Parapsychology Laboratory (Duke
University)
In 1927 J. B. Rhine and his wife, Louisa Rhine, moved to
College Station, North Carolina, where they had found the
support of William McDougall, chairman of the psychology
department, in pursuing parapsychology. By the time McDougall
died in 1931 they were settled in and working on the experiments
that would lead to J. B. Rhine’s early important
work, Extra-Sensory Perception (1934). The next year, with the
cooperation of McDougall’s successor, a separate division of
parapsychology was established in the psychology department
and designated the Parapsychology Laboratory. Rhine was
placed in charge. For the next 30 years, the Parapsychology
Laboratory was the primary scene of major experiments in
parapsychology. Among them were those of the well-known
medium, Eileen J. Garrett. She conducted a series of experiments
there, known as the Zner Card Experiements, studying
the phenomenon of ESP.
The laboratory’s controversial work made ESP a household
word. It also met with mixed reactions from the faculty at the
university, mostly critical. In 1950 it was made an autonomous
unit, and in 1962, when Rhine formerly retired, the laboratory
was discontinued altogether and support of this field by Duke
came to an end. That same year Rhine created the Foundation
for Research on the Nature of Man to continue the work of the
laboratory and established the Institute for Parapsychology as
a new laboratory.
Sources
Garrett, Eileen J. Adventures in the Supernormal. New York
Creative Age Press, Inc., 1949.
———. Many Voices, The Autobiography of a Medium. New
York G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1968.
Rhine, J. B. New World of the Mind. New York William Sloane,
1953.
Rhine, Louisa E. ESP in Life and Lab Tracing Hidden Channels.
New York Macmillan, 1967.

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