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Remote Viewers: The Secret History of America's Psychic Spies Paperback – January 13, 1997

3.9 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Remote Viewers is a tale of the Pentagon's attempts to develop the perfect tool for espionage: psychic spies. These psychic spies, or "remote viewers," were able to infiltrate any target, elude any form of security, and never risk scratch. For twenty years, the government selected civilian and military personnel for psychic ability, trained them, and put them to work, full-time, at taxpayers' expense, against real intelligence targets. The results were so astonishing that the program soon involved more than a dozen separate agencies, including the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Council, the FBI, the National Security Agency, the Secret Service, the Navy, the Army, the Air Force, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the US Customs Service, the US Special Forces Command, and at least one Pentagon drug-interaction task force. Most of this material is still officially classified.

After three years of research, with access to numerous sources in the intelligence community--including the remote viewers themselves--science writer Jim Schnabel reveals for the first time the secret details of the strangest chapter in the history of espionage. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

"Remote Viewers is a tale of the Pentagon's attempts to develop the perfect tool for espionage: psychic spies. These psychic spies, or "remote viewers," were able to infiltrate any target, elude any form of security, and never risk scratch. For twenty years, the government selected civilian and military personnel for psychic ability, trained them, and put them to work, full-time, at taxpayers' expense, against real intelligence targets. The results were so astonishing that the program soon involved more than a dozen separate agencies, including the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Council, the FBI, the National Security Agency, the Secret Service, the Navy, the Army, the Air Force, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the US Customs Service, the US Special Forces Command, and at least one Pentagon drug-interaction task force. Most of this material is still officially classified.


After three years of research, with access to numerous sources in the intelligence community--including the remote viewers themselves--science writer Jim Schnabel reveals for the first time the secret details of the strangest chapter in the history of espionage.

"From the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Dell (January 13, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440614058
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440614050
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,656,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I've been a science writer since the 1990s, and have had features, book reviews or op-eds published in Nature, Science, New Scientist, the Washington Post, The Guardian, and the Independent, among others.

I've also authored five books on popular science:

Round in Circles (the English crop circles craze of 1978-1992)

Dark White (UFOs and the "abduction" lore)

Remote Viewers (the rise and fall of the US government's psychic spying program)

Forever Young (the search for medical immortality)

Everything and Nothing (quantum physics and its central conundrums)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Jim Schnabel first showed up on the remote viewing scene in late 1995, with an RV documentary he pulled together with the help of his personal friends in the CIA ("The Real X-Files," Discovery Channel USA and Channel 5 Britain), which aired around the time the program was being declassified, and coincidentally presented the same view the CIA had told the world about remote viewing. A parade of titles and military ribbons, Schnabel's first-attempt at documenting RV history mostly, in the name of supposedly supporting it, managed to invalidate it, both by featuring the least legitimate person in the whole program, and by overtly omitting a great deal of information. So, it was with a great deal of nervousness that I read his book "Remote Viewers."
On the positive side, this book has a tremendous amount of detail, some of it hard-won. It's the only book by an 'outsider' to the field (although it shows as much or more bias in some areas as books by ! insiders, so I'm not sure if that matters). It documents in detail many of the "amazing stories" in remote viewing that I have heard first-hand from many of the people involved with the former government program. It was nice to hear a compilation of these accounts in one place, and in that sense, it does provide some validation of remote viewing, and some very interesting reading.
It is worth noting that darn near every amazing story in Schnabel's book, other than a few related to now-deceased folks, is attributed to Joe McMoneagle, who thus far seems to carry the entire burden of 'proving RV' on his shoulders (while everybody else makes money off supposed expertise at the subject).
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Schnabel takes a complex and hidden history and lays it out in a very readable fashion. Great journalism is about the detail under the surface as well as the stories behind the leading characters. I found this book gave me a good balance of detail and drama. I come away "knowing" the characters and a bit of their motivations.
I've read many, many books on RV and OBEs(Swann, Moorehouse, Brown, Monroe, Atwater, Sinclair, etc.). This was by far the most detailed, well-researched and well-documented. If you're interested in RV, this is definitely the book to start with.
I disagree with some of the previous reviews about Schnabel's agenda. I perceive no agenda here. It seems quite well balanced.
Summary: a fascinating subject treated with diligence and delivered well by a very good writer. If there were a sequel, I'd buy it.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
"Remote Viewers" by Jim Schnabel remains as the most comprehensive book on the history and development of the Remote Viewing Program within the United States as any I have ever read. His perspective as an investigative reporter from the outsider being exposed to the phenomenon of RV research for the first time, gave him the unique opportunity to take a more broad view of the entire history of the subject, and the personalities involved. The astounding developments of notable "psi events" obtained through the methods employed by the various RV teams keep the reader turning pages in fascination while at the same time weaving in the history and step by step development of the different techniques used to achieve those astounding events. Instead of a singular biography, as so many of the RV books have become, this book is more of a collection of biographies, and unabashedly even covers the tensions and personality clashes that occurred under such a stressful and competitive project.
Such "psi events" include seeing and being able to accurately illustrate people and places distant in space and time, the ability to influence the health of individuals by mental prowess, telekinesis, even the ability to affect electronic equipment at a distance by powers of the mind alone. Further to his credit, the author gives a detailed description of the competition between various countries to develop such techniques, leaving this reader further convinced of the urgency of continued and more varied research into this subject. In reading this book for the second time, I became more acutely aware of a phenomenon called telepathic interrogation, where remote viewers were able to negotiate with the mind of soviet spies over a distance, without the soviet spies even realizing what was taking place!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Remote Viewers" is the definitive account of the U.S. government's dalliance with psychic espionage. Author Jim Schnabel approached remote viewing as a debunker, but in doing research for the book discovered that there really was something to the phenomenon, and revealed instead the rich history of the government program and the colorful personalities associated with it. In the course of his research, he interviewed several dozen people, including nearly ALL of those most closely associated with the program's beginnings, development, and operations, and gained unprecedented access to both open and secret sources. To make the account as authentic as possible, Schnabel even managed to convince reclusive Ingo Swann--one of the primary forces behind the development of remote viewing--to train him personally in coordinate remote viewing, or "CRV." Consequently, Schnabel is able to provide a concise but thorough description of the remote reviewing process. The book makes excellent reading, crammed full as it is with fascinating anecdotes about remote viewers and the amazing contributions they made to national security. "Remote Viewing" is essential reading for anyone interested in the government's psychic espionage program
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