Interview with U.S. Army Remote Viewer Joe McMoneagle explains how his near-death experience led to being selected for the government’s psychic spy program.
photo by Axel Drainville
Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with Joe McMoneagle, author of, Memoirs of a Psychic Spy. During the interview McMoneagle discusses the origins of the government’s psychic spy program:
Joe McMoneagle: We heard rumors and picked up some details about the Russians using psychics to spy on America. It was impossible, for obvious reasons, to get an actual agent inside their program; so when faced with the possibility that our enemy is doing something that we have no ability to judge, the best way to find what their capability is, or the limits of their capability, is to emulate them.
So the initial intention was to just spend three years doing that–selecting people, targeting our own people at the CIA, FBI, Secret Service, that sort of thing.
That didn’t work very long because we were able to successfully recruit six people and they turned out to be very, very good at doing what we thought the Russians were doing. They were good enough that people felt that it should be operational immediately.
Alex Tsakiris: Tell us about your trips to Russia and your meeting with your Russian counterparts. Were they really spying on us with psychic spies?
Joe McMoneagle: In actuality, they were. They were using spies, psychic spies, to target us and target many of our agencies. In my trips to Russia and the time I spent with the directors of their program and their actual remote viewers—I call them remote viewers. They probably shouldn’t be called remote viewers because they use nothing like our protocols. They displayed some interesting capacities in many of the things that they were doing but they did things completely differently than us. They did a lot of things that we didn’t do in terms of their attempts to manipulate the paranormal area, anyway. For instance, there were some efforts I know that they spent a great deal of time in trying to manipulate or affect the decision-making of some American politicians and that sort of thing.
Alex Tsakiris: Today we’re joined by one of the world’s leading experts on remote viewing. Joe McMoneagle was psychic spy #001 for the U.S.’s Stargate Project that began at the Stanford Research Institute in the ‘70s. Joe was also a near-death experiencer and author of several books, including Mind Trek: Exploring Consciousness, Time and Space Through Remote Viewing, and Memoirs of a Psychic Spy: The Remarkable Life of U.S. Remote Viewer 001.
Welcome, Joe, and thanks for joining me today on Skeptiko.
Joe McMoneagle: I’m glad to be here. Thank you.
Alex Tsakiris: You know, there are so many big picture topics that we could get into given your background that I hardly know where to start. I mean, you’re a military man and a soldier who spied on the enemy to advance our national interests. But at the same time you’re a man with this extraordinary spiritual experience that you had to reintegrate back into your life—this NDE that you had.
Most people know, of course, that you’re a psychic, which you say remote viewers are psychic so you’re psychic. Not that you are “a psychic” but you’re psychic. But then you also have these spontaneous out-of-body experiences that I think people would just find fascinating. I don’t know how much we’ll be able to get to but I’m excited to jump into it.
Where I thought we’d start is with this military background, so one thing that jumped out at me—here you are in the middle of the Vietnam War and you’re a college student and you decide to join the Army. Why?
Joe McMoneagle: That’s a really good question. Actually I was going to go to college. I was accepted at the University of Miami and I went and bought all my books and registered for my classes and everything. Then I went to my first—I guess it’s the first homeroom thing, the sort of orientation briefing that they give you. I found myself sitting in this very large auditorium with about 1,000 other people. At least it seemed like 1,000 people.
I couldn’t hear what the guy in the front of the room was saying but some young man stopped and handed me a card and he said, “That’s your student number. You need to memorize that because you’re going to be using that and not your name.”
I said, “Oh my God. I’m never going to be able to learn anything in this place.” I’d just come out of an all-boys school taught by monks, basically. Our largest class I think was 15 or 16 people. I just knew I wasn’t going to do anything worthwhile in college at that time. So the only other way I could get out of Miami was by joining the service.
Alex Tsakiris: Did you have any inkling of what the Army was going to be like or that you wanted to serve in that way or be a soldier? Hey, you wind up making that your career and it’s quite an interesting career—quite an interesting time to be a soldier. Did you have any sense of that when you started?
Joe McMoneagle: Well, no I didn’t. I actually didn’t know I was going to join the Army. I took a bus to downtown Miami and went to the big recruiting office in the basement of the courthouse at the time. It started out I went in and talked to the people in the Air Force because I had always wanted to fly.
I got this sort of cock-and-bull story about how I was going to be traveling all over the world and I’d be living in private apartments and I’d have all kinds of experiences dating girls overseas and all this. It just didn’t feel like it was a real thing to me. I sort of got the same story, the same line, this sort of encouragement to enlist, from everyone else as well.
It was the Army recruiter. When I spoke to him it was the Army recruiter who basically said, “Look, you don’t really want to join the Army. You’re a smart guy. You’re going to be nothing but a bullet launcher and a bullet catcher when you go in the Army. So my recommendation is don’t do it.” And I felt like he was the only one who wasn’t lying to me.
Alex Tsakiris: Reverse psychology.
Joe McMoneagle: I guess. I didn’t think that that was entirely true but I was impressed by the fact that he didn’t embellish. He just told me straight-up that they were beginning to become heavily involved in the Vietnam conflict. There was a very good chance that I would probably go there.
Alex Tsakiris: So you jump into this and then if we can skip ahead in the story, I want to talk about 1970. You have this profound spiritual experience and that’s what I want to call it because I think sometimes when we talk about near-death experience we want to disassociate ourselves from the spiritual aspect of it.
I’m not saying anything about religion. I’m just trying to break it apart and understand it. I want you to tell us what happened in 1970 and then also what I think what’s really interesting to me is the profound effect it had on you, unsettling effect on your life.
Joe McMoneagle: Yeah, well, it came out of left field, I can say that. I had already been to Vietnam and I was involved in my first tour in Europe. Eventually I spent more than 12 years consistently overseas. I went from Vietnam to Europe and I was assigned in a very small unit at a place called Bad Aibling. I was in town of Bad Aibling south of Munich in Bavaria. This was a very small intelligence collection station.
From there I was assigned to one of the border site commands, ENS, which is 18 men in a rural town called Pocking in Bavaria, which is about 60 kilometers or 30 miles north of Passau. We were doing a number of very classified missions there.
It was during one of those periods that I met my wife at a guest house in Austria, which is right across the Elbe River from Germany. We were going to spend the weekend in this guest house together and I had dinner with her and a close friend and then he was going to leave and she and I were going to spend the elongated weekend there, after which I’d go back to work.
Something happened. I ordered a before-dinner drink and after a few sips of the drink started feeling extremely ill and I didn’t want to be sick in the restaurant. So I excused myself from the table and tried to leave. I got as far as the front door and as I exited the front door—it was a swinging glass door—as I pushed on it there was a sort of a pop, like if you had snapped your fingers. I found myself hovering over the road, the cobblestone road outside and there was a gentle rain. I noticed the raindrops were passing through my palms.
Alex Tsakiris: Had you ever been outside of your body before that?
Joe McMoneagle: No, never. I had never had what they call an out-of-body experience before. I most certainly had never found myself in that circumstance. It was a real surprise. It stunned me. I knew there was something seriously wrong when I saw the rain passing through my palms. I wasn’t getting wet. The rain was just going through my hands.
When I looked up I saw someone who looked peculiarly like me laying on the sidewalk, half-in and half-out of the glass door. What had happened was I had collapsed going out through the door. Everybody was starting to panic around my body.
Alex Tsakiris: As I understand it, your buddies come around, they try and help you. They get you into a car but it’s a lengthy process, right? That’s the part I thought was interesting. You talk about these NDEs and what state the body’s in. I mean, you’re driving all over, they’re kicking in the doors of these hospitals trying to get you there. So for a long time you’re kind of flying around outside your body. And then what happened?
Joe McMoneagle: You’re right; what I didn’t know at the time is that I had actually collapsed and gone into convulsions and swallowed my tongue. When you swallow your tongue you can’t breathe. You don’t have to not-breathe for very long before your heart stops. During that process, all this other action is taking place. They eventually got me to the hospital in Passau, which is about 35 miles away.
I became bored with the whole process at some point and decided that I didn’t need to be there, I guess. I actually felt heat on the back of my neck in the emergency room and I thought as I was hovering and looking down at my body, I felt the heat on the back of my neck was coming from those very powerful lights they have in emergency rooms. So I turned around to see how close I was to the bulbs in the ceiling.
When I turned around the scene changed and I found myself falling through the tunnel. The classic tunnel. It was lined with bodies of people and they were all yelling at me and trying to speak to me and grabbing at me as I was falling through this tunnel. I closed my eyes to sort of seal that out and found myself then reviewing my past life, many of the actions of my past life, which I never thought actually happened.
People say when you die you review your whole life. Well, you actually do in just a matter of a few moments, it feels like. And at some point in that review, I found myself coming out of the end of the tunnel being enveloped in a very soft but intense white light.
Alex Tsakiris: Right. I think you described it in the book if I remember, “swimming in pure, unconditional love.”
Joe McMoneagle: Right. Just floating in it and being totally whole, totally complete, totally loved. It’s really hard to describe actually using words because I don’t think there are any words that can describe it. But I knew that, at the time anyway, I knew this must be what God is. And I didn’t want to leave. I just wanted to be there in that light forever. It just seemed like that was the place to be.
Alex Tsakiris: So tell us a little bit about coming back, because you didn’t want to leave but you did have to come back and that really throws you for a loop.
Joe McMoneagle: There was a voice. I don’t know if it was in my head. I can’t really say it was in my head because I wasn’t in my body. But there was a voice that I had a sense of hearing.
This voice said, “It’s too soon. You have to go back. You have things to do.”
And I argued. I said, “No, I’m not leaving. I want to be here.”
There was another snap like someone snapping their fingers again and I found myself sitting upright in a bed and I was naked under the sheet. I had tubes hanging out of my nose and IVs in my arms.
I looked over and there was this German patient in the room with me. His eyes got as big as saucers. I started telling him in broken German and English, “God’s a white light. You can’t die. It’s okay. Don’t be afraid.” And he ran out of the room and got the doctor. The doctor came in and sedated me, I think, because he shot something into my IV line and I went back to sleep.
Alex Tsakiris: But this transition, Joe, it’s not an easy transition for you, right? I think I recall—and just correct me if I’m wrong but—you were really somewhat distraught initially when you came back because you didn’t want to be there. You wanted to be—we can’t blame you—you wanted to be swimming in the pure, unconditional love. Or at least that’s what you thought you wanted.
Joe McMoneagle: Yeah. I didn’t want to come back here. I was perfectly comfortable there and I didn’t want to leave. And to find myself suddenly awake and alive, it created a huge amount of discomfort for me. And it also confused me considerably. I had no idea what had happened or why it had happened. I’d never known that those kinds of things did happen.
Of course, the military’s response to that initially was extremely negative. I found myself being loaded into a sealed limousine, tied down to a stretcher. The limousine windows were all sealed. They took me to a sort of partially-empty wing of a rest home in Munich where they started debriefing me from the experience. Evidently there were some things about the mysteriousness of the occurrence that disturbed them a great deal. It could have been a possible attempt on my life or something. They wanted to know what happened.
My response to that was, being in Intelligence I explained in detail exactly what was happening or what was going on and they didn’t believe it. They thought, “He must have suffered irreparable brain damage during the incident because this can’t possibly be true.”
It really frightened me because I thought, “This is where I’m going to wind up being for a long time, is in this sort of sealed wing of this rest home and they’re not going to let me out of here because I’m crazy.”
Alex Tsakiris: Hey, one thing comes to mind and I haven’t heard too many people talk about this. Do you have any idea at this point, looking back, as to why that is so hard to reintegrate? I mean, just trying to make sense of the whole thing and how it all works? Why when you’re in this beautiful place with God as you describe it, and I think that’s a fair term.
We don’t know exactly what that means but it sure sounds a lot like that. And you’re ripped back into this world. Why is it so hard? Why do we come back from knowing to total confusion, not knowing and being in a place where it really kind of rips us apart by our bearings? Do you have any thoughts on was that the plan? Was that part of it? Or is it just something you have to deal with?
Joe McMoneagle: At the time it’s just something you have to deal with. I was not able to assimilate the event for many years. I just had the experience and I was walking around the experience and not knowing how to assimilate it in any way. For a long time I was absolutely convinced that the white light was God. I’m not convinced of that now. The experience is still just as real in my mind as the day it happened but I’ve since had a second near-death experience when I had a heart attack at age 39, right after retirement from the Army.
In my second experience I was fully prepared to go to the light again, to go where I knew was home, and I was not allowed to. I was allowed only to see it. But I was not allowed to enjoin it. So in the second experience, this confused me. It created a huge philosophic problem for me because by being able to see the light and not going to it, it showed me that the light had edges. My definition of God is that God cannot be a finite being. God can’t have edges.
So it created a huge philosophic problem for me and I processed that for many years. The answer I’ve sort of accepted, that I’m comfortable with now, is that what I believe the light is, is what we are in totality when we’re no longer a physical being. We’re pure energy beings and we’re created in the image and likeness of God. But that isn’t God. It’s the reason why we feel so complete and so whole.
It’s as if we’ve been shattered to pieces while we were participating in reality and after the reality experience we become complete or whole again. It’s the reason why we suddenly feel like we’re in a place called home, or a place where we’re completely comfortable.
The problem that leaves you with is well, what then is God? Who is this being, this infinite being we call God? And there’s no way of knowing that, I don’t think. At least not at the level at which I’m thinking.
So rather than try to determine what is this thing called God, I’m trying to now figure out what the extent of being human is? Who am I as a human being? What are my responsibilities as a human being, both in the physical reality as well as not in the physical reality? That’s a big enough job right there.
Alex Tsakiris: That’s interesting and I like the way that you put it there, being in this physical reality versus these non-physical realities that you’ve experienced. Maybe I threw the term “God” in there too liberally and that’s why I want to draw back in the military world. We’re operating in a different set of principles.
Joe McMoneagle: Oh yeah, absolutely. When you’re having that experience one of the problems that you’re faced with immediately is you find that by extension what we call “self” or the “self-identity” is far greater than we supposed. It does come with a whole new different set of moral imperatives, if you want to call it that. Or it does come with a whole different set of rules.
And the worst possible judge of your previous actions in the physical reality is yourself. You find that you’re being self-judged. The sense is that judgment that there probably is some super, infinite being looking over your shoulder and kind of going, “Yeah, now you understand.”
And after that understanding you’re left with no ability to say, “But I can do this out of ignorance now.” You have no ignorance after that. You have to act in a different way and you have to be a different kind of person. It was very hard to find a way of being that different kind of person and still being in the military. But as things would happen, I think there really was a reason for me to remain and that played out later in my life and in all of my endeavors since.
Alex Tsakiris: Excellent. Okay, so you come back from this experience, Joe, and you’re psychic. At what point do you realize that these new abilities have developed within you?
Joe McMoneagle: Well, in actuality I was probably psychic since the day I was born. I had other experiences which I just completely shut out. There were lots of things in my life that happened that I would not have automatically called psychic events but I would have to say were knowing events. So for a long time in my life I would listen very carefully to what was going on in my own head and I would pay attention to the small voices that would tell me when to stop doing something or when to do something.
And I think we all, all human beings, it’s part of our nature that we have those small voices. I mean, at a very rudimentary level we have, of course, the one voice on the shoulder that says when we’re thinking of doing something that’s not quite right, that little voice saying, “Go ahead. You’ll never get caught. It’s only one time,” that kind of thing. And he usually has little horns and a pitchfork or something. That’s how we imagine it.
But then we have the other little voice with the white wings that says, “No, don’t do it. It’s not the right thing to do.” We all hear those little voices. I think that’s certainly part of it. And then there are times when we have the butterflies in our stomach or the hair rises up on the back of our neck and if we’re paying attention that affects the decision-making that we might be in the processes of doing.
So I think we’re all psychic in a sense as humans because it’s part of our very nature. I think I’ve been psychic since birth but in terms of actually realizing it and accepting responsibility for it, that certainly didn’t come until after the near-death experience.
Alex Tsakiris: One of the reasons I asked that is because I think it’s an interesting aspect of this near-death experience that hasn’t fully been explored. It’s reported over and over again that people come back from this experience and they have these psychic gifts. Some people report that they have them for a short period of time and then they kind of dissipate.
So it could be as you say, that we all have these innate abilities and then we’re tuned up to it after the NDE. Or there could be something else going on in terms of actually rewiring our hardware there.
But what does that say about the relationship between these extended human abilities of consciousness, telepathy, clairvoyance, remote viewing, however you want to term it, and our relationship to that other dimension that we were just talking about a minute ago? What do you think it says about the relationship between those two? Or does it really not say anything necessarily?
Joe McMoneagle: I think it says a great deal. It says that there’s a lot more to reality than what we see, hear, smell, touch or taste. I think it says that reality or consciousness is truly a powerful sense in that it extends beyond the very nature of physical time/space. I think it’s the only way that we can envision how to even understand or how to test to understand what the limits of physical reality are.
We wouldn’t have a field of research called physics or medicine or anything else if it wasn’t for our ability to envision beyond the physical reality. So we’re gifted as an entity or species that walks the planet Earth. We’re really gifted with a very powerful nature. I think the failure is in not recognizing the responsibility that comes with that.
Alex Tsakiris: Okay, tell us a little bit about—and everyone’s going to be interested in this, of course—tell us a little bit about Grill Flame. And in particular, one of the little detail parts I find interesting is how does all this stuff fit together?
So SRI is kind of turning this stuff up and then what? They send out the word and then all the agencies of the governments are going, “We’ve got to send one of our guys.” How does all that work?
Joe McMoneagle: No, there’s a lot of misconceptions about the original project. The original project wasn’t actually named Grill Flame. It was called “Enola Wish” and it was a temporary study project. It was initiated by the fact that we had heard rumors and picked up some details about the Russians using psychics to spy on America.
It was impossible, for obvious reasons, to get an actual agent inside or a subject inside their program. So when we’re faced with the possibility that our enemy is doing something—our enemy at the time, anyway—that we have no ability to judge, the best way to find out and the fastest way to find out what their capability is or the limits of their capability is to emulate them.
To select people with basically the same talents that you believe they might have, train them to do things in the best way that you know, and then have them go out into the world at large for a period of time and collect information using the Russian methodology, the psychic methodology, and then have them come in with their data and turn the data over for an independent study or review by a sister agency.
You know, someone who’s not involved. In that way you can generate a final report that says, “In our opinion this is as good or as bad as we are so this must be as good or as bad as they are.” So the initial intention was to just spend three years doing that–selecting people, targeting our own people at the CIA, FBI, Secret Service, that sort of thing. And then turning that material over that was collected to an independent agency and have them evaluate it for accuracy.
That didn’t work very long because there were a number of problems, the first being we didn’t know what we were doing; the second being that we were able to successfully recruit six people. Those initial six people turned out to be very, very good at doing what we thought the Russians were doing. They were good enough that people felt that it should be operational immediately.
Alex Tsakiris: Why stop here? Why stop now?
Joe McMoneagle: Right. I mean, if you’re emulating what your enemies are doing and you find that it works and not only works but works extremely well, you don’t run it as a study project anymore. You run it as a collection effort. So that’s what actually started Grill Flame. Grill Flame, again, was only supposed to be a temporary effort because there were no funds allotted for it. There were no deep-seated plans to run psychics. But that turned into an almost 20 year project that collected an enormous amount of information.
Alex Tsakiris: One of the things I found interesting about your experience as a remote viewer is when you first described meeting Hal Puthoff and the folks at SRI and you tell them about your NDE. They are somewhat accepting of it. You think they’re going to slam the door on you and say, “Get this guy out of here.” But they’re accepting. Doesn’t he actually even share with you Raymond Moody’s book at that point?
Joe McMoneagle: Actually, it was the exact reverse of that. I thought that their strong interest was in the psychic functioning and that sort of thing. So when I started my interview what I came to find out was that they had opened a package that was inserted in my 201 file, my personnel file.
What had happened after my NDE is all of the psychiatric reports and all of the final assessments as to what my experience was had been put into a permanently-sealed file with a red stripe across it and it said, “Not to be opened except by commander of the Intelligence & Security Command.” When they obtained my file, what they did is that was the first thing that Lieutenant Atwater opened was that file.
And they were very pleased to find that I had had this experience in 1970 because it meant that I was one of those special people that historically were able to probably do exacting what they were looking for.
Alex Tsakiris: That’s amazing. So they were already in on the connection between NDE phenomena.
Joe McMoneagle: Exactly. So in my discussion with Hal Puthoff and Russell Targ at the time, in the initiation of the project, they were only going to recruit three people for the testing for the three year test and analysis program. It turned out that as a result of their selection process they wound up with way more positive reactions from people than they expected.
So they decided to go ahead and expand the program to six people instead of three. I’m glad they did because in the end of that first half of the program, I ended up being the only one left. They might not have been able to get that far without the additional three people.
Alex Tsakiris: Let’s jump ahead a little bit in the story. Tell us a little bit about your trips to Russia and your meeting with the Russian counterparts. Tie that back to your earlier experience. How close and accurate were we to really understanding what they were doing over there? Were they really spying on us with psychic spies?
Joe McMoneagle: In actuality, they were. They were using spies, psychic spies, to target us and target many of our agencies. In my business to Russia and the time I spent with the directors of their program and their actual remote viewers—I call them remote viewers. They probably shouldn’t be called remote viewers because they use nothing like our protocols. They use entirely different protocols.
They displayed some interesting capacities in many of the things that they were doing but they did things completely differently than us. They did a lot of things that we didn’t do in terms of their attempts to manipulate the paranormal area, anyway. For instance, there were some efforts I know that they spent a great deal of time in trying to manipulate or affect the decision-making of some American politicians and that sort of thing. Their success rate I can report was probably not very good.
But there were some things that they did that seemed to be pretty good. So if I were to make a comparison I’d have to say that at this point in time, having the amount of information that I have, it’s impossible to say whether they were better or worse than we were. They certainly would not have been very good as remote viewers but then they might have been very good at something else that we don’t do. It’s difficult to say.
I can say that their most effective psychic was a woman and she was awarded one of Russia’s highest medals for her efforts at being psychic during the Chechen war and she did all of her work from a mainline battle tank. I think that that speaks for itself.
The other interesting thing is politically they suffered from the same problems we did in terms of support or in terms of knowing who was supporting them or not supporting them. They were faced with a lot of difficulties in how they were managed. In some cases they had too much exposure at the highest levels.
I spent some time sitting and talking to the chief of staff of the Red Army. In fact, when I was there he was a 4-star and he was very familiar with their program and ours, I might add. So yeah, it surprised me at the high level they had exposure, but then our program had extremely high level exposure in the case that least four of the senior administrations in Washington.
Alex Tsakiris: And you’re kind of suggesting that that has both two sides to that. It cuts both ways, right?
Joe McMoneagle: Absolutely. I always say going to work everyday was like a knife fight in a phone booth. When you start getting into the politics of it, it’s very nasty. There were lots of very powerful people in Washington that would like to have seen us all killed off in a car accident one morning. There were many people in very high positions who felt that we were doing an extremely good job at what we were doing. The interesting thing is there are very few people in the middle. They were either “agin ya” or “for ya.” One or the other.
Alex Tsakiris: So, Joe, you leave the military. Tell us about your association with the Monroe Institute, which becomes a very personal association, but also tell us about spontaneous out-of-body experiences. When did they start? What did they mean to you? And where did you go with them?
Joe McMoneagle: Actually, my familiarity with the Monroe Institute began around 1982. I was having a lot of difficulty in the military unit with my cool-down periods. I was the only viewer in the operational end from about August of ’82 until September of ’84. During that period I was doing all the remote viewing for the unit.
I was starting to have a lot of stress and a lot of difficulty emptying my mind between one effort and another. When you’re supporting some very powerful agencies it’s very difficult to explain that to them. So a suggestion was made by then Captain Atwater that I come with him to the Monroe Institute and meet Robert Monroe. He felt that the Monroe Institute might have the means by which I could learn to empty my mind, to become a lot more relaxed about the process.
In fact, it did. I took a gateway. I liked it very much. It was a good, restful experience. I actually took gateways for some time just as vacations just as a result. But he decided that he could work with me in his lab so we agreed that I would work with Bob Monroe in his lab and he would try to help me.
So over a period of extended weekends I would come down on like a Thursday night and stay until Tuesday morning and go back to Meade and do remote viewing all week.
But during that period at the Institute, we had a two-pronged effort. One was to teach me how to control my mental states better. The other was to see if I could learn to control my spontaneous out-of-bodies which I’d been having for many years. The military and the unit thought that if I could control my out-of-bodies that I could become capable of doing collection using the out-of-body state as well as the remote viewing.
Alex Tsakiris: Did that work out?
Joe McMoneagle: Actually it did, and I was able after just a few months to demonstrate the ability to jump from one target to the next with different agencies in a matter of minutes. I reduced my cool-down period or my meditative time from about an hour-and-a-half to three to five minutes using the Institute tapes.
And over a period of time, I wore the tape out and I asked Bob for another tape. He said something really interesting. He said, “You don’t need it anymore. You just need to close your eyes and remember what it sounds like.” In fact, that’s true. I’m now capable of doing that. I can close my eyes and remember the tape sounds and my brain states switch into that same state that they talk about.
After about eight months I was able to demonstrate an effort at collection in the out-of-body state and I think that surprised a lot of people.
Alex Tsakiris: Wow, that’s amazing. So what that ever operationalized? The OBEing?
Joe McMoneagle: Uh, I hesitate to say one way or the other. I can say that the out-of-body state’s extremely different from the remote viewing state in that if you can imagine stepping out of your body and passing through a wall and being inside a room you’ve never been in before, what works is all the senses you would normally have stepping into that room in reality.
The difference is that all of your senses are extremely heightened and very extended. You can hear things like bugs walking on the carpet. You can hear the machine motors in tiny little processors. You can hear the heartbeat in people. That kind of thing. Or you can see molecular movement in inanimate objects as well as animate objects. Your senses just become super-powered, so to speak.
The problem is in the out-of-body condition you have no way of communicating with anyone so there’s a lot of assumptions as to what you should be collecting. Do I pay attention to this machine on my left or do I pay attention to the machine on my right? Which one is the target machine? That sort of thing. It’s an extremely difficult state to control and to maintain. So you may be required to perform three or four out-of-bodies on the same target in order to get the kind of information you’re looking for.
Alex Tsakiris: You know, I just feel a need though to tie that back or ask you how you tie that back to these bigger picture questions we were talking about before. You alluded to that a little bit but what does that mean? So you have these extended human capabilities that I understand that everyone is just “Wow, I want to hear about that!”
I got a kick out of a review on Amazon on one of your books and the guy was like, “Hey, this book is terrible. Too much theory; not enough method. I want to know how to do this stuff. And I want to just skip the part where he said we don’t die.” How do you wrestle those two things to the ground or connect them in some way? What does it mean?
Joe McMoneagle: I think a lot of people think that there’s some kind of magic that occurs. There’s some form of magic or you study the right thing and something goes click in the back of your head and then you can do it. It’s not that at all. You have to hammer on it over and over and over, day in and day out until you get it. It’s extremely difficult to do that.
When you’re looking for the smallest nuance on let’s say, a mental trigger in the back of your mind and you don’t know what that mental trigger looks like, you have to start pulling every trigger you have until you find it. And then once you find it you have to find out how to replicate that pulling of the trigger. So just getting there is extremely difficult. It takes months and months of effort.
In my case, particularly with the remote viewing, I was basically paid to do that. I spent 12-hour days for years and years just learning and perfecting what I do. So I have a benefit that many people don’t have who have regular jobs, who have regular responsibilities that are somewhat different than that.
Alex Tsakiris: Right, but the other part of that that I guess I was getting at is the other understanding, knowing that you have, right? You’re a guy who comes back and says, “Hey, I know all this stuff. I know how to go out-of-body. I know how to do this remote viewing. I know all this stuff.”
But the other thing that you’re telling us you know; it’s the same thing that other NDErs tell us that they know is that this world, this life, this material get this, get that isn’t what it’s all about. It isn’t the real moral imperatives.
Joe McMoneagle: Well, in a way it isn’t but it still is. I mean, reality is important and I think that’s where a lot of people make mistakes. What would I equate it to? It’s kind of like if I can go out-of-body and I can do these things that I do, why would I want to be involved in the mundane, everyday kind of stuff that goes on in this physical reality world?
Well, the reason why is because physical reality and the experiences we have are incredibly important to us. It’s part of how we learn. It’s part of how we understand our place in time/space. And our place in nontime/space. So the activities of the mundane world are just as incredibly important as those in the spiritual world. Where it becomes difficult is how do you balance the two?
It’s a surprise to people when they come to the Institute and they say to me, “I just can’t seem to get relaxed enough to have an out-of-body when I’m taking the Monroe tapes. How come I can’t have that out-of-body?”
And I say, “Well, what are you doing every day?”
“Well, I meditate every day. I don’t drink caffeine. I don’t eat a lot of food.”
It’s almost as though they’re changing their whole mundane world being in order to experience the spiritual. Well, you can’t do that. You have to balance the two.
So what I usually tell them is, “Go out and hike on the mountain or go and swim in the lake or take a five-mile walk or jog after lunch and then see what happens when you come back and climb into the check unit and put the headsets on.”
What you get is a rubber-band effect. When you expend a lot of energy in being physical, in being in reality, what you get when you do meditate then is you get a lot of spiritual kickback, so to speak. It’s like stretching a rubber band and letting it go. It doesn’t just snap back to the position it started in. It goes past it into the other side. So you have to keep balance in both. You have to learn as much about physical reality and your place in it as you do about the spiritual reality and combine the two.
There’s a lot of growth in that. There’s a lot of understanding that comes out of that. I think it’s in that understanding that you come to realize the value of a physical reality and the value of spiritual space.
Alex Tsakiris: I think that’s great and that’s well said. I think that’s an issue that comes up over and over again on this show with some of the people we’ve talked with who have had these extraordinary experiences. At the end of the day, you do come back here to this physical reality and there’s some meaning to it. But I’ve got to push this a little bit further because…
Joe McMoneagle: Let me say one other thing before you do. There’s a sense that I get from many that it’s the event they’re pushing themselves to. The out-of-body experience or the feeling of meeting God or that high spiritual plateau. I get the sense that that’s what they’re constantly pushing to and in doing so they’re missing the journey part. It’s the journey part that shows them the steps on getting there.
In other words, it’s not about the out-of-body; it’s about all the little things you do in between. It’s the passage to the out-of-body that becomes incredibly important. If you’re not paying attention to that part you’re not going to get the other.
Alex Tsakiris: But there’s also the shift that you talked about before, the coming clean and saying, “You know what? Now I know that there is—we said a moral imperative. I’m going to switch back and say good and evil.” I don’t really like those terms but I do like in your book how you kind of break that down and say, “What about the killing fields in Cambodia? Let’s understand that and that that stuff is part of the mix, too.”
So I do think there’s a shift for most folks out there who are living their day-to-day life. Maybe not most but it’s kind of portrayed as that, especially in the scientific community which is more Atheistic. But there’s a shift that we make where we say, “Hey, wait a minute. I do have a purpose. I do have to try and be good. I do have to try and grow.”
Let’s put that in again the scientific world that’s really pushing at us and saying, “No, that’s all bull. You’re a biological robot. There is no meaning other than what we give it. There is no purpose.” So I’m kind of pushing you in a different way because there is that other side that says that. I don’t think you’re saying anything like that.
Joe McMoneagle: No, no, nothing at all like that. There’s always a huge argument between many scientists and philosophers or sociologists or psychologists, that particularly soft scientific area. There’s always a lot of argument about the term “consciousness.”
For those who don’t believe in the soft sciences, consciousness is basically just functioning in reality and beyond that there is no such thing as life after death. There’s no such thing as a continuation of the ich 52:08 or any of those things and there certainly is no spiritual connotation to any of that. It’s all basically just functional. And then on the other side you have people who say, “No, no, there is consciousness.”
Well, I happen to believe, based just purely on my experience over the past 35 years anyway, that everything has a consciousness, all the way down to the subprimal level. In other words, the rock has a consciousness. It’s the very reason why in this illusion we call space/time reality that a rock is a rock. It would be incapable of staying a rock if it had no consciousness for it.
So to say that everything has consciousness I think means that we can walk around as a conscious being in a space/time reality and everything remains the same. That’s how it happens. If there were no consciousness at all then the ability of space/time reality to maintain itself would be an impossibility. What would make the difference between then iron and stone?
The fact that it just merely exists certainly doesn’t imply that iron then becomes a crowbar or an automobile. Those things happen because there’s an agreement that they will happen. There’s some form of agreement. That form of agreement is as well embedded in the consciousness of things.
So I know I’m sounding very confusing here but the point I’m trying to get to is that when we have, let’s say in the paranormal we have the PK, the psychokinesis experience and someone is sitting in a room at a party and they bend a spoon for instance. The very reason they can bend that spoon is the fact that the consciousness of the metal that makes up the spoon is different from the spoon.
If a piece of metal is carved out into a spoon then in all probability, no one will ever bend that spoon. But if you have a piece of metal, a bar of metal that’s never been a spoon and it’s hammered into a spoon, then it’s by force living the consciousness of a spoon. So interfering with that is extremely easy to do. It’s how the spoon bends. It forgets that it’s supposed to be a spoon and remembers that it’s actually just this iron bar.
So I think that there are a lot of things in life like that that are impossible to maintain for long periods of time because consciousness is not designed around that particular item. But there are some items that have their own conscious reality. Animals, humans, many of the higher level species exist and have lives of their own because they are very conscious entities. Rocks exist as a consciousness simply because they’re very good at being rocks. I don’t know if it makes any sense to you but it makes perfect sense to me.
Alex Tsakiris: No, I think it’s fascinating. I can’t say I totally understand all that but I think that leads to a good follow-up question. For folks who are interested in some of the topics we’ve been talking about today, one of the spiritual tie-ins to the psychic spy stuff and the consciousness stuff, which one of your books would be the best place for them to go?
Joe McMoneagle: I think they’re going to get more out of the Memoirs of a Psychic Spy book, The Stargate Chronicles, simply because that was the hardest one for me to write. I found myself having to write about myself and I didn’t like that. I didn’t enjoy it at all.
I was constantly at war over what I should say and what I shouldn’t say. I think that in the end I just gave up and said what I felt was the right thing to say. So I think in terms of what the program was about, how it actually operated, how effective it might have been, the effect it might have had on other people, that kind of thing I think they’re going to get more out of that book than any other.
If they’re interested in the processes of remote viewing, the protocols, the differences between protocols and methodologies, that kind of thing, then Remote Viewing Secrets would be the book that they would want to read.
The initiation of the project, the surprise about my involvement in it, that kind of thing, Mind Trek, which was one of the very first books ever written on remote viewing. That would be the perfect book. In fact, I think that might have been one of the only books on remote viewing aside from Mind Reach that was written by Hal Puthoff and Russell Targ at the time.
Alex Tsakiris: Great. Joe, it sound like, at least from reading some of the stuff I have, you’re a busy guy. You like to write, you like to stay busy. What’s coming up for you that people should know about?
Joe McMoneagle: Well, I’m actually writing a book for the Japanese market at the moment. It’s the summation of 4-1/2 years of remote viewing which was all done double-blind with a group out of Japan, a historical group. It’s on the life and times of He’s Niko. The knowledge of He’s Niko exists on a half a page of translations from Chinese. It’s about the one and only woman empress of Japan from about 249 A.D. until the late 279 or 289 A.D.
She was the ruler of Japan. She consolidated all of the southern districts south of Mount Fuji and the southern islands and exchanged the ambassadors with China. Over a 4-1/2 year period we were able to find what we believe are the locations for her summer palace, her winter palace, her burial tomb, and her temple. It’s a very interesting project.
Alex Tsakiris: Archeological remote viewing—did you actually uncover any artifacts as a result of your…
Joe McMoneagle: Yes, we did. In fact, we went to a very tiny island in the Pacific called Amami Island and drove straight to a mountaintop on this jungle-covered island and climbed the mountain to the top and found the actual stone-age ruins of the temple that we were looking for.
Alex Tsakiris: Wow.
Joe McMoneagle: And that was a brand-new discovery. No one had ever known that it existed until we uncovered it. That came right out of remote viewing from my dining room in Virginia.
We also found what we believe to be her tomb and surprised the entire Japanese government by reporting it. It turns out to be a noble tomb and they thought that they had the recordation of the locations of all their nobles and we surprised them with a new tomb location. There’s a lot that came out of that. I hope one day it can be printed in English. I think it would be very interesting to a lot of people.
Alex Tsakiris: It sounds like an amazing story.
Joe McMoneagle: Yeah. I have a couple of other books I’m working on. One is the philosophic book that I’ve always wanted to write. That’s proving to be extremely difficult, especially finding the words that I need to say what I want to say. And aside from that, of course, I keep trying to break into the fictional market but that doesn’t seem to be working for me.
Alex Tsakiris: I saw on one of your pages that you have written quite a few books.
Joe McMoneagle: Yeah, eight or nine and nobody’s interested in them for some reason.
Alex Tsakiris: Some day. Joe, it’s just been terrific talking to you. I appreciate all the insights. Great conversation. Again, thanks for joining me.
Joe McMoneagle: Oh, you’re very welcome. Any time. I enjoyed talking with you.
More From Skeptiko
- Self-described materialist-atheist, Tom Jump debates near-death experience science. photo by: Skeptiko stop humming that song that’s Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg from the movie, The Other Guys could you not smile like that… now you’re asking me to mask …
- Robert Forte has lived at the center of the psychedelics/entheogens/mind control revolution. photo by: Skeptiko Do you know where you are, right now? I’m in a drug trial. What do you think is wrong with you? I’m sick. That I …
- Dr. Jeffery Martin thinks he has cracked the code to well-being — an impressive list of researchers agree. photo by: Skeptiko Intro Meow. What a bitch, am I right? That’s James Franco from the movie The Interview. No, you’re not …
- Gordon White of Rune Soup returns to talk Magic, ET and neo-liberal social engineering? photo by: Skeptiko I’m not much of a sci-fi fan. David (from the movie Prometheus): Am I interrupting, I thought you might be running low? But …
- Bryan and Anthony from the Badventist podcast, can Christians access extended consciousness? photo by: Skeptiko Sometimes people say to me, “Pastor Jeff, how do you know there’s a God?” and I say, “It’s simple math. God either exists or he …
- Kevin Day, was a TOPGUN Navy Air Controller when he was thrust into one of the biggest UFO events in history. photo by: Skeptiko Sunday, November 14th, 2004, morning. The Nimitz deck crews busy launching F/A-18F Super Hornets helicopters and …
- Dr. Christopher White traces multidimensional science concepts through spiritual thinking. photo by: Skeptiko I keep having these vivid dreams like thinking weird things. What sorts of things? If you’re watching any popular TV shows or movies about the future of …
- Conner Habib is a sex workers’ rights advocate with a rigorously intellectual take on spirituality. photo by: Skeptiko Charlie Chaplin, The Great Emperor: “I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. I don’t want to rule or conquer …
- Robert Schwartz is a hypnotherapist who believes patients can discover their pre-life plan. photo by: Skeptiko … scientists tell us that the giant tsunami wave that devastated Southeast Asia in 2004 wasn’t as big as we usually imagine. It’s not …