Schmeidler, Gertrude Raffel (1912-)

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Schmeidler, Gertrude Raffel (1912-)

Professor of psychology and parapsychologist, she was born Gertrude Raffel on July 15, 1912, in Long Branch, New Jersey. She studied at Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts (B.A. magna cum laude, 1932), Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts (M.A., 1933), and Radcliffe College/Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (Ph.D., 1935). She first encountered parapsychology by reading a just-published copy of J. B. Rhine 's first book, Extra-Sensory Perception, in 1934. Before she completed her Ph.D. she took a course in psychical research with Gardner Murphy.

After graduation she taught at Monmouth College, Long Branch, New Jersey (1935-37), was a research associate at Harvard University (1942-44) and a research officer at the American Society for Psychical Research (1945-46) before beginning her long tenure at the City College of New York in 1945. She was a charter member of the Parapsychological Association and was elected vice president (1958, 1960) and president (1959). She also received a grant for research from the Parapsychology Foundation (1955-59).

Schmeidler has conducted quantitative experiments in telepathy and clairvoyance with hundreds of students and other subjects in an attempt to evaluate connections between objective interpersonal and personality factors and success or failure in ESP experiments. She has also taken an interest in the question of theories of survival after death. She attained fame in the 1940s for her "sheep-goat" experiments based upon the hypothesis that subjects who believed in ESP scored better as subjects in ESP tests than those who did not. Also among her many noteworthy experiments were PK tests with psychic Ingo Swann. She has contributed to over 150 articles for professional journals.


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.

Schmeidler, Gertrude. ESP in Relation to Rorschach Test Evaluation. New York: Parapsychology Foundation, 1960.

. Extrasensory Perception. New York: Atherton Press, 1969.

. Parapsychology; Its Relation to Physics, Biology, Psychology, and Psychiatry. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1976.

. Parapsychology and Psychology; Matches and Mismatches. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1988.

. "Separating the Sheep from the Goats." Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research (1945).

Schmeidler, Gertrude, and R. A. McConnell. ESP and Personality Patterns. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1958.