Rhine, Joseph Banks

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Rhine, Joseph Banks (1895–1980)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Joseph Banks Rhine was one of the pioneers of parapsychology. He was the co-founder of the Parapsychology Laboratory, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.

Rhine was born on September 29, 1895, in Juniata County, PA. In 1920, he married Louisa Ella Weckesser. Rhine studied at the University of Chicago, obtaining his B.S. in 1922, his M.S. in 1923, and his Ph.D. in 1925. He was an instructor in philosophy and psychology at Duke University in 1928, and a professor of psychology from 1929 to 1949. He was Director of the Parapsychology Laboratory from 1935 onward.

Rhine’s interest in parapsychology developed after he investigated Spiritualist mediumship with Dr. Walter Franklin Prince at Harvard University in 1926. The following year he went to Duke University and studied psychic phenomena with Dr. William McDougall. Encouraged by McDougall, Rhine set up a program for the statistical validation of extrasensory perception (ESP), with emphasis initially on clairvoyance and telepathy using the Zener deck of test cards. He later also investigated psychokinesis (PK), originally known as telekinesis (TK).

In 1934, Rhine’s work Extrasensory Perception was published by the Boston Society for Psychic Research. From 1937 onward, he published the Journal of Parapsychology at Duke. In 1960, Rhine established the Psychical Research Foundation as an independent center to study phenomena relating to the survival of human personality after death. It was sponsored largely by Charles E. Ozanne. Chester F. Carlson, the inventor of xerography, sponsored the Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man, founded in 1962.

Among Rhine’s notable books were New Frontiers of the Mind (1937), The Reach of the Mind (1947), New World of the Mind (1953), Parapsychology, Frontier Science of the Mind (with J. G. Pratt, 1957), Parapsychology Today (1968), and Progress In Parapsychology (1971).


Cavendish, Richard (ed.): Encyclopedia of the Unexplained. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1974
Ellison, A. J.: Mysteries of Mind, Space & Time; the Unexplained: Cause and Effect. Westport: H.S. Stuttman, 1992
Rhine, Joseph Banks: New Frontiers of the Mind. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1937
Rhine, Joseph Banks: New World of the Mind. New York: William Sloane, 1953
Rhine, Louisa: ESP in Life and Lab: Tracing Hidden Channels. New York: Collier Books, 1967

Shepard, Leslie A: Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology. New York: Avon Books, 1978

Rhine Research Center see Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man
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