Phenomena The secret history of the U.S. government's Investigations into extrasensory perception and psychokinesis

Annie Jacobsen

Large print - 2017

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Subjects
Genres
Large type books
Published
New York : Little, Brown and Company 2017.
Edition
Large print edition
Language
English
Physical Description
706 pages (large print) : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN
9780316396806
031639680X
Main Author
Annie Jacobsen (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

In her latest eye-opening work of investigative journalism, Jacobsen digs deeply into the rich vein of information gleaned from declassified U.S. government documents that catapulted her previous books, Area 51 (2011) and The Pentagon's Brain (2015), to best-seller status. Here the vaults are opened on research involving mind reading and other psychic abilities that the CIA and other intelligence agencies conducted since the end of WWII. Drawing on both written archives and interviews with more than 50 ex-government scientists and psychics, Jacobsen offers a smorgasbord of captivating and often-surprising facts unearthed from more than four decades of secret investigations. For instance, the inspiration for the CIA's original consideration of ESP as an espionage tool was a similar Nazi program sponsored by Heinrich Himmler. One research avenue explored the potential use of "magic" psilocybin mushrooms for boosting psychic ability. Jacobsen also reports on opinions about these fringe projects from skeptics, including Martin Gardner, and celebrity ESP believers such as Uri Geller and the late astronaut and mystic Edgar Mitchell. A fascinating peek at a little-seen side of national security. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

From biological agents to artificial intelligence, the military has developed an array of weapons that advance science and may cross moral lines. Jacobsen exposed much of this progress in her previous work, The Pentagon's Brain. Her latest book reveals how U.S. military agencies investigated and applied paranormal phenomena for defense. The author uses declassified information and interviews to weave a compelling narrative and support her research. Paranoia about Soviet research into this realm led to the creation of these programs, some of which cost millions to develop. This is an excellent read that gives ample evidence on both sides of the argument that extrasensory perception (ESP) and psychokinesis exist, complementing such works as W. Adam Mandelbaum's The Psychic Battlefield and Ann Finkbeiner's The Jasons. VERDICT Highly recommended for those interested in the military and the paranormal.—Jacob Sherman, John Peace Lib., Univ. of Texas at San Antonio Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Journalist Jacobsen (The Pentagon's Brain) continues her disturbing excavations of the inner workings of the American defense and intelligence establishment in this fascinating exposé of governmental research into "anomalous mental phenomena." The U.S. government sought to surveil its enemies and gain the upper hand in what was perceived to be a very real threat on Earth as well as in space. This was not merely a war of perception: the U.S.S.R. had embarked on ESP-based efforts of its own, including the bombardment of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow with focused microwaved beams. The result was an unprecedented arms race of the psychic kind. Readers may be familiar with MKUltra, the CIA's program to develop mind-control techniques, but they'll be surprised by the breadth and dedication of the government's efforts to study paranormal activity, which included drafting the likes of science fiction author Aldous Huxley and self-proclaimed psychic Uri Geller. Attempting to stay a step ahead of their foreign (and potential otherworldly) enemies, they investigated related phenomena, most notably remote viewing, which resulted in the creation of a dedicated remote viewing program in the U.S. Army. Jacobsen artfully deals card after dutifully researched card in her enthralling reportage on one of America's most curious defense endeavors. Agent: James Hornfischer, Hornfischer Literary. (Apr.) Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Presents a history of the U.S. military's controversial, decades-long investigation into boundary-pushing mental phenomena, sharing inside information about how the program has involved strategic experiments in the name of national security.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The definitive history of the military's decades-long investigation into mental powers and phenomena, from the author of Pulitzer Prize finalist The Pentagon's Brain and international bestseller Area 51. This is a book about a team of scientists and psychics with top secret clearances. For more than forty years, the U.S. government has researched extrasensory perception, using it in attempts to locate hostages, fugitives, secret bases, and downed fighter jets, to divine other nations' secrets, and even to predict future threats to national security. The intelligence agencies and military services involved include CIA, DIA, NSA, DEA, the Navy, Air Force, and Army-and even the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Now, for the first time, New York Times bestselling author Annie Jacobsen tells the story of these radical, controversial programs, using never before seen declassified documents as well as exclusive interviews with, and unprecedented access to, more than fifty of the individuals involved. Speaking on the record, many for the first time, are former CIA and Defense Department scientists, analysts, and program managers, as well as the government psychics themselves. Who did the U.S. government hire for these top secret programs, and how do they explain their military and intelligence work? How do scientists approach such enigmatic subject matter? What interested the government in these supposed powers and does the research continue? Phenomena is a riveting investigation into how far governments will go in the name of national security.