IN THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
My diary for 1972 shows that from the Carleton retreat I proceeded directly to Washington, D.C. to do book research in the Library of Congress.
Arriving in Washington, I stayed with a very good friend, Virginia Downesborough. At the time, she owned and operated a small employment agency there specializing in job market opportunities in government and on the Hill. So, of course, she had "contacts" everywhere.
I had already been to the Library of Congress one
time earlier, the reason being that I had drained dry the New York libraries
regarding psychic matters, and had several times been referred to Washington
Back then, one had to have some kind of credentials to utilize the nation's Library, and so Dr. Jan Ehrenwald had written a letter saying I was a researcher working for the American Society for Psychical Research in New York. This letter had passed muster. I had filled out a vast number of call slips for books, determined eventually to look at all the books on this subject matter. If I remember correctly, ten books at a time were delivered to my seat in the vast impressive reading room.
While waiting for books, I went to view Buell Mullen's murals installed years earlier in the Library.
On this second trip, I began submitting call slips,
and the first books duly arrived at my seat. But shortly, a young man dressed
in a very chic suit came up asking if I was "Mr. Swann." I first
thought I was going to get thrown out.
"If you'd like, I can provide you with a pass to go into the stacks. There's a desk back there you can work at."
I was completely dumbfounded, for it was my understanding
that only members of Congress (or their aides) could gain admittance to
So I said something like: "Gosh! To what do I owe this honor."
He smiled, saying that it would save everyone a lot of time -- then adding that "someone has spoken on your behalf."
"I have no idea. I'm only an overseer here. Just come with me."
I went with him.
As I remember it, the Library had only two double
stacks of psychic books, and I was able to look along each shelf to find
books I wasn't familiar with or didn't even know existed.
I noted the titles of some, thinking I'd somehow obtain copies of them.
THEN I came across one book I'd never heard of,
by two authors I'd never heard of, entitled THOUGHTS THROUGH SPACE (1942).
Well, I HAD heard of one of the authors -- Sir Hubert Wilkins, the noted explorer of the Arctic. But I had not known that the famous explorer had been involved in a dramatic psychic experiment.
I was dumbfounded when I read through the book's contents -- and saw that the book contained the "Authenticated documentary record of the Wilkins-Sherman experiments in long-distance telepathy" -- Harold M. Sherman, of course, being the other author and the psychic involved.
As I turned through the pages, I was completely
staggered to see that the Wilkins-Sherman experiments had been almost an
exact replica of the out-bound "beacon" remote-viewing experiments
at the ASPR.
MY GOD!!! IT'S BEEN DONE BEFORE! AND -- involved
no less than SIXTY-EIGHT "tests" between Wilkins at the North
Pole, and Sherman in New York! -- the tests running between October 25,
1937 and March 24, 1938.
I had no idea of who Sherman was, but it was certain
that Sir Hubert had been of impeccable character.
The last page of the book contained a letter, dated April 4, 1938, from Sherman to the parapsychology luminary, Dr. Gardner Murphy, Department of Psychology, Columbia University:
"Dear Dr. Murphy: I am herewith enclosing the last of the annotated impressions returned to me by Wilkins following completion of his six months' Arctic search for the lost Russian flyers.
"I am sorry that we were unable to perform more of the ESP card texts desired by you, but conditions in the North with Wilkins made this impossible. . . .".
Even while sitting in the Library of Congress I
could see that the rate of successes was astronomical, everything considered.
Wilkins would be at a certain place at all times. He would not know where
this place would be in advance.
But a time was pre-arranged when Mr. Sherman in New York would attempt to view the explorer at the Pole, and try to describe where Wilkins was and what was going on around him.
LORD ABOVE, if one substituted "spying" for "describe" -- well, one would have long-distance spying -- e.g. long-distance spying by "remote-viewing."
I was FURIOUS, FURIOUS, FURIOUS.
At the ASPR, Osis, Mitchell and I had been dealt all that bullshit about out-of-body viewing and the two kinds of remote-viewing experiments, with those turds on the publishing committee proclaiming that they were off the wall.
Yet, the Wilkins-Sherman experiments had been monitored
by Dr. Gardner Murphy, several times the president of the ASPR, and while
he lived surely one of the greatest figureheads parapsychology has ever
Immediately on my return to New York, I briefed
Janet and she and I went into the ASPR library to see if the book was there.
There was an index card for it with two notations on it: "missing"
"Well," I giggled, "what do you think?"
Janet thought they had gotten rid of it.
So I telephoned Weiser's Occult Book Store to see
if they had a second hand copy of it. They did. I went immediately to buy
When I had it in hand, I found it was stamped "Circulating, American Society for Psychical Research."
"Where did you get this book?" I asked. "It belongs to the ASPR."
No, I was told. It came in a box of books the ASPR occasionally sold to Weiser's.
I promptly bought it. And so it WAS true -- the ASPR had "deaccessioned" (gotten rid of) the book of the Sherman/Wilkins long-distance experiments. Why? Oh, Why, Why, Why?
"Janet," I said, "there's some kind
of a goddamned plot going on here."
No one had heard of Sherman, except Lucille Kahn. "Oh, yes, he had something to do with Rhine way back. I think he must have died since."
In any event, remote-viewing under another name
had actually begun in 1938. I was later to discover that it had begun MUCH
earlier -- at least in its modern contexts.
I was also able to discover that if ANYTHING had been completely sanitized from parapsychology consciousness, THIS was it. "THIS," of course, refers to LONG-DISTANCE clairvoyance or traveling clairvoyance, or whatever you want to call it.
Janet and I assumed Sherman was dead, since Wilkins
was. There was a great mystery here, and somehow great shame on parapsychology.
The mystery and the shame was ultimately to be
explained in November, 1972 -- explained by Mr. Harold M. Sherman himself
and who was very much alive and kicking.