THE SECOND VISIT TO SRI
7-25 AUGUST 1972
I flew to California on 7 August 1972, and was to be there for three weeks. Puthoff met the flight in San Francisco -- and immediately handed me an envelope containing my reimbursement for the first trip, and a copy of our work schedule -- just to show me, as he said, that he was "on the ball."
We were to have a one-week informal period, and then a two-week formal set up. The latter two-week segment would be attended by "two East Coast Scientists who would observe some of the experiments."
So I said: "CIA, right?"
His eyes widened. "East Coast Scientists!" he responded.
I don't remember or have any record of what happened during the first week, except that my calendar shows several appointments with Mr. Jim Bolen of San Francisco who had recently founded PSYCHIC magazine.
I flew to Los Angeles on the first weekend to be with Dr. Shafica Karagula and her associate. I don't remember what we discussed, but almost certainly the continuing topic would have been "Conspiracies" of all kinds.
Regarding the second two weeks, Puthoff had prepared a schedule of activities, probably not so much for my benefit but for that of the two "East Coast scientists" who duly presented themselves. No one will believe it now, but neither Puthoff nor I remember their names, and Puthoff indicates that so far as he remembers they were never heard of again with regard to his project.
(on SRI letterhead)
AUGUST 14 AUGUST 21
Discussion am Boxes am
Visual research am Helium pm
Velikovsky lecture pm Visual research pm
AUGUST 15 AUGUST 22
EEG am Discussion v/r am
Magnetometer pm Visual research pm
Discussion pm Boxes pm
AUGUST 16 AUGUST 23
Probing helium am Discussion am
Visual research am Boxes am
Visual research am Conference lunch
Targ/Hurt machine pm Photomultiplier pm
Magnetometer pm Physical research pm
AUGUST 17 AUGUST 24
EEG am EEG-Thermister am
Probing helium pm Conference am
Probing helium pm Physical research pm
AUGUST 18 AUGUST 25
Discussion am Physical research am
Boxes am Helium pm
Probing nitrogen am Final conference pm
Now, it must be said, in fact, emphasized, that the second visit to SRI was wonderful in the extreme. And the whole of it went off like a well-oiled mechanism that didn't miss a beat.
Puthoff, in a vivid display of management, competency and diplomacy, was on his best behavior. Better still, I was on MY best behavior -- because the two-week enterprise of experiments and discussions involved dozens of people, technicians and management types from within SRI, individuals from corporate Silicon Valley, and additional "visitors" from the East Coast who faded in and faded out mysteriously.
One of the reasons I was on my best behavior was that I was fascinated with the various kinds of people, each of whom seemed to be a specialist in some wonderful discipline or original work.
So, for the most part I kept quiet and just observed them, responding only to questions when asked. I felt I should listen and learn, something I decide to do every now and then. Here I had an excellent opportunity to study how people who were not parapsychologists were responding to Psi potentials.
Additionally, I don't remember anyone asking a stupid question. Of course, none of them were parapsychologists, except Mr. Russell Targ, but he was principally an acknowledged noted physicist with several important patents to his name. He was among the visitors I met, and on the work agenda were sessions during which I was supposed to try to work with a "Psi teaching machine" he had invented with David B. Hurt.
Targ gave me a paper to read entitled LEARNING CLAIRVOYANCE AND PRECOGNITION WITH AN EXTRA SENSORY PERCEPTION TEACHING MACHINE, authored by himself and Hurt. The paper had been presented as an invited paper at the IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory, January, 1972. The auspices for this invited paper meant, to me at least, that the possibilities of Psi were seriously being considered at the highest levels of science.
I amended this understanding a little when I found out that the IEEE was a Society of Engineers -- not scientists per se. Here is a distinction that was to be very meaningful, as I'll discuss at some point ahead.
Targ also gave me "A Proposal" constructed by himself, Charles T. Tart, and David Hurt entitled RESEARCH ON TECHNIQUES TO ENHANCE EXTRA SENSORY PERCEPTION, dated 1 March 1972 -- and which I'll review more completely at some point ahead.
Targ seemed exceptional to me, and I liked him tremendously, although he was not yet directly affiliated to SRI. It was whispered that "the Navy" was most likely to fund Targ's enhancement program. "Ah, yes, the Navy," I whispered to Puthoff -- and told him of Buell Mullen's Naval encounter many years before [and which has been recounted in an earlier chapter herein].
If you will study the work agenda given above, all of us were kept constantly busy. The two East Coast Scientists were in constant attendance. Puthoff explained their presence. He was on the verge of obtaining a small amount of funding IF I performed well. The two "scientists" were "observers" whose opinions would be very important for the future project.
"EEK!" I breathed -- because THIS aspect of the two week's work had NOT been made all that clear to me.
Unfortunately, I didn't accumulate a complete archive of this two-week period and so I can't now report on the success-failure rate of the various kinds of experiments.
Of course, the "probes" of helium, nitrogen, thermisters, magnetometers and photomultipliers constituted psychokinetic-type experiments -- the "mind-over-matter" thing. I think some few of these experiments went well, for I remember that when it seemed a PK effect had been achieved, the technicians who has set up the equipment usually said "there must be something wrong with the equipment."
The Visual and Box experiments had to do with clairvoyance -- the experiments involving something hidden inside envelopes, in other rooms or in closed, sealed boxes. This was the usual, very boring type of affair, showing that inventiveness and imagination did not move too far beyond this approach.
I do have evidence of the best six of these experiments. But for the most part, the visual experiments were not all that encouraging, and in private I apologized to Puthoff for this.
For one thing, I was coming down with a cold, and my nose was running most of the time.
Puthoff said something like "not to worry. It's your overall work and ideas that are under review."
But at one point, the EEK Scientists were invited to put things of their own choices in boxes and tape them shut with their initials or something on the tape. They were to ensure that no one, not even Puthoff, knew what was in the boxes.
The EEK Scientists then presented three sealed boxes. Regarding two of them I approximated the hidden contents quite well.
But with regard to the other, I indicated the box contained "something like a brown leaf -- except that it was on the underside of the lid and not at the bottom of the box. It also seemed alive, but I didn't understand how a brown leaf could be thought of as alive."
The box contained a living moth the EEK Scientists had capture outside. It was reasonably large, was brown, and with its wings folded it resembled a brown leaf which nature had designed it to look like. When the box was opened, it was clinging to the bottom side of the lid.
The two EEK Scientists looked at me with forlorn eyes.
At this point, the work schedule was interrupted. Puthoff and the EEK Scientists went into closed conference with other officials at SRI. I was excluded. So I mopped at my dripping nose and drank coffee.
When the conference was over, Puthoff asked if I would agree to fill out forms necessary for a security clearance at the Secret level. I said "Yes," but that I'd have to do so back in New York where all my documents were.
After this, the "discussions" part of the agenda, or what remained of it, changed considerably. I pick up on this again in the next chapter.
I flew back to New York on 26 August 1972. Puthoff again drove me to the San Francisco airport. He was enthusiastic (as usual) and in very good spirits. Back in New York, I found I had a fever of 102 degrees, and felt absolutely awful.
None the less, I prepared the application for the security clearance and mailed the required copies to Puthoff. This was the common and usual "Industrial Secret Clearance." It was the only clearance I held until the remote viewing project was wrapped up some fourteen years later, although back in my Army days I had Top Secret clearances.
As I signed the application, I felt I was stepping into a void -- and went to bed to get rid of my flu -- which didn't go away. On 15 September I was diagnosed with "walking" pneumonia.
My doctor ordered me to hospital. I didn't have any money. So he prescribed large amounts of penicillin and said I was to lay flat in bed for ten days, and get a "nurse" in. He said I could only get up to go to the toilet.
My dear Zelda moved in and was my nurse.
When all this was finally arranged, I slept all the time, lost twenty-five pounds -- and could finally fit back into some of my better suits.
(To be continued as "Chapter 54: Transferring Out of Parapsychology")