Book Review: Parapsychology and the Skeptics: A Scientific Argument for the Existence of ESP Page: 60
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JOURNAL OF NEAR-DEATH STUDIES
Carter also made the common mistake of attributing the founding of
the American Society for Psychical Research to William James, who
was an early member but not a founding member. A professor of
medicine, Charles Sedgwick Minot, and an astronomer, Edward
Pickering, both at Harvard, along with the then-acting editor of
Science, N. D. C. Hodges, deserve the "founder" honors for the
American Society (Noonan, 1977; Taylor, 1985).
The early history of American experimental parapsychology also
suffers: Only J. B. Rhine of the early group was mentioned. Louisa E.
Rhine, his life partner and collaborator, was nowhere to be found.
Carter mentioned J. Gaither Pratt only as "research assistant Gaither
Pratt" (p. 39) when Pratt began as a graduate student subject and
became one of the principal collaborators in the laboratory after he
completed his doctorate. Also overlooked was Charles E. Stuart,
another early subject/graduate student who became a principal
investigator. On the other hand, the controversy that followed the
publication of Rhine's (1934) monograph, Extrasensory Perception,
was well summarized, as was the publication and reception of the
response written by Rhine's team to criticism published between 1934
and 1939, Extrasensory Perception after Sixty Years (Pratt, Rhine,
Stuart, Smith, & Greenwood, 1940). Both the importance of that later
volume to the establishment of the evidence for ESP and Charles
Honorton's (1993) treatment of the era were well-described.
As Carter moved away from the history and into the substantive
material, his true gifts shone through. The book as a whole was very
well-written and closely argued. The details of the development of PK
research as it moved from physical mediumship-exemplified by
nineteenth century medium D. D. Home-to the dice-throwing PK
experiments of the Rhine Lab were brief but informative. Helmut
Schmidt's work on PK devices and his development of sources of
randomness led into the work of the recently closed Princeton
Engineering Anomalies Laboratory. Physicist Evan Harris Walker's
notion of PK as not "... a force, but rather as a type of information flow
from the consciousness of the observer to the indeterminate quantum
state" (p. 47) foreshadowed well subsequent sections that dealt with
physics and psi phenomena.
Carter's treatment of research into telepathy passed over early
dream telepathy experiments all too quickly (Ullman, Krippner &
Vaughn, 2003), but the emphasis on Charles Honorton's Ganzfeld ESP
research and what Carter called "The Great Ganzfeld Debate" more
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Zingrone, Nancy L. Book Review: Parapsychology and the Skeptics: A Scientific Argument for the Existence of ESP, review, Autumn 2009; Durham, North Carolina. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc461718/m1/4/: accessed June 22, 2021), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; .