STARGATE was one of a number of 'remote viewing programs' conducted under a variety of code names, including SUN STREAK, GRILL FLAME, and CENTER LANE by DIA and INSCOM, and SCANATE by CIA. It was initiated in response to CIA concerns about alleged Soviet research into psychic phenomena as an aid to their Intelligence programs.

Between 1969 and 1971, US intelligence sources concluded that the Soviet Union was engaged in 'psychotronic' research. By 1970, it was suggested that the Soviets were spending approximately 60 million rubles per year on it, and over 300 million by 1975. The money and personnel devoted to Soviet psychotronics suggested that they had achieved breakthroughs, even though the matter was considered speculative, controversial and 'fringy.'

The initial CIA-funded research program, called SCANATE (scan by coordinate), began in 1970. In 1972 remote viewing research began at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park, CA., under the supervision of Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff.

The SRI program began with a small number of individuals who were seen as being particularly gifted in this area. These included New York artist Ingo Swann, who went on to lay the groundwork for the techniques of Coordinate Remote Viewing (CRV).

Further research was carried out from 1978 under the auspices of Army intelligence at Fort Meade, MD., under the name Grill Flame. Remote viewers were chosen from both soldiers and civilians, who were thought to possess natural psychic ability. The SRI research program and Grill Flame were merged in early 1979, and the project continues on as a highly classified program.

In 1983 the program was re-designated as the INSCOM Center Lane Project (ICLP). It was during this time that Ingo Swann and Harold Puthoff developed the CRV Manual, through which anyone could be trained on how to remote view.

Army funding for the project ended in late 1985, after an unfavourable review of the results via the National Academy of Sciences. However, the program was redesignated as Project Sun Streak and transferred to the Defense Intelligence Agency's Scientific and Technical Intelligence Directorate, with the office code DT-S.

In 1991 the program transitioned to Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and was renamed Project Star Gate, under the supervision of Edwin May, who presided over 70% of the total contractor budget and 85% of the program's data collection.

More than $20 million was spent on Stargate-related projects over the course of two decades, with $11 million budgeted from the mid-1980's to the early 1990s. Around 23 remote viewers were used, including Ingo Swann, Pat Buchanan, Paul Smith, Joseph McMoneagle and Ed Dames.

Stargate-related programs utilized at least three different techniques for remote viewing:
  • Coordinate Remote Viewing (CRV) - the original SRI-developed technique in which viewers were asked what they 'saw' at specified geographic coordinates
  • Extended Remote Viewing (ERV) - a hybrid relaxation/meditative-based method
  • Written Remote Viewing (WRV) - a hybrid of both channeling and automatic writing was introduced in 1988, though it proved controversial and was regarded by some as much less reliable.
The 1994 release of the film Stargate, staring Kirk Russell and James Spader, introduced the concept to mainstream audiences. In the film an interstellar teleportation device, found in Egypt, leads to a planet with humans resembling ancient Egyptians who worship the god Ra.

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