LLIFS Resource Directory: Hidden Channels of the mind by Louisa E Rhine

11th June 2023. Reading Time: 9 minutes General, Paranormal Book Club. 696 page views. 0 comments.

The highlight of the LLIFS Resource Directory this week is Hidden Channels Of The Mind by Louisa E Rhine. Published in 1961, this classic book looks in depth at the concept of ESP throughout space and time.

If you follow my blog or are just visiting for the first time, as you scroll through the different articles, you will see a very wide range of topics discussed.  This is not information I automatically know about.  They are things I have often come across in some ways through my research.  There are so many amazing books and resources available that can really help with your paranormal research.   A lot of these are books written by people who in some way have been influential.  Often they are books that are very old and no longer in print.  To buy the hard copy can cost up to thousands, however, there are free public domain pdfs online which is a good second choice!

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This week I am featuring the book Hidden Channels of the Mind by Louisa E Rhine published in 1961.

Who is Louisa E Rhine?

Image Source: Public Domain

Born in 1891, Louisa Weckesser who was an American doctor of Botany, married a fellow graduate student in 1920 - Mr. Joseph Banks Rhine.  In 1927, they moved to Durham in North Carolina raising a family of 4 and going on to create a parapsychological dynasty.  Louisa herself would become 'The First Lady of Parapsychology'.  While her husband J.B Rhine was famous for his parapsychology experiments, Louisa was busy documenting the results of the experiments in her journals. After having 4 Children, in 1937 with her husband's support behind her, she published her first parapsychology paper on the results of ESP trials she was conducting with children.  Once her children were out of school and off to study further at University, she began her extensive work of studying spontaneous cases in 1948.  It was this work that would set her apart and allowed her to shine.  The Duke University lab of parapsychology she had been working out of with her husband over time received thousands of letters detailing experiences where the writer felt they were experiencing something supernatural.  With the support of her husband, she researched these claims further.  She went on to write 6 books and 18 scholarly journal pieces on the different cases she researched.

Hidden Channels of the Mind

ESP stands for extrasensory perception.  It is the ability to receive or perceive information by what is considered to be supernatural means.  It could be an act of telepathy or a pre-cognitive dream for example.  It is the main topic of discussion in Louisa's book Hidden Channels of the Mind.

Beyond the senses; types of extrasensory perception; the forms of ESP experience; the difficulty of recognition; space and time in ESP experiences; the range of subject matter; men, women and ESP; ESP in childhood and in old age; ESP and peace of mind; the stamp of the personality; can a precognized danger be avoided; the problem of control; the telepathy impasse; puzzling physical effects; communications from beyond; the larger perspective; and suggested readings.

It is a book full of theory, experiences and real-life accounts of ESP.  

It is well worth the read and is available to read for free via public domain: 

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015000695992&view=1up&seq=15

Children and ESP

One of the areas of the book I personally found intriguing was the section about Children and ESP.  Louisa was particularly interested in children and their connection with ESP.  She felt that while it was not only interesting that children had these abilities, they actually gave a key to understanding psi abilities at a deeper level.  One of the most common examples was children seemingly reading their parent's thoughts by verbalizing something that the parent was thinking of at the time.  It is suggested that pre-school-aged children who have a small family network and a strong connection with their parents are engaging in unintended acts of telepathy.  They are often written off as a coincidence by the parent and telepathy is not even considered in a lot of circumstances.  It means it is something that could be a lot more common than we think.  While the connection seemed to be most apparent between a parent and child, it would also rarely occur between two children as well.  Often they were siblings, so they still had a strong connection.  As a child approached primary school age and became older, it was found occurrences dropped off and even children who had scored higher in ESP testing at a younger age scored average results as they became older.  Louisa theorized this was because as a child becomes older, the network of people they are connected to becomes much larger.  As they grow more independent, the connection with their parent while still close is not as exclusive.

This happened in my own family, too. I have mentioned before that my husband and I at first brushed off as just coincidence the fact that one of our daughters, then about three years old, seemed repeatedly to voice my own unspoken thought and that eventually we did take notice and I began to keep a diary, recording the incidents.  In time, as the entries accumulated, it was possible to notice some recurring characteristics in these little episodes. The first, as with the children in the cases above, was the ease and effortlessness of the apparent transfer. One typical example occurred when the child was playing contentedly on the floor after breakfast and I was starting to clear the table. One piece of buttered toast remained and I was tempted. Then I thought, "No, I'm gaining. I must not eat it."  Just then the little voice, in true unflattering child-fashion, piped up: "Mama, you're fatter now than you've ever been, aren't you?"  And then, back to her own pursuits again—no follow-up, just as there had been no introduction to her thought. For several reasons I was "really stirred," but she was entirely oblivious.  The remark was evidently based on an impression received so easily and naturally that she was entirely unaware of its extraneous source, and also of the fact that it had no rational introduction or relation to anything that went before or after.

Hidden Channels of the mind Louisa E Rhine (1961)

On top of telepathy, some of the children also seemed to have visions of the future, much like adults do in dreams.  As children, we often tell them they just had a nightmare or that it is their imagination.

At four and a half, a little boy in Michigan dreamed on several different nights that a snake "got" him, and then one day to his terror he actually did come upon a snake in the yard. His parents thought it only coincidence, although no more snake dreams wakened them after the snake had been disposed of.  But again at six he began to have nightmarish dreams: this time he thought he "fell in a hole." For three weeks he wakened nearly every night, sweating and screaming in fright.  Then, his mother says,

"One day he was playing in our neighbor's yard where there was still snow on the ground. I heard terrible screams coming from what sounded like a long way off. I hurried in the direction of my neighbor's basement.  The screams sounded almost as if coming from underground. Then I saw the hole of an old septic tank with rotted cover, and Steve up to his waist in the water and sinking rapidly. But my neighbor and I got him out, though the water was up to his shoulders before we finally rescued him. I thought dreams coming true were all a bunch of nonsense until this happened."

Hidden Channels of the mind Louisa E Rhine (1961)

The reported dreams were not only about the child themselves.  Some dreamt of their family and friends while others were able to describe in great detail random events which later turned out to be true.  Louisa felt that the claims led her to believe that children had a more hallucinatory version of ESP - meaning what they experienced was a more visual form of receiving the information.  This also meant that when children reported seeing 'ghosts' or imaginary friends, it might be more than just their imagination at play and it could instead be their sixth sense.  Many people claim to have seen their first ghost when they were a young child, some as young as 3 years old.  While we know that our memories are not reliable, especially going back to such a young age, when family members are able to validate this, it becomes all the more interesting.  The very fact that it is something they remember could be a factor here too.  I know I cannot remember last week let alone when I was 3, so is the very fact that it is such a vivid memory of significance?  We need to remember that a child especially of pre-school age in most cases doesn't know a lot about ghosts and spirits, telepathy, or precognitive dreams.  Whatever they experience be it a vision or even if it is just a dream, it all feels very real to the child.  It would be difficult for them to determine what is a dream and what could be an ESP hallucination.  It means in most cases it would often just be written off as a dream to both child and parent.  The child may not even report it to the parent, thinking it was just a scary dream.

As perhaps might be expected, visual hallucinations, particularly those that involve the dying or the dead, are likely to be remembered. Memories of childhood may, of course, be quite unreliable, but when the kind of occurrence remembered is similar to that reported by other adults as a recent happening,such memories gain considerable support.  Another woman in Maine recalls an experience when she was ten that, if not a dream, was hallucinatory. She knew her father had had an operation and was in the hospital, but as she says, "I did not know about death as I had never had anyone die that was close to me. I was sent next door to stay overnight with my girl friend. I woke up and at the foot of the bed was the most beautiful light I had ever seen. There was my father with his arms open to me and as I watched he was rising up. I called tomy girlfriend, telling her my father  was dead. We got up and lit the light. It was just ten after four in the morning; soon my uncle came from the hospital to tell us my father had passed away, and that he called to me as he was dying. He passed away at exactly ten after four. I was a child that knew nothing of death; yet I knew he was gone."

Hidden Channels of the mind Louisa E Rhine (1961)

"The interesting general fact that emerges from studying ESP in children is that their experiences, though simpler, still are similar both in form and type to those of adults. It seems that ESP may be "there" even in childhood." Louisa E Rhine

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