"Researchers Shoot Dice for Science"
and Some Short Report on the Visit to Duke of Arthur
(in the Rhine Lab) was central to a PK basketball game, an idea
very much aligned with the high-scoring sports tradition at Duke
and among its rivals. That laid the groundwork for competitive energy,
in the tests, or (as a researcher put it): "The thing that
inspired the whole program is our realization that in the game environment
that is found in Las Vegas or perhaps in your own home, we could
arouse motivation and enthusiasm to release the players from the
feeling of taking a test." Such enthusiasm (which was a part
of tests at the time in the Duke Lab, as described to me for the
1960 interview) was sometimes a part of tests in other labs, and
sometimes omitted in the structure of psi testing. However, Eastern
wisdom identifies enthusiasm as a quality that can generate deep
levels of energy, under the right circumstances.
As mentioned by EHE-definer and founder, Rhea A. White, if a gifted
psi testee wanted "green tea," then Rhine willingly provided
the green tea, for the experiment.
A striking experience related to the visit
of the British writer Arthur Koestler to Duke is referred to in
the Rhine letter, linked to the main webpage just before, and will
be documented further in the coming months. Koester's letter (referred
to in the Rhine Acrobat-format letter) is reproduced on this site
in the webpage Book Matters / Eclectic. Rhine was also very conversant
with the writer Upton Sinclair, and mentioned (to me) in the 1970s
that Sinclair confided in him that he closed the door on his writing
characters at night, setting them apart from any people who might
otherwise happen by. This secrecy or inner protection of a creative
energy, while in process, was understood by Rhine, as we talked
over together how it in fact was part of my practice at the time.
It is noteworthy because the introverted aspect of psi ability,
or creativity in general, was more difficult to relate to in a laboratory,
unless one understood how creativity functioned, according to such
first-hand revelations as this, which Rhine seemed to, in our conversation.
When I mentioned that I, at the time, threw a black coat over my
writing papers if anyone knocked on the door, Rhine immediately
jumped in with this similar practice told him by Upton Sinclair,
concurring as to his understanding of it. Rhine, in fact, used the
term "elusive" about psi, in his ground-breaking The
Reach of the Mind (p. 187)
Experiments successful in Maimonides (demonstrating,
for instance, telepathy) were not repeated in some other locations,
and one of the hypothesized differences in conditions (speculated
upon in later literature in the field) was the shift in atmosphere—the
one at Maimonides being supportive of the gifted telepathy demonstrators.
As time passed, and the barrier between experiencer and tester widened,
this contribution of "energy" from the testers/surrounding
environment could be reduced, at least overtly, as tests tried to
become more "rigorous," barring all input as if energy
could be cordoned off, in a single individual. In fact, as sound
was blocked out and then there was some attempt to block out other
frequencies, would "enthusiasm" also be able to be kept
out of the test conditions?? Not that this was even an overt question,
but I think it valid to ask. Tight control was a valid issue, but
the more recent paradigm of interconnecting worldwide networks of
energy, to which the whole planet belongs, could move us backward
to noticing that these early psi tests (which, in the experiments
described in the news article above, were "significantly above
chance") seemed aware of the importance of the quality of the
testing conditions—not just in rigor but also in influence of the
energy of the tester or Lab conditions as well. I.e., a richness
of the Lab, as Rhine's certainly had, could necessarily spill over
into the results. Or negatively, in absence, also affect the overall
level of result, because energy was not confined to any demarcation
line. And so this was one of the things one had to examine, in setting
up a test which drew forth the elusive psi inside a strict experiment.
I found the humane enthusiasm automatically included in these 60s
tests, which I wrote some stories on, to "spread the word,"
merely informatively in the beginning, as a reporter on the Duke
campus, where there was at the time a hiatus about what went on
in the Lab.
In closing this note, to go back to the
photo, and put that beside much later computer configurations in
printouts that vastly differed from the screen text (see PK
Gallery for examples or all of the Love in Transition /
Space Encounters series), let us take a comment from Dr.
J. B. Rhine's own words: "The most incredible feature about
psychic experiences is the fact that they shows no more respect
for time than they do for space. It seems completely incredible,
I know, to think that the mind can go ahead in time, and, as it
were, take a picture of something that has not yet happened, but
these experiences indicate that that is what sometimes takes place.
. . .
||" . . . When the testing of precognition
began at Duke University back in 1933, it seemingly followed
as a natural sequence to the experiments of E.S.P. and distance.
If space does not limit E.S.P., we argued, time should not.
But there were the spontaneous cases to support the argument,
and they had much to do with the initiation of the precognition
experiments. In these tests we asked the subject to try to picture
in advance of the shuffling what the order of the pack of cards
would be when it was done. This was an attempt at prediction
of a future arrangement, and in spite of the fact that the shuffling
was mechanical, and that later on still more guarded methods
were added, the subjects were correct often enough to supply
evidence of something beyond chance. Confirmatory work on precognition
has been done in a number of researches in America and in England.
They have led to the conclusion that there is a capacity for
precognition as suggested by the case studies, although we do
not know much about it as yet. Indeed it may swell prove to
the greatest riddle of science"
(pp. 2-3, Rhine pamphlet citation below).
Without drawing any conclusions,
it is an interesting juxtaposition to the photo, requested by Rhine,
out of the blue, and to the "computer-PK that began 30 years
afterwards, almost to the day.
As to the Koestler visit, there is much
more to be reported on that. Also, including the fact that Koestler,
energetic brilliant person that he was, not only fired off a lengthy
condemnatory essay to the London newspaper, roundly chastising the
negligence and lack of psi familiarity among the students at Duke,
but with "the other hand," as it were, promptly inserted
my highly favorable comments to him, about Rhine, into a letter
which he mailed straight back to Rhine, who then called me into
his office to share the knowledge. Fortunately the letter had been
restrained enough to not be too embarrassing a thing to mail back
and forth between these eminent highly conscious pioneers, as were
Koestler and Rhine, who had such energy that it spilled over into
incidents such as recounted here. I might add that the letter then
provided the most effective ice breaker that I can think of, though
the ice was already firmly broken by the Chronicle interviews.
For I was soundly converted to the importance and preeminence of
the pioneering, globally outstanding work going on at the Lab. And,
like Koestler, struck by the irony of his having traveled across
the ocean, one primary reason being to visit Rhine, while the students,
with easy access, at the time, were virtually uninformed about this
very mind-boggling research being conducted right in their backyard
on East Campus, at Duke.
The pamphlet quoted just above and another
pamphlet were personally put into the hands of a soon-to-be student
of Duke, as she visited the campus to be interviewed for admission—one
of the pamphlets signed "To my friend Virginia" (now Virginia
Parrott Williams, President and CEO of Williams LifeSkills). Virginia,
in turn, only placed the pamphlets, which she had stored for almost
40 years, in my hands after I returned to her home following the
1995 Centennial commemoration of his birth, by the Parapsychological
Association. So these pieces of the whole, or these dice faces,
all then landed in the one place, reported tentatively above.
Rhine, J. B. (1947/1975). The Reach of the Mind. New
York: William Morrow & Co.
Rhine, J. B. (1951). "What can science do about psychic
experiences?" Pamphlet reprinted from March 1951 issue
of Tomorrow Magazine. New York: Garrett Publications Inc.
 This is not yet
here to bring up the role of heightened emotion in shamanic and
ecstatic states. Nor to mention the role of emotion in archetypes
themselves. Or the unconscious.
"Psi is an incredibly
elusive function! This is not merely to say that ESP and psi have
been hard phenomena to demonstrate, the hardest perhaps that science
has ever encountered. It is not that there is little psi capacity
in the universe, or that the efforts made to capture it have been
awkward, or that there has been little work done to find it.
"It is obviously the other way around"
(p. 187, Rhine, 1947).