At first glance, the goat shed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina could be anywhere in the world. Thirty goats are happily munching away on their hay and staring at the blank concrete walls of their stable.

Every few minutes, one stops chewing, looks around, and then nonchalantly continues eating as if nothing has happened.

But that is where the normality ends. For in an equally nondescript room next door, a young sergeant in combat fatigues is staring at the goats through a window fitted with one-way glass.

Two soldiers and a general are anxiously watching him, and every so often, the general shakes his head, a slightly worried look crossing his face.

And then the seemingly impossible happens. The sergeant takes another swig of coffee and focuses his mind on Goat Number 17 — which promptly lets out a silent bleat, keels over and dies.

"My God," says the general. "It works!" The sergeant nods silently — and not a little proudly. For he has just managed to kill the goat using nothing more than the power of his mind.

Finally, after years of research, the US Army's Project Jedi seems to be on the verge of success.

This was a top-secret military project to create a breed of "super-soldier" who, if all went to plan, would revolutionise warfare.

They would be fantastically strong and possess superior intelligence, cunning and intuition. They would use psychic powers to spy on the enemy, disable nuclear bombs with telekinesis, and effortlessly kill with the power of thought alone.

Not only that, they would also have the ability to become invisible at will and to walk through walls.

You might think Project Jedi was the product of Hollywood scriptwriters eager to tempt audiences with a delightfully crazy plot.

Indeed, the project does lie at the heart of the soon-to be released Hollywood blockbuster The Men Who Stare At Goats, starring George Clooney and Ewan McGregor.

What is less well-known, however, is that the US military did try to create such a breed of "supersoldier". And that killing goats with psychic powers was just the tip of the iceberg.

Indeed, the fruits of Project Jedi, and several other clandestine paranormal projects, have been actively used in battle — and are almost certainly being employed in the war on terror and the hunt for Osama Bin Laden.

"They were seen as the next military frontier. We needed to know whether it was possible to use paranormal forces for military ends. We also needed to know how to protect ourselves should they be used against us," Sergeant Glenn Wheaton, a Special Forces soldier seconded to Project Jedi.