The Legacy of Ingo Swann – “Father of Remote Viewing” Dies at 79

Written by on February 21, 2013 in Dreams, ESP & Remote Viewing, Reality's Edge with 4 Comments


Ingo Swann

Ingo Swann, the brilliant and often enigmatic character, most widely known in parapsychology circles as “the scientific psychic,” died on February 1, 2013 in New York City at the age of 79.

A pioneer and perhaps the most gifted in the ability of remote viewing; the process by which a location or target can be observed non-locally via extra sensory perception, Swann was well known for his work with the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) along with colleagues Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff, Ph.D. beginning in the early 1970’s, sponsored by U.S. intelligence and military agencies.  The project which drew both commendation and criticism was designed to study the efficacy and application of identifying critical target locations for potential use in military operations.  The project, initially called The Consciousness Research Program at SRI eventually led to the military remote viewing program.

Although Swann repeatedly shied away from the label “psychic,” his ability to tap into locations and earmark various objects remotely through thousands of rigid scientific experiments made him one of the most, if not the most sought after intuitive within the academic arena of psi research.  Swann’s extraordinary accuracy amid such austere and controlled settings in a laboratory environment lent due credence to a discipline which heretofore was dubbed as mere fallacy or illusion.  Nonetheless, remote viewing and ESP at-large still had (and has) its detractors.

Despite the criticism, Swann continued his ESP feats and went on to train scores of individuals in what was fast becoming a bona fide skill which could be learned by the average individual.

Former colleague Russell Targ, a physicist and one of the biggest proponents of exploring ESP capabilities says that remote viewing is not a difficult ability to acquire.  We all have some sensory awareness that is beyond the five faculties we use on a daily basis.  Still, whereas most of us may be able to tap this nonlocal field on occasion with some measure of success, Swann was the proverbial “Michael Jordan” of remote viewing and his influence and legacy will no doubt proliferate for many years to come.

Swann was never demure about vocalizing his interest in psi phenomena nor about acknowledging a perplexing societal resistance to pursuing such affairs. In his widely sought after volume entitled, Penetration – The Question of Extraterrestrial and Human Telepathy he states, “Anyone with more than a mere superficial interest in psi phenomena must of course encounter the rather smelly morass of social resistance whereby the authenticity of those phenomena are methodically deconstructed, thus suspending them in doubt.”  And yet, paradoxically despite this vehement denial of the reality of psi, apparently very serious authoritative interests were poured into understanding its mechanics, thereby making this mysterious modality a credible and natural ability worth exploring.

To Remote View or Not Remote View – That is the question

Unlike other psychic processes including divination (the ability to procure answers to questions through the use of tools like dowsing, scrying or crystal gazing), on the surface remote viewing doesn’t seem to pose any potential risks.  However, it has been said that any form of active psychic work should not be done just for curiosity’s sake.  Some who have dabbled into areas of the paranormal under the guise of “novelty,” have later regretted their passive an unsubstantiated quests into the unknown.  As with all areas of inquiry, responsibility must take precedence.  Divination no doubt, has been used for eons as a perfectly justifiable means for practical purposes like locating water or lost objects, aiding in difficult decision making and more.  Many indigenous cultures of old used various forms of divining as a means for survival in harsh environmental conditions.

Where the impulse to explore the mysterious aspect of self and its surroundings, given that many of these abilities seem innate to the human species are a tempting endeavor, there still needs to be an ample amount of reverence in the pursuit of all things psychic.  That said the ability to remote view for purposes of peaking into terrain that may or may not be for your psychic eyes to see, needs to be contemplated with the highest regard.

Spontaneous Remote Viewing

In a recent Coast to Coast AM show, in part dedicated to the legacy of Ingo Swann with guest and fellow remote viewer, Dr. Paul H. Smith (who was trained by Ingo Swann), an individual who called into the show testified to a very real and quite fascinating account which seemed to indicate a case of what we might call spontaneous remote viewing.  Susan (the caller) had gone to lie down in her bedroom to rest and recover from an excruciating migraine.  While lying in bed, she got an image in her mind of her young son cutting up an apple on the cutting board in the kitchen.  Shortly after this clear image entered her mind, her other son knocked on her door to tell her that his brother had just cut his thumb while slicing an apple on the cutting board.  Another caller told of an insistent image of a fire spontaneously emerging in his mind.  Confounded by the adamancy of the image, he later went into the kitchen only to have his daughter reveal that she had been “baking clay in the toaster,” just as the toaster began to smoke!  The father quickly unplugged the toaster and ran it outside to douse the smoke.  Had the image not prompted him to inquire in the kitchen, there would no doubt have been a fire!

In response to the inquiry as to whether these anecdotes are illustrative of remote viewing capabilities, Dr. Smith stated, “Everybody has rudimentary remote viewing ability.  Some people are better than others but generally you already are psychic to an extent.  It’s something that everybody is born with.  When something significant to you happens, like your child injuring himself – that will often come through (as a form of spontaneous remote viewing.)”

So clearly, there is practical application to this elusive but very real faculty we all possess.  Still, as these nonlocal frames of information can often intrude on our conscious awareness, seemingly out of nowhere, too often these “viewings” go unnoticed or worse, not acted upon.

If there was anyone who had the ability to impress upon the masses, the utter necessity to know thyself and all its amazingly innate wonders, it was Ingo Swann.  He leaves us with a legacy of what it means to investigate the corridors of the mind and spirit, unabated.  His was a brave and wise journey of exploration, leading to answers that will leave us all knowing just a little bit more about ourselves!

On a rather ironic note, it was only today that I learned of the passing of Ingo, right in the midst of my finally getting around to reading his magnificent book, Penetration!  This book had been sitting on my shelf, so to speak, for some time, and despite the mounds of books I’d committed to reading (primarily for research and upcoming work), I felt the time was right to plunge into Swann’s book!  Perhaps the timing is nothing short of synchronistic – Ingo had been on my mind since his book had invariably conjured such a sense of intrigue in me.

Here’s to a luminous thinker, writer, artist, teacher and visionary – Ingo Swann may your journey take you to the vast universe you once viewed from afar and may your explorations continue with a purview like none other!


To learn more about remote viewing and ESP, be sure to check out my blog, Higher Journeys for a selection of titles covering this fascinating area of research!

Visit the Remote Viewing Instructional Services Website (RVIS Inc.) for an excellent collection of images of the late Ingo Swann.

Coast to Coast AM has an audio tribute to Ingo Swann – Listen here.




Alexis BrooksAlexis Brooks is the author of Conscious Musings – A Collection of Contemplations About Life and Potentiality and is a frequent contributor to Conscious Life News.

Visit her blog or visit her on her Facebook Page.









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  1.' Bob says:

    Remote viewing is an extension of the occult. People need to understand that first and foremost. There are unseen powers that use and confuse mankind for evil reasons. An understanding of demons should be studied before any attempt at “remote viewing” is undertaken. You are putting yourself in serious danger as documentation of injury is well founded. Study about the dangers of the occult and demon inspired remote viewing.

  2.' Rachal says:

    Great article! thanks Alexis Brooks, you’re a great writer!

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