Russell Targ

Physicist, CIA Psychic Spy, Remote Viewer
Russell Targ is an American physicist, author, and ESP researcher, and pioneer in the earliest development of lasers and their applications in the 1950s and 60s.

Targ received a Bachelor of Science degree in math and physics from Queens College in 1954, and did graduate work in physics at Columbia University, leading to his early work with lasers.

In 1997 he retired from Lockheed Missiles & Space Co. as a project manager and senior staff scientist, where he developed laser technology for airborne detection of wind shear and air turbulence. He has published nine books and more than a hundred refereed papers on ESP research, lasers, plasma physics, and laser applications. The most recent of Targ’s books is The Reality of ESP: A Physicist’s Proof of Psychic Ability.

At the Stanford Research Institute in the 1970s and 1980s, Targ and his colleague Harold Puthoff founded a 23-year, $25-million program of research into psychic abilities and their operational use for the U.S. intelligence community, including the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency and Army Intelligence. These abilities are referred to collectively as “remote viewing.” Targ and Puthoff demonstrated that retired police commissioner Pat Price, photographer Hella Hammid and artist Ingo Swann all had remarkably accurate and reliable psychic abilities. Targ and Puthoff published their findings in Nature and the Proceedings of the IEEE.

He has recently produced a two-hour documentary film Third Eye Spies describing the true story of CIA psychic spying. Targ gave a half hour which was to be a TED talk. But TED decided it was too controversial.

CITD 2024 Presentations


Not presenting lecture this year.


Not presenting a workshop this year.


Not presenting an intensive this year.

CITD 2024 Panels

Legends: The Pioneers Who Paved the Way

In honor of CITD’s 10 year anniversary, this panel pays tribute to those who were among the first to explore uncharted territories, reshaped our conversations, and inspired us to think …

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Other CITD Appearances Include…

FREE Events

No appearances at other free, community events this year.

PAID Events

Speaker Banquet & Awards Ceremony

Saturday, June 1, 6:30pm – 8:05pm Crystal Ballroom Join us for our 10th Annual Awards Banquet of Contact In The Desert!  We gather to honor the commendable work within our …

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Explore More of Russell Targ‘s Work


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