Unbelievable: Investigations into Ghosts, Poltergeists, Telepathy, and Other Unseen Phenomena, from the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory
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From The Sixth Sense to Medium, Ghost Whisperer to Ghost Hunters, the paranormal stirs heated debate, spawning millions of believers and skeptics alike. Nearly half of us say we believe in ghosts, and two-thirds of us believe in life after death.
What would you make of rain barrels that refill themselves? Psychic horses? Mind-reading Cold War spies? For a group of scientists at the Duke Parapsychology Lab under the leadership of Dr. J. B. Rhine—considered the Einstein of the paranormal—such mysteries demanded further investigation. From 1930 to 1980, these dedicated men and women attempted to test the bizarre, the frightening, and the unexplainable against the rigors of science, ultimately finding proof that the human mind possesses telepathic powers.
conﬁrmed, he didn’t want anyone else to know. Hubert was going to become a minister, and as his wife, Lucille, would later say, “Of all the places we ever lived, he never discussed it—a Methodist preacher believing in ESP—that was not a good idea.” It wasn’t that Hubert U N B E L I E V A B L E / 35 was ultraconservative himself, but he was only twenty-six and apparently ESP was even more dangerous than evolution. So Rhine grabbed some Zener cards that had been hastily handstamped by Gaither
time he asked for a glass and someone ran off to get it, he couldn’t wait for the young man to return. He was forced to begin. Rhine was extremely nervous and agitated, and for the ﬁrst time, he had trouble speaking. “I don’t know why I should be so nervous,” he said to the audience. It was the worst speech he ever made, Louie would later say. But he gave up pretending to be cool and calm; he was a wreck U N B E L I E V A B L E / 67 and he surrendered to it. He was rattled, but he hung in
acceptance of implausible facts,” the late Marcello Truzzi explained in The Reception of Unconventional Science. So the staff at the lab tried every test they could to learn more about ESP, and analyzed the results from different groups including children, the blind, American Indians, patients in mental hospitals, and animals. Animals were useful because they couldn’t be accused of trying to defraud the experimenters. The results of the animal studies varied but nevertheless provided evidence of
he was making any kind of motion that would explain the sliding. Since psychiatry couldn’t convincingly explain that kind of movement, and he wasn’t inclined toward belief in possession, the poltergeist explanation was all Schulze had left. It’s a remarkable series of letters. Schulze is not trying to persuade Rhine of anything, nor does he entertain ﬁxed beliefs about the cause one way or another. He’s simply searching for an explanation for something that he’s witnessed, and his account of what
their plan of having the family call Tozzi whenever something happened was not working. It was over before he got there, and they had learned nothing by showing up after the fact to stare at broken statuary and spilled bottles. The sergeant said he wanted twenty-four-hour surveillance. Then they heard the sound of running feet over their heads. The three men ran upstairs. A lamp had fallen in the master bedroom. Mrs. Herrmann had just left the room herself and no one was there when the lamp fell.