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Rhine, Louisa Ella Weckesser (1891-1983)

Rhine, Louisa Ella Weckesser (1891-1983)

Pioneer worker in the field of parapsychology. She was born on November 9, 1891, at Sanborn, New York. She studied at the University of Chicago (B.S., 1919; M.S., 1921; Ph.D., biology, 1923). In 1920 she married Joseph Banks Rhine. Like her husband, she found parapsychology a much more intriguing field than biology, and began to work in the area from the 1930s. She became a staff member of the Parapsychology Laboratory at Duke University (1948-62) and then research director of the Institute for Parapsychology which superseded it as the research branch of the Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man. She was a charter member of the Parapsychology Association and co-edited the Journal of Parapsychology.

She is known for her work on spontaneous psi cases, reports of which flooded into Duke University as the work of the Parapsychology Laboratory became known across the country. She studied the reports using categories and data coming out of the laboratory's work. In this endeavor she in effect provided the laboratory's transition from the older psychical research and the newer parapsychology that J. B. Rhine was developing. She authored a number of articles and books. She died March 17, 1983, at the age of 91.

In addition to substantial joint contributions to parapsychology, she and her husband also raised four children. Although committed to scientific disciplines in their parapsychology work, both the Rhines shared a humane and religious view of the implications of the subject.


Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York: Paragon House, 1991.

Pleasants, Helene, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology. New York: Helix Press, 1964.

Rhine, Louisa E. ESP in Life and Lab: Tracing Hidden Channels. New York: Macmillan, 1967.

. Hidden Channels of the Mind. New York: William Sloane, 1961.

. The Invisible Picture. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland,1981.

. Mind Over Matter. New York: Macmillan, 1970.

. Psi: What Is It? New York: Harper & Row, 1975.

. Something Hidden. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1983.

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