In Controlled Remote Viewing Did Ingo Swann Add More Stages?


The original version of controlled remote viewing (CRV) was created in partnership between Ingo Swann and Dr. Harold E. Puthoff. Their version of CRV is the genesis of most remote viewing methods taught and practiced today. Their final product consists of six steps, or “stages,” each progressing from the one before. Since about the mid-2000s, a debate has grown over whether Swann ever developed additional remote viewing stages beyond the original six. People who knew and worked with Swann, including the undersigned, generally agree there were the rudiments of a “Stage 7,” but nothing else.  However, certain individuals with less of a connection to Swann continue to maintain that Swann made numerous additions to the stage structure of controlled remote viewing. We the undersigned created the following article to document what is known, and what is likely to be true about these claims of “Stages Beyond Six.”


The Truth Regarding Ingo Swann’s Advanced CRV Stages:
What Does the Record Say?

Thomas M. McNear, Paul H. Smith, William G. Ray and Thomas Bergen

Hal Puthoff and Ingo Swann in Hal's Austin Texas office in 2002 (Courtesy, Robert Knight)
Hal Puthoff and Ingo Swann, the originators of controlled remote viewing, in Hal’s Austin, Texas office in 2002 in front of one of Ingo’s paintings. (Courtesy, Ingo Swann Estate)

Within the remote viewing Community, there has always been a fascination with Ingo Swann – The Father of Remote Viewing and of the more detailed controlled remote viewing.  Beyond the recognized efficacy of his six-stage controlled remote viewing training program, this fascination is especially strong surrounding the perceived “advanced stages” he may have developed beyond the six stages that are so widely known.  For many, this fascination has turned into fantasy.  Rumors abound concerning the number of stages he developed beyond six.  Many say he developed a great many stages beyond six and opine that these advanced stages were ready for training.  Some have even stated that Swann invited them to come to NYC to receive training on these advanced stages.  The purpose of this document is to review what the historical record says regarding these alleged advanced remote viewing stages and to attempt to determine just how far Swann was able to develop these stages before his passing in January 2013.

Those who knew Ingo Swann well knew him to be an excellent researcher of the highest caliber.  He was not content to simply be the subject of RV research; he proposed testing methodologies endeavoring to prove the existence of “ESP.”  Swann wanted all research to be performed in an air-tight manner so that no one could later accuse the research of being flawed or even worse, rigged.  Ingo Swann very much valued his reputation of being a serious researcher and CRV trainer.  He would not tolerate any flimsy methodology or any chicanery.  He wanted truth in research, training, and results.

Swann was also not prone to fanciful thinking.  He took remote viewing and other things psychic very seriously.  He was especially critical of those who used “doom and gloom” to enhance their notoriety.  Those who seek to deceive the RV community as to what Swann left behind are doing him a great disservice, as well as harming the RV community itself.  Exaggerated claims and doomsday predictions may be dissuading serious scientists from becoming more engaged in RV and other areas of parapsychology.  This document will attempt to honor Swann’s legacy and to set the record straight.

After his death, Ingo Swann’s estate donated his massive archives to the University of West Georgia. In a folder in those archives, researchers located an unsigned, undated document entitled “The Identified Stages,” that lists an abbreviated account of 12 stages that relate to the CRV methodology created beginning in the early 1980s by Swann and Harold E. “Hal” Puthoff, Ph.D. (hereafter we will refer to this as the “Stages Document”). For reasons addressed later, we assess this document as almost certainly having been created by Ingo Swann himself sometime after 2007. Our analysis will propose a theory, strongly supported by the historical record, as to the origin of this list of stages.  In 1990, Swann also wrote of four “areas” in which he felt he had made breakthroughs. This paper will attempt to show how these “areas” fit into the alleged 12 controlled remote viewing “stages” of which he wrote.

What qualifies the four undersigned to speak to this and other issues regarding Ingo Swann?

  • Ingo Swann monitoring Tom McNear on a controlled remote viewing session
    Ingo Swann monitoring Tom McNear on a controlled remote viewing session. (Photo by Robert Knight)

    Thomas (Tom) McNear, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army (retired) first met Swann in 1982. McNear was the first military member to be trained by Swann and the only military member to be personally trained by Swann in all stages (1-6) of CRV.  McNear was the first person, other than Swann himself, to be trained in stages 4-6, in fact, McNear assisted Swann in developing training methods for these stages. While there was no Stage-7 training, McNear experienced Stage-7 (phonetics) during the later portion of his training and McNear assisted Swann in understanding phonetics and how to deal with these signals. McNear maintained a 31-year friendship with Swann until Swann’s passing in 2013. In 1986, McNear and Swann traveled together to Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula to explore Mayan ruins. In 1993, Swann told author Jim Schnabel that his true protégé was Tom (McNear) (in the book the last name of Nance was used to protect McNear’s identity).1 In 1993, referring to McNear as a remote viewer, Swann told author Jim Marrs, “He was better than me.”2 McNear visited with Swann in the Fall of 2012, just months before Swann’s passing. Finally, in 2013 McNear spoke at Swann’s memorial service in NYC.

  • Ingo Swann and Paul H. Smith
    Ingo Swann with Paul H. Smith in Ingo’s studio.

    Paul H. Smith, PhD, Major, U.S. Army (retired) first met with Swann in 1983 and was one of 4 members at the time who were being personally trained by Swann. Smith was trained by Swann through Stage-3 and completed this training in 1985. Smith maintained a close relationship with Swann up until Swann’s passing in 2013. During this time Smith was requested by Swann to work a number of remote viewing sessions for him, and met many times in person with Swann; Smith documented these meetings and often recorded their discussions.

  • Bill Ray with Hal Puthoff in 2015 at the Remote Viewing Conference in New Orleans
    Bill Ray with Hal Puthoff in 2015.

    William G. (Bill) Ray, Major, U.S. Army (retired) first met Swann in 1984 and, along with Paul H. Smith, was one of four to be trained through Stage-3 by Swann himself. Bill Ray became commander of the remote viewing program at Fort Meade in 1985, and served in that capacity until 1987. He maintained a relationship with Swann until Swann’s passing in 2013.

  • Tom Bergen speaking at Ingo Swann's memorial service in 2013
    Tom Bergen speaking at Ingo Swann’s memorial service in 2013.

    Thomas (Tom) Bergen met Swann in 1995 and maintained a very close friendship with Swann until his passing in 2013. Bergen trained with Swann intermittently from 2004 until January 2013, training through Stage-6. He always stayed with Swann at his loft in NYC. Chronologically, Bergen spent the longest period of time with Swann. During this time he developed a very close friendship with Swann, spending his last weekend with him in January 2013 (the very month of his passing) and, along with McNear, spoke at Swann’s 2013 memorial service in NYC.

The above information is provided as bona fides to verify and support that the four undersigned have significant professional and personal knowledge of Ingo Swann from 1982 through his passing in January 2013.  All four were personally trained by Ingo Swann.  Collectively, the four spent 109 years with Swann.  We have many documented, and often recorded, evidence of such meetings.  When others in the remote viewing community make unsubstantiated claims regarding “advanced stages,” “special friendships with” or “secret knowledge shared by Swann that they can’t share with others,” the four undersigned generally know the veracity or falsity of such statements. Our friendships with Swann require us to protect the integrity of the amazing legacy of Ingo Swann.

While this short paper cannot address all of the marvelous works Ingo Swann accomplished in the latter years of his life, if it can explain the origin of the Stages Document and what it does—and does not—imply, we will have accomplished a great deal.

What Came After Stage 6?
Levels of Remote Viewing Training
In controlled remote viewing, Stage 6 includes three dimensional modeling of the unknown target.

It is uncontroversial that Controlled Remote Viewing (CRV) (known originally as “coordinate” remote viewing, but later changed to “controlled” remote viewing by Swann) as taught by Swann consists of six discrete, sequential steps or stages that, in Swann’s own words, “…builds upon the former (stage), and when successfully acquired by the trainee, also predicts the emergence of the next stage…3 A document written by Dr. Hal Puthoff and Ingo Swann (as best we can determine the authorship) dated 4 August 1983 entitled “Co-ordinate Remote Viewing (CRV) Technology,”4 listed 8 Stages of CRV. This included the six well-recognized stages and Stage-7 (identified in the document as sonics – still in R&D).  The document also stated Stage-8 was “Human to Human Interfaces – R&D, 1984/1985″ (later we discuss the discrepancy between this title and “Analytics,” with which Swann quickly replaced it as is noted in what follows). In some documents, Swann reversed Stage-7 and Stage-8 calling Stage-7 “analytics” and Stage-8 phonetics.  Swann eventually settled on Stage-7 being phonetics (see below).  The anticipated Stage-8 R&D took place, but was, it appears, never completed nor formalized. The Stages Document is currently the only document known to address additional stages beyond Stage-6 (with one exception noted below).

In a later 1984 Ingo Swann Proprietary document, in paragraph 7, entitled “The Emergence of Phonetic Signals in S-6,”5 Swann refers to the first additional stage beyond the six formally established stages.  He wrote:

It is to be noted that during S-6 work, the trainee (TM) begins to encounter certain signals that are of verbal content, hereto we have called these phonetic, and we believe that they should appropriately constitute Stage-7 and the R&D relevant to it (emphasis added). Since they occur spontaneously during the course of S-6, the training monitor (IS) briefed the trainee on what it is we know about such signals, and provided the trainee with a general guideline on how to handle (but not resolve) the phonetics when they emerged. As a result, the trainee was able to either identify the site by name, or come very close to doing so. Minimal guidance on these special phenomena seemed appropriate, even though we have not yet developed our understanding of them through R&D. [Note: “TM” above refers to Tom McNear]

A Tom McNear Stage 6 session which illustrates an attempt to bring
A Tom McNear Stage 6 session which illustrates an attempt to bring “Stage 7” (phonetic) data into the CRV process. The target was Tulum, an archaeological site in Mexico; Tom produced the phonetic sound “toloo.” (The feedback photo is included here, along with a photo of Tom’s striking Stage 6 model.)

This was the first confirmation of and discussion of the Stage-7 “predicted” in the 4 Aug 83 briefing mentioned above. In the above statement, Swann recognized four things regarding Stage-7. First, he acknowledged there was a Stage-7. Secondly, Stage-7 did, indeed, consist of phonetics, instead of one of a variety of other alternatives that had been speculated in recent years. Thirdly, he acknowledged that Stage-7 phonetics “spontaneously occurred” before any Stage-7 training was developed. Finally, he acknowledged “we have not yet developed our understanding of them (the phonetics) through R&D.”

Based on the above, it is acknowledged that Stage-7 is phonetics, that phonetics spontaneously occurred, and there was no R&D nor training for Stage-7.

What Came After Stage 7?

In 1984-1988, Ingo Swann was developing “analytics.” At present, no documentary evidence exists that Swann assigned a stage number to analytics. However, both McNear and two of Swann’s students who had communications with him over the years, Paul H. Smith and Bill Ray, recall that Swann verbally described analytics at one time as Stage-8. An important caveat to note here:  Swann switched the “stage” numbering for both phonetics and analytics back and forth more than once before settling on phonetics as Stage-7, relegating analytics to Stage 8. This rearrangement persisted and was never apparently changed again. There is also no known evidence, documentary or otherwise, that Swann developed either a formal doctrine or training materials for analytics. This is not to say that he wasn’t hard at work developing analytics; for anyone who has reviewed the Swann archives at the University of West Georgia, it is obvious he worked tirelessly over several years to develop analytics and at first appeared to be making noteworthy progress.

Despite the progress he seemed to be making on analytics between 1984-1988, he clearly stated in the “Rima” letter that CRV is “…divided into seven ‘stages,’ each of which addresses a different aspect of the signal.”6 This statement, made three years after his developmental work on analytics suggests analytics had not matured sufficiently for him to consider it a stage (otherwise, it is reasonable that he would have said CRV is divided into 8 stages). This matches what Smith recalls Swann saying in subsequent conversation that he had not managed to solve the problem of analytics and had abandoned the work.

In this same letter, Swann stated that he, “evolved certain standards for achieving (RV) proficiency,” and this standard, “…can probably be achieved much faster and even more perfectly than via the time-consuming RV training approaches.” Later we will consider how this is reflected in the Stages Document.

In this letter, Swann reinforced that there are 7 stages. He further stated that his “evolved” training method may make training much faster. But significantly, Swann ends this letter by saying, “These new methods do not at all obviate any of the CRV processes…” (emphasis added). In other words, this “evolved” method did not change the content of the stages, nor that there were 7 stages in 1991.

Swann once again reiterated that there were seven stages during a 27-28 August 1993 interview with author Jim Marrs. On page 157 of Marrs’ 2007 book Psi Spies: The True Story of America’s Psychic Warfare Program, Marrs quotes Swann as having said, “In May 1984, Tom (M) was among the last of my students.  He became the first to finish all seven stages (emphasis added). He was better than me.”7

From Swann’s own words, then, we can determine that from 1983-1993, he considered CRV to consist of seven stages that “…builds upon the former (stage), and when successfully acquired by the trainee, also predicts the emergence of the next stage…”8

The Origin of Swann’s “Stages Document”

“The Identified Stages” document we believe to have been drafted by Swann lists 12 CRV stages (although the document does not specifically say they are CRV, it is clear they do pertain to CRV).9 If, from 1983-1993 there were only 7 stages of CRV, what is the origin of the 12 stages found in this document that we are attributing to Swann?

Having completed the six-stage CRV training program in 1985 under the tutelage of Swann, McNear was tasked with capturing in writing the training he received from Swann. McNear was Swann’s first military trainee and the only trainee whom Swann trained through all six stages of CRV. While the official training program consisted of six stages, McNear and Swann were “forced to deal with phonetics” which spontaneously presented throughout Stages 4, 5, and 6 training from 18 Feb 84 until McNear completed his training approximately 4 Dec 84. Below we will show that Swann eventually determined these phonetics to be Stage-7.

Because McNear was the only military trainee to receive training from Swann in Stages 4, 5, and 6, and because Swann’s subsequent and final Army trainees were trained only through Stage 3, the Army thought it important for McNear to ensure the training was put into writing so as not to be lost.

Tom McNear's 1985 controlled remote viewing manual
The cover of Tom McNear’s 1985 controlled remote viewing manual.

In 1985, McNear produced a forty-page document entitled Coordinate Remote Viewing Stages I-VI and Beyond, February 1985.10 In 1985 this document was classified SECRET and was maintained by the Army Star Gate Remote Viewing program. This document later became known as the “1985 CRV Manual.”  This manual remained classified until the program was itself declassified by the CIA in the 1995 timeframe. After the CIA made the Star Gate Archives more accessible to the public in 2004, McNear’s document became available to many across the Remote Viewing community.

In this manual, McNear discussed in some detail the training he received from Swann over more than three years. The manual carefully documented in sequential order the six stages which were officially contracted to the Army. But in chapter 10, “Future Stages,” McNear hypothesized just how far Coordinate (Controlled) Remote Viewing might be developed in the future.

At the time McNear composed the manual, Swann was considering Stage-7 to be “analytics” and Stage-8 to be “phonetics.” As explained above, Swann’s preferred order for these two stages was in flux at the time.  Consequently, McNear identified future Stage-7 as “analytics” and future Stage-8 as “phonetics.” The importance of this switch will be explained later.

What were McNear’s hypothesized future stages?  The following depicts the future stages as McNear wrote them in 1985:

List of controlled remote viewing stages, actual and speculative, compiled by Thomas McNear in 1985
List of controlled remote viewing stages, actual and speculative, compiled by Tom McNear in 1985.

Where did McNear come up with stages 7-11? After spending more than three years soaking up the knowledge and wisdom of Ingo Swann, McNear said these future stages just seemed correct to him.  They were a logical progression of the signal that began as an ideogram in Stage 1 and progressed through sensations, dimensional data, analytic and qualitative data, and finally, three-dimensional contact and modeling in Stage-6. As Swann stated in the 1991 “Rima” letter, these stages, “constitute some kind of natural (Swann’s emphasis added) and predictable developmental ESP…”  McNear extrapolated from what he had learned and gleaned from Swann through Stage-6 and developed his own concept for “Future Stages” 7-11.

As stated, this manual was classified secret and protected from public disclosure until its declassification in the 1995 timeframe. In response to numerous Freedom of Information Act requests, the CIA released it to the public along with almost 100,000 other remote viewing related documents in 2004.

This manual is available from the Central Intelligence Agency’s archives here.

Ingo Swann’s 12 CRV Stages from the Stages Document

While some evidence exists that Swann may have written the stages document as early as 1983, for reasons presented below, we believe at some point after receiving the manual and reading McNear’s “future stages,” Swann decided to include his own thoughts as to what CRV “Future Stages” might be developed. Both Swann’s Stages Document and McNear’s CRV Manual are remarkably similar. “The Identified Stages,” 11is shown below.

Apparent Swann-drafted version of
Apparent Swann-drafted version of “Stages Beyond Six.”


Where is the Evidence?

What evidence exists that the above document was produced by Ingo Swann, and what evidence is there that this document (above) was influenced by McNear’s 1985 CRV Manual? We offer the following points:

  1. The writing in red (AOO ROI) is almost certainly the handwriting of Ingo Swann.
  2. Most significantly, the number “38” appears in the upper right corner of the document.
  3. The close correspondence between the 12 stages listed in the document and the 11 stages in McNear’s 1985 manual.

We will address each of these three points in detail.

First, there is general agreement that the writing in red (AOO ROI) is in the handwriting of Ingo Swann.  The handwritten characters in the upper left have been shown to several individuals who knew Swann well. So far, all agree that this is the handwriting of Ingo Swann. The meaning of these characters has yet to be gleaned (though we suspect that it may be a file reference).

Second, and most significantly, is the number “38” typed in the upper right corner of the document.  What could the “38” mean? If it is a page number, why would a single-page document begin with “38?”  Shown below is the table of contents for McNear’s 1985 CRV Manual juxtaposed with Swann’s 12 stage document showing page number 38. As shown, the manual ends on page 37 with the glossary beginning on page 38. When Swann read McNear’s manual after receiving it from Daz Smith in the 2007 timeframe he read the 11 “Future Stages” as proposed by McNear in Chapter 10 (pages 35-36). Swann may have used the 11 stages presented in the manual as a jumping-off point, turning them into 12 stages which better captured his own estimation as to how CRV might be evolved, or Swann may have retrieved his Stages Document from as early as 1983, and inserted it in the 1985 CRV Manual. As stated earlier, Swann was not prone to speculation, preferring to focus his efforts on advancements supported by research and data. Perhaps McNear’s speculative 11 future stages prompted Swann to put into writing his own appraisal of possible future stages, or perhaps, as some evidence shows, Swann may have written this document as early as 1983. Regardless, the key to this theory is the “38” on the document (see below). Swann, regardless of the year he developed the document, may have chosen to include his document in the 1985 CRV Manual if only for his own purposes. Page 38, just before the glossary, would likely have been the most logical place to include it.

Content page of McNear's 1985 CRV manual compared to Swann's (undated)
Content page of McNear’s 1985 CRV manual compared to Swann’s (undated) “12 Stages” document.

Did Swann produce this document strictly for his own benefit? We think not. In his stages document, he identifies Stage 10 as, “No English equivalent, requires a neologism which has been identified, but is withheld.” If he were typing this exclusively for himself, he would not likely withhold from himself the neologism of which he writes. Additionally, Swann identifies Stage 11 as “Withheld.” Again, were he preparing this document for himself, he would not likely have withheld such information from himself.  Swann likely planned to share his Stages Document with others at some later date, and it appears he intended to do this in conjunction with the 1985 CRV manual; the “38” identifying the location for the document within the manual’s page order.

While remarkably similar in meaning to those in the 1985 document, Swann’s revised wording in the Stages Document likely reflects his own views from 1983 or evolving from McNear’s document. While the correlation of the 11 stages versus the 12 stages is remarkable, McNear conceived of the 11 stages in the manual on his own, without first conferring either with Swann or anyone in the Star Gate program. As stated above, Swann explained that each stage “…builds upon the former (stage), and when successfully acquired by the trainee, also predicts the emergence of the next stage…”12 Swann’s and McNear’s advanced stages were merely extensions of the stages that came before, and because McNear and Swann spent more than 3 years learning, developing and discussing CRV, it is reasonable that McNear’s thoughts on future stages might share commonality with, or even provided the seed thoughts for the 12 stages document composed by Swann.

For the above reasons we believe Swann was going to insert his page 38 into the CRV Manual immediately before the glossary (existing page 38) and, at some point, he was going to share this information—other than those elements, of course, which he identified as withheld.

Finally, the 12 stages listed in the document are the same as those in the 1985 CRV Manual, or at least possess the same meaning as the 11 stages in McNear’s 1985 manual.

The following table shows the juxtaposition of the 12 stages of Swann versus the 11 stages of McNear’s CRV Manual:

McNear's CRV stages document compared to Swann's listing
McNear’s CRV stages document compared to Swann’s listing.

The following addresses the similarities and differences in the above stages. Comparing and contrasting the meaning of the stages as addressed in Swann’s document and McNear’s CRV Manual is not an easy task. Where the descriptions are the same, one can assume agreement, but as Swann so elegantly stated, the CRV stages “constitute some kind of natural [Swann’s emphasis] and predictable developmental ESP…”  Even though both documents use similar descriptions of the stages, the finer point of where one naturally progressing stage ends and the next begins is also not easy to determine and is clearly not addressed in the simple 2-4 word descriptions. This comparison is made more difficult in Swann’s stages 7, 10, and 11 where his descriptions are obscure or non-existent.

With the above in mind, below is a brief discussion of the stage descriptions of Swann’s Stages Document and McNear’s CRV Manual:

  • Stages 1-3 are the same.
  • Swann moved sketches and trackers (S&T) from Stage-3 as McNear and other military viewers were taught to Stage-4. This modification may account for the “faster training method as described in the 1991 “Rima” letter, but this moving of the S&T does “not at all obviate any of the CRV processes…”
  • Swann moved tangibles and intangibles (T&I) from Stage-4 to Stage-5. This modification may account for the “faster training method as described in the “Rima” letter, but this moving of the S&T does “not at all obviate any of the CRV processes…”
  • Stage-5 as trained to the military viewers was entitled “Specific Analytical Aspects/Interrogating the Signal.” Swann appears to have omitted this aspect from the 12 stages he has listed above. Stage-5 provides the viewer with a wealth of information but is a time-consuming and onerous task. Removing this task from the viewer’s training would certainly speed the training process.
  • Stage-6 is the same in both Swann’s and McNear’s documents.
  • Stage-7 in the CRV Manual is listed as “analytics;” this switching with Stage-8 was explained earlier.
  • Stage-8 is identified as “phonetic” in both documents; as stated this was later changed to Stage-7.
  • Stage-9 in Swann’s document is “mind-melding,” in the CRV Manual it’s “telepathic signals,” these are different expressions of mind-to-mind interaction or telepathy.
  • Stage-10 is difficult to compare as Swann’s document simply stated “No English Equivalent.” In the CRV Manual, Stage-10 is Remote Action (RA or PK).
  • As with Stage-10, Stage 11 cannot be compared as it was “withheld” in Swann’s document. In the CRV Manual, Stage-11 is “Altering Dimensionality at the Site.”
  • Finally, Stage-12 in Swann’s document is “Controlled Multidimensional Travel (hypothetical).” In the CRV Manual dimensionality/multidimensionality is Stage-11. It is important to note that both Swann and McNear end their theoretical future stages addressing dimensionality/multidimensionality.

As can be seen in the above table, and as addressed above, while there are differences in the verbiage and minor switching of the ordering of the stages, both lists are essentially the same beginning with basic gestalts and ending with dimensionality/multidimensionality. Yes, readers may find fault in some details, but without being able to discuss the particulars with Swann himself, we believe the above two lists essentially address the same range of CRV signals.

What about Swann’s Four “Areas?”

As stated above, in a 31 January 1990 letter addressed to “Dear Ed,” Swann stated he has “made breakthroughs in at least four areas…”13 These areas were described as:

  1. Future-Seeing
  2. Full-body scanning of internal organs and health status
  3. Assessments of states of consciousness
  4. “RV-in-betweeners”

How do these “areas” relate to Swann’s CRV “stages?” For more than forty years Swann used the term “stages” to describe the progression of CRV training capabilities. In his 1991 “Rima” letter Swann stated, “Each stage (emphasis added) builds upon the former, and when successfully acquired by the trainee, also predicts the emergence of the next stage (emphasis added) – which duly appeared in all my trainees.”14 This indicates CRV training occurred and was trained in “stages,” not “areas.” “Areas” are not stages; “areas” seem to be topics for research that transcend stages and may be addressed by, or across several stages.

Regarding the four areas, Swann stated he “made breakthroughs in at least four areas, any of which, with patience, (emphasis added) could contribute to dynamic enlargements of the scope of RV.”  We believe, with patience, indicates that Swann had not developed these “areas” into viable “stages” on which one could be trained. This is further evidenced by his statement regarding future-seeing. In this same document, Swann says, “…when constructed (emphasis added) will enable almost any remote viewer greater access into future potentials.”15 We’ve seen no evidence that any of the four areas were constructed to a stage that could be used for instruction. If Swann had developed any of these “areas” into something that could be used in training, he would likely have called them “stages.” We believe this is supported by his statement in the third paragraph of that same document where he wrote, “any of which, with patience, (emphasis added) could contribute…” We believe he was tactfully saying these “areas” are not ready for training—they are not “stages.”

Also in the “Rima” letter, Swann added, “There are problems to be understood, and once understood, need to be functionally penetrated and put to work.” This, in Swann’s own words, clearly shows that these areas were not stages and were not ready to be used either for training or application purposes.

We cannot speak to “future-seeing” (area 1) and “full-body-scanning on internal organs and health status” (area 2), other than to say that these sound more like areas of study or practical applications, rather than theories or methodological developments. But we believe areas 3 and 4 are already addressed in the stages Swann and McNear proposed. “Assessment of states of consciousness” (area 3) is closely related to or wholly contained in Stage-9 “Mind-Melding” (Swann) and “Telepathy” (McNear).  Perhaps area 1 is also closely associated with Stage-9. Finally, “RV-in-Betweeners” (area 4) Swann called “so science-fiction that he didn’t want to describe them.” We believe this is Stage-11 “withheld,” on Swann’s Stages Document. Again, the “areas” are broad topics, elements of which are implied by  references in Swann’s Stages Document.

In summary, we believe Swann used the term “areas” to indicate broad topics or subjects for study, versus “stages” indicating the research had advanced to a point that it could be used for training. The “four areas” did not change the CRV training stages. One year after writing about the four areas, in the 1991 letter to “Rima,”16 Swann reiterated CRV “was divided into seven stages…” (emphasis added) and three years later in the 27-28 Aug 1993 interview with Jim Marrs, Swann stated, “He became the first to finish all seven stages.” (emphasis added). Clearly, the 1990 breakthrough “areas,” in Swann’s own words, did not advance CRV training beyond seven “stages.”

The Tale of Two Toms

Tom McNear was the first military trainee to complete all six stages of CRV,17 and he was also the only military trainee Swann trained in all six stages. Tom Bergen, also trained through Stage 6, was the last of Swann’s CRV students and he spent chronologically the longest time training with Swann. Tom Bergen trained part-time from May 2004 to just weeks before Swann’s passing in January 2013. The juxtaposition of the two Toms can give some interesting and necessary historical context to Swann’s activities and training techniques.

There has been some disagreement whether Swann changed CRV teaching techniques over the years.  We believe that what we have referred to as the “Stages Document” shows that Swann did make changes in the delivery of the CRV training delivered to Tom Bergen versus that delivered to the military viewers, but these changes did not change the overall content of the CRV training. What do we mean?

The Swann Stages Document depicts a variation in the naming of the stages. In this document, Swann wrote that Stage-4 was “sketches and trackers.” Sketches and trackers were part of Stage-3 for the military viewers. So Tom Bergen and the military viewers both received training on sketches and trackers, but this training took place as part of different stages (4 vs 3). Yet principles and practice were nevertheless taught in the identical order as Swann presented them in earlier iterations of his CRV training.

The document also identifies “tangibles and intangibles” as Stage-5. Tangibles and intangibles were part of Stage-4 for the military trainees. Again, Tom Bergen and the military viewers both received training on tangibles and intangibles, but this training took place as part of different stages (5 vs 4). Yet, once again, in the identical order as previously. Swann appears to have shifted the administrative transition points from one stage to the next without changing the content or the sequencing of the overall CRV training. One major difference between the training of Tom Bergen and the training of the military viewers is Stage-5. Swann omitted Stage-5 training both from the Stages Document and from the training of Tom Bergen. Swann removed or even seemed to have forgotten Stage-5. Paul H. Smith stated that in an in-person conversation with Swann on 24 May 1999,18 Swann “denied any recollection of Stage 5, nor of having trained anyone in that aspect of CRV.” In one other reported conversation, Swann said he thought “the Army” had developed Stage-5. In this, Swann was either mistaken or forgetful. Various documents exist from the government’s remote viewing Star Gate Program archives, and from Swann’s own archives, addressing the Stage-5 training and many reports and examples of Stage-5 sessions.

So, it appears Tom Bergen did receive slightly different CRV training than the military viewers. We believe Swann did slightly adjust the stage-numbering sequence of the initial four stages with Tom Bergen in which Swann shifted S&T and T&I forward one stage number each. The more noteworthy difference was the omission of Stage-5 from Tom Bergen’s training. This is the difference, and it is in line with Swann’s draft Stages Document.

Perhaps these adjustments account for Swann’s ability to shorten the training cycle as noted in the 1991 letter to “Rima” in which he stated that he, “evolved certain standards for achieving (RV) proficiency,” and this standard, “…can probably be achieved much faster and even more perfectly than via the time-consuming RV training approaches.”


Though Swann continued to ponder what heights CRV could reach, there is no evidence he trained or developed any CRV stages beyond Stage-6. Even Stage-7, for which there is evidentiary support, was never codified nor formalized as part of the well-attested 6-stage CRV training program. Swann and McNear were forced to deal with phonetics which spontaneously appeared; as noted in Puthoff & Swann, 1983, these phonetics were, after the fact, called Stage-7, but no training was ever developed for Stage-7. Stage-8 was also mentioned in the 1983 briefing as “human-to-human Interface” (or telepathy), but there is no evidence of any R&D or developmental work being accomplished regarding telepathy.


In this document, we have attempted to set the record straight regarding the jointly-created Swann/Puthoff CRV training and methodology, specifically, what came after CRV Stage-6. Since Swann was the primary developer; we have focused on his thoughts and assertions. Throughout, we have used Swann’s own words from the historical record. Some in the remote viewing community embellish minor elements of information and turn them into fanciful stories; indeed some have built a reputation on “knowing” what can’t be proven or can’t be shared. This has stained the community and in some cases may have done serious harm. The goal of this paper is to ensure truth prevails; in the remote viewing community, there are significant and amazing occurrences almost every day. There is no need to exaggerate them. We believe this document clarifies these issues. If indisputable evidence were to be found within Ingo Swann’s archives or elsewhere, we would certainly reconsider this analysis in that light, but until then, we believe Swann’s own words through the cited historical documents, have set the record straight.

Ingo Swann's friends at the conclusion of his memorial service
Some of Ingo Swann’s close friends at the conclusion of his memorial service, including three of the contributors to this article. Tom Bergen is far left, Paul H. Smith center, and Tom McNear far right. Also in the group: (left to right) John Stahler, Robert Knight, Hal Puthoff (center) and Winston Smith.
  1. Jim Schnabel (1997). Remote Viewers: The Secret History of America’s Psychic Spies (published 1997 based on 1993 interview of Ingo Swann)
  2. Jim Marrs (2007). Psi Spies: The True Story of America’s Psychic Warfare Program (published 2007, information based on a 27-28 Aug 1993 interview of Ingo Swann).
  3. Ingo Swann (3 Aug 1991). Correspondence from Ingo Swann to “Rima,” presumably psychiatrist Rima Laibow, MD (no title).
  4. Dr. Hal Puthoff and Ingo Swann (4 Aug 1983). Co-ordinate Remote Viewing (CRV) Technology Briefing, 1981-1983.
  5. Ingo Swann (10 Sep 1984). Swann Proprietary Document, “S-6 Training Completion,” from Ingo Swann to Dr. Hal Puthoff.
  6. Swann, 1991
  7. Jim Marrs (2007).
  8. Puthoff & Swann, 1983
  9. Ingo Swann (undated). The Identified Stages. Typewritten document found in the Swann Archives at the University of West Georgia.
  10. Thomas M. McNear (February 1985). Coordinate Remote Viewing Stages I-VI and Beyond.
  11. Swann, undated, “The Identified Stages.”
  12. Swann, 1991
  13. Ingo Swann (31 Jan 1990). Typewritten letter from Ingo Swann addressed to “Dear Ed,” (no title).
  14. Swann, 1991
  15. Swann, 1990
  16. Ingo Swann (3 Aug 1991).
  17. Swann, 1984
  18. Paul H. Smith, contemporaneous journal entry, 24 May 1999.