Biographical / Historical
Edwin C. May (b. 194-) received his B.S. in physics at the University of Rochester, Rochester, NY in 1962. He obtained a PhD in Physics, specializing in Nuclear Physics in 1968 with a dissertation titled, "Nuclear Reaction Studies via the (p, pn) Reaction on Light Nuclei and the (d, pn) Reaction on Medium to Heavy Nuclei."
While working as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of California at Davis, May's interest in parapsychology was piqued when he attended a series of lectures organized by the psychologist Charles Tart. As part of this lecture series, his curiosity was particularly captivated by a lecture given by Robert Morris on the topic of out-of-body experiences. Following this experience, in 1973-1974, he undertook a research trip to India, where he attempted to scientifically evaluate people who claimed to possess psychical abilities, traditionally referred to as siddhis, without much success.
In 1975, May was hired by Charles Honorton to collaborate on parapsychological research being undertaken at the Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY. It was during the course of this research that he truly fell in love with the subject. According to May, "I studied serious parapsychology research with a master [Honorton] and saw substantial evidence for the existence of ESP. I was hooked." The noted psychic Ingo Swann participated in some of this research, while also working at Stanford Research Institute (SRI), and the two became good friends.
At the suggestion of Swann, May was hired by the first project director of the SRI, Harold (Hal) Puthoff, to work as a consultant on the experimental research being conducted into psychokinesis at SRI in 1975. In 1976, May was made a full-time Senior Research Physicist at SRI and received Secret security clearance. It was at this time that he began his work on the federally funded classified research into extrasensory perception being conducted at SRI. This project would go by several codenames over the years, including Grill Flame and Star Gate.
The federally funded parapsychological research program at SRI was begun by the laser physicists Harold Puthoff and Russell Targ in 1972. However, Targ officially left the project in 1982 and Puthoff resigned in 1985. Thus, Edwin May was the longest serving director of the program, from 1985 until it was terminated in 1995. When SRI closed in 1990, the Star Gate program was almost terminated along with it. However, May undertook several trips to Washington, D.C. and coordinated with numerous politicians and figures in the upper echelons of the military and intelligence communities to secure the funding that allowed the Star Gate program to continue for another four years. With these sources of revenue, May founded the company Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and the program was relocated to this organization for the last four years of its life. Initial funding for the project at SRI came from the Central Intelligence Agency, but soon the Defense Intelligence Agency took responsibility for funding the project and ultimately contributed the most money to it. However, over the years, numerous federal agencies would turn to the Star Gate program personnel for assistance and help to fund the program. During the lifetime of the program, Star Gate served as the primary point of contact for parapsychology research for U.S. military, intelligence, and law enforcement purposes. The primary objective of the program was to cultivate the extrasensory perception abilities of military and civilian personnel associated with the program. These operatives were then tasked with deploying their psychic abilities for intelligence gathering operations. The science personnel associated with the program also carefully monitored all forms of information about parapsychology. They were sometimes called upon to evaluate the information available about parapsychological research being conducted in nations that were Cold War adversaries of the United States, primarily Russia and China. As the chief parapsychologist for the United States government, May also collected articles that described the research being conducted by other parapsychologists in the West. One major interest of May was in how people with greater than average psychic ability might be identified in the general population. A number of research projects were undertaken by May as part of the Star Gate program that sought such ways to identify psychically sensitive persons through the use of personality testing and the search for neurological correlates of psychic functioning. Funding for SAIC and the Star Gate program was terminated in 1995 and responsibility for the files related to the program, which had been transferred to the DIA early in the project, were returned to the CIA. Also at this time, the CIA was ordered by the U.S. Congress to orchestrate a thorough review of the history of Star Gate and all data generated by the project. As part of this review, May was called to testify before Congress about his work. Although, several articles were published concerning government funded research into parapsychology during the course of the project, this was officially acknowledged in 1995. Since that time, most of the research conducted by the Star Gate program has been declassified and is now in the public domain. Much of this information about the research conducted and missions undertaken is located here in the Edwin C. May papers. Other Major Contributors to this Collection Dean Radin Dean Radin (b. 1952) is an American parapsychologist and author who worked for the research arm of Star Gate under Edwin C. May. In subsequent years, Radin became known primarily as the author of a number of popular books detailing aspects of his research as well as his thoughts regarding subjects such as comparative metaphysics, the nature of consciousness, and consideration of magical and occult practices. Radin was apparently driven by a sort of omnivorous curiosity that saw him specializing for a time in a variety of subjects. Originally trained as a concert violinist, Radin was driven to pursue Electrical Engineering when his father, a sculptor, described an interesting prospective piece involving the use of motion sensors to control the arms of a statue. Radin went on to complete a Master's degree in the subject, with research focused on cybernetics and control systems. Switching to Educational Psychology for his doctorate, Radin drew upon his scientific training and familiarity with the fledgling discipline of computer science to design "what may have been the first computer-based, artificial-intelligence enhanced touch typing training system." Radin began his career at Bell Labs, working on research and development projects focused on user interfaces for the company's network operation centers and developing strategies to foster creativity in the workplace. It was during this period that he first began publishing reports of psi experiments. This research "led to [his] gaining appointments to conduct psi research at Princeton University, University of Edinburgh, University of Nevada, Interval Research Corporation, and SRI International, which at the time was conducting classified research on psychic phenomena for the US government." During his time at SRI, he worked under Edwin C. May who was the principle investigator at Star Gate. The May papers contain correspondence between the two men from the early 1980s through the mid-1990s, as well as several studies in which Radin used Artificial Neural Networks to parse the results of psi experiments on random number generators in search of unique psychic "thumbprints" left by the participants. Radin currently serves as the Chief Scientist at the Institute for Noetic Sciences, a parapsychology research organization founded by Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell. Russel Targ Harold (Hal) Puthoff 1. Edwin May, Victor Rubel, Jospeh McMoneagle, and Lloyd Auerbach, ESP Wars East & West: An Account of the Military use of Psychic Espionage as Narrated by the Key Russian and American Players, (New York: Crossroad Press, 2015), 72. Kindle for PC edition. 2. May, et al., ESP Wars East & West, 74. 3. May, et al., ESP Wars East & West, 74.
4. May, et al., ESP Wars East & West, 75. 5. "Dean Radin: Bio," Dean Radin, updated July 2017, http://www.deanradin.com/NewWeb/bio.html . 6. "Dean Radin: Bio."
Historical note written by Christopher Senn & Ben Mathews, April 2019, as part of RELI 507: Archives of the Impossible, Rice University, with Dr. Jeffrey Kripal.