THE PSYCHIC PROJECT Comes to The Vaults Theatre
The Psychic Project is a mind-reading show based on the true story of America's psychic spying programme from the Cold War. It tells the story of the programme and attempts the CIA's experiments, seeing if the audience can achieve the same results; i.e. whether the audience can become psychic spies.
The show is unusual in that the performer, David Narayan, does not demonstrate any psychic powers. Instead, every experiment is attempted by audience members, using the techniques from the CIA's archives. After sold out shows in 2017 and 2018, The Psychic Project comes to The Vaults Theatre for eight performances.
In 1972, the CIA was worried about Russian investment in mind-control research. They feared that the Russians were 'weaponising' psychic powers, with one report stating that the Soviets had the ability to collect intelligence using paranormal means, and another that they may be able to mould the thoughts of key US military and civilian leaders, even causing the instant death of any US official.
Taking these reports seriously, America started a 20 year psychic research programme of their own. The research began as lab studies, but became operational, with projects including tracking drugs and locating hostages. The research was made public in 1995, with scientists divided over whether psychic spying was a genuine phenomena.
The Psychic Project draws upon 100,000 pages of CIA documents in order to attempt the experiments with a live audience. Previously only available via US Freedom of Information Act requests, the declassified documents were made available via the CIA's website in 2017. Some parts are still redacted - in particular the sections on causing changes to human cells.