Self-proclaimed psychic Uri Geller doing a spoon-bending trick in a mall in Switzerland, 2005. According to declassified documents, the CIA recruited Geller in order to test for “clairvoyant” or “telepathic” abilities. Photo: Aquarius2000.CC BY-SA 3.0.
The Stargate Project was a secret US Army program established in 1978 at Fort Meade, Maryland, by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and SRI International (a California contractor) to investigate the potential for psychic phenomena in military and domestic intelligence applications. The program was initiated by the CIA, but they soon abandoned the research, judging it “unpromising” for espionage. Intelligence agencies affiliated with the Defense Department continued funding the project,
The project was inspired by rumors that the Soviet Union was spending millions of rubles on “psychotronic” research for espionage purposes. The project, and its precursors and sister projects, originally went by various code names — ‘Gondola Wish’, ‘Stargate’, ‘Grill Flame’, ‘Center Lane’, ‘Project CF’, ‘Sun Streak’, ‘Scanate’ — until 1991 when they were consolidated and rechristened as the “Stargate Project”.
The Stargate Project’s work primarily involved remote viewing, the purported ability to psychically “see” events, sites, or information from a great distance. Remote viewing is a type of clairvoyance, or extrasensory perception (ESP), that allows a viewer to describe or give details about a target that is inaccessible to normal senses due to distance, time, or shielding. Remote viewing can be performed to detect current events, as well as past and future events. The project also explored other aspects of ESP, such as telepathy, precognition, and psychokinesis. The project was overseen until 1987 by Lt. Frederick Holmes “Skip” Atwater, an aide and “psychic headhunter” to Maj. Gen. Albert Stubblebine, and later president of the Monroe Institute.
Maj. Gen. Albert Stubblebine was a US Army officer whose active-duty career spanned 32 years. He graduated from the US Military Academy in 1952 and received an M.S. in chemical engineering from Columbia University in 1961. He began his military career as an armor officer and later transferred to military intelligence. He served in various intelligence positions, including G2 of the 25th Infantry Division during the Vietnam War, director of intelligence systems at Army Materiel Command, and director of tactical/strategic intelligence at OACSI-DA.
Stubblebine was selected for general officer rank in 1977 and commanded the US Army Intelligence Center and School, where he played a vital role in designing the first Army Intelligence architecture. He also commanded the US Army Electronics Research and Development Command, where he oversaw the development of various electronic intelligence systems. He retired from active service in 1984 as the commander of US Army Intelligence and Security Command. He was awarded several military honors during his military career, including the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (two Oak Leaf Clusters), the Bronze Star Medal, and the Air Medal (two Oak Leaf Clusters).
Stubblebine was inducted into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame in 1990. The Military Intelligence Hall of Fame was established in 1988 to honor individuals who have made exceptional contributions to military intelligence. The hall is administered by the US Army Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.
Stubblebine was a proponent of psychic warfare and a sponsor of the Stargate Project at Fort Meade. He believed in the potential of psychic phenomena for military and intelligence applications. He was influenced by a New Age-inspired manual that envisioned a new kind of soldier with paranormal abilities. He himself tried to perform some psychic feats but failed.
The Stargate Project unit was small scale, comprising about 15 to 20 individuals, and was run out of “an old, leaky wooden barracks”. The project involved various experiments, such as trying to locate hostages, submarines, and enemy bases, using individuals who claimed to have paranormal skills. The project was controversial and faced criticism from skeptics and scientists, who questioned the validity and reliability of the results.
The Stargate Project was officially terminated and declassified in 1995. Although the project produced statistically significant results, information provided by the program was vague and included irrelevant and erroneous data, and there were suspicions of poor inter-rater reliability. The program was featured in the 2004 book and 2009 film, both titled The Men Who Stare at Goats, although neither mentions it by name.
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