Controlled Remote Viewing Manual Background

(If you have already read this and wish to go directly to the manual, click here.)

From 1982 to 1984, five personnel from the military remote viewing unit at Ft. Meade, plus one individual from a sister unit participated in training contracted by the US Army’s Intelligence and Security Command with SRI-International. This training training was revolutionary. It’s purpose was to create, in essence, new “psychic spies” for the military. They were being taught to use the recently-developed coordinate remote viewing (now called “controlled remote viewing”)—or CRV—methodology, which was jointly developed by Ingo Swann, the creator of the original remote viewing protocol and physicist Dr. Harold “Hal” E. Puthoff at SRI-International. One of the first trainees, Capt. Rob Cowart, was diagnosed with cancer, and was medically retired from active duty, terminating his training after only a few months. The second, Capt. Tom McNear, completed all training through Stage VI as the proof-of-principle “guinea pig.” His results were not just impressive. Some could even be considered spectacular.

Ingo Swann with CRV students, May 1984 (courtesy, Charlene Shufelt)
Ingo Swann with CRV students, May 1984 (courtesy, Charlene Shufelt).

Beginning in January of 1984, the remaining four of us began training with Ingo, Hal, and others at SRI facilities in California and New York. This contract lasted for a full year. Capt. William “Bill” Ray, Charlene (Cavenaugh) Shufelt, Capt. Ed Dames (temporarily assigned for training from another unit), and myself (Capt. Paul H. Smith) continued through until December 1984 (though Dames took a brief leave of absence due to the birth of a son). With Ingo we completed through Stage III training, at the end of which Shufelt, Ray, and myself remained with the remote viewing program at Ft. Meade and Dames returned to his assigned unit. Toward the end of 1984 our patron and commander, Major General Burt Stubblebine was forced to retire and the RV program was threatened with termination. Consequently, no further contracts were let for training.

During the course of 1985, our future was uncertain. However, the branch chief, Lieut. Col. Buzby, together with Capt. Fred “Skip” Atwater (the training and operations officer), were hopeful that the unit would find a sponsor (which indeed happened) and decided to continue training for the three of us through Stage VI, with the help of McNear’s experience and considerable documentation and theoretical understanding that Atwater and others had managed to accrue.

As our training progressed, and with a number of successful operational and training projects under out belts to show that CRV really did work, the further decision was made to try to capture the Ingo methodology in as pure a form as possible. Our superiors reasoned that we might never get any more contractor-sourced training approved, yet we needed to be able to perpetuate the methodology even after those with institutional memory eventually left the unit. I had developed the reputation of being the “word man” in the unit, plus Skip and the branch chief seemed to think I had a firm understanding and grasp of the theory and methodology, so I was asked to compile a manual capturing as much of the CRV methodology as possible, with the assistance of the others who had been trained.

We CRV students pooled our notes, and I drafted each section, then ran it by the others for their suggestions and comments. Of key help was a previous document authored by Tom McNear, “Coordinate Remote Viewing Stages I-VI and Beyond” (dated February 1985) which contributed substantially to the manual. Corrections and suggestions were evaluated and added if it could be established that they matched true “Ingo theory.” Skip and Tom both reviewed the manuscript and provided their input as well. When the thing was finally done, a copy was forwarded to Ingo. In a personal letter addressed to all of us involved in that project, Ingo described the manual as a “comprehensive and accurate document.” The finished version was printed at the DIA press in May 1986. It was a specialty run, and was never given an official DIA document number. I don’t believe any more than thirty or so copies were printed.

Though the existence of the remote viewing program was declassified in late 1995, the manual was not made public until 1998, when it was posted on the Internet by early remote viewing enthusiast Palyne Gaenir, who had received a copy in the mail from undisclosed sources. I was reluctant for the manual to be made public (for reasons mentioned here), but seeing that wide distribution was inevitable, I eventually agreed to Palyne’s request to write an introductory essay for the Web version.


Things to keep in mind about the CRV manual: It wasn’t intended as a training manual per se, and certainly not as a stand-alone training manual. It’s primary purpose was to capture and preserve for posterity Ingo’s methodology. The very first page declares that it was “prepared to serve as a comprehensive explanation of the theory and mechanics” of CRV, and as a “guide for future training programs.” Though it can be helpful in training, we certainly didn’t develop it as a “how to.” Since we always assumed any further training to be done would either involve Ingo Swann or someone who had already been trained, the manual did not incorporate lessons-learned, nor the practical implementation of CRV in an operational setting, nor even instructions as to how one taught people to do CRV, nor why CRV included certain points of theory and process in its methodological base. There are of course lots of things to be said about all these points, and we had ambitions at one time of writing a practical hands-on RV training manual. Unfortunately, events conspired against us and it never happened.

In the hands of someone who understands CRV and already knows what is going on, the manual can be valuable in teaching others to remote view. We used it in the theory and lecture part of the CRV training of everyone who became a CRVer at the Ft. Meade unit (the one exception was Lyn Buchanan, whom we taught CRV before the manual became reality). I have used it exclusively in my commercial training activities (augmented, of course, by my own subsequent education in relevant academic topics and experience in training and operations), and I think most, if not all of my students would confirm the efficacy of this approach. It represents controlled remote viewing in its purest form available, and any departures from the principles it contains should be looked at long and hard before being accepted. There are already a number of alleged “product improvements” based upon the CRV manual that not only are decidedly not improvements, but if they aren’t just changing (as the saying goes) “happy-to-glad” or adding superfluous embellishments, may even detract outright from CRV’s principles and effective methodologies. In considering these “new versions” of CRV methodology, it is definitely a case of buyer beware.


In the years since the existence of the manual became fully public, two claims have been made. One is by remote viewer Joe McMoneagle. He has said that Ingo Swann was not the author of the work. As you can see from the above account, this is true. But Joe has also said that sometime after he retired from the military, we who were still there made it up and that it didn’t match what Swann had taught. This is false. As you can see from this  letter that Ingo sent us not long after Skip Atwater forwarded him a copy of the printed manual, Ingo endorsed the accuracy of the document.

The other controversy comes from Lyn Buchanan, who has often objected that he contributed a set of pages he had drafted that he hoped we would include in the manual. When Atwater and Buzby declined to have the material included, Lyn felt that his efforts had been unfairly rejected.

It is true that Lyn created and offered these documents; they were his own further suggestions for the future development of controlled remote viewing. But since they were not original to the instructions and theory we had learned from Ingo Swann, the unit’s leadership determined that it would not be appropriate to include Lyn’s material in an Ingo-pure manual. We were thus directed to exclude them from the CRV manual, but consider them when and if we started to develop an operations-oriented version of the manual in the future. Unfortunately, such a manual was never produced. (I recently came across a copy of Lyn’s contribution in a box of old files I had stored. Those who are curious may access it here. Bear in mind that this is the work of someone who at the time was still a beginning CRVer not yet done with the full training program. Still, there are some interesting and perhaps worthwhile ideas to be found.)

[Click here to read the letter Ingo Swann sent confirming the accuracy of the CRV manual.]

Continue to the CRV Manual Introduction page.


If you want to jump directly to one of the chapters, access the table of contents below.


CRV Theory

CRV Structure

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4 (Currently being formatted)

Stage 5 (Currently being formatted)

Stage 6 (Currently being formatted)