As the month of February began drawing to an end, I was beginning to lose patience with the ASPR and the workload there.
With all of the different experiments involved, I was now doing very many repetitive trials for different experiments -- especially regarding the "flicker-fusion" experiments of Dr. Carole Silfen, and the ESPateacher machine designed by Jim Merriweather.
I didn't do very well a lot of the time. The targets followed the concept of the conventional ESP cards (Zener cards) -- i.e., the targets were usually symbols. But now the symbols were converted into mechanized light projection targets and the choice was wide as to what could be used as a target.
But everyone was satisfied that we were learning something because, as they said, I had the "staying power" to work for long hours at repetitive trials.
For example, patterns began emerging as to which colors and shapes were easier to "see" (red and other warm colors). Angular shapes were often very easy to identify -- circular shapes were usually very difficult.
We also found out there were good and bad days regarding the "seeing" and the results. On some days my "seeing" was a wreck. On others it seemed near perfect.
Why? I didn't have a clue about why until about seven years later -- and which I'll discuss in a later chapter.
I was very dismayed regarding two factors, though.
For one thing, since July 1971 I had put on nearly thirty-five pounds, mostly around my middle and my face. Where I had been slender before, I was now suddenly getting FAT, and this made a problem of fitting into clothes.
The very many parties and dinners I was invited to probably had something to do with this. But I felt that there were obvious and hidden stresses in doing this kind of work -- of having to try to succeed, and of fearing failure.
But second, except for the long-distance few of the experiments were very challenging any longer. Even if I had staying power, I was very much aware that boredom and psi perceiving don't go together too well -- and that many past parapsychology experiments had dwindled into extinction because of this.
I voiced this boredom, my fear of failing because of boredom, to Dr. Schmeidler, Dr. Osis, in fact to almost everyone.
Buell Mullen Central, and even Zelda, noted that parapsychology was known for creating boring experiments that had nothing to do with real life.
I felt that if our species possessed psi faculties, they must have been "designed" for real life functioning, not for repetitive testing on artificial targets.
I don't remember who it was that first got the idea of the "beacon" experiments. It wasn't me, and I seem to remember that the idea came from Janet, Vera Feldman and perhaps Jim Merriweather.
In any event, here was the experiment which was to become famous, not because of anything done about it at the ASPR, but in the future hands of Dr. Hal Puthoff and Russell Targ at Stanford Research Institute.
It was an experiment which could easily be replicated, as it was later done by other research groups.
It was also the type of experiment which first introduced the term "remote viewing" in everyday parlance.
The design of the experiment was simple enough.
The experimenters would go to some place a little away from the experiment room. They would act as "beacons" for the subject left sitting in the experiment room at the ASPR. The subject would try to see not the beacon, but the surrounding location they were at.
The subject would verbalize, make notes (or drawings) regarding what was "seen." When the experimenters returned, their notes and other information about where they were would be compared with the subject's notes.
Now, ever since I had begun working at the ASPR, I had of course tried on my own to enhance my aptitudes. I was familiar with shops in Greenwich Village, and which had display windows.
One type of practice I had designed was as follows.
When walking down the street I would try to visualize what was being displayed in the windows before I got to them.
Sometimes the reward was very great, sometime not so much so.
But it was good practice. Anyone can try it -- provided they continue to do it over time and not get disappointed by their first failure. This was a type of "remote viewing" practice experiments.
In any event, the new outbound experiment at the ASPR was a new challenge, and an interesting one.
There was some concern as to whether the ASPR could afford this type of experiment, because it wasn't in the OOB series.
I suggested that we transfer the time needed to our agreement to let me test new ideas 50 per cent of my time, an agreement that had already been approved.
So, on February 22, 1972, Vera Feldman acted as the outbound experimenter. As usual, I was hooked up to the brainwave leads, and once more sat imprisoned in the OOB Chair.
The arrangement was that Vera would arrive at the location at 10:45 a.m. At an agreed start time, I would commence trying to describe where she was. At five minute intervals, Vera would move to another location, and again I would try to describe where she was.
The target location was the Museum of Natural History in New York, only a few blocks away from the ASPR building.
I don't remember if I knew in advance what the target was to be, and have nothing in my archives which would indicate this.
But I think I did know because I remember discussions about the enormous size of the Museum and its exceedingly different areas and exhibits. And Vera could get any place she wanted within five minutes, and would be in a completely different surrounding.
I also had not been in the Museum for about ten years, and things were always being changed around there.
Because the outbound remote viewing experiment did become so famous worldwide in the near years to come, I believe the full text of the first one should be included in this book. And Janet Mitchell, as meticulous as always, kept a very good record.
The experiment was to start at 10:45 a.m. -- and at that time I would give my first impression.
But in trying to focus on Vera, I entered my first impression at 10:35.
Below, I have reproduced Janet's formal record. But I will add the feedback regarding each impression.
The time intervals given based on Vera's wristwatch synchronized with the clock in Janet's and the testy Dynograph's office.
Swann - 2/22/72 - Responses (taken from record) First Museum Trip
10:35 AM - She's there already.
(FEEDBACK: Unexpected, approximate time of arrival correct.)
10:45 AM - I think she's in a room that's round with a hallway and a flight of stairs to the south. There are large paintings on the wall.
(Almost correct. Vera was in a large octagon-shaped room. The walls were lined with glassed exhibits of monkeys and so forth - but the specimens were displayed against very large backdrop paintings. I didn't discriminate between the painted backdrop display and the specimens just in front of them.)
10:50 AM - She's in a large room that is darkened. There are lots of animals.
(Correct. She was in one of the great Animal Exhibit Halls, which were darkened.)
10:55 AM - I guess that must be a long corridor and there is a telephone booth nearby.
(Correct. Vera was a little behind her schedule, and at 10:55 was rushing through a long corridor. She first said that there was no telephone booth. But when we later I went to the museum to photograph the targets for the record, there was not a telephone booth there. But there WAS a telephone hanging on the wall near a doorway.
I was particularly pleased with this one result. It consisted of a telephone I had seen, but which Vera had not. This, then, was NOT telepathy, but a traveling form of clairvoyance proper. This meant I was scanning the surroundings, not Vera herself, or her own impressions. THIS aspect was to be extremely important in the years ahead when doing operational sites for you-know-who.)
11:00 AM - That's the room with the dinosaurs in it.
(Correct. Vera was in a room with big dinosaur bones.)
11:05 AM - I see something red. Maybe it's a series of stones of some sort. That one seems confused, whatever it is. Lots of cases filled with things.
(Correct. Prior to the Museum's later construction of more dramatic displays for its gemstone collections, the stones had been placed in dozens of large glassed-over cases in a tremendous room. Other larger crystals and stones, some of them very large, were displayed without glass and separately or in large collections.)
11:10 AM - I guess she's outside on the steps. There are steps anyway.
(This was an apparent miss, although Vera said she was thinking about how to get out of the Museum.)
The results of this experiment were very exciting and encouraging. My boredom disappeared for a while. And we began joking about the fact that ESP could be used for psychic spying, etc.
Little could I have imagined that it ever would be.
In any event, our imaginations were fired up and the overall mood was very good -- and I decided to knock off the last three of the formal OOB experiments before boredom was once more reached. In a few days time, the OOB experiments were completed.