Louisa E. Rhine
J.B. Rhine was the best-known parapsychologist of the 20th Century; he focused on lab experiments, not dreams, so he merits only this brief mention. But his wife Louisa studied ESP "in the wild"--dreams, visions, intuitions and their effects on real life, both philosophical (how do people cope with the raw experience of ESP, and how do they construe it later?) and practical (if we can foresee the future, can it be changed? If we can, what are the outcomes of acting on apparent ESP?)
She had a massive database to study: over decades the Rhine Institute had collected some 14,000 accounts of ESP experiences. Her 1961 book Hidden Channels of the Mind is a broad study of the types of ESP, and a serious attempt at a taxonomy of the paranormal. Here's a chart of her main categories. This is just my view, and it has holes: psychokinesis, for example. But it shows her core schema of the common types of ESP--half of them dreams.
|EXTRASENSORY PERCEPTION: twelve basic types|
|3 main focuses of ESP, right
4 displays for this ESP data, below
Sensing remote or hidden things
Sensing the future
Sensing thoughts or feelings
waking events directly
|Clairvoyant Dreams: Literal
Dreams literally depicting remote or hidden events, like Geode
|Precognitive Dreams: Literal
Dreams literally depicting future events, like Bedbugs
|Telepathic Dreams: Literal
Dreams revealing others' thoughts, like Jack in the Ditch, or shared/identical dreams, like Clarence
Dreams echoing waking events
symbolically or emotionally
Dreams echoing remote events indirectly or symbolically, like Billie
Dreams predicting the future indirectly, like Avenue of Trees (#3)
Dreams indirectly or symbolically revealing others' thoughts, like Bigamist
Waking visions, voices, or other sensations.
Sensory images of remote events, like Clairagony
Sensory images predicting the future, like His Visit Home
Sensing what others sense or communication with a remote person, like Pat's Warning
Knowledge without imagery:
a hunch, urge, or abrupt certainty
Imageless knowledge of remote events, like He Remarried, Ice-Tray
Imageless predictions, like Rosemary and Frances
Imageless knowledge of thoughts, like Just Knowing
"Once the nature of this variation is recognized, the initial confused and baffling aspect of ESP experiences fades away and one can see that they come in quite natural and even familiar ways. For after all, everyone has dreams and intuitions, whether or not the burden of any of them is supplied by ESP. And everyone has at least heard of hallucinatory experience, whether or not he has known it personally, or realized that it, too, could be a vehicle of expression for information coming in by hidden channels. These are normal, ordinary and familar forms of mental life. Once this fact is accepted, another quickly emerges, name: ESP has no distinctive form of its own."In sum: since ESP has no dedicated sensory channel of its own, information we glean percolates into consciousness in diverse ways; but under this confusing surface lies relative simplicity.
-------Louisa Rhine, Hidden Channels of the Mind, 1961, p. 68
Fate, Failure, and Free Will
"All these people failed to prevent the foreseen event from occurring. But in some of the situations preventive action was less possible than in others: the woman had less chance of averting the plane crash than the man of avoiding his own injury on the scaffolding; the cyclone could not be prevented; all the man in Georgia could do was take out insurance. Though some dangers can be avoided, one glimpses a limit of preventability in the background.Louisa's daughter, Sally Feather Rhine, studied this question in detail in her 2005 book The Gift. She analyzed a sample of 400-odd premonitions and concluded it's unlikely the future is fixed (unchangeable despite warnings) or Samarran (brought about by attempts to change it); outcomes supported some form of the many-world hypothesis (premonitions can foresee the time-landscape ahead and allow us to change course, within limits). This confirms Louisa's view: on average, acting on hunches pays off.
The old question of free will, however, never involved the will to affect such rock-ribbed elements of the universe as death or the weather, the climate, earthquakes, floods or the celestial bodies. Man has not aspired to change the stars in their courses. But he has wanted to feel that he was free to say yes or no about his own course of conduct. In these previously mentioned reactions to precognized events, we see him doing so--within limits."
------Hidden Channels of the Mind, p. 182
Skeptics will always find fault with lab experiments like J.B. Rhine's (especially if the results threaten the skeptics' worldviews, or budgets). But ESP isn't restricted to labs--it's rooted in daily life. So why not experiment for yourself?
SCIENCE OR MYSTICISM?
When I score Louisa Rhine's published ESP accounts for their focus, not sensory mode or content, nearly all fit in just two classes:
Below are several dozen sample accounts; mostly dreams (of course) but peppered with nondream visions, intuitions and odd cases. Still, they're just 0.6% of the Rhine archives; they can't show the full range! Nearly all are from Louisa's Hidden Channels of the Mind. In it, accounts are untitled and authors' names witheld; I've added short titles and bylines to aid searching and comparisons.
RELATED TOPICS: British ESP accounts collected by J.B. Priestley and Dame Edith Lyttelton - Rhine Checkers, on home experiments a la J.B. Rhine - ESP in dreams - dream telepathy - predictive dreams - hunches and intuitions - ESP in society - dreamwork and research in general -- See also the full INDEX OF SUBJECTS.
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|ANNE GOT LOST: by Anne's friend; 1936, a warning dream wisely acted on
She was headed for a rock wall. The brakes faded; she smelled burning. Then she woke. Her friends laughed, but she asked a neighbor what to do if...
|ARE YOU READY?: by a Minnesota woman; before 1961, two predictive dreamlets, one useful
The elevator man in funereal black said in a sepuchral voice "Are you ready?" I decided I'd wait...
|AVENUE OF TREES: by Anonymous #34; July 1911?, early 1924?, March 30, 1934, and January 1947; four death-omen dreams, one predictive
Every decade or so, I dream a loved one says farewell and walks down an avenue of trees. I wake to find that person's dying...
|BAYONNE: by a precognitive Floridian; 1945/8/6, a predictive dream
"There is going to be an explosion of two or three millions of gallons of oil or gasoline in Bayonne in three weeks or three months..."
|BAYSHORE AND CHARTER: by a Redwood City man; July 1951, a lifesaving predictive urge
I burst into tears for no reason and for 15 minutes begged my brother-in-law not to go, then said "It's safe now..."
|BEDBUGS: by Anonymous #29; before 1961, a long-term predictive dream
I dreamt my mother was staying with me, which she never does. We found the house was full of bedbugs! Three months later...
|BETTY STOPS BY: by a Kentucky woman before 1961, a farewell visitation dream?
I was moved that Betty came to see my two babies despite her illness, but shocked when her father wrote to tell me...
|BIGAMIST: by a Carolina waitress; 1945, a telepathic dream
A sad, frail, very pregnant woman with dark brown hair told me she was my boyfriend's wife. The next day...
|BILL: by Anonymous #32; c. 1950, a predictive warning dream
My mother begged me to stay in. I went out with Bill--who raped me. Later she reluctantly told me what she'd dreamed...
CAUTION: DATE RAPE
|BILLIE: by Billie's Mom; 1945/1/20, a psychic warning dream
My son Billie, his Navy uniform soaking wet, cried "Oh, Mom--it's so terrible!" and shrank into a baby again as I held him...
|BOOK OF GOLD: by a four-year-old; before 1961, an apparent telepathic flash
A woman urged her friend to give her daughter a musical education. Without hearing this, the child went hunting for...
|BOY SCOUTS: by a Maryland woman; before 1961, a predictive warning dream
I dreamed my son, just a toddler, followed two small Boy Scouts down to the creek, where he drowned. That morning, on my curb, two...
|BREAD CHESS: by Helen's fiancé; 1930-33, a detailed psychic dream
Stalin's police held my fiancee Helen incommunicado. But I dreamt of her prison, cellmate, and the strange game they played...
|BUTLER'S CROSSING: by David's father; 1941/8/24, a (heeded or unheeded?) warning dream
He saw a vehicle coming toward him at great speed. The light was so bright it blinded him. He screamed to his son...
|CART WITH HUSBAND: by Mrs. T, before 1961, a predictive nightmare
I stood at my front door as a cart came by, drawn by a white horse, on its way to the hospital. In that cart was my husband....
CAUTION: ANGUISH, DEFEAT, PREDESTINATION
|CHANDELIER: by a Washington mom, before 1961, an absurd, lifesaving dream
I dreamt that at 4:35 AM the ornamental chandelier over our baby's bed fell and crushed the baby to death. I woke and...
|CHESTERFIELD MOVER: by an Oregon woman, 1943, a "meaningless yet profound" predictive dream
I helped my aunt and uncle move upstairs from the downstairs flat they rented. It was absurd--they love the one-story house they own...
|CLAIRAGONY: by a Philadelphia woman, August 1951, a sympathetic heart attack with one crucial error in its ESP
I had a heart attack--but in minutes, it vanished! Then the phone rang. I knew at once my dying mother was gone. But...
|CLARENCE, GO THIS WAY: by a Michigan mom and son, before 1961, a shared dream
I dreamed I sat high in a pine tree when my son stumbled through the woods, clearly lost. So I called...
Meanwhile my son, off at college, dreamed he was lost in a forest when he heard a voice above him call...
|CLOCKS STOP, CLOCKS START: by an Indiana family, 1953/10/3, and a Florida family, before 1961; similar psychokinesis accounts
Indiana: Father's favorite clock, a cuckoo clock, stopped at exactly the time he died...
Florida: an old clock (silent for years) started ticking loudly at 10:20, the time of my husband's death the day before...
|COMMUTE: by a Massachusetts woman, before 1961, a recurrent telepathic prompt
I pick up my husband at the train station daily, but he never calls--I just know when he arrives. Unless I foolishly listen to logic...
|CRANE CRASH: by Anonymous #33; before 1961, a predictive dream with a crucial hole
The crane toppled and fell onto the riverbank. I could read the number, but couldn't see if the operator got free...
|CRAZY EGG: by a Colorado convalescent; before 1961, a small predictive dream dismissed as absurd or symbolic
My grandmother came in from gathering eggs and showed me one three times as large as usual, and longer in proportion...
|THE CREEK: by Louisa E. Rhine; c. 1925? a lifesaving predictive dream
I dreamed I was camping by a creek. I went to get the soap and returned to find my baby son face-down in the water...
|CYCLONE REPAIR: by Anonymous #36; before 1961, a forgotten warning dream
Months before, I dreamed of that exact wall. In the dream I fell, was hurt and taken to the hospital in an ambulance. So I told my foreman I'd rather work on the ground today. But by 11, I forgot. I climbed the first-floor staging to nail in some blocks. As I crossed, a plank suddenly...
|DEAD, ALIVE, DEAD: by a Minnesota teacher; well before 1960, a predictive... something.
Mrs Brown was dead; I recalled helping at her bedside. But my mother insisted she was alive, and that I'd never met her! Then...
|DICK, HOW WONDERFUL: by Dick and his mother; during the Korean War (1951-54), shared telepathic hallucinations
As a man on shore patrol in Manila is attacked, he and his mother simultaneously see and hear each other...
|DIPHTHERIA SPECK: by an Outback man; before 1961, a diagnostic dream with a tight deadline
I dreamed our physician said our son had diphtheria. When I woke, we found a tiny white spot in his throat. But by the time the doctor arrived...
|DIPSOMANIA: by Dick in L.A.; before 1961, a suicide-preventing ghost/voice
I couldn't find Mrs. B and feared she was suicidal. Quite clearly and at once I heard my late mother say "She's in that hotel over there"...
|DON'T CRY, IT'S ONLY A DREAM: by a Massachusetts mother; before 1961, a telepathic dream posing as a predictive one!
As soon as I gave birth I had a nightmare my brother would be in a serious auto crash. When I warned my mom...
|DON'T DO THAT, MARION: by Marion; 1947, a two-way telepathic intervention?
I was planning my suicide when my friend a thousand miles away said in my ear "Don't do that, Marion." Next day an airmail arrived...
|DUCK HUNT: by Craig, age 4; 1950/11/18, an ignored predictive nightmare
"I dreamed you were in the water, Daddy. There was tall grass all around, and you kept trying to come out of the water to me..."
|THE DYE-HOUSE RECORDS: by a Christian secretary, before 1961, a prayer-induced intuition
Our archivist had had a stroke. When an engine failed, my boss said "Find its records if it takes two weeks!" Five minutes later...
|EDDY DROPPED: by Frances's sister; before 1961, a laughed-at warning nightmare
My brother-in-law, Eddy, was out hunting with a young boy whose shotgun had its safety off. All of a sudden Eddy dropped...
|FRANKLIN'S NECK: by a dying Kansas grandmother; 1953/7/5, an unheeded warning nightmare
"Oh no" she moaned. "I don't want Frankie to go to that camp. He must not go there." She began to cry...
|GEODE: by Anonymous #30; before 1961, a clairvoyant dream
I dreamed of a valuable geode on a gravel bar in a nearby river, a place I'd never been. The next day I went...
|GUARDIAN GHOST: by an Oklahoma girl; 1919, a dream (?) of ghostly advice
I dreamed my late stepdad warned me to stand by my mother--she'd be in trouble and people would gossip and blame her...
|HE REMARRIED: by an Iowa divorcee; 1907, an unlikely oracular flash
My mother's face took on a sudden expression of astonishment--possibly agony. She said "Your father is remarrying." I laughed. 'Impossible. He'd have told me. I had a letter from him only a few days ago..."
|HIS VISIT HOME: by Anonymous #26 as told to Louisa Rhine; 1924/5/15, a predictive hypnogogic dreamlet?
I saw my husband come to my bedside, smile, visit our little son in his crib...then he vanished. But at dawn, my husband, dressed exactly as in my...
|HOWARD ANY TIME NOW: by Alice; before 1961, a predictive dream of a ghost calling.
My dead father said "We are looking for Howard any time now. We'll be glad to see him but sorry for the ones he left..."
|I SEE'D THEY DID: by a Wisconsin 4-year-old; before 1961, a waking vision (clairvoyant? telepathic?)
He asked abruptly "Did Aunt Myrtle and Uncle Charles have a wreck with a train? I see'd they did..."
|ICE-TRAY: by Anonymous #28; before 1961, a waking intuition so unlikely it suggests ESP
I lost two rings. Searched hours; nothing. Then I had a strong urge to check our ice-tray, though I hadn't touched the freezer all day. In an icecube...
|INSURANCE: by a young widow; 1947, a dream of lucrative ghost advice
Soon after my husband's death, I dreamed he pointed at a small black bag I'd stored unopened. I found it held insurance policies...
|JACK IN THE DITCH: by Jack's mom; 1944/6/6, 6/7 & 6/8, three apparently telepathic dreams
Jack was a parachutist on D-Day. His mom dreamt of the strafings, the ditch he hid in, the deaths of his comrades...
|JAPANESE RAIL CRASH: by an Air Force wife; 1927, a clairvoyant or telepathic dream
The track gave way and many cars fell into the bay. People crawled like ants out of the windows as waves broke on the wreckage...
|JIM'S POWDER: by Helen; before 1961, a telepathic warning dream
I dreamt I was begging Jim not to kill himself, but when I woke, I couldn't bring myself to call. I hardly knew him...
CAUTION: GUILT OVER (PREVENTABLE?) DEATH
|JUST KNOWING: by a St Louis woman; summer 1934 and 1941/11/20, two very pure ESP experiences
I suddenly knew I had to get off the bus and wait for the next. We passed the first bus, on fire...
I was at Thanksgiving dinner when I felt my mother dying two thousand miles away...
|KELLY FIELD: by an air cadet, 1941; an almost-lifesaving dream.
I dreamed a plane took off northeast, and flipped by the main hangar, killing two men. I forgot the dream until the wind swung round...
|LOIS THE FLIRT: by a Florida woman; before 1961, a psychic dream of jealousy
My husband was standing against a wall with both arms around this woman's waist, and they were talking and laughing...
|LOST OPAL: by Anonymous #27; before 1961, a clairvoyant or subliminal dream
The opal fell out of my ring somewhere around town. I was heartbroken at the loss. But that night my husband dreamed...
|MOM ON THE WING: by a tail gunner; 1942-45, a lifesaving warning dream
I saw my mother standing on the tip of one wing of our plane. She was dressed in white flowing robes and calling my name, warning me of danger...
|NAPPING IN PATERSON: by a Paterson mom; before 1961, a lifesaving intuitive flash
I was downtown when I knew I had to hurry home. It was full of gas. Our two-year-old had turned on all the stove jets as my husband napped...
|NED'S KISS by Ned's mom and sister Ethel; before 1961, cledonic dreams of a playful revenant
I wished I could kiss my son farewell. That week, Ethel called. "I dreamed Ned kissed you, not me! I was hurt. He laughed like anything and kissed me too..."
|NEWS AT ELEVEN: by a widow-in-process; 1948/10/27, a somatized empathic waking nightmare
My heart suddenly began beating like a sledge hammer. I couldn't imagine what was happening, and got very frightened...
|NINA'S RING: by Nina's clown, 1955/4/20, a lifesaving intuition
While rehearsing our circus act I mentally saw Nina's ladder breaking loose. Next day, a supporting ring snapped. Being forewarned, I pulled hard...
|THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TRACKS by Anonymous #35; summer 1934, a psychic dream
The engine pinned a young man under it and a crowd gathered. But no one noticed the girl on the other side of the tracks...
|PARLOR GAME: by a bridge builder's wife; before 1961, a party game interrupted by a real premonition
I had fun playing fortuneteller, until David. My hands turned icy and my whole body tensed. I asked "Where are you going?"...
|PAST PARTY, FUTURE HUSBAND: by a Georgia woman; before 1959, a psychic dream fusing precognitive and retrocognitive information
I dream a stranger's observing a lawn party at a house I've never seen. My beau recalls the party from three years ago, but not the man. Two years later...
|PAT'S WARNING: by Pat, Allen and Gerry; 1947, a ghostlike warning from a living person--or her unconscious?
In Occupied Germany, Pat flags down two friends just before a truck crash. Only Pat was in England at the time. She sensed they were in danger, but...
|PETE: by Norman, a soldier on Guam; 1944, either a ghost or hallucination with a lifesaving warning.
Pete warned me not to take the shortcut. Only after I'd turned the truck around did I realize Pete had died weeks ago...
|PIANOS IN THE SKY: by an Illinois woman; before 1948, a happy recurrent dream come true
My heart's desire was a new piano, as hopeless as owning a yacht. The dream: a huge space in the air, full of wonderful...
|POLYGAPO: by a Washington woman, fall 1951, a detailed unlikely predictive dream
I sat thinking "Now that boy will jump the fence"--and he did; "that boy will chase the dog"--and he did; "the girl will..."
|PREEMIE; 1951/10/30 by an Oklahoma woman; a predictive dream
We were looking at our three-pound premature baby girl. Though tiny she was bright-eyed, active, perfect...
|ROSEMARY AND FRANCES: by Rosemary; 1936/6/5, a premonitory mood and flash saving one of two sisters
I love dancing, but a gloom settled on me; I wouldn't go. I begged Frances to take a certain car, and she did--but coming home...
|RUTHIE'S CALL: by Ruthie; before 1961, a lifesaving intuitive compulsion
It was way too late to call, but an irrational urge made me wake my friend up and pester her until...
|SCORCH: by a California woman; 1944, a lifesaving olfactory hallucination (clairsniffance?)
I smelled scorching paint; my old heater was about to burn the house. But I'd moved--heater and house were six blocks away...
|SEPTIC: by Steve (age 6), before 1961, a recurring predictive nightmare
For three weeks he wakened nearly every night, screaming in fright; he said he "fell in a hole." Then, one snowy day...
|A SHARP CLICK: by Herbert W., 1932/5/30, apparent spirit-rapping
My friend Mr D. was interested in psychic research but skeptical about psychokinesis. But 24 hours after his own death...
|6-MONTH TOMBSTONE, 17-YEAR CABINET: by a California model, pre-1961, and by a Texas maid, 1945; 2 predictive dreams compared
Predictive dreams rarely hint how far they've peered ahead; they just place you in their foreseen future...
|STAY ON THE SIDEWALK: by a Utah boy, before 1961, a flawed warning nightmare
He said "Oh, Mom, I had a terrible dream. A car ran me down." I said we could not live by dreams or we live a life of horror...
|A STIRRING FAILURE: by Robert's wife, before 1961, a precise predictive nightmare
I dreamed a small plane crashed and burned, but also how the pilot might be saved. I asked my husband to direct the firetruck...
|TEN YEARS AFTER: by Anonymous #31; before 1951, a predictive dream.
I dreamed I drove through snow to my parents' home where my mother lay dead. Ten years later I made an identical journey--but this time for real.
|TIN FISH: by a ship engineer's wife; 1914-1918, a precise lifesaving dream
I dreamed my husband's ship headed for India, where a 'tin fish' sank it with exactly one casualty--him. I rushed down to the dock...
|TORNADO INSURANCE: by a car salesman's wife; before 1961, a useful predictive dreamlet
I dreamed a tornado blew our store sign down. It swung down and smashed the showroom window. I told my husband the dream, and...
|TRANSFUSION by a New York woman; 1950s? (over a 5-year span), three predictive dreams
I dreamt of the Du Pont lab where I'd work, then the hospital where my sister-in-law would need a transfusion, then my of neighbor's coffin...
|TRANSPERSONAL PUPPIES by a dog breeder; before 1961, a cledonic dream of a ghost
The stranger seemed to know me. He said "Tell her about the little dogs, it will comfort her." Two weeks later...
|WALTER'S DIVE: by Walter's father; before 1961, a predictive dream disastrously forgotten
I dreamt my son Walter drowned in the creek by a certain tree. I woke in tears, and resolved to warn him...
|WE GO IN PEACE: by Florence; before 1961, a telepathic dream-report of another's death experience
My father-in-law looked me in the eye and said, 'Florence, the Lord is my shepherd and we go in peace'...
|A WHITE-FACED MARE, 29 YEARS LATER: by an Iowa grandmother; 1918, a postmortem predictive dream.
My grandmother dreamt a white-faced black mare trampled me in our orchard. We had no such mare. 29 years later, I boarded a man's two mares...
|WOUND-BARGAIN: by a Marine from New York; 1918/9/12-14, a prediction and possible alteration of the future
I was certain I'd be wounded, but wanted not to be maimed or crippled. So I tried on injuries and settled on a flesh wound in my left shoulder...
|YES, EMMA, ONE POUND ONIONS: by a Canadian girl; before 1961, a precise yet counterproductive predictive dream
I was in a small room with a single bare lightbulb and an old man at a desk writing. The phone rang. He answered it and said, 'Yes, Emma, one pound onions, a dozen oranges." Two days later...
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