Penetration: Special Edition: The Question of Extraterrestrial and Human Telepathy, by Ingo Swann

Penetration: The Question of Extraterrestrial and Human Telepathy was first self-published by Ingo Swann in 1998. Swann (1933-2013) was an artist, astrologer, author, and a well-known psychic. He became involved in parapsychology in 1969. Penetration is a strange book in which Swann tells about events that occurred to him in the 1970s. At the time he was working with Harold Puthoff and Russell Targ at Stanford Research Institute, doing remote viewing experiments. Daz Smith asked Puthoff and Targ about their thoughts about the book. Puthoff replied “Although I do not have independent verification of the events described, I can state that Ingo’s commitment to truth was a keystone of his personality, so I have no reason to dismiss” (Smith, 2015b, p. 17). In contrast, Targ replied: “My opinion is that if Penetration was nonfiction, Ingo would not have written it as he did” (Smith, 2015a, p. 83). For what it is worth, to me the story reads as fiction.

It is worth noting that in 1973 Harold Sherman and Swann had used their psychic abilities to view the planet Jupiter (Sherman & Swann, 1973). Swann writes about this but does not mention Sherman’s participation. In 1974 they viewed the planet Mercury (Mitchell, 1975). It is in February 1975 the truly strange story begins with a phone call from “a highly-placed functionary in Washington, D.C.” (p. 14). He told Swann that he would get contacted by a Mr. Axelrod and urged Swann to help if he could and to ask no questions. About four weeks later Axelrod called. To cut the story short, Swann agreed to meet him, he gets picked up by two military-looking guys, gets frisked, and while wearing a black hood is taken to an underground facility. There he meets Axelrod (who, needless to say, acknowledges that his name is just a pseudonym), an employee for an agency that “exist without leaving a paper trail regarding our mission” (p. 23). Axelrod and Swann talk about remote viewing and, later over dinner, telepathy. It turns out that Axelrod wants Swann to view the dark side of the Moon. Swann was well-paid (1,000 USD/day) and agreed to not reveal anything about the project for at least ten years. Redfern (2013) writes that at least seven attempts, all in vain, have been made to use the Freedom of Information Act to get documents about the project.

I found towers, machinery, lights of different colors, strange-looking ‘buildings.’ I found bridges whose function I could not figure out. One of them just arched out—and never landed anywhere. There were a lot of domes of various sizes, round things, things like small saucers with windows … I found long tube-like things, machinery-tractor-like things going up and down hills, straight roads extending some miles, obelisks which had no apparent function (p. 40).

The reader gets the impression that Swann was utilized to confirm earlier suspicions. During the first remote viewing session Axelrod asks Swann if he is sure that he really sees actual lights when Swann gives an affirmative reply he breaks his pen. After the initial shock, however, Axelrod does not seem surprised by what Swann reports, including that the Moon has an atmosphere. Eventually Swann observes a group of naked humans and when two of them point at him Axelrod asks him to get away. Axelrod then decides that Swann has done enough. Swann asks whether they would have been able to kill a spying psychic. Axelrod’s reply: “There is no conclusive to suggest that” (p. 41) and later remark “we don’t want to put you to any more risk” (p. 42) did not put Swann’s mind at ease. Before leaving Swann wrote fifteen pages about his thoughts about telepathy for Axelrod. Swann spent about two days recovering from the shock of what he had seen and then made sketches of what he remembered having seen on the Moon: “I made several larger drawings, and then decided to fit them onto two pages” (p. 45). Those two pages of sketches are included in Penetration.

In 1976 Swann received Leonard’s book Somebody else is on the Moon in the mail. Leonard argued and tried to prove that an advanced civilisation existed on the Moon: “Many of Leonard’s sketches resembled some of mine” (pp. 47-48). Much of the rest of Penetration concerns Moon anomalies. Swann argues that the existence of an atmosphere and water on the Moon were discovered long before this was officially acknowledged. He includes a bibliography: “The topic of Moon anomalies (including convincing evidence for artificial structures) is complicated by coverup agendas that many do not care to infringe upon” (p. 202). Swann believes that the Soviet Union and the U.S. lost interest in establishing bases on the Moon due the civilisation there.

Later, in a supermarket 1976, Swann saw what he believed was an extraterrestrial:

She was notable not so much for her excessive female physical endowments, but by the fact that they were barely covered. She was dressed in the briefest of halters of pink with big yellow polka dots. Beneath that were short-shorts so short that they barely existed. Far beneath that she wore a pair of platform high-heels about eight inches high. She had volumes of gorgeous black hair and her eyes were covered by purple sunglasses (p. 54)

Swann felt that he knew that she was an extraterrestrial when he got close and …

For absolutely no reason at all I experienced an electrifying wave of goosebumps throughout my whole body. The hair on my arms practically stood at attention, and the hair on my neck definitely did … My throat went dry. My hands started shaking (p. 54).

Then he noticed the two military-like types that he had met back in 1975. Both were clearly there to observe her. A few days later Axelrod reached out and during a phone call inquired about Swann’s impressions and claimed that the woman was very dangerous. Later in the book Axelrod and the two military-like types take Swann to a lake somewhere in the north to observe an UFO. The reader gets the impression that it arrives there at certain times to get water. Rather than just observing the UFO they all have to flee when the UFO appears to start killing off animals in the vicinity.

In the last part of the book Swann writes about coverups, consciousness, and telepathy. He argues that people in higher echelons fear telepathy and that extraterrestrials may fear it too. However, I think it is fair to say that the kind of telepathy that is feared is actually the science fiction kind, real mind-reading, probing memories and extracting information. Swann thinks that Axelrod implied that the dangerous female had a type of telepathic ability that could be used for more than just transferring information.

A special edition of Penetration was published in 2019. That edition includes a chapter about remote viewing of the planet Mars, first by Sherman and Swann in 1975, later in 1984, by Swann and four other individuals, one being Thomas McNear, who has contributed an Afterword. In addition, Stanley Krippner and Janet Lee Mitchell have shared some recollections of Swann. The chapter was found in the draft book manuscript and was probably meant to be the first in a section about Mars. The descriptions about what was observed on Mars are sketchy, but buildings and ruins were seen. McNear writes that he “encountered entities and communed with them” (p. 200) and that McMoneagle (1997) writes about the same entities. McNear acknowledges that he is still reluctant to discuss what he saw. Stephan Schwartz, Krippner and McNear appeared on 21st Century Radio, January 12, 2020, to talk about the book.

People unwilling to believe that there are really buildings on the Moon and Mars may ponder on the possibility that the remote viewers’ perceptions were influenced by articles and books that appeared long after the remote viewing sessions. Schwartz suggests that the remote viewers might have seen the future rather than the present situation on Mars.

Not mentioned in the book is that Swann appears to have returned to the Moon and to Mars. At UFO Conference Bordentown, he spoke about having seen “guys who have metal plates embedded in their heads, and their sole function is to be telepathic” on the Moon, and females that “seem to be directors of some kind” (Swann, 2002). Needless to say, Penetration is a strange book. My understanding is that it would have been even stranger if Swann had updated it.

McMoneagle, J. (1997). Mind Trek (rev Ed.). Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publishing.
Mitchell, J. (1975). A psychic probe of the planet Mercury. Psychic Magazine, 6(2), 17-21
Redfern, N. (2013). For Nobody’s Eyes Only. Franklin Lakes, NJ: New Page Books.
Sherman, H., & Swann, I. (1973). An experimental psychic probe on the planet Jupiter.
Smith, D. (2015a). An interview with Russel Targ. Eight Martinis, 12, 79-83
Smith, D. (2015b). Controlled remote viewing and training. Eight Martinis, 13, 12-18.
Swann, I. (2002). Presentation at UFO Conference Bordentown, New Jersey October 13, 2002.