Thursday, August 30, 2012

Rhine Research Center

Zenner Symbols
When Drs. Joseph and  Louisa Rhine joined Professor William McDougall in investigating psychic phenomena at the new Duke University in 1927,  psi research was in its infancy. Psi, or psychical research as it was called then, was mainly focused on mediums and investigating the afterlife.

While conducting their research into telepathy and clairvoyance, Joseph Rhine coined the phrase " extra sensory perception". His experiments in conjunction with psychologist Karl Zenner with ESP testing on Duke students lead to the development of the renown  clairvoyant testing tool, Zenner Cards.although not foolproof, this method of testing is the hallmark of the proof of mental telepathy.

The Rhine's area of study also covered psychokinesis (PK), or the movement of physical objects by mental intention. By 1935 their experiments into the unknown proved to be of enough value to Duke University to create a special division, the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory, which in turn became the birthplace of the field of Parapsychology.

From the beginning,  the legitimacy of parapsychology as a science has been a controversial subject. The early work of the DPL and it's graduate students was  distinguished by discovery of the various forms of psychic abilities and what resulted from research into those areas. Despite genuine academic exploration into these phenomena, the Rhine's work was met by skepticism by mainstream conservatives at the university, and with his approaching retirement, J.B. Rhine realized a need for an independent facility to allow his work to continue in earnest.  It was a huge risk by way of academic credibility, but he vowed to leave Duke University.

In the mid 1960s, J.B. Rhine created the Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man. The organization was moved off campus in order for it's work to connect with other researchers in the field of parapsychology on both an national and international level. It remained as such until the 1990s when it evolved into the Institute for Parapsychology and the main facility named the Rhine Research Center.[]

Today the Rhine Research Center in Durham, North Carolina is located approximately a mile west of Duke University Hospital. It's library and archives houses some of the most extensive research executed in the fields of parapsychology, ESP, Near Death Experiences (NDEs),Out of Body Experiences (OBEs), Reincarnation, Haunting, Poltergeists and Psychic Criminal Investigation in the world. Research in many areas of the paranormal are still being pursued by academics and education is offered to the public through monthly meetings which charge a reasonable fee [], workshops, podcast and other special events. It's quarterly newsletter is available free online[] and also a free blog written by various contributors in the paranormal area [] There is an online merchandise site offering such items as books, Zenner cards,DVDs,etc. A calendar of events is also available online.

While the Rhine counts many notable academic on it's advisory board, one of the most well-known is author and parapsychologist Loyd Auerbach, who's book ESP, Hauntings, and Poltergeists : A Parapsychologist's Handbook the basic Bible on ghosts and haunting.[] Auerbach has appeared on the Discovery Channel, Larry King Live, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and collaborated with the late psychic medium Annette Martin ( known for her work with police investigations) and  famed ghost hunter/paranormal expert Joshua P. Warren.

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