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The Truth About Dave Morehouse and Psychic Warrior (Part 2)

by Jim Schnabel

In civilian life, what Morehouse had allegedly done was not even legally punishable. Angela Connor would have had to declare Morehouse a rake and a liar, and leave it at that. But under the military code, Angela's accusations had to be taken seriously. "Fraternization" between the ranks was discouraged anyway, but an officer definitely could not play around with the wife of an enlisted man, especially not one under his command. To do so would not just be ungentlemanly; it would be an abuse of the trust placed in him as an officer and a leader.

The Fort Bragg prosecutors made the charges sound fearsome: adultery, sodomy, communicating a threat, conduct unbecoming an officer, and larceny (regarding a computer that Morehouse had "borrowed" from Fort Leavenworth and then loaned to Angela). All in all, however, it wasn't such a high stakes case. It boiled down to a jilted girlfriend, and an officer who did a good job at work but had a habit of overmanipulating people and couldn't keep his pants zipped. ("He's got too many -- what is it? X genes or something?" Ed Dames told me at the time.)

But there was more. In one of her first statements to prosecutors, Angela Connor mentioned the expos on remote viewing that Morehouse was working on with Dames. One of the prosecutors wrote in the margin of the transcript: "What book? Find out." The apparent possibility that Morehouse was about to disclose -- or had already disclosed -- information about a classified program led to further investigations of Morehouse by the Army's Criminal Investigation Division, Army counterintelligence, and the Defense Investigative Service. Morehouse was now in deep trouble.

He responded, one could say, with the creativity and energy he had always shown. In April 1994, a few days after the Army decided to send his case to a full court martial, Morehouse checked in to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. He told doctors he was talking to angels. His lawyers soon suggested he was no longer competent to stand trial. They said the Pentagon's remote viewing program had unhinged their client. They asked the judge for special clearances, to look through the files of DT-S and its predecessors.

The impending court martial of Dave Morehouse, it was now clear, would not be about Morehouse's sordid and rather petty misconduct; it would instead be a three ring circus of allegations and bizarre revelations about the politically embarrassing remote viewing program. And Morehouse would be transformed from a sleazy villain into a victim and celebrity.

While the Army tried to decide what to do next, Morehouse began to claim to friends that he was the target of some kind of secret harassment campaign by shadowy government operatives. Letters and packages were sent to his wife, he said. Some of the packages contained tape-recordings of conversations he had held with Jim Marrs, or Sandra Martin. Morehouse saw people following him. Later, in Psychic Warrior, he would even claim that his car tires were slashed and that the government tried to kill his family by carbon monoxide poisoning.

Astonishingly, even Sandra Martin joined in with these claims. She told me that a strange man had taken her picture while she sat at a cafe outside her office in midtown Manhattan. She told me that another strange man had growled at her on the subway to "stop representing Dave."

Now, I can believe that a legitimate counterintelligence investigation would include wiretapping, and possibly even physical surveillance. The remote viewing program was not exactly one of the Pentagon's crown jewels, but information about ISA and Team Six was relatively sensitive. The Pentagon would quite reasonably have wanted to know how much, if anything, Morehouse was giving away about these programs.

On the other hand, surveillance in such cases would probably be undetectable, and the idea that counterintelligence officials would actually advertise their presence or engage in harassment of the sort Morehouse and Martin described is just laughable. The only effect of that harassment would be to make Morehouse's story seem sexier, giving it the paranoid twist of the X-Files genre, and boosting sales accordingly. To me, the most obvious explanation is that Morehouse made it all up.

Could Sandra Martin also have been a party to this tale-telling? Well, from what I know of her, having briefly been one of her client authors, I wouldn't be surprised to discover that she had. Besides, Martin, as the reader may have guessed, was by this time a little more than just Morehouse's agent. Like her more nubile predecessor down south, she was in love with the wily major.

What Debbie Morehouse's role was, I don't know. Perhaps she was a completely innocent victim. Perhaps she did receive harassing packages in the mail, and did believe that they had been sent by government operatives. When I telephoned her in late September 1994, to ask for an interview, she seemed to think that her phone was tapped and that dark forces were at work all around her:

My attorney approached me about you, okay? Now, where he got the information, I don't know. He's well connected, he knows a lot of people. How I got information about you-- And we were told not to speak to you. So, that's all I can say. But I can tell you from personal experience, you've only scraped the surface. You have no idea what's going on. (I've only scraped the surface regarding the history of remote viewing, or just your husband's case?) The history of remote viewing, and the connections. (Okay . . .) So just watch your back as you dig deeper. (Should I expect physical violence, or what?) I'm not going to say over the phone. And it won't be from me.

The summer of 1994 passed, and Morehouse went from Walter Reed back down to North Carolina. The wrangling of lawyers and prosecutors continued. Deals came and went. There was to be an NBC Movie of the Week, based on the Morehouse story. For some reason it was cancelled. Martin claimed to me that it was because of pressure on NBC from the DIA. 60 Minutes, increasingly in search of tabloidesque stories about government conspiracies, also prepared to film a piece on Morehouse. Then for some reason, late that summer, they lost interest.

Around Christmas, Morehouse's fortunes suddenly rose. The Army, as it often did in these cases, caved in, and offered Morehouse a way out. In lieu of a court-martial, he could merely agree to be discharged under "other than honorable" conditions, with no pension or medical benefits. He signed the requisite paperwork and separated from the Army in January 1995. He went to work as a vice president at Sandra Martin's production company -- now called Para View-- in New York.

After two long rewrites, Jim Marrs' book was finally put into shape in the summer of 1995, and Harmony prepared to publish it. All Morehouse had to do was sit back and wait for the royalties to come in. ABC's 20/20 came along, and filmed a segment on him, and he discussed remote viewing's harmful effects, and all the mental damage he said had been suffered by those in the program. 20/20 planned to air the segment in September, when the book was launched. According to what Morehouse told me that August, he also had appearances lined up on the Larry King Show and Good Morning America.

Then Ed Dames took a look at a typescript of the Jim Marrs book. He hit the ceiling. The book, in his opinion, was all about Morehouse, who had only been briefly part of the remote-viewing program, and in its last and worst years. Moreover the book was heavily fictionalized, "a screenplay." There was no way Dames was going to give the green light to a story like that.

Some time in July or August 1995, Harmony decided they had had enough. They cancelled the book. The 20/20 segment never aired.

But Morehouse wasn't about to give up. He started working on his own book, which he titled Comes the Watcher. By October, Sandra Martin had sold Morehouse's proposal for the book to St. Martin's Press. Somewhere around this time, Morehouse decided to split with Martin. He found a new agent, California-based Peter Donaldson. In November, the two men began pitching the Morehouse story to Hollywood. They made eighteen pitches over several days, and eventually got some offers. Oliver Stone narrowly lost out in the bidding to Interscope Communications, who according to Variety paid Morehouse $300,000, as an advance against "high six figures" if the film got made.

Comes the Watcher is now out in bookstores, under the breath-stealing title Psychic Warrior: Inside the CIA's Stargate program: The true story of a soldier's espionage and awakening.

I have skimmed the book, as well as a similar draft typescript which Ed Dames obtained (through his own Hollywood connections, presumably) and circulated last summer. The book begins with Morehouse, guided by another remote viewer (Ed Dames has been airbrushed out of the story), psychically visiting a friend who died in a helicopter crash. The anecdote, along with its description of remote viewing as a kind of vivid virtual reality game, is fictional, but it contains a grain of truth: A similar helicopter crash was targeted by Fort Meade remote viewers in the late 1970s. Morehouse presumably heard about the story and decided to make it his own.

Psychic Warrior moves on to a discussion of an accident in Jordan in the mid 1980s, when Morehouse was hit in his helmet by a bullet from a careless Jordanian. At DT-S, Morehouse told colleagues about the incident, but mentioned that it had only given him a headache afterwards. In Psychic Warrior, the incident has been transformed into a turning point in Morehouse's life. The trauma from the bullet, we are now told, destabilized his brain and caused him to have a variety of psychic and transcendental experiences, including meetings with an angel. Ultimately, Morehouse claims, this led him to DT-S.

This story also is evidently fictional, but once again, it contains a grain of someone else's truth. It appears to be an attempt to mimic the story of remote viewer Joe McMoneagle, who really was hospitalized, and really did report transcendental episodes, after a near-death experience while in the Army in Europe in the 1970s. Morehouse, who was not shy about discussing his life experiences with others at DT-S, never mentioned any prior paranormal episodes to his colleagues there. Indeed, according to Angela Connor's testimony at Fort Bragg, Morehouse expressed pride at having learned to be a psychic at DT-S, rather than having been born or otherwise made that way.

Former colleagues will also be surprised to read that Morehouse was asked to "remote influence," detrimentally, Saddam Hussein and other bad guys. The history of this fabrication is particularly interesting. According to former remote viewer Mel Riley, the remote influencing claim does not even appear in the Dave Morehouse story that was written (by Jim Marrs, with Morehouse hovering over his shoulder) before the summer of 1995. Then in June 1995, while driving home from a filming session with 20/20, another remote viewer "confided" to Morehouse that, though he had never told anyone before, he had been secretly asked to try remote-influencing a key foreign leader around 1990. Morehouse was fascinated by the story. I have never thought this other remote viewer to be a liar, but I checked his story about remote influencing with a half-dozen sources in a position to know, all of whom told me that it was just bullshit. In any case, Morehouse apparently thought it was a good enough story to insert into his new version of events in Psychic Warrior -- despite the fact that he had left DT-S by the time Iraq invaded Kuwait.

One of the earliest claims Morehouse has made, and certainly the central claim in his book, is that remote viewing helped to destabilize his mind. There is much more than a grain of truth in that, for remote viewing, like any altered-state regime (e.g., meditation), can, when overdone, bring about a susceptibility to spontaneous altered states. In other words, if you deliberately go into a trance for four hours a day, five days a week, pretty soon you'll go into trances without wanting to. And it may be that the demons -- or angels -- you have lurking in your subconscious will rise to haunt you.

But I'm far from being convinced that Morehouse suffered any real damage. For one thing, no one seemed to notice any problems when he was at DT-S, or even immediately afterward, at Team Six. The senior officer who was with him at Team Six told me: "If he actually engaged in [remote viewing], it didn't become evident in his psychological being, if you will, at the time I knew him. I would not have considered him unstable or unbalanced."

Morehouse also suggests in his book that others in the program were "hospitalized" with psychiatric problems. As far as I have been able to discover, this is another dramatic invention. There was one case in the early 1980s of a high-strung Army lieutenant who suffered a brief psychotic episode while trying to have an "out of body experience" -- but he was not part of the remote-viewing program, and he also apparently had a history of psychiatric problems that made altered-state games inadvisable. Morehouse is the only member of the remote-viewing program ever to have been hospitalized for psychiatric reasons, and in his case, there are good reasons to believe that he was, in Mel Riley's words, "playing crazy."

To tag every piece of fiction in the Morehouse book would mean commenting on virtually every page. Indeed, both Mel Riley and Lyn Buchanan remember Morehouse telling them that they were not to worry, the whole thing was going to be a novel anyway. Or perhaps, as Ed Dames says, a screenplay, for there is lengthy screenplayish dialogue throughout, and the entire thing seems calculated to push all the New Age and X-Files conspiracy buttons in the Hollywood version of reality, from the repeated appearance of an angel to the cynical falsehood that the DIA was using remote viewers to monitor US troops' chemical weapons exposure in the Gulf War -- an exposure that Morehouse says they wanted to "cover up" to avoid a scandal over "Gulf War Syndrome." No wonder Oliver Stone loved this one.

Morehouse evidently hopes that readers of all kinds will love the book, for he has tried to blend traditional "male" adventure elements with more "feminine" relationship themes. Morehouse's relationship with Angela Connor gets little mention, however. In fact, in the early draft of Psychic Warrior, obtained last spring by Ed Dames, Morehouse is in denial about the whole thing. But the detailed lines of dialogue are recalled so clearly by Morehouse that we must presume he had a tape recorder with him at the time:

"I called the prosecutor's office to see what was going on [says Morehouse's Army defense counsel]. From your tone I figured something had to have originated from there." He took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, looking at some notes he'd scribbled on a pad when he talked to [the] prosecutor I had met in the Chief's office. "Are you aware of what's happening, Major Morehouse?" I shook my head no, I found it difficult even to focus on him. "Well, you were told what the allegations are. It appears that someone (he told me the name of a civilian woman I knew from around the base), has sworn a complaint against you. Do you know her?" "Yes I know her. What is her complaint against me and why would she be doing this?" "Well I certainly have no idea at present as to why she would be doing this, but her complaint is provided in a deposition where she states that you verbally threatened her with physical violence. She also claims that you were sexually involved with her for a period of several months, I believe three." "Yes, I knew her and I did take her to dinner twice. I assure you that I never slept with her, and I never stayed with her overnight." "Okay. Do you know of any reason why she might be making these allegations?" "No." "Okay. What about the larceny charge? The prosecutor has alleged that you stole an Army computer and gave it to this woman." "As a friend, I gave her a computer for her work. The computer I gave her was an old Commodore PC10-2. It's worthless, and after discussing it with my wife, we decided that we didn't need it anymore and we agreed to help her out. She's even talked to my wife on the phone. There was nothing between us, ever. I don't understand this at all."

Well, perhaps the tape recorder wasn't working right that day, for at some later date (perhaps realizing that the court martial files were available to the public by FOIA request) Morehouse decided to revise his recollections about his non-relationship with Angela Connor. Thus we read on page 203 of the final draft of Psychic Warrior:

"I called the prosecutor's office to see what was going on," [my defense lawyer] said. He took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, looking at his notes. "Are you aware of what's happening, Major Morehouse?" I shook my head. I found it difficult even to focus on him. "Well, you were told what the allegations are. It appears that someone" -- he named a civilian woman I knew from around the base -- "has sworn a complaint against you. Do you know her?" "Yes. What is her complaint against me, and why would she be doing this?" "Well, I certainly don't know why, but her complaint is that you verbally threatened her with physical violence. She also claims that you were sexually involved with her for three months." "I knew her. In fact, you could say we had a relationship of sorts. I've spent the last four years of my life alone. Sometimes you just want to talk to another person, you know, someone who doesn't have to shave his face." He laughed. "I poured my heart out to this woman. She was a good listener, too -- kind and caring." I shook my head disbelievingly . . .

As I sifted back and forth through all this garbage the other day, with a borrowed copy of Psychic Warrior, the final thing to catch my eye was Morehouse's dedication: "to my darling wife Debbie, whose love has nourished and sustained me for longer than I can remember. We are together eternally."

I have no doubt that Americans will buy that, in droves, not only at bookstores but in cinemas. Word on the street is that Sylvester Stallone wants to do the movie. People are talking about a budget of $70 million. I can already see Stallone's head trembling with paranormal effort as he tries to psychically scramble the mind of Saddam Hussein or some unlucky cocaine cartel boss. Perhaps blood will run from Stallone's nose, or his ears. And the audience will gape up at the screen, feeding themselves with popcorn, and somewhere Morehouse will be laughing, all the way to the bank.

The last I heard, Morehouse was working on a Saturday morning kids' cartoon series, featuring superheroes with paranormal abilities who fight for world peace.

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