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.
Review “Some of the explanations here, backed by scientific fact, will send shivers up readers’ spines.” (Bust Magazine )
From Booklist This is a fond look at J. B. Rhine and his colleagues and proteges in the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory, which, no longer affiliated with Duke University, lives on as the Rhine Research Center Institute for Parapsychology. Rhine and the lab were dedicated to scientific study and quantification of ESP and related phenomena. They got results such that, in the 1930s, the head of Duke’s psychology department declared Rhine’s work to be “the first hard evidence that the elusive proof of life after death might be out there.” Rhine’s results weren’t universally accepted, though, and the academic warfare over the lab and Rhine constitutes a major plotline here. Writing crisply and fairly objectively, Horn sympathizes enough with Rhine and his work to give her account a perhaps unjustified sunniness. But then, as many incidents she reports indicate, hardly anyone approaches the paranormal without bias. A dandy sources list and frequent references to Rhine’s colleagues and rivals point the way to more information.