Quotes about ESP

In 1941, the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory prepared a report titled, Notes and Comments on Progress in ESP Research. The Lab gathered quotes about ESP from people in a variety of fields, and I’ve pulled out a small sample.

From Harvard psychologist and professor Gordon W. Allport, who was, according to Wikipedia, “one of the first psychologists to focus on the study of the personality, and is often referred to as one of the founding figures of personality psychology.”

Allport wrote: “I would like to say that I cannot imagine a better tempered, better balanced, more satisfactory handling of the problem at its present stage of development. I congratulate you and your colleagues on the excellent presentation. It seems to me a model of scientific reporting, even though the subject itself is an open one.”

Allport was referring to the 1940 book, Extra-Sensory Perception After Sixty Years, by J. G. Pratt, J. B. Rhine, Burke M. Smith, Charles E. Stuart and Joseph A. Greenwood.

From the journalist Will Irwin: “That monotonous card calling at Duke may be more important to the future of the race the all the political and social experiments which mark this confused age.”

I like this quote because he comes right out and calls the cards monotonous. Irwin was well known at the time.  Among other things, he published a series about journalism titled “The American Newspaper.” He concluded the series by describing American newspapers as “wonderfully able, wonderfully efficient, and wonderfully powerful: with real faults.”

He also spent ten weeks traveling the country researching fraudulent mediums for Collier’s Weekly. The piece was called The Medium Game. I have to get a hold of this. I’d be curious to read who he investigated. In 1909, he wrote about the medium Eusapia Paladino for The New York Times. “While a little taint of fraud hung over one or two parts of the performance, she did one thing that sent the reporters away believing, if not in spirits, at least in a mysterious personal force which contradicts all know laws of matter.”

“Directly under the full light of sixteen-candle-power electric lamp, with two men holding her feet and knees, and with her hands in plain view a foot above the table, Signora Paladina caused it to rise again and again—three times, with all the feet clear of the floor. In all of these levitations the spectators on the edge of the circle could look under the table and see her feet and knees quiet and absolutely controlled.”

This was a fun one. It’s from Dr. William Moulton Marston.

“These psychic discoveries by reputable scientists have opened up, literally, a new world.”

It’s fun because along with being “credited as the creator of the systolic blood pressure test used in an attempt to detect deception, which became one component of the modern polygraph,” (according to Wikipedia) he is the creator of Wonder Woman! I’m not very familiar with comic books, but I’m reading that apparently later on, Marston added telepathy as one of Wonder Woman’s abilities.

The scientists at the Parapsychology Laboratory however, only knew Marston as a psychologist.

2 thoughts on “Quotes about ESP

  1. Hi Stacy! Yes, Duke University. I just finished reading “The Afterlife Codes” (2000) by Susy Smith (+ 2001), and in the chapter “Duke, briefly – enough is enough” she describes on pages 98 and 99 her short stay with Rhine and his crew. She’s critizising in a nice way, full of humour, but we understand that this way to work was not her way. – It reminded me of the Freiburg institute. They really try to make you a mathematician and a critical robot, and so fun and attraction tend to go away. I have read hundreds of books about the topic, but now I am in Oriental philosophy and the afterlife. This scientific parapsychology might be acceptable even for “normal” scienctists, but who wants their praise? So either one becomes a robot, or one goes his own way. Many greetings, Manfred Poser, Germany.

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