by Debra Lynne Katz & Lance William Beem (abstract edited by Dean Radin, conference chair)
In a double-blind, free-response experiment, 39 remote viewers (“viewers’) were given the task of describing a bacteriophage, or “phage,” a virus that attacks bacteria. Ten of the viewers were re-tasked on elements described in their first session; 35 viewers were then given a second target containing the task, “describe the trigger for replication.” This time, they were provided with information that the target was of a microscopic nature.
This remote viewing project was unique not only in its subject matter, but in its purpose, which was to evaluate remote viewing sessions not only for evidence of psychic functioning but to make use of the information in order to advance the work of scientists outside the field of parapsychology. Viewers submitted a total of 83 sessions, producing a total of 3,263 descriptors to be analyzed. They also provided dozens of detailed sketches, some of which are presented here.
Author Lance Beem is a biologist specializing in plant pathology, physiology, entomology and nematology for 30 years; he was also trained as a remote viewer. He recruited expert virologists over a period of two years and reported his interactions with them. Five of 16 virologists that were approached agreed to participate as raters. Two offered to assist by providing a student to rate the remote viewing sessions. Eight refused, one calling the project “pseudoscience” before examining the data or expressing any interest in understanding what it entailed.
In all, four methods of analysis were employed, including what herein will be referred to as a “Big Data Corroborative Approach.” This method has not been used previously for evaluation of remote viewing data, although similar approaches are being used in other fields to evaluate large data sets for the purpose of making predictions and assessments.
Our primary phage expert, Dr. Julian Roberts, a molecular biologist, conducted a qualitative analysis of the remote viewing reports. He wrote: “At first appearances these data appear to show nothing more than some musings. On further inspection, however, I am convinced that they describe bacteriophage, and the uses of bacteriophage. This is my professional opinion as a scientist and a professional and impartial observer.” Off the record, he stated, “This blows my mind. How is this possible? It’s scary.”
All 39 viewers also participated in an extensive biographic survey evaluating their past remote viewing experience, methodologies, preparation techniques, number of words used in a session, time spent on sessions, etc. This survey data was compared with those sessions that received the highest and lowest accuracy ratings to help draw conclusions about what led to the most useful sessions when tasked with topics that are not typically explored with remote viewing. The survey suggested that experience with remote viewing, spending more than 30 minutes on a session, and using a training approach known as “controlled remote viewing” seemed to produce the highest- rated sessions, but none of those factors guaranteed success.
This project’s proposal was the first recipient of the International Remote Viewing Association (IRVA) Warcollier Award (2011). It took over three years to complete in addition to two years of preliminary experiments involving thousands of trials in which remote viewers attempted to blindly identify the presence of the Tomato Mosaic Virus in plants. The entire project required the help of 10 volunteers, and in all, 57 people were involved.