I always felt bad about cutting Adam Linzmayer from my book. But there were so many people in the first draft it was hard to keep track. Adam was the lab’s first ESP star, however. From the Fall of 1930 to the Spring of 1931 he was the young man who energized their work and he is featured in Rhine’s first book, Extra-Sensory Perception (1935).
Adam was a working class kid from New Jersey. He grew up in the kind of neighborhood where if you studied or went to college, “this was not good,” he said. Unfortunately, Adam never finished his education at Duke due to the Depression. That always bothered him. “It still hurts,” he said in an interview four decades later. He was a sensitive man. “Failure affected him deeply,” Rhine once wrote of Adam and sadly, after that one spectacular year of testing Adam never scored well again. Rhine paid for him to return to Duke one more time for more tests, but he did not do well.
“Doing those tests was extremely exhausting,” Linzmayer said in a 1974 interview with Seymour Mauskopf. “Very tiring.” He said that he felt rushed and that he had told Rhine that, “I could do better if I could take my time. I can’t turn it off and on.”
But Adam was always proud of his work at Duke and the Parapsychology Laboratory and he kept in touch. He sent the Rhine family Christmas cards every year. At one point Rhine gave a lecture in New Jersey without telling Adam, who lived in the area. When Adam found out he wrote Rhine that he felt bad, and to let him know next time. In 1954, Rhine was once again in New Jersey, giving a lecture and this time Adam proudly attended with his wife and each of his three children.
Adam believed his extraordinary talent came from his mother, who sometimes had a feeling about things. She once had a bad feeling when his brother went to the dentist. A few hours after coming home Adam’s brother fell sick. They took him to the hospital, but he died that very day. His parents were so out of their minds with grief they left Adam at the hospital. Having just lost his brother, he had to walk seven miles home alone in shock. Poor little guy. By the way, a number of people I researched for this book said their mother had abilities. Hubert Pearce said it, and Carl Jung said the same about both his mother and grandmother.
Another interesting thing came out during the 1974 interview. Adam said he was lucky, that he grew up lucky. He liked to shoot craps and he always did well. “I’m a winner always.” Adam told Rhine that he could throw more 7’s than chance, but Rhine didn’t believe him. Rhine bet Adam he couldn’t do it and according to Adam he proved that he could.
It’s well known that the Lab got their idea of doing dice experiments to test psychokinesis from a gambler. Could it have been Adam? (To test whether or not people could affect the movement of objects with their minds, a subject would roll a pair of dice and either they got the roll they tried for or not. I am greatly simplifying the experiment in this description.)