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Just Knowing

Two ESP experiences, summer 1934 & 1941/11/20, by a St. Louis woman, reported to the Rhine Institute

Just as some individuals consistently have their [ESP] experiences as dreams, others have theirs only when awake.


In the summer of 1934, a woman in St. Louis had a sudden irrational, intuitive impression. She was riding through the park on a bus, when she suddenly felt she must leave it. She jumped up and got off at the next stop, and found herself standing there feeling very foolish, as she had to wait some time for the next one.

When it came she entered, still feeling uneasy. When this bus came out of the park, a group of people were standing on the street. The fire department was there, and the bus she had left was burning.


This woman's second experience was also intuitive and equally sudden, though the event it concerned was very different and the circumstances such that compulsive action, as in the first case, was not possible. It occurred Thanksgiving Day, 1941.

She was a guest that day at a lovely country place and surrounded by happy people. Nevertheless, around 11:30 in the morning, when conversation consisted of nothing more serious than chitchat about the Thanksgiving dinner, she suddenly knew that her mother, who lived in California, was in great distress. She tried not to disturb this party of fourteen people, and managed to finish dinner. By then her thoughts were perfectly clear.

She knew her mother had passed away. She excused herself and went home.

Hanging on the door was the notice of a death message. Her mother had died about 9:30 in the morning [Pacific time], making the time of the daughter's reaction and the mother's death about the same.

The mother was aged, but she had not been ill, and the daughter had had no reason to expect her death.


I included St. Louis Woman's experiences, though they aren't dreams, because her second account is a less common type of ESP: simply knowing another's thoughts or feelings. Most examples of apparent telepathy involve images or words--though the method's mysterious, the data channels through familiar senses. In Louisa Rhine's classification of ESP experiences St Louis Woman's imageless telepathy--"just knowing"--was the one type with no example on the World Dream Bank; "Thanksgiving" nicely fills the gap.

Both her experiences also illustrate the quite practical nature of most ESP. Her first urge steers her from trouble; her second is news of a loved one. The vast majority of Rhine's ESP accounts are one or the other. How ESP can work is baffling, but we use it like our other senses. Its concerns are our concerns.

--Chris Wayan

SOURCE: Hidden Channels of the Mind by Louisa E. Rhine, 1961, p. 165. Account untitled, author's name witheld; title & byline added to aid searching & indexing.

The Bus: on the road - intuitions, hunches and urges - fires - precognition
Thanksgiving: family - mothers - death - telepathy and empathy
General: ESP examples (all types) - more Louisa Rhine and types of ESP - Missouri: St Louis

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