When it comes to true stories of the paranormal, many people don't realize that the U.S. government has been researching the paranormal for several decades. Check out our exclusive interview with Dr. Christopher Green.
About Dr. Christopher C. Green MD, PhD, FAAFS
Dr. Christopher C. Green, known to friends and colleagues as "Kit", currently serves as the Assistant Dean of Clinical Research, China for the Wayne State School of Medicine in Detroit Michigan. He served in the CIA from 1969 through 1985. In the early 1970s, Dr. Green's work included involvement in the start of a 20-year government research project into ESP and psychic ability.
Working For the CIA "Weird Desk": True Stories of the Paranormal
LTK: Dr. Green, how did you progress through the ranks of the CIA, and what was your primary responsibility?
CG: I was an "open" employee and able to generally discuss this question for my entire career. My position was as an analyst in the Life Sciences Division, later to become a Science and Technology Division, in the part of the Agency that examined intelligence data that may affect national security. Most of the data was unclassified. What analysts "did" was called "All Source" intelligence. This meant writing judgments in as low a classification as possible to reach the widest audience in the Executive Branch. My primary responsibility was in Physiology and Medicine, Life Support Systems for foreign space and undersea platforms, and a wide range of biological and chemical threat analysis. My specialty was Forensic Medicine; this means trying to figure out diagnoses from very little and often highly incomplete data.
LTK: The term "weird desk" is considered among paranormal groups as the collection of files within the CIA pertaining to anything paranormal. Were you really the "keeper of the weird" for the CIA, and if so, how much time did you invest in it?
CG: Yes. What has been publicly stated about the wide range of weird claims and even some of the actual "data", ranging from terrible to fairly good, is basically correct. What is not clear, is that over my career, this activity ranged from a few documents a month to spurts of activity that sometimes occupied a few days a month at the height of activities in the late '70s. Overall, I never spent more than 10% of my time on the subjects across any given period of weeks or a month. However, it has resulted in 90% of what is thought to be known about me!
LTK: In hindsight, what percentage of the materials dealing with the paranormal that crossed the "weird desk" would you say you found interesting and why?
CG: 10 to 20 % was material that was interesting. This was not because it had "face validity", but because the sources or data were good, and because in four instances (of a hundred I heard about) I was able to "verify" that there was no fraud or hoax. This was because either I personally observed the data gathering and had it tested with a double-blind method, or personally experienced the results.
The CIA Remote Viewing (Psychic) Research
LTK: The "stargate files" covering the government's remote viewing research were declassified in 1995. How much were you involved in that research?
CG: I was very involved from about 1976 until 1978, and I was one of six or eight analysts who were involved and generally familiar until 1983. After 1985, I received only one summary briefing as a courtesy, and lost interest because the results of what I was told happened since the early '80s were unimpressive to me. The research I was involved in personally, while important to me in establishing that sometimes the phenomena was accurate, and dramatically so at a personal level, was very small in relationship to the size of what I have read the program became from the early '80s to the early '90s. However, I worked with three subjects who convinced me of the reality of paranormal phenomenon, while also convincing me that there was little of value for the Intelligence Community. The phenomenon was highly unpredictable and uncontrolled, and impossible to verify in a fast enough time period to be robust or useful.
LTK: Would you say that what you did see convinced you that the phenomenon of "Remote Viewing", a form of ESP, is real?
CG: There were four "experiments" in which I participated where I was 100% sure and certain no tomfoolery or hoax was afoot. The results were directly observed, or in one case highly controlled by myself and other analysts. However, they suffer from the fact that single observers are not good referents. Much like in the journalism profession, two or more sources are required. In three of the experiments, I was personally involved so I am not a credible reporter in those incidents. That is, I could be said to suffer from "Observer Bias" which is a fair criticism. In one case, the experiment occurred with my home as the site of a long-distance Remote Viewing (RV). In another case, I was the "target" and varied my location at the last minute and was alone, to be sure no one followed me. I did not know the results until a double-blind opening of the data occurred. In the final case, there was a medical emergency with the subject, and the conditions and circumstances were such that it was clear the results could not have been faked or planned.
LTK: Could you describe the strangest experience you had that had the greatest impact on your personal beliefs regarding paranormal phenomenon?
CG: During a RV experiment, I was on the telephone in my den at home on a Saturday afternoon. I alone prepared some numerical targets, and no one else was involved. The entire purpose of the "experiment" was to convince myself that RV was possible. I placed the targets in a sealed envelope and placed them on a music stand. The RV subject not only correctly determined the numbers, in correct sequence, but correctly identified that I had placed them upside down, something I did not realize. The real "impact" of the session happened next.
The RV person at one point screamed into the phone (he was 3,000 miles away) "Kit, something bad has happened! Oh my god! I just got an image of the strangest white dog I have ever seen with a square head short legs and blood running down its throat…and I felt slivers of glass go through my body. Everything is happening on a sea of green. Are you o.k.?" I was, and for the next minute had no clue of what happened.
The RV subject persisted: "Kit something happened. I am sorry. Are you o.k.?" I then went to check on my wife and kids downstairs. I found them upset, and cleaning a huge mess of broken glass from the solid green carpet that had been just laid that morning in our empty family Room. My white Bulldog Charles had overturned and shattered a glass lamp when running into the room unexpectedly. Charles was not only white, he had a very square head. My kids said he had tripped while running around the room on the bright fire-red three-inch wide macramé collar my mother had made for him. It was around his neck and dangling under his chin, down his throat and trailing between his front legs.
I knew that my home was inviolate; no one in the woods outside the back door to the rec room was monitoring my family in real-time. The RV subject did not know I even had a white Bulldog, and just like me, didn't know what had happened in his RV image.
Views Regarding the Paranormal Today
LTK: Have your views regarding phenomenon such as UFOs, ghosts, or ESP changed at all from the time you started with the CIA to the day you left in 1985. If so, why?
CG: Yes. I now believe the phenomenon is much less common than I used to think, and that people cannot be trained in any useful fashion. I believe that people with true psychic ability are few and far between. The acquisition of information is spontaneous and uncontrolled. The characteristics of "successful" Remote Viewers (such as in my personal four cases) are very, very uncommon. I have also sadly come to believe that more delusion and fraud exists than I even thought was possible back then.
LTK: Thank you, Kit, for taking the time to share your experiences, knowledge, and insight regarding paranormal phenomenon with our readers here at LoveToKnow.
CG: Thank you, and I will be happy if a dialogue ensues.