Joseph McMoneagle may be
watching you read this.
After all, that was his
job for 15 years watching people he
could not see for the Pentagon. He was
called a "remote viewer."
Remote Viewers have
been in the headlines recently because
it's come to light that several of them
worked on the "Stargate"
program, a top secret,
multimillion-dollar project at Fort
Meade, Md., using their supposed
paranormal know-how and
know-where to help locate American
hostages, enemy submarines, strategic
buildings in foreign countries, and who
knows what else. A new report,
commissioned by the CIA, was critical of
Stargate and called further expenditures
Yesterday, at his light
and airy home in Nelson county Va.,
McMoneagle [?] defended remote viewing,
which he explained as the act of
describing or drawing details about a
place, person or thing without having any
prior knowledge of that place, person or
thing. He said that true remote viewing,
unlike crystal-ball gazing and tea-leaf
reading, is always conducted under
"strict scientific protocols."
Granted, it still
sounds squirrelly. And it doesn't really
help to know that McMoneagle, a retired
Army officer, has also trafficked in
near-death experiences, out-of-body
travel and unidentified flying objects.
In 1993 he wrote a book called "Mind
TrekExploring Consciousness, Time
and Space through Remote Viewing."
But he put his skills
on the line last week on national
television when ABC became, for an
hour, the other psychic
network and the demonstration was
impressive. Since then the phone's been
Despite a bad back and
the exhaustion that comes with
flash-point celebrity, he was eager to
talk about his expertise. He was
stretched out flat on his living room
couch, wearing a green V-neck sweater,
bluejeans and brown loafers. He's got a
thick neck, gray-white hair and a trace
of bitterness in his voice.
"My career was
destroyed in the Army," said
McMoneagle, who joined in 1964 and was
severely injured in a helicopter accident
in Vietnam. He said he knew when he first
joined the Stargate projectwhich
was then called Grillflamein 1978
that he would never again be taken
seriously for any other job in the
military. But he felt the assignment was
too important to national security to
it all backward," he said of the
criticism and ridicule the project is
receiving today. He explained that the
government was not using psychics to find
people or things. They were using remote
viewers, about 15 of them, who operated
under strict guidelines developed in the
laboratories at SRI International, a
California contractor, to provide
additional information to be used in
conjunction with intelligence gathered by
satellites or spies or any other
He said the reported
cost of $20 million for the 20-year
product was minuscule compared to its
value, and estimated that remote viewers
saved the government about $240 million
by helping find lost Scud missiles in the
Persian Gulf War. Research has shown that
remote viewing works 14 percent of the
time or more, he said, "There is a
huge percentage of intelligence
collection systems that don't do as
provided by remote viewers, he
reiterated, was never used without other
types of corroboration. He said nearly
every agency with an intelligence
||an intelligence wing
including the CIA, the National Security
Agency, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secret
Service, the Coast Guard and
Customs employed remote viewers at
some time or another.
On a typical workday, McMoneagle
said, he reported to an old, leaky wooden
barracks at Fort Meade, where he went
into a one-person office. He sat at a
desk with a typewriter and a mug of
coffee. The cup said This End Up and had
an arrow pointing the wrong way. He was
then presented with sealed
envelopessometimes large brown
ones, sometimes small white onesand
he was asked to supply information about
whatever was inside.
There might be a
photograph of a person, he said, and he
would be asked to describe where the
person was locateed. In that way, he
said, he helped the Army locate hostages
in Iran. He said he predicted almost
precisely where Skylab was going to fall,
11 months before the spacecraft returned
to Earth in 1979. He named the city in
Italy Padua and described the
second-floor apartment where Brig. Gen
James Dozier was held hostage by the Red
Brigades in 1981. The information arrived
in Italy on the day Dozier was released.
Over the years,
McMoneagle said, he was involved in about
450 missions. One of his favorites was in
1980, when CIA personnel captured a
suspected KGB agent in South Africa. They
wanted to know how the agent was
communicating with the Soviet military.
They put an envelope on McMoneagle's
desk, and without knowing anything of the
man, McMoneagle told the CIA that the man
liked to use a small pocket calculator.
The calculator turned out to be a
disguised shortwave radio.
McMoneagle retired from
the Army in 1984, but continued to work
as a Stargate consultant.
Last week he appeared
on "Nightline" and on the ABC
special "Put to the Test."
"It's not like he handed me a
perfect photograph of the location,"
said independent producer Ruth Rivin, of
Elemental Productions, when asked about
McMoneagle's performance. "Some of
the descriptions were pretty
remarkable," she said. "We
followed all the scientific protocol laid
out by Edwin May, a nuclear physicist [at
SRI] who's been researching remote
viewing for the last 20 years."
Rivin flew McMoneagle
to Houston, a city he had never visited.
She hired a location scout and instructed
her to take photos of several Houston
landmarks. One of the spots was chosen by
a roll of the dice, and Rivin sent an
official of the Houston tourist bureau
there. McMoneagle was locked in a
windowless room, shown a photo of the
tourism official and asked to describe
where the woman was. He spoke of a
natural river that had been improved by
man and of a bridge with foot traffic.
The woman was standing near the ship
channel in Houston. A bridge for
automobiles was in the distance.
Today, McMoneagle runs
his one man-company, Intuitive
Intelligence Applications, from a bedroom
equipped with a Zeos computer, windows
facing the Blue Ridge mountains and a
color photo of the Sphinx. He said he can
help a wildcatter find an oil well or a
quarry operator know where to mine.
But he's still quietly
angry about the way his service to his
country is being portrayed. He said he
was never paid more than a man of his
rankchief warrant officer. And as a
consultant until 1993, he made even less.
"The project was
approved on a year-to-year basis,"
he said. "This approval was based on
our performance. So why the hell are they
running for cover now?"