Annie Jacobsen: Phenomena (Artikelnummer: ISBN-13: 978-0316349369)

Across recorded history these disciplines have been called magical, mystical, supernatural, and occult. Today they are called paranormal. Those who practice them have been lionized, vilified, and burned at the stake. And then, just a few years after the end of World War II, the U.S. government determined anomalous mental phenomena to be effective military and intelligence tools, and began to investigate their possible use in classified operations. This book tells the story of this post-war endeavor and its continuation into the modern era.

Were the government’s psychics gifted seers or skilled magicians? And are the scientists who studied them, many of whom continue to study these phenomena today, on the brink of discovery? Are they modern-day scientific revolutionaries akin to Galileo, Louis Pasteur, and Madame Curie, each of whom solved scientific mysteries that baffleed scientists for millennia? Or is ESP and PK research a fool’s errand, nothing more?

How do scientists—people of reason—approach such enigmatic subject matter? And what about the psychics themselves? Who were the individuals hired by the U.S. government for these top-secret programs, and how do they explain their military and intelligence work? To research and report this book I interviewed fifty-five scientists and psychics who worked on government programs, including the core members of the original group from Stanford Research Institute and the CIA, the core group on the military side, defense scientists, former military intelligence officers and government psychics, physicists, biologists, neurophysiologists, cyberneticists, astrophysicists, a general, an admiral, a Nobel Laureate, and an Apollo astronaut. These are their stories.

Little, Brown and Company; 1st Edition edition (March 28, 2017

Ein Buch für alle, die sich für die Geschichte der PSI-Forschung interessieren. Darin haben die USA scon sehr früh alle anderen Länder abgehängt - allerdings unter dem Druck des Kalten Krieges. Wer sich dafür interessiert, wie das Wissen um die Fähigkeiten des Menschen langsam zunahm, bis schließlich eine Methode für Jedermann zu Verfügung stand, kann sich hier sehr umfassend informieren. Die Autorin beginnt lange vor dem zweiten Weltkrieg - ausgerechnet in Hitler-Deutschland. Das schließt mit einer Darstellung der Forschung heute.

on March 29, 2017
Format: Hardcover
With regard to the new book Phenomena, I am writing to correct the historical record because unfortunately a reader of Phenomena will come away with a highly distorted and selective presentation concerning this government program. The narrative misrepresents what happened, and the facts the author has chosen to cite are highly selective and therefore misleading. What are my qualifications to say this book is filled with error? It certainly would not be apparent from the book but, in fact, I am the co-founder of the Stanford Research Institute program. I was also a significant participant and creator of many of the experimental studies that made the SRI program famous. I was first author of the first published paper describing our remote viewing studies that was published in the journal, Nature in 1974 (not cited in the book), and I was first author of our popular book, Mind Reach, which described the early years of the program. Operationally, I was the principal interviewer for our three most important, and highly significant, formal experiments. And I was the formal interviewer and instructor for all six of the army intelligence officers who made up the initial core of the army’s remote viewing program at Fort Meade.

Let me give two examples of what I mean when I say the Phenomena narrative is not consistent with the actual reality. In this book a considerable number of pages are spent advancing the idea that the SRI program was strongly influenced, indeed, made possible, by the work of Dr. Henry "Andrija" Puharich, a brilliant and larger than life character who was my friend, and certainly made a number of important contributions in both science and medicine. Unfortunately he had nothing to do with the founding of SRI's ESP research generally and remote viewing specifically. Moreover, about 25% of the funding for the project came to another defense contractor, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) which was not mentioned in the book at all! And my long time friend and associate Dr. Edwin C. May was not mentioned at all, even through he was the project director at SRI and later at SAIC from 1985-1995.. This is how the founding actually happened.

In April of 1972, I visited Dr. Kit Green, who was then with the CIA. I was accompanied by the sales manager of the Silicon Valley company where I had worked as a physicist for the previous ten years. At Dr. Green's invitation I briefed him on research work I wanted to carry out in the field of ESP, based on my own previous research, and the ESP teaching machine I had invented. To place the work in its contemporary scientific context I also described for him research underway in the USSR. This led to my subsequently meeting the famous space scientist Wernher von Braun at a research meeting with NASA. That conversation with von Braun resulted in his arranging for SRI's founding grant which, it should be noted, had nothing to do with the CIA.
My second example involves the Israeli psychic Uri Geller. A reader of Phenomena would come away thinking that Geller played a large and influential role in the success of the SRI program. In fact, Uri Geller came to our lab in 1972 for six weeks. He was a charming and flamboyant man, and clearly gifted when it came to doing certain psychic tasks. But he played no ongoing role in the program, and those of us who worked with him remember him fondly as a small and interesting chapter in a long and complex story.
I have gone to the trouble to write this review because I read history, and I know that if history is not corrected when it is still contemporaneous, errors become canonized through repetition, and can grossly mislead scholars in subsequent years, and I would not have that happen about one of the most important periods of my life.
Russell Targ






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