Jun 05, 2022 I Nick Redfern

The Planet Mars: Time Travel, Remote-Viewing and Ancient Mysteries

In 1984, and behind closed doors, agents of the Central Intelligence Agency embarked on an ambitious project to try and “remote-view” the planet Mars, specifically to find evidence of life on the planet. Not today, but in the distant past – and via the phenomenon of remote-viewing. To put it bluntly, and starkly…agents of the CIA were about to time travel into the past – and using the power of the human mind to do so. Incredibly, they achieved in their goal: The CIA took a trip into the past. For those who may not know, remote-viewing is a process by which a psychic individual may focus his or her mind on a particular location and describe its appearance, whether it exists now, or existed in years, centuries and even millennia long gone. It was on May 22, 1984 that the ambitious program began. While some of the pages declassified under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act are heavily redacted for national security-based reasons, others give us at least some sense of what was afoot behind the closed doors of the CIA headquarters at Langley, Virginia.  The timeframe that the CIA had in mind was approximately one million years B.C. Why? The CIA isn’t telling. The remote-viewer – whose name is deleted from the files – stated that, “I kind of got an oblique view of a, ah, pyramid or pyramid form. It’s very high, it’s kind of sitting in a large depressed area. I’m tracking severe, severe clouds, more like dust storm[s]. I’m looking at an after-effect of a major geologic problem. I just keep seeing very large people. They appear thin and tall, but they’re very large, wearing some kind of clothes.”


The remote viewer then focuses certain, massive structures on Mars that appeared to have been built by intelligent beings: “Deep inside of a cavern, not of a cavern, more like [a] canyon. I’m looking up, the sides of a steep wall that seem to go on forever. And there’s like a structure…it’s like the wall of the canyon has been carved. Again, I’m getting a very large structures [sic]…huge sections of smooth stone…it’s like a rabbit warren, corners of rooms, they’re really huge. Perception is that the ceiling is very high, walls very wide. “They have a…ah…appears to be the very end of a very large road and there’s a marker thing that’s very large. Keep getting Washington Monument overlay, it’s like an obelisk…see pyramids…they’re huge. It’s filtered from storms or something…They’re like shelters from storms. “Different chambers…but they’re almost stripped of any kind of furnishings or anything, it’s like ah…strictly [a] functional place for sleeping or that’s not a good word, hibernations, some form, I can’t, I get real raw inputs, storms, savage storm, and sleeping through storms.” “They’re ancient people. They’re dying. It’s past their time or age. They’re very philosophic about it. They’re just looking for a way to survive and they just can’t. They’re…ah…evidently was a…a group or party of them that went to find…ah…new place to live. It’s like I’m getting all kinds of overwhelming input of the corruption of their environment. It’s failing very rapidly and this group went somewhere, like a long way to find another place to live.”

Does this specific piece of almost unique CIA documentation tell of an ancient Martian civilization, one whose world spiraled into ecological collapse, and which forced them to a new world to live on? Maybe our Earth? It just might. The idea that Mars may once have been home to a race of advanced Martians, and who fled their dying world when even they were unable to prevent an all-encompassing disaster, may well tie in with the strange story of what has become known as the Face on Mars, as we shall now see. One person who was fascinated by all this was the late Mac Tonnies, whose book on these very topics – After the Martian Apocalypse – makes for required reading. Most of Tonnies’ work revolved around one particular area on Mars, a region called Cydonia. It is right in the heart of Cydonia that there can be found what appears to a massive, human-like face – carved out of rock. And “massive” is no exaggeration. It is around three kilometers in length and is roughly half that distance wide. Clearly, if not just a trick of the light, the Face represents an incredible example of massive and radical alteration to the landscape – and, in all likelihood, tens of thousands of years ago, maybe even longer. It was on July 25, 1976 that the Face on Mars caught the attention of NASA staff. It was on that date that NASA’s Viking 1 spacecraft secured a series of aerial photos of Cydonia in general and of the now-legendary Face. That the pictures are now in the public domain has given rise to a great deal of thought on what, exactly the Face represents. And, if not a natural formation, who constructed it and why? Let’s see what Mac Tonnies had to say about the Face on Mars, and the possibility that it represents one of the last pieces of evidence suggesting that Mars was once a bustling world, teeming with alien life. 


Mac Tonnies’ interest in the Face began in the 1980s, when he was still a teenager. It was more than a decade later that Tonnies decided to dig further into the heart of the enigma, and to try and figure out the truth of the mystery. In an extensive interview with me, Tonnies said: “I’ve always had an innate interest in the prospect of extraterrestrial life. When I realized that there was an actual scientific inquiry regarding the Face and associated formations, I realized that this was a potential chance to lift SETI from the theoretical arena; it's within our ability to visit Mars in person. This was incredibly exciting, and it inspired an interest in Mars itself -- its geological history, climate, et cetera. I have a BA in Creative Writing. So, of course, there are those who will happily disregard my book because I’m not ‘qualified.’ I suppose my question is ‘Who is qualified to address potential extraterrestrial artifacts?’ Certainly not NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, whose Mars exploration timetable is entirely geology-driven.”  But, how, exactly, did the controversy begin, and what was it that led to so much interest – obsession, even – in Mars’ massive mystery? Tonnies provides us with the timeline:

“NASA itself discovered the Face, and even showed it at a press conference, after it had been photographed by the Viking mission in the 1970s. Of course, it was written off as a curiosity. Scientific analysis would have to await independent researchers. The first two objects to attract attention were the Face and what has become known as the ‘D&M Pyramid.’ Both unearthed by digital imaging specialists Vincent DiPietro and Gregory Molenaar. Their research was published in Unusual Martian Surface Features; shortly after, Face researcher Richard Hoagland pointed out a collection of features - some, eerily pyramid-like - near the Face which he termed the ‘City.’” As Tonnies noted, NASA – publicly, at least – dismissed the Face on Mars as nothing but a regular piece of rock that, superficially-speaking, resembled a human face. And that was all – for NASA, if not for Tonnies. It’s important to note Tonnies’ words, which strongly suggest that the face is not a natural creation. He said: “When NASA dismissed the Face as a ‘trick of light,’ they cited a second, discomfirming photo allegedly taken at a different sun-angle. This photo never existed. DiPietro and Molenaar had to dig through NASA archives to find a second image of the Face - and, far from disputing the face-like appearance, it strengthened the argument that the Face remained face-like from multiple viewing angles.”


Tonnies notes the extent to which NASA went to try and discredit the theories suggesting that the Face on Mars was not a natural formation: “The prevailing alternative to NASA’s geological explanation - that the Face and other formations are natural landforms - is that we’re seeing extremely ancient artificial structures built by an unknown civilization. NASA chooses to ignore that there is a controversy, or at least a controversy in the scientific sense. Since making the Face public in the 1970s, NASA has made vague allusions to humans’ ability to ‘see faces’ (e.g. the ‘Man in the Moon’) and has made lofty dismissals, but it has yet to launch any sort of methodical study of the objects under investigation. Collectively, NASA frowns on the whole endeavor. Mainstream SETI [Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence] theorists are equally hostile.” Tonnies made valuable observations relative to the controversy: “Basically, the Face - if artificial – doesn’t fall into academically palatable models of how extraterrestrial intelligence will reveal itself, if it is in fact ‘out there.’ Searching for radio signals is well and good, but scanning the surface of a neighboring planet for signs of prior occupation is met with a very carefully cultivated institutionalized scorn. And of course it doesn’t help that some of the proponents of the Face have indulged in more than a little baseless ‘investigation.’”

With that all said, what did Mac Tonnies, himself, think of the Face on Mars? His thoughts, based upon years of dedicated research, make the answer to that question abundantly clear: “I think some of the objects in the Cydonia region of Mars are probably artificial. And I think the only way this controversy will end is to send a manned mission. The features under investigation are extremely old and warrant on-site archaeological analysis. We’ve learned - painfully - that images from orbiting satellites won’t answer the fundamental questions raised by the Artificiality Hypothesis."

Note: All three photos in this article were taken by NASA. As NASA is an arm of the U.S. Govt., the photos are public domain

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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