Schmeidler, Gertrude Raffel (1912– )
Professor of psychology and parapsychologist, she was born
Gertrude Raffel on July 15, 1912, in Long Branch, New Jersey.
She studied at Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts
(B.A. magna cum laude, 1932), Clark University, Worcester,
Massachusetts (M.A., 1933), and Radcliffe CollegeHarvard
University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (Ph.D., 1935). She first
encountered parapsychology by reading a just-published copy
of J. B. Rhine’s first book, Extra-Sensory Perception, in 1934. Before
she completed her Ph.D. she took a course in psychical research
with Gardner Murphy.
After graduation she taught at Monmouth College, Long
Branch, New Jersey (1935–37), was a research associate at Harvard
University (1942–44) and a research officer at the American
Society for Psychical Research (1945–46) before beginning
her long tenure at the City College of New York in 1945.
She was a charter member of the Parapsychological Association
and was elected vice president (1958, 1960) and president
(1959). She also received a grant for research from the Parapsychology
Foundation (1955–59).
Schmeidler has conducted quantitative experiments in telepathy
and clairvoyance with hundreds of students and other
subjects in an attempt to evaluate connections between objective
interpersonal and personality factors and success or failure
in ESP experiments. She has also taken an interest in the question
of theories of survival after death. She attained fame in the
1940s for her ‘‘sheep-goat’’ experiments based upon the hypothesis
that subjects who believed in ESP scored better as subjects
in ESP tests than those who did not. Also among her many
noteworthy experiments were PK tests with psychic Ingo
Swann. She has contributed to over 150 articles for professional
journals.
Sources
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.
Schmeidler, Gertrude. ESP in Relation to Rorschach Test Evaluation.
New York Parapsychology Foundation, 1960.
———. Extrasensory Perception. New York Atherton Press,
1969.
———. Parapsychology; Its Relation to Physics, Biology, Psychology,
and Psychiatry. Metuchen, N.J. Scarecrow Press, 1976.
———. Parapsychology and Psychology; Matches and Mismatches.
Jefferson, N.C. McFarland, 1988.
———. ‘‘Separating the Sheep from the Goats.’’ Journal of
the American Society for Psychical Research (1945).
Schmeidler, Gertrude, and R. A. McConnell. ESP and Personality
Patterns. New Haven, Conn. Yale University Press,
1958.