On 3/14/14 remote viewer Courtney Brown launched his new project “The Great Pyramid of Giza: The Mystery solved”. He hyped the launch for about 6 weeks on his FaceBook page, with frequent postings of “implications” 1. On Jan 22 on his Facebook page, Courtney characterized the announcement:
“Something important is going to happen sometime next month, February 2014. Nothing can stop it now. There will be an announcement, and the world will change on the date of that announcement. Part of that announcement will happen on this Facebook page, right here. In the beginning, only a few will understand the significance of the announcement, and what it means for all of humanity currently living on this planet. Some will laugh, and some will cry. But in time, the world will come to know that life on Earth changed significantly on that day in February 2014. A mystery that has confused our civilization for thousands of years will find an answer. And from that answer, a new direction for the future growth of our species will arise.”
Wow. The world changed forever. I don’t think I’d be mischaracterizing Courtney’s tone and scope of his announcement as being of prophetic proportions. I was not surprised on March 15 when I checked out his project and found he failed to deliver on that promise, though not for lack of trying. The interesting work of Daz Smith and Dick Allgire is marred by Courtney’s flawed analysis, inability to cite possible confounding factors, and unscientific rhetoric (see his YouTube video); the certainty of his analysis is unfounded.
Courtney’s lists of possible methodological flaws in his own projects are too short (his list of flaws for his current project is non-existent). For instance: his 2012 Farsight Climate Project2. Courtney’s project prediction (emphasis mine): “the remote viewing perceptions for 1 June 2013 … seem to suggest… [tragedies]… across many of the above geographical locations [will occur] by mid-2013“. None of the predicted tragedies came to pass at those locations by mid-2013.
I see a couple of potential confounding factors. Courtney notes they “have been keeping track of news stories3 that suggest possible feedback for this project”, yet collected stories fall outside of target parameters (different locations, after mid-2013). Feedback parameters that do not match stated targets (dates/locations) could have polluted sessions.
In remote viewing, there is a well known phenomenon where viewers working together can all be wrong in the same way, as if they are psychically feeding off of each others’ incorrect impressions (feeding off of one’s own incorrect impressions in RV is known as ‘castle-building’, so this could be called group castle-building— it would not be unreasonable to suspect subconscious Mayan calendar fears could have polluted the entire group of 2013 targets). Despite the fact that this phenomenon is well known amongst remote viewers, it is a possibility Courtney did not publicly cite, instead suggesting that the sessions may have viewed a slightly different timeline. It is polite that he prefers to blame time itself for the bad data rather than the participants, but it is poor science to fail to exhaustively consider possible methodological flaws.
His video is peppered with unscientific, unsupportable, absolutist rhetoric like, “there can be no doubt”, “unambiguous”, “impossible”, “obvious”, “it may be the most important announcement that anyone has ever made”, “the most mysterious puzzle in human history has been resolved”, “the quality of the remote viewing data obtained by Dick Allgire and Daz Smith is equal to that which would have been obtained if they were physically present at the time when the pyramids were being constructed”; and that’s just in the first 15 minutes! Let’s address the first one, “there can be no doubt”. Of course there can be doubt! Without feedback there is no way to know if shared common results aren’t group castle-building. It’s not scientific to tell the reader how to think, it is scientific to convince the reader through a solid logical argument supported by the data.
To Courtney: instead of insisting that there can be no objections and preemptively characterizing any and all objections as merely “noise” (intellectual peer pressure), you would do better to consider and present all of the possible objections yourself, before your detractors claim them, demonstrating that you are willing and able to leave no stone unturned —so to speak— in the matter, rather than just turning over the stones that you fancy.
We have so far established that psychic group-think is a possible confounding factor. It only takes one person who has an emotional attachment to a particular outcome to (subconsciously) spoil everyone’s session data. How has Courtney controlled against psychic pollution of session data (a.k.a. telepathic overlay)? He doesn’t say, because (to my knowledge) no such control exists. Given confounding factors, feedback is the only way to validate session results. Without feedback, certainty posturing is unfounded. I asked remote viewer and project participant Daz Smith if a viewer can tell the difference between a lie and the truth, even when the tasker can’t:
“No they can’t. I was a participant in a hrvg project where the true target was hidden behind a mask and the mask target was one that only existed within imagination yet all the viewers described it as a real target.”
This answer strongly suggests that if the tasker expects/hopes/wishes the viewers to find a particular result, that the expectation could pollute the session. So, if the tasker believes aliens made the pyramids—regardless of the truth of the matter— the viewers might perceive aliens building the pyramids. Viewers Dick Allgire and Daz Smith have admirable track records viewing aspects of targets for which they receive feedback. Their track record, though, is not 100% (nor is anyone’s)— see the climate project mentioned earlier; they did receive feedback on those sessions (by virtue of still being alive through 2013) and were still wrong. What is their track record (or any viewer’s, for that matter) for viewing aspects of targets for which they never receive feedback? This is a matter that I don’t believe the remote viewing community has settled, and must be settled before weighing the credibility of any session data for which there can never be any feedback.
Perhaps Courtney feels that the presence of feedback makes no difference in accuracy. If this is so, then he should be eager to put the matter to rest with a series of trials designed to prove just that. Faulty analysis is easy when there is no feedback, since ideograms are by their very nature incomplete. When Daz described something ‘like sound’ moving a stone, how do we know the degree to which that is literal vs. symbolic? I did an RV session recently (facilitated by Daz) in which I had very strong impressions of energy pulses radiating away from an object. Turns out the “energy pulses” were the tides! Without feedback, what was to stop me from (erroneously) interpreting them as ‘aliens!’?
Courtney acknowledges in the video, “this is not to say we know everything there is to know about remote viewing”, yet he flaunts this project as if these sessions and his analysis of them must be perfect.
Haste to certainty is unscientific. I am an RVer myself. You can see my lengthy article on the subject here. So I understand RV concepts and acknowledge their validity. I look forward to the day when RV has reached mass acceptance; I see awareness of this aspect of consciousness as a crucial next step in the growth of humanity. My criticism is not of RV in general. From that perspective I am an ally to Courtney and I hope he regards my comments as they are intended: a friendly critique.
My criticism is his hasty, unfounded conclusions (the hallmark of both pseudo-scientific and pseudo-skeptical thinking); his failure to cite and counter possible confounding factors; his use of absolutes like “no doubt” and “impossible”— intellectual peer pressure, meant to convey that only the ignorant would take issue with him. My objections to his analysis are valid; his claim of “no doubt” is not.
Do I think, like Courtney, that widespread acceptance of the phenomena that makes RV possible can change the world? Absolutely! Do I think that Courtney presented this project with sufficient rigor, dispassion and clarity in a way that could, or would, or should increase acceptance of RV? Do these sessions constitute unambiguous, undeniable proof of ‘ET’ contributions to the pyramids? No and no.
The way for RV to change the world is for the leading edge of the field to improve their methodologies and settle uncertainties such as those outlined above. The way to change the world is through the unfinished hard work of improving the field; Courtney gets too far ahead of the field! He needs to concern himself with settling these matters before tackling who built the pyramids.
False Advertising is a Crime
Courtney: “The quality of the remote viewing data obtained by Dick Allgire and Daz Smith is equal to that which would have been obtained if they were physically present at the time when the pyramids were being constructed”. Let’s parse that statement. Had Courtney said “…some of the remote viewing data…” he’d be in the clear, but he said “the remote viewing data”, which means all of the data. The word “the” is the qualifier. If he wanted to refer to some number of data other than all, he would have had to replace the word “the” with another qualifier: some, one, that, many, most, etc. It takes just one black swan to disprove the statement ‘the swans in the pond are white’. So too, it takes just one bit of data that is not as good as what they would have obtained if they were physically present to disprove Courtney’s statement. But for the sake of argument I’ll discuss a few:A high quality drawing by Daz; this is some excellent remote viewing. With just a target ID, Daz correctly drew a pyramidal structure, and even people for scale. Ancient. Sandy. Right on the money. To dismiss this as confirmation bias would be folly. But Courtney set a higher threshold than merely good, or even great. His threshold is that the data is as good as if Daz were physically there. So what of the word: “broken”? If Daz were “physically present at the time when the pyramids were being constructed” would he have characterized the thing depicted in his drawing as ‘broken’ or ‘under construction’? RVers can understand why he would have used a word that is so similar in intent but just enough off to miss it importantly. But perhaps something really was broken. If so, what? Were Daz “physically present at the time when the pyramids were being constructed”, I bet he would have clarified that word. But this is RV, and RV is not the same as being physically present, and so misses details that he otherwise would have jotted down. RV cannot (readily) pick up alpha-numerics. How can we be sure Daz didn’t miss important signage?
Above is a drawing by Dick. Do you think Dick would have drawn this were he there? Of course, there is no way to know for sure, but I don’t think ancient Egypt had residential districts with apartment high rises with windows. Dick has a number of ‘low resolution’ images. Maybe he’s just a scrappy, scribbly, uncertain kind of artist, and were he there that is what he would have produced. But I’d be willing to bet that if I sat Dick down in front of an actual residential district today, his drawing would contain more detail and certainty than that. Another drawing by Dick. Would he have really described “preying mantis beings” were he there? Did he see an alien? Or— just as Daz’s ‘broken’ hampered a perception that might have more accurately been described as ‘under-construction’— could this be instead an almost-correct depiction of any number of animal-faced ancient Egyptian deities? Or a child’s game? Or a piece of jewelry? Or telepathic overlay? Was this a case of rubber banding (giving undo prominence to an item of interest)? None of us can be sure, because 1) there is no feedback to confirm this drawing and 2) RV is not as good as the five senses!
Let’s set those objections aside for a minute. Let’s assume Dick really did perceive “preying mantis beings”. Back to Courtney’s claim, “The quality of the remote viewing data obtained by Dick Allgire and Daz Smith is equal to that which would have been obtained if they were physically present at the time when the pyramids were being constructed”; is this the best drawing Dick could produce were he physically present? Was the alien merely a bust? Was the rest of his body obscured? By what? Did he really have an opening at the top of his head? Did his eyes have no detail? His mouth parts?
Courtney’s claim is more than unsupportable, it’s demonstrably false. I’m not sure which is worse: that such false statements are criminal, or that they are grossly unscientific?
So Courtney needs to learn to tighten up his rhetoric, and temper his passion for remote viewing with healthy skepticism of his own analyses. And there is still another, deeper lesson for him in his own project: From Courtney’s implications posting #4: “those who govern seek to control what the masses accept as true… [and]… brazenly manipulate knowledge”. There are two key (and apt) concepts here:
- people often attempt to control others’ beliefs (I agree).
- willful manipulation is the primary problem (I disagree).
People can also attempt to manipulate others’ beliefs unwittingly. Courtney is attempting to control the beliefs of others (he does not realize the manipulation of his own rhetoric) by handing us the conclusions we must draw (because he says so), rather than presenting the data and letting us arrive at our own conclusions. Courtney exhibits the behaviors he rails against. That is projection.
To Courtney: I invite you to consider how your eagerness to persuade leads you astray from your search for knowledge. You cannot hold it against someone else for exhibiting behavior you yourself exhibit. Using old guard tactics to start a revolution is no revolution at all, it is a changing of the guards. Many people are watching you; with that power comes responsibility. Fix yourself first, that you may lead by example!
“A virtual accomplice to suicide”
Hopefully, Courtney’s most disastrous failure is Hale-Bopp, a session broadcast on national radio so egregious that Alex Heard, writing for the New York Times, described Courtney as, “a scam artist, ‘definitely deluded’ and a virtual accomplice to suicide.”4
In 1996, Courtney was interview by Art Bell on Coast to Coast AM. He claimed his team had remote viewed an alien craft near Hale Bopp, and predicted imminent mass ET flyovers. The photo alleging to show the craft for which the remote viewing sessions were made has since been deemed fraudulent.
As part of the fallout from the Hale Bopp fiasco, fellow RVer and former Farsight employee Prudence Calabrese confessed to participating— with Courtney— in “nothing less than the manipulation of the public’s mind, not by outright lying, but by the selective representation, improper analysis, and overblown presentation style of remote viewing data.” 5
File Drawer Effect
Courtney uses the File Drawer Effect6 to hide his failures.
Courtney has a habit of expunging fails from his web site. He’s taken down his embarrassingly narcissistic Giza “implications”, his 0% accurate 2012 Farsight Climate Project, and his list of 2012 climate news stories, which might have led an uncritical viewer to believe his 2012 project was a success, but upon closer inspection, none of his collected news stories had anything to do with any of the sites his project targetted, and they also fell outside of the targetted time range. Bad feedback can pollute sessions.
In 2019, Courtney posted a video of an RV session where an offscreen assistant could clearly be heard prompting the RVer. Despite this, Courtney insists his sessions are not re-enactments; he even pinned a bullshit justification to the youtube video.
Tax Fraud Too?
Farsight.org has always claimed (as of the time of this writing, 12/20/19) to be a non-profit, yet none of their sales goes to the non-profit entity, Farsight Research, Inc. Instead, sales to go the for-profit entity, Farsight, Inc. This is a violation of Farsight Research, Inc’s 501(c)(3) status, and has been the case for at least 20 years.
Angry? Do you think Courtney should be held accountable for engaging in tax fraud? The IRS makes it simple to report:
Just fill out IRS Tax Fraud form 13909 against Farsight Research, Inc., and under question three, select the second checkbox: “Organization is engaged in commercial, for-profit business activities.” To remain anonymous, check the checkbox that reads, “I am concerned that I might face retaliation or retribution if my identity is disclosed.”
Regarding Courtney’s File Drawer, these are just the one’s I’m aware of. How many more are there? Other than Courtney, who can say? If you know of other fails Courtney is hiding, let me know.
As of 2019, Daz Smith and Dick Allgire are no longer affiliated with Farsight.
- Courtney has since removed this page from his site. Backup courtesy of archive.org“
- Courtney has taken down this page. Backup courtesy Archive.org
- Courtney has since taken down this page. Backup courtesy Archive.org
- Waaay Out, New York Times
- Former Farsight RVer Cites “Bad Science, Bad Judgment”
- “‘The File Drawer Effect’ which refers to the practice of tucking away negative/neutral/statistically non-significant research findings into ‘file drawers’ making these results inaccessible and hidden from reviewers.” The file drawer effect: A call for meticulous methodology and tolerance for non-significant results