Marc Salem


Recreate a test of ESP ability that was first performed by Dr. Rhine and his associate Karl Zener. Zener created a series of cards with simple symbols - a circle, a square, a cross, a star and a set of wavy lines. Zener cards became Rhine's main tools in psychical research. Create your own deck of Zener cards, with five cards with each symbol, for a total of 25 cards. Make the symbols as clear as possible (make sure the cards are thick enough so the black symbols cannot be seen through the paper).

To test for clairvoyance, have a tester and a "receiver" face each other across a table with a cardboard screen or curtain between them. The tester will place the cards face down and ask the receiver to name the top card. The tester will then put the card aside, still face down, taking note of the receiver's answer. When the entire deck has been gone through, the tester will look through the cards, recording hits and misses.

To test for telepathy, have a sender and receiver in different rooms, laying down the cards one by one, and marking the images that come to mind.

  • Choose a quiet work area with no distractions.
  • For both tests, have an observer record the experiment, to later inteview the subjects and write a commentary of the work.
  • Scientists believe that you have 20-25% chance of guessing the correct answer. That is, if you have 5 cards you should, on average, be able to guess one correctly. Any percentages over 25% would mean a high ESP ability - whatever that is!
  • In both cases, calculate the percentage of correct answers and graph your hits and misses. Remember, the more times you run the experiment the more convincing your evidence becomes (each time you go through the 25 cards, it's called a run). What factors - age, sex, personality, belief or disbelief in ESP may influence your subject? Include them all in your data!
Zener Cards
Copyright © 2008 Marc Salem. All rights reserved.