Latest news on psi events and research. Volume 4, Issue 1, 2013
The Rhine Research Center is devoted to understanding anomalous events in a rational way. Granted, this is a paradoxical situation in our industrialized culture – more traditional cultures understand and accept miraculous or extraordinary events as a part of everyday life.
This edition of Rhine Magazine centers around this paradox by focusing on the conflict between individual experience and the fear of cultural judgment. Sally Rhine Feather, Ph.D., and Warren Pearce tell the story of Hubert Pearce, a young man who attended Duke Divinity School in the 1930s and was, according to J.B. Rhine, “our most important discovery so far as subjects were concerned” during the early years of Dr. Rhine’s research. He was extraordinarily talented in what might be called his “sixth sense” or, more currently, psi. For example, at one point, he guessed 25 of the ESP cards correctly in a row (what J.B. Rhine called “the most phenomenal thing that I have ever observed”). He was also successful at guessing cards at a distance. Sadly, this ability was not something that Hubert Pearce could flout in his day and age (our culture’s outlook has not changed much in one hundred years), and he became quite private about his abilities and about his history as one of the best subjects ever tested in terms of psi ability. Dr. Feather notes that Pearce’s correspondence with J.B. Rhine over the years shows pride in his ability, but his work as a Methodist minister would have been jeopardized had the public considered him anything but “normal” by society’s standards.
Hubert Pearce’s story shows a uncommon agreement between science and religion – both fear parapsychology! Here is a man with intuitive talents beyond the norm, and because he wants to be a minister, he hides them from the public. Michael Grosso, author of an upcoming book about Joseph of Copertino, a levitating saint from the fifteenth century, notes in his article, “Why Levitation”, that JB Rhine was the first to coin the term “the parapsychology of religion”, and that the world is still waiting for a shift in understanding. He says,
Science needs to give up its blinkered attachment to an old-fashioned and stultifying reductive materialism. Religion has to renounce with a loving smile its pretensions to immutable and absolute truth.
How else, Grosso reflects, can we ever understand something like levitation: so obviously real and observable — and yet extraordinary in terms of our current understanding of gravity?
Another contributor, Jeanne VanBronkhorst, writes about a childhood premonition which she trusted enough to change her living conditions, even though her parents had taught her “that premonitions were nonsense.”
Milton Janoff, who sent a long hand-written contribution to the Rhine Center, part of which I included in this edition of our magazine, describes himself in this way: “Writing all this has been an emotional and trying effort. I only went to a vocational high school to be a carpenter…but all in all I didn’t do so bad in life. I was really blessed in many ways.” Frequent out-of-the-ordinary experiences in his life have made Mr. Janoff a believer in a spiritual world beyond that described by our science or religion. He says, “Religious people or their leaders would find it hard to realize what has happened when the evidence is shown to them. Those people who feel that death is the end are going to feel perplexed about the finding.” However, in closing, he says that if a story like his could break the ice of fear, “there are millions of people out there who wouldn’t be afraid to speak of their happenings.”
Another contributor to this issue, Professor Arseculeratne from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, wrote the perfect summary to the consistent problem between cultural understanding, religious understanding, and science’s blind spot in email correspondence with me. He said, simply,
“I so wish people will take more interest in the paranormal, it seems to be the missing link to reality..”
Perhaps, with time, people will take more interest, give more respect, and conquer their fear. Perhaps reality will not have this fearful missing link from which the ordinary public turns a blind eye. In the meantime, the Rhine Research Center will remain open-minded to all experiences while doggedly trying to prove, through sound scientific experiments, that human beings have more exceptional capabilities than common wisdom ascribes.
Please enjoy this, our first issue of Rhine Magazine.