Sunday, August 5, 2007

Remote Viewing

Remote Viewing is a psi technique where some people claim to be able to perceive aspects or features of some location through some kind of non-physical perceptual process. Of currently living Remote Viewers, Joe McMoneagle is probably the most famous.

In 1994 the ABC news show "Put to the Test" created an informal test for McMoneagle.

Skeptoicriticized McMoneagle's interpretations of the scene, but I found their critisms rather strained. McMoneagle's drawing was of a river with straight sides, and a bridge, which were obvious matches for the target site and not the other three sites. A few of their criticisms were very misleading. . .


She's looking up at it. This would apply best to the treehouse, the waterslide, or the Water Wall. There was really nothing to look up at at the dock.


Did the skeptoid commentor actually watch the entire video? First of all, McMoneagle said "There's something tall at the target. She keeps looking up at it". The video footage clearly shows her repeatedly looking up at the bridge, which looks to be over 100 feet tall. For the skeptoid commentor to make this misleading comment is ridiculous. Of course, he is correct that the other sites also have something tall at the target site, and if they were chosen it is likely that the individual at the target site would have looked up at them as well.


She's standing on an incline. She was not standing on an incline, and there were no apparent inclines at any of the four locations.


McMoneagle never said this. He said "the actual target itself is more on an incline". And the bridge, the most prominent visual feature of the target site and target photo, is certainly on an incline up from ground level to high above the river, curving back down to an incline on the opposite bank.


There's a river or something riverlike nearby, with manmade improvements.
Houston is a famous river town, so this was a pretty good bet. It applies equally well to the waterslide and to the dock.


I saw no evidence in the photographs or video footage that the other two sites fit nearly as well with this description. Perhaps they were near a river, but the target photo and video footage from ABC made it clear that the important aspects of the other potential targets was something completely different. Certainly the dock is the best possible fit for the illustrations and commentary McMoneagle provided during the program.


I argue that the target person could have been at any one of the four locations, and Joe's psychic predictions would have seemed equally impressive. Joe made numerous sketches, but the only two that they showed were a sketch of a squiggly river (the river at the dock is between straight cement seawalls) and a vague triangular shape, which they interpreted as similar to a crane on a barge when seen from a certain angle.




The river McMoneagle drew was clearly squiggly in the distance, but the part in the foreground was drawn with completely straight banks, which fit the manmade straight lines of the dock area perfectly.

In addition, ABC news showed many more than two sketches. Again I find myself questioning whether Skeptoid bothered to watch the entire video carefully?

An interesting video, certainly not a scientific test, and not proof of anything, but I found it intriguing and entertaining.

I'll address a more formal study of remote viewing soon here on AMNAP.

UPDATE: Brian in the comments questions whether the woman was looking up or not.

Based on these stills from the video, I would say it appears to me that she was looking "up" at the bridge, which is very large and a hundred feet or more high. Now if Joe had suggested that she was looking "straight up" that would be obviously inaccurate.




4 comments:

Ersby said...

http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=83806

This is a discussion of the self same video, as well as others besides. I was disappointed that the target chosen was such a cliché, and I also found it interesting that there was one sketch that was not used in the final judging. It related to the triangular structure, and far from being anything to do with a crane on a boat, it looked like MacMoneagle had remotely viewed a monument or memorial.

So the sketch that contained the most detail was the least accurate, which the vaguest were easy to fit.

M.C. said...

Thanks Andrew for that link.

Brian said...

The bridge was a good quarter mile away from the dock, at least. Up was not the direction to look to see it.

Also it's spelled Skeptoid, not "Skeptiod". :)

M.C. said...

Brian, you're quite right about a typo in my post. Thanks!

As for the "looking up", I'm editing the article to address your question.