Newly released information tells us what we already knew: The CIA attempted to harness psychic abilities to spy on Iran in at least 1979 and 1980..
In an operation code-named Grill Flame, half a dozen psychics working inside a dimly lit room in an ancient building in Fort Meade, Maryland, on more than 200 occasions tried to peer through the ether to see where the hostages were being held, how closely they were guarded and the state of their health..
Psychics were also consulted in April 1980 before secret United States militias raids in attempts to free hostages..
This information should come as no surprise to people who have listened to Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell in the 1990s and 2000s—Ed Dames, a ‘remote viewer’ was often a notable guest.. Dames claimed that the government utilized his efforts to employ teams of people to ‘remote view’ the future, the past, and the present.. often military sources have claimed that a use of psychics was prevalent dating back to the early part of the 20th century..
Others are more skeptical, to put it mildly. “The intelligence agencies might as well get a crystal ball out and stare into space and hope they see something,” said James Randi, a former professional magician who turned his career into debunking ESP and psychics. “It’s a huge waste of time and money and it doesn’t help the hostages one bit.”
Randi’s skeptical perspective was shared by many inside the intelligence community. William J. Daugherty, a CIA case officer working in Iran who was captured when the embassy was seized by the radical students, told the Herald he learned of the psychic probing from colleagues after his release.
“It was at lunch, and they were laughing,” Daugherty said. “It was in the nature of, ‘Can you believe the crazy stuff we did?’”
Daugherty himself, while in captivity, had been wondering if the CIA might be monitoring the embassy with something else from its bag of odd tricks, the so-called ornithopter — a mechanical bird, wired with microphones to pick up nearby conversations as it perched on windowsills. The spymasters kept the ornithopter in its coop, but Daugherty was impressed with another CIA ploy he learned about.