Remote viewing: Proponents say it helped solve a murder in California

Seeing dead people: ‘Remote viewers’ in Nevada help solve California murder.

When practitioners of paranormal “remote viewing” gather here in June, they will enjoy a little more swagger than in the past.

Last year, a California court convicted a swindler of murder in a case that was solved partly, the lead police investigator said, with the help of remote viewing, a type of extrasensory perception (ESP) that was studied by the U.S. military starting in the 1970s as a way to gather intelligence.

Remote viewing calls for people to look at random numbers and letters and then let their mind wander, during which they will be able to conjure mental images of people, events and places.

In 2006, Robert Knight, a Las Vegas-based photographer … was worried that he hadn’t heard from his close buddy, Stephen B. Williams, for more than a month and was concerned for his well-being.

Knight, … turned to Angela Thompson Smith in 2006 for help in finding Williams.

Knight said his friend’s body would not have been identified were it not for the help of Angela Smith and her team of remote viewers.

There’s some truth to that, says the lead detective in the investigation of Williams’ death.

Knight’s information went beyond the body identification. He told police about a man named Harvey Morrow, a supposed investment adviser, who had befriended Williams and was investing Williams’ money — a few million dollars — on his behalf.

Knight told detectives that remote viewers believed Morrow had fled to the British Virgin Islands. One of the viewers even sketched a boat with Morrow on board.

Both observations turned out to be accurate.

Source: Las Vegas Sun

These are questionable claims that have other explanation besides remote viewing worked. Later in the article Smith asserts that it definitely works but is trying to find out how. That’s jumping the gun. A lot.

So far, there has not been solid documentation that a psychic directly helped solve a murder case. When they help with a case, they tend to claim they aided the investigation more than what ultimately happened. In almost all cases, we can’t confirm the value of the psychic because detailed records were not kept (recordings) and there is a huge possibility of contamination of the evidence for the claim; it is especially unreliable when the story is told after the fact.

But more on remote viewing. Yes, it has been studied extensively. EXTENSIVELY. But not all that well. And scientists are not convinced that it works. If it does work, it’s far to vague to be any help. It’s use was abandoned after trials showed it was not the “hell of a cheap radar system” envisioned by government back in the Cold War.

Psi expert Ray Hyman said this in 1996 about remote viewing and the Stargate experiments, responding to Jessica Utts, a professor of statistics at the University of California at Davis:

For what it is worth, I happen to be one of those “who does not accept the current collection of data” as proving psychic functioning. Indeed, I do not believe that “the current collection of data” justifies that an anomaly of any sort has been demonstrated, let alone a paranormal anomaly. Although Utts and I — in our capacities as coevaluators of the Stargate project — evaluated the same set of data, we came to very different conclusions. If Utts’s conclusion is correct, then the fundamental principles that have so successfully guided the progress of science from the days of Galileo and Newton to the present must be drastically revised. Neither relativity theory nor quantum mechanics in their present versions can cope with a world that harbors the psychic phenomena so boldly proclaimed by Utts and her parapsychological colleagues.

Those serious problems still remain today. The PEAR lab at Princeton closed in 2007.  Proponents of remote viewing ought not swagger. They are in no better position than they were before in demonstrating that it actually works. They’ve got some more subjective stories, but those just don’t get us any further along the road.

  2 comments for “Remote viewing: Proponents say it helped solve a murder in California

  1. Chew
    May 5, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    TruTV covered this case. No where is remote viewing mentioned. In fact, the man who helped identify the body was someone completely different:

    After Clark left, the Coroner’s Office received a phone call from Leo Rossi. Rossi was a high-powered entertainment executive who had once managed the rock bank Fleetwood Mac. He had been friends with notable disc jockey Steven B. Williams, who was missing, and wanted to know if the coroner had any unfortunate news.

    The call was passed along to Clark, who asked, “Can you tell me anything that would identify him?”

    “Well, he had three missing fingers that he lost in high school,” Rossi said. A dental record match confirmed Rossi’s fears.

    The Murder of Radio Legend Steven B. Williams — truTV’s Crime Library

    Psychics attempting to re-write history? I’m shocked.

  2. May 5, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    Well well well. Isn’t THAT interesting?!

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