Tenhaeff, W(ilhelm) H(einrich) C(arl)
(1894–1981)
Dutch parapsychologist, for some years director of the Parapsychology
Institute of the State University of Utrecht, Netherlands
(which he founded), now known as Parapsychological Division
of the Psychological Laboratory. Tenhaeff was born on
January 18, 1894, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. He studied
at the University of Utrecht (Ph.D. psychology, 1933). His doctoral
thesis Paragnosie en infuhlen was the first on parapsychology
in the Netherlands.
Tenhaeff had a long career as a respected parapsychologist.
He was a lecturer on psychology (1932–53), lecturer on parapsychology
(1933–53), professor of parapsychology, and director
of the Parapsychology Institute, University of Utrecht (1953
on). He was founder (1928) and for many years editor (1928
on) of Tijdschrift voor Parapsychologie, the journal of the Studievereniging
voor Psychical Research (the Dutch Society for
Psychical Research). He served as secretary (1929–38) of the
Dutch Society for Psychical Research prior to World War II and
as an advisor afterward. In 1960 a number of leading parapsychologists
withdrew from the society due to his autocratic disposition
and established the rival Netherlandse Vereniging
voor Parapsychologie.
Tenhaeff showed an interest in parapsychology from an
early age, and conducted investigations and reported on psychometry,
clairvoyance, precognition, unorthodox healing, the
divining rod, and the structure of personality in sensitives.
Through his career he lectured in many countries on parapsychological
subjects, published numerous articles in Tijdschrift
voor Parapsychologie and other journals, and wrote a number of
books. In 1945 he commenced a long and detailed investigation
of the clairvoyant Gerard Croiset. In the years after the
1960 break in the society, people began to look into his extraordinary
claims for the psychic abilities of Croiset and discovered
that he had been systematically doctoring data in his
research. The fraud called his whole career into question. Because
of his own popularity with the media and public, he was
able to hold off the critics for some years, but eventually all of
his colleagues acknowledged his fall. Tenhaeff died July 9,
1981, in the Netherlands; no major parapsychological journal
carried an obituary.
Sources
Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of
Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York Paragon
House, 1991.
Hoebens, P. H. ‘‘Gerard Croiset and Professor Tenhaeff.’’
In Science Confronts the Paranormal. Edited by Kenneth Frazier.
Buffalo, N.Y. Prometheus Books, 1986.
———. ‘‘Investigation of the Mozart of ‘Psychic Sleuths.’ ’’
In Science Confronts the Paranormal, edited by Kenneth Frazier.
Buffalo, N.Y. Prometheus Books, 1986.
Tenhaeff, W. H. C. Beknopte Handleiding der ‘‘Psychical Research’’
(Short Textbook of Parapsychology). 3 vols. N.p., 1926.
———. Beschouwingen over Het Gebruik van Paranognosten
(The Use of Sensitives for Police and Other Purposes). Utrecht
Erven J. Bijleveld, 1957.
———. Telepathie en Helderziendheid. English edition as Telepathy
and Clairvoyance. C. Bertelsmann, 1962.