Ed Dames is the first to concede that the idea of psychic detective work comes across as "Twilight Zone" stuff to most people.
Nevertheless, it's apparently an idea at least one officer within the Coquille Police Department takes seriously enough to request that the famous psychic investigator assist with the Leah Freeman murder case.
The 15-year-old girl disappeared June 28 after leaving a friend's to walk home. Her body was found more than a month later about 10 miles from town.
Dames is a retired U.S. Army major who has achieved national recognition as a frequent guest on "Coast To Coast," the paranormal radio show previously hosted by Art Bell.
A former top-secret military adviser, Dames currently serves as operations and training officer of the Maui-based Technical Remote Viewing Institute.
Remote viewing, Dames explained, is "psychic functioning but not in the way people think."
Based on the concept of Carl Jung's "collective unconscious," remote viewing presumes that any piece of information is potentially retrievable within the overall matrix of human experience if those looking know how to tune in to the correct psychic frequency.
"We have interface with the collective at the personal level," Dames said. "There's no problem turning your unconscious attention to anything."
Dames said he was recently contacted by an officer within the Coquille Police Department about aiding in the Freeman investigation. The officer in question, however, would not return repeated phone calls requesting confirmation.
Coquille Police Chief Mike Reaves said he is not aware of any of his officers contacting a psychic.
"If that happened it wasn't part of the investigation," Reaves said. He added that there was some informal talk about pursuing a psychic investigation angle but the idea was never pursued.
"Apparently, it never panned out one way or the other," Reaves said.
Dames, for his part, says he has never spoken with Reaves or any other investigator aside from the one officer who contacted him.
For the Freeman case, Dames is working with a fellow remote viewing expert and four intermediate trainees.
They conduct a series of 45-minute sessions in which they select a specific target and then open themselves to all psychic impressions which pertain to that target, writing down their stream-of-conscious thoughts on pieces of white paper. Dames then collects these papers and determines the areas on which consensus has been reached.
"We have to keep going back to the same point over and over again until the picture becomes clear," Dames said.
Based on their remote viewing research, Dames is convinced that Freeman's killer is male and possibly had an accomplice.
Most importantly, he says the killer remains in the Coquille area and is employed in a unique work environment. It is this work environment, he believes, that will provide the key to identifying the perpetrator.
By releasing this information -- as Dames did Aug. 8 on the nationally syndicated "Coast To Coast" -- he is hoping the killer will get nervous, make a mistake and expose himself.
"We're going to dog this man as long as we can," Dames said last week in a telephone interview from his Hawaii home. "We want the pressure to be so great that somebody leaves the job."
Both Cory Courtright, Leah's mother, and Denise Freeman, the teen-ager's step-mother, said Tuesday they had little or no knowledge of Dames or of remote viewing.
"I've heard the name on the radio. That's it," Denise Freeman said.
"You see on the TV all the time on shows like 'Unsolved Mysteries,' that psychics can help in certain circumstances, but I don't know," she said.
"You have to wonder, is this a gift from God or somebody's imagination?" Freeman said.
However, she said, if Dames can provide any information to police it would be a benefit.
"I really believe anything that will help has got to be good for Leah," she said.
The victim's mother had scant knowledge of the psychics' work. Courtright said, "I had heard, and I don't think it was through any police agencies, (that) they had called in psychics on the case, but whether that's true or not, I do not know."
"It's kind of strange though, isn't it?" she said.
Dames, 51, enlisted as an Army paratrooper at age 17 and later transferred to Military Intelligence, where he intercepted and jammed foreign communications and participated in deep-cover assignments.
In the early 1980s, Dames' association with psychic counterintelligence began when the Army funded a study at the Stanford Research Institute to remotely view Soviet biological weapons, the results of which were ultimately forwarded to the U.S. Congress and President Reagan.
After earning two Army Meritorious Service medals and a Legion of Merit award, Dames left the military to form California-based Psi-Tech Institute in the late 1980s. During the Gulf War, Dames and his colleagues were involved in the remote viewing of Saddam Hussein's weapons stockpiles.
Dames subsequently founded the TRV Institute, which offers four-day remote viewing training workshops at a cost of $2,350 per person and which also takes on corporate clients. However, its child abduction component -- Operation Goldeneye -- is a service TRV performs free of charge.
Dames intends to fly to Oregon in mid-September to present his conclusions to the investigating team.
By that point, he hopes to not only name a definitive suspect but also to lead police to physical evidence which will back up his findings.
"[I want to be able to say] here's your target, here's where the killer works … period," Dames said.
While many will undoubtedly scoff at the very notion of remote viewing being used in the Freeman case, Dames asks only that the community keep an open mind until he presents his results.
"Healthy skepticism is what we want, but we also want reasonable people," Dames said.
Remaining reasonable, however, is not necessarily easy for the tight-knit community of Coquille, which was devastated first by Leah Freeman's disappearance and then by the Aug. 3 discovery of her body.
Police will only say that her autopsy reveals she died a violent death and that they are nowhere close to making an arrest in the case.
Dames said it's precisely this type of case -- one in which officials have "run out of leads and are desperate" -- for which TRV's long-range psychic investigative technique is ideally suited.
"We're still working hard on the case," Dames said. "My overall goal here is to send a message to potential child abductors."