Writer and physicist Russell Targ discussed his new memoir Do You See What I See?, which chronicles his tale as a visually impaired scientist who helped create the Remote Viewing program at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI), and offers info on how to separate the psychic signal from mental noise.
Targ learned remote viewing (RV) from the legendary psychic Ingo Swann, and in turn, he and Hal Puthoff taught these skills to a group of Army Intelligence officers in the 1970′s. Running for over twenty years, the CIA’s RV unit revealed information on such topics as Chinese atomic bombs, armed hostages in Iran, and lost planes in Africa, he detailed.
Yet in 1995, the CIA cancelled and declassified the program, claiming that with the end of the Cold War, America no longer had the kind of enemies that warranted using RV, Targ explained. He speculated that fundamentalist elements in the CIA/gov’t. may have exerted pressure to get rid of the program. RV can be used for financial gain– his team at one point had success in predicting silver futures, he noted.
He described his “psychic UFO adventure” where in a meditation he perceived seeing bodies under something that resembled hair dryers. The late psychic Pat Price confirmed the vision, but warned him that it was a “theta trap”— a Scientology term referring to something that could take over your mind. Targ also shared memories of his brother-in-law, the renowned chess player, Bobby Fischer.
Russell Targ is a physicist and author who was a pioneer in the development of the laser and laser applications. He was also co-founder of the previously secret Stanford Research Institute’s investigation into psychic abilities in the 1970s and 1980s. His work in this new area, called remote viewing, was published in Nature, The Proceedings of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Proceedings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Russell did graduate work in physics at Columbia University, and is co-author of six books dealing with the scientific investigation of psychic abilities. In 1997, he retired from Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space Co. as a senior staff scientist. He now pursues ESP research in Palo Alto, California, and is also publishing special editions of classic books in psychical research.
Targ was born in Chicago. He is a son of William Targ, former editor-in-chief of G.P. Putnam’s, where his father was editor and publisher of “The Godfather”. Russell is a brother-in-law of former World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer. He was married to Joan Targ, Bobby’s sister, who died in 1998. Russell and Joan had a daughter, Elisabeth Targ, who was a psychiatrist, and two sons Alexander and Nicholas.
Targ received a Bachelor of Science in physics from Queens College in 1954, and did graduate work in physics at Columbia University. He received two National Aeronautics and Space Administration awards for inventions and contributions in lasers and laser communications.
Targ is also an editor, publisher, songwriter, producer, and teacher. In 1997 he retired from Lockheed Martin as a project manager and senior staff scientist, where he developed laser technology for airborne detection of wind shear and air turbulence. He has published more than a hundred papers on lasers, plasma physics, laser applications and electro-optics.
At the Stanford Research Institute in the 1970s and 1980s, Targ and his colleague Harold E. Puthoff co-founded a 23-year, $25-million program of research into psychic abilities and their operational use for the U.S. intelligence community, including the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency and Army Intelligence. These abilities are referred to collectively as “remote viewing.” Targ and Puthoff both expressed the belief that Uri Geller, retired police commissioner Pat Price, and artist Ingo Swann all had genuine psychic abilities. They published their findings in Nature and the Proceedings of the IEEE. From 1972 to 1995 the program was classified SECRET and compartmentalized with Limited Access. That is to say, the program was not only classified, but every single person who was informed about the program had to personally sign a so-called bigot list, to acknowledge that they had been exposed to the program data. However, their work met criticism from some, including psychologists David Marks and Richard Kammann in their 1980 book, The Psychology of the Psychic.
Targ’s autobiography, Do You See What I See: Memoirs of a Blind Biker, was published in 2008, and describes his life as a scientist and legally blind motorcyclist. Targ lectures worldwide on remote viewing. He now resides in Palo Alto, California with his second wife, Patricia.