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How to See If You Have Psychic Powers
By:Matthew Weeks

The publication of the recent book and subsequent film adaptation of "The Men Who Stare At Goats" might strike you as a far-fetched work of fiction. In fact, the United States military did officially engage in research on psychic phenomena for over two decades. Their work was on the books and authorized by Congress under the umbrella codename of the "Star Gate Project." The operation is no longer in effect today.

Background
In the early 1970s, the CIA began to receive reports that the Soviet Union was pouring millions of dollars into research in the field of what they dubbed "psychoenergetics" -- the study of parapsychology for military use. Though there was no conclusive evidence of anything useful being gleamed from this research, the United States was worried by the fact that the Soviets rarely spent large sums of money on concepts that showed no promise, and therefore decided to conduct its own trials at the Standford Research Institute.

"Remote Viewing"
A key area of interest in the SRI's work was the purported ability of certain individuals to engage in "remote viewing," formally defined as the act of mentally discerning information about a specified target that the subject would not be able to ascertain via normal perception, or information that was generally considered secure from access. Administrators of the project at the time claimed that the phenomenon was indeed very real, but could not be done at will or in a controlled fashion.

Results
In the late 1970s, the government assumed more direct control over the work being conducted, and it became known as the "Star Gate Project." For almost two decades, the program was reviewed semi-annually by Congress, and continued to receive funding. Some of the positive results claimed by the researchers as demonstrative proof included prediction of the launch date of a Soviet sub still under construction, the release of a Middle East hostage (and the accurate prediction of the medical condition that led to his release) and the prediction of the 1987 attack on the USS Stark.

Cancellation
In 1995, the CIA was given complete control over the Star Gate Project and prepared to conduct a review of its effectiveness. Research into the project showed that its subjects did perform slightly better than chance in controlled tests of their ability to engage in remote viewing, but that the information gleamed from it was generally vague and not useful. As a result of these findings, the CIA officially terminated the $20 million project.