19th October 1977: A gypsy fortune-teller gazing into her crystal ball / Fox Photos/Getty Images

The project looked to use 'remote viewing' and telekinesis as a weapon

The CIA has revealed details of its "Project Star Gate" mission to develop psychic abilities for the first time.

The revelations come as part of a huge dump of documents – almost 12 million in all – that are being made available on the internet. And they show the organisation's plans to harness the supernatural in ways that have never been seen before.

Project Star Gate, as it was known, was the codename for a US government project intended to use psychic and supernatural phenomenon for spying and military uses. In one of the pages, it lays out why the government wants to use it – the benefits include the fact that it is "passive", "inexpensive" and that there is "no known defense".

The papers show how the organisation was looking to harness those powers to spy on people, to make changes to important objects and . All of that would be done by operatives far from the people and things that were actually being affected.

The document defines a number of the key terms used by those within the project.

"Psychoenergetics", for instance, describes a "mental process" where a person can perceive, communicate or change characteristics of something or someone that it separate from that person in space or time. It also describes things such as remote viewing, where people can see things in another place, and telekenisis, where someone can move an object that they're not actually touching.

The CIA's files suggest that those in charge of the project did believe tha they had some success. But they also note the limits, writing that remote viewers should only be used to collect information in conjunction with other sources, and that information gained through remote viewing "should not stand alone".

The project was ended in 1995, when its existence stopped being secret. The CIA concluded that it didn't ever prove useful and that events that seemed to suggest the information was true had actually been doctored.

Information about the project – which ran from 1978 – had been known before. But the CIA just released all of its declassified documents onto the internet, marking the first time that people can see them without doing so at the National Archives.

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