A formerly TOP SECRET document from the NSA describes an incident which it called the “Astral Projection Caper,” which revolved around what seems to have been fabricated, or at least nonexistent, CIA evidence of confirmed psychic phenomenon.
A common question, especially as MuckRock continues to explore CIA and DIA’s involvement in psychic research, is how so many resources wound up being wasted on frivolous efforts that produced laughable results, absurd guides and even more absurd worries. The FBI’s file on Extrasensory Perception (ESP), which predates the CIA’s declassified psychic research program by more than a decade, may hold the answer: a basic failure to understand how math works.
Police psychics have so saturated popular culture that the concept borders on the cliche. There was a time, however, when the Department of Justice took the matter very seriously - not only were instances reported of the police using psychics, there were studies on the matter, and even guidance issued by the DOJ.
A video produced by Stanford as part of its government funded research into psychic phenomena alleged to show Uri Geller performing various psychic and extrasensory feats. While some in the Agency were “humbled” by the film, others were quick to declare it ordinary trickery from a con artist using techniques from stage magic and mentalist.
On April 20, 1995, just one day after the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, the received a tip from the unlikeliest source - Dr. Ed May, head of the CIA’s research into psychic phenomenon. May claimed one of his remote viewers had a lead on the people responsible: five Arab men and somebody named Carl.