(Scott Stiffler’s article appeared in Chelsea Now, 6/22.)
A prolific visionary held in high regard by peers from the realms of art, psychic phenomena, gay erotica, and Cold War counterprogramming, the multiplicity of paths blazed by Ingo Swann (1933-2013) are remarkable not simply because they are the achievements of a man ahead of his time, but also because he did not regard his abilities as exceptional gifts. We are all capable of tapping the cosmic consciousness, Swann insisted, if properly motivated to learn how.
For Swann, that spark of desire was ignited in a Lower East Side apartment, when a recently acquired pet chinchilla became evasive before each night’s return trip to its cage. If this furry little creature could sense the plan well in advance of the action, then why, Swann wondered, did that same ability elude him?
Within a few years, by the early ’70s, the self-taught artist had secured his legacy as a founding father of “remote viewing” — a phrase he coined to describe the practice of being given coordinates distant from one’s physical body, then describing the location in seven stages of progressively greater detail. Honed while at the Stanford Research Institute, Swann’s abilities and developmental techniques led to his employment at various clandestine agencies, where he became a valued member of the US government’s remote viewing program.