understood it, was completely shattered.
So all that began in 1970. I remained overseas until 1978. There weren't many people I could talk to about my experiences, so I kept my own counsel. Then, when I returned to the States in 1978, I read an article about remote viewing in the journal of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. written by Dr. Harold Puthoff. Also in 1978 I read Journey's Out of the Body by Robert Monroe. So I decided to get in touch with these two men. Robert Monroe and I ended up becoming friends. I must say, the experience turns your whole understanding of reality upside down. As it happened, in reconstructing my understanding of reality I became very enmeshed in the research.
JS: Did the out-of-body experiences continue?
JM: Oh, yes, they continued. I spent fourteen months at the Monroe Institute working with Robert Monroe, using some of his Hemisynch techniques to develop the capacity to control the out-of-body experiences. Eventually we were successful, but the type of meditation required to control the out-of-body experiences turned out to be very destructive to the remote viewing process. I had to make a choice between one or the other, and I chose remote viewing. I still have the spontaneous out-of-bodies, but they're not very frequent and when they occur I just go with them. They usually happen when I'm tired. Then, suddenly I just pop out-of my body and find myself maybe outside a temple in Japan or standing down by a lake somewhere. It's a very interesting experience. They are definitely different from remote viewing. They are also very different from lucid dreaming, which I did at Stephen LaBerge's lab at Stanford University. Each is a different state and involves a different process, and I chose to focus more heavily on remote viewing.
JS: In Mind Trek you relate a mind-bending experience about a remote viewing experiment involving NASA photos of Mars. Could you tell us about that?
JM: That experiment was done at the Monroe Institute in Virginia. They asked me to come in early in the morning, which I did, and they locked me up in the windowless remote viewing room to ensure I didn't see who was bringing the targets. They knew it was a man from NASA, but I did not. So I went in and took a two-hour nap in the remote viewing room. The person from NASA arrived, carrying a sheet of paper with seven sets of coordinates. Everyone at the lab assumed these were coordinates for earth targets. When we started the session, they read the target coordinates to me, and my first perception was of a pyramid. I started describing this pyramid, which I assumed to be in Egypt, but it didn't make sense to me, because I was describing corridors and rooms that I knew didn't exist in the Egyptian pyramids. So I described all seven targets in detail. The first six I described correctly, but I messed up on the seventh one because I was getting tired. Everybody was mystified by what was going on, because it was apparent that we were looking at archaeological sites. When I came out of the remote viewing room, they asked me what I thought about the civilization that had built these particular monuments. I told them the people were much larger than human beings and that their culture was very, very old. That was when I was told what the targets were. The man from NASA was absolutely blown away because I had provided correct detailed information on the first six of seven targets Only he knew what was at each of these locations. About five month later we got a call from him and he told us that the next Mars mission would be targeted against one of those coordinate sites. That's the last I ever heard about it, other than that on the next Mars mission the spacecraft was in some way, shape or form killed en route. It was sent the wrong code or something and shut down. It didn't operate or function after that.
JS: In Mind Trek you write about sensing the emotional reactions of the entities who lived there.
JM: Right, my sense of it was that the people who built these monuments belonged to an ancient race, and that the monuments were not built as a place to call home, but as an interim stopping point for something. My sense was that the large majority of them stayed, but a small faction moved on in search of what would have been a new place for them to live. In fact, most of these monument seemed to hibernation-type chambers, designed for surviving a very bad climate. I also had a sense that some of the information toward the end was almost as if a psychic time capsule had been left. It was formatted to be found by psychic means, which was a very unusual feeling for me, because I normally don't get those kinds of feelings.
JS: When you get something that fantastic, how do you deal with it? Do you just accept your feelings, or do you question yourself?
JM: Well I don't accept it as one-hundred percent, because I've seen too many weird and strange things happen in remote viewing. I'm still holding judgment on the monuments and whatever they equate to, but I've seen enough photographic evidence to convince me that there is probably something on Mars that is not a natural formation. I am convinced that at one time there probably was a civilization on Mars, although I reserve judgment on whether or not it's extraterrestrial. It could very well be interdimensional beings, or it could be a projection of the future. There's a lot of things it could be.
JS: So once you enter the imaginal realm, reality is not so easy to pin down?
JM: Right, and a remote viewer psychic cannot tell the difference between the real and the imaginal. A lot of people say they can but I've done enough experiments to tell you it's impossible to tell the difference. Sometimes the accuracy is so phenomenally good that we have what we call an "Aha! experience" in remote viewing. That's where you're working extremely hard on a target, then all of the sudden something just pops into you head and you just know everything there is too know about the target. It's almost an orgasmic experience. Whenever that happens, which is extremely rare, I can differentiate between reality and someone's concept of reality. But that doesn't happen very often. The "Aha! experience" is a very difficult state to get into, and I think it's more accidental than not. Over eighteen years and more than 10,000 experiments, I have experienced that "Aha!" probably less than a hundred times.
JS: You were with Military Intelligence in the Army. Did you ever use your psychic abilities in your military career?
JM: I think that I've used these abilities all my life, but in such a natural way that it would be very difficult to specify when and where.
JS: Could you site another experience that affected you deeply?
JM: One target I was asked to report on turned out to be an an individual who had been killed in a car accident. I was given a date, a location and a time. Although I didn't know it, the time I was given was approximately three minutes before this person had died. The remote viewing session started out with me describing the person accurately, describing the car accurately, describing the road that they were driving on accurately and then somewhere about three or four minutes into the remote viewing session I said, "Something has changed. I think this person is dead." The researchers asked me why I said that, and I told them, "Well, the person's now floating horizontally in front of me. They're drifting away into a black void, and I'm trying to follow but I keep having these veils of cloth inserted between me and them. The harder I try to push through these veils, the more of them there are." This was interesting to me because I wouldn't have chosen such an archaic metaphor for death. "Going beyond the veils" was an expression used by mediums in the late twenties and early thirties to describe death. Before this remote viewing experiment, I had rejected the old spiritualists' approach, but when I actually saw the veils I suddenly found myself thinking, "My God! I've been shutting out something that is real." It's one more lesson that there's more going on than we think, and maybe we ought to have a more open mind about some things.
JS: When you had this experience, was there any sense that the person that was passing through these veils had any recognition of you?
JM: No, none whatsoever. My sense of it was they were drifting away, and they were totally focused and involved on where they were going and what they were doing. I should tell you that I had a second near-death experience in 1985, five months after I retired from the Army. I had a major heart attack at the ripe old age of 39, and once again I encountered the White Light. This time I realized it was finite and had limits. That created some problem for me because my assumption the first time I encountered it had been that the White Light was the Christ energy, or was God. But in retrospect, thinking back to my original near-death experience and the experience I had during my open heart surgery and some other things, I've since concluded that what the white light probably is, is what we would call the totality of self, or what we probably are when we're not physical. So in seeing this guy drift away after he was killed, my sense of it was that it was just the physical representation that was being done away with. He had probably already departed. At any rate, my conclusion was that the person had died, and I surprised myself by using the same terminology that spiritualist mediums were using in the early part of the century. It kind of caught me by surprise.
JS: It sounds like the kind of imagery that surfaces in dreams.
JM: Exactly. I suspect that during the remote viewing process, information is probably delivered to the conscious mind via the subconscious. And since the subconscious really has no language of it's own, it borrows whatever it can to communicate. To give you an example, I once did a target in the San Francisco Bay Area that turned out to be a children's playground. The swings and things were made out of pipes, constructed in the shape of dinosaurs. I was drawing stick figures of dinosaurs on paper and I said, "Geez, this is like the old connect-the-dot pictures. It's more fun than a barrel of monkeys." The monitor told me to write that down, so across the top of the sheet I wrote, "more fun than a barrel of monkeys." It turned out that the central feature of the playground was a set of monkey bars made up of cast iron monkeys with their arms interlocked in the shape of a barrel. That shows you how the subconscious will find a way to slip its information to you, but you have to be constantly paying attention. When your being psychic everything is pertinent, if you can translate the meaning. That's the clue, knowing when information is being delivered and being able to interpret it makes your accuracy goes way up. It's a real interesting phenomenon.
JS: I'd like to backtrack and ask you about your concept that the White Light constitutes the essence of the person, rather than some supernatural intelligence.
JM: I call it the totality of self.
JS: Are we talking about the individual self, or is there some sort of group identity?
JM: I have a sense it's both. When I was enveloped by the White Light I still had my own personality and my own consciousness, but at the same time I was also in a state of being all-knowing, or at least knowing more than what I came in with.
Actually, one of the basic changes in my belief structure that has come about through these experiences is that I have come to believe that past, present and future exist simultaneously. In this matrix, we sort of pick where we enter reality, and that's called birth; we sort of pick where we leave, and that's called death. All the observations in between allow us to construct a lifetime in time/space.The interesting part of a belief structure like this is that it allows for multiple incarnations, but not necessarily reincarnations, because each life you live is occurring simultaneously. From our point of observation everything appears to have a time limit-a past, present and a future-but in reality all of the lifetimes are being lived simultaneously. In other words, all of your experiences from a thousand lifetimes all terminate simultaneously. You are then a complete entity with all of the experience of a thousand lifetimes. It may be that our personality, what essentially identifies us as that unique entity, doesn't change in any of our incarnations. It may be we're essentially the same being but made up of the experiences from many lifetimes.
JS: Do you have any sense of why you weren't allowed to enter the White Light?
JM: No, I have no idea why. It just was not permitted. I was also not allowed to drift off and explore, as I normally do when I'm in the out-of-body state. In this particular case I was, for lack of a better word, forced to stay in a specific place. It was a low-lit pinkish area, and I was not allowed to wander off from there for some reason.
JS: There it is, there is no escape from authority.
JM: Right, even though the authority may just be ourselves. We probably have a higher sense of what's going on that's not available to us.
JS: Do you feel there is any danger in people experimenting with phenomenon like out-of-body experiences and remote viewing?
JM: I think it can be dangerous if someone's playing with it and not taking it seriously, because what you're playing with is altering the way your reality operates. I did some psychic training with different individuals and found that one of the reasons people normally aren't psychic is because they're locked in a reality of belief constructs that doesn't allow for psychic phenomena. So to get to the point where they can experience being psychic, they have to self-destruct those beliefs that are blocking them. In that process, it is possible to destroy some belief concepts that may be a bulwark for the individual's defensive network. Take for example someone who believes that good and evil exist and are diametrically opposed. First of all, they believe that evil is incarnate and can harm them. Second, they don't see any gray areas, just good and evil. That belief concept can be dangerous, because they have set themselves up to be victimized by anything that doesn't fit into their narrow concept of good and evil. So things can become very destructive, when in fact nothing destructive is happening. It's their own reaction that creates fear.
When I first began working with Bob Monroe to develop my out-of-body abilities, my first few separations were accompanied by a sense of something in the room that was so primitive it was almost demonic. So I told Bob, "There's something in the room here and it's terrifying the hell out of me." He just tapped me on the shoulder and said, "It's okay you'll figure it out." He did this for two weeks, and finally on the seventh time that I was actually able to separate from my body I decided to face it. I sensed it was behind me to the left, and so I spun around in the out-of-body state to confront it, and what I found myself staring at was my own physical body. It turns out that's the sense of primitiveness that we have about the physical reality in the out-of-body state. Had I never confronted that, my fears would have done who-knows-what in terms of psychological damage, or whatever. But having confronted it and figured it out, I was able to just chuckle and go on with whatever I was doing, and the feeling would go away. It was sort of an acknowledgment, a coming to grips with what was causing the fear, more than anything.
JS: If a person decides they want to experimenting with this, and feels their ego structure is loose enough to allow for it, how would you suggest they go about it?
JM: In the book I have an example of how to set up practice sessions and that sort of thing. A really important place to start is keeping a journal, actually two journals; one to carry around with you for recording important or pertinent observations, the second to keep by your bed for recording your dreams. And start trying to pay attention to what's being delivered message-wise in those journals. The second thing would be to start focusing on spending anywhere from a half-hour to forty-five minutes of private time every day for meditating on yourself. That's really hard for most people to do, but it's almost an absolute necessity to spend time with yourself. Initially you'll find yourself dealing with a whole lot of personal problems you've refused to deal with. So the idea is too deal with them, to clean up the attic and the basement first, and then move on to higher thoughts or higher meditative contemplation. Mixed in with that, I would start learning to control a lucid dream as an initial step, because in the lucid dream state you can step off in almost any direction. You can do psychic things in a lucid dream state or you can do out of-body in a lucid dream state. There's a lot of things that you can do. Plus, in learning to control a lucid dream state, which is the easiest altered state to attain, you develop a degree of mental control.
JS: It would appear that there is a growing acceptance of phenomena like NDEs, OBEs and remote observation. If such things really became accepted on a mass cultural level, what kind of differences would you expect to see in society?
JM: Well the primary difference would be that it would open the doors to understanding how reality works with regard to our effectiveness in creating our future. One of the things that becomes very apparent very quickly to someone who gets involved in the paranormal research area is that what we do, think and say has a decisive effect on what our future is going to be. For instance, with remote viewing you can target the future a hundred years out and produce perfectly accurate information, but it may not make any sense to people today because it's lacking the important element of conceptualization. Say we were living in the year 1800 and we had an excellent remote viewer and we targeted that remote viewer against the lab at Sylvania Corporation where they developed the pump laser in 1975. Even though that remote viewer might describe in detail the pump laser, we wouldn't understand what he was talking about because we don't know what a pump laser is and what it does. Similarly, right now we can go into the future and capture huge amounts of information about what the future holds in store for us, but the problem is one of conceptualization. We don't know how to conceptualize what we don't already know. I believe our ability to conceive the future is really the whole crux of how our future is going to be. If we can only conceptualize the kinds of medicine we have today, then ten years from now that is the only kind of medicine we will have. But if we can conceptualize a pill that will cure all disease known to man, a hundred years from now we will probably have that pill. So we truly are responsible for our future on a day-to-day basis. If people can be taught to understand that-and that's exactly what studying the paranormal teaches people-then I think you'll find an incredible acceleration in the creativity process. Studying the paranormal is studying the secrets of our control of reality, and one of the big secrets is that we truly do endow our future by our every-day acts today.
JS: Recently the Psychological Bulletin published an article concluding that psychologists in America are pretty much in agreement that psychic functioning probably does exist and should be studied. This is important, because for a long time they just buried their heads in the sand and refused to even consider the existence of psi. So, it's getting there. People are opening up to more possibilities, and as the applications become more and more apparent and more and more commonly used, then people become used to it and more accepting.