|MoD hoped psychics could find enemy
The Ministry of Defence spent £18,000 on experiments to discover if psychic powers existed and whether they could be put to military use, it was revealed yesterday.
Subjects were blindfolded and asked if they could "see" the contents of sealed brown envelopes containing pictures of random objects and public figures.
Defence experts tried to recruit 12 psychics who advertised their abilities on the internet, but when they refused they were forced to use "novice" volunteers. Commercial researchers were contracted at a cost of £18,000 to test if psychic ability existed, according to a classified report released under the Freedom of Information Act.
More than a quarter – 28 per cent – of those tested managed a close guess at the contents of the envelopes, which included pictures of a knife, Mother Teresa and an "Asian individual". But most subjects were hopelessly off the mark. One fell asleep while he tried to focus on the envelope's contents.
A former Ministry of Defence employee who received a copy of the report has claimed that the timing of the study suggests security services wanted to "remotely view" hidden weapons caches in Iraq and find Osama bin Laden.
Nick Pope, who ran the MoD UFO research programme and worked at the ministry for 21 years, said: "It can only be speculation, but you don't employ that kind of time and effort to find money down the back of the sofa.
"You go to this trouble for high-value assets. We must be talking about bin Laden and weapons of mass destruction."
The MoD last night refused to discuss the possible applications of such a technique, but said that the study had concluded there was "little value" in using "remote viewing" in the defence of the nation.
"The remote viewing study was conducted to assess claims made in some academic circles and to validate research carried out by other nations on psychic ability," said a spokesman. "The study concluded that remote viewing theories had little value to the MoD and was taken no further."
Mr Pope said: "They must have thought that the chances were it that wouldn't work, but if it had the intelligence applications would have been endless."