Editor’s Introduction:

Debra C. Evans (real name), Ph.D., trained in Experimental Psychology, specializing in cognition. She owns a small company specializing in the application of research in cognitive psychology to domain-specific problems, and is also part-time faculty in the School of Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh. Her account is interesting in showing some of the psychological difficulties in accepting psychic phenomena and practicing science.

All in the Family
Debra Evans

Experience: I must first give some background with regard to my family and transcendent experiences. You see, I am a second-generation experimental psychologist; my father was the first. He received his M.A. from the University of Colorado in 1956. Afterwards, he went to Duke University for his Ph.D. During this time, my father became acquainted with Dr. J. B. Rhine’s work. At one point while we lived in Durham (I was 4 at the time), my paternal grandmother came to visit. My grandmother had a reputation throughout her life as being “sensitive.” So my father arranged for her to participate in one of Dr. Rhine’s experiments. Her accuracy rate at receiving impressions of the stimulus cards was significantly greater than chance. A similar instance occurred in a non-laboratory setting a couple of years later. At the moment that her father, located some 2,000 miles away, died, she saw him walk up to her front door. As soon as she went to the door, the phone rang, and she knew that her father had passed away.

Thus, I come from a family in which manifestations of psi phenomena were considered, not to be routine, but not to be discounted, either. Therefore, when I was 15, my father decided to determine whether or not I demonstrated any of the capabilities of his mother. So he devised a similar experiment to the one in which my grandmother had participated for Dr. Rhine. My mother served as the sender, since I seemed to be more “sensitive” to her than to my father. My mother would look at a regular playing card, and I would state what was on the card. My father served as observer and recorder. Once the experiment was completed, my accuracy rate was 85% out of 100 trials. In most of the cases in which I “missed,” I was off by one card. In other words, I “saw” the card before my mother even looked at it.

There are two more experiences I would like to share, but they will come in other articles.

Contributor’s Comments on the Experience

In some ways, my knowledge about my potential abilities both intrigued me and scared me. I spent decades trying to ignore the implications of the revealed ability. It has just been in the last 10 years, after having experienced more transcendent incidences, have I begun to realize that I can accept such phenomena and be an objective scientist, as well.