Category Archives: ESP

Skip Atwater’s “Captain of My Ship, Master of My Soul” is about a lot more than remote viewing; It’s a profound testament of one man’s spiritual journey


A twist on an old Hindu proverb goes something like this: “There are a million paths to God (or enlightenment or heaven); it doesn’t matter which one you take, as long as you get there.”

It’s this quote that makes me think of FRED HOLMES ATWATER, best known as Skip Atwater. Here is a man who found his personal path to enlightenment, but ah, what a strange road he took.

Think back to when the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union was grinding away. Both sides are harboring enough nuclear weapons to not only destroy the other – but take out the whole world in the process. The hate and enmity of these two behemoths threatened to swallow our beautiful blue-green planet in a nuclear fire of mutual madness.

Now imagine that one of the key warriors in this global stalemate of loathing is working diligently to ensure that his side prevails. He is a member of the most feared corps of elite warriors – an operative in the dark, seamy, paranoid, dangerous world of military intelligence — he’s a spy.

Skip Atwater could fairly be described as a kind of elite “super spy,” not because he was traveling the dark corridors of the world collecting information or performing assassinations – but because of the amazing assignment he landed.

It became Atwater’s task to study, and possibly develop, a team of psychic spies that could use ESP to snoop on the Soviet Union, or any enemy of America. Even today this sounds like an insane idea –- a mixture of New Age or occult voodoo mixed with the militaristic paranoia of the Cold War. It sounds more like a paranoid Philip K. Dick novel.

Except that it’s all true. Skip Atwater was the spearhead that led the U.S. Army to spend millions of dollars and years of manpower to develop elite super corps of spies who could reach out with only their minds to get behind any wall, bunker or secret hidden base the Soviets might be hiding anywhere in the world.

By all accounts, Skip Atwater would seem to be the opposite of anyone’s definition of a Cold War spy. He is a gentle man by nature – sweet, kind, humble, unassuming, blonde and handsome – a guy with a natural but quiet charisma — the kind of guy that makes everyone feel strangely good when he enters a room.

That’s the way I bet you will feel when you read Atwater’s book, CAPTAIN OF MY SHIP, MASTER OF MY SOUL: LIVING WITH GUIDANCE.

These pages are part autobiography, and part detailed record of what Atwater did to develop the now famous (or infamous) PSI method known as remote viewing as a tool for U.S. intelligence.

Atwater starts with his childhood, telling of strange mystical events he experienced, but which his metaphysical-minded parents encouraged him to think of as “natural.” These experiences including things like out-of-body experiences, seeing auras and even an instance of levitation!


Atwater voluntarily joined the U.S. Army at a time when the Vietnam War was heating up and getting ugly – but he joined only to stave off being drafted, and to prevent himself from having to kill someone. Instead, Atwater asked to join military intelligence – and he got his wish –or as he repeatedly puts it, “I was on my path, I was being guided, I was on track, I was being protected”by something he calls “Guidance.”

The middle part of the book is a fairly detailed and exacting account of how the remote viewing program was developed, including some pretty terrific “how to” information for those interested in trying their own hand at this esoteric process.

For me, the juicy part of the book (to borrow a phrase from DEAN RADIN who wrote an intro) is the latter third where Atwater describes his work at the Monroe Institute in Faber, Virginia, his post-military job.

THE MONROE INSTITUTE was established by the famous out-of-body traveler ROBERT MONROE, author of several superior books on the topic.

It was here that the now also famous HEMI-SYNC TECHNOLOGY was developed – an audio system using something called binaural beats – to enhance brainwave activity, enabling people to explore alternate or advanced states of consciousness.

Atwater’s is probably the very best book I have read about remote viewing (though I have only read about a half-dozen). It goes well beyond remote viewing itself to discuss issues of spiritual growth and expansion.

Like another early remote viewing pioneer – physicist Russell Targ – what began for Atwater as a hard-nosed attempt to bring scientific understanding and military application to ESP ended up a journey of profound spiritual transformation — and his story is beautifully and eloquently told in these pages.


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“Limitless Mind” by famed laser physicist Russell Targ combines the implications of remote viewing with Buddhist-inspired thought


The CIA knew during the height of the Cold War that the Soviets were putting a ton of time and money into psychic spying research. It concerned our government enough to fund their own research. CIA spies may have even gotten reports that the Russians were having some success.

And so, a couple of brainy, eccentric physicists caught the attention of CIA Super Spooks. One was Russell Targ, who was an expert on lasers. The other was Hal Puthoff who was into gravitational physics. Both had worked successfully for years in their fields.

Incredibly, these two brainiacs had decided to put their careers and reputations on the line to study ESP – extrasensory perception, mind reading, clairvoyance – you know, all that voodoo. They were working out of a small lab at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI).

The CIA was worried enough about the Soviets to jazz up Targ and Puthoff with some serious government cash. And so the legendary top secret method of psychic spying “remote viewing” was born.

In this book, Russell Targ gives us a brief review of those early days beginning in 1972 of how remote viewing was developed. In his words, he says: “Ingo Swan taught us about remote viewing, we taught the army, and the army taught the world.

Ingo Swann was an obscure artist who had decided to volunteer as a one of Targ’s guinea pigs. It turns out that Swann had some amazing psychic abilities. (See my review of Swann’s free ebook, PENETRATION). It was Swann who coined the term “remote viewing.” So early on, Swann became a central figure in this strange quest which entangled all of them with the U.S. military the CIA, and international intrigue.

In general, however, that’s not what this book is really about. Rather, Targ’s work in remote viewing led him slowly but surely toward a more expansive view of life and reality, which was also heavily influenced by Buddhist thought.

Like many others, Targ could not help but notice the similarities between ancient Buddhist and Vedic teaching and a new model of reality emerging from the implications of quantum physics.


And so in this book, Targ gives us heady doses of Buddhist-influenced philosophy. But he also draws heavily upon New Age thinking — that which no doubt makes his peers — hard, reductionist, materialistic, scientists — gag!

Targ credits none other than A COURSE IN MIRACLES by Dr. Helen Schucman as the “main stepping stone” which finally propelled him to abandon his prestigious position at Lockheed Missiles and Space. In his words: “I launched myself on a different path to spaciousness that didn’t require a missile.”

Targ chose to live his life in a state of “non-wanting,” “spaciousness,” the “abandonment of the ego and striving” to live in a way that is at one with a Buddhist-Quantum conception of God – immersed in a kind of universal field of intelligence-love energy which Targ describes as a “loving syrup.”

Yes, Targ will plod through some of the statistical results of his early remote viewing experiments and tediously describe how double-blind protocols were set up, and what all the data means. He also spends a chapter talking about “remote healing,” a field in which is late daughter Dr. Elizabeth Targ was deeply involved.

In short – and I’m very sad to say – I think some will find this book a disappointment. Those looking for intensive information on remote viewing will get “more of the same” and the same basic information available on thousands of web sites or other books. Others might be surprised at the lectures on Buddhist philosophy (not really lectures, but more like Targ’s personal testament of what Buddhism has meant to him and what he believes it can do for others) – but the end result is a book that may seem disjointed. It’s not really enough about one thing, but then again not enough about the other thing either.

To be fair, however: I think Targ was attempting to present the legitimacy of remote viewing as a science by providing a greater overall framework – a new model based on new physics – to show how it all works together beautifully, and so has a foundation for credibility.

Also, I was already well familiar with remote viewing before reading this, and I have been practicing Zen meditation for 30 years now – so much of this information seemed old hat from my perspective. It may not be that way at all for you.

Ken Korczak is the author of: MINNESOTA PARANORMALA

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