Remote Viewing is the act of perceiving phenomena (people, events, objects) at a distance or chronological remove by way of psi ability. Some schools of thought insist that the term refers only to using this ability with a set of protocols and controls, and that if these protocols are not used, then it is simply clairvoyance. An example of remote viewing would be focusing on a (typically unknown) individual's name, face, or nickname, and trying to see with your mind (not eyes) what their room looks like and the things in it.
The term remote viewing entered popular culture primarily through the United States military's programs such as Project Star Gate, Grill Flame, and others from roughly the 1970s through the 1980s, which were themselves initiated largely in response to Soviet and other paranormal successes around the same time during the Cold War. Several individuals from those programs went on to widen public awareness of the phenomenon and sell instructional kits, such as Ed Dames and David Morehouse, and others published memoirs and expository books on the subject, such as Paul Smith, Skip Atwater, and Joe McMoneagle. Appearances by these individuals and others on internet and radio shows such as Coast to Coast AM bolstered public awareness to millions more.
Most of the military "versions" of remote viewing followed fairly rigid protocols in order to blind and scientifically control against the viewer's personal biases, guesses, or expections, and safeguard the product information from "analytical overlay", the tendency of the mind to immediately try to understand the data stream, which in their experience strongly tended to compromise the data's accuracy. The process typically began with the feeding to the viewer of a random number identified with the target to establish mental contact, the drawing of a quick ideogram to solidify an outline conceptual link, and then the staged identification of various independent sensory attributes, such as cold/hot, wet/dry, large/small, colors, hard/soft, colors, emotions, and the like. Only once the data was established would it concretize further with the addition of sketches and amplifications. Military viewers sometimes performed training exercises, but often with operational viewings, they might be given no feedback as to the probably accuracy of their sessions. On other occasions they might even brief senior executives on further details.
According to several participants, the program ended on account of not lack of success, which was substantial particularly in comparison with other sources, but religious or skeptical predjudices against any paranormal phenomena per se. It has been speculated, if not substantiated, that the practice was regarded by some as too critical to security and remained in force after program closures like that by the CIA and simply moved off public books. Military viewers have frequently expressed the opinion the phenomenon remains in active practice in numerous other states still such as China, Russia, and Israel.
Various internet fora exist for private viewers to share blind targets and discuss their experiences and successes.