Rhine, Louisa Ella Weckesser (1891–1983)
Pioneer worker in the field of parapsychology. She was born
on November 9, 1891, at Sanborn, New York. She studied at
the University of Chicago (B.S., 1919; M.S., 1921; Ph.D., biology,
1923). In 1920 she married Joseph Banks Rhine. Like her
husband, she found parapsychology a much more intriguing
field than biology, and began to work in the area from the
1930s. She became a staff member of the Parapsychology Laboratory
at Duke University (1948–62) and then research director
of the Institute for Parapsychology which superseded it as the
research branch of the Foundation for Research on the Nature
of Man. She was a charter member of the Parapsychology
Association and co-edited the Journal of Parapsychology.
She is known for her work on spontaneous psi cases, reports
of which flooded into Duke University as the work of the Parapsychology
Laboratory became known across the country. She
studied the reports using categories and data coming out of the
laboratory’s work. In this endeavor she in effect provided the
laboratory’s transition from the older psychical research and
the newer parapsychology that J. B. Rhine was developing. She
authored a number of articles and books. She died March 17,
1983, at the age of 91.
In addition to substantial joint contributions to parapsychology,
she and her husband also raised four children. Although
committed to scientific disciplines in their parapsychology
work, both the Rhines shared a humane and religious view of
the implications of the subject.
Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of
Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York Paragon
House, 1991.
Pleasants, Helene, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology.
New York Helix Press, 1964.
Rhine, Louisa E. ESP in Life and Lab Tracing Hidden Channels.
New York Macmillan, 1967.
———. Hidden Channels of the Mind. New York William Sloane,
———. The Invisible Picture. Jefferson, N.C. McFarland,
———. Mind Over Matter. New York Macmillan, 1970.
———. Psi What Is It New York Harper & Row, 1975.
———. Something Hidden. Jefferson, N.C. McFarland, 1983